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NATO’s Checkmate: Baiting Ukraine To Provoke Russia To Invade – OpEd

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vicious invasion of Ukraine will kill thousands of people, while destroying much of the country before a peace agreement is negotiated. Putin will not expand the carnage beyond Ukraine in an attempt to restore the former Soviet Union, as some in the media have speculated. Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent it from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which would place military bases, weapons, and troops directly on the border with Russia.

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NATO’s aggressive expansion and militarization of former Soviet satellites and territories – in violation of the documented assurances they gave Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev thirty years earlier – was threatening to Russia. Putin drew a red line on expansion in 2008, when the United States (US) and NATO declared that Ukraine and Georgia would become part of the NATO military alliance, during their Bucharest Summit of April 2008.

The US and NATO deviously used the population of Ukraine as expendable bait – like a doomed animal – staked out to entice and ensnare a higher value target that will attack it. The “Russian Bear” trap was carefully crafted, from the US and NATO facilitated coup of the democratically elected Ukrainian government in 2014 to the incessant overtures from NATO, encouraging Ukraine to join them.

Like Ulysses and his ship in Homer’s classic – the Odyssey – NATO’s beckoning Song of the Sirens lured a naive, unsuspecting Ukraine to its doom, as it crashes into the rocky cliffs of reality – Russia’s attack and NATO’s duplicity. Russia is responsible for the devastating carnage in Ukraine, but the US and NATO are guilty of deliberately provoking it.

The US and NATO Needed an Enemy

The United States had twenty years of perpetual wars between 2001 and 2021, creating massive military and defense budgets.  To justify excessively large military and defense expenditures during peace time requires heightened threats from a significant enemy. The Soviet Union played that role for decades, with US militarists lying about Russian military superiority and threats – just as they do today – to justify ever-increasing military budgets. After the withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, the US still spends more on defense than the next eleven countries combined.

The violent Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was caused by the US and NATO deliberately taunting Putin with assertions that Ukraine would join the NATO military alliance, ignoring Russian protests and security concerns in order to provoke a response. The US and NATO were relentless in their provocations. They needed Russia to be aggressive and threatening, to significantly increase military and defense budgets, following the US and NATO withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq.

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There is a sliding scale of opinion as to how much Putin was forced to invade to protect the security of Russia versus Putin using NATO’s threats of expansion as justification for his planned invasion of Ukraine. The relevance of the perceived drivers will vary, in part, based upon one’s perspective of Vladimir Putin’s character and motivation. However, the US and NATO’s devious and deliberate actions are the driving force provoking the invasion, regardless of Putin’s motives.

The US and NATO could have easily prevented this invasion by curtailing their incessant rants about adding Ukraine. The crisis would be further diminished if NATO publically stated the obvious, that it is in the best interest of everyone – especially Ukraine – for them to forge economic alliances, but not military ones. This would have eliminated the threat and the justification for the invasion. With tensions reduced and Putin appeased, Russia would not have invaded Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine affirmed Putin’s brutality and NATO’s duplicity in using Ukraine as bait. Ukrainians can assess the wisdom of avoiding future military alliances, especially with deceitful partners.

Russian Concerns and NATO Exploitation

NATO’s belligerent assertions for the addition of Georgia and Ukraine provoked Russia into invading and occupying small sections of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, following US supported coups in these two countries. The Russian invasions were strategic. Russia’s partial occupation of Georgia and Ukraine made them temporarily unqualified to join NATO, based upon the Alliance’s membership guidelines.

If Ukraine and Georgia join NATO, it places US and NATO military bases, troops, tanks, missiles, aircraft, and other weapons along the combined 1,970 mile (3,170 km) Ukraine and Georgia land and sea borders with Russia. This is the equivalent of placing Russian military bases, troops, tanks, missiles, aircraft, and other weapons along the entire 1,954 mile (3,145 km) US border with Mexico, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

US and NATO officials repeatedly denounced Russia’s concerns, stating that each country has the right to make their own alliances and security agreements. However, the US would never allow Russian or Chinese military bases along its borders, for the same reasons that Russia does not want NATO military bases along theirs.

The invasion of Ukraine is bloody and destructive, much to the glee of unscrupulous hawks in the US and NATO, whose objectives are to make NATO relevant, reactivate the Cold War, and generate huge spikes in military budgets. The thoroughly avoidable conflict in Ukraine has generated massive expenditures on weapons, flowing into Ukraine and NATO countries. War hawks are creating enormous profits for the US Military Industrial Complex (MIC), just as they’ve done during the last 20 plus years of endless – and needless – wars.

