The Entire Question Of Whether America Should Assist The ICC In Investigating Putin For War Crimes Only Comes Up Because Of Two Other Glaring Acts Of Hypocrisy.

On March 17, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest for Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal for allegedly deporting and transferring children from Ukraine to Russia.

The 1946 Nuremburg Tribunal declared that, “To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Putin deserves to be convicted of war crimes on the same grounds that American Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan and Bush deserve to be convicted of war crimes. Noam Chomsky has said that, “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”

But there are a number of questions that need to be answered and a number of hypocrisies that need to be faced in the arrest of Vladimir Putin.

The first is the question of how the ICC came to consider the case. The first way ICC jurisdiction can be triggered is by a referral from the Security Council. That did not happen. The second way is if a country that is a member of the ICC refers a crime that was committed on its territory to the court. Neither Ukraine nor Russia are members of the ICC.

The final way is if an ICC prosecutor starts an examination on his or her own accord into a crime committed on the territory of an ICC member or on the territory of a country that has consented to ICC jurisdiction. Again, neither Ukraine nor Russia are ICC members. However, Ukraine accepted ad hoc jurisdiction of the court in 2014, meaning that crimes against humanity or genocide, but not crimes of aggression, can be tried by the ICC.

According to former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar, the United Kingdom pressured the ICC judges to take up the case against Putin, though he does not provide a source for this information.

There is greater clarity and evidence for the several hypocrisies that need to be admitted in the American reaction to the arrest warrant.

The first was exposed by Biden’s stumbling endorsement of the arrest warrant. “Well, I think it’s justified,” Biden said of the warrant on Friday. “But the question is—[the ICC is] not recognised internationally by us either. But I think it makes a very strong point.”

America recognizes the justification of ICC arrest warrants but does not recognize the ICC.

The second hypocrisy is more glaring still. The United States says that the arrest warrant is “justified” and “makes a very strong point” while simultaneously protecting themselves from similarly justified warrants.

According to reporting by The New York Times, “The Pentagon is blocking the Biden administration from sharing evidence with the International Criminal Court in The Hague gathered by American intelligence agencies about Russian atrocities in Ukraine.” Why would the American military oppose assisting the ICC to prosecute Putin since Biden says it is justified? Because the American military knows it is guilty of war crimes. “American military leaders oppose helping the court investigate Russians,” according to former and current American officials, “because they fear setting a precedent that might help pave the way for it to prosecute Americans.”

The entire question of whether America should assist the ICC in investigating Putin for war crimes only comes up because of two other glaring acts of hypocrisy. The first is that America has restrictions in place that limit cooperation with the ICC, since it does not recognize its jurisdiction. But recent legislative alterations have made it easier for America to cooperate with the ICC specifically on Ukraine. America is now permitted to cooperate with the ICC—whom it does not recognize—specifically in its Ukraine “investigations and prosecutions.” Human Rights Watch has pointed out the hypocrisy that “restrictions still apply to other ICC investigations” and that “There is now a two-tiered system in which broader cooperation is allowed for Ukraine than in other equally worthy investigations.”

The other hypocrisy that Human Rights Watch points out is that the United States “objects to the court’s jurisdiction over American citizens and nationals from other non-member countries, even when they fall within the court’s jurisdiction.” That implies that America is making an exception for Ukraine and their ad hoc acceptance of jurisdiction. The Times says that Washington takes “the position that the court should not exercise jurisdiction over citizens from a country that is not a party to the treaty, like the United States and Russia—even when the alleged war crimes take place in the territory of a country that did sign onto it.”

Though the National Security Council has tried to mediate between the Pentagon and the State and Justice Departments who do want to give evidence to the ICC, “Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III continued to object.”

There is yet one more remarkable hypocrisy in the American response to the arrest warrants. Biden says the ICC decision is justified and that it makes a strong point. But the American regime has historically fought to make the ICC unjustified and not strong.

In 1998, 160 countries attended a conference to formulate the Rome Statute of the ICC. Many states advocated for universal jurisdiction that would give the new court jurisdiction over crimes committed anywhere in the world. America blocked that universal jurisdiction and insisted that the ICC have jurisdiction only over crimes committed in countries who voluntarily signed the Rome Statute. This was a loophole America planted so that it could later exploit it. In 2000, President Clinton signed the Rome Statute, but did not send it to the Senate to be ratified. Two years later, President George W. Bush withdrew the signature. That ensured that the ICC could not prosecute Americans for war crimes.

Just to be sure, in 2002, the Bush administration enacted the American Service members’ Protection Act, or the “Hague Invasion Act,” as it came to be known. The act authorized the United States to use “all means necessary…to bring about the release of covered U.S. persons and covered allied persons held captive by, on behalf, or at the request of the Court.”

To be doubly sure, the law banned “the provision of U.S. military assistance…to the government of a country that is a party to the court.” That prohibition was extended in 2004 by the Nethercutt Amendment to include several other types of economic assistance. NATO countries and major non-NATO allies were exempt. For all other countries—unless the president deemed it important to the national security of the country—there was only one route to exemption. That was by entering a Rome Statute Article 98 agreement with America ensuring that they agree not to surrender Americans to the ICC, “preventing the International Criminal Court from proceeding against United States personnel present in such country.”

WikiLeaks revealed hundreds of cables that show how America used the threat of sanctions to force countries into Article 98 agreements. A confidential December 2002 American cable from Honduras says “the U.S. will help those countries that sign Article 98 agreements and cut aid to those that do not.”

The United States sought agreements from 77 countries who joined the ICC “to make extraditions of Americans to the Hague impossible.” They exerted significant pressure. Romania’s foreign minister said that he “can’t remember anything they put so much weight or interest into.” The EU told member states that entering into an Article 98 agreement with America “would be inconsistent” with their ICC obligations. Human Rights Watch said the American goal was “to exempt U.S. military and civilian personnel from the jurisdiction of the ICC” and said that signing the “impunity agreements…would breach their legal obligations under the Rome Statute.” In the end, at least 100 countries signed Article 98 agreements with the United States.

The long list of sanctioned countries eventually boomeranged against the American, leading countries to look to Russia and China for help and impeding the American-led Global War on Terror and drugs. They were gradually dropped.

America may believe the ICC is “justified” in issuing an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, but it has tried to make sure the same will never happen to an American. In 2017, when the ICC tried to investigate American torture of terrorism detainees, the government imposed sanctions on court officials.

Putin deserves the same sentence as practically ever post-World War II American president. The hypocrisy of American support for the ICC action against Putin is revealed by the long history of the United States attempting to weaken the court and refusing even to recognize it. It is further revealed both by the reluctance to assist the court because of the precedent it could set against itself and by the selective willingness to support the court against American enemies but not against its “equally worthy” friends.


The Western Political/Media Class Has Suddenly Resurrected The Phrase “Axis Of Evil” In Recent Days To Refer To The Increasing Intimacy Between Russia And China.

Famed Iraq War cheerleader Sean Hannity appears to have kicked things off last week, saying on his show that “a new Axis of evil is emerging” between China, Russia and Iran, a slogan that has since been echoed numerous times this week.

