Coercive Diplomacy - the West's Strategic Blunder
Part 1

Laurie Meadows

11 November 2023 1000 hrs NZDST
(last Edited edited 22 May 2024 NZT)

The Big Picture 
Mackinders 'Heartland' concept
Mackinders 'World Island' concept 
Mackinders 'Rimland' concept
'Containment' concept 
Coercion illegal under International Law 
Coercive diplomacy held in check by the balance of power
The origin of the coercive diplomacy strategy  
The rationale for using coercive diplomacy
Consequences of European and US economic coercion      
Countries sanctioned or embargoed by the US and EU        
Degrees of coercion  
Russia defends its interests within the bounds of international law
Polycentric world 
Multipolar world 
A Palestinian State Example of law-based multipolar world - Joint Declaration of the Arab and Russian Foreign Ministers
World order
Coercive takeover of multilateral organisations
Coercive arrogance
Principles for designing a coercive strategy
Coercive demands - real and fantastic
Moral coercion   
Coercive urgency - risks and benefits   
Coercive threats 
Orchestrating Coercion 
Coercive diplomacy likely to cause chaos 
Tools of coercion     
Economic coercion - Sanctions 
Coercive test of capabilities
Economic coercion - The west's blockade of Russia 
Economic threat   
Russia's Carrot and stick economic coercion 
Countries sanctioned or embargoed by the US and EU  
G7 on economic coercion 
The US, Canada, Japan, Australia & Aotearoa on economic coercion  
Consequences of European and US economic coercion 
'Enhanced' economic coercion - state theft 
Military Force coercion 
Blackmail coercion
Hybrid diplomatic strategy     
Conman diplomatic strategy
The diplomacy of lies
The diplomacy of truth
Coercion with criminal frameups   
Diplomatic signalling
Weak signals 
Strong signals
Symbolic signalling
Red lines
Russia doesn't Bluff
Psychological coercion    
Wests projection of its crimes onto others  
Biological Weapons
Chemical Weapons
Wilful stupidity
Petty coercion           
State Terrorism by proxy  
Russia's view of Coercive diplomacy     
Declaration on the Ways and Means to Counter, Mitigate and Redress the Adverse Impacts of Unilateral Coercive Measures 
Law of State Responsibility
A Law Abiding World (LAW)
Removing all the alternatives to coercive diplomacy
When diplomatic channels are closed   
Response to inciters of proxy war
West is a party to the Ukraine conflict    
USA aids and abets war crimes against Russia            
Russia's new postulate - armed force to prevent an absolutely inevitable armed attack 
Escalation of armed conflict    
Asymmetric retaliation
Russia's retaliation?
Escalation dominance    
Strategic defeat     
Iran's strategic defeat of USA in the Middle East 
Israel is a proxy of the US
US escalation - the threat of tactical nuclear weapons 
Russia's Trans-national self defense zone  
Buying Time
Grey Zone Military Force Coercion 
Passive Military Coercion
Active Military force coercion 
When Military Strategy Fails 
Failed coercion - settlement 
Removing the threat to Russia posed by the west
Russia relations with Europe
Russia relations with USA  
Why the US Government Coercion Policy is hard to change         
War is a racket
Russia relations with China
Rational persuasion and compromise diplomatic strategy      
The Place of Trust in Relations between States
Trust Between Heads of State                      
Reality politics
The power factor 
Failed coercion - a massive strategic blunder

This opinion piece is largely a full explanation of the 'playbook' of the United States of America foreign policy. It uses the recent western foreign policy plays against the Russian Federation as the illustration of the implementation and effects of the west's foreign policy concept, which is control of economic resources. The main foreign policy tool to achieve this is so-called 'coercive diplomacy'. The concept of 'coercive diplomacy' has roots deep in the past, but has only relatively recently been formalised as a theory. It was invented by Alexander George, an American Professor of behavioural science.

Note: I have sometimes added [square bracketed] clarifications for context.

The Big Picture

The West - slaves to a colonial ideology
The use of specific diplomatic strategies by the West in its conflict with the Russian Federation can only be made sense of if you understand the longstanding aims and objectives of the West's politicians  - and the US government in particular - in their relations with Russia. Much of western foreign policy is informed by the ideas outlined by Professor Halford Mackinder in 1904 in an article called 'the geographical pivot of history'. Mackinder's ideas of marrying the economic potential of different geographies - mainly defined by mineral resources, transport networks and agricultural potential - and human civilisational potential. He invented the terms 'Heartland', 'World-island' and 'Rimlands' to as the major conceptual elements of his overall thesis - which is colonial in nature.

Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;

who rules the World-Island commands the world.

Mackinder, 'Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction', 1919

The recently expanded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) now largely coincides with Mackinder's 'Heartland'. As at mid 2023 full members were China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Russia. The three Observer States who wish to accede to full membership are Afghanistan, Mongolia.and Belarus (Belarus is scheduled to be accepted as a a full member in 2024). A further 14 “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cambodia, Egypt, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Turkiye, and the United Arab Emirates) are thinking about joining at some date in the future. Turkmenistan is a neutral country, so cannot be a member. However, it has attended all SCO meetings since 2007 as a 'guest' of the SCO. This map of present and future SCO members shows the importance of the organisation.

World Island concept Edited 10 January 2024
Mackinders concept of the 'World-Island' is a defined geographic area with the richest economic potential of any plausible combination of geographies in the world.

Mackinders 'World-Island' - the adjacent continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa - is a region with a vast population, huge size, and valuable resources. Bear in mind this idea was born in the age of colonisation by European powers. Mackinder was a British geographer, a biologist, politician, and strong supporter of the British Empire. Controlling and exploiting other countries resources was as natural to him as breathing.

AS late as 1983, the world, and especially the African world, was still in the grips of those colonial forces exploiting the peoples and resources of the 'world-island'.

"...the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson:

that until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned;

that until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation;

that until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes;

that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race;

that until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed;

until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will;

until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven;

until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.

The goal of the equality of man which we seek is the antithesis of the exploitation of one people by another with which the pages of history and in particular those written of the African and Asian continents, speak at such length

Exploitation, thus viewed, has many faces.

But whatever guise it assumes, this evil is to be shunned where it does not exist and crushed where it does.

It is the sacred duty of this Organization to ensure that the dream of equality is finally realized for all men to whom it is still denied, to guarantee that exploitation is not reincarnated in other forms in places whence it has already been banished.

As a free Africa has emerged during the past decade, a fresh attack has been launched against exploitation, wherever it still exists.

And in that interaction so common to history, this in turn, has stimulated and encouraged the remaining dependent peoples to renewed efforts to throw off the yoke which has oppressed them and its claim as their birthright the twin ideals of liberty and equality.

This very struggle is a struggle to establish peace, and until victory is assured, that brotherhood and understanding which nourish and give life to peace can be but partial and incomplete."
Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, address to the United Nations General Assembly October 4, 1963

Heartland Concept
Mackinders 'Heartland' is basically Eurasia less the western portion (Europe) - essentially the area once occupied by the former Soviet Union. Mackinder believed the 'Heartland', due to geographic centrality, richness of resources and sheer size, had to be politically (and consequently economically) invaded and conquered if any one country wanted to then 'pivot' south and control Asia and Africa, thus completing the 'set' to make allow colonial control of the 'World Island' a reality.

But the Heartland was protected by Arctic ice in the North and inland deserts in the south. And - inconveniently - the land belonged to someone else, and had been for many centuries. The vast distances for logistic lines prevented successful invasion from the east and the west. Napoleon tried to take over Russia and failed. Germany tried to take over Russia and failed.

The current US foreign policy concept in Eurasia is clearly explained in the book 'The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives' by Professor of American Foreign Policy Zbigniew Brzezinski (who later became National Security Advisor to President Carter). Unfortunately, Mackinders presumptuous and anachronistic concepts have seeped very deeply into USA foreign policy, and helped create an enduring destructive and dangerous ideology of 'conquest' of Russia by coercion.

The US foreign policy objective in Eurasia to this day (January 2024) continues in its attempts to use coercion to control a large proportion of Eurasian resources - especially minerals - and place governments favorable to US businesses in place throughout Eurasia (primarily). It is a thoughtless continuation of Mackinders concept. Essentially, the Ukraine conflict is a US and West European war to control both markets (customers) and physical resources (raw materials).

The most important consequence, from the US government point of view, is that the USA 'continental island' must do almost anything to prevent west Eurasia (Europe) from cooperating economically and culturally with Ukraine and Russia. These two countries, linked - in to Europe (and particularly Germany) would form a vast and resource rich west and central Eurasian natural economic unit that would outcompete the USA in the European market. Eurasia's major competitive advantage is immensely greater when China links to it to form Great Eurasia. When Great Eurasia's trade routes and trade harmonisation takes in Asia, South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East, we have the most powerful geographic configuration possible - Mackinders 'world island'. Leaving the United States outside the new trade and policy networked 'community of cooperative continents'.

This integration and unity is what the USA fears most. The foremost job of US government foreign policy is to prevent Greater Eurasia from emerging, let alone cooperating with other major geographic centers, and in particular, mineral resource-rich Africa.

The US government sees a World-Island of sovereign nations, multipolar, and free from domination as a 'threat'. Slanderously labeling sovereign nations thousands of kilometers away from the USA borders as a 'threat' to the USA sounds like crazy talk to normal people, but if you see the world through Mackinders colonialist eyes you can see the logic of it, especially as Mackinder also held the bizarre racist belief that the environment in greater Asia led to "genetic habits" that inclined 'Asiatic people' (including 'Slavs') to constantly want to expand their territories, inevitably leading to conflict with adjacent people - presumably meaning west Europe. (Mackinder was stuck in thinking back to the nomad horse-dependent grassland culture of the Mongol empire. Many of these same grasslands are now a rich empire of genetically advanced grain varieties - in large part thanks to the sacrifices of plant explorer and scientist Vavilov and his colleagues.)

If Eurasia is a 'threat' to USA, then Russia is automatically a 'threat' under this self-serving fallacious logic. The logic runs 'Eurasia is a threat to USA' (false). Russia is a country in Eurasia. Therefore Russia is a threat to USA. Economic competitor, yes. 'Threat', no.

In the case of Russia (and, to an extent, Central Eurasian 'stans') the essence of the US government strategy is 'divide and rule'. After all, a 'house divided against itself cannot stand'. The fragments of a weak and divided Russia would be easy to bribe, easy to infiltrate, easy to control through coups, interference in elections, and comprador US-trained and sponsored politicians and businessmen (often the same thing). The west can benefit from Russia's mineral resources, and at the same time cripple Russia's ability to become an economic competitor.

As important, a weak Russia slows or stops the economic cooperation (if not systemic economic integration) of Russia with Eurasian states.

The enrichment of United States business interests in Eurasia has another benefit - the political funding of US politicians, and thus continuous political support for the policy over the years. (Especially as in some cases the business interests of current and former US government officials or their families also financially benefit, either directly or indirectly.)

Rimland concept
Mackinder also recognised the importance of what he called 'the Inner Crescent', or Rimland. The Rimland is the group of contiguously joining countries with sea borders that are also on the outer 'rim' of Eurasia (his 'heartland'). This concept is made up of three sectors - the European countries with a sea border, and Turkey, the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, South East Asia, China, and Siberia. Together, these regions form a 'rim' blocking the heartland from the sea (the Arctic was considered an impenetrable barrier to the north - nuclear-powered icebreakers and global warming have changed this calculus).

Containment concept Edited 11 January 2024
The Dutch-American political scientist Nicholas Spykman (Professor of International Relations at Yale University) considered it more important to control the so-called Rimland than the Eurasian continent, as control of one would lead to control of the other. In his book 'The Geography of the Peace', published after his death in 1943, he espoused theories that are behind the USA policy of 'containment', an unrealistic and unintelligent policy which the US government continues to this day.

Spykman's ideas permeate US government coercive foreign policy, especially the concept of 'containing' Russia and China. Threats to these two countries are a subset of the 'containment' delusion. 'Containment' requires installing compliant governments in countries which are not yet 'in' the US government bloc. Successive United States governments have developed many decades of experience at interference in other country's governance, and so have developed a large institutional expertise in these malign techniques. Today, the 'global south' is slowly starting to fight back.

You might ask, how has the US government been able to get away with a policy of open interference in other countries affairs? The reason is geographic and historic. Very early on USA became a very powerful country due to its ample mineral and forest resources, good agricultural soils, good climate, large size, inland waterways, expanding population, and pre-educated immigrants. When WW2 ended the USA government alone had nuclear weapons, and was alone in having a country with infrastructure undamaged by war. Much of the world had already been colonised by European powers, and liberation movements had barely started. Corruption was (and still is) rife in the poorer countries. Access to resources just required lubrication with the Yankee dollar. The USA controlled the most important Middle East oil resources, and in 1974 (after the end of the Bretton Woods system) the USA was, until recently, able to issue ('print') as many dollars (capital) as it wanted. This debt-capital was used both to buy overseas resources and develop their own country essentially 'for free'. In other words the USA government had huge ability to exercise power - military, economic, cultural, educational.

But the US dollar-fuelled economic power is coming to an end. Countries are now reluctant to buy US government debt, as they understand that when interest payments on the existing debt are now 1.1 trillion dollars a year, sale of US dollar debt has become a ponzi scheme.

The United States has been powerful for so long, it feels it is dominant over all other countries, it "calls the shots". But Chiina has overtaken the US in material production (it produces roughly 20% of the industrial goods in the world), and is likely to be the major defensive power in its region. China cannot be economically 'contained', no matter how much the USA tries to block China's trade in some areas.

It is a great irony that the USA blocked China's access to certain computer chips, so China made it's own, damaging a major US chip makers China market. Netherlands refuse to sell China chip making machinery - China developed its own. Crowning it, a China led China-US team has developed a graphene-based process to make revolutionary, ultra fast, chips. No doubt China will hold a decent chunk of the patent. USA has blocked China's complaints at the World Trade Organisation - for now. But that's all it can do. China is taking the lead in some high tech mass product industries. Electric cars are a good example. China's close relationship with Russia gives it unblockable access to cheap energy and minerals. China increasingly trades in yuan with cooperating countries. China cannot be economically 'contained'.

Russia has been subject to economic war on an unimaginably large scale. It has responded by finding new markets and creating conditions local businesses to supply previously imported goods. It has the energy, mineral, and educational resources to 'go it alone' without the west. Russia cannot be economically 'contained'.

Although the US power-potential has been constrained by Russia becoming a more-than-peer nuclear weapon power, the US has never given up its long-term policy objective of maintaining US economic dominance while trying to pull Russia apart - in service of keeping Eurasia fragmented and Russia down.

"Imagine what happens if we, in fact, unite all of Europe and Putin is finally put down where he cannot cause the kind of trouble he's been causing"
Joseph Biden, October 2023

'Putin' is, of course, a fairly crude cartoon 'speech bubble' demonisation-label for the Russian Federation (a childish coercion technique, the 'oblique name-calling technique' - although points must be awarded for the phrase "finally put down", which has the connotation of killing a weak, injured, or dangerous animal). The 'trouble' the Russian Federation has been causing, is brushing aside the (expensive) US project to pull Russia apart and ring Russia with nuclear-capable cruise missiles. If that 'troubles' the US government, then don't do it. Spend your money at home. More 'troubling' for the United States is that Russia, due to the Ukrainian conflict, has demonstratively become the bes tland defense army in the world, surpassing the United States. Once again, the United States is becoming number two.

His idea was  "Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia, who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world." His modern incarnation continues as the west european NATO cabal, still trying to implement Spykman's hubristic ideas.

The object of 'controlling' the rimlands was to not only block and landlock Russia, thus 'containing' it, but to be able to attack Russia from both land and sea, all the while denying Russia sea bases and sea force. From today's perspective, his idea is completely delusional. Russia has crushed a major NATO force using only part of its armed forces, and with immense self-restraint to avoid too much damage to civilian infrastructure and lives. Russian combined aerospace, naval, and land based miliatry assets are sufficient to keep access to all regional seas open. Western politicians are slow to comprehend this reality. Even now they prattle on about making the Baltic Sea an inland lake, as if they are incapable of seeing what is unfolding before their eyes - Russia's immense missile and drone production capacity. Russia can destroy NATO anti-missile installations in the blink of an eye. In adition, Russia is the worlds leading nuclear weapons power in the sense that it's hypersonic nuclear missiles are unstoppable. It cannot be militarily 'contained'.

In the same way, other USA pundits hubristically talk about 'containing' China in the South China Seas. Today, the US expeditionary naval force is but simply an artificial reef-to-be. Once again, stand-off missiles, especially air launched hypersonic missiles prevent the USA from 'containing' China in that sea. Bear in mind that the combination of explosive power and hypersonic speed cause an impact getting up into the low yield nuclear missile range. And it, too is a nuclear weapons power. It cannot be 'contained' regionally.

Russia and China are expanding transport lines across Eurasia. Air, rail, road, Arctic sea, and combinations thereof. Russia and China together can transport goods from the East Eurasian coast in China right across to Russia's Kalingrad on the west Eurasian coast. Securely. Concepts of 'containing' this traffic are risible.Katsoulas could not have been aware of these developments. Even so, he 'saw' - or thought he saw - that Russia could be 'contained' in the Black Sea, a bizarrely myopic concept.

Recognising the vast cultural differences between European Greece on the one hand and Turkiye, and adjacent Arab Mediterranean countries on the other, Dr Spyros Katsoulas came up with the 'rimland bridge' concept. The 'rimland bridge' is regarded as a gateway connecting Europe to the Middle East and is a land-based bridge to Asia. This 'land bridge' is seen as a strategic 'chokepoint' between Europe and 'Asia' that traverses a politically unstable region. ( it is also a 'chokepoint into and out of the Black Sea - particularly relevant today.) Under this thinking, the west must 'control' Turkiye and the Mediterranean littoral. Control of uncooperative countries can be achieved by policies based on 'divide and rule' and subsequent economic and political coercion. If they fight each other, so much the better. If they don't fight, the west and its proxies will arrange pumped-up terrorists to set fire to the region. Of course, the sovereignty and well-being of the governments and peoples of the countries they make plans for has little relevance. They might as well be invisible.

If necessary, Russia can work around the conflict zones in this region. It is also creating a sea-land transport route directly to Iran and then to India and beyond. As the BRICS organisation and the Eurasian Economic Union expands, so will the network of transport routes in this region - and finally into Syria, the Mediterranean, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and beyond. The United States has building military bases in Turkiye Cyprus, Italy, and throughout the Middle East, but frankly, so what? Russia can hit them all without moving outside it's borders. There is no 'containment' there.

"Clearly, a new equal and indivisible security framework must be created in Eurasia in the foreseeable future. We are ready for a substantive discussion on this subject with all countries and associations that may be interested in it. At the same time, I would like to reiterate (I think this is important for everyone) that no enduring international order is possible without a strong and sovereign Russia.

We strive to unite the global majority’s efforts to respond to international challenges, such as turbulent transformation of the world economy, trade, finance, and technology markets, when former monopolies and stereotypes associated with them are collapsing.

For example, in 2028, the BRICS countries, with account taken of the new members, will create about 37 percent of global GDP, while the G7 numbers will fall below 28 percent. These figures are quite telling because the situation was completely different just 10 or 15 years ago. You have heard me say it publicly before. These are the trends, you see. These are the global trends, and there is no escaping them since they are objective reality...

...We will continue to work with friendly countries to create effective and safe logistics corridors, relying on cutting-edge solutions for building a new global financial architecture that would be free from any political interference.."
Vladimir Putin 29 February 2024

On the one hand, the United States cannot 'contain' Russia's ability to transport oil and other goods around the world, and yet the United States ability to move oil through the Red Sea (or the Persian Gulf, for that matter) can be 'contained' by the Houthi in the first case, and the Iranians in the second. Houthis have cruise missiles from Iraq, Iran, their own modified Soviet era missiles, and, allegedly North Korea. One missiles is said to have a range of 800 kilometers. Relatively cheap drones, of course, are used to 'drain' the anti-missile dfenses of naval ships before the expensive anti-ship cruise missiles are used. US re-supply bases are also within easy reach of Yemeni and cruise missiles and Iranian advanced hypersonic missiles.

The whole concept of 'containing' great powers like Russia and China is delusional.

There is a final factor to add to this sorry tale of hubris and delusion. All the methods used by the west to 'contain' Russia are coercive. Coercion is illegal under international law. And the law of State Responsibility allows governments to sue states for damages to compensate for the harm caused by another states "wrongful acts". By definition, coercive acts are wrongful acts. The west has no legal leg to stand on. The Russia-Iran Declaration below is the template for what will ultimately be an avalanche of cases against the United States and its co-offenders.

History of the west's failure to subjugate Russia, and Vladimir Putin's leading role in thwarting their plans

The West almost gained control of a great part of Russia's oil and gas resources when the Soviet Union disbanded itself and fell into political, economic, and social decay. The break-up of the Soviet Union was done completely ineptly with little thought for realistic borders or economic transition plans. Economist Geoffrey Sachs had helped USA formulate Germany's post-war development plan, and he was tasked with helping post-Soviet Poland in a similar way. He developed a successful aid package that enabled Poland to get back on it's feet. When he was asked to develop a plan for Russia, he modeled on the successful Polish plan. But the west simply point-blank refused to provide the same aid it had given Poland. No reasons given. If the outgoing Soviets were more familiar with Makinders concept, they would have done the dissolution very differently, very cautiously, very slowly.

The only 'aid' Russia got in the end was western 'predatory' capitalism. But when the current President (Vladimir Putin) came to office he stopped the rot. He stopped further sell-off of state assets and found various pretexts to gain a majority control of the (highly strategic) oil and gas companies, with the Russian government as beneficial shareholder. The Russian government applied the oil and gas dividends to hauling Russia back from the economic and social wreckage that resulted from the West's siphoning off most of the profits from exploiting Russia's resources.

The government of Vladimir Putin has worked tirelessly to pull the Russian nation from the pits of despair (Russia's male suicide rate was very high, alcoholism rife, corruption pervasive, social services utterly inadequate, population shrinking, crime rampant, inflation out of control, government debt huge, inefficiencies legendary, social cohesion falling apart). President Putin and his senior team have been spectacularly successful in the mammoth task of re-assembling Russia into a modernising and socially responsible nation with an ever-building sense of national pride and cohesion.

Powers responsiveness to the needs of the people aside, this massive and on-going national project has been possible primarily due to Russia's huge endowment of exportable oil and gas resources - with important contributions from its grain surplus-producing agricultural industry.

This background explains the United States foreign policy towards the Eurasian region, and therefore their diplomatic policy towards Russia. Western states are still economically subordinate to the United States, so their 'big picture' diplomatic strategy is largely both subordinate to, and compliant with, the United States coercive foreign policy strategies.

Coercion illegal under International Law Edited 14 May 2024

All signatories to the Charter of the United Nations are bound by its articles. All 193 countries that signed and ratified the Charter have agreed to be legally bound by Security Council resolutions (the General Assembly’s resolutions are not legally binding).

Chapter 1, Article 2, Clause 4 says "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Chapter VI, Article 33, Clause 1 says "The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice."

Clauses 35, 36, 37, 38 of Chapter VI allows any signatory country to bring any dispute or "situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute,..." to the United Nations for consideration "in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security". The UN can make recommendations on settlement, or, if the dispute is of a legal nature, it can be taken to the International Court of Justice.

In other words, if the face to face respectful negotiations of normal diplomacy fails, the matter can be settled via recommendations of either the General Assembly or Security Council.

When the dispute determines "...the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" then the Security Council "...shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security."

The options under Articles 41 start with breakoff of diplomatic relations, "complete or partial interruption of economic relations".
Article 42 says "Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations."

In other words all blockades and so-called 'sanctions' are illegal under international law unless that are sanctions imposed by United Nations resolutions.

Article 51 allows for individual or collective self defense if a country experiences an armed attack.

"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

The 'Declaration on Principles of International Law Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance With The Charter Of The United Nations' was affirmed by the General Assembly and says (among many other things):

"...Convinced that the strict observance by States of the obligation not to intervene in the affairs of any other State is an essential condition to ensure that nations live together in peace with one another, since the practice of any form of intervention not only violates the spirit and letter of the Charter, but also leads to the creation of situations which threaten international peace and security,

Recalling the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State,

Considering it essential that all States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations...

Declares further that:
The principles of the Charter which are embodied in this Declaration constitute basic principles of international law,..."

There it is. In black ink. Inarguable. Any form of coercion is illegal under international law.

On December 5 2023 the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran added further weight to this when they signed a bilateral declaration on unilateral coercion measures the preamble to which notes:

"Reaffirming General Assembly resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974 containing the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, pursuant to which no State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights"

The Declaration also notes "unilateral coercive measures in certain cases run counter to Security Council resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations and violate Security Council prerogatives under the Charter of the United Nations."

They make the further point that illegal coercive measures also "create obstacles" impede human rights, rights laid out in international legal instruments that carry the signatures of the perpetrators of coercive actions. Malign actions that deny people full enjoyment of their human rights.


"I would like to start the discussion of unilateral coercive measures by stating the obvious. Those measures are illegal under international law. Unilateral coercive measures represent an open attack on the principles of sovereign equality of states, non-interference in their internal affairs and international cooperation enshrined in the UN Charter...these tools are used by Western states that openly embrace them as part of their foreign policy...

The unilateral coercive measures are yet another manifestation of neocolonial practices and an attempt to divide the entire world into masters and slaves. For the former, there are endless exceptions from the "rules-based world order", while the latter can only count on the whip, the modern analog of which is the notorious “sanctions policy”.

The position of the United Nations with strong condemnation of such measures was formulated long ago.

In the 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty (adopted by UNGA Resolution 2131) it is clearly stated that “No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind”.

The relevance of UN General Assembly Resolution 72/201 entitled “Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries” is only growing.

Thus, the correct name for the 'unilateral coercive measures' would be 'illegal coercive measures'. ...Western countries lose all interest in human rights issues as soon as it comes to their own unilateral coercive measures, which...are designed for maximum, “carpet-like” coverage. They are not at all embarrassed by the fact that ordinary citizens suffer. This is the exact goal - to cause as much suffering as possible to the population in order to aggravate socio-economic problems, which they can conveniently use to change “undesirable” regimes.

Third states are often affected by unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States and its allies. The countries most affected are always those that already find themselves in a vulnerable position. The “collateral damage” caused, however significant, is of no concern to Washington, London or Brussels.

From the point of view of the unique mandate of the Security Council, the policy of unilateral restrictions is an attack on the established principles of international sanctions as provided in the UN Charter. Illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed without a Council resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter are incompatible with the principle of international cooperation and hamper it even in those areas where there is an urgent need and objective interest in combining efforts (counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and disarmament, etc.)...

Domestic political, socio-economic and humanitarian crises provoked in the states affected by unilateral coercive measures lead to refugee problems and cross-border terrorist activity. Artificially fueled instability often spills over to the regional level...

States imposing unilateral coercive measures bear full responsibility for undermining national counter-terrorism efforts, international cooperation in the global fight against this threat, and creating conditions conducive to its proliferation."
Maria Zabolotskaya, Deputy Permanent Representative at an "Arria-formula" meeting of UNSC members 25 March 2024

Coercive diplomacy, in concept and in action, is illegal. All those using it know full well it is illegal. They are contemptuous of International law, as well as their own domestic law, as the provisions of the Charter of the the United Nations forms part of the body of law of all the countries which are signatories.

Coercive diplomacy held in check by the balance of power

Prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union, there was a balance of power between the two superpowers -  The United States and the Soviet Union.

When the Soviet Union decided to alter course and break up into a series of independent countries the United States was left as sole superpower. China was rising, but hadn't yet achieved its potential. The Soviet Union was a mess, racked by economic collapse and social disintegration. The inmates could be exploited and complaints ignored.

Under these conditions it was natural for the USA government to assume it had 'won' something, and it acted accordingly. While previously coercive diplomacy was used by both sides, there was also respect on both sides. But once the Soviet Union was 'gone' and a new weak Russia emerged, the United States acted as if it ruled the world. And it did. Through rampant coercive diplomacy. The current Russian President once admitted that perhaps Russia, too, would have acted in a similar way in the same circumstances. It is human nature.

Despite USA government destruction of nuclear arms control mechanisms and place missiles right on the Russian Federation's border, by 2018 Russia managed to restore the balance of nuclear-military power. China, too, had become a formidable military force, with hypersonic missile technology and world beating economy. India, too is on the rise, and Iran can now impose unacceptable militarily costs to the USA in the Middle East.

The balance of power itself has become multipolar. In 2014 President Putin signaled to the west that the time has come for the west to abandon Alexander George's childish 'coercive diplomacy', grow up, return to adult diplomacy, and rationally reconstruct and adapt the mechanisms of checks and balances to bring them into line with new and emerging realities.

"We need to be frank in asking each other if we have a reliable safety net in place. Sadly, there is no guarantee and no certainty that the current system of global and regional security is able to protect us from upheavals. This system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. The international and regional political, economic, and cultural cooperation organisations are also going through difficult times.

Yes, many of the mechanisms we have for ensuring the world order were created quite a long time ago now, including and above all in the period immediately following World War II.

Let me stress that the solidity of the system created back then rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system’s ‘founding fathers’ had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.

The main thing is that this system needs to develop, and despite its various shortcomings, needs to at least be capable of keeping the world’s current problems within certain limits and regulating the intensity of the natural competition between countries.

It is my conviction that we could not take this mechanism of checks and balances that we built over the last decades, sometimes with such effort and difficulty, and simply tear it apart without building anything in its place.

Otherwise we would be left with no instruments other than brute force.

What we needed to do was to carry out a rational reconstruction and adapt it to the new realities in the system of international relations.

But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War...took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.

The Cold War ended, but it did not end with the signing of a peace treaty with clear and transparent agreements on respecting existing rules or creating new rules and standards.

This created the impression that the so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War had decided to pressure events and reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests. If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances in place got in the way of these aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition.

Pardon the analogy, but this is the way nouveaux riches behave when they suddenly end up with a great fortune, in this case, in the shape of world leadership and domination. Instead of managing their wealth wisely, for their own benefit too of course, I think they have committed many follies.

We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism.

Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms.

At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white. 

In a situation where you had domination by one country and its allies, or its satellites rather, the search for global solutions often turned into an attempt to impose their own universal recipes.

This group’s ambitions grew so big that they started presenting the policies they put together in their corridors of power as the view of the entire international community. But this is not the case."
Vladimir Putin 24 October 2014

The origin of the coercive diplomacy strategy Edited 4 March 2024

In 1971, Alexander George, a professor of behavioural science at Stanford University, introduced the concept of "coercive diplomacy", in his book 'The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy'. This was followed in 1991 by 'Forceful persuasion: coercive diplomacy as an alternative to war'. His ideas and advice influenced a number of Presidents, and were in vogue in the period of the cold war, and have now become the manual for what the United States government conceives as 'diplomacy'.

"Coercive diplomacy is an attractive strategy because it offers the defender a chance to achieve reasonable objectives in a crisis with less cost, with much less - if any - bloodshed, with fewer political and psychological costs, and often with less risk of unwanted escalation than is true with traditional military strategy. A crisis resolved by means of coercive diplomacy is also less likely to contaminate future relations between the two sides than is a war."
Alexander George and William Simons 'The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy'

George frames coercive diplomacy as being used by a 'defender', but he uses that word in a special sense - that is, as a country (implicitly the USA) 'defending' the status quo. This implies any legal thing another country does in pursuit of its own citizens well-being that the US government decides it doesn't like, is, by this twisted bit of logic, an 'aggression'. According to US coercive 'logic' a country acting as an independent sovereign - pursuing it's own interests rather than abiding by the US 'rules' - must be coercively stopped from acting independently. It must be made dependent on USA rules, obedient, obeying USA rules and dictates slavishly - or else.

"The central task of coercive to cause the adversary to expect sufficient costs and risks to cause him to stop what he is doing"
Alexander George and William Simons 'The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy'

George conceived of coercive diplomacy as composed of several possible strategies - it could use "rational persuasion", it could use "accommodation" (recognising another parties legitimate interests and not muddying the waters), or it could use coercive threats. The US objective is always the same, according to George - to 'encourage' the adversary to comply with American demands, or to agree to a compromise that suits America. George frames compromise as "work out an acceptable compromise". But the object of working anything out is compliance with that which suits the stronger partner.  Thus, coercive diplomacy is not an equal dialogue between parties. In reality, coercive diplomacy is generally an aggressive act lazily used, in place of the more tedious patient, reasoned diplomatic discourse - a process that can only work if is carried out respectfully, honestly, and where each sides legitimate interests are balanced (there are no 'winners' and 'losers', only useful results and concessions).

Today, George's conception of 'coercive diplomacy' has largely been stripped of even rationality, accommodation, and compromise. Threats have grown like a bloated cuckoo chick in a wren's nest. The cuckoo nestling grows faster, hogs the food, and when large enough, throws his nest-mates out of the nest.

George regarded coercive diplomacy as an attractive option, better than military action. He made the base assumption that the US politicians who routinely use coercive diplomacy against weaker opponent would not use toxic levels of coercive diplomacy against a major conventional and nuclear power.

George also realised that when a powerful country uses it against a weak country the stronger country might not take into account the moral determination of the weak country to defend its people and historic territory. A determined and resourceful weak country may simply refuse to bow down to the US government, almost regardless of the cost. Yemen is a case in point - as is Afghanistan.

"I will explain that American strategic planning documents confirm the possibility of a so-called preemptive strike at enemy missile systems.

We also know the main adversary of the United States and NATO. It is Russia.

NATO documents officially declare our country to be the main threat to Euro-Atlantic security.

Ukraine will serve as an advanced bridgehead for such a strike.

If our ancestors heard about this, they would probably simply not believe this. We do not want to believe this today either, but it is what it is. I would like people in Russia and Ukraine to understand this...

...I would like to be clear and straightforward: in the current circumstances, when our proposals for an equal dialogue on fundamental issues have actually remained unanswered by the United States and NATO, when the level of threats to our country has increased significantly, Russia has every right to respond in order to ensure its security. That is exactly what we will do.
Vladimir Putin 21 February 2022

George could not conceive of the US politicians attacking a powerful country and mistaking slowness of that country to retaliate as 'weakness'. Yet here we are. (Some retaliation is years in having its effect - and this will be the case with a turn to goods - based non-dollar currencies used in trade.)

He believed that coercive diplomacy is not just a means to obtain a political objective, but is also a psychological strategy to alter the present and future behaviour of officials of other countries. He firmly believed that is was necessary for diplomats and top leadership to understand the adversaries 'world view', what the political constraints and opportunities were in the operating environment of the adversary, and how the leaders of that country 'see things'. 

But the degree to which USA politicians have ever really understood Russia is moot. The reliability of the current 'experts' who explain these matters to the top politicians and diplomats has been called into question. Intelligence is supposed to provide input on Russia's capacity as a military-economic state, on the Russian peoples moral fibre, so to speak, their resolve, their will to resist, and the strength to which they hold on to values such as homeland, community, family, sacrifice. Judging by their actions, the USA has very low quality intelligence on these elements of Russia's being. Bad intelligence leads to bad decisions. Compounding this, the psychological inclinations of the current US President (Joseph Biden) may be dismissive of this central element of George's 'package'. In which case the American politicians will either hold false views about Russia (and China for that matter) or understand very little. In any case, it  should have been very clear that attempting to coerce Russia at all was a bad idea who repercussions would become worse with time.

'Don't do it' was simply not considered.

Their own disinterest in understanding Russia allows the US politicians to insolently escalate coercion until it has almost seamlessly become a war against Russia. In a frightening demonstration of the danger posed by the atrophied and sclerotic US political borg, in lock-step they lurch like zombies closer and closer to the edge of the precipice. Dragging the rest of the world with them.

George considered that the strength of the coercive measures an aggressor used was a reflection of the strength of the aggressors motives.

If that is the case then US government's very strong and very dangerous coercive measures against Russia suggest that something very important to the US government is at stake. What, then is at stake? Social stability might be half of the answer.

The rationale for using coercive diplomacy

1. Coerce the rest of the world to provide social stability in the USA

The US is deeply in debt, the dollar will likely fall in value as foreigners turn away from buying US debt, and US tangible goods exports over imports have a trade deficit of over a trillion dollars. About half a trillion represents the trade deficit with China and Europe. The USA needs Chinese strategic manufactures - rare metals, pharmaceuticals and so forth, but the USA doesn't really need Europe. The USA needs to buy time to build competitive manufacturing industries for export. It needs time to source strategic minerals from other countries than China. It needs to increase the cost structure for European industries so US manufacturers can compete on price, in spite of the distances shipped. It needs to substitute locally produced products for imported products. It time to lure European industries to re-locate to the USA.  All these measures create employment in the USA. But at the same time destroys employment in Europe.

Cutting Europe off from cheap Russian energy is the perfect way to raise the costs structure in Europe. The US government can, at the same time, promote European energy security through seaborne imports of natural gas and oil from distant sources in the Middle East and Africa. And in the case of gas, from USA. The US government-incited European economic 'sanctions' against Russia are the perfect tool (sabotage of the natural gas pipeline is icing on the cake). Europe now has a permanently high cost structure for its supplies of industrial energy.

2. Coerce Russia and China to agree to a US-centric lop-sided nuclear and hypersonic arms treaty

The second half of what is at stake for USA is nuclear annihilation.

The US government hoped to ring Russia with nuclear capable missiles and blackmail Russia into allowing the US to exploit Russian natural resources. That has failed.

Russia responded with world-beating hypersonic technology that allows Russia to launch a submarine attack on USA with unstoppable hypersonic missiles carrying either a nuclear or conventional warhead. Russian hypersonic cruise missiles launched by bombers and fighter-bombers within Russian airspace can reach much of continental United States. The US gambled on creating a permanent nuclear-tipped cruise missile and glide bomb threat on Russia's border, protected by an 'anti-missile shield' on both Europes eastern margin and South East Asia's western margin. Russia can probably shoot most of these down, but the experience of the Russia-Ukraine conflict demonstrates that a few will still get through.

A Russian nuclear response on USA territory would be instant and unstoppable.

The USA is desperate to sign an arms control treaty with Russia (and China) that covers this threat to the existence of the US 'continental island'. The US government well understands that Russia does not 'need' anything from the US.

The USA government could have used cooperative diplomacy to achieve nuclear arms control. The Russians had already said they were willing to work out US concerns about hypersonic weapons. But Russia can hardly be expected to help the US with the structure of its economic problem. Maybe it was opportunistic, but the US decided it could exploit the Ukrainian civil war to kill Russians, destroy the Russian economy, and promote civil unrest in Russia - at no real cost to the USA.

Degrees of coercion
The idea of 'coercive diplomacy', at least as conceived by Alexander George, was as a tool to persuade an opponent to either "stop or reverse an action". He explicitly stated that this is a defensive, not an offensive strategy. It is used only as a response to a current action or posture of an opponent who is trying to change "a status quo situation" to their own advantage.

Level one coercion
Stopping an adversary from following a course the USA doesn't like could be thought of as level one.

Level two coercion
Level two is forcing a country to not only stop it's chosen course of action, but reverse what has already been done.

Level three coercion
Level three is "a cessation of the opponent's hostile behavior through a demand for change in the composition of the adversary's government or in the nature of the regime". He implies that this offensive threat is still 'coercive diplomacy' even if limited military force is used, as long as that force is not based on a strategy to achieve purely strategic military goals, but to signal other political purposes, such as intention to escalate and change the nature of military engagement if necessary. (The danger, of course, is an escalatory slide to full-blown war.)

George is quite explicit about this. He says "an even more ambitious aim" is to stop "an opponent's hostile behavior" by, in effect, forcing a country to give up it's sovereignty and allow another country to dictate the makeup of their government, or even "change the nature of the regime", which is simply another way of saying 'overthrow the existing government' and replace it with a government picked by another country.

Fomenting coups and 'regime change' is a strategy used by the West all the time (and other countries from time to time). Recent examples include attempts to overthrow the government of Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Libya.

The most bizarre and clownish example is when the United States (and various European governments) arrogantly declared that a person (Guido) who did not even stand as a candidate in the election race for President of Venezuelan was the new President of Venezuela! US-backed attempts to overthrow the legitimately elected government failed, and finally the US was forced to evict their hand-fed puppet from the Venezuelan Embassy building and protect the premises (as required by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961) until such time as the US Government decides there is government in Venezuela that will do what the US wants. Not the worst example of the failings of coercive diplomacy, but an increasingly typical one as the US Government slowly finds its new place in global affairs.

Hostile behaviour
Aggressive level three coercive diplomacy 'justifies' itself by labeling other state's actions as 'hostile behaviour'.  What does that mean? Outside warfare, the term 'hostile behavior' can mean anything someone wants it to mean.

In the case of the United States government, the 'hostile behavior' propaganda term means almost anything at all done by another country that just happens not to suit the USA. A bully needs an excuse. Whatever you do or say - or don't do - it will be twisted into grounds for bullying. Generally, 'hostile behaviour' is anything at all that denies the US government the chance to dominate/strong-arm/overthrow, or exploit another countries resources or businesses.

"Competitors now commonly seek adverse changes in the status quo using gray zone methods - coercive approaches that may fall below perceived thresholds for U.S. military action and across areas of responsibility of different parts of the U.S. Government."
United States of America National Defense Strategy, 2022

Adverse to who? The 'status quo' the USA wants to continue is very favorable to the USA, but not necessarily favorable to less powerful countries. You can't blame them for 'influencing' or overthrowing governments in other countries, as historically, at least, it has almost always brought advantageous results for the USA, either for business, or for the USA's security.

George modestly admits this "stretches coercive diplomacy to its outer limits" and "may blur the distinction between defensive and offensive use of threats". Normal people see this very clearly - they instantly recognise this as an offensive, not a defensive strategy.


Large parts of the world want true independence from the US and western vassalage. The 'status quo', which is western domination solely in the west's material interest - is being revised. The west ideological blatherers contemptuously call the countries that want freedom to make decisions solely in line with their own needs and interests as 'revisionists'.

'Revised' means looked at again. The non-western world has come to the point where it realises that a non-western power will soon be the leading economic power in the world, and a non-western power has become the most powerful defensive military power in the world. When looking again at the world, with a tectonic transformation in power, they are realising there is a much better path than subservience. And it is not the west that is offering it.

The 'status quo' - things as they are - will soon be looked back on as the 'status quo ante' - things as they were. After all, who will put up with coercion in a power-rebalanced world?

Sovereignty [added 1 February 2024, edited 22 February 2024]

"The UN Charter states that the UN was founded on the principle of sovereign equality of states. This is the principle of paramount importance. Think back to various conflicts that have taken place since the creation of the UN in 1945. Just go over every one that comes to your mind.

There is not a single conflict in history with Western participation, either before or after the UN was created, in which the United States or their allies observed the principle of sovereign equality
, despite the obligation to respect the sovereign equality of states being enshrined in the Charter."
Sergey Lavrov 16 February 2024

Before we discuss what countries call their 'interests', it is necessary to discuss 'sovereignty'. Sovereignty between states means the ability of a state to go about it's legitimate affairs without interference from other states. In Chapter 1, 'Purposes and Principles', Article 2 (1) of the United Nations Charter refers to 'sovereign equality - "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members." This means that all decisions (consistant with international law) made by the leadership of a state are made free from outside direction, or coercion.

The west, and particularly the USA, doesn't respect the sovereignty of other countries. The west undermines political leaders, funds opposition parties, funds terrorist organisations, funds 'activists' to influence elections, places illegal economic blockades on countries, cripples their imports, cripples their exports, blackmails them, invent 'rules' for countries to obey, disrespects them, bullies them, and so on. The objective is to either put in a puppet government, or force the governments in those countries to do whatever the western governments want. Their sovereignty is undermined, simply stripped away.

Sovereignty has many dimensions, and the Russian President expressed it well:

"...our main objective is to strengthen sovereignty. But it is a broad concept.

For example, strengthening sovereignty on the international stage involves enhancing our defence capability and security on the external contour.

