Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 21, 2022

No, The Ukraine War Has Not Stoked A Global Food Crisis.

Russia is falsely accused of blocking Ukraine's sea ports and thereby increasing a global food shortage:

The United Nations has warned that the war in Ukraine has helped to stoke a global food crisis that could last years if it goes unchecked, as the World Bank announced an additional $12bn in funding to mitigate its “devastating effects”.

UN secretary general António Guterres said shortages of grain and fertiliser caused by the war, warming temperatures and pandemic-driven supply problems threaten to “tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity”, as financial markets saw share prices fall heavily again on fears of inflation and a worldwide recession.

Speaking at a UN meeting in New York on global food security, he said what could follow would be “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years”, as he and others urged Russia to release Ukrainian grain exports.
Before the invasion in February, Ukraine was seen as the world’s bread basket, exporting 4.5m tonnes of agricultural produce per month through its ports – 12% of the planet’s wheat, 15% of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.

But with the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and others cut off from the world by Russian warships, the supply can travel only on congested land routes that are far less efficient.

It is not Russia that is withholding Ukrainian grain or cutting off its seaports. Ukraine does that all by itself. As the Russian Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine reports:

75 foreign vessels from 17 countries remain blocked in 7 Ukrainian ports (Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa, Yuzhniy and Mariupol). The threat of shelling and high mine danger created by official Kiev in its internal waters and territorial sea prevents vessels from safely leaving the ports and reaching the open sea.

In confirmation of this, the Russian Federation is opening daily from 08:00 to 19:00 (Moscow time) a humanitarian corridor, which is a safe lane south-west of Ukraine's territorial sea, 80 nautical miles long and 3 nautical miles wide.

Detailed information in English and Russian on the modus operandi of the maritime humanitarian corridor is broadcast daily every 15 minutes on VHF radio on 14 and 16 international channels in English and Russian.

At the same time, the Kiev authorities continue to avoid engaging with representatives of states and ship-owning companies to resolve the issue of ensuring the safe passage of foreign vessels to the assembly area.

The danger to navigation from Ukrainian mines drifting off their anchors along the coasts of Black Sea states remains.

The Russian Federation is taking a full range of comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of civilian navigation in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

That is just Russian propaganda you might say. But no, it is not. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published reports about the Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov:

At the start of the conflict approximately 2000 seafarers were stranded aboard 94 vessels in Ukrainian ports. 10 vessels have subsequently safely departed the Sea of Azov and 84, merchant ships remain, with nearly 450 seafarers onboard.
The Council (C/ES.35) on 10 and 11 March agreed to encourage the establishment, as a provisional and urgent measure, of a blue safe maritime corridor to allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high-risk and affected areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to a safe place in order to protect the life of seafarers, and ensure the mobilization and commercial navigation of vessels intending to use this corridor by avoiding military attacks and protecting and securing the maritime domain.
The Russian Federation has informed IMO that it had established a humanitarian corridor, to provide for the safe evacuation of ships once outside the territorial waters of the Ukraine. Despite this initiative, there remain many safety and security issues which hamper access to the corridor and the ability for ships to depart from their berth in Ukrainian ports.

Ukraine’s ports are at MARSEC (maritime security) level 3 and remain closed for entry and exit. Sea mines have been laid in port approaches and some port exits are blocked by sunken barges and cranes. Many ships no longer have sufficient crew onboard to sail.

Ukraine also provided their preconditions for the safe evacuation of ships from their ports. These include an end to hostilities, the withdrawal of troops and ensuring the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, including carrying out mine-sweeping activities with the involvement of Black Sea littoral states.

The MARSEC level of a port is determined by the local authorities. Ukraine is simply prohibiting ships from entering or leaving the ports it controls. It has taken these hostage and makes unreasonable demands for their release.

It also has laid some 400 anchor mines around Odessa which are so old that some of them have parted from their chains and drifted south towards Turkey. It does not allow Russia to de-mine the sea.