On Tuesday former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told Fox News that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are “two dictators that have said they are unlimited partners,” asserting that “This is the new Axis of Evil, with Iran being their junior partner.”

Also on Tuesday Representative Mike Lawler tweeted, “Xi’s meeting with Putin in Moscow is deeply concerning and highlights the growing threats posed by this new axis of evil,” and on Thursday he tweeted, “We are dealing with a new axis of evil and failure to stop Putin in Ukraine will have far-reaching implications as Russia pushes further into Eastern Europe and China moves against Taiwan.”

On Wednesday The Telegraph published an article titled “Xi and Putin are building a new axis of evil,” which mixes in the phrases “China-Russia axis” and “Beijing-Moscow axis” for good measure.

Also on Wednesday Representative Brian Mast tweeted “This is the new axis of evil” with a picture of Xi and Putin shaking hands.

On Thursday British tabloid The Sun published an article titled “WHO’S THE BOSS? Body language experts reveal Putin & Xi’s hidden messages in their ‘axis of evil’ meeting and who REALLY has the power,” with the phrase “axis of evil” appearing nowhere in the actual body of the text.

The “Axis of Evil” slogan was first made infamous by George W Bush in a jingoistic speech he gave a few months after 9/11, and at the time referred to the nations of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The following year Iraq would be in ruins as the American empire ushered in a new era of worldwide military expansionism and shockingly aggressive interventionism throughout the Middle East.

Bush (and the speech writer who helped him coin the phrase, neoconservative war propagandist David Frum) used the word “Axis” to evoke the memory of the Axis powers of World War II who fought against the Allied forces, of which the United States was a part. Western warmongers have an extensive history of comparing every war they want to fight to the second world war, framing whoever their Enemy of the Day happens to be as the new Adolf Hitler, whoever wants to fight him as the new Winston Churchill, and whoever opposes the war as the new Neville Chamberlain.

The idea is to get everyone thinking in terms of Good Guys versus Bad Guys like children watching a cartoon show, instead of like grown adults engaged in complex analysis of real life as it actually exists. Because the American empire has spent generations framing WWII as a pure Good Guys versus Bad Guys conflict, now propagandists can say that every Pentagon target is Hitler and America and its allies are the brave heroes who are fighting Hitler.

And that appears to be the intention behind this recent resurrection of the “Axis of Evil” label: not to recall George W Bush’s hawkish sloganeering on the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, but to recall World War II. This seems likely because we’re also seeing a huge increase in the use of the term “axis” to refer to Russia, China, Iran and sometimes other nations like North Korea, without the fun “of Evil” part.

Genocide walrus John Bolton has been trying to make “axis” happen for a while now; he used that term to refer to the relationship between Russia and China last month in an interview with The Washington Post, where he also claimed that we are already in “a global war” against those nations. In an interview with The Telegraph earlier this week Bolton referred to “the China-Russia axis,” which he described as having “outriders like Iran and North Korea.”

On Monday Representative Jamie Raskin tweeted about the “axis of authoritarianism linking Russia, China, and Iran.”

On Wednesday Representative Lisa McClain tweeted, “Xi and Putin seek a new world order that poses a worrying global threat. The West should be worried about this China-Russia axis and what it means for freedom.”

You should note that it’s a bit odd for the other guys to be labeled the “axis” when America is now aligned with every one of the World War II Axis powers don’t you think? (If you can do that.)

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, committee chairman Michael McCaul shed a bit more light on the worldview driving this perspective in his opening remarks.

History shows when you project strength you get peace but when you project weakness it does invite aggression and war; you only need to look back to Neville Chamberlain and Hitler, and really the course of time has proven that axiom,” McCaul said, adding, “We’re starting to see this alliance very similar in my judgement to what we saw in World War Two: Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.”

The problem with McCaul’s thinking, of course, is that he is pretending America is just some passive witness to the formation of this evil “axis” of hostile nations instead of the singular driving factor behind it. Russia, China, and other unabsorbed governments have all been driven closer and closer together by the hostility of the United States toward all of them, and now they are overcoming some significant differences to rapidly move into increasingly intimate strategic partnerships to protect their national sovereignty from a globe-spanning empire which demands total submission from every government on earth.

Empire managers have long forecasted the acquisition of post-Soviet Russia as an imperial lackey state which could be weaponized against the new Enemy Number One in China, but instead the exact opposite happened. Hillary Clinton told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in 2021 that as an insider within the American power structure she’d “heard for years that Russia would become more willing to move toward the west, more willing to engage in a positive way with Europe, the UK, the US, because of problems on its border, because of the rise of China.” But that’s not what occurred.

We haven’t seen that,” Clinton said. “Instead what we’ve seen is a concerted effort by Putin maybe to hug China more.”

Perhaps more effort would have been expended winning over Russia’s friendship had this incorrect forecast not been made. If the American empire managers had not been so confident that Moscow would come groveling to their feet to kiss the imperial ring, perhaps they would not have felt so comfortable expanding NATO, knocking back Putin’s early gestures of goodwill while administration after administration assured him with its actions that it will accept nothing but total subordinance, and engaging in aggressive brinkmanship on its border.

But they made a different call, so now we have to listen to cringey cold warriors like Michael McFaul moan about Moscow deciding to go with Beijing instead of Washington.

After the collapse of the USSR, a democratic Russia had the chance to be a major, respected European power,” McFaul recently complained on Twitter. “Putin however has pushed Russia a different way, turning Russia (yet again) into a vassal of an Asian autocratic power. Such a wasted opportunity. Oh well.”

Which is of course just McFaul’s way of saying, “Russia was supposed to be our vassal, not China’s!”

Really all this fuss is nothing other than the emergence of a multipolar world crashing headlong into the imperial doctrine that American unipolar hegemony must be maintained at all cost. If not for that last bit the American empire ceasing to singularly dominate the planet wouldn’t be much of a problem, but because there’s a zealous belief that all attempts to surpass the United States must be treated as enemy acts of aggression we’re now seeing world powers split into two increasingly hostile alliance groups with more and more talk of hot global conflict.

This is madness, and it needs to stop.


Even The Most Vociferous Opposition Leaders Say Creating New States Out Of The Federation Would Be Fraught With Disaster. Learn Why.

There is a small but growing lobby in America and it’s European client states making the case for the break-up of the Russian Federation. Their main argument is that Putin’s denial of Ukraine’s right to exist proves that the Russian state is irredeemable imperialist, and that none of its neighbors can feel safe living alongside such a revisionist and expansionist state.

Advocates of this position also draw the analogy with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union seemed to be a permanent feature of the international landscape, but it abruptly collapsed like a house of cards in 1991. They argue the same thing could happen to the Russian Federation, which occupies 60 percent of the territory of the Soviet Union and rules over 190 ethnic groups inside 21 republics in the federation.