It also includes strengthening social sovereignty, which means providing safeguards for the rights and freedoms of our citizens, as well as developing our political and parliamentary systems.

And lastly, it includes economic security and sovereignty, as well as technological sovereignty....Just like any other country, Russia must assert its financial, economic, and technological sovereignty in order to have a future. These are the main vectors from a conceptual standpoint."
Vladimir Putin 14 December 2023

Up untill recently only big powers had a chance to defend their sovereign security from attack by the United States, also a large power. Russia has been able to re-establish strategic stability, even although multiple US nuclear weapons are being moved dangerously close to Russia's capital. Russia has achieved this through unique military technological advancements associated with the world's most powerful defensive military force. China, too, has achieved security through technologically advanced missiles and missile defense. In contraast, smaller countries are at the mercy of US military might. The US invades and occupies small countries with impunity. It invariably fails to force its will on mid-sized countries, as Afghanistan showed. But advances in drone and 'cheap' missile technology are changing the calculus even for small impoverished countries. This has been shown by the Yemenis, and by the Iranians, to mention just two.

Foreign agents, often hidden within civil organisations, are used to disrupt, de-legitimise, and stir social unrest. It easly to find ideologically driven hot heads in any country. The era of instant 'flash mob' organisation via social media and cellphones make these directed 'renta-mobs' particularly dangerous. Open and responsive governance, open dialogue in society, and above all, comfortable social conditions are essential to preserving social cohesion and therefore sovereignty. People defend what they value.

It follows, that after security from armed aggressions, an economically secure and comfortable popular majority are the most important vectors leading to sovereignty. All governments know this. Mr. Biden's government knows this, and works towards it in order to preserve America's sovereignty, which I suspect he fears may become unstable due to long term deteriorating economic and therefore social conditions. At the same time, he works to destroy the economic conditions and prosperity of the majority of the Russian Federations people through coercive blockades and proxy war, in the hope of destroying the Russian people's sovereign independence, which, to endure, requires a diverse and competitive domestic economy and a thriving middle class.

Economic sovereignty is hard to achieve, All countries depend on each other to greater or lesser extent, for imports and for exports. Mutualy acceptable deals often mean having to reconcile differences in sovereign regulations within countries. One party cannot simply 'assert its sovereignty' over the other. That would be dominance, 'master' over 'vassal'. But these are value for value transactions, made openly and willingly by two equal-under-law sovereign countries in their mutual best interest. Mechanism such as BRICS are designed to make it easier for the economic interests of member countries to be met.

And here we must distinguish between lawful interests, such as business interests, and political-social interests, which relate to the security of a sovereign nation. Security is at the core of a sovereign state; without it, a sovereign state cannot exist.

Providing security across all dimensions of human life is the most important task of sovereigns. It is a difficult task. It is best not done at someone elses expense. Such a relationship won't last. And if a nation is not free to make its own decisions without interference, it is not a sovereign nation. It is a vassal state, with craven and submissive sovereign representatives, working for the interests of some other nation.

Interests [edited 3 March 2024]

Every country has national interests.

Rein Muellerson: ...Andrei Kozyrev once told President Nixon that Russia had no national interests, only common human interests. Nixon shook his head.

Vladimir Putin: This shows that Nixon has a head, while Mr Kozyrev, unfortunately, has not. He has a cranium but no head as such.
19 October, 2017

' cover a spectrum. Security from outside force destroying the state, whether militarily, through terror, or from outside subversion, is right at the top. In fact it is the 'supreme interest' of a free and sovereign state. A desire to project an image as 'a good guy' is at the bottom. Everything else is a hierarchic grade in-between.

Core interests
These are synonymous with a states 'supreme interest' - existence as a political-social-geographic entity. A core interest is some action that affects the security of a state. It might be a military action, it might be creation of a potent realisable threat on a countries border that can strike suddenly, it might be interfering with a nations major water supply, it might be a large scale and persisting series of terrorist attacks, it might be inciting and supporting a military-political coup, it might be a hostile state building nuclear weapons on Russia's border. There are many examples.

The United States and its western vassals are daring to threaten Russia's supreme interest - the continued existence of the Russian State. And openly admitting it.

"It’s astonishing to hear what European and especially German politicians are saying now about their duty. Take Germany. My counterpart Ms. Baerbock said – as quoted by various media outlets – that Germany simply had to supply Ukraine with weapons, considering its ‘historical responsibility.’ What does that mean? Does Germany recognise it as its duty and historical responsibility to support neo-Nazis? That’s a strange connection there. And Ursula von der Leyen said that today the EU and Ukraine are closer than ever. Meaning what? I guess it means that if you’re a Russophobe, a fascist or a neo-Nazi, you’re free to do anything you want. 

This is the reaction to Russia restoring justice in Ukraine, but has there been anything remotely like this when hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians were dying at the hands of the US and their enlightened democratic allies who sent their troops to fight wars thousands of miles away from their own borders

So for the US, a small vial and a claim that it’s a national security threat was enough to justify the Iraq invasion. The US and Iraq, the US and Libya or Syria – they’re so far away, and yet the US feels it has the right to do these things. 

No international bodies condemned these instances of groundless military aggression as a violation of international law.

But look at the hysteria that started now as if on cue when it came to security threats to Russia that exist right at our borders
Sergey Lavrov 2 March 2022

The Russian response has been very patient. But as Sergey Lavrov observed in March 2022, "Our patience has its limits, you know." He was, in part referring to the Ukrainian President suggesting they may take up a nuclear weapons program. Mr. Lavrov bluntly responded "They have the capabilities in terms of technology and equipment. ...But I can assure you we won’t let them."

"Sunak, Scholz, Macron, Norwegen, Finnish, Polish, and other NATO bosses are harping on, “We must be ready for war against Russia.”

Even though Russia has many times underscored that conflict with NATO and EU member states was not in the plans, the dangerous babbling is still going on.

The reasons are obvious. It is necessary to distract voters to justify multibillion spending on the bothersome bandera Ukraine. Indeed, gigantic sums of money are being spent not on solving social tasks, but on war in a dying country alien to taxpayers, with the population that is scattered across Europe and is now terrorizing its people.

This is why the heads of these states are emphasizing it on a daily basis: it is imperative to get ready for war against Russia and keep providing aid to Ukraine, which is why it is necessary to produce more tanks, missiles, drones and other weapons.

But not all the European bosses are cynically lying to their citizens.

If – God forbid! – such a war breaks out, it won’t go according to the Special Military Operation scenario. It won’t be fought in trenches using artillery, armoured vehicles, drones and EW. (Electronic Warfare)

NATO is a huge military bloc, the total population of the Alliance member states is about 1 billion people, and their combined military budget can get as high as $1,5 trillion.

So, because our military capabilities are thus incomparable, we will simply be left with no choice.
The response will be asymmetrical.
To defend our country’s territorial integrity, ballistic and cruise missiles carrying special warheads will be put to use.
It is based on our military doctrine documents and is well known to all.
And this is exactly that very Apocalypse.
The end to everything.

This is why Western politicians must... telling the bitter truth to their voters, and stop taking them for brainless morons; to explain to them, what will really happen, and not to play the false mantra of getting ready for war against Russia over and over again.
Dmitry Medvedev 7 February 2024

'Interests' in the 'coercive diplomacy' strategy
The 'logic' around the success or failure of coercion is that the determination to impose the coercers will on the other party reflects the coercers own conception of what the stakes are.

Unfortunately - and this is another weakness of the concept of 'coercive' diplomacy (the term itself is an oxymoron) - the 'stakes' can be personal (and, incidentally, also personality-type driven). In America, in particular, foreign policy can be hostage to the Presidential election cycle, where the incumbent may try to look 'strong' before an imminent election. 'Strong' is equated with violent military adventures. When these start to go wrong, as they generally do, the personal stakes become even higher, and the temptation is to escalate the violence. Once military assets and personnel start to be destroyed there is a natural personal aversion 'back down' for fear of 'looking weak'.

As the Russians leaders showed when there was an attempted coup by leaders of the Wagner private military group, true strength comes not from hot-headed emotionally inflamed posturing, but from the ability to remain calm and level-headed, and avoid bloodshed through negotiation and reasonable compromise.

"...they are again trying to blackmail us and are threatening us with sanctions, which, by the way, they will introduce no matter what as Russia continues to strengthen its sovereignty and its Armed Forces...

...they will never think twice before coming up with or just fabricating a pretext for yet another sanction attack regardless of the developments in Ukraine.

Their one and only goal is to hold back the development of Russia.

And they will keep doing so, just as they did before, even without any formal pretext just because we exist and will never compromise our sovereignty, national interests or values."
Vladimir Putin 21 February 2022

Russia clearly states it will never bend to anyone and give up its sovereign independence, values (cultural and social), and core national interests. Any demand to do so with be rejected. Russia is motivated by the sacrifice of generations to absolutely reject compliance with any outside coercive action that trespasses on any of these 3 factors. Comprise would be a betrayal to the soul of the Russian nation. The United States government is slowly learning this immutable reality.

In general, the only legitimate interests are lawful interests. They must align with the UN Charter and with International law. However, some elements of international law are subject to argument, and there is also an element of law that is a reflection of current 'norms'. Norms can and do evolve overtime.

In George's thesis, where a 'demand' is made of a nation in an area that it doesn't care that much about, it will be 'willing' to be coerced. Frankly, this sounds a slightly spiced up version of normal compromises in negotiation of those interests that both parties are willing to negotiate. A 'balance of interests' and compromise are virtually the catch-cries of the Russian government.

United States governments historically equate USA political and economic objectives (and 'desires') with its "interests"; even when in reality they are just knowingly sticking their nose into other countries sensitive interests that have little or nothing to do with the United States.

Russia's interests, like most countries, are mainly economic. Like most countries, Russia is 'interested in expanding trade. Trade negotiations are made easier when there are good country to country relations. Relationship-building can take many decades. Relations are easily destroyed by coercive diplomacy, as the west is finding out in Africa.

" is what I often think about when I meet with our African friends. At a certain period of time, during the Soviet era, I remember it well, an opinion was formed within the society that we were wasting money. Well, why do we spend money on Africa? Where is this Africa? We have a lot of our own problems.

And now, when I talk with our friends from Africa, I think with gratitude of the people who pursued such policy in Africa. They laid great foundations of durability, friendly relations with African countries, which… I do not know whether they expected such results themselves or not.

And this was done back then, naturally, and our attempts to work on the African track today are made in the interests of Russia, first and foremost.

There are many components here. The economic – let’s start with the economy. Such a huge potential and it is growing, at a very fast pace, at an exponential rate. There are already 1.5 billion people in Africa, and this is a very young population, growing very fast.

Everybody is well aware of the fact that the African continent is a depositary of mineral resources, and it is. Some Asian countries are actually converting their reserves into African mineral resources. You know, talented people, development is rapid.

Yes, the population is still poor, it is clear, we are all well aware of that, but the progress is rapid....The world is changing rapidly....So, of course, we should use everything that has been built up since Soviet times, these very good, trust-based relations, and work in a new way...

But now, you know, our African friends are not asking for any handouts....There has not been a single direct request: give us this, give us that – no, everyone is trying to find projects that would be mutually acceptable and interesting for both sides. This is a change, and such a serious one at that."
Vladimir Putin 29 July 2023
Russia, like most major countries, has invested in African minerals. Russia takes the line that business interests must be founded on 'value for value'. That is, both sides are meeting their own national interests. It is not a sentimental thing, but it is influenced by existing good relations, including good relations at the top level of government. 'Interests' therefore, are predominantly hard-nosed business transactions, but are best likely to succeed when both sides gain fair benefits, uninfluenced by coercion, with negotiations carried out in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. Trust verified by experience.

The world is moving into an era of mineral resource depletion. There is a 'scramble' for minerals associated with non-fossil fuelled energy generation. Poor but mineral-rich countries want to develop. They will no longer accept a role as just mineral provider to the world, whether west, east, or any other point of the compass. It is in their interests to favor doing business with countries that help them advance technically, and, as they look at the wests coercive our to Russia, to become increasingly self reliant.

"We have absolutely no problem with the fact that these countries, including Saudi Arabia, have their own special interests, historical ties and allied relations with, among others, the United States. Why should this worry us? This does not mean that we are forbidden from working with Saudi Arabia; we will do so. As for Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, it is up to them to decide who they prefer to work with and on what issues....

...we have shared economic interests – importantly, interests of a global nature. Now, we have coordinated our position on the energy market with OPEC nations, above all with Saudi Arabia and the [oil] price has been stable, at over $50. We consider this a fair price; it is quite suitable for us. This is the result of joint efforts....

...The first opportunities have emerged for defense technology cooperation. Yes, there are multi-billion contracts with the United States. Very well! Do you know what our people say? “The chicken pecks one grain at a time.” Our ties will expand slowly and perhaps these contracts will grow. "
Vladimir Putin 19 October 2017

The 'mix' of a countries interests is up to that country and its people to determine - no one else. But the west's coercive diplomacy is a strategy to interfere in a countries sovereign right to determine who it aligns with at any point in time. Countries perceived interests change, they always have and always will. Western coercive diplomacy tries to force change to a lop-sided benefit to the west. The wests coercive diplomacy tries to eliminate economic competitors, even when the competitor they are pushing out is supplying a great benefit. Cheap Russian gas to Germany is the shining example.

The 'either-or' false dichotomy constantly promoted by the west is disrespectful arrogance, yes, but that is the least of it. These coercive blackmail techniques work against the interests of the population of the targeted country, blocking benefits they might otherwise enjoy.

Russia defends its interests within the bounds of international law Edited 19 February 2024

The United States governments over the years have acted in USA 'interests' in disregard of international law  - except when compliance suits it. The Russian government prefers to act lawfully to defend its interests. But when necessary, Russia will act just outside international law if Russia's 'supreme interest' - the continued existence of the Russian state - is under threat. It was finally forced into not-quite-legal action in Ukraine, although it battled for years to avoid it.

"Why stage a coup in Ukraine in 2014? That is what got everything going. Three foreign ministers from three European countries – Germany, France and Poland – came to Ukraine to attend, as guarantors, the ceremony for signing agreements between then President Yanukovych and the opposition.

I got a call from President Obama, “Let’s get things to quiet down there.” – “Let’s.” A day later, a coup took place. Why stage a coup at a time where the opposition could have come to power in a democratic way? Go to the polls and win… No, for whatever reason they had to stage a bloody coup. This is how it all started.

Now, they are saying: let’s forget it. No, we will always remember it, because this is the reason. The reason is the people who made this coup possible.

What were the guarantors who signed the agreement between President Yanukovych and the opposition supposed to do? There was a coup, whereas they guaranteed a peaceful process. What were they supposed to do?

They should have come and said something like “guys, that will not do. Get back on the normal political track and go to the polls.” Instead, they started handing out cookies in the squares and supporting the coup. What for?

That triggered the events in Crimea. They chose not to respect the choice made by the Crimean people, and the first volley of sanctions on Russia followed.

They carried out two, even three large-scale military operations in Donbass, shooting at civilians for eight long years with no one paying attention.

Kiev refused to comply with the Minsk agreements, and it was fine with some people. That is what caused the situation at hand. That is why it all happened.

In addition, they started creating an anti-Russian foothold in Ukraine. How about we create an anti-American foothold on the borders with the United States, say, in Mexico? Do you know what will happen next? For some reason, it never even occurs to anyone to do something like that in the United States. At some point, we even removed our military bases from Cuba. You see, no one is even looking at it and does not want to look.

Meanwhile, they are creating such threats for us.

We told them a hundred times, a thousand times: let’s talk. But no.

Why such a position? Where does this dismissive stance towards everyone, including us, come from? Does it come from the imaginary greatness that gradually developed after the collapse of the Soviet Union? We are aware of that.

With regard to what we are going to do next, we are going to protect the interests of the people for whom our soldiers are fighting there, getting wounded and dying. This is the only way. What is the point of these sacrifices otherwise?

We will support the residents of these territories. In the end, the future of the people who live there is up to them to decide. We will respect any choice they make."
Vladimir Putin 17 June 2022 

"The notion and the principle that it is the people of the country in question, particularly in a democracy, who should be able to decide their future and their association, not someone from the outside."
Anthony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, 8 December 2015

The sequence where the Ukrainian President was deposed in a coup, an unconstitutional additional Ukrainian election was held, the Donbass seceded from Ukraine (on the basis the government no longer legally protected its language and culture), bloodily beat beat two attempts by Ukraine to conquer them, the Minsk settlement was ignored by Ukraine, rebel areas became 2 sovereign republics, they signed a mutual defense pact with the Russian Federation, asked Russia for military assistance under section 51 of the UN Charter, and finally voted to merge with Russia; all this is fully in line with international law - except for the fact that only UN member countries can invoke section 51, and the 2 Republics weren't UN members.

"The notion that it should not be permissible for one country to change by force another country’s borders"
Anthony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, 8 December 2015

Clearly, Mr Blinken's postulate doesn't apply here. Ukraine underwent a schism by part of the population whose cultural rights were legislated aaginst. Russia didn't take a part of Ukraine. Part of Ukraine voluntarilly - eagerly - asked to join Russia, and then be defended against Ukrainian violence. Russia (finally) agreed. Mr. Blinken presents a strawman argument.

Once the Republics asked for help and moved in to push the Ukrainians away from the borders of the new republics, enough space was created to find out if the populations would prefer to remain independent states, or join the Russian Federation. They voted to join the Russian Federation. Russia's border with Ukraine shifted west in line with the popular vote, and, incidentally, closer to the original Russian border prior to 1922. Ukraine could have accepted the popular will and removed their army. But they chose to continue to seize back what they refuse to concede is now Russia. As at 19 February 2024, Ukraine is still in those new Russian territories.

"We are often told our actions are illegitimate, but when I ask, “Do you think everything you do is legitimate?” they say “yes”. Then, I have to recall the actions of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where they either acted without any UN sanctions or completely distorted the content of such resolutions, as was the case with Libya. There, as you may know, the resolution only spoke of closing the airspace for government aircraft, while it all ended with bomb attacks and special forces land operations.

Our partners, especially in the United States, always clearly formulate their own geopolitical and state interests and follow them with persistence. Then, using the principle “You’re either with us or against us” they draw the whole world in. And those who do not join in get ‘beaten’ until they do.

Our approach is different. We proceed from the conviction that we always act legitimately. I have personally always been an advocate of acting in compliance with international law.

I would like to stress yet again that if we do make the decision, if I do decide to use the Armed Forces, this will be a legitimate decision in full compliance with both general norms of international law, since we have the appeal of the legitimate President [referring to Ukrainian President Yanukovych deposed in the 2014 coup], and with our commitments, which in this case coincide with our interests to protect the people with whom we have close historical, cultural and economic ties.

Protecting these people is in our national interests. This is a humanitarian mission. We do not intend to subjugate anyone or to dictate to anyone. However, we cannot remain indifferent if we see that they are being persecuted, destroyed and humiliated. However, I sincerely hope it never gets to that.
Vladimir Putin 4 March 2014

The President was clearly signalling that the Russian speaking of the Donbass would be protected from persecution and the shelling of civilian areas prevented (civilian areas were still being shelled at late October 2023, including with US - supplied cluster munitions). The destruction of an ethnic group, the denial of it's culture and language, the imposition of psychological terror, the killing of civilians - these are all indicators of a genocidal policy. The Ukrainian President Zelensky once referred to Russian speaking people in the east as  "a species", indicating a lesser humanity. He said they should move to Russia, indicating intent to deprive people of their homeland. Potentially, indicators of genocidal intent. Russia is not a party to the International Court of Justice, but it acts in accordance with the provisions of the law against genocide, including the responsiblity to stop a genocidal party.

The greatest threat to Russian security is, firstly, a nuclear weapon armed Ukraine, and secondly, massive NATO armies poised on Russia's border. This is a coercive threat of the very highest order. Obviously, the west's moves threaten Russia's 'supreme interests'. Equally obviously, given the cross-border family, cultural and religious ties with Russian-speaking East Ukraine, it is in Russia's interests to end the brutal assault on the civilians there, let alone protect then from imposed far right anti-Russian racism.

The west's strategy is reckless, it is a psychopathic strategy, which will put the world "on this very dangerous road to Armageddon" as retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor said (in relation to some USA politicians coercive threats to Iran).

"As we know, it has already been stated today that Ukraine intends to create its own nuclear weapons, and this is not just bragging. Ukraine has the nuclear technologies created back in the Soviet times and delivery vehicles for such weapons, including aircraft, as well as the Soviet-designed Tochka-U precision tactical missiles with a range of over 100 kilometres. But they can do more; it is only a matter of time. They have had the groundwork for this since the Soviet era.

In other words, acquiring tactical nuclear weapons will be much easier for Ukraine than for some other states I am not going to mention here, which are conducting such research, especially if Kiev receives foreign technological support. We cannot rule this out either.

If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the situation in the world and in Europe will drastically change, especially for us, for Russia.

We cannot but react to this real danger, all the more so since, let me repeat, Ukraine’s Western patrons may help it acquire these weapons to create yet another threat to our country.

We are seeing how persistently the Kiev regime is being pumped with arms. Since 2014, the United States alone has spent billions of dollars for this purpose, including supplies of arms and equipment and training of specialists. In the last few months, there has been a constant flow of Western weapons to Ukraine, ostentatiously, with the entire world watching. Foreign advisors supervise the activities of Ukraine’s armed forces and special services and we are well aware of this.

Over the past few years, military contingents of NATO countries have been almost constantly present on Ukrainian territory under the pretext of exercises.

The Ukrainian troop control system has already been integrated into NATO. This means that NATO headquarters can issue direct commands to the Ukrainian armed forces, even to their separate units and squads.

The United States and NATO have started an impudent development of Ukrainian territory as a theatre of potential military operations.

Their regular joint exercises are obviously anti-Russian. Last year alone, over 23,000 troops and more than a thousand units of hardware were involved.

A law has already been adopted that allows foreign troops to come to Ukraine in 2022 to take part in multinational drills. Understandably, these are primarily NATO troops. This year, at least ten of these joint drills are planned.

Obviously, such undertakings are designed to be a cover-up for a rapid buildup of the NATO military group on Ukrainian territory.

This is all the more so since the network of airfields upgraded with US help in Borispol, Ivano-Frankovsk, Chuguyev and Odessa, to name a few, is capable of transferring army units in a very short time. Ukraine’s airspace is open to flights by US strategic and reconnaissance aircraft and drones that conduct surveillance over Russian territory.

I will add that the US-built Maritime Operations Centre in Ochakov makes it possible to support activity by NATO warships, including the use of precision weapons, against the Russian Black Sea Fleet and our infrastructure on the entire Black Sea Coast.

At one time, the United States intended to build similar facilities in Crimea as well but the Crimeans and residents of Sevastopol wrecked these plans. We will always remember this...

.... the Alliance, its military infrastructure has reached Russia’s borders. This is one of the key causes of the European security crisis; it has had the most negative impact on the entire system of international relations and led to the loss of mutual trust.

The situation continues to deteriorate, including in the strategic area.

Thus, positioning areas for interceptor missiles are being established in Romania and Poland as part of the US project to create a global missile defence system. It is common knowledge that the launchers deployed there can be used for Tomahawk cruise missiles – offensive strike systems.

In addition, the United States is developing its all-purpose Standard Missile-6, which can provide air and missile defence, as well as strike ground and surface targets. In other words, the allegedly defensive US missile defence system is developing and expanding its new offensive capabilities.

The information we have gives us good reason to believe that Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the subsequent deployment of NATO facilities has already been decided and is only a matter of time.

We clearly understand that given this scenario, the level of military threats to Russia will increase dramatically, several times over. And I would like to emphasise at this point that the risk of a sudden strike at our country will multiply.

I will explain that American strategic planning documents confirm the possibility of a so-called preemptive strike at enemy missile systems.

We also know the main adversary of the United States and NATO. It is Russia.

...Ukraine will serve as an advanced bridgehead for such a strike. If our ancestors heard about this, they would probably simply not believe this. We do not want to believe this today either, but it is what it is. I would like people in Russia and Ukraine to understand this.

Many Ukrainian airfields are located not far from our borders.

NATO’s tactical aviation deployed there, including precision weapon carriers, will be capable of striking at our territory to the depth of the Volgograd-Kazan-Samara-Astrakhan line.

The deployment of reconnaissance radars on Ukrainian territory will allow NATO to tightly control Russia’s airspace up to the Urals.

Finally, after the US destroyed the INF Treaty, the Pentagon has been openly developing many land-based attack weapons, including ballistic missiles that are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 5,500 km. If deployed in Ukraine, such systems will be able to hit targets in Russia’s entire European part.

The flying time of Tomahawk cruise missiles to Moscow will be less than 35 minutes;

ballistic missiles from Kharkov will take seven to eight minutes;

and hypersonic assault weapons, four to five minutes.

It is like a knife to the throat

I have no doubt that they hope to carry out these plans, as they did many times in the past, expanding NATO eastward, moving their military infrastructure to Russian borders and fully ignoring our concerns, protests and warnings.

Excuse me, but they simply did not care at all about such things and did whatever they deemed necessary. Of course, they are going to behave in the same way in the future, following a well-known proverb: “The dogs bark but the caravan goes on.”

Let me say right away – we do not accept this behaviour and will never accept it.

That said, Russia has always advocated the resolution of the most complicated problems by political and diplomatic means, at the negotiating table.

We are well aware of our enormous responsibility when it comes to regional and global stability. Back in 2008, Russia put forth an initiative to conclude a European Security Treaty under which not a single Euro-Atlantic state or international organisation could strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others.

However, our proposal was rejected right off the bat on the pretext that Russia should not be allowed to put limits on NATO activities.

Furthermore, it was made explicitly clear to us that only NATO members can have legally binding security guarantees.

Last December, we handed over to our Western partners a draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on security guarantees, as well as a draft agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and NATO member states.

The United States and NATO responded with general statements. There were kernels of rationality in them as well, but they concerned matters of secondary importance and it all looked like an attempt to drag the issue out and to lead the discussion astray.

We responded to this accordingly and pointed out that we were ready to follow the path of negotiations, provided, however, that all issues are considered as a package that includes Russia’s core proposals which contain three key points.

First, to prevent further NATO expansion.

Second, to have the Alliance refrain from deploying assault weapon systems on Russian borders.

And finally, rolling back the bloc's military capability and infrastructure in Europe to where they were in 1997, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed.

These principled proposals of ours have been ignored. To reiterate, our Western partners have once again vocalised the all-too-familiar formulas that each state is entitled to freely choose ways to ensure its security or to join any military union or alliance. 

I would like to be clear and straightforward: in the current circumstances,
when our proposals for an equal dialogue on fundamental issues have actually remained unanswered by the United States and NATO,
when the level of threats to our country has increased significantly,

Russia has every right to respond in order to ensure its security.

That is exactly what we will do."

Vladimir Putin 21 February 2022

'Interests' also include the conduct of relations between states.
'Interests' also implies the basis of international law, commercial law, and 'customary law'. Whether based on the United Nations Charter, a representative UN Security Council, Treaties and agreements, or on so-called 'rules' invented by the western bloc, rules written down nowhere, and embraced by only the richest subset of the international community. These last 'interests' are coercive devices, not legitimate interests.


NATO and the western bloc come up with their own rules and try to impose them on the whole world.

The western 'bloc' is a powerful tool to coerce other countries. Many poorer countries comply due to threats, blackmail, and inducements. Classic coercion techniques.

Russia has long recognised that new centers of power are arising - with increasing economic power, and in some cases military power. Whether acting together in 'blocs' such as BRICS and the EAEU (the Eurasian Economic Union) or not, these countries want to forge their own sovereign path, cut colonial exploitation, develop fair and equitable solutions to economic problems.

Polycentric world
The world is moving away from the world of the hegemon, whether you conceive of that as the United States alone or with the rich EU countries. The trend is toward a world of different centers of economic, political, and military power. With this power comes the need for an agreed order, based on universally agreed principles and fully representative institutions (such as the UN). A polycentric world.

Multipolar world Edited 25 December 2023

"No nation, no matter how powerful, can organize the international system by itself; over an historical period it is beyond the psychological and political capacity of even the most dominant state.

The goal of U.S. foreign policy must be to turn dominant power into shared responsibility--to conduct if the international order were composed of many centers of power, even while we are aware of our strategic pre-eminence.

It implies the need for a style of consultation less focused on imposing immediate policy prescriptions than achieving a common definition of long-range purposes.

The challenge for America is to reconcile consultation with vast power.

The question for Europe is whether it views Atlantic relations as a partnership or as part of an international system of multipolarity very similar to pre-World War I Europe, in which major power centers engaged in shifting coalitions to maximize their advantage from case to case. That system broke down in the early 20th century; its 21st-century version is likely to be even less successful."
Henry Kissenger 8 November 2004  

While Kissenger admits it is impossible for the USA to interfere (he calls it 'organise') in the United Nations Charter based system of world order, he makes the mistake of thinking that "a common definition of long-range purposes" does not exist already. It does. It is spelled out in the United Nations Charter. The Charters long range purpose is that all nations live peacefully aside each other, and go about their lawful business without interfering in the affairs of others. The challenge is to bring order, not by diktat disguised as "consultations, but by hard-won universal agreement.

Kissinger frames the choice facing Europe between a 'partnership' with USA or regarding USA as just one party in a coalition formed in the style of the shifting coalitions of pre-19th-century Europe. This is a false choice. The shape of todays multipolarity is different from pre-world war 1 multipolarity. The naturally ever-changing, sometimes unpredictable and sometimes chaotic relations between states is now corralled by the provisions of the United Nations Charter - at least in principle.

The UN Charter only allows for a world of peaceful sovereign nations. Technology has democratised war. Even very small countries now have access to potentially highly accurate small weapons delivery systems, such as drones. Today's advanced technologies of war now have the potential to make someones conflict damaging, catastrophically damaging, or even globally terminal. Naturally, there is an interest in acquiring sophisticated aerial defense systems and long-arm pre-emptive strike and counter strike weapons such as missiles.Countries are interested in organised regional peace-keeping forces - particularly as the United Nations Security Council is contaminated by coercive state actors, mainly western.

Defense relationships between countries can be anything they want - bilateral, multilateral, non-existent - so long as they are not designed to coerce another sovereign nation, for example, placing nuclear cruise missiles 7 minutes from Moscow.

In the same way, countries are interested in organised regional economic initiatives to increase their national security in the face of coercive restrictions on currency exchange and the normal routes of commerce. All of Eurasia except the West are interested in projects to improve rail, road, and sea transport routes, as well as improved natural gas transport. They are interested in developing balanced bilateral currency exchange in payment for goods. They are interested in value-stabilised currency units for emergency lending between trading partners.

Economic partnerships can be in energy, trade, whatever, so long as it does not include interference in other countries trade (such as the west's illegal so-called 'sanctions' that are not mandated by the UN Security Council) and so long as states do not use other coercive measures - such as closing international airspace, applying 'price caps' to other countries goods, violating world trade agreements and so on.

"We have to accept the existence of new organizations, new formats, new structures like BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN, African Union, and many subregional organizations in Africa, CELAC and subregional groups in Latin America. They are going to be the bricks of the new polycentric world. This must be recognized as an objective course of history and this must be respected. This is something which we actually miss when we analyse the modern West diplomacy."
Sergey Lavrov 10 December 2023

Competing states are slowly forming an interconnecting web of organisations and groupings based on non-coercive cooperation that will meet their interests. Increasing numbers of nations are rejecting conflict, rejecting coercion, rejecting being under the thumb of any "dominant power", rejecting economic exploitation, rejecting artificial trade restrictions,and embracing bilateral and multilateral coalitions of all sorts that are based on consensus, cooperation, and sovereign interests.

New centers of power are rising. Military centers of power, economic centers of power, political centers of power, religious centers of power, multifactoral centers of power. This is a multipolar world where the different forms of power are manifested polycentrically. A world Kissinger was unable to foresee.

"The new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said in his remarks at the presentation of the new government that the world will no longer be governed by two powers but by many influential countries. This amounts to the recognition of multipolarity, which has two sides to it. On the one hand, many critics of the polycentric world argue that multipolarity means chaos. Everyone will be fending for themselves. The number of major players will increase. They will elbow each other for space, feeling constrained, and the world will become more chaotic, they say.

Our position is that multilateralism is objective reality. The rise of China as a leading global economy is imminent. India is developing rapidly. The Asia-Pacific region is becoming a growth driver, replacing the Euro-Atlantic region in this capacity. Latin America wants to determine its identity. This is evident from the recent initiatives advanced by the President of Mexico. Africa is reinforcing its national awareness and a desire to put forth its identity in its relations with the other countries, which have an interest in its huge natural wealth.

The goal is not to pit countries against each other in this highly competitive environment but to try to streamline this erratic random movement."
Sergey Lavrov 14 December 2021

The world has evolved into two philosophical and systemic 'poles. One pole, the 'western' pole led by the USA, philosophically 'believes' in coercion in foreign relations. The other pole, facilitated by Russia and China (primarily), philosophically and emphatically rejects coercion. The western pole tries to add 'western values' to fundemental, 'values neutral', international law, as expressed in the UN Charter. (Most fundamental values, such as human rights, are universal values, not western.)

The pole that rejects coercion is made up of the many countries who are determined to base relations on the United Nations Charter and universally accepted norms of International Law, free from coercion, free from blackmail, and free from exploitation, free from cultural diktat. Relations are respectful. Business negotiations are hard bargained, but based on 'agreed value for agreed value'. Sovereignty is respected, and fairness between nations is expected.

The other pole, the European and US contrived 'rules based order' pole, uses coercion, blackmail, exploitation, and is often patronising and duplicitous, and as Sergey Lavrov put it "seem to have forgotten some of the culture of diplomacy".

Relations between countries of these two polar opposite strategies is complex. There are relationships with some, less with others, and almost none with Russia. The relationships deal with many issues of greater or lesser significance. Where policies and opinions more-or-less overlap, and together they can form an inter-connected web of positive influence and direction. The weight and breadth of positivity changes over time as relations between countries - or the political parties that head them - change.

But the underlying philosophy of the two poles remains the same. Coercion in one case, sovereignty and respectful behaviour in the other.

"Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev talked over the phone with his US counterpart, who produced their regular narrative (as the current phrase goes) to the effect that they were concerned over Russia “meddling” in the affairs of Africa, Latin America, and so on. Mr Patrushev replied that we had absolutely transparent ties with those countries.

Certainly, we maintained military-technical cooperation, but it did not violate any international obligations

But the Americans themselves almost openly say that they dictate to other countries what to do and make no bones about it. ....

So much for their philosophy."
Sergey Lavrov 28 June 2023

Working in a multipolar world requires flexible foreign policies, incorruptible sovereignty, and a culture of non-coercive negotiations and compromise. Countries in the west who want to join the multipolar world will have to abandon coercion, consistently abide by the United Nations Charter, leave their cultural baggage at home, and learn the culture of diplomacy.

"This intellectual work and the constant focus on it are particularly important today when the world is undergoing tectonic shifts without exaggeration. They are happening very quickly. We must monitor them and try to understand where they are headed.

Their common vector points to the need to consolidate multilateral relations and a polycentric international order. Its foundations are taking shape today. No doubt, this will be a long period historically, but it is already in full swing. New centres of economic growth, financial power and political influence are emerging.

The GDP of the Asian-Pacific Region (APR) by purchasing power parity has more than doubled in the past 20 years – from 15.9 percent to 37.7 percent of the global total.

At the same time, it is clear that the Western liberal development model that, among other things, implied ceding part of national sovereignty (it is in this vein that our Western colleagues planned what they called “globalisation”) is losing its appeal and has long ceased to be a model to follow. Moreover, even many people in the West are skeptical about it – you can see many examples of this.

Clearly, multipolarity and the emergence of new centres of power call for a search for a balance of interests and compromises to maintain stability in the world.

Here, of course, diplomacy should play a leading role, especially since we have a backlog of problems which require generally acceptable solutions, including regional conflicts, international terrorism, food security, and the environment.

So, we operate on the premise that we can reach agreements only through diplomatic efforts.

Only solutions that enjoy the support of everyone can be sustainable.

Unfortunately, our Western partners led by the United States are not willing to agree on common approaches to resolving problems. Washington and its allies are trying to impose their own approaches
Their behavior is clearly based on a desire to preserve their centuries-old domination in international affairs despite the objective trends toward a polycentric international order.

This runs contrary to the fact that purely economically and financially, the United States and its closest allies can no longer single-handedly resolve all issues in the global economy and world affairs.

Moreover, various methods of blackmail, coercive, economic, and informational pressure are used in order to artificially retain their dominance and to regain their undisputed positions.

They are not above overt, blatant interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, such as Venezuela. Without hesitating, they publicly threaten Cuba and Nicaragua with the same scenarios. These are the most recent and odious examples."
Sergey Lavrov 12 April 2019

"We support a truly democratic and fair, multipolar world order based on the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.

Proof of this is not only our statements in response to the “nonsense” that we hear from Brussels, but also the doctrinal documents approved many years ago.

This is our principled position – worked out, approved, declared and implemented for many years. We believe that interaction between global players should rely on the principles of equality and consideration for each other’s interests."
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, 01 April, 2021 

The recent (20 December 2023) Joint Declaration made by the Arab and Russian Foreign Ministers at the Sixth Session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum illustrate what adherence to International law looks like in practical terms. These are snippets from the document. It is really a path to peace, an end to 'evil' visited on the Middle East by the West and its compliant regimes. The Arab governments have recognised the bright economic prospects of a multicultural and polycentric mideastern world - and changed their foreign policy accordingly. The USA and Israel haven't, but ultimately will be forced to comply with existing decisions of the international community, as expressed by Security Council resolutions, and as demanded by the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter:
"...3) Take note of what was stated in the speech of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, on 19 November 2023, about international transformations and the need for a multilateral and multipolar international system, respect for the rules of international law, and the importance of formulating innovative approaches, in a way that enhances the effectiveness of international institutions, emphasizes achieving justice and balance, and ending the policy of double standards and selectivity..

5) Stress the importance of concerted international and regional efforts to find political solutions to regional crises and issues in accordance with all UN and international legitimacy resolutions and relevant conventions and references, and emphasize, in this context, the necessity of enhancing the security of the States and respect their sovereignty over their lands and natural resources, and the importance of cessation of hostilities. Promote opportunities for political solution and reject foreign interference in the internal affairs of the States, and support efforts of the United Nations and the League of Arab States in this regard.

6) Strongly condemn Israel’s ongoing and escalating aggressive war against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, targeting civilians and the destruction of residential neighbourhoods, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, infrastructure and United Nations facilities, as well as all Israeli acts subjecting the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip to a blockade that included cutting off all means of life, including water, electricity, food, medicine, and fuel, which constitutes grave violations under the International Humanitarian Law. Reject any justification of such war, including describing it as self-defense. Warn of the gravity of Israel’s intentions, as the occupying power, to commit forcible displacement of the Palestinian people outside the occupied Palestinian territory. Condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians, incursions, arrests, and settlers’ violence in the occupied West Bank.

7) Call on the implementation of the UN General Assembly resolution A/ES-10/L.27 (2023) that demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and that all parties comply with their obligations under International Law, including International Humanitarian Law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians, especially children.

8) Demand to implement UNSC Resolution 2712 (2023) and UNGA Resolution A/ES-10/21 (2023). Underscore the unacceptability of blocking UNSC resolutions imposing an immediate ceasefire, especially taking note of the letter dated 6 December 2023 of the UN Secretary-General under Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, addressed to the President of the Security Council...

9) Emphasize the need to provide immediate international protection to the Palestinian people according to the relevant United Nations resolutions, and the need to pursue accountability for Israeli grave violations of the rights of the Palestinian people and stress in this regard the importance of ensuring independent and transparent investigations in accordance with international standards.

10) Emphasize that peace and regional stability will only be achieved by ending the Israeli occupation and giving the Palestinian people their full rights. Call for the convening of an international peace conference, as soon as possible, from which a credible peace process will be launched on the basis of international law, international legitimacy resolutions, the principle of land for peace, and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, with all its elements and priorities, within a specified time frame and with international guarantees, leading to an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan and the rest of the occupied Lebanese territories, and personifying the independence of the fully sovereign independent State of Palestine along the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and restoring the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, and the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees according to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 194 (1948), and support the State of Palestine in obtaining full membership in the United Nations.

12) Condemn the illegal Israeli settlement policy, the violence of Israeli settlers against Palestinian citizens, and emphasize on the implementation of Security Council Resolution No. 2334 (2016), which affirmed that Israeli settlement constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and an obstacle to peace and a two-state solution. Call on Israel to immediately and completely stop all settlement activities in the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and in the Syrian Golan.

13)... Call upon all States not to establish diplomatic missions in the city of Jerusalem, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolutions No. 476 & 478 (1980) and General Assembly Resolution A/RES/ES-10/19 (2017).

President Biden is aware of the mood outside the west. In a 20 October 2023 speech he said:

"We are at an inflection point in world history....we face enormous challenges to the systems our forebearers fought so hard to create. The decisions we make now will determine our course for generations to come. The United States has a duty to lead in this critical moment."
Joseph Biden 23 October 2023

"We were in a post-war period for 50 years where it worked pretty damn well, but that’s sort of run out of steam.  Sort of run out of steam.  It needs a new world order in a sense, like that was a world order....I think we have a real opportunity to unite the world in a way it hasn’t been in a long time.  And enhance the prospect of peace, not diminish the prospect of peace."

Which 'world' was he talking about? If he was talking about the whole world, all 193 countries, then only a multipolar world is acceptable, one based on international law, where there is no place for any one country to lead - and given its history of inciting division in countries,  especially not the USA. Yet the President of this one country of 193 claims the right to "lead" the world.

This would be a contradiction in ideas if the current President is acknowledging the "tectonic shifts" towards multipolarity. You can't both 'lead' all the countries of the world and be simply one equal country among many equal countries - especially if that presumptive 'leadership' is self-appointed.

Coercive takeover of multilateral organisations Edited 31 December 2023

"Western countries’ brazen attempts to bring the Secretariats of the UN and other international organisations under their control are a threat to the multilateral system.

The West has always enjoyed a quantitative advantage in terms of personnel, but until recently the Secretariat tried to remain neutral.

Today, this imbalance has become chronic while Secretariat employees increasingly allow themselves politically-driven behaviour that is unbecoming of international office holders. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres must ensure that his staff meets impartiality standards in keeping with Article 100 of the UN Charter.

We also call on the Secretariat’s senior officials to be guided by the need to help member countries find ways to reach consensus and a balance of interests, rather than playing into the hands of neoliberal concepts.

Otherwise, instead of a multilateral agenda, we will see a widening gap between the “golden billion” countries and the Global Majority."
Sergey Lavrov 5 May 2023 

"The United States is trying to prevent the democratic transition in international relations. This is an obvious fact. In this context, Washington and its allies have become increasingly open and unscrupulous in their attempts to exploit the secretariats of international organisations to pull through resolutions creating single-track mechanisms largely subjected to the Western agenda while bypassing the established procedures.

By doing so they acquire or claim to acquire the right to hold anyone accountable that the United States and its allies view as undesirable, even though these resolutions are adopted without consensus and do not confer any mandate on them.

This trend has become especially apparent in humanitarian affairs with the West seeking to pitch the public opinion against those who disobey. In this situation, ensuring strict and full compliance with the UN Charter by the states, as well as the secretariats of international organisations takes on a special sense of urgency.

In accordance with Article 100 of the Charter, the UN Secretariat must act impartially and cannot receive instructions from any government. We are aware of multiple instances where this requirement was blatantly violated."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

"It is very unfortunate but the Western employees in the secretariats of international agencies that are designed to be neutral and unbiased are increasingly privatising them. This happens with these agencies across all sectors, including forensics, law enforcement, sports, culture – you name it.

We are seeing the same situation with the UN. It has the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. They emphasised in their latest annual report that domination of Westerners in the structures of the Secretariat is unacceptable. It is necessary to counter this trend rather than just take into consideration. This is what we are doing."
Sergey Lavrov 28 March 2024

The western 'bloc' stacks as many westerners into the multilateral United Nations organisations as it can. Administrators are supposed to act for all members, not just the west, but 'having people on the inside' definitely tips the scale unfairly.