Meanwhile foreign ships that had been held by Ukraine in Mariupol have been able to leave since Russia has taken the city and its harbor.

UN secretary general Guterres certainly knows all this. That he is accusing Russia of causing a blockade only shows that he does not honor the neutrality his position demands.

The global food shortage has by the way been around since early 2021. It was not caused by the Ukraine crisis but, as an October 2021 report says, by high prices following supply chain disruptions during the pandemic:

[T]he food shortage around the world isn't just a factor of supply chain issues. According to a rapid phone survey done by the World Bank in 48 countries, a significant number of people are running out of food or reducing their consumption. Global food prices have hit a 10-year peak, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), driven by gains in cereals and vegetable oils. Despite record cereal consumption, a shortage is forecasted on higher consumption projections.

Guterres' accusations were copy-pasted from remarks U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had made in an interview:

Blinken: Ukraine is one of the leading producers of, among other things, wheat in the world. Russia, of course, is a large producer itself. And in Ukraine, there are literally tens of millions of tons of wheat that are stuck there because Russia's blockading Ukraine's ports. There are about 85 ships right now with grain, wheat in them. They can't get out. There are another 22 million tons of wheat in silos near the ports that can't get there.

Blinken is lying about the port blockade. The Ukraine is by the way currently exporting wheat via railway, Danube barges and then through the Romanian port Constanta. That wheat though is likely to go to Europe.

Blinken is also lying about fertilizers:

Blinken: Now, the reason for that is there's also a fertilizer shortage because a lot of that is produced in the region. That means that as farmers are thinking about next year's crops, if they don't have fertilizer, the yields are going to go down. So there's going to be even less food on the market and and prices go up even more.

Russia and Belarus are big fertilizer producers. Neither has been hindered to produce by the war. There is therefore no shortage. The only reason the U.S. and 'western' countries will not get fertilizer from those countries are the sanctions they have enacted against buying from them.

This passage from Blinken's interview has a comical element:

Q: You were in Kyiv recently, about a month ago, and you said that Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. What is your assessment now?

Blinken: That remains the case. Here's what's important: Putin's number one objective in going into Ukraine was to erase its independence, erase its sovereignty, to bring Ukraine fully back into the Russian fold, to make it part, in some fashion, of Russia. That's already failed.

How would Blinken know what Putin's number one objective was or is? Has he put himself into Putin's mind? Putin himself has given the reasons for the launching the operation in his Victory Day speech. Ukraine's independence was never questioned in it.

The next question after Blinken had put himself into Putin's mind is this one:

Q: How did he get this so wrong? How did he miscalculate this so badly?

Blinken: It's very hard to fully put yourself in the mind of anyone else.

Yeah. Thought so.

Q: What are you hearing intelligence wise?

Blinken: Well, we had, of course, very good information about Russia's planned aggression in the first place, which we shared with the world. A lot of people were skeptical. And it's one of those things where, as I said, I wish we'd been wrong about it, but we were right. ...

When during the winter of 2021 Biden warned of an 'imminent Russian invasion' of Ukraine he did not know what Russia's plans were. What he did know was that the Ukraine was planning, with U.S. help, for an all out on attack on the Donbas republics in February 2022.

Biden knew that no Russian politician could stand back when that were to happen. When you know on what date a war will start it is of course easy to predict when the response to it will happen.

Starting on February 16 Ukrainian artillery attacks on Donbas increased from a few dozen per day to more than 2,000 per day as was dully noted and reported by the OSCE special observer mission. It were these artillery preparations for a full blown attack that pushed Russia towards the preemptive operation in Ukraine.

This is confirmed in a recent Russian news report about the liberation of Azovstal (machine translation):

The [Russian] operation [in Ukraine] began against the backdrop of the situation in the Donbass that worsened in mid-February. The authorities of the DPR and LPR reported increased shelling by Ukrainian troops, announced the evacuation of civilians in the Russian Federation and asked for recognition of independence. On February 21, Putin signed the relevant decrees.