Such arguments were advanced at a meeting in Brussels convened by the European Conservatives and Reform group, the conservative bloc in the European Parliament, on January 31st. They called for the creation of 34 new states on the territory of the Russian Federation. In Washington, DC the Hudson Institute and Jamestown Foundation met to discuss “Preparing for the dissolution of the Russian Federation” on February 14; while a “Free Peoples of Russia Forum” convened in Sweden in December 2022. The case was laid out by Janusz Bugajski in his book “Failed State: A Guide to Russia’s Rupture.”

They have some supporters in Ukraine. On October 18, 2022, Ukraine’s Parliament declared the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria “temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.” In February, novelist Oksana Zabuzko published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the break-up of Russia.

This maximalist approach to the Russia problem is unrealistic and unhelpful. Yes, an ideal world would be populated by hundreds of little Switzerlands living at peace with their neighbors. But the real world includes many large, powerful states that use military force to defend their interests. There are over 6,000 distinct nations on the planet, but only 193 sovereign states in the United Nations.

There is minimal chance of the Russian Federation breaking up in the foreseeable future. While Russians accounted for only 51 percent of the Soviet population, they make up over 80 percent of the Russian Federation’s inhabitants. Sovereignty is not a credible option for any of the non-Russian peoples who live in Russia’s vast territory. The Chechen wars showed the lengths which Moscow was willing to go to resist secessionism. No one — including the Chechens themselves — want to repeat that experience.

In only six of the 21 ethnically designated republics does the titular nationality make up a majority of the local population. According to the 2021 census, only five nations have more than 1 million adherents (Tatars, Chechens, Bashkirs, Chuvash, and Avars). The Tatar, Bashkir, and Chuvash republics are located in the middle Volga region and are completely surrounded by Russian territory.

If the Russian Federation was to fragment, it would trigger a wave of local civil wars and ethnic cleansing — a grim prospect made even more alarming by the presence of thousands of nuclear weapons on Russian territory. For these reasons, the break-up of the Russian Federation would not serve America’s national interests.

Another problem with the “Russia must go” approach is that it will antagonize Russian political elites and make it even less likely that a post-Putin ruler will emerge who can reach a reasonable modus vivendi with Russia’s neighbors. Non-Russian nationalists criticize Russian opposition leaders such as Aleksei Navalny or Mikhail Khodorkovsky for failing to confront Russia’s imperial nature, and for believing that the North Caucasus region belongs in the Russian Federation.

Indeed, Khodorkovsky is adamant that it is “irresponsible to wish for the collapse of the Russian Federation” and insists that “the Putin regime is leading to the destruction of Russia.” He continued, “A broken up Russia could cause more problems that the current version.” Writing in Politico he argued that if disintegration did occur, “a new need will arise for the forced unification of Russia’s main territory, and this will be accomplished by a Russian dictator. It will set in motion a new totalitarian cycle in Russia.”

There were some dissenting voices at the Hudson Institute symposium in February. For example, Natalia Arno, the president of the Free Russia Foundation (and herself an ethnic Buryat) said, “We want to fix Russia, not to dissolve it,” adding that “There is no demand for dissolution on the ground level, aside from emigrants.”

These issues came up in the 1950s, during Cold War 1.0. In 1959 Congress established the National Captive Nations Committee to promote the liberation of the nations living under Soviet rule. The next year, 16 distinguished historians published a letter in Russian Review complaining about the law’s treatment of the Soviet Union as synonymous with Russia, and arguing that the liberation of the Russian nation should also be a priority. And sure enough, what brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was the defection of the Russian Federation under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin.

Another drawback of the “Russia must go” approach is that it amplifies one of Putin’s main propaganda claims — that the West is out to destroy Russia, and that the war in Ukraine is therefore one of self-defense. Putin said in September 2022 that Western leaders “say openly now that in 1991 they managed to split up the Soviet Union and now is the time to do the same to Russia, which must be divided into numerous regions that would be at deadly feud with each other.” On February 26th, he said that the West wants to break Russia into pieces. Nail Mukhitov, a Security Council adviser and former FSB general, said, “The West’s main goal is the destruction of Russia,” and in support quoted Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book “Grand Chessboard.”

This theme resonates with the Russian public. Denis Volkov of the Levada Center argues that, “The idea that NATO wants to ruin Russia or at least weaken … it has been commonplace for three-fourths (of poll respondents) for many years.”

Marginalized and in exile, one can understand why the leaders of ethno-nationalist movements such as the Erzya or Idel-Ural would try to hitch their cause to the Ukrainian wagon. It is an opportunity for them to get attention and possibly support from Western powers.

Indeed, Putin should be condemned for his opposition to the nationalist opposition inside Russia, and the mounting restrictions on the right to education in the native languages of the ethnic republics. But that does not mean that America should put any political capital into promoting a fantasy future where Russia does not exist.


This Risks Pushing Russia And China Into A Tight Alliance And America Missing Out On Opportunities For Peace In Ukraine.

The most popular foreign policy related activity in Washington this week is raising the alarm about Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow and what it might mean for a Chinese-Russian alliance.

But this outcry threatens to conceal the complexity of the situation, and most importantly the freedom of action America still has to head off such an alliance. Using that freedom of action is going to require a more conciliatory, flexible, and imaginative foreign policy than we have seen in recent years. This will be a tall order, particularly as there are many in Washington who seem to wish to lock America into a full blown new cold war against a Russian-Chinese alliance.

The Xi visit reflects Beijing’s ongoing effort to uphold its close relationship with Moscow while, crucially, avoiding an unqualified endorsement of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In crafting this balancing act, Xi seeks to present China as a trustworthy, if not completely neutral, proponent of peace. This is the perspective presented in China’s recently unveiled twelve point position paper on Ukraine.

The paper implicitly counters Moscow by championing territorial sovereignty and opposition to nuclear threats. This is a position likely to appeal to neutral states. But the paper also refers to the need to respect the legitimate security interests of states, an obvious reference to Moscow’s stated concerns about its border security and the expansion of NATO.

Both Putin and Xi released statements at the end of meetings on Tuesday. Neither reflected any new or expanded positions on the relationship vis-a-vis Ukraine. Xi in fact, continued to insist that China “adhere to an objective and impartial position.”

China has significant motives for trying to keep at least some distance from Moscow, including maintaining economically important links in Europe and keeping international credibility with neutral states. But rather than appreciate these motives and try to build on them, Washington has categorically condemned China for failing to explicitly condemn Putin’s invasion and demand Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine. This approach puts China in the same box with Russia. Instead of building on Beijing’s hesitation to fully support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it simply pushes Moscow and Beijing closer together.

This position is made even more problematic by the fact that it undercuts Ukraine’s own efforts at triangulation. Zelensky has not aligned himself with the American-led stance, seeking instead to look for the positive in the Chinese position and do what he can diplomatically to keep China from full military support of Russia.

There is no question that Beijing’s resistance to condemning Russia’s invasion outright runs counter to its own stated support of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. But we should realize that it is in part the level of hostility being expressed by Washington toward China that drives this hypocrisy. So long as Beijing perceives a full-blown American campaign to weaken China and overthrow the CCP — as strikingly illustrated by XI Jinping’s unprecedented recent comments on American “suppression” — it is unrealistic to expect it to come out in full opposition to Russia, its most significant strategic partner in opposing such a campaign.