The west is not always able to dominate United Nations formats dealing with current world problems. Realising the futility of 'controlling the world' of the United Nations, the west has come up with a device that can suit its own bloc of only 1 billion people, and at the same time pretend that bloc is the representative of the entire 8 billion people of the world.

The west has created a number of 'parallel organisations' dealing with various global issues, generally restricting membership along political lines. Having made decisions in these restricted-membership organisations (sometimes with 'global' cynically placed in the title) they then 'expect' the entire world to obey their organisational rules.

"Our Western colleagues have long since become uncomfortable with holding talks in universal formats, such as the UN.

To provide an ideological basis for their policy of undermining multilateralism, the theme of united “democracies” countering “autocracies” has been put into circulation.

In addition to “summits for democracy”, the members of which are designated by the self-proclaimed hegemon, other “clubs of the chosen ones” are being created that operate in circumvention of the UN.

Summits for Democracy, the Alliance for Multilateralism, the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence, the Global Media Freedom Coalition and the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace – these and other non-inclusive projects have been designed to undermine talks held under the auspices of the UN on relevant issues, and to impose non-consensual concepts and decisions that benefit the collective West. 

First, they agree on something secretly as a small group and then present their agreements as “the position of the international community.”

Let’s face it: no one entrusted the Western minority to speak on behalf of all humankind.

They must behave decently and respect all international community members without exception.

By imposing a “rules-based order,” its masterminds haughtily reject the key principle underlying the UN Charter, which is the sovereign equality of states.

The “proud” statement by the head of the EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, that Europe is a “garden” and the rest of the world is a “jungle” personifies their worldview of being exceptional.

I will also quote the NATO-EU Joint Statement of January 10, 2023 which states:
The united West will use all the economic, financial, political, and military tools available to NATO and the EU to ensure the interests of our one billion.”
Sergey Lavrov 5 May 2023 

The west as a bloc has coerced and blackmailed countries to vote Russia off various committees.

"Aggressive attempts were made to oust Russia from UNESCO’s leading and auxiliary bodies. At times even the most unseemly methods were used for this purpose, up to and including financial blackmail of the countries of the Global East and South. In these conditions, our country was not re-elected to the Executive Board and a number of other bodies of UNESCO despite support from more than a half of its members."
Sergey Lavrov 22 December 2023

The west is working assiduously to undermine the rules and charter of the various UN organisations in order to add pseudo-investigative 'blaming' functions to the organisations rules in order to constantly blame Russia for various 'crimes', free of all evidence (or using concocted staged 'evidence' and false witnesses). Even when there is no mandate or authority to assign blame to anyone, the wests comprador secretariate does it anyway.

"...notorious double standards are reflected in regular anti-Russia resolutions on Crimea and Ukraine. The West is pushing through these resolutions by twisting the arms of the developing nations. These resolutions go beyond UNESCO’s mandate. It has no competence in this area. Attempts to defame Russia for “destroying Ukraine’s cultural heritage" without citing any evidence are in the same category. Such evidence simply does not exist. Nor does UNESCO have any right to attribute guilt. UNESCO Secretariat employees admitted it themselves in private conversations...

...We are deeply concerned over the increasing disregard for UNESCO’s procedural rules and Charter, which are arbitrarily interpreted to carry out political orders. This is exactly how the return of the US to UNESCO was arranged (in a scandalous way) – there were no guarantees of Washington’s intentions to fulfil its commitments."
Sergey Lavrov 22 December 2023

The UNESCO secretariat has been completely discredited by its hypocrisy. It selectively condemns destruction or damage to world heritage sites. If the site is in Russia or another country or population the west is suppressing, illegally interfering in, or committing acts of aggression against, there is not a public peep. Similar attacks and damage anywhere else in the world bring statements of outrage from the secretariat.

"...we still haven’t heard any statement condemning the act of terror at the Moscow Kremlin, a world heritage site.

Nor has UNESCO Secretary-General Audrey Azoulay from France denounced the murder of Russian journalists although this is her direct mandate.

It is telling that many Western countries have remained indifferent to the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and even opposed a relevant resolution at the recent session of the General Conference."

Bloc logic and divisive friend-or-foe thinking is gaining ground in an organisation that was initially supposed to unite nations in moral and intellectual solidarity."
Sergey Lavrov 22 December 2023 

International Monetary Fund

"It is obvious to everyone that the dollar is being used or could potentially be used as a weapon to achieve political objectives. Dollar-denominated grants issued by international financial institutions are being actively used as an instrument of coercion."
Sergey Lavrov 31 January 2024

World order [Added 29 November 2023, edited 24 February 2024]

"Instead of a UN-centred architecture, narrow bloc alliances, closed clubs, behind-the-scenes “best practices”, allegedly “reliable scientific data”, and pseudo-democratic ‘values’ are being promoted. The world is artificially divided into friends and foes, the “garden” and the “jungle”. It is unclear on what basis countries are suddenly declared “democracies” or “dictatorships”.

This is what the infamous “rules” the West imposes instead of the international law, appear in reality. No one has ever seen them, but at the time the ex American President Barack Obama said that they will be drawn up “without Russia and China”, that is, only by the insiders, on the basis of adherence to the so-called “values”.

The basis of such policy is neo-colonialism, the desire to achieve dominance in political, economic and humanitarian spheres under the cover of “beautiful” slogans."
Sergey Lavrov 21 February 2024 

Historically, the 'world order' was simply the rules imposed by the west. In fact, they called it the "rules-based international order". No such rule book exists. The so-called 'rules' are simply invented by the west announced to the world as being 'it'. Naturally, this 'order' tends to be biased to the west, and is often unfair to developing nations (Africa is still not represented in the Security Council of the UN). It is not unreasonable to argue there are elements of a colonial 'resource extraction' mentality when it comes to poorer countries. Certainly, resources (oil and mineral resources in particular) pour endlessly north to Europe and the United States.Part of this west-centric 'world order' involves interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, promoting division, funding extremist groups, promoting coups and insurrections, funding and training 'protesters', bribing and blackmailing officials and so on. This has enabled the west to 'divide and conquer', an extremely successful strategy it has followed for very many years.

"the US-led collective West is doing everything in its power to preserve its domination, or whatever is left of it, which they have enjoyed for 500 years of human history. That domination rests on colonial wars, the exploitation of nations, and many other elements. It can be described as the privileged position of the “golden minority.”  It is also known as the golden billion, yet it is a minority. The West is trying to preserve this status and to force all others, which we describe as the Global Majority now, to recognise its “privileges.”

They are doing this by promoting their own “rules” as the basis of the world order, something which has become a byword. It means that the West will make decisions and all the others must implement them in a way that suits the West at the given moment. It concerns finance, technology, ideology and international politics."
Sergey Lavrov 31 January 2024 

Thanks in part to the west's strategic blunder of trying to pull Russia apart, the move to a new world order has accelerated. This new order is based on fairness, international law (particularly primacy of the UN), and cooperation. New 'customary international law' is being created by events. Russia's long path to avoid a conflict in Ukraine through the UN mandated steps failed. The Russians postulate that when all mandatory steps have failed, and an attack on Russian territory (Crimea) is both imminent and no longer avoidable, Article 51 allows for preemptive self defense. This concept will almost certainly become customary international law when it comes to interpreting Article 51. Russia rescued displaced children in the war zone as the special military operation commenced. Later, it actively searched out related responsible adults to take them to a place of safety. This concept hardly needs cementing into humanitarian law, but Israel's crimes against children in Gaza now makes it necessary to be very specific about the duty of states in a conflict zone.

"Friends, our fight for sovereignty and justice is, without exaggeration, one of national liberation, because we are upholding the security and well-being of our people, and our supreme historical right to be Russia – a strong independent power, a civilisation state.

It is our country, it is the Russian world that has blocked the way of those who aspired to world domination and exceptionalism, as it has happened many times in history.

We are now fighting not just for Russia's freedom but for the freedom of the whole world. We can frankly say that the dictatorship of one hegemon is becoming decrepit. We see it, and everyone sees it now. It is getting out of control and is simply dangerous for others. This is now clear to the global majority. But again, it is our country that is now at the forefront of building a fairer world order. And I would like to stress this: without a sovereign and strong Russia, no lasting and stable international system is possible."
Vladimir Putin 28 November 2023

Russia describes a world order that is a multi-civilizational world of truly sovereign states (as defined in the UN Charter). Russia promotes itself as having a fateful role in bringing this new world order into being, while at the same time assigning the role of failed 'federated emperors of evil' to the west. Creating and holding up this concept to the west is, of course, coercive diplomacy. It is a warning to the west not to interfere in the affairs of sovereign states. If the west doesn't understand what is happening, it should at least get out of the way.

Coercive arrogance Added 26 December 2023

Arrogate means 'to take or claim something without justification'. The United States uses coercive arrogance to claim that it will determine the 'rules of the road' across many domains affecting the global community. Actually, it has no such 'rights'. Ultimately, it is claiming the 'right of kings', a right derived from their self-promoted exceptional 'divinity',which therefore permits them to ignore the world communities agreed rules. The unstated premise is that the United States is 'the king of the world'.

While the US is very powerful, in terms of international law, it has no special rights. There are no exceptions for self-appointed emperors. When it imposes its will on the world by force it is acting as an outlaw. The bulk of the world cannot accept this renegade action, and the moves to call outlaws to account is increasing.

"I remind you that in 2012, the Obama administration made a futile attempt to ratify the 1982 Convention. Republicans in the US Senate buried the idea, arguing that the Convention violated US national sovereignty...after this episode, the Senate began to be called the 'graveyard of international treaties'"
Deputy Speaker of Russia's Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, 25 December 2023

The US refusal to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has meant the US blatantly disregards its provisions when it suits it. The USA doesn't travel by the most direct route when travelling through territorial waters, it literally goes out of its way to breach the 'direct route' rule in order to deliberately coercively provoke both Russia and China. (the UK, a USA proxy, also went out of their way to send a warship through Russia's Crimean territorial waters - rebuffed with shots across the bow and a blunt warning that if they do it again they will be sunk. The UK is an UNCLOS member.) The USA ignores the reservations countries have registered when they ratified UNCLOS that allow 'headland to headland' to define a maritime boundary. The USA comes into bays in Russia, for example, claiming non-existant rights under UNCLOS, when they are not an UNCLOS member. Classic coercive arrogance.

In December 2023 the USA, ignoring UNCLOS, arrogated to itself the right to delineate new areas of the Arctic ocean, Bering Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean as part of the UN continental shelf. These arrogated claims cut across the claims of Japan and Canada, both of which are UNCLOS members, in contrast to the USA. All claims to the continental shelf have to be submitted to a UN Commission for determination of whether or not they are valid, and where boundaries between adjacent continental shelves should be set (see Article 76, paragraph 8 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea - pdf) . The US may have legitimate claims, it may not. It is not for the US to dictate to the world. The world may simply not recognise US claims, which, in an era of resource depletion, will have many unwanted consequences. Indicatively, most of the claim covers the Arctic and the Bering Sea - both of which probably contain significant mineral deposits, as well as oil and gas.

Even when disputes by UNCLOS members are arbitrated, one party may not accept the 'arbitral award' (China refused to accept the UNCLOS arbitral award in its 2016 dispute with the Philippines).

"...despite its non-participation in the proceedings, China is a Party to the arbitration and is bound under international law by any awards rendered by the Tribunal.

In line with its duties under Annex VII to the Convention, in the circumstances of China’s non-participation, the Tribunal has taken steps to ensure procedural fairness to both Parties without compromising the efficiency of the proceedings. The Tribunal has also taken steps to ascertain China’s position on the issues for decision, based on statements made by Chinese officials publicly and in communications to the members of the Tribunal....

...In its Award on Jurisdiction, the Tribunal noted that “both the Philippines and China are parties to the Convention” and that the provisions for the settlement of disputes, including through arbitration, form an integral part of the Convention. Although the Convention specifies certain limitations and exceptions to the subject matter of the disputes that may be submitted to compulsory settlement, it does not permit other reservations, and a State may not except itself generally from the Convention’s mechanism for the resolution of disputes."
The South China Sea Arbitration Award of 12 July 2016

States may try to wriggle out of their obligations, or claim that this area of law is 'uncertain', or 'still evolving', but they cannot wriggle out of the very mechanisms that determine these matters. They may withdraw from the convention, but then no one will abide by a decision made by that state arrogating rights to itself in defiance of the majority. The state that arrogates non existent 'rights' to itself, then has to up the level of coercion from coercive statements of 'pseudofacts' on the ground to military enforcement of it's unagreed claims.

The path of coercive arrogance is a path to open resource wars in the worlds oceans. A path to the law of the jungle, where only might is right. But even great military power may not be a sufficient coercive tool. Yemen, which is amongst the poorest nations in the world, has shown that even small nations can successfully use drone and low-tech missile based coercive diplomacy against even the largest nations.

There are other important example of coercive arrogance. The west has blackmailed it's way into changing the rules of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in order to be able to 'attribute' who was responsible for an incident involving the use of chemical substances. It also stacked the technical secretariat, and admitted patently false 'evidence', ignoring the opinions of experts and corrupting the process of investigation. In effect, it destroyed its own credibility, thereby it's findings cannot be accepted as anything other tha improperly arrogated rights to independence neutrality. Now that the organisations impartiality has been successfully neutralised, it can attempt to arrogantly coerce Russia with loud declaimations of responsibility for the staged chemical events set up by British government agents and their foreign proxy arms.

These once proud UN organisations are then used as tools to defame and supposedly isolate Russia (and to an extent China). The consequences are obvious - the world will start to develop non-UN organisations to replace the crippled UN organisations to some extent. This is a good thing. The competition between them for public acceptance will result in increased transparency and accountability, and further expose the shameful and destructive of the west.

In a twist to corrupting agreements, the US ignores the agreed rules, and invents its own less arduous rules. Russia followed all the agreed rules on destroying its chemical weapons, including stringent verification. All countries of the world except Israel, Egypt, South Sudan and North Korea have signed and ratified the 1997 international Chemical Weapons Convention. Russia destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons, the largest in the world, by 2017. The USA finally finished destroying its just before the deadline in 2023, but, unlike Russia, the USA didn't have to undergo the extensive on-site OPCW monitoring of the destruction that is required by the Convention. An OPCW official simply 'signed off' compliance. There is the possibility that the USA hid some chemical weapons, just as they did with some medium range and shorter range ballistic missiles supposedly destroyed under the  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).

Principles for designing a coercive strategy

According to Alexander George, there are 4 variables that must be considered when putting together a coercive strategy:

1. What demand to make. What are the specifics? What exactly 'must' an opponent do. What exactly what an opponent not do?

2. Whether or not to create a sense of urgency. Can a 'deadline' be created? What is the timing? Hours? days? Weeks? Months?  How is urgency 'signaled'? Militarily? Verbally?

3. What punishment to select for not complying with variable 1, the 'demands'. Is the punishment reversible if the opponent complies/is it irreversible? If irreversible, is it disproportionate? If disproportionate, does anyone significant care?

4. If an inducement is offered as well, what should it be? Should it be material? If so, what - reversal of restrictions? If so, in whole or in part? Should it be money? If so cash? Loans? on what terms?  Goods? Lower prices for goods? Access to technology? Money-equivalent such as reduced tariffs? Symbolic or feel-good measures? Access to high level figures? Lifting of restrictions on access to international organisations?

Coercive demands - real and fantastic
George considers the first variable - what to demand - is absolutely critical. The demands lock in the coercers view of what the balance of interests between the two parties is. In effect, it reveals what the coercers 'problem' is with the party subject to coercion. But it doesn't reveal what the coercers 'grievance' is, unless they say so openly. Is the grievance reasonable or is it overstated? If it is overstated, then by how much? Is what the coercer wants legal or illegal? Is the coercer demanding something real, or demanding acceptance of the coercers belief system ('moral coercion'), or even crazy ideology? Are they serious, or is it some sort of fantasy? Do they have a firm understanding of reality, especially geological and political-military reality?

Moral coercion
A coercive demand generally starts off with a 'moral' argument - 'defending' the rights of some country, whether the supposed 'right' to a certain system of vote-based government, the right to justice, religous freedom, women's rights, children's rights, sexual preference rights and so forth. Most of these rights are already enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which most countries have signed up to, and which most countries of the world ignore whenever it suits them. (In regard to the last point, the most important human right is the right to life itself - regularly ignored by the USA government as it either uses, enables, or incites military violence in illegally occupied territories, illegally occupied states, and against sovereign states alike.)

The Premable to the 30 articles (rights) reads:

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."
The UDHR articles are used as a 'pick list' of excuses to put a thin veneer of 'morality' over their various schemes to 'divide and rule' around the world.

Russia used a legal argument (based on self defense) for it's right to enter a conflict in Ukraine. This argument is based on genuine military risk to the Russian Federation, both from an extremely hostile Ukraine capable of constructing a nuclear weapons, and from NATO nuclear cruise missiles minutes from Moscow. The USA government used the argument of 'self defense' to destroy Iraq. This was nonsensical, a premises with no basis in fact. The western world applied economic sanctions to moralistically 'punish' Russia for a genuine self defense. The world did precisely nothing to punish the USA for its aggression in Iraq.

Moral outrage is used by Russia additionally justify its conflict with Ukraine. Ukraine designated the entire civilian population of Eastern Ukraine as 'terrorists', because most of those people refused to accept the banning of the Russian language, suppression of Russian language media, among other things. Ukraine then attacked the 'armed rebels' or 'terrorists' (depending on your point of view) and fired on civilian areas, killing and maiming civilians, including, of course, women and children. The world said nothing. Russia organised a ceasefire, an agreement to pull heavy weapons back, a negotiated settlement. The west destroyed it, deliberately, and with malicious intent.

Israel attacked the 'armed rebels' or 'terrorists' (depending on your point of view) in the Israeli occupied Gaza territory. It disproportionately attacked civilians in an area whose population was made up of the young. Israel designated all civilians as terrorists or terrorist sympathisers on the basis the population of Gaza had voted for Hamas as municipal representatives in 2006. Hamas has prevented elections ever since that time. In other words, no one knows if Hamas has any political support there or not. Anyone under the age of 35 in Gaza has never voted for anyone, let alone Hamas. Around 10,000 people, over 4,000 of whom were children, women, youth, have been killed there in a 6 day period. The world is in an uproar. In the 19 month period of the Ukraine conflict, there were around 10,000 civilian casualties - in the whole of Ukraine, the new (now Russian) territories, the disputed battle zone territories, and within the Russian federation. Not much said.

In the light of the obvious hypocrisy, the west's attempt at moral coercion simply rebounds back on it. People hate hypocrisy, as it is a form of deception, and they are the target.

In the recent example of the US - enabled Israeli crimes against humanity in Gaza, Hezbollah, which has been dragged, probably unwillingly, into this conflict to an extent, also uses moral coercion. But even as it does so, Hezbollah recognises that it will fall on deaf ears - even the call for sanctions is half-hearted. Hope doesn't carry much weight. And when morality conflicts with the wests so-called interests, morality is conveniently pushed aside.

"...and if we are to look for a fully legitimate, lawful battle from the legal, ethical, or religous perspectives, we cannot find one but that battle fighting against the Zionist occupiers. This is a seamless battle at the human, ethical, or religious levels. It is the most evident, the most honest, and the most noble to the service of the cause of God...

...They are wreaking killing among civilian Palestinians in Gaza. Most of those killed are women and children. The majority of the victim are civilians. Churches, mosques, school buildings, even hospitals are not spared. Everything is legitimized. Entire neighborhoods are wiped out. School buildings, places of worship. And the whole world is standing by watching....

We have witnessed victims, men, and women,innocent civilians. The children of Gaza have unmasked the truth of this barbaric regime backed by the Western media, who are trying to convince our peoples to remain silent...

this also reveals the direct responsibility and liability of the United States. Also the US hypocrisy. From day one Biden claims to have spoken to the Israelis about human humanitarian issues. Civilians. All false claims. For a month Gaza and the Gazans have been reeling under the brunt of barbaric, ferocious, brutal, ruthless, merciless, aerial bombardments.

They falsely claimed that Hamas beheaded babies and they failed to produce a single piece of evidence, yet they remain silent against it's the images of thousands of babies and children torn apart in Gaza as a result of the Israeli missiles. Now all exposed.

The whole West claiming and preaching about democracy, Humanity, rule of law, it's nothing but hypocrisy. It is a Lynch law. We are living in a jungle...

...It is the United States that vetos condemnation of Israel in the Security Council. It is the United States that stands on the way of a ceasefire in Gaza. ..

Supporting Gaza and the Gazans is the least Humane requirement. those who took out to the street in support, those who donate, let alone those who fight are under the duty towards Gaza and Gazins. Those who remain silent must reconsider about their faith if they claim to be religious, and their honor if they claim to be honorable.

Arab and Muslim states must spare no effort to at least put an end to the war. If you are prevented from acting listen to your religion, your conscience, your values. You should all work for the top Prime goal to end [the war].

condemnation statements are not enough. Sever relations, recall ambassadors. We cannot condemn at the same time supply gas, oil, and Food Supplies to Israel. Regretfully enough, in the past wars the Arab and Muslim states calling for cutting off oil supplies to the United States. Now we are calling on the Arab and Muslim states to cut off oil and gas, and food supplies, from Israel. Stop your exports to Israel.

Gazans are telling the whole Arab and Muslim countries 'we are not asking for your arms, weapons, or fighters, but do you not have the least of honor or dignity to deliver some aid?. Presidents, Scholars, ministers, many high level and topnotch officials, aren't they capable of going themselves staging sittins on the border line with Gaza? They can. They can turn the border line as a platform to address the whole world. Here I do not wish to label others as traitors, or whatever.

Yet, we should not fall in despair. We should continue to call on our brothers, we should continue to place responsibility on the responsible, hoping at a point of time the whole humanity will listen to the sound of reason and their conscience may wake up.

Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary-General  Gaza speech, AlJazeera translation 4 November 2023 

Most coercion is for economic benefit, not a 'just cause'.

But it can't be 'sold' to the public that way, let alone the other party. And this is one of the weaknesses and stupidity of coercive diplomacy. The coercer can go a long way down the coercion track without explaining why they are doing what they are doing. Of course there will be propaganda media-bites providing 'cover', but the real reasons may remain hidden.

And even when there are meetings, the intending coercer may keep their real intentions 'up their sleeve'. Or lie about their intentions. Or say they will do something and not actually do it. Or do the opposite.

The entire postulate of their threats - that their 'interests' are legitimate and reasonable - may be false. Or both false and malicious, simply posturing, or an attempt to 'humiliate'.

The greatest weakness of all when dealing with a reasonable and sober partner is the wrong-headedness of even using coercion against them in the first place. Respectful cooperation would have achieved a better result, more quickly, and with no harm done.

Coercive urgency - risks and benefits

In the old western movies the sheriff says to the bad guy "you've got until high noon to get out of town", that's coercive urgency. The underlying demand is for the bad guy to leave so that peace and civility can be restored to the town. The implicit threat is that the bad guy will face an armed showdown if the demand is not complied with. As George says "It is generally presumed that the sense of urgency adds to the coercive impact". The risk is obvious. The bad guy may not leave. Now the coercer is faced with having to go ahead with his threat. The coercer locks himself out of what other options there may be to achieve the same goal.

One risk is that the party being coerced has no where else to go. If the threat of violence against the adversary is considered real, they are forced to make a stand. In which case the adversary, if they believe a strike is inevitable, may strike pre-emptively. The belief they are under immanent threat of attack may be right or it may be wrong, but at that point it makes no difference. In their mind, other less consequential options have been denied them.

Coercive urgency doesn't work on experienced Russian professional diplomats.

"Maybe life has hardened me over the past years. In New York, I had a good schooling in terms of responding to all sorts of crisis situations at the UN Security Council. Someone would dash in and say that something had erupted, broken out and it was necessary to urgently adopt a resolution, when we wanted to work the matter through and take no abrupt steps."
Sergey Lavrov 17 December 2018

The US government, in particular is very fond of the 'urgency' gambit when they want to move the other side in a preferred direction for the US governments benefit. They count on the other party not being able to analyse the situation properly, not being able to gather up all relevant information, not being able to listen to other countries opinions.

"If you wish to steer away from a regional War you must hurriedly act towards ending the aggression on Gaza."

...We must set the near-term goals which we should all work to achieve.
The first goal we should work for day and night is to end the war on Gaza.
The second one is to enable Gaza, the resistance fight in Gaza, and particularly Hamas, to triumph. These are the two short term goals. We should not lose sight of these two goals"

The first to cease the war, cease the aggression on the grounds of humanitarian, ethical, religious, lawful, grounds which are unquestionable."
Hassan Nasrallah, Cleric and Secretary-General Lebanon Hezbollah, Gaza speech, AlJazeera video translation, 4 November 2023 

The time period for action doesn't have to be specific. In this case, Hezbollah was caught flat-footed by a secret Hamas plan to seize Israelis hostages to bargain for Hamas prisoner  release and draw world attention back to Gaza. In effect, Hamas coerced Hezbollah to either act or look weak in the eyes of Israel.

Hamas has long been under pressure to allow elections, which they initially agreed to hold in September 2023, and so it may have long been planning a 'showy' political 'win' to gain the support of the Gazans, and so retain control of the offshore Gazan oil and gas resource. (Allegedly, the Israelis wanted to exploit the resource themselves, and supply Gazan their own gas via Israeli infrastructure and charging Gazans a transit fee. Also - allegedly - Hamas wanted Russia to be the oil and gas operator).  As so often happens in life, Hamas's well planned move fell apart. On the face of it, it seems Israeli soldiers over-reacted with little regard for civilian lives, stirring up a tsunami of Israeli public anger; but - allegedly - indiscriminately killing their own citizens and terrorists alike.

"...not only in Gaza envelope, but also Tel Aviv and Jerusalem it took them hours to come out. They came out in hysterical state angry, in an insane fashion, that's why when they headed to recapture the settlement within Gaza envelope, they perpetrated massacres against the Israeli settlers, not Hamas. Now we start to hear and read reports and investigations providing evidence that it was the Israelis who perpetrated the killing among the Israeli settlers, and in the near future, when the dust settles, the whole world would come to know that all those killed within Gaza envelope were killed by the Israeli Army itself, who was acting insanely in the wake of this big seismic event"
Hassan Nasrallah, Cleric and Secretary-General Lebanon Hezbollah, Gaza speech, AlJazeera video translation, 4 November 2023

" the United States hurriedly dispatched warplane carriers and other pieces of their naval fleet, us top brass, generals, military experts, running to the area to open the Strategic weapon depots for the Israelis. From the very first days Israel demanded new weapons new missiles from United States. From the very first day, Israel demanded 10 billion dollars. Is it a strong state? Is it an invincible Army, as claimed? A state that required that amount of US and Western support, heads of state, heads of governments, defense ministers, top brass, generals, flocking from all over the world to provide moral support.

This is what Al-Aqsa Typhoon has caused to this frail entity. These are some of the profound impacts of Al-Aqsa Typhoon operation.

All these must be evaluated and analyzed in detail which we don't have time to yet."
Hassan Nasrallah, Cleric and Secretary-General Lebanon Hezbollah, Gaza speech, AlJazeera video translation, 4 November 2023

The Israeli collective punishment of the Palestinian citizens trapped in Gaza meant Hezbollah felt it had to react in the cause of resisting the oppression of the Palestinians. But Hezbollah did not have time to analyse the situation in detail. It therefore tried to urgently coerce the United States and the Israelis to "hurriedly act".

He did not give a timeline, but it is generally regarded that his scheduled speech planned for 11 November 2023 would outline Hezbollah's intended course -  and the course depends on what happens before that date. So 11 November could be interpreted as a deadline. But the terms "short-term" and "near-term" are ambiguous.

Act "towards" ending the aggression is also rather ambiguous, but Nasrallah seems to define 'victory' simply as the end of the Israeli response, and, implicitly, the beginning of negotiations, with the prisoner swap being the end goal, and that is the 'victory'.
...we should all now work together to end the war and aggression on Gaza. Then we act for the resistance in Gaza to prevail."
Hassan Nasrallah 4 November 2023
Urgency plus threat applies pressure, but if it is too time-specific it can lose credibility. The urgency created by Hezbollah's ambiguous words dissipated after Nasrallah's November, when he made it plain that Hezbollah would not extend the conflict further unless Israel attacked Lebanon. Urgency had gone, but coercive threats remained .

Coercive threats

Threats of punishment are seen by George as preferable to immediately using military coercion. 'Coercive' diplomacy, says George, "offers an alternative to military action." This is the very essence of the United States government 'in the box' thinking'. Normal diplomatic relations are not considered. The expected manner of dealing with other nations is coercion. The expected response is obedience. No other way of behaving enters their mind. Lets examine the 'threat mind'.

Threats, whether verbal or military posturing, have to be credible. If they are absurd on their face, they will be ignored. If the United States threatened Russia with a nuclear attack if did this or that, or if it didn't stop doing something, it would be a suicide move if it carried out its threat.This is a primary consideration. Don't issue empty threats. You will make yourself the object of ridicule.

The threat of punishment "in the event of noncompliance", according to George, "may be signaled through military actions or by political-diplomatic moves as well as by explicit verbal warning." His hierarchy of possible actions starts with the military. This order of possible actions shines light on the western coercive mind, a mind which clearly comes from a very dark place.

But sometimes events are unexpected, taking all by suprise, and if they start with a military conflict, then the coercive response may have to start at that level, and work backwards to diplomacy and negotiations. This is vividly illustrated by the Gaza conflict of October-November 2023.

"I am speaking openly, candidly, and at the same time with ambiguity. Constructive ambiguity.

All scenarios are open. All scenarios are open on our Lebanese Southern front. I reiterate all scenarios are open. All options are laid out. And we can adopt ANY, at any point of time. We, all together, must be prepared, ready, and available, to all these scenarios and options to come.

To the Americans, the United States Administration I say: darting your threats on Lebanon and resistance in the region is pointless. Not the resistance movement or the resistance countries. It has reached the point that we received message that if you continue to launch operations in the South it will not only bombard the Lebanon but would also bombard Iran. Can you imagine?

To the Americans I say darting your threats on us in Lebanon will be pointless. Your naval fleets in the Mediterranean will not, and cannot, cause us to fear. To you I openly and candidly say that your Fleet that you are using as a threat - we have prepared for them what it takes.

You the Americans - remember your defeats in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and your humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan. Those who defeated you in Lebanon at the early 80s are still alive, backed and supported by their children and grandchildren.

If the US and Western politics are calling for steering away from escalation, this cannot be achieved by threats against honest, noble, resistance fighters defending the defenseless.

The only course is to end the war on Gaza. Here, there. That is."
Hassan Nasrallah, Cleric and Secretary-General Lebanon Hezbollah, Gaza speech, AlJazeera video translation, 4 November 2023

"The Libyan model isn't a model that we have at all when we're thinking of North Korea. The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him.
Now that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely
. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy,"
Donald Trump, President, May 2018

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state, and as I said, they will be met with fire fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."
Donald Trump, President, 8 August 2018

Donald Trump's threats were intemperate, with no clear idea of the political goal he was interested in. Militarily, there is little chance the combined might of the deployed USA forces plus South Korea could quickly overcome North Koreas well planned and deeply dug in defenses.

The implicit threat of a nuclear attack would bring consequences from North Koreas neighbours the likes of which Mr. Trump has never seen before. The problem with a major military power, such as the United States, is that the state representatives, who generally have no military experience and little idea of the consquences of war, might be inclined to take very risky decisions in the belief that no nation will resist the United States overwhelming military power. Well, the Houthis are, Afghanistan did, Vietnam did, North Korea did. And Lebanon might. Drone and missile warfare plus a deeply indebted United States had put the final lid on these  dangerous ideas.

Mr. Nasrallahs threats are always taken seriously. Like the Russians, Hezbollah say what they mean and mean what they say. However, Mr. Nasrallah and his group think deeply on the political goals, their achievability, the consequences of destroying USA assets, the logistic sustainability of a missile-driven conflict, the number of Lebanese targets that the USA could hit from distant weapons platforms, what air defenses would be required to resist strikes, who may join the fight - or rather, who may choose not to join - and so on.

Any threat must be credible in a constantly evolving situation. If Hezbollah elects to contribute to the Palestinian cause by seeking limited aims that also benefit Lebanon (such as settling the disputed border in Lebanons favor) these may be achievable goals that don't escalate. The contribution, of course, is to keep a sizable chunk of Israeli military force 'fixed in place' in the north.

In effect, Israel and the USA agree to be coerced - to lose a relatively small conflict to prevent an extremely consequential far large one, and one that would involve large loss of US and Israeli life and unthought of consequences.

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones"
Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense, 12 February 2002 

Orchestrating coercion

One of the most fundamental flaws in the concept of a 'mapped out' forward looking coercive diplomacy is that the premises defining a 'problem' they want to solve are likely to be both illogical and poorly thought out. Overthrowing governments is a good example. The west may 'want' to ring Russia (and China) with governments willing to host coercive military threats, but this concept is premised on interfering in a countries politics - sometimes very brutally - in order to achieve that objective. But life gets in the way. Governments change. The west fails to ask the population of the vassal country if they are happy about interference. Or, as in the case of Germany, when the imagined results (economic destruction of Russia) turns out to be wrong, any tacit support for such interference disappears with the economic hardship such poor judgement brings.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John Kennedy, 13 March 1962 

The reverse of this coercion is the policy of directly or indirectly coercively imposing an oppressive government on a people. It is a dismally notable reflection of American power that it has always been able to do both. An even more dismal manifestation is where the west supports an occupation force against a people. Worse of all is where the US government, with or without accomplices, is that occupation force - which means it is necessarily a USA military force imposing its foreigner boots on some other countries ground (currently Syria).

Situations change. 'Commitment' may be forced to be re-invented as 'involvement', then to a hastily scrawled note - "goodbye, too bad it didn't work out for us". George freely admits the concept of coercive diplomacy is based on an assumption - that a 'rational' opponent will comply to demands when threats are made. After all, 'irrational' resistance has its own black logic. He admits coercion won't always work, and that the coercing party must take account of the specific 'configuration' of a particular situation. I take this to mean work with observed weaknesses, choose the most suitable direction of coercive effort as suggested by the known and assumed constraints and degrees of freedom within a given situation, decide which cards to play, avoid playing to the adversaries presumed strengths, and acting in a timely manner. This means the coercing party must have solid information constantly flowing.

This in turn means that the advisors have access to factual information. Information that is available in a timely manner. That the advisors are not distorting the information flow for their personal ambitions. That their sources are reliable. That they have capacity to parse out information. That they are actually listening to the signals from the other party. That they have the (especially) military wherewithal to assess logistic realities, training realities, doctrinal limitations, if the strategy includes military action. That they can acknowledge that any action taken or not taken may meet a response that is not considered; or that there are unknowable factors that can't even be brought into an equation. This is just a brief list.

The 'victim' has a say. Once a coercive course is set against a major power such as Russia, a push-back is assured. Once the ultimate objective is understood by the victim of coercion, they will plan for contingencies. The contingent plans may include power-factors the coercer didn't account for in their planning. Russia's development of hypersonic missiles are simply one of many examples. 

Who orchestrates the coercive strategy, taking it fluidly from movement to movement?

So who can look at unfolding events objectively - especially if they start to go wrong? Who can say to the cabal of high-level inciters of coercive aggression - "look, this is a bad idea. We have no legitimate interests here anyway. Don't continue this. This will end badly."

A coercive strategy used against a major power, is flawed at the most basic initial premise, which is 'let's not negotiate, let's use coercive force'.

This premise assumes the improbable
- that a force can be developed great enough and for long enough to successfully coerce Russia, a great power, to obey the west. Such defectively thought out strategies soon results in a changing kaleidoscope of consequence whose magnitude of effects - or even existence - wasn't foreseen.

These consequences are emergent forces. The emerge at different times, with different weight, different momentum, different duration. The 'conductor' is then constantly assessing, constantly guessing, constantly reacting - mute this over here, raise the volume over there. By how much? For how long? At what tempo?

"...decision makers are not attentive to and do not correctly perceive all incoming information; various external and internal psychological factors influence their receptivity to new information and its assessment, and these factors also affect their identification and evaluation of options."
Alexander George

The conductors of coercive diplomacy come from an echo chambers full of like-thinking people. What the conductor 'knows' is the same as what everyone else in the echo chamber 'knows'. What is the personal quality of the conductor? Do they have access to other expertise from 'outside the box'? Are they capable of analysis? Are they captives of small minds with loud voices? What experiences have they had? Are their minds conditioned by lifelong immersion in some political or religious ideology? Are they careful or impulsive? Do they crack under pressure?  Get it wrong, and at the least there is discord. At the worst, crescendo.

Coercive diplomacy likely to cause chaos

The west's 'coercive diplomacy' is more likely to cause chaos in implementation than 'real' diplomacy because coercive diplomacy is in essence nothing but a formula for dominance of one country over another. The purposes of course, is for the enrichment of the dominating country and especially its politcal-industrial-financial class. It is an attempt to create 'constructive colonies', that can be exploited at arms length. It is a modern attempt to implement Mackinder's 'world Island concept.

The Russians appear much more analytical, careful, risk averse, far-thinking. The diplomats, at least, reject 'conditional' scenarios such as "what if x does y?" They deal with conditions as they emerge, making a move after careful considerations of all the facts.

"As is known, there are no ifs in politics....We must derive from what is, and work with that. Good or bad, there is no other President of the United States; there is no other United States either."
Vladimir Putin 3 October 2018

In fact they have fewer options than those who embrace coercion, blackmail, call it what you want (it amounts to the same thing). Why? Because Russia takes principled stances on global events and foreign relationships. They adhere to the principles outlined by the United Nations Charter and the various documents that flow from it, such as the 'Principles of International Law, Friendly Relations, and Co-operation Among States.

The Russians (and Chinese) are certainly as interested in the exploitation of resources in other countries, and trade with other countries. But the terms are far more likely to represent a fairer distribution of long term benefits than those that the west tries to impose. Russia (and China) recognise that fair terms means business arrangements are more likely to survive inevitable changes in government in the partner country.

Tools of coercion

There are three major tools used to coerce other nations to do what the collective West wants:

1. Economic coercion - trade restrictions of one kind or another, the most powerful of which are generally known as 'sanctions'  (which are almost always illegal under international law)
2. Blackmail
3. Military force (Passive and Active)

Military Force coercion is generally applied by large military powers at the end of a series of preceding non-military coercive acts. Military force coercion, a buildup, feignts, threats, responses, escalations and so on, all of which are discussed seperately prior to discussion of the topic of military force coercion, which is much further down the page.

Economic Coercion - Sanctions

Coercive test of capabilities

George points out that one of the 'non-military' strategies that a coercive aggressor might use to try to preserve the status quo is a test of capabilities. (A military strategy can also use this concept - a series of escalating 'probes' of escalating violence. The response the aggressor makes - with what force, where, for how long, with what ferocity, with calculation or reckless disregard for own and others safety etc - help the coercive aggressor to decide whether to continue at a certain level of violence, increase it, reduce it, or abandon violence in favor of a negotiated settlement.)

The United States Government economic blockade of Cuba has lasted since 1959 - 64 years - and still the Cuban government hasn't been destroyed. Clearly, the Cuban government has the capability to resist USA coercion.

The current day American blockade of Cuba is an example of what George calls "a relatively low-level challenge to the status quo", the status quo, from the American government perspective, being the pre-1959 government Cuba.

A test of capabilities means the coercive aggressor has foregone "coercive diplomacy" in the sense of threats, ultimatums, menacing military deployments and so on. The aggressor has foregone military aggression. If the coercer considers that the other party will 'survive' the restrictions and eventually overcome the negative effects, the coercer may "hope that the expected  [initial] outcome may be reversed through hard work, skill, improvisation, and efficient use of available resources". He points to the allies overcoming of the Soviet blockade of Berlin by using a constant stream of re-supply aircraft.

George considers that the brilliance, so to speak, of the further restrictive measures will finally take their toll, and the party under the endless blockade will either have to capitulate and 'bend the knee' to the aggressor, or risk fighting back with military force.

His 'test of capabilities' concept seems to me simply coercion. What is a blockade, the example he uses, if not economic coercion?

Economic coercion - The west's blockade of Russia

Russia joined the World Trade Organisation in 2012. However, economic sanctions violate the principles of the World Trade Organisation.

"As we joined the World Trade Organisation, we confirmed yet again that we are actively creating an open economy and are ready to closely cooperate with our partners the world over...We not only started trading in line with common rules and got the opportunity to more efficiently protect the interests of Russian companies, but also undertook obligations to reduce the level of our tariff protection and limit support for certain key sectors of the economy.

We all remember the complicated national discussion on whether we should join the WTO or not, what we gain from it and what we lose. We considered this very seriously before joining the WTO. I would like to remind you that the negotiations lasted 16 years.

Overall, I believe we have managed to get our partners to accept such terms for joining the WTO that met our interests, and though certain sectors of the economy had a price to pay, overall we managed to obtain acceptable terms.

However, in the past months the situation has changed. The limitations introduced against our country are nothing but a violation by some of our partners of the basic principles of the WTO.

The principle of equal access for all countries involved in economic activity to the markets of goods and services is being violated; the most favoured nation treatment in trade and the principle of fair and free competition is being ignored.

All this is politicised, there is no adherence to the generally recognised rules of the World Trade Organisation that I have just mentioned.

A number of countries have actually unilaterally deleted these and some other WTO principles for Russia, which is one of the six largest economies in the world.

In response, we took protective measures, and I would like to stress that they are protective; they are not the result of our desire to punish any of our partners or influence their decision in any way."
Vladimir Putin 18 September 2014 

The "limitations" the President refers to are the west's so-called 'sanctions'. These 'sanctions' imposed by the west are intended to coerce Russia into not only further opening up Russia's resources to western control, but also allow western goods to dominate the Russian domestic market.

The most important goal of all is to create the difficult social conditions that might result in the overthrow of the current Russian government. These are called 'reversible' coercive measures. That is, the west will 'reward' Russian compliance with the wests directions by removing some, or even all, the trade restrictions. This is a standard 'blackmail' card used by those who play a 'coercion hand'. (Another card they hold is a 'non-reversible' card. That is a military attack on Russia.)

At the moment western government sanctions have made the Russian Federation is the most heavily sanctioned country in the world. My detailed article outlining the sanctions on Russia by sector is here.

The USA and West have openly stated they intend to ensure the "strategic defeat" of the Russian Federation in order to make it politically dependent on the will of the West.  Apart from a general contempt for international law (UN Charter Article 2 [3] and [4] ) and the sociopathic tendencies of western governments in their relations with 'difficult to coerce' countries, the west is increasingly desperate to 'roll back' the Russian Federations majority state ownership or control of strategic industries. These industries include gas, oil, coal, the various minerals, nuclear power plants, space rocketry, icebreaker construction, rail, shipping, wheat marketing and so on. They had control of some of these profitable resource and infrastructure 'rentier' industries just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but then Vladimir Putin was voted into office, and he has gradually returned strategic industries to the state (the original owners) in the interests of Russian social development. As one former diplomat noted, 'no wonder the west hates him'.

Economic coercion first level is 'influence', then threat (also see 'Blackmail', below).

Influence comes through a wide variety of 'channels', including person to person 'chats' with officials of a country, business representations to government officials, press-ganging third parties to convey the message, International fora promoting a certain 'line', and so on. 

Economic threat
The potential usefulness of threat depends on the power of the country doing the threatening. The more powerful a country is, the greater the risk to the country being threatened. The United States and China are prime examples. The US is economically very powerful because many countries send their exports there. The additional power that the USA has, the 'elephant in the room', is that the USA may engineer social strife, or even a coup against the government if a country does not submit arranging its imports and exports to the satisfaction of the USA government (which is 'level 3 coercion').