  • There was and is a global food crisis because food has become unaffordable for some people.
  • The war in Ukraine did not cause the food crisis.
  • Russia does not blockade Ukrainian harbors.
  • Ukraine could export more wheat if it would allow ships to leave its harbors.
  • Putin has not questioned the independence of Ukraine.
  • The reason for the war was the planned and prepared for Ukrainian attack on Donbas.

Anything else said about those points is just propaganda.

Posted by b on May 21, 2022 at 15:02 UTC | Permalink

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The Empire of Lies is a hit has-been mess!


The Empire of Lies is a hot has-been mess!

Posted by: Scorpion | May 22 2022 12:34 utc | 301

Re: Posted by: FredF | May 21 2022 20:44 utc | 97

Can we say that Zelensky has been an absolute disaster?

Yes! Clearly the worst leader in Europe!! How many Ukrainians have been killed on his watch?

Posted by: Julian | May 22 2022 12:40 utc | 302

I have been reading the full comments. Hmmmm, from my perspective as a Swede and Dane, the waters are muddled. Neither Sweden or Denmark feels an imminent threat.
Although Denmark is a choke point, it has skilfully avoided this conundrum (being part of Nato since 1949), the straits can not be closed, the USSR or Russia today would come down heavily on us, believe I have seen the memos concerning this possibility. Closing the straits would mean the end of Denmark as a nation.
We are just a small, small nation, yes we have done well, but we are not in big league military nations. And we really don't want to be.
Many years ago I relocated to Sweden, became a citizen and enrolled. And after research, Holy Mother, was this country ever prepared for war, look up their preparations on YouTube, it is astonishing, the scope of it. In a nuclear war Sweden was probably the last man standing. I have seen some of these "resorts", they are Huge, miles and miles long, under 3 kilometers of rock.
Sweden did all this in th late 50 ties, the 60 ties and 70 ties, being a very rich country it just did it, it built nuclear reactors too, more than one, and they would have atomic weapons if they chose to. They did not.
All this Russian fear is just bla-blah-blah, what would the Russians want in Sweden? The girls?
Be my guest! That will be a short joy.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 22 2022 12:48 utc | 303

But by all means, feel free to keep insulting anyone who dares merely question..

Crybaby who first insults others as "highly disturbed" then whines about the question whether his rants are dumb, malicious, or brainwashed, none of that being more offensive than "highly disturbed".

There were documents captured and published a few days after start of the SMO requiring full combat readiness of the Ukrainian forces in Donbass by February 28, stemming from end of 2021. They were even reported here by b. And recently, an attack plan of the Azov regiment was discovered, scheduled for March 8 in direction from the Mariupol area to the Russian border at Novoazovsk.

Of course a completely innocent observer just questioning will reject all that evidence because he was unable to find it on the internet.

That said, there is very much evidence that the Russians expected an imminent attack on the LDPR, no matter which documents they captured afterwards. More than half of the Ukrainian armed forces were deployed along the contact line to the LDPR, artillery strikes increasing every week. Most probably RF services obtained additional intelligence.

And the pattern was nothing new. It resembles the successful operation Oluja (Storm) by the croatian ustasha troops in August 1995, resulting in the ethnic cleansing of 200k Serbs and murder of up to 5000 of them, together with wide abuse, rapes and torture of the expelled. The plan was laid out by the US and supported by NATO resources.

Whether or not the plans of the UA existed in that way or not is moot to discuss. There were unambiguous decisions of the Rada and the government to end the Minsk accords, to "liberate" not only the LDNR, but also Crimea. Additionally, Zelensky announced that everybody not accepting Ukrainization had to leave to Russia.

In that situation there was no reason for the RF not to assume an imminent attack of the UA forces which would have brought the RF and the LDNR in an extremely precarious situation. Even if the idiots in Kiev and Washington just wanted to poke the bear a bit more and just threaten, the reaction was legitimate.