If America is unwilling to distinguish between Russia and China as challengers to American interests and international law, and persists in rhetoric and actions that seem to substantiate Beijing’s worst case assumptions about American motives, it gave Xi Jinping little reason to put any pressure at all on Putin during his three-day visit to Moscow. This alone reduces the chances for peace. Indeed, contrary to our position that Ukraine is fully in control of any peace process, America has already unilaterally rejected any cease fire that might emerge from Chinese efforts.

Even more dangerously, an American position that seems to prejudge China as a full supporter of Russia’s worst instincts may have the opposite effect and encourage China to provide more extensive military support to Russia. Particularly if it appears Russia might actually lose the war in a decisive way; a China that sees Washington as an intractable enemy would have a strong incentive to prevent such a defeat of its most powerful ally against American global control.

To avoid this outcome, Washington needs to show more openness to the possibility that China might play some constructive role in the resolution of the war — or at least need not play a negative role. At minimum, it would require America to tone down its attacks on Beijing’s motives and role in the international order. An American willingness to reassure China on this score might give it more reason to keep its distance from Moscow.

But some in Washington might even welcome a closer alliance between China and Russia, despite the fact that it would be harmful to America’s long-run strategic interests. From the perspective of domestic politics, driving China and Russia into a coalition of independent states makes it easier to win support for a more militarized and more aggressive American global posture based on the framework of a new cold war. For those who believe this more aggressive stance is needed for America to protect its global primacy, there are many advantages to making a conflict between America and a tight China-Russia alliance of free countries appear inevitable.

But it’s not yet inevitable, and we should try to avoid making it so. For reasons obvious from a glance at a map, some of the most respected figures in American foreign policy have long warned of the risks of a closer Russia-China alliance. As Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in his magnum opus The Grand Chessboard, “the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by shared grievances.” As this possibility draws nearer, we need diplomats adroit enough to prevent it through actually engaging in diplomacy.


In Any Case, Given China’s Status As A Major Energy Consumer And Russia’s Role As A Leading Global Energy Producer, Collaboration In That Field Is Extremely Logical.

Two important and revealing news stories appeared on the same day in late February. One announced that the United States and its allies imposed yet another round of economic sanctions on Russia. The other reported the conclusion of American intelligence officials that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is considering selling military drones to Moscow. That story was even more specific than Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement a week earlier that Beijing was contemplating providing Russia with “lethal support”—including weapons and ammunition—to help the Kremlin’s war effort in Ukraine. American Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas‐Greenfield subsequently told the press that both President Biden and Secretary Blinken had conveyed warnings to their Chinese counterparts that such a move would be a “game‐changer” in American-PRC relations.

The Biden administration and much of the news media were already expressing growing suspicions about the emergence of a de facto alliance between Moscow and Beijing. Such worries are still somewhat premature, but Russia and the PRC definitely are drawing closer together—especially in their respective stances toward the United States. American leaders have no one to blame but themselves for that development. Washington has pursued disturbingly confrontational policies toward Moscow and Beijing simultaneously. Such an approach violates a cardinal rule of effective foreign policy against antagonizing two great powers at the same time, thereby pushing them into close collaboration to counter a mutual adversary.

At this point China’s policy still seems to be one of nominal neutrality regarding the mounting tensions between the United States and Russia—but with a noticeable “lean” toward Moscow’s position. Emblematic of that approach, Beijing has just issued a new peace plan to end the war in Ukraine, and PRC officials continue to portray China’s role as one of a concerned neutral power trying to resolve a bloody, disruptive conflict. Unfortunately, the Biden administration, increasingly frustrated in its efforts to forge a global coalition against Russia, regards a neutral posture on the Russia‐Ukraine war as de facto support for Moscow.

That intolerant attitude is one example among many of how Washington’s behavior is alienating China and driving Beijing and Moscow together. The reports that PRC President Xi Jinping would make a summit trip to Russia are merely the latest confirmation of a warming bilateral relationship. The two countries have signed several agreements in recent months increasing the extent of economic cooperation. Given China’s status as a major energy consumer and Russia’s role as a leading global energy producer, collaboration in that field is extremely logical. American-European Union sanctions on Russian energy exports have pressured Moscow to seek other markets, and China stands out as the largest, most appealing option. In June 2022, Russia became the PRC’s largest oil supplier, eclipsing Saudi Arabia.

However, something deeper than growing bilateral ties on energy policy seems to be taking place. Russia and the PRC (along with Iran and some other actors) are making an unsubtle effort to dilute the American dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. Sino‐Russian cooperation on strategic issues is increasing as well. Joint military exercises have taken place on several occasions over the past 18 months. These various factors appear to reflect a collaborative effort to resist American hegemony on multiple levels. Washington’s conduct toward both Russia and China—some of it going back decades—has become a key reason for that development.

Unduly provocative moves by the United States since the 1990s have wrecked relations with Russia—perhaps beyond repair. A minority of foreign policy analysts, warned early on that expanding NATO eastward would ultimately lead to a nasty confrontation with Moscow. They especially admonished American leaders against ignoring the Kremlin’s “red lines” with respect to making Ukraine a NATO military asset. The ongoing war confirms the accuracy of those warnings. Unfortunately, 5 American administrations treated Russia with contempt—trampling on its historical ties in the Balkans, interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs while ignoring Moscow’s core security interests there, and rescinding key arms control measures, such as the Intermediate‐Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Open Skies agreement, both of which were important to the Kremlin. By treating Russia as an enemy, the United States created a self‐fulfilling prophecy.

One might think that with American-Russian relations in a death spiral, basic prudence would have compelled American policymakers to adopt a conciliatory stance toward Beijing. However, the opposite trend has taken place. Washington has implemented one hostile measure after another toward the PRC. On the economic front, both the Trump and Biden administrations embraced a variety of protectionist trade measures. In October 2022, Biden escalated economic tensions by placing sweeping tech restrictions on China, including a provision barring the PRC from using semiconductor chips made with American tools anywhere in the world. It constituted the harshest economic measure by far ever leveled against Beijing since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979.

The principal source of tensions between Washington and Beijing remains the Taiwan issue, and that dispute has the greatest potential to make Beijing receptive to an alliance with Russia to counter American power. Already by the end of Donald Trump’s administration, Washington’s security relationship with Taipei had reached the point that it nearly constituted a rebirth of the old bilateral military alliance during the Cold War. That trend has continued and intensified under President Biden., Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing‐wen recently boasted that the island was boosting its military ties with the United States again. Already extensive bilateral military cooperation certainly appears to be on the rise.

Taiwan is fast becoming a de facto American strategic ally as well as an economic and political client, and American leaders are ignoring Beijing’s red lines on that issue, much as they did Russia’s red lines regarding Ukraine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high‐profile trip to the island in the summer of 2022, especially her meeting with Tsai, highlighted that development. American support has become increasingly blatant since then, with numerous visits by congressional delegations and high‐level executive branch officials. In late February, while the Biden administration was pressing Beijing not to send lethal aid to Russia, yet another American congressional delegation was on its way to Taipei to underscore Washington’s continued support. Hawks in the American foreign policy community increasingly try to link the Taiwan and Ukraine issues, pushing for a confrontational stance on both fronts to “defend democracy.”