From a humanitarian and legal perspective, what is the difference between the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the 2003 US invasion of Iraq? The Iraq war was illegal and unjustified.  Unscrupulous US officials – including Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz – knowingly fabricated and presented false evidence. They deliberately deceived the United States, the United Nations, and others into a catastrophic war.

The unlawful US invasion of Iraq killed and maimed millions of civilians and established torture sites, while brutally destroying the country. In spite of the documented evidence of their deviancy and deception, none of the US officials were held accountable and the United States was never sanctioned. Where was the outrage from the US government, its lapdog media, or the international community over the egregious invasion and war crimes in Iraq? Why wasn’t the US sanctioned? For the US government to judge others, they too, should be held accountable.

Follow the Money

The stock of the top five US MIC firms generated substantial gains during two decades of perpetual wars in the post 9/11 world. Lockheed Martin – the largest US MIC firm – increased 1,641 percent, from US $23.48 on September 5, 2001 to US $408.93 per share on January 24, 2020.

The next four largest US MIC firms also reaped the rewards of endless wars. Raytheon Technologies increased 558 percent between September 4, 2001 and January 24, 2020. General Dynamics increased 7,168 percent between September 5, 2001 and January 3, 2022. Boeing increased 1,123 percent between August 30, 2001 and February 19, 2019. Northrop Grumman increased 1,512 percent between September 5, 2001 and January 5, 2022.

Former US Vice President (VP) Dick Cheney, who was previously CEO of Halliburton, a large MIC firm, received a $34 million bonus-bribe from Halliburton to serve as US VP. Cheney ensured his former firm got lots of the no-bid and cost-plus contracts. Halliburton’s stock increased 1,254 percent between December 27, 2001 and July 23, 2014, a good return on their bribe to Cheney.

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg

On December 14, 2021, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg from Norway, whose aggressive expansionist rhetoric threatened Russia, confirmed that he had applied for the position of Governor of Norges, Norway’s central bank. Stoltenberg will become the new head of Norges Bank during 2022.

Two days later, on December 16, 2021, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg reassured President Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukraine could eventually join NATO, ignoring Russia’s protests and concerns. The meeting took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Mr. Stoltenberg referred to NATO’s promise during the April 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania, affirming that Georgia and Ukraine would obtain NATO membership. He told Zelensky – and the media – that NATO stands by that decision.

The original declaration in Bucharest led to the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008. Mr. Stoltenberg comments of December 16, 2021 likely convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had no alternative but to invade Ukraine to keep it from joining NATO’s threatening military alliance.

During his term (March 2014 to September 2022), NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg taunted Russia, while encroaching closer to Russian borders as he enticed former Soviet republics to join the Alliance. The flurry of weapons and materials purchased by new NATO members, combined with the deliberately provoked 2022 crisis in Ukraine, generated massive profits for the US MIC. A parting gift for the MIC and its investors.

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), a Norges Bank Investment, is the largest wealth fund in the world. During the 20 year period of endless wars between 2001 and 2021, the value of the fund increased 1,894 percent, from US $68 billion to US $1,356 billion.

Norges Bank and GPFG financially benefitted from weapons sales, though they have periodically abstained from investing in controversial firms. Raytheon Technologies was banned for a few years because its product line included cluster bombs, which were getting a lot of bad press. Norges Bank lifted the ban in 2017, and by 2018 Norges had US $500 billion invested in Raytheon.

Stoltenberg’s selection is controversial because the Governor of Norges Bank is supposed to be a nonpolitical position.  Stoltenberg (63) – a career politician, excluding his tenure at NATO – previously headed Norway’s Labour Party as Prime Minister October 17, 2005 to October 16, 2013 and March 17, 2000 to October 19, 2001.  

The other controversy is over qualifications and gender bias. Of the final two candidates for the position, Ida Wolden Bache (49) – who has a PhD in Economics from the University of Oslo (2007) – has better qualifications, considerably more experience, and no political ties. Bache was Deputy Governor of Norges Bank, where she has worked in executive positions since 2013.  

On March 1, 2022 – following Governor Oystein Olsen’s (January 1, 2011 to February 28, 2022) departure – Bache began serving as interim Governor at Norges Bank until Stoltenberg assumes those duties. The top monetary positions throughout the Euro Zone of Europe are all held by males.