Posted by: aquadraht | May 22 2022 13:01 utc | 304

@Et Tu | May 22 2022 12:19 utc | 294

Well, there sure appear to be no shortage of highly disturbed people here..

(missing start of post Posted by: aquadraht | May 22 2022 13:01 utc | 304)

Posted by: aquadraht | May 22 2022 13:04 utc | 305

malamatias | May 22 2022 12:27 utc | 299

“His defeat suits me very well!”: Jean-Yves Le Drian tackles the Australian Prime Minister during his speech
This Saturday, May 21, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Catherine Colonna carried out their handover at the Quai d'Orsay.
The outgoing minister took the opportunity to show his rejoicing after the defeat of Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Australia.

Posted by: Lapin | May 22 2022 13:09 utc | 306

Allegedly several Indochinese scripts are derived from Pahlavi, via the original Gui Chao script. Maybe some reached Georgia? Could be some also reached Iran. Could be they were traders and plied the silk road between Iran and China (speculation on my part).

Posted by: BM | May 22 2022 11:16 utc | 286

BM do you (or anyone else here) know of good histories of the world or West telling of the tribes, peoples and languages etc? I have often searched but have yet to find....

Posted by: Scorpion | May 22 2022 13:48 utc | 307

That is why I am not hopeful of much change.

Posted by: watcher | May 22 2022 11:45 utc | 290

Intelligence / Banksters run the West. Oz is 5-eyes. Elected leaders are Reality TV republics / States window dressing, end of story.

Posted by: Scorpion | May 22 2022 13:52 utc | 308

@ Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 22 2022 2:20 utc | 201

I wish that would be true.
But the US is calling the shots and is not concerned about Ukraine suffering - there can filter that as needed and any mother who complains is a Putin supporter.
The US is using the war to rebalance global trade, malign Russia, boost its economy via military spending, modernize its military and use crisis to crack down on free thinkers and also create further crisis to support ongoing bailouts. Now if wall has doubts that could dampen things, but we cannot be to that point yet. We are looking at 10 year conflict, Zelensky is replaceable.
Russia tends to be wait and see. I wish they would prepare for the worst. My thought is US and Poland will move into Odessa region if Russia does not. Then it would be Russias choice to attack US, as they could do in Syria.

Posted by: jared | May 22 2022 13:55 utc | 309

@BM #237
And apparently that yellow stuff sunk deep and germinated into vests a few years ago...

Posted by: c1ue | May 22 2022 14:03 utc | 310

I suspect the suggestion of cease fire was just red herring.
Posted by: jared | May 22 2022 2:03 utc | 197

To my knowledge, Russians have never violated basic confidentiality -- essential to talks between military commanders like this. Mainly it's nothing to do with diplomacy. Almost invariably, it's in the interest of both parties to simply zip lips about what they discussed.

So it was strikingly odd for Austin to disclose that he was requesting, suggesting, or demanding "an immediate cease-fire". That subject-matter info did not come from the Russians, and the disclosure makes USA look hapless. Sheer ineptitude? The mere report of such a call firmly establishes the non-autonomy of "Ukraine", but nobody ever expected forethought from Lloyd Austin.

We'll never audit the call transcript. Most likely we'll never know the most important matters Austin had for Shoigu's attention. One explanation which has nice cadence and meter, if not accuracy:

Austin called Shoigu to say "Monkeypox got out of the box."

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 22 2022 14:09 utc | 311

It comes down to: Either join our side or let your population starve. Will it work? No Idea but it seems to be the plan.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 22 2022 11:21 utc | 288

Exactly! And if the soft blackmail does not work there are many other methods, mostly hard, specially designed to exploit victim's weaknesses like local grievances or separatism, or general circumstances like local elites' greed.