The deterioration of Washington’s relations with China are noticeable and alarming. American leaders have managed to blow even minor incidents, such as the flight of a Chinese balloon through American airspace utterly out‐of‐proportion. The bilateral tensions regarding trade relations and Taiwan are more substantive and alarming.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once cautioned that it must be a high priority for American leaders to make certain that Washington’s relations are closer with both Moscow and Beijing than their relations are with each other. American policies have produced the opposite result. We now face a situation in which cooperation between Russia and the PRC on both economic and security issues is surging. Thanks to Washington’s arrogant, tone‐deaf behavior, Moscow and Beijing are concluding that they must collaborate against a common enemy that threatens their security and well‐being. The Russia‐PRC relationship is not yet a full‐fledged alliance, but developments are moving rapidly in that direction. Washington’s own ineptitude may bring about the strategic nightmare American leaders wanted to avoid. Ironically, the United States may be the midwife that brings a newborn Russia‐PRC alliance into the world.


America Is Not Trying To Stop Foreign Nations From Bullying And Dominating Their Neighbors, It’s Trying To To Bully And Dominate The World.

Reacting to China’s announcement that it will be putting forward a proposal for a political settlement to end the war in Ukraine, the American ambassador to the United Nations said that if China begins arming Russia in that conflict this will be a “red line” for the United States.

We welcome the Chinese announcement that they want peace because that’s what we always want to pursue in situations like this. But we also have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that that is unacceptable,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN on Sunday.

That would be a red line,” she said.

The ambassador’s comments pertained to an unsubstantiated claim made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday that China is “considering providing lethal support to Russia in the war against Ukraine,” according to American intelligence.

America has been making evidence-free claims in relation to China arming Russia against Ukraine since the war began. In March of last year the New York Times reported that “Russia asked China to give it military equipment and support for the war in Ukraine after President Vladimir V. Putin began a full-scale invasion last month, according to U.S. officials.” Then in April of last year NBC reported that this claim “lacked hard evidence” and was essentially just a lie the American government told the media “as part of an information war against Russia.”

The mass media have eagerly participated in promoting this latest re-emergence of narratives about China supplying weapons to Russia, with the Wall Street Journal running a piece just the other day titled “Chinese Drones Still Support Russia’s War in Ukraine, Trade Data Show.” But as commentator Matthew Petti has observed, buried deep in that article is an acknowledgement that these China-made camera drones aren’t even coming from China; they’re being purchased by Russian middlemen in nations like the United Arab Emirates. Really it’s just a story about how China manufactures a lot of products, disguised as something scandalous.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin knocked back Blinken’s claims at a press conference shortly after they were made, saying America is in no position to be accusing anyone of pouring arms into the war.

It is the US, not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield,” he said. “The US is in no position to tell China what to do. We would never stand for finger-pointing, or even coercion and pressurizing from the US on our relations with Russia.”

Indeed, Washington is warning Beijing with a “red line” against doing something that Washington does constantly, and is currently doing to an unprecedented extent in Ukraine. America sends weapons to proxy forces all over the world, including to Saudi Arabia in facilitation of its mass atrocities in Yemen, to Al Qaeda and its aligned forces in facilitation of the western dirty war on Syria, and to Israel in facilitation of its apartheid regime and its nonstop attacks on its neighbors. Ukraine is Washington’s biggest proxy warfare operation yet, so it’s a bit rich for it to be drawing “red lines” on the other side of the planet regarding an activity America spent $113 billion on last year.

And that’s the major difference between America and nations like Russia and China. When Russia and China draw red lines, it’s at their own borders and regards their own national security interests. When America draws red lines, it’s far from its own borders and unrelated to the security of the nation.

During the lead-up to the invasion of Ukraine, Putin warned over and over again that the west was taking Moscow’s “red lines” on Ukrainian neutrality too lightly, and Washington brazenly dismissed those warnings while continuing to float the possibility of future NATO membership for Ukraine.

I don’t accept anybody’s red lines,” President Biden told the press in December of 2021 when asked about the warnings.

Weeks later Putin made good on his threat, launching a horrific war that could easily have been prevented with a little diplomacy and sensibility.

This is that red line that I talked about multiple times,” Putin said. “They have crossed it.”

Similarly, Beijing has been using the phrase “red line” with regard to Taiwan and the American empire’s rapidly escalating provocations on that front. China used it multiple times last year warning against then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, which Beijing regards as an egregious violation of Washington’s One China policy. As Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp frequently notes, this marked the beginning a new level of hostilities from Beijing which now sees frequent military crossings of the median line between Taiwan and mainland China that weren’t commonplace before.

Whether you agree with Moscow and Beijing about their “red lines” or not, you must concede that there’s a very big difference between the way they draw them and the way America makes use of that concept. Russia and China are issuing these warnings about the areas immediately adjacent to their own territory, while America issues them to anyone it likes about what they are permitted to do with their neighbors, even when America itself engages in those very activities all the time.

Washington literally thinks of this entire planet as its territory. It believes it is its divinely bestowed right to issue decrees about what may and may not be done anywhere in the world, and that any transgression against these decrees is an act of aggression against it.

We see this evidenced in the way American officials talk about the world. Just in January of last year President Biden said that “everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard.” That same month then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked on the mounting tensions around Ukraine that it is in America’s interest to support “our eastern flank countries”, which might come as a surprise to those who were taught in school that America’s eastern flank was not eastern Europe but the eastern coastline of the United States. You’ll see the imperial media refer to things like the vague prospect of China maybe someday building a military base in the African nation of Equatorial Guinea as a menacing encroachment upon America’s “backyard”.

It’s just so crazy how the American government has the temerity to publicly rend its garments in outrage over foreign nations making demands about what happens on their own borders while it continually makes demands about what happens everywhere in the world. It wails and moans about its enemies asserting small “spheres of influence” over former Soviet states or the South China Sea, while it itself asserts a sphere of influence that looks like planet Earth.

Whenever you point out how America is the worst offender in any area it criticizes other governments for you’ll find yourself accused of “whataboutism”, but what this actually means is that you have highlighted evidence that America does not play by its own rules and does not actually value the issues it’s trying to moralize about. America is not trying to stop foreign nations from bullying and dominating their neighbors, it’s trying to bash out more space for itself to bully and dominate the world.


Though They Are Being Fought In The Confusion Of A Single Catastrophic Conflict, There Are Four Closely Related, But Distinct, Wars Being Fought In Ukraine.

The first is the war within Ukraine. The second is the war between Russia and Ukraine. The third is the proxy war between NATO and Russia. And the fourth is the direct war between the United States and Russia. Deconstructing this single conflict into its four real wars may be necessary to understand the issues that must be resolved if a negotiated settlement is to be possible.

The latent domestic problems that have been ripped open by this war are not new. They are the torn fabric of the Ukrainian nation. They go back long before the war, and the war will not be safely resolved before they too are finally resolved.

