"What I see going on right now is a Russian response that is decades in the making. There's a lot of people that say that what Putin has done in Ukraine is a very impetuous, rash act, that it's a gamble, that Putin has gambled. And this creates the notion of a leader who is a risk taker, who's not certain of where he stands, who is confronted with a problem and is seeking to take a short cut to a solution. No. This is a problem that has been in the making since 1997 when NATO began its process of expanding, allowing former Warsaw Pact nations into the NATO alliance and gradually moving towards the border with Russia. This is a problem that has been ongoing since 1999 when Boris Yeltsin stepped aside and brought in Vladimir Putin as the president of Russia. Boris Yeltsin, of course, ran Russia during the decade of the nineties in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, who allowed the United States and other countries to run roughshod over Russian sovereignty, to view Russia as an economic opportunity for carpetbaggers to come in and rob Russia blind, who empowered a class of oligarchs who stole Russia's wealth and made it their own.
"And the United States was all too happy with Yeltsin. And when Yeltsin stepped aside and brought in Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Putin said, "We're no longer playing that game. Russia is a sovereign state, we're going to assert our sovereign control over our own economy," etc. People in the West started viewing him as a threat to the Western-based hegemony that had been established over Russia. So, this is a problem . . . when you combine NATO expansion with a leader that is now viewed as a threat, NATO expansion is no longer simply about bringing a security framework over Eastern Europe to prevent Eastern Europe from becoming like Yugoslavia.
"That was the original thinking behind the expansion of NATO. We must secure Eastern Europe to prevent Europe from confronting a series of Yugoslavia type break-ups and conflicts. But then as the expansion went over, you have Putin being perceived as a threat, so now Russia is a threat and that threat is magnified in the eyes of the former Soviet satellite states, like Poland and the Baltics, who have no love lost for Russia, so they've magnified the notion of a Russian threat, and from a Russian perspective they're now looking at an expanding NATO coming up to their borders, that represents a direct threat to Russia.
"And Russia had been speaking out about this. In 2007, Vladimir Putin gave what I consider to be one of the greatest political speeches in modern history, and that is an address before the Munich Security Council where he was supposed to be brought in as an act of surrender. The West expected him to bow down before his Western masters, to kiss the ring of his overlords and start playing the game of becoming assimilated into the West. Instead, Putin stood there in front of an audience of Western power brokers and he chastised them. He chastised them about being acolytes of the United States, he chastised the United States about seeking to impose the singularity on the world. He chastised Europe and the United States about what had been done in Iraq after the 2003 invasion and occupation.
"'Do you not know what you have done?' he told them. About Iraq. 'You've destroyed a nation. You have lied. You have destroyed the international legal framework.' And then he said, 'the day of the unilateral polarity is over. The world will now move to a multi-polar situation that Russia will be one of equals, the world will include many different powers, including Russia, and the United States, but others as well."
"His speech was not well received. And instead of listening to him, the United States and NATO doubled down in 2008. The Bucharest Security Summit for NATO formally invited Ukraine and Georgia to be members of NATO. How did Russia view this? We know, because not only do we have the statements of Putin and others, William Burns, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, wrote a memorandum that was sent out in February of 2009, the title of which is 'Nyet means Nyet,' No Means No. And what he was saying is that when the Russians say that the expansion of NATO into Ukraine is a red line, they mean it's a red line. They're not joking. They're not bluffing. . . .
"The Russian concerns are real, they're genuine, meaning that the West should not just dismiss these concerns as Russian pouting. No, this is a real concern. The consequences, and this is a very important part of his memorandum, the consequences of ignoring Russia will mean that in the future Russia will have no choice but to militarily intervene, which will result in the destruction of Ukraine, the loss of Crimea, and the loss of Donbass. This was written in 2009, pre-2014, and already the U.S. Ambassador William Burns knows that if NATO keeps expanding the outcome will be a Ukraine that is destroyed, and which no longer includes Crimea and the Donbass.
"So others can't claim, as Michael McPaul, who was the U.S. Ambassador under Barack Obama, he has repeatedly said that when he was with the National Security Council and when he was Ambassador he never heard about Russia's concerns about NATO, implying that Russia's just making this up. Well, he was in the National Security Council in February 2009, when Burns's memorandum was written, so McPaul is either the worst informed national security expert on Russia, or he's a liar. Because Burns's memorandum was there, everybody was talking about it, everybody knew that this was a concern for NATO, but the West ignored it, and continued to pursue.