Posted by: Pagan | May 22 2022 14:26 utc | 312

"Corn" as grain likely predates civilization. Anywhere.
Posted by: Vintage Red | May 22 2022 9:14 utc | 253

New world maize is said to have been domesticated in Mexico at least 10,000 years ago. To my knowledge, it's the only cereal for which we can find no wild relative. When I saw Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams I got the same rumbling resonance of relation to my forebears. Some very careful clever people fashioned this miraculous cereal -- from a grain unknown. Maize might be the most significant artifact ever brought forth by human ingenuity. I think so. Also: this time of year -- the early corn -- is especially delicious.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 22 2022 14:32 utc | 313

"Although Denmark is a choke point, it has skilfully avoided this conundrum (being part of Nato since 1949), the straits can not be closed, the USSR or Russia today would come down heavily on us, believe I have seen the memos concerning this possibility. Closing the straits would mean the end of Denmark as a nation."

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 22 2022 12:48 utc | 303

Do you remember a Danish politician, I think from the 1970s, who campaigned for abolition of the Danish General Staff and its replacement with a recording in Russian: We surrender!

Posted by: Pagan | May 22 2022 14:36 utc | 314

Posted by: BM | May 22 2022 11:16 utc | 286

This site used to be free to browse. Now, it's not. What does that tell you about the value of the information?

Posted by: sln2002 | May 22 2022 14:54 utc | 315

relevant CONTEXT: full semester of History of British India, feat. Moghuls

Posted by: sln2002 | May 22 2022 15:01 utc | 316

relevant TECHNOLOGY: GOOG translate is tracking 122.
Ethnologue is tracking 7,151 known living languages.
What does that tell you about knowledge management systems operating in advanced economies?

Posted by: sln2002 | May 22 2022 15:17 utc | 317

Regarding "corn" ... in German the respective word for these products would be "Getreide", which is best translated as "cereals". Whether it is produced from wheat, barley or the like. "Korn" usually refers to grain (or the British word "corn").

Hence there was a misunderstanding after WW2, when the Germans in the Western part wanted to import "Getreide"-flour asked the US administration for "Korn", which was directly translated as "corn" and they ended up with corn/maize. As you may know, flour produced from wheat/barley yields a different end-product than that made from corn ... and it took some time before they actually found out about the error and subsequently shipped cereals to West-Germany ...

Posted by: CM of Berlin | May 22 2022 15:47 utc | 318

I've been watching this discussion on kulaku and Stalin and I don't know about Holodomor but I do see the glossing over raskulachovanie. I'm from Russia and my great-grandma and her husband were kulaki. And i see how people here are speculating that they didn't want to feed others and tried to get the best price etc. And thats not at all what I know from my family. They became kulaki because they worked very very hard. My great grandpa built everything himself - a house, a barn, etc. They grew veggies, wheat, raised poultry and beef.
Then they were arrested, their possessions were expropriation, and they were sent to cut trees in Siberia. The reason? They had 2 cows instead of 1 AND their house had 3 windows facing the street and that was "too many"
They were able to run away eventually during a Siberia winter, and by some miracle settle in a remote village where my great grandpa had to build the house and barn and fence etc again and great grandma got a garden growing etc.
They were at that point over 40, and accidentally had their late child - the last of 13 and the only one who survived to adulthood and had children of her own - my grandma.
So, please, don't white-wash the Stalin's crimes against people and communities at that time. As is the same with post-war was horrific. My library has a plaque that it was a place of torture and execution.
But it doesn't have a bearing on what's going on now. It wasn't modern Russia that did those atrocities and Russian people suffered too. So, yes, continuing to play on those horrors as if it relates to today is wrong but denying them is also wrong. We remember, lest we forget and repeat history.

Posted by: Pointee | May 22 2022 16:56 utc | 319

Exile@ 273

Tremendously simple to confirm any of that. Use the search bar. Never trust anonymous posters on a forum.

You might also check the meteoric rise of Maxwell from refugee to press mogul. I have no explanations for that, just note that someone was doing something behind the curtain.