The selection of Stoltenberg over Blanche is puzzling, given Blanche’s superior qualifications and experience. She would have been the first female appointed to the position of Governor of the Central Bank of Norway. However, Norges’ GPFG fund showed significant growth during Stoltenberg’s reign as NATO Secretary General. Weapons and war drive up MIC stocks for the benefit of the few, at the expense of many, including those who are displaced, injured, and killed.

NATO’s Win-Win Scenario

The militarists and opportunists in the US and NATO viewed Ukraine’s physical and economic safety and sustainability as expendable – acceptable collateral damage – in their drive to provoke Russia to react. The aggressive showdown in the Ukraine is a Win-Win situation for the US, NATO, and the bloated, US Military Industrial Complex.

The US, NATO, and MIC’s primary win began when this “defensive” Alliance deliberately stirred up tensions, compelling Russia to move troops towards Ukraine. This enabled the US to capitalize on the situation, creating a feeding frenzy of weapons transfers and purchases that were delivered to Ukraine. A secondary wave of weapons and troops have been going into NATO countries, especially those close to Russia. War hawks, war profiteers, and intelligence agencies that steer US and NATO foreign policy, are ecstatic.

The secondary US and NATO win occurs if Ukraine joins the Alliance. The US and NATO will place military and special operations bases, troops, missiles, aircraft, and other weapons in Ukraine, directly across the border from Russia. This will be a strategic victory for NATO, providing them with close proximity to threaten and undermine Russian sovereignty, which they will continue to do, regardless of assurances to the contrary.

In these type of negotiations, each side must always look at what could happen if there is a change in leadership, priorities, and other drivers. A cautionary tale in diplomacy comes from the US and NATO denying that any prior assurances were made to Soviet leader Gorbachev that NATO would not expand, in spite of extensive, well-documented evidence to the contrary. [Read my article, “NATO Assured Russia It Would Not Expand” in Eurasia Review for more details on this.]

If Ukraine joins NATO, it will place US and NATO military bases, aircraft, missiles, and other weapons along a 1,426 mile (2,295 km) border with Russia, comprised of a 1,227 mile (1,974 km) land border and 199 mile (321 km) sea border.From this close proximity, US B-1 stealth aircraft – relocated to Ukraine – could drop bombs on Moscow in about 20 minutes, while missiles fired from Ukraine could descend upon Moscow and other Russian cities within a few minutes.  

NATO forces could send mechanized troops up the M3 highway – 305 miles (490 km) to Moscow from Ukraine – to besiege the city within a few hours, while Special Operations bases within Ukraine initiated cross-border sabotage and attacks throughout Russia.

Even a so-called defensive NATO alliance has offensive capability that is threatening to its neighbors, especially given its aggressive posturing, rhetoric, and history.NATO’s aggressive plan to seize and militarize Ukraine was a serious threat to Russia’s security.

During invasions by the Germans and their allies during WWI and WWII, Russia suffered appalling loses of soldiers and civilians, with higher estimates of 35 to 42 million killed. Over 50 million were wounded. There was extensive damage to urban and rural communities from numerous aggressive attacks and scorched-earth retreats across Soviet territory. These European invaders came by the same routes as NATO’s aggressive encroachment. The Russians have legitimate current and historical reasons to fear NATO expansion.

The United States was on the brink of a nuclear war with Russia over the placement of Russian military units and missiles in Cuba. Havana, Cuba is 228 miles (367 km) to Miami, Florida, separated by the sea, and 1,137 miles (1,830 km) to Washington DC, but that was too close and too threatening for the United States to accept.

The US and NATO agenda was determined to renew the militarization and mistrust of the Cold War with Russia. This fills the necessary role of a major adversarial power that can encourage and legitimize massive spending on military and defense, including big ticket items that the grossly-exaggerated – marginally subsidized – war on terror cannot justify. It also helps keep NATO relevant, when many questioned the need for its existence, following the breakup of the Soviet Union 30 years ago.

In addition to using the Ukraine crisis to increase budgets for weapons and war, the US Military Industrial Complex is making billions of US dollars on the weapons and supplies pouring into the Ukraine and East European NATO members, purchased by these respective countries. Additional profits come from the armaments and expenditures for these countries that are paid for by overburdened taxpayers in the United States.