Ukraine has always been a nation divided: northwestern and central Ukraine, which had once been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, have always faced west to Europe; the southeast, long part of the Russian Empire, has always faced east to Russia. Historically, western Ukraine has voted for presidential candidates with European-oriented policies, and eastern Ukraine has voted for presidents with Russian-oriented policies. It is a national tug-of-war that always risked ripping the country in two.

The tug-of-war became overt during the 2004 election between Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian-leaning eastern base and Vikto Yushchenko and his American and European-leaning western base. When Yushchenko was forced to appoint Yanukovych as his prime minister, the nation and its government was being dangerously pulled in opposing directions.

For the first time, the nationalist view that saw only western, European Ukraine as truly Ukrainian was represented, through Yushchenko, in government. It polarized the nation. Soon his was the most unpopular government in the history of Ukraine, and six years later, Yushchenko would receive only 5.5% of the national vote. Yanukovych’s subsequent election was a bitter defeat for the nationalists. Nicolai Petro, Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island and the author of The Tragedy of Ukraine, says that “it was seen as a betrayal that proved that elections alone could no longer be relied upon to guarantee Ukrainian independence.” That set the stage for the coup four years later.

The American sponsored coup of 2014 took Yanukovych, who was acceptable to Russia, out of power and replaced him with a Western-leaning president who was hand picked by Uncle Sam. The western and nationalist participants in the coup saw it as a vehicle to pull Ukraine back from Russia and return it to its European-Ukrainian identity. Petro quotes Igor Guzhva, who says that “for the first time in modern Ukrainian history, a change of regime had taken place through the assault of one part of the country on the rights of another.” The ethnic Russian regions of Ukraine had been defeated in a coup.

The new government guaranteed amnesty for all acts of violence that defended the coup. (There were many.) Petro explains that the new government had to rely on radical, nationalist elements and their militias. The ethnic Russians of the Donbas would subsequently suffer attacks on their language, their culture, their rights, their property, and their lives.

The first elected government after the coup, the government of Pyotr Poroshenko, became, in Petro’s words, the “prime sponsor…of Ukrainian nationalism.” Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at Kent, says, “Poroshenko inherited a government largely made up of militants.” His government represented “a monist vision of Ukraine statehood that denied the pluralist alternative demanded by the Donbas…”

The Donbas rebelled against the coup government, and by May 2014 had approved referendums declaring some form of autonomy. The war within Ukraine had begun.

It was the American supported coup that exploited the inherent rip in Ukraine and was the catalyst for the first war.

If America bears a large share of the blame for the war within Ukraine, Russia bears the blame for the war between Russia and Ukraine.

That is not to accept the Western mantra of the “unprovoked” war. Russia has legitimate security concerns and may truly have felt that, in the words of its ambassador to America, they had “come to the point when we have no room to retreat.” But that may not justify the assault on Ukraine.

In a February 7th. opinion piece in The New York Times, Christopher Caldwell asks, “Russia started the war between Russia and Ukraine. Who started the war between Russia and the United States?”

America and its NATO allies are providing Ukraine with the money, the weapons, the training, the intelligence, and the targeting to fight Russia. They are providing the plans and the war-games. They are providing an ever-increasing list of advanced weapons that cross previously self-imposed red lines. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.” The speaker of the Russian Duma drew a similar conclusion: “The U.S. is taking part in the military operations in Ukraine. Today, Washington is basically coordinating and engineering military operations, thus directly participating in the military actions against our country.”

In his Times piece, Caldwell points out that “In an age of smart devices, robotics and remote control, the United States’ involvement in the war has always been greater than it appeared.” He explains that “Most of the new weapons’ destructive power comes from their being bound into an American information network…So the United States is participating in these military operations at the moment they happen. It is fighting.”

So, America and NATO bear their share of responsibility for the proxy war against Russia militarily. But they also bear responsibility diplomatically. Twice, in March and April 2022, Ukraine and Russia were ready to negotiate an end to the war that satisfied both their interests. But twice America and the United Kingdom intervened and put an end to these negotiations.

Up to that moment, the war between Russia and Ukraine was Russia’s responsibility; from that moment on, America and the UK shared responsibility. The war was now being fought, not to defend Ukraine’s interests, but to advance American and NATO interests in “a war that is in many ways bigger than Russia [and] bigger than Ukraine,” in the confessional words of State Department spokesman Ned Price.

It is the United States that bears the bulk of responsibility for its proxy war against Russia.

The CIA argued that…it would have to be covert…Everyone understood the stakes…If the attack were traceable to the United States, ‘it’s an act of war.’”

According to reporting by Seymour Hersh, this was the internal discussion in the United States government before it decided to to attack the Nord Stream pipeline, jointly operated by Russia and Germany, on September 26, 2022.

If Hersh is correct, America is responsible for the, until now unknown, direct war on Russia. “It’s an act of war,” as the members of the Biden authorized task force, which was headed by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and included representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the State Department and the Treasury Department, were fully aware.

Their first meeting was held in December 2021. Hersh points out that the timeline reveals that President Biden had begun planning an act of war against Russia “two months before the first Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.”

The United States is responsible for the direct war on Russia.

There are four wars being fought at once in the war in Ukraine. Russia bears responsibility for the one that gets all the media attention: Russia’s war on Ukraine. But Washington bears significant responsibility for the three wars that don’t get enough attention: the war within Ukraine, the proxy American and NATO war on Russia, and the direct American war on Russia. If a comprehensive and lasting settlement to the war in Ukraine is to have a chance of succeeding, it may be necessary to analyze the war into its four related, but distinct, conflicts and to come to understand the causes and issues behind each.


American Lawmakers And Their Deep State Controllers Stirred Up Anti-Russian Sentiment Long Before The Invasion Of Ukraine.

One of the most damning facts to emerge from Matt Taibbi’s “Twitter Files” is how aggressive congressional lawmakers and federal agency officials were in pushing a cynical narrative that brought the social media giant to heel while setting up the Russian bogeyman that haunts American foreign policy and posturing in the Ukraine war today.

Among many other acts of narrative and discourse manipulation, the “Twitter Files”—Twitter emails released to Taibbi and other journalists in the wake of Elon Musk’s October takeover of the company—show that beginning in 2017, Facebook and Twitter were under extraordinary pressure to acknowledge and publicize Russian meddling on their social media platforms throughout the 2016 election.

According to the narrative, the meddling—which supposedly came in the form of “bots” and accounts linked to the Russian government—was designed to help elect Donald Trump and polarize the American public. The pressure to expose and eliminate future threats of this nature led over the next three years to the formal insertion of the FBI, DHS, intelligence community, and State Department into Twitter’s daily moderation activities, right up to the eve of Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

It can be argued that the Russian “malign influence” story helped to get the public’s buy-in for a new Cold War with Russia by normalizing the idea that Russians not only helped to elect Donald Trump, but were actively trying “to destroy U.S. democracy” and are still doing so. “It became conventional wisdom that Russia wants not just to compete with the United States, but to destroy us—to divide our society from within, to cripple our democracy,” said George Beebe, a former chief of the CIA’s Russia analysis and author of The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe (2019).