The tools used to threaten trade include absurdly high regulatory standards for export goods, for example hygiene regulations in export-based food packing plants that far exceed the standards applicable in their own domestic market. This is an old trick, and has been used for years by many countries, and by the British, in particular, to prevent certification of a foreign meat packing plant (notoriously, the British officials sent to certify a large New Zealand abattoir and meat packing plants hygiene compliance found a single animal hair on a stainless steel hook...suspicions remain). An embellishment to the 'failed inspection' technique, is simply not to turn up for the final compliance check that ensures certification. The Russians did this, also to a New Zealand export food plant. Of course the excuses - unanswered letters (a German and French favorite in another context, by the way), sick official, failed to book the flight, endless agenda 'clarifications', change in staff, etc -  can only go on for so long.

Another tool is to bar trade in certain goods - computer chips are a good example -  on the basis they are a 'security concern'. This is simply based on public policy. The United States, for example, is notorious for trying to 'strong arm' to change the public policy of those countries whose public policy is to buy cheaper generic medicines rather than expensive US or European patented medicines. Affordable medicines at subsidised prices are sovereign decisions of course, and made in the best interest of the people of those countries. But the US and EU want to force those governments to change policy in the interests of the elites who own the giant patent medicine companies.

At the extreme of coercive economic diplomacy is the use of 'long arm' sanctions. The United States government is perfectly within it's rights to refuse to trade with Iran - Iran is not a member of the world trade organisation, and so it can't be make a claim against the US government action. 

However, the United States cannot force other countries to comply with its domestic laws, whether it is which side of the road people must drive on or whether trade with another country is permitted or not. And yet this is exactly what the United States government does. It says to any country wishing to buy Iranian oil (for example), 'if you buy Iran's oil we will block your exports to the USA, and persuade (= blackmail) other countries to also block your exports'. In this way the United States government imposes it's domestic law on other countries (a breach of the United Nations Charter).

"I talked about Iran. You know its role in global energy markets. We know that role is diminishing. Its exports have tanked due to our pressure campaign, and we have every intention of driving Iranian oil exports to zero just as quickly as we can."
Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State, USA
Amusingly, the United States government then refers to any shipments of Iranian oil to Irans few remaining international customers as 'evading sanctions'. These sanctions have zero validity outside the US borders (unless US vassal countries have passed their own domestic laws that prohibit the import of Iranian oil).

This was a stellar example of the United States governments coercive economic diplomacy. It has been eclipsed by the wests comprehensive coercive diplomatic measures against Russia.

"Another characteristic of coercive diplomacy is the possibility that the coercing power may couple its threat of punishment for noncompliance with positive inducements to encourage the adversary to to comply with the demand...As with threats of of punishment, positive inducements and reassurances must also be credible."

Coercive threats may be powerful, but are is more powerful if accompanied by an inducement.

Trade restrictions did not destroy Russia's economy. But a more insidious threat had the potential to do significant harm.

In 2014 Ukraine signed a trade agreement with the EU facilitating free trade between Ukraine and the EU. Tariff-free EU goods would stream into Ukraine. These cheap goods would re-exported to Russia, seriously affecting Russian domestic industries and causing significant unemployment.

At the same many Russian exports to Ukraine would be blocked as they didn't comply with EU standards.

Russia's Carrot and stick economic coercion

Russia applied coercive diplomacy by threatening if the EU deal went ahead as it stood (Russia wanted a 'carve out' of about a quarter of the goods covered by the EU agreement) then Russian would apply tariffs sufficient to make up for what Russia would lose, thus protecting Russian local industries. Russia then offered an inducement - a better deal. Russia would buy $15 billion of (probably worthless) Ukrainian bonds and cut the (already cheap) price of Russian natural gas by nearly a third. (Ukraine was already refusing to pay its gas bill on the pretext it was too expensive.) This package was a significantly better offer than the benefits of the EU package. But 'the west' asked Russia not to buy further bonds as they wanted the IMF to loan the money to Ukraine.

"...we are in principle ready to look at taking the steps needed to make the other tranches available with regard to the purchase of bonds. But our Western partners have asked us not to do this. They have asked us to work together through the IMF to encourage the Ukrainian authorities to carry out the reforms needed to bring about recovery in the Ukrainian economy...But given that Naftogaz of Ukraine is not paying Gazprom now, the Government is considering various options....

...The formal reason was that he [Yanukovych] did not sign the European Union Association Agreement. Today, this seems like nonsense; it is ridiculous to even talk about.

But I want to point out that he did not refuse to sign the association agreement. He said: “We have carefully analysed it, and its content does not correspond with our national interests. We cannot sharply increase energy prices for our people, because our people are already in a rather difficult position. We cannot do this, and that, and that. We cannot immediately break our economic ties with Russia, because our cooperation is very extensive.”

I have already presented these figures: out of approximately 14 billion [dollars] in export, approximately 5 billion represents second and third technological processing level products exported to Russia. In other words, just about all engineering products are exported to Russia; the West is not buying any Ukrainian products.

And to take all this and break it apart, to introduce European technical standards in the Ukrainian economy, which, thankfully or unfortunately, we are not using at the moment. We will adopt those standards at some point, but currently, we do not have those standards in Russia.

This means the next day, our relations and cooperation ties will be broken, enterprises will come to a standstill and unemployment will increase.

And what did Yanukovych say? He said, “I cannot do this so suddenly, let’s discuss this further.” He did not refuse to sign it, he asked for a chance to discuss this document some more, and then all this craziness [the coup] began...did it really need to be taken to this level of anarchy, to an unconstitutional overthrow and armed seizure of power, subsequently plunging the nation into the chaos where it finds itself today? I think this is unacceptable...

I sometimes get the feeling that somewhere across that huge puddle, in America, people sit in a lab and conduct experiments, as if with rats, without actually understanding the consequences of what they are doing. Why did they need to do this? Who can explain this? There is no explanation at all for it."
Vladimir Putin 4 March 2014

Countries sanctioned or embargoed by the US and EU

By one count (it's hard to keep up) the United States alone has embargoes and/or sanctions on people, official organisations and businesses (including banking) in 'Balkans', Belarus, Central African Republic, China, Republic of Congo, Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe (at least).

The EU applied economic coercion to a smaller list of countries, but, unlike the USA, applies far more economic coercion to the Russian Federation.

G7 on economic coercion

"...the Americans, while they’re specialist in dialogue with Russia, and the Europeans are special experts in sanctions, we need both, and this is what we’re doing."
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Tony Blinken June 25, 2021

The west are 'masters' of economic coercion. On May 20 2023 the G7 group of countries released a Leaders Communique saying:

"we will enhance collaboration by launching the Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion to increase our collective assessment, preparedness, deterrence and response to economic coercion, and further promote cooperation with partners beyond the G7."

The G7's Leaders Statement on Economic resilience says, among other things:

"Addressing economic coercion

"<...>We express serious concern over economic coercion and call on all countries to refrain from its use, which not only undermines the functioning of and trust in the multilateral trading system, but also infringes upon the international order centered on respect for sovereignty and the rule of law, and ultimately undermines global security and stability.

At our respective domestic levels, we will use our existing tools, review their effectiveness and develop new ones as needed to deter and counter the use of coercive economic measures.

Recognizing the importance of existing joint efforts including at the WTO, we will enhance collaboration by launching the Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion to increase our collective assessment, preparedness, deterrence and response to economic coercion, and further promote cooperation with partners beyond the G7.

Within this Coordination Platform, we will use early warning and rapid information sharing, regularly consult each other, collaboratively assess situations, explore coordinated responses, deter and, where appropriate, counter economic coercion, in accordance with our respective legal systems"

The stench of EU hypocrisy is overpowering. And beyond simply illogical. They are from the impossible world of Maurits Escher. The G7's "existing tools" are sanctions. They will develop "new ones" - which means new coercive sanctions - to deter any 'counter-sanctions' countries put in place in response to the G7's sanctions...while at the same time, the G7, the initiators, architects, and impositors of coercive economic sanctions "call on all countries to refrain from its [economic sanctions] use"!

The US, Canada, Japan, Australia & Aotearoa on economic coercion Edited 5 January 2024

On 8 June 2023 Joint Declaration Against Trade-Related Economic Coercion and Non-Market Policies and Practices at a Ministerial meeting in Paris on 8 June 2023.

"Joint Declaration Against Trade-Related Economic Coercion and Non-Market Policies and Practices
The use of trade-related economic coercion and non-market-oriented policies and practices (“non-market policies and practices”) threatens and undermines the rules-based multilateral trading system and harms relations between countries. The purpose of this Declaration is to express our shared concern and affirm our commitment to enhance international cooperation in order to effectively deter and address trade-related economic coercion and non-market policies and practices.

1. We express serious concern over trade-related economic coercion and non-market policies and practices that undermine the functioning of and confidence in the rules-based multilateral trading system by distorting trade, investment, and competition and harming relations between countries.
Trade-related economic coercion and non-market policies and practices threaten the livelihoods of our citizens, harm our workers and businesses, and could undermine global security and stability.

2. Non-market policies and practices of concern include: industrial policies and practices that promote excess capacity; pervasive subsidization; discriminatory and anti-competitive activities of state owned or controlled enterprises; the arbitrary or unjustifiable application of regulations; forced technology transfer; state-sponsored theft of trade secrets; government interference with or direction of commercial decision-making; and insufficient regulatory and market transparency. Non-market policies and practices have also been used as tools for economic coercion.

3. We are particularly concerned with, and oppose, trade-related economic coercion that uses, or uses the threat of, measures affecting trade and investment in an abusive, arbitrary, or pretextual manner to pressure, induce or influence a foreign government into taking, or not taking, a decision or action in order to achieve a strategic political or policy objective, or prevent or interfere with the foreign government’s exercise of its legitimate sovereign rights or choices. This trade-related economic coercion is frequently disguised as a legitimate government regulatory or public policy measure unrelated to the strategic objective that it is intended to advance. It may also occur indirectly through government entrustment or direction given to state-owned, state-controlled, or private enterprises.

4. We are also seriously concerned about the use of forced labour, including state-sponsored forced labour, in global supply chains. All forms of forced labour are gross abuses of human rights, as well as economic issues, and it is a moral imperative to end these practices. We are aware of countries using these practices to confer an unfair competitive advantage, and affirm that there must be no place for such practices in the global trading system.

5. We affirm, in light of relevant international rules and norms, that this declaration does not apply to measures that are adopted and maintained in a transparent manner, in good faith, and for the purpose of a legitimate public policy objective. These legitimate public policy measures include: health and safety regulations, environmental regulations, trade remedies, national security measures and sanctions, and measures to protect the integrity and stability of financial systems and financial institutions from abuse.

6. We urge all governments to refrain from the use of trade-related economic coercion and non-market policies and practices and to support free and fair trade based on open, market-oriented policies and principles that promote a level playing field and non-discriminatory treatment in international trade relations, benefit all economies, and help secure shared prosperity for all.

7. We commit to work together, with all interested partners, to identify, prevent, deter, and address trade-related economic coercion and non-market policies and practices, including through multilateral institutions, such as the WTO. These efforts will include, where appropriate, cooperation in WTO committees and in disputes to challenge these practices. We also commit to the sharing of information, data and analysis concerning these policies and practices as well as exploring the development of new diplomatic and economic tools that support and reinforce the rules-based multilateral trading system in responding to these challenges."

The stench of US and US vassal's hypocrisy is, once again, overpowering. But there is a twist.

The Ministers had to release this additional statement because they realised their policy to coerce was going to shoot the Europeans in the foot ("or a little higher up" as the Russian President once said) and benefit the United States. The Europeans had been duped again.

The US was going to use force the Europeans themselves to change their public policy, allow US interests to buy (for example) the French state controlled nuclear industry, scrap the UK ability to buy cheaper generic drugs, enforce privatisation of anything in Europe of value and not yet privatised. (There is an intriguing mention of "measures to protect the integrity and stability of financial systems and financial institutions from abuse" - SWIFT restrictions and theft of Russian state reserves are good examples of such abuse. They are either coming to their senses, or they coming up with even stupider local 'west-only' bloc digital currency and exchange. We should never underestimate the stupidity of western politicians.)

With reference to the United States  "where appropriate, cooperation in WTO committees and in disputes to challenge these practices", one member of the WTO, namely the United States, has unilaterally blocked the disputes mechanism of the WTO by the simple expedient of preventing the formation of a quarum to elect new disputes mechanism officials (their term has expired). It isn't a coincidence - there are numerous suits lodged by China, for one, against the USA practise of discriminating against Chinese-made goods. It is apparent why the weasel words "where appropriate" were included - the USA government, believing it alone is 'exceptional', won't cooperate to allow China to take it to the disputes mechanism. Because it knows it will lose 'bigly'.

Of course Russia has retaliated. It has been very careful to stay within commercial law, while at the same time making sure unfriendly countries - which, after all, are in an undeclared war on Russia - take as little profit from Russia as possible. A levy of 10% must be paid to the Russian government. Shares may only be divested to an approved buyer, and at a value finally decided by a government valuer. In addition, control of the unfriendly countries foreign holdings in Russian strategic resources (mainly oil, gas, and banks and other finance related companies) are now 'temporarily' in Russian hands.

'In response to the international network of sanctions imposed against Russia following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Government published a list of “unfriendly” foreign States.[1] The list includes the EU Member States, the U.K., the U.S. and other States with a Russian sanctions program. Nationals from these countries are subject to an increasingly complex web of retaliatory countersanctions, impacting a variety of business and financial transactions with a Russian nexus.'
Shearman and Sterling 11 May 2023

The weapon of coercive diplomacy can be turned against those using it. And, so far, the west's economic weapon has failed. Just as has its military weaponry.

Consequences of European and US economic coercion

Obviously, some are more consequential than others. In more consequential cases there may be 'permissions' to allow humanitarian goods such as medicine and food, but while these 'exceptions' may be on the books, in reality people are too scared of 'secondary' sanctions being applied to them, they choose to stop supplying those goods or services.

As a result, some of the consequences include:

Trade restrictions on Russia have the most consequences - both good and bad - for the world. Many of these effects are covered in detail in my article 'The West's apartheid international trading system'.

There is no need to go into detail on the negative effect of the EU's coercive trade restrictions on Russia. They are regularly reported in the European news media.

The negative effects of the US coercive economic restrictions on Russia barely entered the consciousness of the average American. The most consequential effects - loss of faith in the US dollar - are slow to emerge, yet will have the most impact on the American people.

Once again, the choice of geopolitical strategy is largely an expression of economic interests. Yes, there is an element of a countries 'historic mission' - Russia sees it's role as being a 'civilisational power' bringing a civil interaction between countries based in fairness, rules based on the United Nations Charter. The USA sees itself as 'leader of the western world, promoting the USA view of how the world 'should be'.

Russia, a European state, was at one time on the very threshold of joining the European Union, embracing the concept of an integrated Europe that stretched right across Eurasia, from the west coast to the east coast of greater Eurasia. The west, under the control of the US government, destroyed all this - and then blocked Russia from Europe, across all dimensions of life - political, economic, cultural.

Thus, inevitably, Russia's economic activity has now turned to East Asia, Southeast Asia, India, Africa, South Eurasia, Central Asia, South Caucasus and the Middle East. Russia's long term geopolitical strategy has now turned to Mackinder's 'heartland' - minus most of Europe.

'Enhanced' economic coercion - state theft

"The British Government, through the Gibraltar administration, issued a “specified ship notice” against the Russian-owned, Panama-flagged oil tanker, the Grace-1, carrying a large cargo of Iranian oil. Before dawn on July 4, British Marines attacked the vessel and seized it...The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the Grace-1 attack on July 5; it did not condemn Iran’s retaliation on July 19 when the Stena Impero was boarded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on July 19.  We told you so, was the response by Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova on July 11, following warning messages between Iranian and British warships. 
John Helmer, 2 August 2019 

One step beyond a simple blockade is state theft of another states assets, sometimes at the point of a gun, sometimes more politely. Other examples include the British theft of Venezuelan gold, the EU theft of Russian commercial bank accounts. Retaliation is always certain, in some shape or other. As mentioned, Russia has passed a law acquiring boardroom control of foreign joint ventures where they involve uncooperative 'unfriendly companies', for example. The value of foreign assets in Russia is said to be higher than the value of the gold and bank assets frozen by the west...

Big countries can retaliate, small countries can't. Turkey received large amounts of oil stolen by ISIS in Syria. Turkey enabled the wholesale theft of commercial machinery from Syrian businesses when it first occupied Syrian territory. The United States steals oil and wheat from Syria - even while cruelly and grievously tormenting the civilians there with an economic blockade. Yet state theft as a means of coercion against even a small (and now destitute) state like Syria have produced no results.

Blackmail Coercion

George stated that an 'offensive coercion' strategy to persuade a 'victim' (his word) to give up something of value they have without putting up resistance is best called what it is - a blackmail strategy.

The most notable feature is that in the 'defensive coercion' strategy the attempt is to persuade (albeit using threats) an 'opponent' to do something, which implies a power balance between the parties, whereas the blackmail strategy is against a victim - meaning there is a power imbalance.

The measures taken against those who refuse to submit are well-known and have been tried and tested many times. They include use of force, economic and propaganda pressure, meddling in domestic affairs, and appeals to a kind of ‘supra-legal’ legitimacy when they need to justify illegal intervention in this or that conflict or toppling inconvenient regimes.

Of late, we have increasing evidence too that outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders. It is not for nothing that ‘big brother’ is spending billions of dollars on keeping the whole world, including its own closest allies, under surveillance."

Vladimir Putin October 24, 2014

"Russia always worked with Ukraine in an open and honest manner and, as I have already said, with respect for its interests.

We developed our ties in multiple fields. Thus, in 2011, bilateral trade exceeded $50 billion. Let me note that in 2019, that is before the pandemic, Ukraine’s trade with all EU countries combined was below this indicator...

...The officials in Kiev replaced partnership with a parasitic attitude acting at times in an extremely brash manner. Suffice it to recall the continuous blackmail on energy transits and the fact that they literally stole gas.

I can add that Kiev tried to use dialogue with Russia as a bargaining chip in its relations with the West, using the threat of closer ties with Russia for blackmailing the West to secure preferences by claiming that otherwise Russia would have a bigger influence in Ukraine."
Vladimir Putin 21 February 2022 

"We often hear from representatives of the Global South that the Americans, on the contrary, are practicing what they call “coercive diplomacy.” In other words, they are threatening others with sanctions and other punitive measures. 

Indicatively, they are using these methods against the negotiators themselves but also against their family members who own real estate, live or study in the West.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke about this more than once. In turn, his colleagues and partners honestly told him during talks that they are aware of this Western attitude towards them.

In the last few years, voting at the UN General Assembly was often based on this principle of coercion. Mr Lavrov often recalls a very indicative case from his own practice. A colleague from a developing nation complained that the Americans were exerting pressure on his capital to make it renounce cooperation with Moscow. Mr Lavrov asked him what the Americans offered in exchange. The answer was a surprise – the Americans promised not to introduce sanctions. They were not offering any benefits to his country but promised not to make things worse...

...We know for sure that the curators from the US, Britain and the EU brainwashed officials and businesspeople from other countries to renounce participation in the SPIEF 2023. Letters were sent and talks held; blackmail and threats were used, as well as manipulations. The Americans made purposeful trips to countries that are well-disposed towards Russia to disrupt agreements that had been reached.

They said they know about the signing of some agreements with Russia and that now they must be cancelled.

And what will they give in exchange? They said they won’t make it any worse than it is now. This is their logic and tactic. There is a lot of evidence and facts to this effect."
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  21 June 2023

"Preparations for the [Russia-Africa] summit are at the final stage...Almost all countries have confirmed that they will attend. More than a half of the African countries will be represented by their top leaders, this despite the daily unashamed pressure and demands to cancel the visit or lower the level of representation. Such are our Western colleagues’ “manners.”

The West does not explain anything but says that “Russia is a threat and you must not have contacts with it because its days are numbered; beware of betting on the wrong horse.” This is the sort of “diplomatic” manners that can be expected from them."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023 

"I repeatedly stated that by issuing threats and exerting pressure, the United States and the United Kingdom are crossing every red line there is.

They are now issuing threats to the effect that some politicians in a particular country have accounts with US banks or that their children study at American universities. They stop at nothing."
Sergey Lavrov 23 January 2023

", trade or economic ties, or financial mechanisms ...created as part of the globalisation effort ... were touted as a boon for the world at large. Then, overnight, they turned into a tool of blackmail, pressure, racketeering and pure theft."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

"We have taken note of the growing number of reports leaked to the global media about a large-scale search by the United States and its North Atlantic allies throughout the world for Soviet, Russian and Western weapons and ammunition for Vladimir Zelensky’s regime.

We know well about the continuing, unprecedented pressure by the Western masters of Zelensky and his criminal “team” on the countries that purchased such weapons and ammunition for national defence.

They are using the most disgusting methods of blackmail, up to and including threats of physical violence, seizure and withdrawal of these countries’ property and bank assets in the West, and enforcement measures against government officials’ immediate families and close relatives."
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokewoman, 7 July 2023

" Question: When you look back to the beginning of the war there was a General Assembly resolution that Russia should pull back its troops from Ukraine. At the time there are 141 states in favor of the motion. As things stand now do you think the global position has changed, the perception of Russia has changed?

Sergey Lavrov: "I know how was adopted that resolution. I have many friends in New York. They were privately telling me that the means used by the Americans to get that many votes were really specific. The ambassadors in New York were approached by junior diplomats from an American or British mission and the question was raised: "Mr. Ambassador, please don't forget that the vote is tomorrow and don't forget that your bank account is in Merrill Lynch, that your kids are in Stanford". I'm not exacerbating. It was exactly the means applied....

...The Americans and the Europeans, NATO, EU members were running all over the world. Not just presenting the assessment of what is happening in Ukraine, but putting ultimatum, blackmailing, threats, sanctions. Unless you condemn Russia, there would be consequences. You know how they behave. This is their usual style."
10 December 2023

"I do not want to go into detail at this point, but we know for certain that every trip by a Russian delegation, including a Foreign Ministry delegation, to countries in the Arab world, the Middle East or North Africa is always preceded by Western diplomats’ demarches. They issue warnings, and in some cases even “hint at consequences,” as they like to put it.
Serggey Lavrov, 21 December 2023 

In George's view, blackmail is distinguished by the fact that coercive threats are"employed aggressively" to 'persuade' the victim to 'give something up' something of value without putting up resistance. Examples include aggressively coercing Russia to stop using its own pipeline to send gas to Europe, or aggressively 'allow' the west to acquire part of a Russian strategic assets (natural gas processing and distribution infrastructure, bank accounts, gold) located in the EU, or arm fighter bombers on Russia's border with nuclear bombs in order to 'require' Russia to limit its deployment of hypersonic strategic weapons. Threat alone may be enough, but if it doesn't work, the erstwhile bully will have to 'put up or shut up'.

This is not a problem when big nations pick on small nations (the bully's favorite) especially if the politicians there are corrupt. According to Sergey Lavrov, the west coerces votes from some small nations by a mix of bribery and threats to, for example, end the education of children admitted to prestigious American Universities.

But when a large and powerful nation like Russia refuses to be coerced into implementing western policies and resist - perhaps in unexpected ways - the west either has to back down or do what it has threatened to do. Russia has a policy - a duty, they call it - to advise the west where the 'red lines' are, lines which the west must not cross unless they are willing to accept consequences to their "sensitive' (as Russia says) areas of interest. Many assume that if a 'red line' is crossed then 'military diplomacy' cuts in, and cuts in immediately. Not so.

Hybrid diplomatic strategy

Alexander George payed particular emphasis on advice for the US government to use 'flexible diplomacy' using rational persuasion and acceptable compromise, but use coercive threat if the 'partner' country refuses to obey the USA demands, or if they won't agree to a comprise that the US was willing to accept. While he didn't include blackmail, it is clear that the USA includes that when they are running a hybrid strategy, especially with countries that are interested in beneficial trade with Russia.

"What we see in the US administration’s budget request for the next year is, of course, not diplomacy, but, rather, modern American diplomacy, which boils down either to threats or sanctions, or, as we are seeing, to an attempt to purchase allies."
Sergey Lavrov 12 March 2019

"It is no secret that our Western opponents are trying to compel many of our partners to curtail beneficial cooperation with Russia through persuasion and with various promises and blackmail. In the process, they do not care one bit about the losses to be sustained by these states and their peoples."
Vladimir Putin May 24 2023

In any negotiation, both sides see their own position as reasonable and the other sides position as unreasonable. It is a form of the 'definition game', where, by my definition, everything I say is 'right', and everything you say is 'wrong'.

In reality, as soon as coercion is introduced, rationality, empathy, fairness and willingness to find an equitable solution flies out the window.

Conman diplomatic strategy  edited 10 February 2024

Here comes the conman
Coming with his con plan
We won't take no bribe
We've got to stay alive
Bob Marley 'Crazy baldheads' 1976

The conman strategy can only be executed once. After that, all trust is gone. Forever.

"We remember well NATO's eastward expansion...Despite the fact that relations between Russia and our Western partners, including the United States [at that time], were nothing short of unique, and the level of relations was almost allied, our concerns and warnings regarding NATO's eastward expansion have been totally ignored.
There have been several waves of expansion, and let’s look at where the military infrastructure of the NATO bloc is now – anti-missile defence systems have been deployed right next to our borders in Romania and Poland. These can easily be put to offensive use with the Mk-41 launchers there; replacing the software takes only minutes. "
Vladimir Putin November 18 2021 

"...This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us...This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics."
Vladimir Putin 24 February 2022

The west, and the US government in particular, said to Russia that if it ends its occupation of East Berlin then the west would not expand NATO "one inch east". The west knew Russia was (rightly) highly sensitive to the fact Germany's invaded Russia only about 50 years previously (killing around 27 million Soviet people and inflecting immense damage). Further, Russia would never allow large military concentrations of NATO-trained Germans on Russia's border. And Russia would as much allow nuclear armed US (NATO) aircraft and cruise missile systems on Russia's border as the United States would allow nuclear armed Russian cruise missiles and aircraft to be placed in Cuba.

"I'm coming to a very important point of today's agenda. After all, the collapse of the Soviet Union was effectively initiated by the Russian leadership...

....The second point is a very important one. I want you as an American citizen and your viewers to hear about this as well. The former Russian leadership assumed that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist and therefore there were no longer any ideological dividing lines.

Russia even agreed, voluntarily and proactively, to the collapse of the Soviet Union and believed that this would be understood by the so-called (now in scare quotes) ”civilized West“ as an invitation for cooperation and associateship. That is what Russia was expecting both from the United States and the so-called collective West as a whole.

There were smart people, including in Germany. Egon Bahr, a major politician of the Social Democratic Party, who insisted in his personal conversations with the Soviet leadership on the brink of the collapse of the Soviet Union that a new security system should be established in Europe. Help should be given to unify Germany, but a new system should also be established to include the United States, Canada, Russia, and other Central European countries. But NATO needs not to expand. That's what he said: if NATO expands, everything would be just the same as during the Cold War, only closer to Russia's borders. That's all. He was a wise old man, but no one listened to him...

...after 1991, when Russia expected that it would be welcomed into the brotherly family of ”civilized nations,“ nothing like this happened. You tricked us ...I'm talking about the United States...the promise was that NATO would not expand eastward, but it happened five times, there were five waves of expansion. We tolerated all that, we were trying to persuade them, we were saying: ”Please don't, we are as bourgeois now as you are, we are a market economy, and there is no Communist Party power. Let's negotiate.“...

At a meeting here in the Kremlin with the outgoing President Bill Clinton, right here in the next room, I said to him, I asked him, ” Bill, do you think if Russia asked to join NATO, do you think it would happen?“ Suddenly he said: ”You know, it's interesting, I think so.“ But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ”You know, I've talked to my team, no-no, it's not possible now.“ You can ask him, I think he will watch our interview, he'll confirm it....we were promised, no NATO to the East, not an inch to the East, as we were told. And then what? They said, ”Well, it's not enshrined on paper, so we'll expand.“...

...we agreed with the fact that after the collapse of the Soviet Union our borders should be along the borders of former Union’s republics. We agreed to that. But we never agreed to NATO’s expansion and moreover we never agreed that Ukraine would be in NATO. We did not agree to NATO bases there without any discussion with us. For decades we kept asking: don’t do this "
Vladimir Putin 9 February 2024

A new cooperative security system wasn't established. As Egon Bahr implied, a new security system involving all parties needed to be put in place before the Soviet Union went ahead with unilaterally ending the cold war. The west pretended to be friendly and considerate of Russia's vital security interests. They lied. It was a con.

Never ever again. Almost. The west managed to sucker Russia into allowing shipborne grain exports through the combat zone, on the pretext it was for the starving millions in Africa. It, too, was a con. Most of the grain went to the west and to well-off 'developing' countries like China. The amount of grain that went to impoverished food-deficit countries was minuscule.

The Diplomacy of Lies

As far as I can make out, the top Russian diplomats almost never resort to bare-faced lies. The only obvious lies I have noticed are, first, the lie that the Russian spokeswoman promoted - heatedly - on the day before Russia's military operation in East Ukraine, that no Russian invasion was imminent. This could probably be considered a 'ruse of war', and allowable under the Hague Conventions (article 24). The second lie was Sergei Lavrov's denial that the Russians caught near the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with a boot full of listening devices were spying. The Secretariat of the OPCW is dominated by the west, and has been turned into a tool for anti-Russian propaganda, destroying the hard won reputation of the OPCW as a independent and non-political body in the process. 

Of course the Russians promote their own story, but they seem to be of the opinion that it is better to be caught telling the truth than the opposite (this strategy has been slow to pay off in the west, for obvious reasons). The West takes the opposite course.

The list of lies promulgated in the west, especially around events in the Middle East, is long enough to fill a book. They hardly need mentioning, but details of a few - from the horses mouth - are in this youtube interview with former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter.

" threatened Russia with “consequences” for its alleged attempts to undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and accused us of “repeatedly refusing” to meet at the level of foreign ministers in the Normandy format. You know perfectly well that neither of these allegations are true ..

...Given the misrepresentations of Russia’s approaches to the intra-Ukrainian settlement process and convening a Normandy format meeting, we have no choice but to take the unconventional step of making our correspondence public, including my letter to you dated October 29, together with the Russian draft of the outcome document for the Normandy format ministerial meeting, your response dated November 4, and my detailed comments to it dated November 6, 2021
I do hope that making these primary sources available to the general public will clarify Russia’s true role and intentions regarding the peace process, and will help build political will, including in Germany and France, for achieving a fair settlement in Donbass that is firmly rooted in the Minsk agreements, without any attempts to convene new meetings in order to further accommodate Kiev in its policy of sabotaging its obligations at the connivance of its Western sponsors, and in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015)."
Sergey Lavrov 17 November 2021 

Unlike media, diplomacy requires rebuttal when other diplomats lie about what was sent (or meant). Of course, up until the advent of social media, rebuttals were filtered through the gatekeeper of what the public is permitted to know - the mainstream media. This is changing. Some diplomats are starting to use social media to simply step over the self-crippled  mainstream media and talk with their audience directly.

"We have heard lots of lies and false promises from the West. I’m not saying this to keep searching for arguments to back our past or current policies, but to re-confirm the fact that we have learned our lesson. We are no longer looking to the past...The past has taught us a good lesson....based on the current situation in our country and internationally, we will proceed to build our future without relying on our deceitful colleagues who are incapable of holding up their end of the bargain, our former Western partners.
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

Debater: "so our diplomats are lying?"
Former Ambassador to Russia McFaul: "Yes! Yes! That's the real world guys. C'mon, c'mon. That's the real world."
Debater: "Wait a second. Wait a second. Aren't the diplomats who are lying all the time, yet the Russians should trust them when they offer assurances [to Russia - Ed]?"
Munk debate Ukraine 12 May 2022 

"US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in recent years.

It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them.

Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same “empire of lies.”"
Vladimir Putin 24 February 2022

Lies have a consequence. All trust is lost. And trust, in essence, is being confident in the enduring reliability of the other side. It is likely that the western politicians will continue to lie to Russia. That's too bad, but nothing can be done about it. It is simply a reality.

"...we were doing everything in our power to solve this problem by peaceful means, and patiently conducted talks on a peaceful solution to this devastating conflict. Behind our backs, a very different plan was being hatched. As we can see now, the promises of Western leaders, their assurances that they were striving for peace in Donbass turned out to be a sham and outright lies.

They were simply marking time, engaged in political chicanery, turning a blind eye to the Kiev regime’s political assassinations and reprisals against 'undesirable' people, their mistreatment of believers. They increasingly incited the Ukrainian neo-Nazis to stage terrorist attacks in Donbass. The officers of nationalist battalions trained at Western academies and schools."
Vladimir Putin February 21, 2023

The consequence, once again, is the necessity to record and contract every last word, and add in realisable penalties for no compliance. And, of course, effective and complete auditing to make sure that whatever is claimed to have been put in place is really there.

"We put forward an idea to sign a treaty on European security in 2008 and 2009. There was one simple thing to it. The 1999 Istanbul Charter for European Security had indivisibility of security enshrined at the top level.

Countries are free to choose alliances, but they cannot do so if by strengthening their security they undermine the security of others.

It was stated explicitly that all OSCE participants (presidents and prime ministers signed it) undertake that no country, no group of countries and not a single alliance within the OSCE space will claim dominance.

Back then, almost immediately NATO reprised its policy of dominance. We told them that the Istanbul Charter was a political declaration with political commitments that had been made not by “third secretaries” from embassies, but by presidents.

We proposed codifying it, since they were unable to comply with the commitments made at the top level, and to adopt the European Security Treaty (legal obligations) using the same language.

We were told that only NATO members can obtain legally binding security guarantees. We noted that we had earlier signed the OSCE document stating that no one would claim dominance. We were told it was just a “political statement.”

Later, they claimed that the assurances not to expand NATO were “verbal,” but when the Russia-NATO Founding Act was concluded, they said it was in writing, but “not quite” legally binding.

Our patience was unparalleled. President Putin repeatedly mentioned several times that he pushed himself to keep the shreds of trust for quite a  while, hoping that something would “sprout” from the leftover “seed” if the West comes to its senses and behaves in a dignified and civilised manner. Nothing happened.

 In 2008-2009, the European security treaty was tossed out after they refused to discuss it with us. There were two treaties: one with NATO and one with the OSCE (but a legally binding treaty this time).

In late 2021, President Putin (after delivering remarks at our Ministry) instructed the Ministry to draft proposals reflecting the current state of international affairs. The West outright refused to discuss them. I was among the people involved in this process. Ministerial delegations at the level of deputy ministers met first.

In January 2022, I had talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Geneva. He said that there may be no commitments regarding the non-expansion of NATO, adding that they had withdrawn from the INF Treaty, because Russia had “violated” it earlier. I reminded him that when Washington withdrew from the Treaty, Moscow agreed (since they believed it was the only way out of the situation for them) to declare a unilateral moratorium. We suggested that the Americans do the same.

President Putin’s initiative clearly stated that they can come and see for themselves what things really are, if they still suspect that our Iskander systems deployed in the Kaliningrad Region are equipped with medium-range missiles that are prohibited by the Treaty. In return, though, we want to be able to go to Poland and Romania, where they have built missile defence bases equipped with the facilities whose manufacturer (Lockheed Martin) claimed in an ad that they were dual-purpose and can be used to launch prohibited ground-based medium-range missiles (the Americans deployed these bases and facilities even before the Treaty was terminated).

They refused. We suggested a fair deal where they come to us and look at what they suspected us of, and we, in turn, would go and see what their ad looks like in real life. They said no.

I told Antony Blinken about our package of proposals. They are concerned about the developments surrounding Ukraine, even though they are the ones creating a crisis situation. He said NATO was out of question. However, we should come to terms with regard to our proposal about medium-range missiles, meaning that they can now be deployed in Ukraine as well (since they are not banned any longer), and the United States will be willing to limit their number in Ukraine.

I’m not sure what else I need to say for everyone to understand why the special military operation became inevitable when Ukraine (under a blatantly Nazi regime that banned everything Russian) was flooded with weapons, which fact we saw as a direct threat to our security, traditions and legitimate interests."
Sergey Lavrov 19 April 2024

The short history above is threaded with lies, assurances given and then broken. False assurances about American missile systems for example, and the well-worn USA technique of lies accusing the opponent of the same breach of terms that they, and only they, did.

The diplomacy of Truth

Very few countries would claim that they always tell the truth, or even the whole truth. Russia claims to follow a principled approach in foreign relations, which, to the degree it succeeds, limits its options to coerce others. The problem for countries that lie for coercive purposes is that after a while they won't be believed. And, as in the story of Peter and the Wolf, the day may come when they are telling the truth on an important and urgent matter and need to be believed.

But lies between top level officials are probably not that frequent - withholding information and failing to uphold agreements is far more prevalent.

Lies, half truths, exaggeration, and deliberately misleading information are kept for the public, as the public generally has very little agency, very little power, very little access to complete and accurate information.

Coercion with criminal frameups edited 25 February 2024

First, the 'light' version of this technique is used by the USA, in particular. The breaches are generally of agreements, or of international law rather than civil law. They often involve military threats of one kind or another. Here, every time the USA wants to break an agreement or create a unilateral security risk to Russia or its allies, it first accuses the Russians of doing exactly what it is about to do. It then, of course, claims it 'had to' take action due to the other sides actions. This has become a highly predictable USA modus operandi. In fact, any time you hear the USA make some allegation against Russia, it is a reliable signal they themselves are about to embark on some unlateral action that increases the threat to the Russian Federations security.

The criminal frameup technique is more serious in the 'civil law' sense, but may not have very much strategic importance. This technique is a favorite of the UK and EU governments. The idea is simple, to exploit an existing terrorist or criminal act (whether government or civilian) by 'hanging' it on the Russian government.

This technique was amplified at the time that the west started the massive and historic operation to economically, politically, and culturally coerce Russia into opening up its resources to the west.

The best known examples are the Skirpal chemical agent poisoning (probably a farmed-out British operation), the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner (highly likely by Ukraine), the poisoning of the wests Navalrny project (probably UK again), and the chemical weapon attacks in Ukraine (mixed provenance, possibly enabled by Turkey and the UK).

"Yes, they have sued us. There is one thing we need to understand. They say that we have done it to the Skripals and that we must say whether it was done on orders from President Putin or whether he had lost control over the secret services which did this without his consent. Nobody else had a clear reason [to poison the Skripals], so it is highly likely that Russia is responsible, they say.

This is baby talk, not a serious investigation.

We put concrete questions to them: Where is Yulia Skripal? Why has her cousin been denied a visa which we requested officially many times? Unfortunately, you can’t sue for a visa.

We ask similar questions about the Malaysian Boeing. Why haven’t they included in their investigation the material that has been provided by Almaz-Antey, the producer of the Buk systems?

Why haven’t the Ukrainians provided their radar data, unlike Russia, or the transcript of what their air controllers said?

Why haven’t the Americans provided their satellite information?

No answer. But we will continue to ask these questions and we will keep reminding everyone that a day will come when these shameful intrigues will end.
Sergey Lavrov 17 December 2018

The Skirpal project was used as a trigger to reduce Russian diplomatic staff levels all through the west, as the first part of destroying all relations with Russia. This is one of their famous 'reversible' punishments.

"No one is going to give us the investigation materials (or at least to make them transparent) into the 2018 Salisbury incident or the documents confirming the claimed version of the 2020 poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

Germany said it could not provide them, and there was a fascinating explanation for that. They didn’t find anything when they brought him to a civilian clinic but they found evidence at a military hospital.

We asked them to show us the test results; the Germans replied they could not do that as it would disclose information about their biosecurity."
Sergey Lavrov, 10 March 2023

"Let us recall what the world was presented with when the Russian military left Kiev’s suburb of Bucha. We had not been there for over two days; the local authorities were there, proudly declaring on television that “they are back and Bucha is free.”

Almost three days later, neatly dressed corpses appeared on the central street – they were carefully laid along the street. This was blamed on the Russian military and a new package of sanctions was adopted.

A year and a half has passed since then but nobody has said a word about any investigation there or who might be leading it. We officially asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN Security Council why this universal organisation could not investigate this crime that was blamed on Russia in front of the entire world.

We have already lost hope of receiving any information on the course of the investigation (if it is being conducted at all).

We still cannot get an answer to a very simple question – is it possible to name those whose bodies were shown to the whole world on TV and the internet? We cannot win even this small victory.

They produced the required spillover effect, received an excuse for more sanctions but stashed their lie well enough to prevent anyone from discovering it.

Our appeal or demand to the UN Secretary-General is to use his authority to clear up at least this issue – identify a list of people whose bodies were presented to the world. This demand remains valid. I believe the UN has no right to shun its responsibility on such issues.

This is especially true now that the developments in the Middle East have exacerbated the problems of international humanitarian law to the limit."
Sergey Lavrov, 8 November 2023 

Serious questions aren't answered, serious investigations, including joint investigations, are dismissed or blocked. The truth must not be uncovered.

Diplomatic Signalling Edited 25 December 2025 (NZT)

In a normal trust-based relationship between countries, both sides simply lay out their respective positions, and respectfully try to reach a compromise. When a compromise is not possible, they both accept their differences and park the issue to one side (unless the issue is one affecting a countries core interests, such as preserving sovereignty, or the continued health of the nation).

"We are always ready to expand equitable interstate dialogue with everyone on the solid foundation of international law and principles of the UN Charter.

At the same time, we drastically suppress any attempts to speak with us in a preaching and arrogant manner, let alone blackmail us and interfere in our domestic affairs. We always respond in a tough and resolute manner.

Our conversation with any partner can only be mutually respectful and should be aimed exclusively at finding a balance of interests.
Sergey Lavrov, 01 December 2021

The above statement was made to Russian Parliamentarians on the day before Mr. Lavrov was due to have a brief meeting on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Stockholm on December 2.  It was a blunt statement about the tone and conditions for any meeting with the Americans, and the statement was made several months before Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine. Sergey Lavrov was shown working at a table at the Council meeting, presumably on the sidelines, with a picture of an arctic fox on the wall behind him. The Russian word for Arctic fox sounds similar to a crude epithetic for a part of the female anatomy, and is used as an oblique reference in Russian street-level culture.

Perhaps it was just a co-incidence.

The Wests tone to Russia prior to the meeting was apparent in Sergey Lavrov's post-meeting remarks to the press.

"NATO continues to escalate the situation on our borders. The Alliance refuses to review our proposals for defusing tensions and preventing dangerous incidents. We have suggested specific measures on these matters. They continue to actively build up military potentials in Eastern Europe, including in close proximity to Russian borders. Every day, we hear vociferous statements threatening Russia.
Sergey Lavrov 2 December 2021

This was 'high noon' for diplomacy to prevent conflict. The US government could see from space that Russia was preparing to 'jam' Ukraines punitive force aimed at the Donbass. And Russia, too, could see Ukraines military preparations for launching the attack, and knew it was inevitable. With the ultimate goal of creating a launch pad to attack Crimea and to install potentially unstoppable nuclear cruise missiles on Russia's border. This had the potential to be as seriously dangerous to the world as the Cuba missile crisis, yet it was deliberately and calculatedly organised by the United States government. What do you call the people who would do such a thing, especially when they deliberately take a position of wilful stupidity?

But when diplomacy is destroyed, and one side stops engaging in an adult manner with the other, then 'talking to each other' has to be done through official statements, social media comments, press articles, interviews, through intermediary countries, and through speeches, statements, and documentary deposits at international fora such as the United Nations Security Council, G20, and other formats. Sometimes unofficial 'back channel' interlocutors are used. These are forms of 'signalling'.

The size, makeup, and deployment of military forces are a form of coercive signalling, and in the case of Russia, a clear signal of resolute intention. Prior to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, when Russia was trying to signal to the west and to Ukraine not to launch an attack on the rebel provinces, it made a coercive show of military force, a classic 'threat display'. It held a massive military deployment exercise within its own border. Russia was signaling determined intent not to accept a NATO threat on it's border, or rather a NATO threat from a country with one of the worlds largest land force army, a military force controlled by the neo-nazi far right, deeply conditioned to hate Russia. In addition, when the United States - which travels thousands of kilometers to engage in large scale NATO 'threat displays' not too far from Russia's borders - started to complain about a Russian 'threat' from a exercise held within Russia own territory, the Russian government sent another signal.