Perhaps, the primary challenge for US and NATO war hawks was to keep a somber face when they feigned surprise, concern, and outrage over the Russian response – from the military build-up to the invasion – prompted by the threatening actions of the US and NATO that deliberately provoked it.

Media Propaganda and Disinformation

Orwellian propaganda, hype, hysteria, and disinformation spun by both Western and Russian media, reinforces false narratives, while decimating truth and reality. Russia’s state controlled media has historically been viewed as a government propaganda vehicle, but their coverage has expanded to include articles that are critical of their government’s policies and actions, including the war in Ukraine. During this same period, the so-called free and fair press in the United States became the equivalent of state sponsored propaganda and disinformation vehicles.

The US media is dominated and controlled by a few large conglomerates and billionaires. Liberal and conservative journalists “Goose Step” as one voice – spewing the distortions and lies of the US government – when the topic is weapons and war.

US government agencies and the elite shape the narratives, instilling implicit corporate censorship that fuels self-censorship among editors and journalists throughout the print and electronic media. This determines what topics and issues are covered or suppressed, and their respective slants. Those who push topics and opinions that question or counter government and military narratives and agendas, are ridiculed, ignored, marginalized, or fired.

US journalists and media managers, some of whom have ties to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as revealed in Project Mockingbird, are turning a free press into an Orwellian “Big Brother.” From unwarranted wars in Iraq and Syria to ill-advised, military operations in Libya and around the globe, the US media deceives the population, hyping false threats, promoting perpetual wars, and suppressing truthful evidence and opinions that challenge false, official narratives.

The media in the US is exploiting the war, enthusiastically showing the horrific death and destruction that they helped provoke. The media is generating propaganda to rally the population to blindly support more weapons and war. The US media’s duplicitous distortions have the incestuous participation of US government, military, and intelligence operatives, who feed much of the propaganda and misinformation delivered to the public by knowing or unwitting journalists.

US Stasi Police State 

US journalists who question or challenge US government lies, flawed policies, or unjustified military operations, are called traitors. They’re attacked, muzzled, or fired – from Phil Donahue to Tucker Carlson. These harsh consequences for telling the truth or asking legitimate questions are meant to intimidate and silence freethinkers. Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot used similar tactics. Independent or opposing viewpoints that counter official government statements or narratives are no longer tolerated in the United States.

While the US claims to champion freedom of speech, any citizen that questions or criticizes the US government’s unscrupulous behavior, false flags, and phony narratives, risks becoming a targeted individual (TI). They’ll be subjected to relentless stasi-like, psychological operations, including organized surveillance, gang stalking, mobbing, and harassment.

The East German Stasi called this form of psychological warfare, zersetzung (decomposition), because the objective was to erode and destroy all aspects of the target’s life. These unsavory government-linked cells – now run by US officials and their associates – strive to control, manipulate, and destroy every aspect of the TI’s life, including employment, income, reputation, relationships, health, and more. US stasi-like cells are much more invasive and malicious than the East Germans, due to technological advancements and virtually unlimited budgets. The National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies have access to virtually all records, including Internet, emails, social media, telephones, banking, credit cards, medical records, and more.  This makes it easier to know, track, attack, and destroy their victims.

These unsavory, criminal activities have greatly expanded since the attacks of 9/11, harassing and destroying critics and independent thinkers. These programs are carried out by operatives with US military branches, NSA, CIA, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security (HS), and other government agencies. US government HS Fusion Cells, which blanket the country, enlist local police departments to assist with operations – monitoring, targeting, and harassing US citizens.

Scores of government contractor cells participate, many of whom are headed and staffed by former US government and military intelligence agents. These proxy cells operate beyond the boundaries of government oversight and accountability. They provide their primary affiliates – CIA, FBI, and others – with plausible deniability regarding the illegal, threatening, and deadly operations they outsource to their former colleagues and other highly paid contracting cells.

Nefarious activities by US government cells and their contractors have been well documented, including public revelations made by high-ranking officials in the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other US government agencies and military services. US constitutional rights, human rights, and civil liberties have been significantly eroded by these programs. Individuals within these organizations, who attempt to correct or expose illegal operations will become targets, themselves, to be neutralized, discredited, and destroyed.

The tyrannical, Orwellian US Patriot Act – pre-prepared and pushed through by US neoconservatives after 9/11 – enables widespread illegal policies to decimate free speech, civil liberties, the US Constitution, and Bill of Rights. The Patriotic Act sanctions stasi-like mass surveillance, intimidation, and harassment of US citizens and everyone else. The primary purpose of the Patriot Act is not to keep the US safe from terrorists attacks, it is to identify and neutralize law-abiding people who are critical or questioning of illegal and unethical US activities, policies, and wars.