Sam Pisar was also the last person to see Maxwell alive before his supposed drowning. No body ever found. State funeral in Israel attended by every living present and former Israeli PM and every living high official from Mossad.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 22 2022 16:57 utc | 320

@Bemildred | May 22 2022 10:30 utc | 268 and @Aleph_Null | May 22 2022 14:32 utc | 313

Don't know if you're still following this discussion thread; I responded to both of you in the Week in Review (Not Ukraine) thread @Vintage Red | May 22 2022 17:39 utc | 40

Posted by: Vintage Red | May 22 2022 17:52 utc | 321

Intelligence / Banksters run the West. Oz is 5-eyes. Elected leaders are Reality TV republics / States window dressing, end of story.

Posted by: Scorpion | May 22 2022 13:52 utc | 308

Yeah we all know that Scorpion, but lighten up will you?

We have to live here and it's not as far gone as the dark heart of the empire, lord knows how that's possible.
somehow there is still a socialist heart beating faintly here, however slightly, maybe because we are convicts.

we have strong unions even fettered as they are, public health and education and a passable social safety net, there is no political argument about either free health care or guns, we don't have mass murders.
I'm grateful for this.
Not patriotic or blind.
Yes we are a slave colony of the USUK
House prices are now untenable and other extraction of wealth from here has ramped up ver past years so we don't have long of such luxury.

I try to face reality but not give up.

Posted by: K | May 22 2022 20:08 utc | 322

I try to face reality but not give up.

Posted by: K | May 22 2022 20:08 utc | 322

Fair enough. But somebody was asking about if this new chap in Oz would stand up to the Yanks. As if...

Posted by: Scorpion | May 22 2022 20:15 utc | 323

Posted by: Roger | May 22 2022 1:16 utc | 187

It is necessary to look at the demography data to understand that the "millions of people killed by Stalin" are fictitious. The only loss of population in CCCP was during the war against nazi Germany: more than 26 millions.

Outside the war, the increase of the CCCP population is not different from a country like Switzerland which was never at war during the 20th century.

By the way Ukraine from 1991 and 2021 lost more than 10 millions of its population from more than 50 millions to 40 millions. Many went to Russia.

Posted by: Olivier | May 22 2022 22:13 utc | 324

In another thread I mentioned the impact of US gasohol program on food prices. I was challenged that it is false, because making ethanol from maize (corn in USA) produces nutritious by-products. Actually, the production is too efficient to provide a lot of it, although the residues can be use in animal feed formulations.

The basic facts are:
1/3 of American maize production goes to gasohol, about 125 million tons (5 billion bushels), to ensure 10% ethanol content in gasoline.

Some of the farmland where maize is grown is "dual use", it is also suitable for wheat. But wheat is less profitable because of the lower yield.

Before gasohol program, the American prices of maize and wheat were (1998-2005 period) ca. 220 and 700 cents per bushel. After the transition period, they stabilized at 360 and 800, relative profitability of wheat went down and USA decreased it share of wheat exports. This year the prices are 800 and 1180 respectively.

Maize prices are less elastic because of guaranteed demand from gasohol program, note that they increased more than crude oil. Were USA minded to alleviate worldwide food shortages that happen, like 2005-2009 period (wide up and down swings), it would be more flexible in gasohol program, reducing the mix from 10 to, say, 6% of ethanol, and contract wheat instead. Domestically, it would reduce the spike of maize prices and resulting spike in prices of chicken meat, eggs etc. Worldwide, it would have similar effect, extra 20-40 million tons of wheat is what USA is ostensibly worried about. In the same time, wheat could be released from reserves to be replenished from increased contracts.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 23 2022 0:53 utc | 325

I don't know what's worse here: The incompetent criminals running the US or the voters that believe every LIE they tell..
Thanks B, for your commitment to truth and integrity

Posted by: Kelli | May 23 2022 3:21 utc | 326

I really think it's about time people woke up and realised that the Ukraine war is, simply put, a fake, staged 'war' that is about nothing else except helping to institute the Great Reset...and Putin (once described by Klaus Schwab as 'my boyfriend) is a knowing player in the false narrative...