Russia signaled a willingness to compromise. It unilaterally pulled it's forces back from Russian territory near the border. The signal was ignored by Ukraine and their western handlers.

Unfortunately, the west has deliberately set out to destroy all diplomatic relations with Russia. Russia has long since laid out its concerns, over and over again. Now the west has exploited Ukraines civil war to launch an undeclared proxy war on Russia. What will Russia do? Russia has already laid out what it will do in Ukraine, and why. It does not announce a political objective (to be attained by military force) without having absolutely ensured the objective is obtainable at an acceptable cost. In such a situation, what compromises, if any, is Russia willing to make? The west doesn't know. All it has left is Russia's signals.

George says coercive diplomacy requires a party to use "appropriate communications" before, during, or after the threat of force, or use of force to protect that parties core interests. The use of force in coercive diplomacy is limited, it is a 'threat display', suggesting worse will follow if the other party doesn't comply. It is not full-blown strategic war.

The weakness of 'coercive diplomacy' is on full display when this strategy is used against a powerful country, and at the same time the coercing aggressor refuses to talk in a respectful, adult manner. Where are George's 'communications'? This is a 'half George'. It can't work. It is stupidity at extreme heights.

The aggressor is left with nothing but signals to work with. George makes the claim that "signalling, bargaining, and negotiating...are built into into the conceptualization and conduct of any military alerts, deployments or actions - features that are not found, or are of secondary interest in traditional military strategy".

Coercion in the European home of the most powerful defensive land army in the world - which is also the country with the most effective nuclear and conventional weapon systems in the world - and you won't talk?  Coercive diplomacy has served the US government very well when used against some weak states (it failed in Vietnam and Afghanistan, and will likely fail in Syria). The idea of using coercive diplomacy against a powerful and determined state like Russia is wildly misconceived.

It is one thing to foolishly rush down this road to nowhere, realise the stupidity of the impulse, then stop, and back up through dialogue and face-saving 'bargaining'; it is the purist expression of utter administrative incompetence to realise your mistake, but keep heading down the wrong path while refusing meaningful dialogue.

"I will look you in the eye and tell you, as President Biden looked President Putin in the eye and told him today, that things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now. 

Now, in terms of the specifics, we would prefer to communicate that directly to the Russians, to not negotiate in public, to not telegraph our punches.  But we are laying out for the Russians in some detail the types of measures that we have in mind.  We are also coordinating very closely with our European allies on that at a level of deep specificity. "
Jake Sullivan 7 December 2021

Prior to the launch of the special military operation the west deliberately closed down all bargaining, choosing ultimatums instead. Russia communicated, clearly and effectively. It sent a draft security treaty to every NATO state individually (acting on the premise they are sovereign nations) and requested negotiation on it. The only reply was from the US government, which simply dismissed the document.

The west was only interested in threatening Russia, blackmailing Russia, sweeping aside all Russia's warnings and publicly stated red lines.

As escalations continued, the Russians continued to signal intent. Some may appear obscure to the casual reader, but they are crystal clear to the diplomats and analysts in Washington and London.

On September 21, 2022 the President of the Russian Federation said:

"Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around."
Vladimir Putin 21 September 2022

A wind rose is a compass-like circular diagram pointing to the prevailing winds in a given country. When when the United Kingdom sent depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine, Russia did nothing. Until the wind was blowing steadily away from Russia and across Poland towards the UK. Russia then vaporised the warehouse and depleted uranium. Radiation levels spiked all along the path of the wind, from Poland to the Southeast United Kingdom.

Another good example of signalling is quite recent, and it is nicely described by former diplomat M. K.Bhadrakumar:

“In yet another coincidence, on September 7, Zaporozhye Region Acting Governor Yevgeny Balitsky (a Kremlin appointee) told TASS out of the blue that Russia and Ukraine need a neutral platform where the two countries can negotiate pragmatic solutions to mutual issues, including prisoner swaps, which would work even as the special military operation continues. Balitsky was responding to a pointed question from TASS about the current possibility of Russia-Ukraine talks.

He went on to state that:

"There should be a negotiating platform somewhere — at the level of foreign ministries, at the level of other mediating countries. People are needed who are, unfortunately, disengaged from the situation. They are able to tackle the issue in an objective and pragmatic way, however, there should be a table somewhere where authorised representatives would interact. This will allow [POW] swap issues to be resolved, or, for example, the issue of a moratorium on shelling nuclear power plants. This will benefit everyone, even in war time, no matter how cynical this sounds.

So, in any case there should be some kind of platform. It could launch the beginning of more extensive talks. And something could grow from this as a result. And, perhaps, we would be able to resolve the task set forth by the president peacefully.” 

Make no mistake, Balitsky is a seasoned politician from Melitopol hailing from a military family who served in the Soviet army and had two terms in the Ukrainian parliament since he entered politics in 2004. No doubt, he spoke on instructions from the Kremlin. 

By the way, Putin had met Balitsky at the Kremlin two weeks ago. Balitsky’s remarks were carefully timed, and Blinken and his Ukrainian hosts wouldn’t have missed the message he transmitted — that Moscow is open to negotiations.
M. K. Bhadrakumar, Indian Punchline 8 September 2023

Weak signals Edited 24 December 2023 (NZT)

Some weak signals are directed to a public audience, others to a diplomatic audience, sometimes both.

"The leaders of nations Moscow considers “unfriendly” will not be sent traditional New Year and Christmas greetings from President Vladimir Putin this year, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Saturday. Only Russia’s friends and allies will receive the messages, he added."
RT 23 December 2023 

When you are no longer on someones christmas card list, you know that either relations between you have broken down over something, or you are no longer of interest to that person. Same with international relations.

The weakest diplomatic signals are when diplomats from 'unfriendly' countries have limited access to highest level government officials. They may be made to 'wait in the corridor' before the official of the other side brings them in for the meeting. In the opposite case, diplomats from friendly countries are according lavish ceremonial greetings, banquets, and the like. These manoevers send a signal, but there is limited coercive power in them, except the power to slightly shift public perception of 'what's going on'. And when a country sets out to destroy relations with another, it well understands that this is the inevitable price it will have to pay. In other words, it goes into it with wide open clear eyes, laser focused (if we are to 'supersize' USA diplomatic buzzwords).

When the USA destroyed all sensible diplomatic contact with the Russian Federation, it backed itself into a 'passive aggressive' stance. The USA had its arms crossed, it's nose in the air, and its back turned. It pretended to feel agitated at Russia's defense of its supreme interest, at Russia's refusal to bow down before it. In truth, the USA gambled on Russia falling apart politically due to the unprecedented western sanctions and the body bags of Russian soldiers coming home. They were waiting to reconcile with a broken Russia.

The wests proxy war on Russia has failed, the economic war has failed. The west would like to be involved in setting the terms for Ukraine's eventual capitulation. Once the USA has finished 'writing off' some more old military stock in Ukraine, it would like some sort of public relations 'victory' framed around the USA government success in blocking a non-existent threat - that Russia would seize the whole of Ukraine.

" Well, we’ve been able to slow him up, stop him.  He’s already lost in the sense that he cannot — can never occupy that country and successfully do it...We are, as Madeleine Albright said, the essential nation. We are the essential nation."
Joseph Biden 23 October 2023

In essence, he is signalling that the USA will block a peace settlement unless Russia agrees to a staged pantomime of American successful 'peace negotiations'.

However, as Alexander George points out, the threatened 'punishment' for non-compliance has to be credible. But the USA government has nothing left to threaten Russia with.

The signal is weak.

The USA government position, in a huff in the corner, looks ridiculous. The world has moved on.

Strong signals  [edited 29 November 2023] 

Russia gave an uncharacteristically very strong diplomatic signal to the west when it insisted its December 2021 security treaty be considered seriously. It was ignored.

In October 2023 Russia deployed Mig-31 loaded with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles over the Black Sea.

The President heard the report of the Chief of the General Staff, probably the district commanders, personally listened to the reports in order to understand what problems there are and ways to solve them. I think the main topic was the presence of two aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean. On board these ships, according to my calculations, there are approximately 750-800 Tomahawk missiles, which cover a decent amount of the territory of the Russian Federation. That's a decent amount of power.

Our President immediately decided to put the Mig-31 with Kinzhal missiles on combat duty.
Andrey Gurulev, Russian Lieutenant General, October 2023

This is a very strong military signal. A coercive warning not to do something, with in this case the 'something' being a surprise attack on Russia. Or - perhaps -Syria (Iran can take care of itself).

It became obvious by late November 2023 that Ukraine would have to surrender sooner rather than later. President Putin sent a strong signal to the world - don't you ever do this again.

"We know the threat we are opposing. Russophobia and other forms of racism and neo-Nazism have almost become the official ideology of Western ruling elites. They are directed not only against ethnic Russians, but against all groups living in Russia: Tatars, Chechens, Avars, Tuvinians, Bashkirs, Buryats, Yakuts, Ossetians, Jews, Ingush, Mari and Altai. There are many of us, I might not be able to name every group now, but again, the threat is directed against all the peoples of Russia.

The West has no need for such a large and multi-ethnic country as Russia as a matter of principle. Our diversity and unity of cultures, traditions, languages, and ethnicities simply do not fit into the logic of Western racists and colonisers, into their cruel plans for total depersonalisation, separation, suppression, and exploitation. That is why they have started their old rant again: they say that Russia is a “prison of nations” and that Russians are a “nation of slaves.” We have heard this many times throughout the centuries. Now we have also heard that Russia apparently needs to be “decolonised.”

But what do they really want? They want to dismember and plunder Russia. If they cannot do it by force, they sow discord.

I would like to emphasise that we view any outside interference or provocations to incite ethnic or religious conflict as acts of aggression against our country, and an attempt to once again wield terrorism and extremism as a weapon against us, and we will respond accordingly...

The bloody conflicts that emerged after the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union not only continue to smoulder but sometimes flare up with renewed energy. These wounds will not be healed for a long time.We will never forget these mistakes and should not repeat them.

I would like to emphasise once again – any attempt to sow ethnic or religious discord, to split our society is betrayal, a crime against all of Russia. We will never allow anyone to divide Russia – the only country we have. "
Vladimir Putin 28 November 2023

The signal was to groups within Russia that might be thinking of secession (illegal unless their culture and language is being suppressed - in fact the opposite is true).

More importantly, the signal it is aimed at any country outside Russia, and any group outside Russia - religious or political. It is very blunt. Try it again, it will be seen as an act of aggression (and therefore as a cause for war), and there will be a Russian response. The days of putting up with western or any other countries interference in Russia are over.

Symbolic signalling

'Signals' can be symbolic - what statues are present in the background to a meeting, and what do they represent? Greem military teeshirts worn by the Ukrainian President indicated a willingness to resist, a commitment. These signals wer taken to extremes - such hyper-military signals were worn by himself and officials even in top level diplomatic contacts around the world. The, as it became obvious that the Ukrainian resistance was crumbling in early November 2023, he wore a black Teeshirt in a public address aimed at a western audience. The symbolic signal is obvious. Defeat.

Symbolic signals can include the place of delivery of a speech, or the date on which a speech or other 'communication' (written, oratorical - or physical) is delivered.

"We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the treaty [Note: the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty]. All in vain. The US pulled out of the treaty in 2002. Even after that we tried to develop constructive dialogue with the Americans. We proposed working together in this area to ease concerns and maintain the atmosphere of trust.

At one point, I thought that a compromise was possible, but this was not to be. All our proposals, absolutely all of them, were rejected...

...we have repeatedly told our American and European partners who are NATO members: we will make the necessary efforts to neutralise the threats posed by the deployment of the US global missile defence system.

We mentioned this during talks, and even said it publicly...we made no secret of our plans and spoke openly about them, primarily to encourage our partners to hold talks..nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now..  "

The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall.
Vladimir Putin Presidential Address to the Russian Federal Assembly.1 March 2018

 The Manezh Central Exhibition Hall was built in 1817 in honor of 5 years anniversary of victory over Napoleon.


"We are always ready to search for a solution. Needless to say, our positions will never coincide completely, but we are always ready to seek a balance of interests and mutually acceptable solutions. The threats and ultimatums that are now used in relations with us will not produce the desired results."
Sergey Lavrov 12 April 2019 

...there was not a single NATO-Russia Council meeting that took place without an attempt, in the form of an ultimatum, to impose on us a discussion of the Ukrainian problems in this format. We always answer...that NATO has nothing to do with Ukraine."
Sergey Lavrov 17 February 2020

Ultimatums don't work on Russia. And Russia's ultimatums should not be ignored. Russia drafted a US - Russia Security Treaty agreement in December 2021 and presented it to the US and all NATO member countries. When asked what would happen if NATO refused to sign, the reply was that the issue would be solved by "military-technical means". This is tantamount to war, even if that word is not used.

"...our contacts with our Western colleagues were mostly aimed at explaining and promoting the initiative of President of Russia Vladimir Putin which he voiced for the first time at an expanded meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Collegium and repeated yesterday in the Kremlin...

This initiative notes the need to draft guarantees for preventing the further aggravation of the situation and stopping the creation of new threats for the Russian Federation.

Specifically...not to allow NATO’s further eastward expansion or the deployment of new weapons systems on Russia’s western borders, which would threaten the Russian Federation’s security. ...Today, I stressed the fact that we are interested in agreements heeding security interests of all countries without exception. We don’t want any unilateral privileges. ..

We will insist that these agreements be examined seriously, that they should not be shrugged off and rejected, as our Western colleagues have done many times. This includes their promises regarding the non-expansion of NATO. During the reunification of Germany, an agreement was reached with the German Democratic Republic that no military infrastructure would be deployed in East Germany. The same was stated in the Russia-NATO Founding Act and many other documents. The West ignored everything that took on the form of political obligations.

Therefore, we insist that agreements mentioned by President Putin, whose conclusion we will demand, should be legally binding and obligatory for all parties.

We will send the relevant proposals to our Western colleagues in the near future, and we expect them to treat this matter in earnest...."
Sergey Lavrov 2 December 2021

"At the OSCE, the West at the highest level committed to the indivisibility of security, which implies that nobody should promote their security at the expense of the security of others, and that no country or group of countries or an organisation could lay claim to domination in Europe. This was signed in 2010.

Since then, NATO has grown even more brazen.

When we suggested that this political document, signed among others by US President Barack Obama, should be converted to a legally binding agreement, they said “no.”

We told them that they had signed it.

To this, they replied that it was a “political promise” (my goodness, a “promise” signed by presidents), while legal guarantees could only be obtained from NATO.

Speaking on February 24, 2022, President of Russia Vladimir Putin again explained our position in detail.

The Russian ambassadors received this text.

They were instructed to meet with the leaders of relevant states and explain our position. This is what we did.

The West denounced us publicly to the entire world. Decent people and especially democrats should have stopped at that.

Russia explained its motives and the West offered its judgment.

So, let us regard all others as grown-up and upright people, who have the full right to make their own decisions based on the appraisals of both parties. But they are not allowed to do so. Not only do they [the West] set out their position, they accompany this with directives on what should or should not be done.
Sergey Lavrov 8 September 2023

If the United States (and it's subjects in Europe) won't comply with the OSCE mandate that security must be indivisible, a mandate that says that a country - any country, including Russia - must not achieve it's security at the expense of another country (NATO's blatant expansion up to Russia's border achieves NATO countries security, but at Russia's expense), then what choice is Russia left with?

The answer is to drive NATO nuclear-capable cruise missiles and rocket installations back exactly as far as the furthest range of NATO missiles and rockets. F35 nuclear glide bombs must be treated the same way. And in the long run, if that turns out to be the Baltic sea, then so be it. If it can't be done politically, it has be done militarily. .

The word 'ultimatum' comes from the latin ultimatus 'the last one; final' is usually the last step, a final warning after a series of steps that might involve persuasion, argument, negotiation, that clearly indicates that the matter is bow at an end, the time for negotiation is passed and now an unwanted and probably unpleasant consequence will be played out. In the diplomatic context, it is the final terms set out to settle a matter.

Russia's ultimatums are deadly serious, in every sense of that phrase. They should be understood as statement of consequences that will happen if a certain thing is done. Russians appear to regard issuing of 'threats' as a very weak position. They only issue promises, indications of a future reality if their advanced notice is not taken seriously. Even so, they are always willing to compromise as long as what they refer to as "a balance of interests" is achieved. But it takes two equals to tango.

Once military-technical means were commenced - block NATO from Ukraine and destroy the NATO proxy army on Russia's border -  the west escalated the conflict again and again, Russia step by step continued to signal all its red lines and its intentions. The west commenced a series of dangerous adventures whereby depleted uranium would be spread on Ukrainian territory and Russia blamed for the frame-up. This triggered a series of hurried - almost frantic - diplomatic 'consultations' by the British with their American masters, fully documented by me here. This wasn't signalling. The West was almost certainly given an ultimatum. The west was advised of what consequences the west faced if they carried out this plan, a plan that seems to have been developed by the British, but almost certainly with US government support.

The west backed down. Truss resigned. Johnson promised not to run for re-election.

Drawing a line, red lines, line in the sand Edited 24 March 2024

This diplomatic 'message' is understood by all diplomats to say "You have gone far enough. Any further is too far. We will respond with strong measures if you continue." 

The advantage of the 'red line' is that the other side doesn't know what 'strong measures' you will take. End diplomatic contact? Put a trade embargo in place? Make a military attack on your military or your infrastructure? Make a cyberattack? Snap a subsea cable? Blind a satellite? When will this response come? How long will it last?

The danger of the 'red line' communication is that the other side will think you are bluffing, and call your bluff. But Russia doesn't bluff

The USA 'calls Russia's bluff' consistently, partly because it has a strategy of risk-taking, and partly because it is under the delusion that it can predict Russia's behaviour  - always, and always accurately. In spite of acknowledging it may well be wrong.

"No strategy will perfectly anticipate the threats we may face, and we will doubtless confront challenges in execution. In developing this strategy, the Department considered the risks stemming from inaccurate predictions, including unforeseen shocks in the security environment. Chief among these:
The rate at which a competitor modernizes its military, and the conditions under which competitor aggression manifests, could be different than anticipated.
Our threat assessments may prove to be either over-or underestimated.
We might fail to anticipate which technologies and capabilities may be employed and change our relative military advantage..In service of our strategic priorities, we will accept measured risk."
USA National Defense Strategy October 27 2022

"Measured"? Is it realistically possible? Probably it works - most of the time.

But the one time it doesn't work might be critical, especially when you are dealing with a nuclear power with superior technology. The US is willing to try to coerce Russia militarily, and yet "accept measured risk" when, by it's own admission, it's analyses might be wrong. It is axiomatic that you don't take even small risks to achieve a minor objective when the consequences might be catastrophic. To do so is mad.

"The Americans started preparing the current crisis long ago, right after the end of the Cold War, having decided that the way to global hegemony was then open. NATO's eastward expansion has been one of the key components of such a course. We tried hard to convince them not to do this. We showed where and why our red lines are drawn. We were flexible, ready to make concessions and look for compromises. All this proved futile."
Sergey Lavrov 14 May 2022

Russia is very transparent in it's foreign policy. They almost always publicly say what will happen if another state does something that their current moves seem to indicate it is on that state's mind. (Sometimes behind closed doors) There are no hidden agendas, and Russia extremely rarely lies (the USA government, in strong contrast, uses the lie technique all the time).

"As for the Polish leaders, they probably hope to form a coalition under the NATO umbrella in order to directly intervene in the conflict in Ukraine and to bite off as much as possible, to “regain,” as they see it, their historical territories, that is, modern-day Western Ukraine. It is also common knowledge that they dream about Belarusian land.

Regarding the policy of the Ukrainian regime, it is none of our business. If they want to relinquish or sell off something in order to pay their bosses, as traitors usually do, that’s their business. We will not interfere.

But Belarus is part of the Union State, and launching an aggression against Belarus would mean launching an aggression against the Russian Federation. We will respond to that with all the resources available to us."
Vladimir Putin 21 July 2023   

But Russia doesn't rush to react when a nuclear power crosses its red lines. It reacts later, and generally in an asymmetrical way - that it is, a military move against Russia might be answered by an economic move. And as Russia has a very flexible foreign policy, it may be willing to cancel a response if evolving conditions are favorable to its interests. In other words, it is sometimes willing to 'take one on the chin' if an immediate response would ultimately make its position worse, or inhibit an evolving favorable development (this is an element of Russia's foreign policy of strategic patience).

But if an evolving course of action seems to indicate the possibility of an attack on Russia's Union State partner (Belarus), then the appropriate diplomatic term for 'war without limit' is given. The most important word in the phrase "all the resources available to us" is the first word, "all", as, obviously, it does not exclude nuclear weapons. Equally obviously, Poland is a NATO member, and if other NATO members involve themselves in assisting Poland respond to Russia's defense then they, too become a party to Poland's war. This will include USA. Russia's recent shift in its doctrine on interpretation of article 51 of the UN Charter allows Russia to launch a pre-emptive strike if an attack on Russia is imminent.

Question: How would you explain the growth in tension over Ukraine?

Sergey Ryabkov: It is primarily Washington’s geopolitical project, an attempt to expand its sphere of influence by getting new instruments for strengthening its positions, which Washington hopes will eventually allow it to dominate this region. It is also a way of creating problems for us by endangering our security.

We have openly pointed out that there are red lines which we will not allow anyone to cross, and we also have certain requirements, which have been formulated exceedingly clearly.

I believe everyone is aware of the signal President Vladimir Putin issued that Moscow needs maximally reliable legal guarantees of security.

The President has instructed the Foreign Ministry to thoroughly address this matter. We are doing this. In particular, we are preparing definitive proposals and ideas, which we will submit for consideration by the Americans, and possibly their allies.

Question: Is it possible to mark red lines jointly with the United States?

Sergey Ryabkov: I believe that this is inherently impossible. There is such a wide gap in our approaches to international affairs and priorities in the so-called Euro-Atlantic that common red lines are unthinkable.

There is only one red line we have marked jointly, which is very good. I am referring to the unacceptability of a nuclear war. By adopting the relevant statement issued by our leaders last June, Russia and the United States pointed out that they are aware of their joint responsibility. There will be no winners in a nuclear war, which must never be waged. This has been emphasised most definitely. I believe that this is a major positive factor during the current alarming period in international relations.

As for geopolitical red lines, no, we are rivals and opponents in this sense, and we will not suggest that the Americans do anything like this.

We will demand that they do not cross our red lines, which we mark based on our national interests."

Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister, 13 December 2021

When Mr. Ryabkov referred to " lines which we will not allow anyone to cross". These lines are reflected in the draft EU/US/RU security treaty, and are primarily concerned with "indivisible security" for all states.  You can read the text on my site here. Articles 1, 2, and 3 are the essence, in my opinion.

Article 1
The Parties shall cooperate on the basis of principles of indivisible, equal and undiminished security and to these ends:

shall not undertake actions nor participate in or support activities that affect the security of the other Party;

shall not implement security measures adopted by each Party individually or in the framework of an international organization, military alliance or coalition that could undermine core security interests of the other Party.

"Indivisible security" presents a problem for the United States. The concept comes from the OSCE, a European organisation promoting security right across the European land mass. It is based on the idea that one country cannot become secure using an arrangement that threatens another country. Security can not be divided up into our security, but not your security. A group of countries security cannot be ensured at the expense of another country. It is security for all, no exceptions. Russia has embraced this concept wholeheartedly.  NATO is an obvious breach of this concept, as NATO's security is obtained by creating a massive threat to Russia's security.

"The U.S. and NATO responses to our proposals received on 26 January 2022 demonstrate serious differences in the understanding of the principle of equal and indivisible security that is fundamental to the entire European security architecture.

We believe it is necessary to immediately clarify this issue
, as it will determine the prospects for future dialogue.

The Charter for European Security signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999 formulated key rights and obligations of the OSCE participating States with respect to indivisibility of security. It underscored the right of each participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements including treaties of alliances, as they evolve, as well as the right of each State to neutrality.

The same paragraph of the Charter directly conditions those rights on the obligation of each State not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of other States.

It says further that no State, group of States or Organization can have any pre-eminent responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the OSCE area or can consider any part of the OSCE area as its sphere of influence.

At the OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010, the leaders of our nations approved a declaration that reaffirmed this comprehensive package of interconnected obligations.

However, the Western countries continue to pick up out of it only those elements that suit them, and namely – the right of States to be free to choose alliances for ensuring exclusively their own security. The words ‘as they evolve’ are shamefacedly omitted, because this provision was also an integral part of the understanding of ‘indivisible security’, and specifically in the sense that military alliances must abandon their initial deterrence function and integrate into the all-European architecture based on collective approaches, rather than as narrow groups.

The principle of indivisible security is selectively interpreted as a justification for the ongoing course toward irresponsible expansion of NATO.

It is revealing that Western representatives, while expressing their readiness to engage in dialogue on the European security architecture, deliberately avoid making reference to the Charter for European Security and the Astana Declaration in their comments.

They mention only earlier OSCE documents, particularly often – the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe that does not contain the increasingly ‘inconvenient’ obligation not to strengthen own security at the expense of the security of other States.

Western capitals also attempt to ignore a key OSCE document – the 1994 Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, which clearly says that the States will choose their security arrangements, including membership in alliances, ‘bearing in mind the legitimate security concerns of other States’.

It will not work that way. The very essence of the agreements on indivisible security is that either there is security for all or there is no security for anyone.

The Istanbul Charter provides that each OSCE participating State has equal right to security, and not only NATO countries that interpret this right as an exceptional privilege of membership in the ‘exclusive’ North Atlantic club...

...Discussing the present situation in Europe, our colleagues from the United States, NATO and the European Union make constant appeals for ‘de-escalation’ and call on Russia to ‘choose a path of diplomacy’. We want to remind: we have been moving along that path for decades. The key milestones, such as the documents of the Istanbul and Astana summits, are exactly the direct result of diplomacy. The very fact that the West now tries to revise to its benefit these diplomatic achievements of the leaders of all OSCE countries raises serious concern. The situation demands a frank clarification of positions."
Sergey Lavrov 01 February 2022 

The highly educated Mr. Blinken has formulated a 'special' method of understanding this concept, nicely explained by the amusingly acerbic journalist John Helmer:

"Article 1 of the Russian treaty proposed that one state, like the Ukraine, cannot be armed, financed, and supported by the US or NATO to threaten the security of Russia, according to the “principles of indivisible, equal and undiminished security”.

US agreement to the principle of “indivisible security” was signed twice – in Istanbul in 1999 and again in Astana in 2010.  In the Blinken paper this is admitted. He then adds two qualifiers – “our respective interpretations of that concept” and “[it] cannot be viewed in isolation”.

This means that Blinken interprets the indivisibility of security in Europe by dividing it into the NATO-Ukrainian version, and the Russian version."
John Helmer, Dances with Bears - 'Blinken's Booby Traps', 06 February 2022 

The Russian Foreign Minister sent a letter on the Indivisibility of Security to "the Heads of Foreign / External Affairs Ministers / Secretaries of the US, Canada and several European countries" on the first of February 2022. He asked each country to respond, asking for "a clear answer to the question how our partners understand their obligation not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of other States on the basis of the commitment to the principle of indivisible security.

How specifically does your Government intend to fulfil this obligation in practical terms in the current circumstances? If you renege on this obligation, we ask you to clearly state that."

Mr. Lavrov said "We look forward to your prompt reply. It should not take long as the point is to clarify the understanding on the basis of which Your President/Prime Minister signed the corresponding obligations. We also expect that the response to this letter will be given in the national capacity, as the aforementioned commitments were undertaken by each of our States individually and not within any bloc or in the name thereof."

As far as I know, the February 1 2022 letter from Mr. Lavrov went unanswered by any of the 'sovereign' states it was sent to.

The 'core security interest' of a state is its continued existence. In the case of Russia, the attack on Russia's economy has been defeated, and as of March 2024 there is only a military attack left that would affect Russia's existence. At March 2024, Russia cannot absolutely exclude that NATO might not attack Russia using a limited 'decapitating' nuclear strike. This is suicidal for the US and the west, and therefore so unlikely as to be in the realm of fantasy. Nevertheless, the risk is not zero.

Accordingly, the second in command of the Russian Security Council (Dmitry Medvedev) has been authorised to issue extremely blunt and pungent warnings that Russia has the means to strike back, and that, following the logic of escalation, it runs the risk of not only powerful convemtinal attacks on US and EU military and command centers, but also nuclear exchange. Any nuclear exchange would be limited to certain targets, but because the west doesn't have cruise missiles, when missiles are flying at Russia, they are likely to be nuclear armed.

Mr. Macron, a very voluble and unreliable politician, has allegedly said 'there are no more red lines, there are no more limits' with regard to intervention in Ukraine. Actually there are. Russia's red lines. France does not have the military potential to enforce any 'red line' it sets on Russia. Russia will enforce a red line protecting it's core interests, and has the military potential to enforce it.

"As for the {EU] states saying that they have no ”red lines“ with Russia, they should realise that Russia will have no ”red lines“ with them either."
Vladimir Putin 13 March 2024

"Macron has said, "there are no more red lines, there are no more limits" in terms of supporting Ukraine (Le Monde). Then that means, Russia has no more red lines left for France.

In hostem omina licita."
Dmitry Medvedev 8 March 2024

Notice that the phrasing says "no more red lines left for France". That is, France has constantly stepped over red lines in Russia - supplying soldiers and technicians disguised as mercenaries, supplying and helping target missiles, perhaps helping guide a missile through radar to shoot down a Russian AWAC. This is the last warning. Now Russia will strike France if it involves itself in the conflict any further. They have been warned very very clearly. Can Mr. Macron hear it?

In hostem omina licita. Anything is persmissible against the enemy.

Article 2

The Parties shall seek to ensure that all international organizations, military alliances and coalitions in which at least one of the Parties is taking part adhere to the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations.

Article 3

The Parties shall not use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party.
Article 3 directly addresses the wests attempt to use Ukraine as a proxy tool to launch a military and economic attack against Russia - Mr. Biden's 'hybrid war'.

In essence, the red lines are anything that undermine the legitimate core interests of Russia. And the core interest of any state is to be independent, and to be able to act according to the interests of its own people, free from coercive threat from other states to 'do' or 'not do' according to some other states ideological dictates.

"Importantly, our Western partners are ... conducting provocative military exercises in the Black Sea and other regions close to our borders. With regard to the Black Sea, this even goes beyond certain limits since strategic bombers, which carry very serious weapons, fly at a distance of only 20 kilometres from our state border.

Indeed, we constantly express our concerns about these matters and talk about red lines, but of course, we understand that our partners are peculiar in the sense that they have a very – how to put it mildly – superficial approach to our warnings about red lines.

Nevertheless, our recent warnings have had a certain effect: tensions have arisen there anyway.

In this regard, I have two points to make. First, it is important for them to remain in this state for as long as possible, so that it does not occur to them to stage some kind of conflict on our western borders which we do not need, we do not need a new conflict.

Second, Mr Lavrov, it is imperative to push for serious long-term guarantees that ensure Russia’s security in this area, because Russia cannot constantly be thinking about what could happen there tomorrow."
Vladimir Putin November 18 2021 

The 'serious weapons' Vladimir Putin refers to are nuclear bombs. The B61-12 nuclear bomb can be dropped outside Russia's borders and glide to its target, although the range is very limited. The long term security guarantees are outlined in the draft security treaty between the United States and Russia proposed by Russia on 17 December 2021 

"We really want to maintain good relations with all those engaged in international communication, including, by the way, those with whom we have not been getting along lately, to put it mildly. We really do not want to burn bridges.

But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn or even blow up these bridges, they must know that Russia's response will be asymmetrical, swift and tough.

Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.

At the same time, I just have to make it clear, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence and certainty in our cause, as well as common sense, when making a decision of any kind. But I hope that no one will think about crossing the “red line” with regard to Russia. We ourselves will determine in each specific case where it will be drawn"
Vladimir Putin  April 21, 2021

"With regard to the red lines [regarding Ukraine bombing civilian areas in Donetsk - Ed.], let me keep this to myself, because on our part it will include fairly tough actions targeted at the decision-making centres that you and I mentioned. Still, the country’s military-political leadership should be in the lead on making those decisions.
The individuals who deserve actions of that level coming their way from us should realise what they may be facing if they cross these lines.
The attacks on residential areas are, of course, a crime against humanity. This is a humanitarian problem, which I am sure will be overcome."
Vladimir Putin 17 June 2022 

The Russian President is not necessarily referring to solely Ukrainian military high command. There are NATO personnel embedded with the high command, helping make decisions on the conduct of the Ukrainian military operations, including targeting. If attacks on residential areas can be identified to a NATO target list acquired by Russia, than those who compiled it could find themselves subject to the findings of a Russian-convened tribunal.

A Ukrainian bomb exploded on the Kerch Bridge on 8 October 2022, a day after the 70th birthday of President Putin. Two days later, Russia responded by attacking Kievs energy infrastructure with missiles and drones. Further attacks continued, and by November 23 2022 nearly half Ukraines power grid was out of operation, and power supply to adjacent countries was cut. About $500,000 p.a. of export electricity has been lost, and repair of the electrical production and transmission system are conservatively estimated at $8 billion.

By any measure, the Russian response was both swift and tough, as had been warned 18 months previously. The warning to Ukraine was clear. It would be 'tough', so tough Ukraine would regret it  "in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time". Powerful words. It was a asymmetrical in that it was an attack on energy infrastructure rather than transport infrastructure, and it continued for quite a long time. And as promised, the response was quick in coming.

This response emphasises that belligerents must pay close attention to what Russia says, because it doesn't issue so much threats as promises. And it fulfills its promises.

"President Putin said this clearly in his Address, pointing out that Russia is always open to broad international agreements if they suit our interests. But we will harshly respond to any attempts to cross the red line, which we ourselves will determine."
Sergey Lavrov 28 April 2021

"I hope that in preparation for the summit, those who are now dealing with Russia in the Biden administration...will finally appreciate the actions, interests and position of the Russian Federation, and our red lines, and will be willing to correct the mistakes in recent years and will not conduct a dialogue solely from a position that claims hegemony in global affairs."
Sergey Lavrov 9 June 2021

"...we spent many years setting out our “red lines” for the West with utmost consistency and clarity. Everyone knows this. We pointed out that we refused to accept what was going on along our borders, not somewhere far away.

There were attacks against the Russian language, Russian culture, Russian journalists, including killings. They moved NATO closer to our borders. Romania and Poland have joined NATO. In recent years, they set their sights on Moldova and Ukraine. We told the West that drawing our closest neighbours into their war games was unacceptable.

We also drew the attention of the West to what has been going on in Ukraine for many years. We were told that there is no Russophobia there, no Nazism, but at the same time, Petr Poroshenko’s Prime Minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, referred to people in Donbass as sub-humans. Even Vladimir Zelensky called them “animal species” last year, when asked what he thought about people living in Donbass, even though the Minsk Agreements were still in force at the time. He said that there were people, and there were animal species, adding that if someone in Ukraine has a Russian identity, they better get the hell out of Ukraine and move to the Russian Federation for the sake of their children and grandchildren. This is what he said in September 2021. We pointed this out to the West, but there was no response, no sign that they viewed this as unacceptable.

In this context, the question is what were you doing out there while ignoring our pleas regarding the direct threats to our security right along our borders? What kind of interests were you defending in Iraq or in Libya? Did anyone mistreat your compatriots or fellow citizens over there? Has anyone banned the English language, or French, or German? Nothing of this sort.
Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister 13 December 2021

"Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us.

Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy.

The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape.

Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.

For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends.

For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation.

This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty.

It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.
Vladimir Putin 24 February 2022

When Vladimir Putin says NATO infrastructure will not be allowed to gain a foothold in Ukraine, a country imbued with hate towards Russia, and says Ukraine is both controlled by the west at the same time Ukraine is doing everything to obtain 'cutting edge' weapons, he is likely referring to advanced US missiles, at least. The President Putin points out that a cruise-missile-armed Ukraine could perhaps build a nuclear warhead - they know how - and attack Russia with it. Ukraine is not in any kind of nuclear arms control treaty.

When the existence of Russia is threatened, Russian nuclear doctrine allows for the use of nuclear weapons. Just think about what the west's coercive military diplomacy has done. Pushed west Europe to the edge of nuclear weapons use. For what? For ideology? Is there anything more reckless than this? Have they lost their minds?

Russia laid out its red line, and it was ignored. Fortunately, at the time of writing this, the NATO proxy army (or armies) is being destroyed. Russia will not have to use nuclear weapons on Ukraine, or the decision centers that ordered the use of cruise missiles to attack Russia in its depth.

Ilya Ushenin: "Mr President, I am Ilya Ushenin from NTV. I have a question about the notorious red lines. Clearly, in the SMO zone, we are at war not just with the Kiev regime, but with the so-called collective West as well. NATO countries are constantly moving and crossing our red lines. We express our concern and keep saying that this is unacceptable, but never come up with actual answers.

Are we going to keep moving our red lines?"

Vladimir Putin: "Listen, is the special military operation itself not a response to them crossing these lines? This is the first and the most important point.

We said many times “Do not do this, let's do that, we are ready for talks.” In the end, they prompted us to try to use force to end the war that they started in 2014. They keep telling us, “You started the war, Putin is the aggressor.”

No, they are the aggressors, they started this war, and we are trying to stop it, but we are compelled to do so with the use of the Armed Forces. Is this not the answer to their crossing the red lines? This is my first point.

Second...Are strikes on Ukraine’s energy system not an answer to them crossing the red lines?

And the destruction of the headquarters of the main intelligence directorate of the armed forces of Ukraine outside Kiev, almost within Kiev’s city limits, is it not the answer? It is.

We will continue to work selectively. We will not do what these halfwits are doing when they target civilian sites and residential areas. Of course, we will not do this. We will continue to provide selective responses."
Vladimir Putin June 13 2023

Three weeks later, on the 5th of July, Russia published information about two diplomatic protest notes and warnings (demarches) given to the USA embassy in Moscow. The public information note was titled "US involvement in the conflict in Ukraine". It was an attempt to coerce the USA to stop what they are doing. It was also a very clear warning.

"On September 15, 2022 and February 21, 2023, the Foreign Ministry made demarches with protest notes to the US Embassy in Moscow in connection with numerous facts of the direct involvement of US citizens, including retired and active military personnel, in hostilities as part of formations subordinate to the Kiev regime.

Russian officials said the arms supplied to the Kiev regime and the personnel servicing them were regarded as lawful targets for destruction.

We emphasised that to avoid negative consequences, the United States should immediately withdraw its military personnel, discontinue arms supplies and stop providing the Armed Forces of Ukraine with guidance in real time for striking the deployment sites of the Armed Forces of Russia and civilians.

Russian officials made it perfectly clear to the Americans that the abetting the mass war crimes committed by Ukrainian formations is confirmed by objective evidence that cuts through the standard arrogant official explanations...

...The Pentagon and NATO structures are also supplying Kiev with the full range of intelligence information while NATO officials plan and directly command operations by the Armed Forces of Ukraine...

 ...In public statements, Biden administration officials are justifying strikes on Russian territory... November 2022 the US Department of Defence formed new headquarters within the United States European Command (Wiesbaden, Germany) called Security Assistance Group - Ukraine (SAG-U), staffed by 300 US Army officers. Its main tasks include organising supplies of Western-made weapons to Kiev and training Ukrainian troops at US training ranges and on the territory of its European partners, as well as sharing intelligence with the military leadership of Ukraine. US officers process and transmit in real time information about the movement of Russian troops, which is obtained with the help of Western technical means of surveillance. A separate subdivision in charge of special operations, including the organisation of clandestine and sabotage activities, has been created in conjunction with the Security Assistance Group.

Washington and its allies widely use space and aerial reconnaissance assets to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with information about the Russian Armed Forces. The orbital constellation includes about 450 satellites, most of which are commercial Earth remote sensing and radiotechnical monitoring satellites. They provide high-frequency observation of target areas, accurate identification of reconnaissance objects, and interception of messages sent by radio communication channels. In the interest of detailed strike planning, three-dimensional digital models of targets and surrounding terrain are compiled and refined on the basis of the US and allied intelligence, and optimum routes for UAV missiles to bypass Russian air defence zones are developed.

In addition to space systems, reconnaissance aircraft and UAVs, which perform daily flights from air bases in Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania and Türkiye, are widely used to monitor the situation. The headquarters of the US forces in Europe and NATO forces use the data obtained by space and aviation means to carry out a comprehensive analysis of Russian troop movements and developments in the area of the special military operation. Transmission of the processed data to the Armed Forced of Ukraine is carried out via available telecom lines (satellite, radio relay, cellular, fiber-optic and internet). An important role is assigned to the US commercial satellite communications system Starlink.

At the hearings in US Congress as early as in March 2022, Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, described the exchange of information between Washington and Kiev as “unprecedented.” In turn, General Paul Nakasone, Director of the National Security Agency and Head of the US Cyber Command, said at the same hearings that throughout his service he had not seen a better exchange of accurate, relevant and actionable intelligence information. He emphasised that the Pentagon was supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the latest information.

On April 22, 2022, NBC News published online an article “US intel helped Ukraine protect air defences, shoot down Russian plane carrying hundreds of troops.” Citing current and former US officials, NBC News wrote: “As Russia launched its invasion, the US gave Ukrainian forces detailed intelligence about exactly when and where Russian missiles and bombs were intended to strike, prompting Ukraine to move air defences and aircraft out of harm’s way.” It noted that this “near real-time intelligence-sharing also paved the way for Ukraine to shoot down a Russian transport plane carrying hundreds of troops in the early days of the war, the officials say, helping repel a Russian assault on a key airport near Kyiv....

...the Armed Forces of Ukraine had received information from the US Defence Intelligence Agency on targets for missile and artillery strikes in the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics and the liberated regions, the movement of Russian troops and data on the vulnerabilities of the Russian Armed Forces.

On December 21, 2022, the Wall Street Journal carried an article entitled “US Has Eased Intelligence-Sharing Rules to Help Ukraine Target Russians.” It said that the US had been providing Kiev “reams of data on the location and movements of Russian troops and equipment and other battlefield information under a vastly expanded intelligence-sharing arrangement.” 

On February 9, 2023, the Washington Post published an article on how the Armed Forces of Ukraine had attacked targets following guidance from the US. It cited a comment by Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder. “We have long acknowledged that we share intelligence with Ukraine… and we have optimised over time how we share information to be able to support their requests and their targeting processes at improved speed and scale.”

A document by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff of February 15, 2023, analysed how the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked Russian targets with US JDAM guided air-to-surface weapons. This is also evidence of the Pentagon’s direct participation in the preparation and planning of such strikes.

 According to the Pentagon’s leaks published online (for instance, by Politico on April 14, 2023), there are about 100 representatives of the US Defence Department in Ukraine, including employees of its central office, intelligence centres and units of task forces and radioelectronic intelligence.

Late last April, the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) sent to Ukraine a task force of 43 experts to help Kiev under the programme of Hunt Forward Operations. Major General William Hartman, commander of the USCYBERCOM Cyber National Mission Force, reported this at the RSA Conference held in San Francisco, CA, on April 24-27, 2023. According to leaks in the media, the US Special Operations Command supervises the work of the centres of information and psychological operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In turn, the Pentagon’s Cyber Command and the National Security Agency are planning and coordinating cyberattacks under the Ukrainian flag at Russia’s critical information infrastructure. The key targets include Russian banks and financial institutions, transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure, large industrial facilities and network resources providing government services at federal and regional levels. Ukrainian hacker groups affiliated with US intelligence agencies are actively involved in these attacks."
Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation 5 July 2023 

Once again, the USA foreign policy is to walk right up to the edge of the precipice, ignore all red lines. Coercive moves taken to the extreme - and the Americans call this 'measured risk taking'.