FBI Terror Cells

Virtually every so-called terrorist threat that has been stopped by the FBI during the last two decades were FBI entrapments, initiated by FBI agents or their paid informers and associates.  These dubious arrests are initiated to justify massive anti-terrorist budgets, excessive surveillance, and increasingly illegal activities against law-abiding American citizens.

Lacking actual terrorist threats, the FBI and their paid informants prodded, coaxed, bribed, and taunted social media underachievers into becoming pseudo-terrorist cell recruits, with the FBI providing them with fake weapons and/or explosives, along with lots of cash, encouragement, and other incentives.  The FBI operative often sets the date, time, and location of the bogus attacks, so they can schedule the takedowns in a way to maximize media coverage. This enables the feds to exaggerate and hype terrorists’ threats and the FBI’s perceived skill at stopping them.

The FBI generally does not divulge the fact that their own people set up the operations, creating false threats, rather than accessing actual terrorist cells. They deliberately deceive the media and the public. These scripted terrorist scenarios are similar to made for TV movies, perhaps, with the title, “The Last Terrorist Cell – In Ranking, Not in Numbers.” One of the better books on these operations is “The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism” by Trevor Aaronson.

NATO Adrift – A Military Alliance Without Enemies

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the end of the Warsaw Pact, NATO was adrift, seeking an identity and purpose in a world without meaningful adversaries. General Secretary Gorbachev’s noble decision to allow former Soviet satellites and territories to break away and become independent, compounded the problem. Gorbachev courageously defied the Brezhnev Doctrine allowing states to leave the Soviet Sphere of Influence. This made it difficult for NATO to justify a military alliance and excessive expenditures to contain nonthreatening, independent states.

The US-led NATO was an organization in dire need of enemies, threats, chaos, and wars after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellites. NATO began increasing its membership eastward – in violation of prior agreements with the Soviet Union – for the purpose of provoking Russia to revive the Cold War, while gaining client states to militarize and sell weapons to.

Ignoring their promises, NATO doubled in size, adding 14 countries, while also making overtures to Georgia and Ukraine.  Russian protests of NATO’s expansion were ignored. NATO’s protection racket granted membership to new members, who agreed to spend a specific percentage of their GNP on weapons and membership contributions. Most members also had to allow US and NATO military forces to occupy and weaponize their countries. New NATO members provided much-needed military forces to help sustain the US policy of perpetual wars.

US and NATO officials repeatedly state, “NATO is a defensive alliance,” whenever they’re challenged or questioned about their aggressive expansion and threatening behavior. The fact is NATO’s become a duplicitous, destabilizing, menace, provoking coups and instability, threatening other states, and expanding their military operations well beyond the European theater. Using the deceptive, false ruse that NATO is solely a defensive alliance is a bit like a violent, gun-wielding, mugger telling his victims that he’s a nonviolent, altruistic, pacifist.

No MiGs for Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, requested NATO’s help in providing fighter jets to defend themselves. The US said it would facilitate this request if any NATO partners gave their planes to Ukraine. Poland offered to give its entire fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets, which Ukrainian pilots have been flying for years, but the US blocked the transfer.  

At a press briefing March 9, 2022, US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said the transfer was scrapped because of Pentagon fears that it might upset Russia, escalating the conflict.  Kirby said the MiG’s were “too high risk.” Kirby failed to note that the relentless US and NATO taunts to Russia that caused the invasion, were “high risk” to Ukraine.  

Kirby’s explanation also failed to add that US and NATO members have been publically militarizing Ukraine with extensive transfers of weapons, which they feel compelled to report to the media. Russia already knows that the US and NATO is providing weapons to Ukraine. It’s not a secret.

Kirby’s excuse is doublespeak to cover up the fact that desk jockeys at the US Pentagon and the Biden administration are duplicitous. They provoked the war for political and economic objectives, while allowing the bait – Ukraine – to be destroyed. The US and NATO will reap greater rewards from a prolonged, brutal and destructive conflict. They’ll get larger military budgets and more NATO applicants. Their W-4 mantra is ” Win-Win With War.”