Posted by: Richard | May 23 2022 10:31 utc | 327

Western Australia alone produced 21 million tonnes of grain this season. That's 2/3 of Ukraine's annual exports.

The problem is exporting the grain. There is simply not enough transport and it will take a year to clear - by which time the next crop will be ready for export.

Amusingly, for technical and price reasons, Indonesia imports Russian grain to make Mee-Goreng 2-minute noodles. The price of Russian grain has increased so your future Mee-Goreng packs will be more expensive

Posted by: Jezza | May 24 2022 8:17 utc | 328

B writes: "The R&D doesn’t have the final European software planning yet. I’ll let them provide it asap.
And do you think Monaco Telecom will be able to start testing with the worldwide generic software pre-installed in test samples? (Comparing with European software, some parameters link APN profiles may be missing)"

But there is some fertilizer restriction from Russia, since Russia "Russia is limiting the export of nitrogen fertilizers" :,by%20Prime%20Minister%20Mikhail%20Mishustin.

Posted by: Finn Andreen | May 24 2022 13:39 utc | 329

@Bemildred | May 22 2022 10:30 utc | 268 and @Aleph_Null | May 22 2022 14:32 utc | 313

Don't know if you're still following this discussion thread; I responded to both of you in the Week in Review (Not Ukraine) thread @Vintage Red | May 22 2022 17:39 utc | 40

Posted by: Vintage Red | May 22 2022 17:52 utc | 321

Yes, I read your comment, which I thought was rather good. I spent my childhood in farm country and I come from "farm people". I have long thought we are far too disrespectful of the accomplisments of our ancestors. Fascinated by shiny toys, we are.

Posted by: Bemilded | May 24 2022 14:01 utc | 330

"No, Biden or the USA didn't trick Russia to attack the Ukraine. It was planned, and much, much earlier. The world woke up surprised, especially the Ukraine, USA and NATO."

Posted by: ostro | May 27 2022 20:48 utc | 106

Many of us woke up, if not surprised, then conscious that things had irrevocably altered on the 21st of February. The recognition of the republics marked the abandonment of the seven year struggle for Minsk 2. The republics were placed under the full protection of Russia; and all could see that any attempt to challenge that protection could only lead to military disaster.

As it inevitably did. I recollect writing in to an English blog at that time and pointing out, somewhat irritably since it was obvious to all, that that war was lost as soon as started.

The question is therefore, why did NATO mount that challenge? Why intensify the shelling across the line of control and why put the powerful Ukrainian forces in the Donbas in a posture of attack? That not only invited, it forced a pre-emptive Russian attack and the only surprise there was that the initial attack was so limited.

It should not have been a surprise. The Russians had gained experience in Syria in dealing with the Jihadi use of civilians and civilian infrastructure as shields and would have expected similar here. And they were protecting a population many of whom were fellow Russians. This was no place for the quick sledgehammer rolling up of the enemy. It was more, as Chirkin intimated, a hostage release operation on a massive scale.

That difficulty aside, the question still remains. Why did NATO provoke a conflict in which defeat was foreordained?

I believe it was because NATO put its faith in the "shock and awe" sanctions, as they were called in the States, that would inevitably follow on from any Russian military move. It was expected that those sanctions would cripple the Russian economy and financial system.

It was a hope that derived from the almost universal belief that the Russian economy was small and weak and its financial system vulnerable. I recollect Biden in Poland exulting that the sanctions had hit Russia hard and had driven the rouble down to two hundred to the dollar. They really did believe that the sanctions had Russia heading for defeat.

So no, I don't believe that Washington/Brussels "woke up surprised" on the morning of the 24th. I believe they woke up satisfied that all was working out as expected. The surprise came later, when they found they had not succeeded in destroying the Russian economy. It looks as if very many more lives will be lost, and more Ukrainian territory with it, before that surprise turns to acceptance and then to recognition of the urgent need for peace.

Posted by: English Outsider | May 27 2022 23:57 utc | 331

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