I have to wonder if this reckless risk-taking might be part of a slowly unfolding US government plan to create a sense of immenent danger, so that Mr. Biden can create a 'statesman moment' like Kennedy did, contacting his partner and averting disaster at the last moment. This US-staged dramatic theater, will, of course, be timed to happen just before the US Presidential election. (Notice that the major NATO exercises on Russia's border end in May, and the US election is in early November). Mr. Biden will emerge with the rosy glow of the man who saved the world from nuclear catastrophe. The USA has to have some pretext to yeild to Russia's ultimatum - sign a mutual security agreement, or you can forget about arms control agreements.

Constant red line risk-taking can be attrited by Russia - up to a point

In late December 2023 Russia destroyed Ukrainian military targets and "decision making centers" in Kharkov (primarily at the re-purposed Kharkov Palace Hotel) in retaliation for Ukrainian attacks on civilians in Belgorod, Russia. Not only were "military personnel" killed, so were Ukrainian intelligence operatives and 200 foreign mercenaries who were beiing trained to carry out 'terrorist" attacks across the border into Russia. A second high precision missile strike hit the headquarters of Ukrainian intelligence in Kharkov, killing "special service officials", more mercenaries and foreign 'volunteers' who Russia alleges were preparing for conducting sabotage attacks within Russia. It is possible that NATO special service personnel or other military personnel who had 'joined' the Ukrainian army were also killed or wounded.

In January 2023 Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation to the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control bluntly warned: 

"If Washington and NATO countries provide Kiev with weapons for striking against the cities deep inside the Russian territory and for attempting to seize our constitutionally affirmed territories, it would force Moscow to undertake harsh retaliatory actions. Do not say that we did not warn you...”
Konstantin Gavrilov 2023

France, being slow to learn the Russian red lines, re-supplied Ukraine with expert mercenaries - probably some of the most brutal active and former foreign legion personnel.

"On the evening of 16 January [2024], Russian missiles hit a building in Kharkov that had been converted into a major center for high-level European (mostly French) mercenaries. It was a devastating blow, with at least 60 killed and 20 wounded...

...There has been a major influx of high quality mercenaries with special skill sets in the last few months. The reason for this increase in foreign professional soldiers was to replace the Ukrainian special forces who were almost completely wiped out in the Ukrainian failed "summer offensive", as well as to try to make a desperate...attempt to forestall the inevitable Russian offensive.

These elite mercenaries are also some of the most vicious war criminals in this war, used as blocking troops, specialists in torture and terrorist tactics, who have trained the likes of Azov and Pravy Sektor Nazis. This is reflected in the fact that almost 600 foreign mercenaries have been charged with specific war crimes by Russian prosecutors, and obviously, this number will only increase."
Russell Bentley, American-Russian former Militia member 18 January 2024

As Mr. Bentley points out, "elite operators" from NATO countries came to Ukraine right from the very start of the conflict - but they kept a very low profile.

But more importantly about the same time, France supplied Ukraine with long range weapons, weapons that require considerable technical expertise to operate. These weapons also carried cluster munitions, and are capable of causing many civilian casualties. In other words, as military targets are well defended, the primary purpose of these mssiles is to terrorise Russias civilian population.

Pierre Levy, the French ambassador to Russia was called to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where, allegedly over a period of hours he was given incontrovertible proof French army personnel are involved in attacks on Russia. They were likely 'signed up' to the Ukrainian army, but this stupid sham will no longer be accepted. The Russian protest over this behaviour most likely included an outline of further steps Russia will take if French 'NATO staff in drag' appear again.

No doubt the demarche included a vivid and strongly expressed warning that France is now on the edge of being declared a party to the conflict.

On Sunday 21st January 2024, in a clear act of state terrorism, Ukraine fired at least 4 NATO provided 152 mm and 155 mm shells into a Sunday morning market in the Donetsk region. Again, there are no military targets there, just a busy Sunday morning stall-holder market. 28 civilians were killed and even more wounded.

All we need is Germany to do something equally stupid, and the whole set of the instigators of the proxy war will have breached the Russian red lines So far, Germany has refused to supply long range missiles. So far.

Perhaps they will use the January 2024 NATO 'exercise' to provoke some sort of incursion, perhaps into western Ukraine.This would add to the drama, and allow the NATO  group to also sign Russia's security treaty. We will see.

The danger is obvious. The USA is guessing where the Russian red line is  (recall that only Russia decides that). If the US miscalculates, Russia's response won't be seen coming. It will just happen. More than enough warnings have been given.

Russia doesn't Bluff  Edited 9 March 2024

"Now we have to be aware of this reality and be sure that everything I have said today is not a bluff ‒ and it is not a bluff, believe me ‒ and to give it a thought and dismiss those who live in the past and are unable to look into the future, to stop rocking the boat we are all in and which is called the Earth.

In this connection, I would like to note the following. We are greatly concerned by certain provisions of the revised nuclear posture review, which expand the opportunities for reducing and reduce the threshold for the use of nuclear arms. Behind closed doors, one may say anything to calm down anyone, but we read what is written. And what is written is that this strategy can be put into action in response to conventional arms attacks and even to a cyber-threat.

I should note that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state.

This all is very clear and specific.

As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences."
Vladimir Putin 1 March 2018

"Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move the hostilities to our territory. They openly say that Russia must be defeated on the battlefield by any means, and subsequently deprived of political, economic, cultural and any other sovereignty and ransacked.

They have even resorted to the nuclear blackmail. I am referring not only to the Western-encouraged shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which poses a threat of a nuclear disaster, but also to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.

I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us.

This is not a bluff."

Vladimir Putin 21 September 2022
Where there might be a certain amount of flexibility or simply strategic patience with red lines, when it comes down to Russian sovereignty (free people in a free and sovereign country, in other words), the red line is utterly inviolable. If you step across this 'terminal red line', you instantly plummet down a black hole, consciousness fading, fading, away... Stepping across this red line is a flash point triggering an instant irreversible phase change in reality, a reality where 'coercion' or 'not coercion' is devoid of meaning. There is no way back.

Notice the declarative nature of the statement of consequences (it's not threat or a bluff). "...we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us". The only response will be a military response. It may be a nuclear weapons system. It may be a hypersonic weapons system. It may be both.

If Russia was outlining the consequences that will follow if the US government (= NATO) makes a limited conventional aggression on Russia or a Union State ally, then Russia would probably say the response would be by "all means available", as he did on 13 July 2023, when talking about the consequences for 'unfriendly countries for inciting a proxy war on Russia in 2014, and becoming a party participating in direct military conflict in 2022.
"We will have to uphold our right to free and sovereign development using all available means."
Sergey Lavrov 13 July 2023

The cards in a hand of available 'means' are economic means, diplomatic means, and military means. Military means could be various missile explosions, rocket explosions, drone explosions and so on. Targets could be military headquarters, security force headquarters, armed assemblages, military equipment, airfields, fuel dumps, oil refineries, railheads, ships, submarines, docks, electricity supply, bridges, armament factories, radar facilities, submarine cables, military satellites and so on and on. The scale and type of response, the mix of means, and the targets selected, depends on the scale of the attack on Russia, and the long term political (economic) importance of the country or organisation.

More specifically, given Russia's previous statements about command centers and so on, if NATO command continues to provide targetting data to Ukraine, and continues to supply shells to hit civilian areas, then Russia's own equation would suggest that, at the least, US-NATO satellites should be disabled, transatlantic internet cables cut. At the worst, munitions factories in Europe and maybe USA destroyed, AWACs proximal to Russia's airspace destroyed, airfields and train lines shipping the shells from Greece and from Poland destroyed.

Again, Russia does not bluff. And it plans ahead.

It has an entire army held in reserve to deal with NATO if that becomes necessary. And the massive January to May 2024 NATO military exercises make that possibility very relevant.

Psychological coercion

Inciting race hate towards Russia, prelude to war

Promoting race hate and de-humanising the opponent was used by Hitler to allow Germans to kill Russians without qualms. The US government used the same tactics in the American war on Vietnam, when it encouraged it's soldiers to refer to North Vietnamese people as 'geeks'. The US government cultivated the Banderists in West Ukraine, whose Nazi-based white supremacists ideology was systematically inculcated into the civilian population, including children. The British and US tabloid press mimicked some of the world war 2 propaganda images of the Nazi threat, but casting Russia in the place of the Nazis. There is a massive and coordinated media propaganda effort using staged atrocities, misattribution, and lies to cast Russia as committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Ukraine conflict, when in fact the opposite is true.

This is, and always has been, a dangerous game. It is an indication of the moral degeneration of western politicians that they indulge in these contemptible practices.

All this is a preparing of the public mind for the west to do what sane people would never do. Push aggressive coercion to the edge of the abyss. One step from oblivion.

Wests projection of its crimes onto others

The Western governments and their organisations constantly falsely accuse their victims of the crime that they commit against others. It happens so often, and across so many situations, that I must assume that some psychologists has recommended it as a way to belittle the accused state at the same time as propogandizing the public in to thinking that 'everybody does it, so we can't be bad'.

Recently a CNN reporter fed Joseph Biden a 'patsy question' to elicit the President's current talking point:

CNN: Does this raise any new concerns about Putin potentially doing more drastic things regarding Ukraine, like nuclear weapons, or potentially against the U.S., like election interference?
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, first of all, they already interfered in American elections. So that would not be anything new. They did that last time — they tried to.
13 July 2023  

Joseph Biden knew the his statement was false. Why say it? Because, according to President Putin, the United States intends to interfere in the Russian 2024 election. In other words, the American President is preparing the public mind to respond to the US government's intention to try to coerce the Russian public by (falsely) claiming that 'we are only doing what they did to us'.

NATO's Vilnius propaganda communique is laced with this 'blame others for your own crimes' technique. One of the funniest is this:

"We condemn Russia’s announced intention to deploy nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable systems on Belarusian territory, which further demonstrates how Russia’s repeated actions undermine strategic stability and overall security in the Euro-Atlantic area.  We condemn Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and coercive nuclear signalling.  We recall the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear Weapons States issued on 3 January 2022 on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races.  We call on Russia to recommit – in words and deeds – to the principles enshrined in that Statement. "
11 July 2023 

First, the NATO has deployed tactical nuclear weapons in Europe for years and years - 4 countries at the moment, with Poland possibly to become the fifth. The US wants nuclear weapons stationed in all NATO countries. In late August 2023 it returned nuclear weapons to the United Kingdom, having removed them ten years earlier. Russia has only now deployed tactical nuclear weapons - to one ally, an ally whose government Europe blatantly tried to overthrow in a coup.

Second, the USA government steadily and methodically destroyed every arms control treaty except one. That was only saved by the unilaterally generous action of the Russian Federation to observe it for the moment, even when the US government had abandoned it. When Joesph Biden came to power, he agree to also observe it - for the time being.

Third, there is no 'nuclear signalling' by Russia. Russia explained it's nuclear doctrine over and over again, to the point the Russian Foreign Minister became heartily fed up with both the misrepresentation and the deafness.

Fourth, the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear Weapons States is a Russian initiative, they have previously managed to extract a commitment from Mr.Trump (no trivial task), Russia has led and continues to promote this statement, and the west have been the foot-draggers and 'tag alongs'.

So why all this nonsense from the west? Once again, the west is preparing the ground, probably in their bizarre concept of 'escalate to de-escalate' pseudo-psychological idiocy. In short, it suggests the US government intends to escalate the nuclear threat to Russia - in Europe, not mainland USA, of course. It may do it little by little (the salami slice/tap the wedge/boil the frog technique), or incite some crisis that throws all agreements out the window.

At the same time, the US would like Russia to sign the protocol to the 'Bangkok Treaty' which asks nuclear states to give binding security guarantees to the signatories of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Free Zone.  Russia is happy to give the guarantee to the extent signatories themselves "comply with the treaty provisions not to have, not to create and not to deploy any elements of nuclear weapons." This is to avoid a similar situation to the one where Australia is hosting "elements" of nuclear weapons, breaching the Rarotonga Treaty nuclear free Pacific agreement. Most likely the US government wants to 'whitewash' the US breach of regional nuclear free zones, additionally signing 'nuclear free' agreements with countries such as Philippines to have the ability to deploy infrastructure that facilitates deployment of nuclear weapons 'if necessary'.

"Russia’s actions demonstrate a posture of strategic intimidation and underline the continued need for NATO to monitor all of these developments and adapt its posture as necessary.  Allies will continue to work closely together to address the threats and challenges posed by Russia and reiterate that any use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences."
NATO's Vilnius communique 11 July 2023 

The western sanctimonious 'holier-than-thou' warnings about Russia must not do this, that, or the other thing can be useful. They give a pointer towards the wests intention to commit one (or, eventually, all) of the crimes mentioned in their so-called 'warnings'. Their 'warnings' to Russia, in other words, can also be read as an attempt to coerce Russia - obey, or else we will frame you for crimes we have the capacity to commit. And then there will be "severe" consequences.

Biological Weapons
The United States government did not follow the rules when it allegedly destroyed its chemical weapons, whereas Russia did. The United States allegedly evaded the destruction of its biological weapons program by masking it with a series of 'contracts'.

"...the U.S. State Department launched an active outreach campaign to neutralise Russian accusations that US military biologists had violated the provisions of the Biological Weapons Convention. An important role of the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), which is under U.S. control, plays an important role in this effort.

This organisation funds Internet activities to combat information about U.S. biolaboratories in Ukraine and to promote a positive perception of Washington's projects in the post-Soviet space. The ISTC has signed a contract with Wooden Horse Strategies, a U.S. consulting firm.The contractual documents provide for the posting of relevant material at least eight times a month, as well as the monitoring of 'pro-Russian' publications on this topic appearing online and promptly responding to them, including blocking access.

U.S. presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. harshly criticised the military biological activities of the U.S. Government. According to his statement, former U.S. President Nixon unilaterally declared the termination of the biological weapons program in 1969, but the existing developments were not destroyed. In order to take the U.S. military out of the picture, all available information and materials were transferred to the National Institute of Health.

Kennedy emphasised the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in biological weapons operations, the first of which was Operation Paperclip. Thus, specialists from Japan and Nazi Germany were brought to the United States after World War II to 'transfer expertise' in military biological research. Let me remind you that the Japanese developers paid special attention to the use of biological formulations and the mechanisms of vector-borne disease transmission and spread.

In this regard, it is no coincidence that the research organisations of the U.S. Ministry of Defence are interested in studying the main species of mosquitoes and ticks that carry epidemically significant infections such as Rift Valley fever, West Nile fever and Dengue fever.

the work of U.S. military biologists is aimed at the formation of 'artificially managed epidemics' and is not controlled within the framework of the BWC and the UN Secretary-General's mechanism for investigating the use of biological weapons.

In the course of the special military operation documents, which prove the activity of the U.S. Department of Defence's research institutions in Ukraine, have been discovered.
Earlier we briefed you on Walter Reed Army Institute of Research activity. We have already pointed out, that due to an extensive network of branches the institute acts as a supplier of epidemically significant pathogens.

Three of seven U.S. Navy laboratories are located outside USA territories, namely in Italy, Сambodia and Peru. The NAMRU organises its work on establishment of interconnected branches and offices in regions with unfavourable epidemiological situation. Only Asian branch of the NAMRU-2 in Phnom Penh analyses over 5,000 pathogens samples, the same number is gathered in South Africa. Since April 2023 employees of the African branch (NAMRU-6) work undercover of a civilian organisation - Latin American branch of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention...

It should be noted that the Navy's biological warfare unit in Italy works under the three US strategic commands - Central, European, and Africa, and its primary purpose is ‘…to study, monitor and detect diseases of military significance..."
Thus, the efforts of the NAMRU foreign branches is fully in line with U.S. national interests and strategic planning documents in the field of biosecurity and is aimed at controlling the biological situation in the areas, where NATO military contingents are stationed."
Briefing by Chief of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Protection Troops Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov on U.S. military and biological activity
July 15, 2023

All this may turn out to be perfectly innocent. But why fund the military to conduct this research? Why not give the money to the World Health Organisation to conduct the research? After all, epidemics, as we have seen, are a global concern, not a US government military concern. Why put these laboratories on Russia's border? Why did insect-vectored swine fever break out in East Europe and China, causing the deaths of thousands of pigs? Why develop possible counter-medicines to the most virulent forms of these diseases in other country? Why not test them in USA? Obviously it is cheaper, easier, and less dangerous to the USA to test them overseas. And distance isolation is a cheap form of insurance if you are studying dangerous pathogens and vector-borne disease transmission. Even the most secure Level 4 laboratories has escapes. Extremely rare, but it has happened. The USA government obviously uses the dangerous nature of these organisms as a warning to Russia - do as we say, or an 'accident' may happen (one for which we have already developed a treatment response). It would be very difficult - perhaps impossible - to prove the release was deliberate. Once again, this is a form of coercion.

Chemical Weapons
The west tried - and failed - to pitch one of their own chemical weapon attacks as a Russian attack. This was the Skirpal debacle and the Nalvarny debacle. The West attempted to attribute the use of chemical weapons in Syria to the Syrian government. They failed, but in the process destroyed the reputation of the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons, turning it a non-credible agent of western propaganda. So far, the wests proxy agents in Ukraine have failed to accomplish a provocation they can blame on Russia.So far.

"On April 5 and 9 of this year Ukrainian forces blew up tanks with chemicals which resulted in the release of toxic substances."
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, April 13, 2022  

'Russia has sent 23 notes to the secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the use of toxic substances as chemical weapons by Kiev, but the OPCW does not yet see the need to send specialists to Ukraine, Russian Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said on Wednesday.'
Sputnik 19 July 2023

Wilful stupidity

The US government is crammed full of lawyers, ex-lawyers, and those with legal training. The State Department employs numerous officials with law degrees. The United States government is expert at taking the wording of agreements they signed up to and then twisting, distorting, and dancing on the head of a pin over what a word or phrase 'means' - when context and history long since made the intent and meaning clear.

Anthony Blinken is a Doctor of Law. He practised law in New York and Paris. He and other government officials are far from 'stupid'. They have no lack of intelligence or common sense. They are not dull. Yet, confronted with a simple and plainly written document, which the Minsk agreement is, they pretend to misinterpret it, they give an appearance of not having even read the 13 clauses of Minsk II.

"We are being urged to implement the Minsk agreements and are often accused of not observing them.

However, when we ask our partners, including in the Normandy format, exactly which part of the Minsk agreements Russia is not fulfilling and what, in their opinion, Russia is supposed to do under the Minsk agreements, we get no answer.

This is exactly what they say: – 'We cannot put it into words'. I am not kidding, this is the dialogue we are having.

And what exactly have the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics failed to do regarding the Minsk agreements?

There is no answer either; again they cannot put it into words.

Meanwhile, they publicly demand that we implement them.

And now the second issue regarding who the party to the conflict is. The Minsk agreements do not state that Russia is a party to the conflict, we never agreed to this and never will; we are not a party to it."
Vladimir Putin 13 November 2021

"Question: US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and CIA Director William J. Burns both visited Russia recently. They described the talks as fairly constructive. The United States posits one thing and then we hear different rhetoric. Are they playing a double game? What is Washington trying to achieve?

Sergey Lavrov: Not only before but also after these trips, when they comment on the upcoming or recent contacts as constructive, it still comes down to the idea that Russia “must.” For example, Russia “must” comply with the Minsk agreements.

Today US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken listed the requirements for Russia with respect to the Minsk agreements, including maintaining the ceasefire, withdrawing heavy weapons and ceasing economic interference in Donbass.

During our bilateral meeting, I clarified everything, quoting specific clauses from the Minsk agreements that state that all these matters must be resolved through direct dialogue and consensus between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk.

This obsession with tethering the whole of the Minsk agreements to Russia’s actions and conduct is characteristic of all NATO countries.

There is also some exasperation when it comes to this matter. 

We had a rather professional conversation with Mr Blinken...we can see that their interpretation is completely different from the actual wording....It is the United States that has the most influence with the Kiev regime....

...From the beginning, we need to agree on the fundamental terms of our interaction. And the only possible terms consist of a direct interpretation of the Minsk agreements. There is no need to even interpret them. All it takes is reading and doing what is written.

...we distributed the text of the Minsk agreements and the Declaration of the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany among the participants of the OSCE meeting. These documents had been approved by a UN Security Council resolution. I directly asked our colleagues to carefully read these documents before they comment on Ukrainian affairs. Then many would realise that they should choose different rhetoric."
Sergey Lavrov 2 December 2021 

Why do the US government officials (and their European assistants) do this?

First, no one will admit they understand something that is inconvenient for them to understand. Second, they were simply stalling to buy time to militarise. Third, Mr. Blinken and his officials were fully aware that Russia knows they fully understand Minsk II and its implications. By pretending to be so stupid that they cannot comprehend the agreement they were very deliberately showing contempt to the Russian diplomats. It was a diplomatic 'signal' that the Russian Federation is of little importance. Put another way, by pretending to be too dull to understand Russia's concerns about the security of the Russian nation they can 'belittle' Russia.

In exactly the same way, US diplomats pretend not to understand anything about the causes of Russia's defensive actions, speaking publicly in propaganda slogans. Behind closed doors they no doubt understand everything. A leaked State Department document in effect outlines to Russia the US intention to engage in war against Russia by all means short of nuclear bombs. John Helmer neatly encapsulates it's message (slightly formatted by me):

"The paper claims to be a “response to Russia’s request that the United States provide a direct written response to Russia’s draft treaty proposal”. What follows is not a direct response to the seven substantive Russian treaty articles. Instead, it lays a booby trap for each of the seven Russian proposals with a reaffirmation of the US intention to continue with its plans to attack Russia from the territories of other states, from international waters and the airspace bordering on Russia – and much more.

To camouflage these booby traps, the Blinken paper lists these intentions as “Concerns”. The Blinken paper has issued 55 lines of “Concerns” one for each of the 55 lines of “US Position”.

Only three of the Russian treaty articles are identified in the Blinken paper – Articles 5, 6, and 7.

By ignoring the first four articles of the Russian treaty the Blinken paper has [in effect] declared its refusal  “not to undertake actions nor participate in or support activities that affect the security of the other Party” (Article 1); its dismissal of the “core security interests of the other Party”; and its rejection of “the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations (Article 2).”

The Blinken paper also declares the US intention to continue to  “use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party” (Article 3);

to encourage “further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”(Article 4);

 and to plan to “establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them” (Article 4).

In the Blinken paper, that last point means it no longer matters to the US whether Ukraine joins NATO or not. The US intends to make war on Russia from the territory of the Ukraine across the Red Line...

...To understand this fabrication and the war plan it conceals, it needs to be read beside the Russian treaty proposals of December 17 and compared, line for line, article by article."

In other words, the US understood, and has long understood, Russia's security concerns, has ignored them for the last ten years, and believes it can coerce Russia into having unstoppable cruise missiles, potentially nuclear tipped, right on Russia's border. The fact that the US administration pretends not to understand why Russia has taken the steps it has taken, as though it is a dull simpleton, lacking all common sense, is simply a psychological device to demonstrate it's contemptuous assignation of the Russian people as some form of 'other', lesser, human being. Mr. Blinken has a jewish heritage, and he knows full well the implications of antislavic hate. He knows what racist elements of western Ukraine did in west Ukraine in the post war period. He knows that in 2023 Russia presented historic footage of these atrocities to the United Nations. And yet the Americans continue to rub salt in historic wounds.

On the other hand, perhaps we should pay attention to someone who has had first hand experience with the current US 'top level' cabal.

Jakob de Jonge: "There were so many warnings that this could go very wrong...not only for the ukrainians but also for the US... what were they thinking? Did they actively risk a fight, or were they betting on Putin, you know, sitting back and not acting?"

Jeffrey Sachs: "This is a game of chicken and it's a game that's played as a game - as they do the war games.

And they constantly miscalculate.

I don't find these people very bright and I don't find them very much capable of analyzing the likely reactions on the other side - or the rest of the world."
Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of economics, geopolitical commentator inverview with Jakob de Jonge of the Hague Peace Projects, 16 September 2023

Petty coercion Edited 24 December 2023

The United States has made itself the master of petty, childish, pin-pricking, mean-spirited coercion. These are petty acts designed to impress upon 'the other' that they are a lesser person than anybody else. The United States and the west has spent a very great deal of time and attention, some of it possibly state-sponsored subterfuges, to isolate Russia from 'normal' people. (The incitement of anti-Russia race hate in Ukraine prior to arming their proxy against Russia has been their 'greatest' 'achievement'.)

The west also tries to direct other countries how they should talk to Russia. This is both juvenile and contempuous. The west's attempts to dictate to the League of Arab States (LAS) is only one example of many.

"..prior to last year’s visit to the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, the US, UK and European ambassadors  made public demarches, urging Cairo to “cancel Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address” at the Arab League.

When they were told that Russia and the Arab League had their own relations as determined by agreements between them, the Western diplomats started asking LAS representatives to make the Arab countries denounce Russia’s actions in Ukraine after Mr Lavrov’s speech.

They were told again that the Arab League had its own position on international developments. Then the ambassadors made a third request: “Let Lavrov speak and don’t denounce anything, just avoid posing for a photograph with him.” I am not joking."
Sergey Lavrov 21 December 2023

The most low-life technique the USA government and western governments in general uses is to denigrate Russia's decisive role in the second world war - effectively denigrating the death of 27 million Russian people. The Western politicians and diplomats know the immense damage done to Russia in World War 2. So they deliberately denigrate Russia's war efforts and distort history as part of their mean-minded campaign of childish pettiness. And the west's proxy war on the Russian Federation, complete with German tanks attacking Russian troops, has eerie echos of World War 2:

"Desecrating and insulting the memory is mean. Meanness can be deliberate, hypocritical and pretty much intentional as in the situation when declarations commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II mention all participants in the Anti-Hitler coalition except for the Soviet Union.

Meanness can be cowardly as in the situation when monuments erected in honour of those who fought against Nazism are demolished and these shameful acts are justified by the false slogans of the fight against an unwelcome ideology and alleged occupation.

Meanness can also be bloody as in the situation when those who come out against neo-Nazis and Bandera's successors are killed and burned. Once again, meanness can have different manifestations, but this does not make it less disgusting.

Neglecting the lessons of history inevitably leads to a harsh payback. We will firmly uphold the truth based on documented historical facts. We will continue to be honest and impartial about the events of World War II. This includes a large-scale project to establish Russia's largest collection of archival records, film and photo materials about the history of World War II and the pre‑war period.

Such work is already underway. Many new, recently discovered or declassified materials were also used in the preparation of this article... The Soviet military leadership indeed followed a doctrine according to which, in the event of aggression, the Red Army would promptly confront the enemy, go on the offensive and wage war on enemy territory...

Of course, military planning documents, letters of instruction of Soviet and German headquarters are now available to historians. ...In this regard, I will say one thing: along with a huge flow of misinformation of various kinds, Soviet leaders also received true information about the upcoming Nazi aggression. And in the pre-war months, they took steps to improve the combat readiness of the country, including the secret recruitment of a part of those liable for military duty for military training and the redeployment of units and reserves from internal military districts to western borders.

The war did not come as a surprise, people were expecting it, preparing for it. But the Nazi attack was truly unprecedented in terms of its destructive power. On June 22, 1941, the Soviet Union faced the strongest, most mobilised and skilled army in the world with the industrial, economic and military potential of almost all Europe working for it. Not only the Wehrmacht, but also Germany’s satellites, military contingents of many other states of the European continent, took part in this deadly invasion.

The most serious military defeats in 1941 brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. Combat power and control had to be restored by extreme means, nation-wide mobilisation and intensification of all efforts of the state and the people. In summer 1941, millions of citizens, hundreds of factories and industries began to be evacuated under enemy fire to the east of the country. The manufacture of weapons and munition, that had started to be supplied to the front already in the first military winter, was launched behind the lines in the shortest possible time, and by 1943, the rates of military production of Germany and its allies were exceeded.

Within eighteen months, the Soviet people did something that seemed impossible. Both on the front lines and the home front. It is still hard to realise, understand and imagine what incredible efforts, courage, dedication these greatest achievements were worth.

The tremendous power of Soviet society, united by the desire to protect their native land, rose against the powerful, armed to the teeth, cold-blooded Nazi invading machine. It stood up to take revenge on the enemy, who had broken, trampled peaceful life, people's plans and hopes....

The Nazi ‘strategists’ were convinced that a huge multinational state could easily be brought to heel. They thought that the sudden outbreak of the war, its mercilessness and unbearable hardships would inevitably exacerbate inter-ethnic relations. And that the country could be split into pieces. 

Hitler clearly stated: “Our policy towards the peoples living in the vastness of Russia should be to promote any form of disagreement and split.”

But from the very first days, it was clear that the Nazi plan had failed. The Brest Fortress was protected to the last drop of blood by its defenders representing more than 30 ethnicities. Throughout the war – both in large-scale decisive battles and in the protection of every foothold, every metre of native land – we see examples of such unity.

The Volga region and the Urals, Siberia and the Far East, the republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia became home to millions of evacuees. Their residents shared everything they had and provided all the support they could. Friendship of peoples and mutual help became a real indestructible fortress for the enemy.

The Soviet Union and the Red Army, no matter what anyone is trying to prove today, made the main and crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism. These were heroes who fought to the end surrounded by the enemy at Bialystok and Mogilev, Uman and Kiev, Vyazma and Kharkov. They launched attacks near Moscow and Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa, Kursk and Smolensk. They liberated Warsaw, Belgrade, Vienna and Prague. They stormed Koenigsberg and Berlin.

We contend for genuine, unvarnished or whitewashed truth about war. This national, human truth, which is hard, bitter and merciless, has been handed down to us by writers and poets who walked through fire and hell of front trials. For my generation, as well as for many others, their honest and deep stories, novels, piercing trench prose and poems have left their mark on the soul forever. Honouring veterans who did everything they could for the Victory and remembering those who died on the battlefield has become our moral duty...

... In the battles for Rzhev and the Rzhev Salient alone from October 1941 to March 1943, the Red Army lost 1,342,888 people, including wounded and missing in action. For the first time, I call out these terrible, tragic and far from complete figures collected from archive sources. I do it to honour the memory of the feat of known and nameless heroes, who for various reasons were undeservingly, and unfairly little talked about or not mentioned at all in the post-war years.

Let me cite another document. This is a report of February 1945 on reparation from Germany by the Allied Commission on Reparations headed by Ivan Maisky. The Commission's task was to define a formula according to which defeated Germany would have to pay for the damages sustained by the victor powers. 

The Commission concluded that “the number of soldier-days spent by Germany on the Soviet front is at least 10 times higher than on all other allied fronts. The Soviet front also had to handle four-fifths of German tanks and about two-thirds of German aircraft.” 

On the whole, the USSR accounted for about 75 percent of all military efforts undertaken by the Anti-Hitler Coalition. During the war period, the Red Army “ground up” 626 divisions of the Axis states, of which 508 were German.

On April 28, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his address to the American nation: “These Russian forces have destroyed and are destroying more armed power of our enemies – troops, planes, tanks, and guns – than all the other United Nations put together.” Winston Churchill in his message to Joseph Stalin of September 27, 1944, wrote that “it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine…”

Such an assessment has resonated throughout the world. Because these words are the great truth, which no one doubted then.

Almost 27 million Soviet citizens lost their lives on the fronts, in German prisons, starved to death and were bombed, died in ghettos and furnaces of the Nazi death camps.

The USSR lost one in seven of its citizens, the UK lost one in 127, and the USA lost one in 320. Unfortunately, this figure of the Soviet Union's hardest and grievous losses is not exhaustive."
Vladimir Putin '75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future' 19 June 2020

"Moscow is to create the most extensive collection of WWII documents, open to all persons anywhere, to once and for all “shut the filthy mouth” of those seeking to rewrite history for short-term gains, the Russian president said.

Any person, Russian or non-national, will be able to access the archive, including through a website resource, and the ultimate goal is to debunk any disinformation about the most devastating conflict in human history, President Vladimir Putin pledged, during a meeting with veterans of the Great Patriotic War, held in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

The creation of the center would leave no chance to those willing to distort the truth about the war for their own political needs, he argued.

The center is expected to incorporate the biggest and most extensive collection of documents, as well as photos and video footage dating back to the World War II era. The president first floated this idea during his annual state-of-the-nation address earlier this week, arguing that Russia should combat “brazen lies and attempts to distort history.”

...Putin’s words come amid a row between Moscow and Warsaw over the events that led to the Second World War. Poland has been revising that devastating conflict’s history for quite some time, seeking to shun any responsibility relating to events during that period, while presenting itself as a victim of both Nazi and Soviet aggression and occupation.

Warsaw has been removing monuments to Soviet soldiers who died while liberating the city from Nazi Germany occupation, and also initiated an EU Parliament resolution in September, which claims that the 1939 non-aggression pact between Moscow and Berlin had “paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War.”

This last move did not sit well with Moscow, which labeled it a falsification of history."
RT 18 January 2020

"This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Sadly, there are attempts to brazenly distort history and to equate the liberators of Europe with Nazi murderers. These attempts will remain on the conscience of those behind them. No one and nothing can belittle the decisive role of the Red Army and the Soviet people in defeating Nazism.

At the same time, we will always keep in our minds the spirit of Alliance during the War and the ability of the states to unite and fight the common threat regardless of ideological differences."
Sergey Lavrov 15 February 2020

"To mark the 75th anniversary of Victory, which was celebrated in 2020, the United States issued a commemorative coin (perhaps you’ve seen it) dedicated to the victory over Nazism. There were three flags – American, British, and French – engraved on it. There was neither the Soviet, nor Russian flag."
Sergey Lavrov 10 March 2023


Russia has been banned from wearing it's national costume at the Olympics. Russia's Olympic gymnasts are forced to wear a plain blue tunic (the same light blue as the territorial flag of pre-Soviet 'Ukraine') are are barred if they are in any way supported by the Russian government, or communicate in any way approval or support (even implicit support) for the Russian military operation in Ukraine (including 'liking' a tweet). 

"The aggressive imposition of humiliating and unjustified conditions for sports events on our athletes based solely on their nationality contradicts the Olympic Charter and violates the fundamental principles of the Olympic movement. It seems that international sports officials have decided to take the opportunity to eliminate the strongest competitors by putting our gymnasts in the most unfavourable conditions.

In addition to banning the use of symbols of our country (such as the anthem, flag, associations with a national sports federation, etc.), which is not surprising anymore, the sports functionaries instructed that our gymnasts perform in completely neutral single-coloured blue or white leotards, which must be coordinated with the international federation.

Let me read a piece from this statement: “Women’s competition leotard, unitard or competition shirt must be of a solid light blue colour. Men’s competition singlet, unitard or competition shirt must be of a solid light blue colour. Men’s competition pants or shorts must be completely white. The Track suit worn by Individual Neutral Athletes and their support personnel must be of a solid light blue colour. In Rhythmic Gymnastics, the hand apparatus must be completely white.”

You are mistaken if you believe that the use of special clothing and uniforms to conduct coercive racial segregation of people of various ethnic and national background was invented by the sports officials in Lausanne this November. This is not true....

Clothes, just like other tools of oppression, were used to discriminate, segregate, separate and humiliate. In the 19th-century Britain, it was the local population of the colonies, in Germany in the 1930s-1940s it was Jews and Roma people, and in the 20th century America it was people of colour.

In the 21st century, the International Olympic Committee and sports federations went after Russians and Belarusians by instructing them to wear uniforms that differed from everyone else’s. This is not only unacceptable in terms of international law, but also immoral, unconscionable, inhumane and horrendous for any normal person."

Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman 15 November 2023

Russia sports people have been banned from various international tournaments (or their visa denied). Soccer in Russia is being destroyed by the actions of the international soccer authorities (FIFA).

"According to a decision adopted by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, Russian teams, national teams and clubs have been suspended from FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. As a result, Russia did not take part in world and continental football championships.

The other day, the UEFA Executive Committee decided at its meeting in Hamburg to exclude the Russian national team from the Nations League for the 2024/2025 season draw, to be held in Paris on February 8, 2024. The Nations League will be part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification, which means that the latest decision will determine the situation in football for the next three years.

We believe that the decision to bar Russia from qualifiers long in advance is proof that the football officials are focused on destroying football in Russia, thereby ignoring their direct duties, which is promoting football."
Maria Zakharova,  Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, December 6, 2023

Russian culture
Various Russian cultural works in literature, dance and so forth have been banned. Russia has been banned from the Eurovision Song Contest.

Diplomatic service
Russian diplomats have not been able to access the banking services in America needed to pay bills accruing to running the embassies and consulate offices, Russian attendees at United Nations fora have been denied entry, even when they were part of the official program, Russian reporters attending important UN events have had their visas delayed until the last possible flight to New York has taken off, Russian diplomatic properties have been seized, Russian flag taken down from Russian diplomatic premises at the time of eviction (a gross insult in the diplomatic world), Russian diplomatic properties searched even before the diplomats had left the seized buildings, locks changed on seized buildings so that US secret services can plant 'bugs' at will, the list just goes on and on.

"If it depended on us alone, we would gladly resume normal relations. The first possible step towards this, which I regard as obvious, is to zero out the measures restricting the work of Russian diplomats in the United States. It was as a response measure that we restricted the operations of American diplomats in Russia.

We proposed this to the Biden administration as soon as it had taken the oath and assumed office. I have mentioned the idea to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. I did not try to press it; I just said that an obvious way to normalise our relations would be to zero out the measures initiated by Barack Obama.

Several weeks before leaving office, he was so annoyed he virtually slammed the door by seizing Russian property in violation of all the Vienna conventions and throwing Russian diplomats out.

This has caused a chain reaction.

We patiently sat back for a long time, until the summer of 2017, before taking any response measures.

The Trump administration asked us to disregard the excessive measures taken by the outgoing Obama administration.

However, Donald Trump’s team failed to normalise the situation, and so we had to take reciprocal measures. But the Americans have not stopped there.

We can see that the Biden administration continues to go downhill"
Sergey Lavrov 28 April 2021 

" The impossibility of paying utility bills, threats of cutting off power or telephone lines. In principle, it is about creating a toxic atmosphere around embassies in a variety of areas: bullying in the media, publication of unreliable data, use of personal data about family members, and threats to life.

I won’t even mention surveillance, “approaches,” or attempts at recruitment, which have increased significantly. We regularly commented on this. This is what Russian diplomats faced. The Russian diplomatic service should be credited with successfully passing these tests of strength.

I can also talk about erasing us from the information space. There are a number of ambassadors and embassies that are not allowed to publish refutations in the media or to promote our position, considering that Russian media have long been blocked in the information space of unfriendly countries... Our embassies have largely become the only source of information about Russia’s official steps. Even this was blocked under all imaginable threats, including physical violence."
Maria Zakharova,  Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, December 6, 2023

Russia is required by the immutable laws of diplomacy to respond to these provocations, mirroring closure of consular offices and the like, by, as far as I know, they have not stooped to the apartheid-like petty prohibitions and restrictions the US government delights in - let alone threats of violence.

Does this kind of childish passive-aggressive behaviour coercion work? Probably not, because Russia always has an eye on the much longer term goal, a multipolar, UN-centric, cooperative world where diplomacy is respect-based and takes a balanced approach to all countries lawful interests. Resistance to change is expected. It is instructive that the petty apartheid pin-pricking racist restrictions of the Boer regime did not prevent massive societal change in South Africa.

State terrorism by proxy as a coercive tool (edited 13 May 2024)

"In fact, the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes.

Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond. Their plans go further.

The situation is extremely dangerous.... is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.

I’d like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it’s a big question: who’s playing who here?"
Vladimir Putin 28 September 2015 

"The United States is providing support to ISIS and its members at the Al-Tanf base in eastern Syria, which it illegally occupies. Everyone is well aware of this.

ISIS itself emerged following America’s attack on Iraq, which it invaded under a false pretext. Later the United States assumed administrative control over Iraq. They sent down a Gauleiter or a Governor-General (whatever you call him), Paul Bremer, who dissolved all the organisations of the Baath party. He just dissolved them. These structures were based on Sunni Islam. The core of ISIS was made up of officers of Saddam Hussein’s army, who had lost all their means of subsistence. And it was the United States that created this situation....

...Al Qaeda came into being after the Afghan saga, which also ended in a lamentable and disgraceful failure.

Jabhat al-Nusra (later Hayat Tahrir al-Sham), in turn, was created after the invasion of Syria.

They are mercenaries, whatever else you call them. ISIS members are sent to fight in various flashpoint areas for a fee of several thousand dollars.

It is clear that these practices are fraught with danger. Eventually, on completing their mission in a country, they will have to retire to some asylum. But they have no skills other than to stage terrorist attacks, handle firearms, and kill people."
Sergey Lavrov 16 February 2024

The USA has long used terrorists to coerce other countries into accepting its demands. These usually center around economic demands, whether for access to resources, or markets for US goods, or both. The USA supported Osama bin Laden (the west's "anti-Soviet warrior" as he was styled) to overthrow the Afghan government, the USA clandestinely supported wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya to pull Chechnya away from Russia. The USA, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia supported ISIS terrorists in Syria in an attempt to destroy the secular government there and replace it with a sectarian Muslim fundamentalist government, the USA recently supported Beloch and ISIS terrorists to murder Iranian civilians and try to incite a civil uprising  - the shameful list of state criminality goes on and on.

"We had representatives from American intelligence services at our nuclear, military facilities; monitoring Russia’s nuclear weapons sites was their job. They went there every day and even lived there. Many advisors, including CIA staffers, worked in the Russian Government.

What else did you need? Why did they have to support terrorists in the North Caucasus and use organisations of a clearly terrorist nature in attempts to break the Russian Federation apart? But they did this, and as former Director of the Federal Security Service, I know this all too well. We worked with double agents, and they reported to us on the objectives set for them by Western intelligence services. But why?

They should have treated Russia as a potential ally, and made it stronger, but it all went in the opposite direction; they wanted to break it down even further."
Vladimir Putin 23 December 2021

When the USA government overtly support terrorists, as they did in Syria, they 're-brand' the terrorists as 'armed opposition'. Following this line of hypocrisy, then it was Saudi Arabian 'armed opposition' who destroyed the twin towers in USA.

You can argue that saboteur attacks against military targets in Russia are a legitimate part of the current war (although neither side has declared it a war), but the rules of war prohibit attacking non-military targets, and demand civilians must be protected as far as possible. Terrorist attacks on civilians is not 'warfare', asymmetric or otherwise. Targeted killing of non-combatants is simply terrorism, nothing else, and punishable as such.

Where the United States supports terrorists, either directly or by proxy, Russia adheres to international law, refusing to back terrorists and refusing to use terrorism to achieve political or military objectives.

"On January 31, the UN International Court of Justice delivered its judgment on the merits in the case filed by Ukraine in January 2017 on the Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (ICSFT). Russia’s arguments undercutting Ukraine’s groundless insinuations were heard in The Hague: the Court rejected almost all of more than 20 submissions made by Kiev during the seven-year proceedings, and left Ukraine without any reparations. The Court also dismissed Ukraine’s insinuations that the DPR and the LPR are allegedly terrorist organisations

These findings are of particular importance in light of the fact that Kiev intended to use the Court’s Judgment to support its demands for the transfer of Russian assets stolen in the West and the imposition of international restrictions on Russia.

In addition, the Court rejected Ukraine’s claim under the ICSFT that Russia should be held responsible for the crash of Boeing Flight MH17 and did not accept the Ukrainians’ allegations that the DPR was involved in the crash. During the hearing, Russia presented compelling evidence of fatal flaws in the pseudo-international investigation of the incident by the Joint Investigation Team under the umbrella of the Dutch justice system...

...The UN International Court of Justice stated that Russia had complied in good faith with its obligations to cooperate in the field of the suppression of terrorism financing, including the obligation to identify and freeze assets used to finance terrorism; to extradite or independently prosecute perpetrators of terrorist crimes; to provide mutual legal assistance; and to cooperate in the prevention of terrorist crimes.