Kirby went on to flippantly add that the Pentagon had also determined that the additional MiG-29s would not make that much difference in helping Ukraine. Kirby stated that the transfer of MiG’s could escalate Russian aggression, implying that the US withheld the MiG’s as a humanitarian gesture, “It would not be good for the Ukrainian people,” Kirby said.

Additional MiG-29s would make a significant difference to Ukraine. Battles are often won or lost, due to the presence or absence of air cover. The MiG-29s are also needed to deter Russia from deliberately attacking civilian housing units and similar targets. More MiG-29s will be good for the Ukrainian people. They can help stall the Russian advance.

John Kirby, a military veteran, served as a Public Affairs Officer – and similar paper shuffling duties – in the US Navy. He’s never been on the ground in combat situations. This is typical of many current and former US advocates for perpetual war, including Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and John Bolton.

Typically, in these type of wars, you don’t have political and military officials revealing sensitive information about prospective weapons transfers by sharing the details with the media. You simply do what is necessary, quietly, with a “Need to Know” mentality. These disgraceful press conferences reflect the duplicitous nature of some US officials. This should give Ukrainians – and citizens and leaders of other countries – reason to reconsider allowing duplicitous, self-serving warmongers the ability to militarize and control their country.

Conniving militarists in the US and NATO wanted this war, which they were willing to pay for with Ukrainian blood. Ukraine’s blind trust of the US and NATO led to their destruction. Ukraine officials should have reviewed other operations in which the US encouraged people to challenge authoritarian states, willingly sacrificing naive recruits to achieve secondary US objectives of embarrassing Russia and other agendas. This includes Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, Iraqi Shia in 1991, and others, who were decimated when the promised support was withheld or reduced, as US government officials and intelligence agents knew it would be.

Invasion of Ukraine Will Be Costly to Russia and Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine will kill and injure thousands, while destroying much of the country. Putin is intent on Ukraine’s conquest or capitulation, intensifying the level of destruction and casualties, after an initial sluggish start. The conflict in Ukraine revealed significant flaws and weaknesses in the Russian military, from training to logistics.

Ukrainians have fought bravely against Russian invaders, frustrating Putin’s expectations of a swift victory. Prolonging the conflict increases the cost and consequences to Putin, Russia, and Ukraine, as well as the benefits to the US-NATO agenda and the MIC. At some point, Ukraine should negotiate a peace treaty for the sake of reducing further casualties and destruction of their beloved country.

Regardless of his motives, Vladimir Putin is responsible for launching the savage war in Ukraine. Putin foolishly fell into the trap, initiated by the threatening rhetoric and actions of the US and NATO. Vladimir Putin is now one of the most despised men on earth, unraveling his facade as a cunning, competent leader. Countries around the world will sanction, punish, and ostracize Russia – with the objective of crippling their economy. The political and economic cost to Russia will severely hinder them for years. Longer if Putin retains power.

Every effort should be made to encourage Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, along with the oligarchs and elite, to remove this brutal, corrupt autocrat. Removing Putin will facilitate Russia’s ability to reduce long-term, devastating economic and political consequences for their destructive invasion of Ukraine.

There is a persuasive possibility that Vladimir Putin will be removed from office within the next six months. Putin’s rise and fall from power may revolve around two wars. The 1999 false-flag apartment bombings were a ruse for the war in Chechnya that elevated Putin to the presidency. Putin may lose power, due to his brutal 2022 assault of Ukraine.

It is very clear that the unsavory warmongers and profiteers in the US and NATO scripted and provoked the devastation of Ukraine. They should be held equally accountable, suffering public exposure and consequences. Failing to hold these unscrupulous deviants accountable will guarantee a continuation of unethical activities and perpetual wars.

Closing Considerations

While the US media characterized Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a despot, bent on reestablishing the Soviet empire, he had made no moves to challenge, undermine, or control former Soviet territories and Warsaw Pact members. His primary focus and breaking point was on preventing NATO from acquiring and militarizing Ukraine and Georgia, due to their extensive borders with Russia.

NATO could have prevented this war – and the massive destruction and loss of life – by stating that Ukraine and Georgia would remain independent states, rather than a threatening extension of NATO military bases and missiles. Prior to the war, NATO could have accomplished this without signing a binding agreement that Ukraine would never join NATO, but to achieve this, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and others needed to scale back their hostile taunts and threatening rhetoric.

Ukraine is extremely vital to Russia and its concept of security and self-preservation. The prospect of US and NATO military units permanently stationed along Russian borders is hostile and threatening, as it would be to the US, if Russian or Chinese troops were stationed along its borders.