For decades, the American foreign policy establishment has viewed Putin’s Russia as a threat to European allies and a national security threat to American interests in the region. This hardened significantly after the Maidan revolution in Ukraine and the Russian capture of Crimea in 2014. Pairing Russia with Trump, and accusing him of colluding with the Russians in 2016 and against Ukraine—the latter the basis of his 2019 impeachment—along with rampant social media disinformation, exacerbated anti-Russia sentiment in the domestic realm.

Russiagate transformed Russia from a foreign policy issue into a matter of domestic politics at a time when the United States was becoming increasingly divided,” points out Beebe, who is now director of grand strategy at the Quincy Institute (and so is my colleague). As a result, adds Arta Moeini, research director for the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy, “demonization of Russia [prior to its invasion of Ukraine] permitted a new Manichean dynamic, an inflated threat that would be used to rationalize increased securitization domestically, and a fresh push for containment of Moscow internationally.”

According to these experts, the Russiagate narrative helped to stifle any efforts to resolve tensions with the Russians on foreign policy issues from 2017 to 2022, even though sober voices had been calling for this all along in order to avoid war, whether it be in Ukraine, or directly with America The “mania,” as Taibbi called it in one Fox News interview, emboldened calls for NATO expansion and military activity on Russia’s doorstep, rather than restraint, which arguably heightened Moscow’s aggression towards Ukraine.

So how did we get here? According to an exhaustive read of the emails contained in the files, an entire cottage industry has proliferated around exposing these Russian “attacks” on America since the 2016 presidential election. Early on, this ecosystem not only included the accommodating major media and government agencies, but powerful Democratic politicians such as Rep. Adam Schiff of California, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the “impeachment star” of 2020, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security. The latest installments of the Twitter Files (here, here, and here) offer a shocking insight into how these political interests created a furor over Russian disinformation even as internally, company executives claimed to have a hard time finding it, signaling this may be much more complicated than a simple story of Russian efforts to roil American politics.

Taibbi has access only to electronic conversations, not to what executives could have been saying off-line, so our picture remains incomplete. Twitter also had a financial interest in denying the existence of bots. Critics claim, for example, the company was slow to recognize and ban proliferating Saudi bot networks in 2018. But the internal emails expose the intense political pressure, and show that Twitter’s complicity at the beginning was in part self-preservation. In order to avoid vilification in the press and federal crackdowns, Twitter complied in every way with the prevailing narrative.

It began in the fall of 2017. Twitter wasn’t convinced there was a Russian problem, but congressional demands put the company into a defensive crouch. Under pressure, “a cursory review” led to the suspension of “22 possible Russian accounts, and 179 others with ‘possible links’ to those accounts, amid a larger set of roughly 2700 suspects manually examined,” wrote Taibbi. Sen. Warner was not only unimpressed, but “furious.” Warner “held an immediate press conference to denounce Twitter’s report as ‘frankly inadequate on every level.’” After attending a two-hour closed door hearing with Senate intelligence staff, Colin Crowell, Twitter’s former vice president of public policy, said Warner had “political incentive to keep this issue at the top of the news” and was bent on getting Twitter to “keep producing more material for them.”

Crowell also wrote, in the same memo, that Twitter was “also being hurt by 3rd party researchers and academics who tap our API to pull together flawed reports about the Russian bot/troll problem as a significant presence on Twitter. … It was evident in the room with staff investigators that these researchers had already briefed the committees and asserted that Twitter is a major problem. These studies are also cited in recent media reports.” As a result, Twitter formed a Russia task force and did more digging. But they claimed they were still unable to produce the kind of evidence that the Democrats wanted in order to prove a massive Russia-driven influence campaign that turned the 2016 election.

The failure of the ‘Russia task force’ to produce ‘material’ worsened the company’s PR crisis,” Taibbi wrote. “As congress threatened costly legislation, and Twitter was subject to more bad press fueled by the committees, the company changed its tune about the smallness of its Russia problem.”

At one point, according to the emails, Twitter was forced to publicly lean into a BuzzFeed report based on a University of Sheffield investigation of Russian bots that Twitter did not find all together compelling. But they suspended the accounts anyway. “Twitter was soon apologizing for the same accounts they’d initially told the Senate were not a problem,” Taibbi points out. A November 2017 email from an executive encapsulates the formula: “We can expect more investigation of accounts that are tangentially associated to the [Internet Research Agency] handover to American committees, buoyed by academic brand names. Reporters know now that this is the model that works.”

This cycle – threatened legislation, wedded to scare headlines pushed by congressional/intel sources, followed by Twitter caving to moderation asks – would later be formalized in partnerships with federal law enforcement,” said Taibbi. The next year would be a major test of this new reality. As Russiagate was heating up on a number of fronts, senators demanded Twitter investigate various hashtags for links to Russian bots. According to this Twitter Files thread, packed with internal memos and Democratic senators’ bellicose demands, Twitter was again blasted for not finding evidence to fit the narrative. “Twitter warned politicians and media that they not only lacked evidence, but had evidence the accounts weren’t Russian – and were roundly ignored,” said Taibbi after a January 2018 investigation into the #ReleasetheMemo hashtag, which referred to demands from the right that Congress release a memo by then-House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes that would supposedly prove Russiagate was a cooked-up sham.

That memo was eventually released, and as Taibbi points out, its contents signaling a flawed and biased FISA process in the Russiagate warrants were largely vindicated in 2019, but the mainstream media called it “joke” and continued to blame “Russian bots” for its spread and above all, manipulation, of the American people. “Despite universal internal conviction that there were no Russians in the story,” Taibbi wrote, “Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record.” Their cave to demands did not lift the pressure, however, but led to more demands, to the point that one Twitter exec compared the slippery slope behavior from “congressional trolls,” to the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Soon, there were accusations of Russian bot influence in domestic issues that were polarizing American politics, including the Parkland school shooting in February 2018. In 2019, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Warner and Republican Chair Richard Burr, issued a 2016 meddling report that in part said Russians had an “overwhelming operational emphasis on race…no single group of Americans was targeted…more than African Americans.” All through 2021, Russian bots were accused of spreading COVID and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

Twitter eventually institutionalized the government’s meddlesome role in their everyday moderation (as evidenced by scores of internal emails detailing task force meetings and requests from Democratic party officials, the intel community, law enforcement and even the Treasury Department, for accounts and tweets to be taken down). This continued, according to the files, through the 2020 election. In fact, company inboxes were so packed with requests for removing “an astonishing variety” of posts and accounts before that election that it was generating confusion about “which (request) was which.”

Senior attorney Stacia Cardille claimed in a Nov. 3, 2020 email to colleagues: “My inbox is really F— up at this point.” One FBI office offered to “apologize in advance for adding to your workload.”

Their labors were being compensated. According to an email from Twitter’s Safety, Content & Reinforcement team, the department had already received $3,415,323 from the FBI as of February 2021. The requests, according to the emails, were mostly accusations of Russian-linked accounts and about the Hunter Biden laptop story.