This is fully consistent with the FATF's earlier conclusions about the high level of Russia's fulfillment of its obligations in this area; the FATF assessed Ukraine's claims as being of a purely political nature.

We were bewildered, against this background, at the Court's conclusion that Russia had failed to take measures to investigate two facts contained in information received from Ukraine regarding persons who have allegedly collected funds in Russia to help the people of Donbass.

The Court had to go against its own practice and set an unprecedentedly low bar for proving the applicability of the Terrorist Financing Convention when there was no evidence of either terrorism or its financing.

As a result of the proceedings, Ukraine was completely denied all claims for reparation or other forms of compensation."
Russia Foreign Ministry Press release 31 January 2024 

The Court, which Russia does not recognise, confirmed Russia fulfils its obligations not to support terrorism. But Russia can provide evidence to the Court, even athough it doesn't recognise the Court's jurisdiction. The evidence it presented to the Court exposed the west's attempts to falsely accuse Russia of destroying MH17, a terrorist act. USA refused to supply the radar data it has showing where the attack came from - it withheld evidence from the Court, clearly because that evidence would show that Ukraine fired the missile from its positions in the Donetsk. Ukraine air traffic control had previously steered the aircraft directly into the conflict zone (the Ukrainian controller who did this 'went on holiday' and has not been seen since).

The Court's decision clears the way for Ukraine to be sued for reparations by Malaysia and the survivors.

A week earlier, on 24 January 2024, a Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane was shot down in Russia's Belgorod Oblast, killing the crew and the 65 prisoners of war on board. The route to the disembarcation airport within Russia (for bussing to Ukraine) was known to Ukraine. The prisoner swap had been arranged with Ukraine, probably via the Red Cross, and has been done many times before. This is a terrorist act. Russian crime scene investigators have established with absolute certainty that the aircraft was shot down with a missile from a patriot battery. It is uncertain who supplied it and who helped operate it - USA? A NATO country? In any case, Ukraine will have pay reparations. But not until peace is restored. POW swaps must continue (with a third country as the intermediate swapping point).

When peace is restored, Ukraine will likely be a constant source of CIA and MI6 trained terrorists trying to attack Russia, even although hostilities have ended. If history repeats, as it likely will, the west will clandestinely nurture and actively help the terrorists. At this point, they make themselves 'terrorist states' by proxy. Yet their criminal support for terrorists will achieve no political aim while at the same time opening the individuals and involved to prosecution and their employing governments to claims for reparations. Why do it?

Their policy of coercive 'punishment' by proxy terrorism will make them pariahs in the eyes of a large part of the global population. It is true that what Sergey Lavrov called 'below the radar' advisories are given to Russia by the USA (and vice versa) on imminent terrorist attacks on each others territories, but this doesn't stop the USA inciting, training, and arming terrorists. Other western countries simply point blank refuse to cooperate with Russia on terrorism. This refusal, of course, is fully in line with the George doctrine of psychological coercion, a subset of isolation as a coercive tool.

"we spent many years trying to persuade the European Union to put an information sharing mechanism in place. That did not happen until 2018. The last meeting took place in 2019. After that, they, too, lost interest. Their actual refusal to engage with us on specific counter-terrorism issues came long before the special military operation....

... I double-checked my words that Interpol has never offered to investigate high-profile crimes before. This is indeed the case. It did not do this as regards Nord Stream pipelines or terrorist attacks in Russia in the early 2000s. Interpol has never demonstrated this kind of zeal before.

...this time it offered its services literally several hours after the Americans and the Europeans declared that Ukraine had nothing to do with the attack"
Sergey Lavrov 28 March 2024

"...we maintained efficient cooperation with Western countries and had corresponding channels until 2022, including regular consultations on counter-terrorism and anti-terrorism issues. They were constructive and politically unbiased in general. They served as an effective platform to discuss anti-terrorism and other new challenges and threats.

After 2022, all these formats were scaled down at the Western partners’ initiative."
Maria Zakharova, spokewoman Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 27 March 2024

There must be an adequate response to dissuade state terrorism, in particular, 'long arm' state terrorism to coerce other countries.

"According to President Putin, all those who masterminded, organised, sponsored and executed this terrorist attack [on the Crocus Center] will be brought to justice....Head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Agency Kirill Budanov had the following to say yesterday: “The allegation that Ukraine committed the terrorist attack in Crocus is nonsensical. Even though Russia is an enemy, I do not condone terrorist attacks against civilians.” No one would believe what this person has to say.

In May 2023, he said “these people with altered psyche (meaning Russians) should be held accountable. For us, holding accountable means physical annihilation.” He said that on the air of the 1+1 television channel. There are many other similar remarks by Ukrainian officials, including Mikhail Podolyak, Andrey Yermak, and former Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Alexey Danilov, including outright calls to destroy “Rusnya.” ...We hear threats to kill Russians in Ukraine physically and legally.."
Sergey Lavov 28 March 2024 

"The investigation also gained access to data from the suspects' cell phones, which contained information incriminating Ukrainian security services. The investigation also has at its disposal confirmed data that perpetrators of the attack received significant amounts of money and cryptocurrency from Ukraine, which were used in the preparation of the crime.

Moreover, there is evidence that the Kiev regime has been cooperating with and using Islamist radicals for a long time. We also know for a fact that the Ukrainian embassy in Dushanbe recruits mercenaries who are willing to join the International Legion. The perpetrators of the terrorist attack in the Crocus City Hall and their accomplices are also mainly of Tajik origin.

In connection with these facts, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has transmitted to the Ukrainian authorities demands under the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism for the immediate arrest and extradition of all persons involved in these terrorist acts."
Vassily Nebenzia, Russian Federation Permanent Representative at the United Nations 12 April 2024

Ukraine is a signatory to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997). Parties to the convention are required to "...establish jurisdiction over and make punishable, under their domestic laws, the offences described, to extradite or submit for prosecution persons accused of committing or aiding in the commission of the offences, and to assist each other in connection with criminal proceedings under the Convention. The offences referred to in the Convention are deemed to be extraditable offences between Parties
under existing extradition treaties and under the Convention itself." Ukraine and Russia are parties to the convention. (So is the USA, except it has an exclusion allowing US military to do literally any act of terrorism, not charge any military or military support, and refuse to extradite military guilty of committing or abetting terrorist acts). The convention creates an obligation to either charge terrorists domestically, or hand them over to the country that is the victim of the terrorist act. This applies whether or not states have an extradition treaty between each other.

Russia has provided Ukraine with a demand to hand over persons involved in inciting and/or organising the terrorist act. But Ukraine hasn't complied (probably because they are high level - or even the highest level official). Russia may have to wait for a change of government in Ukraine before the terrorist are handed over - if they are handed over. Therefore, Russia is entitled to take other lawful punitive actions.

When a state commits a terrorist act inside another state, then the affected state has a right to to call those who ordered it, those who planned it, those who facilitated it, and those who did it to account. The 22 March 2024 terrorist attack on the Crocus centre near Moscow is a case in point. It was carried out by ISIS-K, a Salafi Muslim group from Central Asia nurtured by western intelligence agencies to use as a terrorist tool against other countries. While the criminals were clearly hired by someone to commit these crimes, the main question was who hired them? A statement allegedly made by a Ukrainian official was all but a confession. Russia responded by destroying part of the SBU Security Agency with hypersonic missiles.

Heads of State, government officials and diplomats are exempt from reprisals, and up until early 2024 Russia (unlike Israel and the United States governments) stuck to this rule. Russia has responded to the Ukrainian government terrorist attack on the civilian Kirsch bridge by attacking and destroying a proportion of the Ukrainian electricity network. The attack was designed to hit parts of the system that can be replaced and repaired relatively quickly. The attack was designed to be punitive (it cost very large amounts of money to repair) and a deterrent to further terrorist attacks.

"The life of journalist Rostislav Zhuravlyov ended today as a result of Ukrainian Nazis’ artillery strike using cluster munitions against a group of journalists from the Izvestia Information Centre and RIA Novosti news agency. Three of his colleagues received shrapnel wounds of moderate severity...

...Everything points to the fact that the attack on the group of journalists was not an accident: the correspondents were collecting materials for a report on Kiev regime militants shelling communities in the Zaporozhye Region with cluster munitions...

...The very same munitions that are supplied to Kiev by the United States.

We have no illusions that specialised international organisations will choose to turn a blind eye to this heinous crime...which makes them accomplices in Kiev’s terrorist mayhem.

Washington, along with London and Paris...are sponsoring terrorists.

...Those responsible for the brutal murder of the Russian journalist will inevitably suffer the punishment they deserve.

The entire measure of responsibility will be shared by those who supplied cluster munitions to their Kiev protégés.

Spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 July 2022

"...Having lost its last remnants of conscience, London attributes the new portion of illegitimate unilateral restrictions to its intention to “protect children.” And yet, the unlawful measures target specifically the individuals who, by force of duty and by personal choice, directly participate in rescuing and helping children from the special military operation zone. They include the DPR Human Rights Commissioner, the Adviser to the Head of the DPR for Children’s Rights, the Moscow Region Commission for Children’s Rights and heads of the Russian regions hosting the children...

...By demonstrating feigned “care about children,” London continues, with unparalleled cynicism, to supply lethal weapon systems to the Kiev regime that the latter uses against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Donbass, the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the Republic of Crimea and other Russian regions.

The munitions and missiles supplied by the UK kill, cripple and orphan the same children that the UK country allegedly wants to protect. This makes London an accomplice in these and other crimes committed by the Kiev regime and London will not evade accountability.
Foreign Ministry Official Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  18 July 2023

"Vladimir Zelensky is rejoicing at the efficiency of Western arms against the background of massive shelling of residential areas in Donbass. This is a quote: “Finally, we feel that Western artillery has become very powerful – these are weapons we received from our Western partners. This accuracy is exactly what we need,” said the cynical leader of this state entity.

Meanwhile, no military or strategic targets were hit during this shelling of residential areas. The suffering is befalling civilians in Donbass.

Since late July, the Ukrainian armed forces have scattered prohibited anti-personnel Petal mines over the centre of Donetsk and its suburbs. The use of these mines is a crude violation of the 1997 convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines, which Ukraine ratified in 2005, as well as the second protocol to the Geneva convention on conventional arms (that bans mines without a self-destruct device). 

Such outrages have become possible and remain unpunished because the United States and its allies have consistently covered up the crimes of the Kiev regime for eight years with the connivance of international human rights institutions.

They have built their policy on Zelensky based on the notorious American principle: “Sure, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.”

The uncomfortable truth, smearing Ukraine’s luminous image as a victim of Russian aggression, is being meticulously hushed up and sometimes openly deleted. Even the Western human rights organisation Amnesty International that can hardly be suspected of sympathising with Russia, was subjected to severe criticism and blacklisted as a Kremlin agent. It was punished just for confirming in its report the commonly known facts about Kiev deploying artillery and heavy weapons at civilian facilities.

The criminal shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant by the Kiev regime militants, which creates the risk of a nuclear disaster, remains unpunished. The shelling continues despite the fact that the IAEA staff has been present at the station since September 1, and it is not hard to identify the party responsible for the shelling....

...The fate of the Russian troops who ended up in the hands of Ukrainian nationalists is something that is of great concern to us. There is ample evidence of abusive treatment, including out-of-court killings in violation of international humanitarian law. I’m sure that everyone who is interested in what is actually happening in Ukraine has seen videos of the Russian prisoners of war being killed by Ukrainian Nazis. They threw the POWs to the ground with their hands tied behind their backs and shot them in the head. Have any of the countries represented here commented on this crime?

We have a great amount of evidence of these and other crimes regularly committed by the Kiev regime since 2014. In cooperation with their colleagues from the DPR and the LPR, Russian law enforcement agencies record and investigate these crimes.

Over 220 individuals have been identified, including representatives of the high command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and military unit commanders, those who were involved in shooting civilians.

Criminal cases are being investigated involving citizens of Great Britain, Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands regarding the facts of mercenary activities and the perpetration of criminal acts in Ukraine.

Rest assured that all those responsible, regardless of their nationality, will be held accountable...

...No intelligible responses have been issued from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the wake of the 2014 bloody coup in Kiev, the Odessa tragedy of May 2, 2014, the shelling of peaceful cities in Donbass, the bombing of Lugansk by warplanes on June 2, 2014, or multiple other incidents.

Over 3,000 reports of crimes against residents of Donbass have been sent to the ICC. There was no response.

Clearly, the senior officials from this “judicial body” have received a command from on high to step up their activities.

This body has lost its credibility with us.

For eight long years we have been hoping in vain for someone to start fighting the impunity in Ukraine.

We are no longer counting on seeing justice from this or a number of other international agencies. We are finished waiting.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine, New York, September 22, 2022

But in early March 2024 Ukraine struck Russian oil refineries within Russia. The Ukrainians regard these as legitimate targets of war, and so demonstrate that they are at war with Russia, although they have not formally declared war. The Russians up until this date regarded the conflict as a 'special military operation' whose primary purpose was to liberate those new parts of Russia that seceded from Ukraine and voted to join Russia. Another major goal was to secure guarantees that Ukraine will not host NATO forces. Ukraine, by attacking Russian territory, is forcing Russia to concede that these are not a series of terrorist attacks. Taken together, these attacks constitute an 'asymmetric' war. Russia will be forced to change the scale and intensity of its current operation to an operation that is more akin to all-out war.

The Russian responded to attacks on their energy infrastructure by destroying Ukrainian electricity generation gear, perhaps including specialist transformers that are designed for the Soviet era grid and that may take months or even years to replace. The high precision attacks took place over 8 days in March, destroying hydro and thermal energy generation plants responsible for 8% of Ukraines total energy generation capacity. 

Russia also destroyed an underground gas storage facility that was going to be used by the EU to store large volumes of natural gas for the high demand winter period. (This ratchet up of coercive pressure was in response to Ukraine not being deterred by previous Russian less damaging attacks).

The March 22 2024 terror attack on Russian civilians in Moscow forced Russia to end its rule about not hitting government officials. On March 26 2024 Mr. Patrushev, the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, said that there are many things pointing to Ukraine being behind the terrorist attack. The director of the FSB, the Russian Security Service, said that Mr. Budanov, the head of the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate, is now a legitimate target for the Russian Armed Forces, and that the FSB should be recognised as a terrorist organisation. This designation obliges the Russian government's to find out who was the organiser and paymaster of the attack, and then bring them to account. Regardless of any official status. Regardless of the country they are from. Regardless of the country they run to.

"The Federal Security Service and other law enforcement agencies are working diligently to identify and expose the accomplice base behind these terrorists: those who provided them with transport, planned escape routes from the crime scene, and prepared caches with weapons and ammunition.

The investigative and law enforcement agencies will spare no effort to establish all the details of this crime. However, it is already clear that we are confronted not simply with a carefully and cynically planned terrorist attack, but a premediated and organised mass murder of peaceful, defenceless people. The perpetrators cold-bloodedly and deliberately targeted our citizens, including our children, with the intent to kill them at close range. Like the Nazis who once carried out massacres in the occupied territories, they planned to stage a demonstrative execution, a bloody act of intimidation.

All perpetrators, organisers and masterminds of this crime will face fair and inevitable punishment, whoever they may be and whoever directed them.

I emphasise once more: we will identify and bring to justice each and every individual who stands behind these terrorists, those who orchestrated this atrocity, this assault against Russia and our people.

We understand what the terrorist threat means. In this regard, we rely on cooperation with all states that sincerely share our pain and are ready to really join forces in the fight against a common enemy, international terrorism and all its manifestations.

Terrorists, murderers, those inhumane individuals who have no nationality and cannot have one, face one and the same gloomy prospect – retribution and oblivion. They have no future."
Vladimir Putin 23 March 2024

"Despite our overwhelming pain and grief, sympathy, and legitimate desire to punish all perpetrators of this inhuman atrocity, the investigation must proceed with the utmost professionalism and objectivity, with no political bias whatsoever.

We know that the crime was perpetrated by radical Islamists. The Islamic World itself has been fighting this ideology for centuries.

But we are also seeing how the United States is using different channels to try and convince its satellites and other countries of the world that, according to its intelligence, there is supposedly no sign of Kiev’s involvement in the Moscow terrorist attack, that the deadly terrorist attack was perpetrated by followers of Islam, members of ISIS, an organisation banned in Russia.

We know whose hands were used to commit this atrocity against Russia and its people. We want to know who ordered it.

We need to obtain answers to a number of questions in the course of joint work of our security services and law enforcement agencies.

For example, do radical and even terrorist Islamist organisations truly have an interest in launching attacks on Russia now that it supports a fair resolution of the escalated conflict in the Middle East? And how do radical Islamists, who present themselves as devout Muslims and follow the so-called pure Islam, justify committing atrocities and serious crimes during the holy month of Ramadan, which is sacred to all Muslims?

We will need to answer these and other, more specific and professional questions in order to carry out an objective investigation into the crime committed in Moscow. One thing is absolutely clear: the heinous crime committed in the Russian capital on March 22 is an act of intimidation, as I said. 

This leads to the next question: who stands to benefit from it? This act of violence is likely just one in a series of attempts by those who have been fighting against our country since 2014, using the neo-Nazi Kiev regime as a pawn. As for the neo-Nazis, it is widely known that they have never hesitated to employ the most repugnant and inhumane methods to achieve their aims...

It is clear that those supporting the Kiev regime do not wish to be implicated in acts of terrorism and be seen as sponsors of terrorism. But there are indeed numerous questions."
Vladimir Putin 25 March 2024

"The Main Investigative Directorate of Russian Investigative Committee has conducted an inspection after the appeal of a group of lawmakers … and other people about the financing of terrorist activities by top officials of the United States and NATO countries. As a result, a criminal case was opened on the grounds of a crime under part 4 of the article 205.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (financing of terrorism)

It has been established that the funds received through commercial organizations, in particular the Burisma Holdings oil and gas company that is operating in Ukraine, have been used over the past few years to carry out terrorist acts in Russia, as well as abroad, in order to eliminate prominent political and public figures and cause economic damage"
Russian Investigative Committee 9 April 2024 

When this conflict is wrapped up, I anticipate Russia will hold tribunals that will call all those who took any part in enabling or enacting these terrorist attacks to account. Sentences will be passed, mostly in absentia. (The west, aware of Russia's intentions, is also preparing sham trials stuffed with false witness and fabrications for the purpose of discrediting the Russian tribunal. This technique is normal for them, and the contemptible International Criminal Court pantomime is simply one part of this process.)

Arrest warrants may be issued for members of the press who were complicit in staging some of the false scenarios. Warrants will be issued for those military in NATO who can be identified as supplying weapons such as HIMARS to the Ukrainian military when those NATO military must have quickly come to know that the Ukrainian military were also targeting civilian areas, which would be a war crime; except that Ukraine has not formally declared war on Russia and Russia has not declared war on Ukraine. Which means that the strikes on civilian areas of Russia are acts of state terrorism. Most of these strikes are on civilian areas in the eastern oblasts that voted to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

NATO is desperately worried about Russia's highly accurate and devastating hypersonic cruise missiles. It said Russia's use of this weapon of "such dual-capable systems to attack civilians and critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine" is "unacceptable".

First, Russia does not deliberately target civilians.

Second, the attack on Ukraines civilian infrastructure might arguably be a war crime if that infrastructure did not facilitate any military purpose (such as electricity was also used to cook soldiers meals). The USA disagrees - the US government destroyed most of Iraq's civilian infrastructure - power, water, sewerage - as one of the opening moves in it's illegal aggression against Iraq - which, by the way, makes such actions state terrorism, as there was no actual or impending security risk to the US, a country many thousands of kilometers away from Iraq. The USA government argues all those facilities are used to support the Iraqi army and are therefore within the rules of armed conflict. But the conflict itself had no legal basis in self defense or immanent threat.

In any case, the argument is moot, because the Russian strike on power plants in Ukraine is an act of reprisal for terrorist acts (targeting civilian areas within Russian borders) by the State of Ukraine, and it is designed to deter Ukraine from further such acts of terrorism.

The strike also acts as a warning to the west - aid and abet terrorism, and all those participating may be identified and called to account by a Russian court.

In very serious cases, once the state involved is identified by sufficient evidence, then it would be legitimate to strike civilian, security, or military infrastructure both as an act of retaliation and to deter further state terrorism. In most cases Russia is not likely to do this, it is more likely to invoke the international law of State responsibility which requires a state doing a wrong act to make full reparations for a 'wrong act', which comprises any or all of restitution, reparations, and compensation for damage done, both material and moral.

I think most people will agree that proxy state terrorism, a tool of the west, is a 'wrong act'.

Direct state terrorism, such as the Israeli F35 attack on Iranian diplomats in the Iranian consulate in Syria is indisputably a 'wrong act'. It is an act of war. It is a terrorist act requiring retaliation.The personal damage, the physical damage, moral damage, and the affront to the dignity of the Iranian state require compensation. War, retaliation (eliminating those who carried out the terrorist strike, punishing the terrorist command and control who gave the orders), and compensation all have their own logic, tactic, timing and scale, depending on the Iranian short, medium, and long term geopolitical strategy, and Irans' calculation of its own and Israel's military and economic potential, both now and in the future.

Reparations don't just apply to material damage. The Russian State paid a lump sum to all the victims of the Crocus Center attack, as well as ongoing pensions, special assistance, rehabilitation and so on. All this money and a lot more will have to be taken from those who ordered the attack, and from those government officials who incited and/or enabled it.

"The...German opposition is behaving even more aggressively. We will see what they will agree on. We are following this closely. British and American missiles are also used. But this does not change the situation on the battlefield. Yes, they're causing damage to us, of course, that's obvious.

But, in essence, it does not affect the course of hostilities and the consequences that are inevitable for the other side."
Vladimir Putin 13 March 2024

Ukraine has already used the missiles they received from other countries  on Russia's civilian infrastructure. The supplying western  countries not only know this, they actively aid and abet targeting, as a leaked conversation by German Luftwaffe officers conclusively shows. Once again, Russia repeats - at the highest level - that consequences are "inevitable". Compensation, at the very least, although aiding and abetting terrorism may see additional punitive measures.

"During one visit to Wiesbaden, Milley spoke with Ukrainian special operations troops — who were working with American Green Berets — in the hope of inspiring them ahead of operations in enemy-controlled areas.

“There should be no Russian who goes to sleep without wondering if they’re going to get their throat slit in the middle of the night,” Milley said, according to an official with knowledge of the event. “You gotta get back there, and create a campaign behind the lines.”"
General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff 2023

Once again, a campaign of sabotage of war-related infrastructure behind the lines is permissible in war, but the rules of war forbid attacks on civilians. Mr. Milley was not only advocating terrorism, he also trained the Ukrainians in techniques that enable terrorism. The United States has a long history of state terrorism executed by the special operations branch of the President's private army, the CIA. The CIA generally uses proxies to do its dirty criminal work. But having arranged the training, material and organisation, they are not able to directly control what their stooges decide to do. In a case of grotesquely violent state terrorism such as that committed at the Crocus venue, SBU, GRU, CIA or MI6 or Mossad involvement becomes an act of war - if Russia wishes to see it that way. And Russia has the power to mete out severe punishment, not just to Ukraine, but to individuals and agencies in complicit western countries. It is up to Russia to set the price.

State terrorism against a large and powerful country like Russia can become a very dangerous spiral of violence.

Small nations can apply punitive measures to state terrorism (albeit at some cost) as the Yemeni Houthis have shown. But in general small states are at the mercy of terrorism unleashed by large states - almost exclusively western.

In the end, it is a matter of whether a state has the coercive power to force the proxy terrorist to either pay up, or an ability to apply selective levies applicable only to the terrorist state (and its co-conspirators/enablers).

"In September of 2022, however, Akhmetov's assets in Russia were seized for "financing terrorism," because his SCM Holding was giving significant amounts of money to the Ukrainian military. Another Cyprus-based company, Fabcell Limited, appeared at that time as the legal owner of the two mining enterprises."
26 January 2024 

Russia is positioning itself to do what the west failed to do - seize foreign assets to pay for reparations ordered by Russian Courts against state terrorist acts and states that aid terrorists or their proxies and agents. Russia passed a series of regulations, amendments to legislation, and new laws in the period December 2023 to January 2024 which were clearly designed to be reprisals in case the Court of International Justice ruled against Russia, and the EU countries then seized Russia's assets. (18 December 2023, 19 December 2023, 19 December 2023, 19 December 2023, 21 December 2023, 25 December 2023, 25 December 2023, 25 December 2023, 3 January 2024, 3 January 2024, 3 January 2024, 25 January 2024, 27 January 2024.

Will the west, and particularly USA, United Kingdom and Germany, stop their illegal state sponsored terrorism? At this date there is no reason to think so. They observe the norms and obligations of anti-terrorist law both selectively and in a duplicitous and outrageously fanciful manner. Historically these deviant states incite existing violence-inclined groups within a country to acts of terror against their government, or a foreign government and then call them 'freedom fighters', 'armed opposition' or similar. When they are no longer useful they may decide they are terrorists after all. Why would they stop perpetrating these crimes? After all, it is cost-free. So far.

Although it seems unlikely, in some far distant future they may stop state-terrorism-by-proxy and wish to honestly and non-selectively cooperate with Russia against terrorism. For now, Russia will cooperate with the west on eliminating terrorism - on its own terms.

" If they want to revive this cooperation, they should begin with reviewing their own approaches and stop creating a new terrorist cell at the heart of Europe. Before that, it was Kosovo. Now, the scale is different: they are using Ukraine for this. This will be their contribution to the efforts against terrorism in the world. Stop supporting Vladimir Zelensky’s terrorist regime."
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman 27 March 2024

Russia's view of Coercive diplomacy

"...multipolarity and the emergence of new centres of power call for a search for a balance of interests and compromises to maintain stability in the world. Here, of course, diplomacy should play a leading role, especially since we have a backlog of problems which require generally acceptable solutions, including regional conflicts, international terrorism, food security, and the environment.

So, we operate on the premise that we can reach agreements only through diplomatic efforts. Only solutions that enjoy the support of everyone can be sustainable.

Unfortunately, our Western partners led by the United States are not willing to agree on common approaches to resolving problems. Washington and its allies are trying to impose their own approaches.

Their behavior is clearly based on a desire to preserve their centuries-old domination in international affairs despite the objective trends toward a polycentric international order.
This runs contrary to the fact that purely economically and financially, the United States and its closest allies can no longer single-handedly resolve all issues in the global economy and world affairs.

Moreover, various methods of blackmail, coercive, economic, and informational pressure are used in order to artificially retain their dominance and to regain their undisputed positions.

They are not above overt, blatant interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, such as Venezuela. Without hesitating, they publicly threaten Cuba and Nicaragua with the same scenarios. These are the most recent and odious examples."
Sergey Lavrov 12 April 2019 

"It is against our principles to coerce partners, to give them a “with us or against us” choice or to interfere in their domestic affairs.

By the way, this is our principled and crucial difference from Washington and some other capitals that perceive such practices as almost normal. Examples are plentiful. Suffice it to recall the military intervention in Iraq and foreign interference in the Arab Spring developments or support for the armed seizure of power in Ukraine in February 2014"
Sergey Lavrov 3 October 2019

"If the West fulfilled its obligations under the UN Charter to respect the sovereign equality of states as a principle of international relations, it would not now be running around coercing others to impose sanctions against Russia, but would give sovereign countries the opportunity to sort things out for themselves."
Sergey Lavrov 16 June 2022

Russia rejects the notion that one country can impose its will on the rest of the world, that one country can interfere in other countries affairs, change the governments of other countries, blackmail and coerce other countries.

Russia certainly uses coercive diplomacy, but in the context of responding to threats created by others. After all, it is better if the irresponsible 'partner' comes to their senses and backs down rather than Russia having to make a 'military technical response', as they put it. Russia is flexible enough to ride some bad behaviour out (depending on the level of potential consequences of that behaviour), but when it really matters, Russia does not bluff.

The US government strategy of 'coercive diplomacy' doesn't work on Russia. Russia is minding it's own business, but it certainly won't defer to the US, or do what the US wants. Russia is promoting good relations with everyone, seeking mutually advantageous  business with everyone. Russia is interested in mutual respect, equality of nations, resolving long standing disputes between nations in a fair and equitable manner. Russia is only interested in improving the lot of the Russian people. NATO, a US controlled cudgel, believes in coercion of all kinds and degrees, tipping over even into murderous aggression.

"We know how NATO’s ventures end. Let us recall the wars in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, crises provoked in other regions. The bloc’s track record of wrongs includes thousands of victims, destruction of states and economies.

This list includes pseudo-judicial reprisals, coups d'état and coloured revolutions. Journalists, artists and athletes, not to mention politicians and businessmen, have been hit by a wave of repressions. Criminal methods are being devised to seize public assets and private property. The bid is placed on extraterritorial sanctions, economic discrimination, unfair competition, “green” barriers, restrictions on the flow of technologies and investments."
Sergey Lavrov 21 February 2024

USA behaviour is focused on coercing other countries to change their domestic and foreign policy to (ultimately) advantage US business. 

Russia rejects this ideology at the most fundamental of levels, and that is reflected in their foreign policy concept and in their diplomacy. The west has yet to internalise this reality.

Declaration on the Ways and Means to Counter, Mitigate and Redress the Adverse Impacts of Unilateral Coercive Measures  [Added 6 December 2023, 0850 hours UTC, edited 17 December 2023 NZDT ]

"In gross violation of the principle of sovereign equality of states, the West is using unilateral coercive measures. Countries that are victims of these illegal sanctions (and there are increasing numbers of them) are well aware that these restrictions harm first and foremost the most vulnerable strata of society. They provoke crises in food and energy markets.

We continue to insist on an immediate and full cessation of the United States’ unprecedented inhumane trade, economic, and financial blockade of Havana and for the lifting of the absurd decision to declare Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.

Washington must, without any preconditions, abandon its policy of the economic suffocation of Venezuela.

We call for the lifting of unilateral US and EU sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic, which openly undermine its right to development.

Any coercive measures that circumvent the UN Security Council must be ended, as must be the West's weaponised practice of manipulating the Security Council’s sanctions policy to exert pressure on those they find objectionable.
Sergey Lavrov 23 September 2023

"We signed a declaration on the ways and tools of countering, alleviating and compensating for the negative consequences of unilateral coercive measures.
This is important for pooling the efforts of the international community to overcome the illegal sanctions with which the US and its allies have replaced diplomacy."
Sergey Lavrov 5 December 2023

On December 5 2023 the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed a bilateral Declaration on unilateral coercive measures.

This is a major legal and conceptual document on dealing with the coercive actions taken by those who follow a state policy of coercive diplomacy. This is an extremely important document because it has the potential for long changes in how countries relate to each other. It firmly pushes back against bullying, blackmail, and aggressive behaviour, primarily by the west.

It is addressed to the world.

It outlines legal and morally correct actions for states to follow when faced with unilateral coercive actions. It outlines a path for any state to take to levy compensation payable by those taking illegal coercive actions.

It can be read as a 'declaration of peace' between parties who do not employ coercive measures against others. It doesn't necessitate active cooperation.

I believe this bilateral declaration will eventually be signed bilaterally, or even multilaterally (via BRICS, for example) between other parties - creating a web of non-coercive diplomacy and therefore much better relations between signatory countries. Eventually a 'law abiding world' (LAW) would be created. The language of condemnation of unilateral coercive measures is already being used in the UN, particularly by countries in the global 'south' which are primary victims of US and western illegal aggression. More than simply declaratively endorsing what is, essentially, existing International Law on coercive behaviour and ending there, states are urged to take a further step. They are urged to embed the guiding tenets into their own domestic laws and regulations - for the specific purpose of enforcing  countermeasures and redressing (compensating) the damage done by coercive measures.

The declaration reinforces that coercive actions that hinder the meeting of a nations humanitarian needs are not just a violation of humanitarian law, but a "grave violation". The United States coercive restrictions on the Cuban and the Syrian people are outstanding examples. The compensation that the USA is obliged to pay Syria for theft of the necessaries of life - oil and wheat, plus damage to electricity infrastructure (severely damaged), homes and workplaces amounts to many billions of dollars.

The declaration sweeps aside the practice of the USA arrogantly applying its domestic laws all around the world. It further sweeps aside the USA and west's illegal practice of kidnapping, extraditing, and imprisoning those who act to evade the illegal coercive restrictions applied extra-judicially.

The declaration rejects the ability of states to coercively seize diplomatic properties, as the USA did with Russian diplomatic properties in the USA, breaking into them, changing the locks.

There are many types of coercive actions, and the USA is master of them all. Coercive actions can vary from blocking athletes enjoying their full human rights to proudly represent their country, through to death, maiming, psychological damage and moral affront caused by the US and west illegal aggressions around the world. All will be subject to legal counter-measures, at least in Iran and Russia (at this stage). In short, payback time is starting.

Those who create illegal coercive extraterritorial laws, those who obey another countries laws even within their own jurisdiction, those who implement coercive acts, those who incite coercive acts, are all liable. From a practical point of view, individual government actors for the most part will not be targetted for compensation, but their employing government. But when the coercive act tips over into killing and maiming, as the US does in Syria, for example, then it is reasonable to suppose arrest warrants will be issued for individual commanders, drone operators, airmen and soldiers - as well as claims for compensation from the USA and western governments.

There is a logistic limit to the number of actions that can be taken under the law of State responsibility, and cases will probably be concentrated on the most politically and economically promising - at first.

Of course, compensatory actions are not limited by time.

The west and the USA is likely to push back. It will not recognise the jurisdiction of the Russian and Iranian courts. Their non-recognition is irrelevant. Payment will be pursued, one way or another. The west will try to take cases against both Russia and Iran for alleged coercive behaviour. Beyond pointing out the obvious falseness and hypocrisy, Russia and Iran will simply ignore them. If the USA or western countries attempt to 'enforce' their bogus 'awards' of damages, by piracy or similar, the two countries may well take balancing action - and Iran has already demonstrated this, seizing oil tankers when it's own tankers have been seized. Taken to extremes, trade in oil to the west via the Persian Gulf will come to a halt. The Russian and Iranian cases have International Law on their side, the west has nothing but propaganda, illegalities,and blood soaked hands. Russia and Iran have nothing left for the USA and West to coercively destroy. In contrast, the west can suffer much destruction from lawful retaliation by both parties.

The Russian government has already laid the groundwork to enforce compensation on the west - the European west, at least. It has created a compensation fund from European assets placed in Russian administration (for the time being). I don't know how much revenue flows from these assets, but it may be enough to recover costs of the western war over time. The reparations that Germany had to pay for the death and destruction they caused in world war 2 are instructive. Most reparations were in material things, with a relatively limited amount of money involved (and most, if not all of which went back to Germany under the provisions of the Marshall Plan for German reconstruction).

German reparations for world war 2 mainly took the form of the transfer of all industrial machinery (especially manufacturing machinery and machine tools), railway stock (including locomotives), forced labour, seizing of all German overseas investments, seizing of all gold, silver, and platinum held by a German institution as well as by private individuals, seizure of all foreign currency reserves, seizure of all patents and research data relevant to military production (worth an astonishing 10 billion 1948 USD), and 'requisition' of German raw materials and current industrial production. All these matters were decided at the Yalta conference of the heads of the Soviet Union, the United States of America, and Great Britain. (Incidentally, other provisions of the Yalta conference included the demilitarisation and denazification of Germany.)

The west has, in effect, tried to impose a preemptive 'mini Yalta' on Russia. This may, in part, have been psychological coercion - casting Russia as equivalent to a defeated Germany. (Implying the west can impose it's will on Russia). The west has seized Russian gold, seized Russian reserves, attempted to end Russian shipping by refusing insurance, refused gas/oil Russian resources and/or tried to set the price, seized assets of private Russian citizens abroad, tried to 'requisition' the income derived from Russian assets seized abroad (without success so far), seized Russian fertiliser stored abroad, and so on. The idea was to create a fund from Russian assets that the west could use to regularly pay Ukraine as well as pay for some repairs.

The west can hardly claim these are 'war reparations'. Russia has not surrendered. If the west insists the illegal seizures are 'reparations' (even if they don't use that word), they are making themselves party to the Ukraine conflict. At that point, the west's situation becomes even worse than it already is.

Everything the west has done is illegal. It is legally indefensible under International Law. If it 'stacks the court' to obtain favorably defective judgements, then international law regulating business between nations literally means nothing. At that point, what is done to Russia could be done to anybody. And what is done to Russia could be done by anybody to the west.

Russia, on the other hand, has already placed western businesses in administration, and these are also accumulating profits. It, too, has blocked payment to foreigners of investment income. These assets can be released to the owners, but only by Presidential decision. Russia is yet to determine what reparations are due from the west for it's proxy war on Russia. Even when (not if) the west has to release all the Russian assets it holds, Russia is entitled to retain administrative control of the assets it has seized, pending the outcome of reparations calculations. If the western assets cover reparations, they will be seized - patents, resources, everything.

In contrast, after relevant court cases, either international or in a special Russian court (the foreign version of which can take years, if not decades) the west will have to return Russia assets unconditionally, including assets of private citizens. At the point Russian citizens assets are released, I suspect Russia will in turn release the assets of foreign citizens resident in 'unfriendly' countries.

Everything Russia has done is legal. And if, ultimately, it has no choice but to finally seize western assets under administration, that too will be done under relevant international law.

The west has put itself in a trap from which there is no escape.

And now the dance starts - but the conclusion is already known. The USA and west will - ultimately - be forced to pay. But that is not the main thing.

The main thing is that it will be obvious to everyone that coercion as a strategy is a strategy of self destruction.

For the first time ever, the west and the USA will have to start respecting international law all the time- not just when it suits them.

Many people in the west are self-censoring and fearful of looking at a Russian website, thanks to conditioning by their governments, media and commentators. Therefore I reproduce the document below. I remind you, my friend, that the only authoritative document version is the one on the Russian government website. The original can be read (in english) here.

Signing of the Declaration 'on the Ways and Means to Counter, Mitigate and Redress the Adverse Impacts of Unilateral Coercive Measures',
5 December 2023, by
Foreign Affairs Ministers Hossein Amirabdollahian of Iran and Sergey Lavrov of Russia (photo Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
5 December 2023 18:53
Declaration by the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Ways and Means to Counter, Mitigate and Redress the Adverse Impacts of Unilateral Coercive Measures


The Russian Federation and The Islamic Republic of Iran,

Renewing their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970 containing the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming General Assembly resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974 containing the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, pursuant to which no State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights,

Considering that "unilateral coercive measures" refers to coercive measures – other than those enacted by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations – taken by a State, group or association of States, in violation of the principles of sovereign equality of States and non-interference in internal affairs of States, including the pressure in any form, whether political, judicial, financial or economic, in order to compel a change in policy of another State by causing costs and damage to that State and those who support its political course,

Recognizing that unilateral coercive measures in certain cases run counter to Security Council resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations and violate Security Council prerogatives under the Charter of the United Nations,

Bearing in mind the importance of free trade for the development of States and the well-being of their peoples,

Confirming that unilateral coercive measures create obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights and impede the full realization of the rights set forth in major international human rights instruments,

Recalling the Declaration of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Promotion of International Law signed on 16 June 2020 at Moscow,

Declare the following guidelines on the ways and means to counter, mitigate and redress the adverse impacts of unilateral coercive measures:

  1. Recourse of any State to unilateral coercive measures is unlawful, contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and international law and will entail international responsibility.
  2. Unilateral coercive measures, including those of extraterritorial nature, implemented by the third State, group or association of States in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law should not be recognized and implemented.
  3. States are strongly urged to refrain from adopting, promulgating and applying the unilateral coercive measures that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.
  4. Any foreign judgment arising from the application of national laws, orders and regulations imposing unilateral coercive measures on other States should not be recognized or enforced by national courts.
  5. State and private properties and assets, including bank accounts, bonds, real estate as well as consular and diplomatic premises and facilities, shall be immune from and not subject to freezing, forfeiture or any other form of confiscation or restriction arising from the implementation of unilateral coercive measures by any authorities. The jurisdictional immunities of States and the immunity of their properties shall at all time be observed and protected against the implementation of unilateral coercive measures.
  6. In the event of economic or financial loss incurred as a result of the adoption of unilateral coercive measures, the State that has inflicted such loss on an affected State, individuals and legal entities by its actions or extraterritorial application of its national laws, shall be primarily held liable for compensation and damages.
  7. A road map should be drawn up by States to reduce the dependency of international trade on national currencies that are prone to being used to implement unilateral coercive measures or to sustain a particular State's monetary hegemony over the global economy.
  8. Efforts shall be made to create regional or other forms of inter-State financial institutions to strengthen their bilateral and multilateral financial relationships and eliminate the inequitable practices and processes that presently characterize certain global financial and development institutions.
  9. No one shall be deprived of liberty or freedom of movement or be subject to any other form of restriction grounded in the unilateral coercive acts, laws or policy. Executive and judicial authorities shall conduct a rigorous review of all documents and evidence presented to them in order to avoid giving unwarranted effect to unilateral coercive measures.
  10. The evasion or circumvention of unilateral coercive measures by individuals shall not be considered as a ground for extradition.
  11. Under no circumstances trade in humanitarian goods and commodities, such as foodstuffs and agricultural commodities, medicines and medical devices, as well as spare parts, equipment and associated services necessary for the safety of civil aviation shall be subject to any form of direct or indirect coercive economic measure. Accordingly, any impediment to such trade, including impediments to transportation, financial transactions and the transfer of currencies or credit documents, shall be removed.
  12. Tangible or intangible cultural properties, cultural, academic and sports activities, revenues arising from art and sport, the income of workers abroad, resources pertaining to the functioning of diplomatic missions and consular posts, contributions to international organizations, funds pertaining to students and academic activities, and other activities of similar character shall at no time be affected or interrupted even temporarily by any unilateral coercive measure.
  13. Any unilateral coercive measure that adversely affects population of a state and narrows the humanitarian space by hindering the humanitarian needs of that population or impeding the full enjoyment of that population's human rights, including its essential economic, social and cultural rights as enshrined in international human rights instruments, shall be considered a grave violation of international human rights law.
  14. Humanitarian aid in kind or in cash in cases of natural and other disasters shall not be subject to unilateral coercive measures.
  15. Unilateral coercive measures in the sphere of culture, restrictions against specific cultural and historical figures based on their nationality, citizenship or political convictions and affiliations, as well as the practice of "cancelling the culture" of specific nations or peoples shall be considered unacceptable.
  16. States are encouraged to adopt laws and regulations to enforce the measures stipulated in these guidelines.

Signed at Moscow on 05.12.2023.

For the Russian Federation

Sergey Lavrov

Minister of Foreign Affairs


For the Islamic Republic of Iran

Hossein Amirabdollahian

Minister of Foreign Affairs


Compensation [added 0930 6 December 2023 NZT, edited 0930 UTC]

On the 5th of December 2023 The Russian Federation and Iran signed the "Declaration by the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Ways and Means to Counter, Mitigate and Redress the Adverse Impacts of Unilateral Coercive Measures".

Guideline 1 says "Recourse of any State to unilateral coercive measures is unlawful, contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and international law and will entail international responsibility."

The phrase "will entail international responsibility" means, in my opinion, "if you do the crime, expect to do the time".

Guideline 6 says "In the event of economic or financial loss incurred as a result of the adoption of unilateral coercive measures, the State that has inflicted such loss on an affected State, individuals and legal entities by its actions or extraterritorial application of its national laws, shall be primarily held liable for compensation and damages."

This is unequivocal. The west will be held liable for damages and compensation. As I predicted here on the 11th of November (above), Russia "is more likely to invoke the international law of State responsibility which requires a state doing a wrong act to make full reparations for a 'wrong act', which comprises any or all of restitution, reparations, and compensation for damage done, both material and moral."

Collecting damages from the west will be a long road. Decades long. The internationally recognised means of collection are very limited. The institutions are largely western, possibly politicised, and I don't know if they have ever had to make judgements on coercion as an illegal instrument - especially as when the coercive instrument is wielded by the court's very founders. Domestic courts can apply the international law of State Responsibility, and also any relevant domestic laws put on the books. The USA has been writing and  implementing coercive domestic laws (illegal under international law) for years and years.