Ukraine is not strategic to US security interests. It’s merely a pawn. Like its chessboard equivalent, the safety and sustainability of the pawn is deemed irrelevant to the US and NATO. Thousands of Ukrainians will be killed and injured, as their country is destroyed by Russian troops. Complicit NATO and US officials can feign surprise and outrage over the Russian invasion, but they deviously caused it, treating Ukrainians and their country as expendable, collateral damage, sacrificed to achieve a US-led NATO’s political and economic objectives.

Journalists – pandering to the  US military and intelligence communities – are already calling for the US to increase its basic annual military budget to US $1 trillion to counter the growing threat of Russia. The US MIC is preparing for another profitable run, funded by US taxpayers.

Ukraine learned – belatedly – that to retain its independence, safety, and sustainability, they should avoid joining military alliances with devious partners. Ukraine can enhance their prosperity and security by dealing with Europe, Russia, the US, and other countries as a non-threatening economic partner, rather than a potential adversary or expendable bait. An independent Ukraine should be congenial, but wary of duplicitous friends and friendly foes.

The US and NATO intentionally undermined this nonaligned option by repeatedly declaring that Ukraine will join the NATO military alliance, escalating hostilities and provoking Putin to attack, as they knew he would. If the US and NATO actually cared about the safety of the Ukrainian population, they could have prevented this invasion by stating that Ukraine should remain independent, embracing economic – but not military – alliances.

At one time, the United States and NATO stood for freedom. Not freedom in the sense of the word as most Americans and other free nations think of it, but what it means to millions of people languishing under tyrannical, oppressive regimes at that time and now. The elevated meaning of freedom is visceral, with tangible and spiritual depth and importance that is virtually impossible for people to fully comprehend unless they have experienced or witnessed its absence.

The US and NATO, increasingly influenced by warmongers, fueled by greed and deceit, have lost their credibility and their way. With a complicit and compromised US media continually spewing propaganda and disinformation to validate unethical policies, increased military budgets, and unnecessary wars, it is imperative that individual citizens become better informed.

The United States leads the world in military expenditures, weapons sales, foreign military bases (about 750), people incarcerated (both total and per capita), and debt. If US government officials fail to significantly address and curtail corruption, excessive military expenditures, imperialist policies of perpetual wars, and the power and influence of the Deep State, the United States is doomed to failure and collapse. The US will join ancient Rome, Nazi Germany, and other failed states that arrogantly refused to address corruption, militarism, and other destabilizing policies. Tyrannical China will ascend to the position of global dominance, using the ruins of the US Empire as a foot stool.

The United States and other countries that have significant internal political differences, need their respective populations to come together on key issues, holding their politicians, military, and media accountable. The emphasis should be upon deescalating global and regional tensions, not stirring them up for illicit and misguided political or economic objectives.

One way to reduce the number of wars is to facilitate ethical, competent governance and economic policies that stabilize and elevate the respective populations. Significantly reducing excessive and wasteful military and defense expenditures will help diminish needless wars, provoked or initiated to increase or justify gluttonous military budgets. State security is enhanced by making fewer enemies, not more of them.

The United States would be more prosperous and secure if they rerouted much of their excessive military budgets and foreign aid to pay down their debt, rebuild their infrastructure, restore and maintain key industries, and initiate programs to elevate and stabilize communities throughout the US.

*About the Author – James Emery, a cultural anthropologist, has dealt with issues and events in the United States and overseas for over thirty-five years, from cultural, political, and economic issues to narcotics trafficking and insurgencies. He’s conducted extensive interviews and research in the US and around the world, including combat zones and conflict areas.

13 thoughts on “NATO’s Checkmate: Baiting Ukraine To Provoke Russia To Invade – OpEd

  • March 22, 2022 at 10:11 pm
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    Putin is responsible for attacking Ukraine. NATO has never attacked anyone in its entire history. This long article ignores reality. Nations have a right to band together for self-defense.

    Reply
    • May 20, 2022 at 5:58 am
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      Where are you getting your facts
      Serbia
      Iraq
      Afghanistan
      Syria
      Libya
      All attacked by NATO

      Reply
  • March 23, 2022 at 12:52 am
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    Was this article written by Tucker Carlson? It seems everyone is to blame except Putin who you seem to think was fooled into invading Ukraine by NATO. As for the provisioning of Migs, perhaps you should read the Biden’s administration’s rationale for not doing so – amongst many reasons, the top rationale for me (as a former Marine Corps Officer) is that the Ukrainians lack pilots for them and that a better solution would be long range anti-aircraft systems. Let’s not forget that the largest threat to cities is artillery and long range missiles. Drones and air defense are the most logical platforms for NATO to provide.