"Then after 2014 when the United States worked to overthrow the pro-Western president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich, through the Maidan Revolution, Russia became doubly concerned because now overnight Ukraine went from being a problematic but friendly border country to a hyper-nationalistic, and when I say nationalistic, I mean the nationalism of Stefan Bandera, a former Nazi supporter whose forces not only slaughtered Jews during WWII, but also slaughtered Poles and Russians during the ten-year-long insurgency that cost over 300,000 civilian lives and around 36,000 Russian security lives.
"This force has been under the ground, but now through the Maidan Revolution we had brought them into the mainstream. We have weaponized them. Weaponized Nazi ideology is what we're talking about here. And Russia said, 'This is a threat.' And that began the threat to Russia because they were basically seeking to purge Russian culture, Russian language from Ukraine, which they wanted to be a pure Ukrainian state.
"So Russia took the Crimea to protect the Russian majority population there, and Russia supported Russian separatists in the Donbass to protect them from the Ukrainians. This began an eight-year war, and there was an international agreement done through which was called the Normandy Format, that is, Germany, France, with Russia in observation, and Ukraine, negotiated a settlement, which would have brought an end to the conflict in the Donbass, recognized the Donbass to be part of Ukraine, but that the Russians would be subjected to a special autonomous status, that was separate from the Constitutional language that made Ukraine's first language Ukrainian.
"The Russian presidents Poroshenko and then Zelensky refused to sign it, not because it was a bad deal, but because if they signed it the neo-Nazis that were now empowered have said they will kill them. So we have a situation where the Russian government, I mean the Ukrainian government, Ukrainian policy, was being dictated by neo-Nazi ideology. And if you know anything about the former Soviet Union, about Russia, you know that they don't take the issue of Nazi ideology lightly. Twenty-three million to thirty-two million Soviet citizens lost their lives in a conflict with Nazi Germany. In every town, every village, every city, there are memorials due to the sacrifice of the Russian people in that war. And every year they celebrate it on May 9, Victory Day, which is a day of celebration of the army that liberated them from the Nazis, liberated Europe from the Nazis.
"And so now to have this Nazi ideology be mainstreamed, in Ukraine, people say, 'Well wait, they're a minority.' Yeah, politically, if they ran for office, it's a minority. But a minority isn't a minority if they can use the threat of violence to coerce the Parliament to vote with a strong majority to make Stefan Bandera the national hero of Ukraine. To mainstream his ideology. So it's not a minority. They've become an influencing majority, so to speak. . .
"Russia viewed this as a threat, and so, Russian military action, that we saw transpire on February 24, was simply William Burns's warning coming to fruition. Russia tried everything to create a diplomatic off ramp. They reached out to NATO over and over and over again, to the United States, and they said, 'Don't ignore us. Work with us, we can compromise. But if you ignore us, we will have no choice but to embrace the military-technical response,' which is this operation. So what we see right now is a military operation that has two primary military objectives: the first is denazification, the destruction of the nationalist military units that had incorporated personnel that embraced neo-Nazi ideology and the destruction of the political parties that breathe life into this, that mainstream this. That's one goal.
"The other goal is the de-militarization of the Ukrainian military. What this means is that from 2015 on, the Ukrainian military had been trained by NATO to be a de facto extension of NATO. So even though Ukraine wasn't a NATO member, its army was a de facto extension of NATO. Thirty of their battalions are considered to be interoperable with NATO meaning that you could plug out a German battalion from a German division, plug in the Ukrainian battalion and it would function seamlessly. For the Russians this was unacceptable, and so one of their objectives is to demilitarize, that means to deconstruct the NATO military infrastructure that exists in Ukraine today.
"Both these military objectives are trying to achieve two political objectives: (1) the liberation of the Donbass, to make sure that Lugansk and Donetsk are under Russian-speaking sovereignty (2) to achieve the neutrality, permanent neutrality of Ukraine, so that never again Russia can be threatened by Ukraine becoming a NATO state. This is the purpose of the military operation. It's a complex operation. The Ukrainian military is very professional, very well trained, led, they're putting up a heck of a fight, but this is not easy, this is difficult, but the Russians are winning, and they're on the verge of winning a decisive victory, that will achieve all of their political objectives, in the not-too-distant future."
------United States Marine Corps Veteran and former United Nations Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter
Source: Gerald Celente interview with Scott Ritter, "Ukraine War, Start to Finish, Who'll Win? Why and When?" Trends Journal, April 1, 2022, You Tube
“The military aid the west is providing to
Ukraine is changing the dynamic and if Russia doesn’t find a way to
address this meaningfully… the conflict will never end.”
Source: Mike Whitney, "Scott Ritter's Switcheroo: Why I Radically Changed My Overall Assessment," The Unz Review, May 16, 2022