The behind-the-scenes activity of course matched the headlines of the day. Moscow “is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,” the American Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in August 2020. In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress there were “very active efforts by the Russians to influence our elections in 2020.”

Biden went on to win that election. His administration continues to warn of Russian efforts to undermine America. As Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warned in March 2021: “Foreign malign influence is an enduring challenge facing our country. … These efforts by U.S. adversaries seek to exacerbate divisions and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions.” By the March 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the American people were more than primed to indulge the narrative that the Russians were hell-bent on larger authoritarian ambitions and were playing Americans like fiddles to do it.

Reading these portions of the Twitter Files, one begins to suspect the Russiagate narrative was wildly inflated to serve domestic political purposes, as well as those interests in the American establishment that want an aggressive posture against Russia maintained.

The constraints this scandal imposed on U.S. policy toward Russia have been immense,” Beebe said. “It prevented Trump from advancing any kind of a détente with Russia. Its lingering effects made it all but impossible for Biden to seek a compromise over Ukrainian membership in NATO—the one thing that might have prevented the war—even if he had wanted to.”

Today, we can only pray that the anti-Russian narrative enabled by the manipulation of social media does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy ending in a direct fighting war with the nuclear power.


In Case You Didn’t Know, Russian Society Was Deeply Shocked And Outraged By Videos Circulating In Social Media Showing The Point Blank Murder Of Prone Russian Prisoners Of War By Gloating Ukrainian Soldiers.

The word “Russophobia” has been used very widely in the past couple of years by Russians and by “friends of Russia” abroad to describe the campaign of vilification of President Putin in particular and of the Russian people more generally that the American led West has practiced with rising volume and shrillness ever since the start of an Information War launched in 2007.

In the course of the “Special Military Operation,” the Kiev regime has taken the lead in disseminating vicious calumny about the Russian military. We have heard about “massacres of civilians” in Bucha by retreating Russians. We have heard about Putin dispensing Viagra to his soldiers so that they might carry out sexual violence against Ukrainian women in occupied areas under their control. These and similar allegations have been repeated endlessly in Western media as if they were proven facts. They were not and are not anything more than bare-faced lies. The image of savage Buryat and Chechen units within the Russian armed forces has been so widespread that even Pope Francis spoke publicly against these peoples from the Vatican. The apologies later extended by his Secretariat were made privately to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so the damage of this calumny will not be undone.

We should consider the Russophobia as just a new manifestation of an old trick of those preparing the public for war and managing popular emotions in a jingoist direction. It is all about dehumanizing one’s opponents to make killing more acceptable than Scripture and the basic disposition of civil society would allow.

Russian foreign policy has been described as being “reactive” rather than aggressive. And so it is in the Information War domain. The Russians took it on the chin when the Bucha narrative was spun in Western media. They whined and complained, but did not fire back.

Russia had sound strategic reasons for initiating and prosecuting the war in Ukraine. To be sure, these reasons changed from pacifying Ukraine (demilitarization and de-Nazification) at the outset to the present objective of de-fanging NATO itself ever since NATO began supplying state of the art weaponry to Kiev, together with military advisers on the ground and real time intelligence.

However, these strategic considerations are apparently deemed to be too abstract for the broad home population to be properly motivated to back the war effort. And so the Kremlin has been moved into the more emotive domain of dehumanization.

It is truly sad that both sides to the conflict in and over Ukraine are now deeply engaged in the destruction of all the mental restraints that keep men from barbarism.

Several weeks ago, Russian society was deeply shocked and outraged by videos circulating in social media showing the point blank murder of prone Russian Prisoners of War by gloating Ukrainian soldiers. In the meantime there is quiet talk on Russian television to the effect that Russia’s Wagner mercenary units and Chechen brigades “take no prisoners.” We can well imagine what that means.

As these violent trends continue on both sides of the confrontation between Russia and the West, the chances for peace talks being held diminish dramatically. And the return of international relations to something resembling the status quo ante becomes ever more improbable so the end for all of us may be near.


Kiev Needs To Pragmatically Reconsider Its Present Opposition To Peace Talks With Moscow And Attempt To Strike A Fair Balance Between Its Interests And Russia’s.

Zelensky pushed his so-called “peace plan” from last month earlier this week while talking to Indian Prime Minister Modi, which demands that Russia withdraw from the entirety of Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders as a precondition for resuming talks. This politically unrealistic stance confirms that he isn’t serious about ending the Ukrainian Conflict, but there are five arguments for why Kiev should reconsider its recalcitrant position:

1. The Western Military-Industrial Complex’s Limitations Prevent Kiev From Achieving Full Victory

Biden Spilled The Beans About Why The West Can Never Fully Satisfy Zelensky’s Begging” during the Ukrainian leader’s trip to DC last week when revealing that America can’t give Kiev weapons that it hasn’t yet shared with its NATO allies while the latter can’t deplete their stockpiles much more than they already have. Without that happening, which is impeded by the Western military-industrial complex’s limitations, it’s not possible for Kiev to achieve the full victory that Zelensky envisages.

2. Freezing The Line Of Control (LOC) Can Prevent Further Losses In The Event Of Another Offensive

Considering the extreme unlikelihood of Kiev achieving its maximum objectives in the conflict, it therefore follows that the most prudent approach is to secure the gains that it’s already made thus far around Kharkov and Kherson Regions. Failing to freeze the LOC risks the scenario of Russia either achieving a breakthrough somewhere along the existing front or perhaps opening up another one somewhere else entirely, both of which might result in further losses for Kiev.

3. Indefinitely Perpetuating The Conflict Is Mutually Disadvantageous

For as tempting as it might be for Kiev to comply with its Western patrons’ demands to indefinitely perpetuate the conflict and continue fighting “until the last Ukrainian” in order to supposedly degrade Russia’s military capabilities, this is mutually disadvantageous and should thus be avoided. While no one in the West doubts that doing so would impose growing costs on Russia, few realize how much it destabilizes their de facto New Cold War bloc’s socio-economic and ultimately political cohesion.

4. Russia’s Pragmatic Peace Signals In Recent Weeks Suggest The Sincerity Of Its Intentions

All Russian officials without exception, from President Putin on down, have signaled in recent weeks that they’re willing to politically resolve the conflict so long as their country’s reunification with Novorossiya is at the very least tacitly recognized. This suggests that Moscow is indeed sincere, which in turn draws attention both to the many constructive critiques that can be made about its special operation thus far as well as its awareness of the Golden Billion’s own struggles in this proxy war too.

5. Kiev Can Still Remain Committed To Its Maximum Objectives Without Militarily Pursuing Them

And finally, sincerely negotiating at least an indefinite ceasefire with Russia in order to relieve pressure upon itself and its especially its patrons doesn’t by any means suggest that Kiev can’t remain committed to its maximum objectives. Just like India and Pakistan continue putting forth their respective maximum demands vis-à-vis the decades-long frozen Kashmir Conflict without militarily pursuing them, so too can Kiev do the same, with this outcome perhaps even serving to solidify its national unity for years to come.