    Reply
  • March 23, 2022 at 4:54 pm
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    Putin is destroying Ukraine, but it is the West’s fault? This is such an outrageously insane idea that the author requires thousands of words to “prove” it.
    Doesn’t Ukraine have the right to join any alliance that it chooses itself? Should more than half a billion Europeans bend over backward to appease Putin with his great-Russia ambitions?
    What has the US to gain really if the only real geopolitical struggle is between it and China? This war and the sanctions will only push Russia further in China’s camp.

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    • March 25, 2022 at 6:06 pm
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      The Ukraine does NOT have that right according to the documented assurances given to Russia when the Soviet Union dissolved.

      Making the Ukraine a NATO country is like having Russia put troops and soldiers on the border in Mexico. We would definitely react. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?

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  • March 23, 2022 at 5:46 pm
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    NATO is using Ukraine as a proxy in it’s war with Russia. Ukraine will never join NATO. Ukraine & Russia will unite to have the biggest.richest country in the world.

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  • March 23, 2022 at 8:04 pm
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    Did Vladimir Putin write this?

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  • March 24, 2022 at 9:18 am
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    While there are some possible valid points to expand NATO with promises not kept and Russia seeing it as security threat at the same time President Putin played very dirty with his violence against Ukraine, attacking civilians, destroyed their homes, deaths of women and children which was completely uncalled for and he can’t justify doing those horrible things as there is no excuse for the war crimes he has done. Mistakes have been made on all sides but people also can’t forget Putin is a communist dictator who doesn’t believe in freedom, he can’t be trusted and needs to be brought to justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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  • March 24, 2022 at 10:30 am
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    Exceedingly puzzled by the overuse of the ubiquitous preface: “unprovoked” [invasion, aggression, war, etc..] in the US media’s daily coverage of Ukraine — I finally had to google why everyone is seemingly ‘stating the obvious’. This article provides the most comprehensive answer. Thank you.

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  • March 24, 2022 at 8:10 pm
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    I think, this article is on point, precisely accurate–the author is smart and understood right v. wrong.
    I wish we have millions or billions of People on the Earth having caliber of this Nature.
    Thank you, dear author for spending your time wisely on an important Topic.

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  • March 24, 2022 at 8:28 pm
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    Victim-blaming and gaslighting…that’s what this article is. Putin is using the same arguments Hitler made for his disgusting actions. Who’s the real Nazi?

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  • March 27, 2022 at 5:43 pm
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    Zelensky has been asking for more planes for over a month. The US and NATO ignore him to focus on their own agenda. The continued deaths and destruction in Ukraine will strengthen NATO, encouraging larger military budgets and more members. They deliberately used Ukraine as expendable bait. The longer the war goes on, the more NATO wins. They’re withholding essential weapons, while undermining peace talks that would have stopped the fighting.

    AP and other news services report: Zelensky calls for planes, tanks from NATO allies – March 27, 2022

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday called on NATO allies to provide planes and tanks to Kyiv as it defends itself from Russia’s invasion…Zelensky denounced the West for its “ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets and other defensive weapons to us,”

    “I’ve talked to the defenders of Mariupol today. Their determination, heroism and firmness are astonishing,” Zelensky said. “If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1 percent of their courage,” he added…All defenders of Mariupol know that. Thousands of people know that – citizens, civilians who are dying there in the blockade…This should be known as soon as possible by as many people on earth as possible so that everyone understands who and why was simply afraid to prevent this tragedy. Afraid to simply make a decision,” Zelensky said.

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  • March 27, 2022 at 10:46 pm
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    It goes back to the security demands Russia made in December 2021 after US-Ukraine charter of security relationship where the US endorses future NATO membership for Ukraine. There had already been NATO bases and facilities built in Ukraine since 2014 as well as the training of 360,000 additional soldiers for the impending assault to take the Donbas in violation of the Minsk agreement. The guarantee to not expand NATO to Ukraine would’ve required a rollback in all these areas which was rejected by the American.

    Unfortunately, there are too many people who read the newspaper on the initial barrage between Ukraine and Russia in February and think they are experts.

    Reply

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