The psycho ward

This is like someone looking completely normal but assuring you that he is Napolean. It is somewhat frightening if this level of delusion is going to become the norm.

The Russian army has struggled in Ukraine though they have now shown they can hold their defensive lines and advance somewhat (this is called a ‘stalemate’ in the Western media). This is against a much smaller country fighting on a limited amount of military hand-outs. As some more serious Western commentators have noted/admitted, one lesson from this war is that NATO/the West massively over-hyped Soviet/Russian power, presumably in order to justify the expansion of their own armies and defence industry.

Ukraine is not in NATO. The Baltic countries are. If “Putin” (in quotes because for Western ‘journalists’ like this one he is a mythological figure) were to “invade” the Baltics he would immediately be in a direct war with a military power many times greater than that of Russia, which would have the advantage of defence, not to mention the question of nuclear weapons. Putin is not going to do that, unless absolutely forced to as a matter of survival of Russia. Yet here we are, both the speaker and journalist discussing Putin’s upcoming “invasion of the Baltic states” as if this were some kind of realistic prospect. As Putin has said “only a madman in his dreams would attack a NATO country”. Putin is not mad.

(As per Mearsheimer, there was no “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine. This never happened. There was a ‘special military operation’ or limited operation to a) take/protect the LDNR territory and b) try to force regime change in Kiev. It looks like since b) failed we are now in plan B; to take and hold more territory in the East and render the rest of Ukraine non-functioning. Even so, this is not a “full-scale invasion”).

It isn’t just this delusional speaker but the US leadership is also doing it. US Défense Secretary Llyod Austin (and Biden) have recently been pedalling this line – if Ukraine falls, Russia will attack Europe – in order to drum up support for another 60 billion to Ukraine. I assume (hope) they are just lying in order to scare Congress into giving them more (borrowed) money. But maybe they really believe this…

In reality, Russia was interested in good relations with the EU. It was the EU which provoked this war by pushing Ukraine into the EU (via a coup) and refusing to have any discussions at all (zero) with Russia about the economic implications that would have had for Russia, [1] and by abandoning the Minsk agreement they signed up to. Plus, of course, the US pushing Ukraine into NATO. (In 2014 neither of these were even overwhelmingly popular in Ukraine; certainly not in the South and East).

This is sheer delusion. No more sane than someone in a psycho ward who thinks he is Napolean. I think the speaker has been talking to a lot of people in the Baltics.

By the way – the latest idea that the rump of Ukraine can join NATO (to save the face of the West) is surely a non-starter. Russia has said they will not accept Ukraine in NATO and so how, exactly is this going to work? Is the West going to up one day and announce that the rump of Ukraine has joined NATO and dare Putin not to do anything? Playing a game of dare with a nuclear power hardly seems like statesmanship.

There is a real oddity in the speaker’s presentation about how Russia sees the Baltics and Ukraine as an important part of its security architecture and is sensitive to what happens there. Yes; obviously true. And this is how the US views the whole South and North American continent. (It is called the Monroe doctrine). This is normal Great Power thinking. Not some peculiarity of Russia. So; why can they not take it into account?

The “Russian opposition” at [22.00] is presumably team Navalny?!

Finally; it looks like (at the end) they are resting their hopes on the sanctions. But while that will put Moscow under pressure they are unlikely to be the magic bullet they want. [2] Russia is adapting. (Not to mention that even now the EU continues to buy gas from Russia and has even increased imports of LNG [3]). And, as Mearsheimer points out, for states, survival trumps even economic considerations. Russia sees this struggle as one for survival and so, are unlikely, to be forced to back down by economic pressure.

If you analyse the underlying thinking here one can see that despite all the talking up of Russian military power and the threat it poses, they see Russia as a minor power. Indeed they are determined to see Russia as a minor power. One which does not have the right to have “zones of influence” and who should just take what the real Great Powers (the US/UK and EU axis) decide, on anything. They also seem to think that, like a minor power, Russia can be defeated. They still think this despite increasing evidence to the contrary. Playing a game of trying to defeat a nuclear power is a highly risky gambit. (What do states have nuclear weapons for?). Everything here depends on the ‘Baltic theory’, that somehow under the pressure of ‘defeat’ there will be “peaceful regime change” in Russia. This really is very theoretical.


  1. Such ideas were repeatedly rebuffed, with for example Barroso being quoted by news agencies as late as 29 November 2013 as saying: ‘Russia’s inclusion in the talks on setting up an Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine is wholly unacceptable. ’Sakwa, Richard. Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (p. 76). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.