The upshot is that while Russia and Iran may make judgements against western government figures, corporations and individuals, they won't be able to enforce them outside their own borders. Arrest warrants will be issued in the case of non-payment of damages awarded. But again, without bilateral extradition agreements, they will never see the inside of a prison. More likely, foreign assets will be seized. While guideline 5 protects against seizure of assets, it is only related to the unilateral coercive seizure of assets. Seizure of assets in compensation for unilateral coercive seizure elsewhere is the direct opposite - it is not a coercive measure, it is a legally mandated compensating action done to undo the harm done by a unilateral coercive measure.

The Russia-Iran bilateral declaration is a moral as well as an International-law defining document. It clearly establishes the consequences for the US and west bad behaviour, as well as modelling good behaviour between nations.

But no behavioural 'red lines' will be observed without punishment for crime. Reward is not needed - being a good international citizen is rewarding.

A Law Abiding World (LAW) [Added 0230, 7 December 2023]

Once enough momentum builds up, a largely law abiding world is possible. Whose law? Well, if the world 'signs up' to a universal set of laws, it will only sign up to the set of laws that all the countries of the world have already signed up to - the United Nations Charter. There are other UN instruments that are signed up to by most countries, although in some cases various countries have 'reservations' that set aside certain provisions. But, in general, agreement on the illegality of coercion is embedded in the Charter, which everyone has signed up to. This is the 'backbone' of a law abiding world.

A Law Abiding World respects the lawful interests of sovereign states. A Law Abiding World recognises that the peoples and countries of the world have their own cultural and historical 'ground', and while one system may not agree with aspects of the organisation and practice of some aspects of other peoples system, their sovereignty must be recognised unconditionally, and the current reality accepted. Without coercion or lectures.

"We are convinced that the future belongs to free, multilinear, and diverse cultures, the broadest possible dialogue of humanitarian communities in the multipolar world that is forming today...We believe that creatively-minded and enlightened individuals want to build a fair, sustainable, and secure world. We believe that this is backed by a sincere desire to improve the situation around the world in all the meanings of this word in the Russian language: the world as accord, the world as society, and the world as all humanity and the entire planet......

I see the multipolar world as fair....the wealth possessed by many countries, especially the European states and the United States, was largely based on the injustices of the past and the former world order, on colonialism and slavery. And the technological advantages that part of humanity received at a certain point were not used fairly. They used them to assert their domination. Attempts to do this continue up to this day. ...the goal is to make the world more just. Multipolarity is one way to do this.

What should this world be like? It should consider the interests of all countries and peoples. They are not just taken into account but are arranged in such a way as to balance all interests."

Vladimir Putin 17 November 2023

A 'multipolar world' goes beyond a law abiding world. It includes 'balancing interests'. That is, both sides come to agreement of what each will accept culturally. A good example is the issue of opening Wahhabi sect mosques and schools in Russia. Russia is a partial Muslim nation, but the extremist version of Wahhabism was introduced to Chechnya by the West and Mid-East with the aim of tearing Chechnya  off Russia via terrorist action, suppression of which caused massive destruction there. Ultimately, Russia agreed to allow the same number of Wahhabi sect Mosques in Moscow as there are Russian Orthodox churches allowed in Saudi Arabia. Only the Muslim religion is allowed in Saudi Arabia. No other religious expressions are publicly allowed. This is balancing interests. Nothing to do with International law, everything to do with finding a compromise accepted by both that accepts the cultural and historic realities of each side.

Removing all the alternatives to coercive diplomacy

"Diplomacy as a means of peaceful settlement of disputes is being sacrificed to violent struggle, “hybrid wars”, total confrontation, and the desire to inflict a strategic defeat on the rival. Double standards, hypocrisy and direct lies are brought into play."
Sergey Lavrov 21 February 2024

A tactic (the arsonist-fireman tactic) under the coercive strategy is to create circumstances where the other party is denied reasonable settlement through normal diplomacy, and is left only with coercive defence.

United Nations Security Council
Russia constantly promotes the primacy of the United Nations Charter as the supreme International law. The Charter is the only legal instrument that the whole world has signed on to - and which is legally part of the body of law of all member nations. Chapter 6 requires all states to try to settle disputes peacefully. Russia spent 7 years trying to find a non-military solution to the West Ukraine - East Ukraine dispute, shepherding through an agreement acceptable to both sides, one that allowed Eastern Ukraine to become an autonomous region.

Remarkably, Russia managed to shepherd the Minsk agreement through the United Nations Security Council endorsement procedure - without the USA blocking it. Russia took the legally required route even although Russia knew NATO was all the while arming and equipping Ukraine for a military solution to the dispute. Russia was also aware of NATOs plans to cut Russia off from the Black Sea and place an American naval base and anti-missile system directly adjacent to Russia's border. (USA would then have an unconstrained ability to successfully launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Russia.)

The USA, for it's part, was well aware that this would be about as acceptable to the Russian Federation as the Russian Federation placing hypersonic missiles in Cuba would be to the United States of America. In other words, it was a deliberate and calculated provocation by the government of United States of America. (More on that here).

"...many people who are mature, sophisticated, knowledgeable, talented are doing their job and many of them, like me, could not imagine… Before 2014, I could not imagine that such a conflict was possible between Russia and Ukraine. If I was told before 2014 that it was possible, I would have called it madness."
Vladimir Putin 17 November 2023 

Provoking a proxy war with the Russian Federation is indeed a form of derangement. And yet the USA did it. The US instigated coup in Ukraine showed insanity is a normal condition in the upper parts of the US political system. Nothing is forbidden. Any adventure, any risk, any aggression, no matter how self-damaging, is possible. 2014 became the point when the Russian government realised to it's horror that these people really are deranged, and they intended to use Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia in order to place missiles directly on Russia's border, as if the lessons of Cuba had not been learned.

Vladimir Putin's 19 June 2020 piece published in the USA reads as a reflection on the destructiveness of war, but it also outlines the hard reality of war and, most import of all, the documented duplicity of other countries in not acting together to end Hitler's aggression at a very early stage. Which then resulted in disproportionately massive death and destruction in the Soviet Union. He was quietly drawing attention to the obvious comparison with Ukraine's armament and NATO expansion east, and the fact that many countries could have ended it peacefully at a very early stage (all NATO decisions are supposedly by consensus - nothing is agreed until everybody agrees).

The article was signalling that Russia now expected that all further appeasement of NATO was pointless. That all further attempts to revive the Minsk agreements that Germany and France had crippled, and that Ukraine had largely ignored, would simply buy yet more time to make NATO's proxy force even stronger. President Putin's article was signalling that Russia now expected Russia would be backed into a corner, and war was inevitable if Russia's final effort at diplomacy failed.

By June 2020 the draft wording of Russia's Security Treaty with both USA and NATO would have been well advanced.  A last ditch attempt at breathing life back into the Minsk Agreement was made.

But the west only pretended to support an agreement that had been worked out after protracted Russian diplomatic efforts (for example 7 June 2021, 16 June 2021, 20 August 2021, 26 September 202122 October 2021 etc etc). Even as time was running out - Russia could see the Ukrainian military preparations to imminently re-take Crimea, and the west knew they could - the west continued to actively undermined all efforts to put the Minsk 2 agreement fully into effect.

"On October 11, 2021, President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with President of France Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel about revitalising the Normandy Four, starting with a discussion of possible arrangements at the level of foreign ministers.

Following on from what President Putin said regarding the importance of meaningful contacts based on the implementation of all previous agreements, rather than a meeting for the sake of appearances, on October 29 we sent a draft final document of the potential ministerial meeting in the Normandy format to our colleagues in Berlin, Paris and Kiev. It was an honest and comprehensive document that covered all the main problems which are hindering the settlement of the internal Ukrainian conflict, primarily the Ukrainian authorities’ refusal to lift a finger to fulfil their obligations and the UN Security Council resolution.

On October 30, 2021, I had a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome. He recalled that the leaders of Russia, France and Germany discussed on the phone the need to hold a ministerial meeting and proposed doing this in Paris on November 11, 2021. I replied that we would like to see our colleagues’ reaction to the substantial proposals we had made, because substance is more important than any formal agreement to hold a meeting and pose for photographs and television cameras as a sign that the Normandy format is effective. We don’t need such window dressing.

I asked if Jean-Yves Le Drian had seen the proposals we sent to Paris. He replied that he hadn’t had a chance to see them yet and again insisted that we should meet on November 11.

I said again that, first, we are waiting for a reaction to our essential proposals.

Besides, even if the agreements matured and the essential part [of the agreements] was ready, I had a full agenda in Moscow on November 11, including a visit by the foreign minister of a friendly country. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said publicly that it is physically impossible for us to attend the November 11 meeting.

Nevertheless, the other day we received a joint letter from the foreign ministers of Germany and France where November 11 was indicated as almost the only option. This is simply ill manners, let alone contrary to diplomatic ethics.

We sent them our additional arguments in favour of addressing the essence of the matter rather than just ticking the box.

We enumerated the concrete steps which the Kiev regime is taking to torpedo the Minsk agreements.

Moreover, Kiev is discussing a draft law that will prohibit Ukrainian officials from implementing these agreements.

President Putin mentioned this in a telephone conversation with the leaders of Germany and France. They assured him that they would do their best to prevent the adoption of that law, but ultimately even the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission endorsed it.

This does no credit to this organisation, which still wants to be respected. This is the situation.

There will be no meeting on November 11. We did not discuss any other date. First of all, we need to understand the potential outcome we can expect from such a meeting and whether it will be based on the implementation by Ukraine and its leadership of all the previous Normandy format decisions, primarily the decisions adopted by the Normandy Four at the Paris summit in December 2019"
Sergey Lavrov 8 November 2021

"When we discuss the Donbass issue in the Normandy format with our German friends, we explain that it is Kiev that must implement the Minsk agreements (this is what is written in them). Until recently, we were told to leave it alone for the time being. They said: Let’s simply implement the agreements.

How is it possible to implement them if this requirement is not addressed to the party that must do it?"
Sergey Lavrov, 14 January 2022   

The intra-Ukrainian settlement process was analysed in detail with a shared understanding of the inviolability of and lack of alternative to the Minsk Package of Measures.

The Russian side stressed that Berlin's attempts to portray Moscow as a party to the conflict are unacceptable.

Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Annalena Baerbock 18 January 2022

The 18th of January meeting with Germany was the final attempt to persuade the Germans to make their proteges in Ukraine fulfill the Minsk agreements. Germany and France were the guarantors of the Minsk Agreements, solely responsible for seeing to it that Ukraine fulfilled the terms. By this date Russia knew that the west was using delaying tactics. Russia knew that Annalena Baerbock had no intention of making a U turn in the cause of peace. Russia was plainly exposing the culpability and duplicity of the west, but, in particular, Germany's historic part.

For the west and USA, all the stalling, the evasions, the endless regurgitation of settled matters, the US and west's bad-faith call for yet more 'negotiations' , the Ukrainian intransigence - all this was simply a ruse to buy time to complete the assembly of a formidable force to settle the issue of the breakaway Russian-speaking Eastern regions and Crimea by violent means - in complete violation of the Security Council resolution.

"NATO continues to escalate the situation on our borders. The Alliance refuses to review our proposals for defusing tensions and preventing dangerous incidents. We have suggested specific measures on these matters. They continue to actively build up military potentials in Eastern Europe, including in close proximity to Russian borders. Every day, we hear vociferous statements threatening Russia....

...Against this backdrop, our remarks at the session and our contacts with our Western colleagues were mostly aimed at explaining and promoting the initiative of President of Russia Vladimir Putin which he voiced for the first time at an expanded meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Collegium and repeated yesterday in the Kremlin at a ceremony of presenting the credentials of foreign ambassadors.

This initiative notes the need to draft guarantees for preventing the further aggravation of the situation and stopping the creation of new threats for the Russian Federation.

Specifically, the goal has been set not to allow NATO’s further eastward expansion or the deployment of new weapons systems on Russia’s western borders, which would threaten the Russian Federation’s security. The President of Russia underscored this aspect yesterday.

Today, I stressed the fact that we are interested in agreements heeding security interests of all countries without exception. We don’t want any unilateral privileges.

We will insist that these agreements be examined seriously, that they should not be shrugged off and rejected, as our Western colleagues have done many times.

This includes their promises regarding the non-expansion of NATO. During the reunification of Germany, an agreement was reached with the German Democratic Republic that no military infrastructure would be deployed in East Germany. The same was stated in the Russia-NATO Founding Act and many other documents. The West ignored everything that took on the form of political obligations.

Therefore, we insist that agreements mentioned by President Putin, whose conclusion we will demand, should be legally binding and obligatory for all parties.

We will send the relevant proposals to our Western colleagues in the near future, and we expect them to treat this matter in earnest."
Sergey Lavrov 2 December 2021 

These are non-negotiable demands.

The language is uncompromising.  Russia very rarely resorts to language this strong. At this point, the west has almost succeeded in running out the clock for diplomacy - which is, of course, their goal. The west knows exactly what the Russian Foreign Minister says, and this warning tells them they need only treat President Putins proposal - whatever it is - with contempt and they will get the proxy war they wanted all along, the proxy war they spent years preparing for.

"During these years, the Kiev authorities have ignored and sabotaged the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures for a peaceful settlement of the crisis and ultimately late last year openly refused to implement it

They also started to implement plans to join NATO. Moreover,
the Kiev authorities also announced their intention to have nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles. This was a real threat. With foreign technical support, the pro-Nazi Kiev regime would have obtained weapons of mass destruction in the foreseeable future and, of course, would have targeted them against Russia.

Our numerous warnings that such developments posed a direct threat to the security of Russia were rejected with open and cynical arrogance by Ukraine and its US and NATO patrons.

In other words, all our diplomatic efforts were fully in vain. We have been left with no peaceful alternative to settle the problems that developed through no fault of ours. In this situation, we were forced to begin this special military operation.

The movement of Russian forces against Kiev and other Ukrainian cities is not connected with a desire to occupy that country. This is not our goal, as I pointed out openly in my statement on February 24.

...encouraged by the United States and other Western countries, Ukraine was purposefully preparing for a scenario of force, a massacre and an ethnic cleansing in Donbass. A massive onslaught on Donbass and later Crimea was just a matter of time. However, our Armed Forces have shattered these plans."

"We said many times “Do not do this, let's do that, we are ready for talks.”

In the end, they prompted us to try to use force to end the war that they started in 2014. They keep telling us, “You started the war, Putin is the aggressor.”

No, they are the aggressors, they started this war, and we are trying to stop it, but we are compelled to do so with the use of the Armed Forces.
Vladimir Putin June 13 2023 

The west diligently blocked or destroyed every effort to achieve peaceful settlement of the conflict. The draft security treaty, the 'ultimatum' - and it was clearly expressed as such (if the west refused to address Russia's security concerns, then Russia would be left with no other option but to solve it using "military technical means") was duly cast aside.

But a NATO proxy war in Ukraine is only the means to an end. Ukraine is not important to the west.

Ending Russia is the west's objective. And always has been. The Russian President, by then backed by the west onto up to the very edge of a vortex of unwanted events, gave a speech to the friends and the citizens of Russia, part lament, part resolve.

"It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe.

In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?

The answer is simple. Everything is clear and obvious. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union grew weaker and subsequently broke apart. That experience should serve as a good lesson for us, because it has shown us that the paralysis of power and will is the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion.

We lost confidence for only one moment, but it was enough to disrupt the balance of forces in the world.

As a result, the old treaties and agreements are no longer effective. Entreaties and requests do not help. Anything that does not suit the dominant state, the powers that be, is denounced as archaic, obsolete and useless. At the same time, everything it regards as useful is presented as the ultimate truth and forced on others regardless of the cost, abusively and by any means available. Those who refuse to comply are subjected to strong-arm tactics.

What I am saying now does not concerns only Russia, and Russia is not the only country that is worried about this. This has to do with the entire system of international relations, and sometimes even US allies.

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a redivision of the world, and the norms of international law that developed by that time...came in the way of those who declared themselves the winners of the Cold War.

Of course, practice, international relations and the rules regulating them had to take into account the changes that took place in the world and in the balance of forces. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states and one’s own responsibility.

Instead, we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves. The situation took a different turn.

There are many examples of this. First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasising the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq. It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true.

We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.

Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism. I have only mentioned the most glaring but far from only examples of disregard for international law.

This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us.

Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent.

This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics.

Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.

Incidentally, US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in recent years. It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them.

Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same “empire of lies.”

As for our country, after the disintegration of the USSR, given the entire unprecedented openness of the new, modern Russia, its readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and its practically unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us. This is how it was in the 1990s and the early 2000s, when the so-called collective West was actively supporting separatism and gangs of mercenaries in southern Russia.

What victims, what losses we had to sustain and what trials we had to go through at that time before we broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus! We remember this and will never forget.

Properly speaking, the attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.

Despite all that, in December 2021, we made yet another attempt to reach agreement with the United States and its allies on the principles of European security and NATO’s non-expansion. Our efforts were in vain.

The United States has not changed its position. It does not believe it necessary to agree with Russia on a matter that is critical for us. The United States is pursuing its own objectives, while neglecting our interests.

Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect?

If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.

As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost.

The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives.

We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.

Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy.

They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way.

It is true that they have considerable financial, scientific, technological, and military capabilities. We are aware of this and have an objective view of the economic threats we have been hearing, just as our ability to counter this brash and never-ending blackmail. Let me reiterate that we have no illusions in this regard and are extremely realistic in our assessments.

As for military affairs, even after the dissolution of the USSR and losing a considerable part of its capabilities, today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.

At the same time, technology, including in the defence sector, is changing rapidly. One day there is one leader, and tomorrow another, but a military presence in territories bordering on Russia, if we permit it to go ahead, will stay for decades to come or maybe forever, creating an ever mounting and totally unacceptable threat for Russia.

Even now, with NATO’s eastward expansion the situation for Russia has been becoming worse and more dangerous by the year.

Moreover, these past days NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position.

We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.

Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us.

Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.

For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends.

For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact.

It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty.

It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.
Vladimir Putin 24 February 2022

"...if the coercing power pursues ambitious objectives that go beyond its own vital or important interests, and if its demands infringe on vital or important interests of the adversary, then the asymmetry of interests and balance of motivation will favor the adversary and make successful application of coercive diplomacy much more difficult."
Alexander George

When diplomatic channels are closed

I have outlined the fact that the United States government's strategy is to coerce the Russian Federation into obeying the Government of the United States. One of the tactics the United States government uses is to refuse to listen to anything the Russian Federation has to say about the relationship between the two countries. The United States Government very rudely and aggressively reduced diplomatic relations down to almost nothing.

This is a carefully contrived 'signal' to the Russian Federation that the Russian Federation is an inconsequential state, a state with the economy only the size of Spain, a State that is corrupt, weak, etc (add any other vivid and purulent propaganda you can think of).

" is important to emphasise once again that the greatest danger now lies in the fact that acting in line with the aggressive course of the United States and NATO on inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia in the Ukrainian conflict that they had provoked, they keep raising the stakes and are increasingly drawn deeper into military confrontation.

Clearly, this kind of reckless policy may lead to a direct armed clash between the nuclear powers. I don’t think there is any need to go over the nature of the strategic risks arising in connection with this and the potentially catastrophic nature of the further development of events according to the worst-case scenario.

Fully aware of the seriousness of the situation, we are sending, tirelessly and consistently, signals trying to sober up Western countries.

However, the problem is that, overcome with anti-Russia hysteria and absorbed in the all-out hybrid war against our country, the West is not ready to see our position adequately.

So, the responsibility for the further degradation of the situation lies fully with the Western capitals.

For our part, we can firmly reiterate that Russia is determined to uphold its security interests.

We recommend the West not to have any doubt about it.
Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, 21 June 2023

The west's coercive policy is a monumental blunder. Coercion and diplomacy are mutually exclusive. Where does it go from here?  Back to diplomacy, mutually respectful interactions based on a balance of interests and search for compomise?

The west refuses to talk to Russia in a correct manner.

"Russia has explained in detail in what circumstances we will be ready to resume the dialogue on strategic stability: when mutual respect, equality and advancing towards finding a balance of interests will be ensured. The Americans think differently

....they are helping Ukrainians to aim modern types of long-range weapons at our civilian and infrastructure facilities and at the same time declare: let them shoot at each other while we will sit down to talk. This is ridiculous. This does not do credit to those who are involved in foreign policy in the Washington administration.

They have lost all diplomatic competences
...Unfortunately, we have what we have. This irreparable confidence of the United States in its own righteousness, omnipotence and impunity has led to the fact that the US foreign policy is now led by people who do not know how to do diplomacy...The United States has lost diplomacy as a method for establishing contacts, holding candid discussions, and identifying ways to strike a compromise.

...They are accustomed to making demands. They have even stooped to rudely and publicly telling China what to do. Reportedly, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu had a telephone conversation with US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell. The US official said Washington was dissatisfied with Beijing supporting Moscow. How can they say such a thing to the great power of China? "
Sergey Lavrov 28 March 2024

And the west cannot talk to Russia even if it wanted to, as the west has no adequate diplomatic culture, and, as outlined below, western diplomats are little more than ideologues. It's diplomats have no reasonable and substantive proposals to make. Their capacities are limited to cheap tricks, insolence, rudeness, hectoring, arrogance, presumptious 'schooling', contrived outrage, and delivery of dogma, ultimatums and preconditions.

Deterrence Edited 3 March 2024

Deterrence, according to George, is the threat of physical or economic harm if a certain action is done. It works well when a strong partner applies it against a weak 'partner'. Obviously, it is unlikely to work against an equally strong, or stronger 'partner'.

But there is a time dimension to who is, at any point, weak, or weak relative to another party. Lebanon was weak relative to Israel in 2006, and yet still managed to push Israel out of most (but not all) of Lebanon. In 2023, Lebanon's self defense force is far stronger - thanks to Iranian funding and weaponry, and thanks to Hezbollahs experience in fighting west and Gulf Arab funded and armed terrorists in Syria. Israel is also much stronger, due in large part to western funding and weaponry. Israel can do enormous damage to Lebanon, but now Lebanon can do enormous damage to Israel. Neither side wants that. In a sense, time has given Israel the destructive power equivalent to nuclear weapons (which Israel has but cannot use at close quarters).

Israel relentlessly continues to shrink the physical size of the fractured and dispersed Palestinian territories while increasing the amount of explosive power it could deploy to the level that any further use of explosives will simply be making the rubble in Palestine bounce. But Israel itself has not yet been reduced to rubble.

And although Hezbollah is weaker than Israel time has given the ability - for the moment - to reduce parts of Israel to rubble. At great cost , but Hezbollah may agree to pay that price in certain circumstances. This is a powerful deterrent.

The Middle East is deeply scarred by US government military adventures that directly and indirectly killed millions, permanently contaminated the dusty ground with tiny particle of 'depleted' US and Western government uranium; the US government forces remain illegally in Syria, from whence it unabashedly steals Syrian oil. Yet the US government has the deluded idea that it alone has:

"...unparalleled comparative advantage in building partnerships, coalitions, and alliances to strengthen deterrence, while using diplomacy to de-escalate tensions, reduce risks of new conflicts, and set a long-term foundation for stability"
United States government National Security Strategy October 2022

Every part of this statement reads like a bad-taste joke.

Regarding the use of diplomacy, Russia's entire foreign policy is based on a multipolar world, with an inter-connected net of partnerships, bilateral agreements, economic and political fora, world-leading and legendary diplomacy, conflict reduction, predictability, transparency, non-interference, and peacemaking efforts across regions. It has few consequential military alliances, Belarus being the only demonstrated one.

Russia, with the best defensive land army in the world, has no need of assistance, and the demonstration of it's power, the acknowledged 'deep learning' on effective conduct of conflict across all weapons platforms, world-beating defense systems, and permutations of armed formations and equipping - let alone redundancy in logistic capacities - are the most powerful possible deterrence to ill-considered actions by anyone in the future.

Military sophistication, leadership, endurance, and uninterruptible access to mineral resource are the major power-factors of military potential as a deterrence. Russia has all of this.

Russia also has a treaty with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), but this is largely to do with dealing with terrorism, insurgencies (generally organised from outside the region), destabilising coups, and peacekeeping efforts.  'Non-state actor' coercion - such as terrorism - is relatively immune from deterrence, and the main requirement to counter this form of aggression is vigorous, determined, well-organised and well-resourced communal policing to protect all Eurasian homeland territories.

"Question: Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty says that an attack on any NATO member will be considered an attack against them all. Article 4 of the CSTO is similar: “In the event of aggression (armed attack that threatens a member’s security, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty) against any of the participating states, all other participating states, at the request of this state, will immediately provide the necessary assistance, including military assistance.” Isn't this the case now?

Sergey Lavrov: It says “at the request of this state.” We have not requested any assistance from anyone. We believe we have every resource to attain the special military operation’s goals, and to end the war launched by the West using the Ukrainian regime after the coup d'état.

We can see that it is NATO fighting us....But Russia will resolve all the issues itself...

The CSTO responded in 24 hours when President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested help in stabilising the situation in January 2022, during the period of an externally inspired surge in violence, attempts to seize state buildings. As Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to look for ways to stabilise the Caucasus, the CSTO is also ready to help...

Question: Do we potentially retain the ability to turn to CSTO allies for help in the event that the aggression against Russia escalates?

Sergey Lavrov: It says that any party has this right. I have already answered why Russia does not use it. It should not have to do so in the future. We see no need in terms of the equipment of our Armed Forces and how they operate in the space of the special military operation.

The CSTO is now developing peacekeeping capabilities at the initiative of Kazakhstan. One of the Under-Secretaries-General has also been designated responsible for peacekeeping, and there is the Agreement on Peacekeeping Activities of the CSTO (2007)...
Sergey Lavrov 2 February 2023 

Other countries are building effective deterrence assets and strategic partnerships. For example, Iranian missile, drone and rocket technology is going from strength to strength. Like Russia, it will soon be able to defend its territory from depth. Iran held an exercise in 2021  launching ballistic missiles and drones at a mock-up of the Israeli Dimona nuclear reactor (the 
Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center), which, in their propaganda video, they labelled “WMD production center”. Presumably, this is a signal that Iran believes Dimona is where Israel builds its nuclear weapons. The IRGC chief commander Major General Hossein Salami reportedly said words to the effect that 'the only difference between the military exercise and a real attack to Israel is a change in the angle and trajectory of the missiles'. Iran can also close the Straits of Hormuz, choking off oil to the west while allowing oil to flow to the east. The United States government is very sensitive to this possibility.

For the first time, Iran can deter the USA and Israel from any aggressive moves. The lesson is clear. If you want to be left in peace, either develop effective sophisticated defense mechanisms that will impose huge costs on the United States military - or join a defensive security treaty, such as some version of Russia's 2008 security treaty proposition. Both are powerful deterrents to coercive military aggression.

Both Iran and Russia had to develop new weapons to in response to US government coercive aggression. The US government aggression includes the ring of anti-ballistic missile the west and japan are building around Russia (and China). These missiles are designed to shoot down any intercontinental ballistic missile response to any US government sneak nuclear attack. As a direct result of the US government coercive moves, Russia has built the most advanced air defense system in the world. This defense is still not perfect, and in addition it is impractical to place it everywhere around Russia's approximately 22,000 kilometers of border.

While Russia's size makes it hard for Russia to defend itself, Russia's size also works to its advantage. It makes it practically impossible for the attacking party to find all the mobile missile launchers distributed throughout Russia's land area of 16,376,870 square kilometers (6,323,142 square miles).

A powerful defense against missiles is a strong deterrence by itself, because it implies any missile attack will largely fail, except for a 'saturation attack' by very large numbers of missiles launched simultaneously from multiple directions.  But, in general, Russia's anti-missiles defense system is a 'good enough' defense, such that if the US government launches a surprise nuclear strike on Russia, the defenses will probably buy enough time to enable Russia to launch a retaliatory strike on mainland USA.

A US and/or NATO nuclear strike capable of 'saturating' the entire Russian land mass (including Kalingrad, adjacent to Germany) would have to be so massive that it would create a nuclear winter that would kill almost all life on planet earth.

"They [USA] are using various far-fetched pretexts to deploy ground-based anti-missile systems in close proximity to Russian borders.

Projects are rapidly unfolding to develop marine vessels, which regularly appear near the Russian coast.

The United States is also implementing plans to develop the space segment of its global missile defence system, which actually envisages the deployment of anti-missile strike weapons in space in the future.

In addition, in the context of their missile defence efforts, Washington included, at the doctrinal level, the possibility of carrying out “disarming” strikes against the missile capabilities of those countries that the United States considers to be its adversaries.

It should be understood that attempts to present the global missile defence system as a purely defensive project are nothing more than a smoke screen.

By building up its anti-missile capabilities, the United States mainly seeks to gain a decisive advantage by creating conditions for dealing the first strike to the enemy and protecting itself from retaliatory actions. This can and is already leading to serious consequences... It is upsetting the strategic balance of power in the world and spurring an arms race, including missiles..

For our part, we intend to act in accordance with the task set by the President of Russia to ensure a conflict-free coexistence by maintaining the balance of power and strategic stability.

In our dialogue with Washington on this track, we promote the concept of a comprehensive review of factors affecting strategic stability, embracing all weapons capable of solving strategic problems – nuclear and conventional, offensive and defensive. At the same time, when we discuss strategic defensive systems, we primarily mean due consideration of the missile defence factor.."
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
3 May 2021

In fact, Russia wants to be able to avoid an arms race, as this drains money needed for social development. The USA, in line with its coercive policy, wants to use missile interceptors (paid for by the host country) as a so-called 'shield' all around Russia's borders for one purpose and one pupose only - to force Russia to spend massive amounts on very expensive anti-missile complexes. And they are very expensive. The USA also wants to use Ukraine to bog down Russia in a war, a war that drains the Russian Federal budget. At the same time the USA is very fearful of Russian hypersonic weapons, and is trying to 'buy time' to develop its own hypersonic cruise missiles - and place them directly on Russia's borders. But Russia won't take the bait, they won't enter an arms race - they will substitute technical superiority for quantity.

"We are also aware of the Western attempts to draw us into an arms race, thereby exhausting us, mirroring the strategy they successfully employed with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Let me remind you that in 1981–1988, the Soviet Union’s military spending amounted to 13 percent of GDP.

Our current imperative is to bolster our defence industry in such a way as to increase our country’s scientific, technological and industrial capabilities. We must allocate resources as judiciously as possible, fostering an efficient economy for the Armed Forces, and maximising the return on each ruble of our defence spending.

It is crucial for us to expedite the resolution of social, demographic, infrastructural and other problems we face while simultaneously advancing the quality of equipment for the Russian Army and Navy."
Vladimir Putin 29 February 2024

Russia has already developed and deployed unstoppable manoeuvering hypersonic missiles that could be tipped with tactical strategic nuclear warheads. The scramjet boosted 3M22 Tsirkon (Zircon) cruise missile has a range of up to about 1,000 kilometers and travels at about 10,000 kilometers an hour. Its weight and speed give it enormously destructive kinetic power, even without an explosive warhead. 

Avangard is a
manoeuverable hypersonic glide vehicle launched from an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with, for practical purposes unlimited range. It is a strategic nuclear weapon, and as such, is limited by the newSTART treaty (expiring 2026).

The massive new nuclear-powered strategic ICBM 'Sarmat' can circle the globe via the Antarctic, avoiding all existing US coastal anti-ballistic missile installations, and attack USA with multiple nuclear warheads, boosted by manoeuvering hypersonic glide vehicle. The USA does not have any of these technologies at this time.

Why did Russia have to develop these new weapons? Because the US government tore up all the existing missile control treaties except one (it expires in 2026). The US government deliberately destroyed the strategic balance (mutually assured destruction if either side launched a nuclear attack) The US government believed it could develop enough anti ballistic missiles installations on Russia's Eastern border to reliably shoot down any Russian nuclear capable missile. Thus enabling tactical nuclear weapons on bombers and cruise missiles in land-based silos to be used against Russian command centers and military installations in a 'decapitating' strike.

The USA government has failed in its duplicitous plan to go straight to military threat using missiles placed adjacent to Russia's land and sea borders. Ironically, Russia wanted to develop a new strategic arms treaty, bringing in hypersonic missiles (currently excluded from the arms control treaty) and other new technologies, as well as addressing other problems (mainly the USA government cheating - both absolutely and legalistically - on the treaty). Russia would like to bring in other European countries, such as France and Britain, which are not currently covered by the treaty. USA would like to bring in China.

Obviously, the newSTART treaty will, by mutual agreement, be extended once again. Arms control treaties take many years to reach agreement. This requires non-coercive diplomacy. It requires a certain level of trust. But the USA government cannot be trusted. This is not an emotional statement, it is a factual statement. Therefore, if a treaty is to be acceptable to Russia, it must be so tight it squeaks - no loopholes; excruciating detail; voluminous conditions for inspection, penalties to non-compliance. Anything less is, to be blunt, non-viable. This makes the timeline even longer.

"If the United States and its allies ultimately show that they are ready for this, there will be a chance for reaching new viable agreements with them in the areas of strategic stability and arms control.

We have not abandoned the possibility of signing international treaties to regulate our relations with the West in the field of strategic stability in the future, after we attain the goals of the ongoing special military operation.

I would like to repeat that this is only possible based on respect for Russia’s fundamental interests. This is the underlying message of the Foreign Policy Concept.

[Commenting on the possibility of a START Treaty including France and Britain] This possibility does not exist in the current situation.

Arms control is inseparable from the general geopolitical and military strategic situation. Any serious steps in this area are always linked with constructive political processes in relations between the contracting parties.

There should be at least mutual realisation of the need for dialogue-based solutions and the political will to encourage the sides to conduct substantive talks based on compromise.

The West is not doing anything like this.

On the contrary, the US and its allies are waging a total hybrid war against Russia in a bid to inflict a strategic military defeat on our country and to try to contain it politically and economically. They hope that they will eventually manage to subordinate a weakened Russia to Western dictate from a position of strength.

However, as history has shown many times, this approach to Russia has no prospects for success."
Director of the Foreign Ministry Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov 25 April 2023

In the meantime, the USA ambition to 'deter' Russia with missile threats has failed. The new weapons secure Russia's ability to respond to a US attack, and that response will be unstoppable. The US government coercive policy includes the concept of a 'first strike' - a nuclear strike without warning, out of the clear blue sky. This is an implicit threat. In fact, the USA government has stated it could be for any reason - a cybersecurity attack on USA that the USA 'attributes' to Russia, for example. The USA government could make a claim that it came from Russia, and the world would have only their word for it. But the USA has a history of lying.

Russia won't be intimidated. It is discussing 'mirroring' the USA government position - an unannounced, out-of-the-blue nuclear attack on USA mainland. With unstoppable hypersonic missiles, launched from submarines just off the USA seaboard.

This is another problem with coercive diplomacy. You can calculate risk using data on things you know about, but how can you calculate risk when highly consequential things you not only don't know about, but could never even imagine, suddenly appear in the picture? All your calculations immediately turn to dust (or something more unpleasant) in your hands.

"...we ourselves have always had to factor in what Russia may do in response to any given thing that we or others do, or the Ukrainians do, and we have."
Anthony Blinken, USA Secretary of State, 10 September 2023

"we haven’t encouraged and we haven’t enabled any use of weapons outside of Ukraine’s territory."
Anthony Blinken, USA Secretary of State, 10 September 2023 

"In this [security] sphere, we have to primarily focus on US programmes and projects that are a matter of concern for us.

This includes the US global anti-missile defence, the prospects of US deploying offensive weapons in space, the prompt global strike programme, and many other questions...It would be impossible to come to a common denominator on matters of strategic stability without taking these questions into consideration.

The Americans refuse to listen to us when we try explaining why this matters.

They adopted an arrogant and mentoring tone, claiming that from now on the United States will discuss arms control only when decisions help strengthen its own security..

 Let me reiterate that we do not really understand whether the Americans are interested in keeping arms control in place as a means of ensuring security.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov 17 April 2020 "

It is much better if the US government keeps arms control treaties, because it helps both sides understand the 'line of thinking', politically and diplomatically. It increases predictability. But when one side arrogates to itself a position of imaginary 'dominance' over the other side, as the United States Government officials do, then Russia has to assume the worst possible outcome and act accordingly - especially when the Americans are found to be not only completely untrustworthy and duplicitous, but also doctrinally determined to destroy the Russian Federation by all means short of nuclear war.

All conflicts end in diplomatic negotiations (surrender is also a form of negotiation). The ultimate coercive 'diplomatic' strategy is to impose violent conflict on the the other country (directly or indirectly) in order to 'deter' that country from following an independent foreign policy.

The violent punishment can be inflicted directly by the US, as they did in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria (most recently), or through proxy forces armed, financed, and instructed by the US, or by US agents and proxies. The proxy forces the US and its complicit 'allies' use to instigate violence are armed non-government terrorists (labelled as 'armed rebels' or 'freedom fighters' by their western backers).

For the first time, USA has extended this long-arm punitive technique to 'groom' a countries population (Ukraine) to incite hatred against another country, help create conditions for a civil war, help instigate a violent coup (the 2014 Maiden), incite a countries politicians to choose war over diplomacy, then arm, train and coach its military to act as the US proxy armed force. All the while using it's Ukrainian proxy's territory to threaten the adjacent country (Russia) with nuclear-capable cruise missiles and major conventional armed force accumulations placed directly on the border of that major military power (Russia). Even after the west was warned time and again not to do it.

Russia has no choice but to show that it is not deterred by the US government coercive efforts.

As the Russian government has repeatedly stated, the conflict ends as soon as the US government (and its western aides) stop pumping weapons and money into Ukraine. Only the US has the power to stop the conflict (it could be done within a day). But the USA has no incentive to stop the deaths.

The death of Russian soldiers is a coercive 'punishment' meted out to Russia (Ukrainian deaths are not material to the USA) to convince Russia to enter arms control agreements on terms favorable to the USA.

Russia's foreign policy concept, it's diplomatic conception of how it will interact with other states is that Russia, in a nutshell, is 'proud and free'. It won't kneel before anyone - and never has. Not to the French, not to the Germans. Former Warsaw Pact countries understand this very well. The US government has zero interest in understanding Russia, except to deliberately rub salt into the wounds left by world war 2.

Instigating conflict is contrary to one of the principles outlined in the 'Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations' (October 1970):

"Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts, when the acts referred to in the present paragraph involve a threat or use of force."
'Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations'

"The Russian side noted that official US assurances that the United States does not encourage such attacks on Russia are hypocritical and mendacious in the context of direct evidence showing that weapons and equipment, supplied by the Pentagon for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, help prepare and perpetrate terrorist attacks by Ukrainian militants."
Russian Federation Press release on demarche to US Embassy in Moscow 26 May 2023

The USA escalation techniques, which started small and built up, have run their course.
The war that the US planned to launch on Russia - a war the US knew the Ukraine could not win - has not forced Russia to comply with US government wishes.

"...In the 'try and see' approach...a demand is employs one limited coercive threat or action and waits to see whether it will persuade the opponent before making another threat or taking another step.

...the gradual turning of the screw [strategy] relies on the threat of a step-by-step increase in coercive pressure rather than of escalation to strong, decisive military action..."
Alexander George

Yes, the US has created conditions for all NATO countries to carry nuclear bombs, and to hold bigger NATO exercises on Russia's border while carrying dummy bombs. But this is kabuki. Russia has neutralised these theatrics with nuclear armed submarines patrolling off the US coast. It will be vastly expanding the number of aircraft capable of carrying hypersonic weapons - modifying its advanced fighter aircraft for this task. These aircraft will be based in the Middle East, in Syria, at least. Certainly in Kalingrad, adjacent to Germany. The US can make as many 'provocative acts' as it likes, it makes no difference to Russian power.

History records Mr. Blinken's attempt to coerce Russia into accepting Ukraines NATO militarisation and endless threat to Russia's security. History records the US government determination to block and subvert any chance for peace. History records the US governments pathological preference for violence, but using the hands of others as US governmental instruments of death and destruction.

So much for Mr. George's advice on choosing the appropriate coercive diplomacy strategy:

"The starkest variant of the [coercive diplomacy] strategy includes all three ingredients of a full-fledged classic ultimatum:
(1) a demand on the opponent
(2) a time limit or sense of urgency for compliance with the demand
(3) a threat of punishment for noncompliance that is credible and sufficiently potent to convince the opponent that compliance is preferable to other courses of action.
...An ultimatum may be inappropriate, infeasible, or even highly risky in a particular situation."
Alexander George.

At the point the armed conflict started, the USA government jumped right to the top of the economic escalatory ladder, as they said they would.

The US government has closed Russian consulates, seized Russian state property, seized Russian state and private money, barred Russia from international sports, attempted to humiliate Russian state personnel in every possible way, tried to isolate Russia from the international community..

The US government has reached the limits of diplomatic coercion.
And failed.

The US government, along with the west, has imposed the most far reaching economic coercion ever seen in modern times. And failed.

The US government, along with compliant western countries, has attacked Russia through the hands of its proxy armed forces in Ukraine.
And failed.

The US government has attempted to intimidate Russia with veiled talk of western use of tactical nuclear weapons in Russia. And failed.

All that is left is for the US and western governments to admit their mistake and start repairing the damage they have done.

Response to inciters of proxy war

The NATO conference of 11-12 July did not end the sale of weapons and munitions to Ukraine. Russia may respond by ending them itself.

It is legal to sell weapons to any country. Weapon sales bring in large incomes to USA, Russia, and some European countries. But according to the Hague Conventions it is illegal for a belligerent country to move them across the territories of neutral countries.

Article 2
Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.

Article 3
Belligerents are likewise forbidden to:

(a) Erect on the territory of a neutral Power a wireless telegraphy station or other apparatus for the purpose of communicating with belligerent forces on land or sea;
(b) Use any installation of this kind established by them before the war on the territory of a neutral Power for purely military purposes, and which has not been opened for the service of public messages.

Article 7
A neutral Power is not called upon to prevent the export or transport, on behalf of one or other of the belligerents, of arms, munitions of war, or, in general, of anything which can be of use to an army or a fleet.

Article 16
The nationals of a State which is not taking part in the war are considered as neutrals.

Hague Conventions: Convention (V) respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land. 18 October 1907.
West is a party to the Ukraine conflict
Russia is questioning who should be considered a belligerent (a 'party' to a conflict). It is increasingly casting the USA government as supporting and participating in terrorist acts in Russia.

In principle, the conflict is essentially over at the point when Ukraine has exhausted its artillery munitions and most of its armoured vehicles and aircraft, then at that point the conflict has effectively come to an end (because lightly armed infantry are hopelessly ineffective against Russian artillery and airpower).

"There is no doubt that the West has declared war on us. They are not hiding it.

Even though they are saying they are only sending weapons to Ukraine, which does all the fighting. Everyone knows it’s a lie.

Western instructors oversee the planning carried out by the Ukrainian General Staff, help with targeting the strikes (we are 100-percent certain of that) and do much more.

According to our data, the European External Action Service has drawn up recommendations for Ukraine, which rely on the assumption that winning by the methods Ukraine is using now is impossible, and it will lose. In light of this, more long-range weapons should be made available to Ukraine for it to be able to target the “heart” of Russia (as the EU puts it) and thus sow confusion and panic, and undermine the trust of the people.

Isn't that direct participation in the war? Of course, it is. Strategy is what matters most in any war, and strategy is decided far away from Kiev."
Sergey Lavrov 16 February 2024

"Vladimir Putin: They have established a headquarters abroad, outside Ukraine, which is effectively planning all these operations. Is that right?

Sergei Shoigu: Yes, Mr President, and this goes beyond external management; it entails control of all the forces. They have their instructors everywhere....

...All of last year’s plans for a large-scale, extensive counteroffensive were made in the United States and by NATO instructors, who devised very detailed strategies. Therefore, their defeat came as a serious shock to them, because the methods, technologies and patterns they had likely used elsewhere and tried to apply here too have failed."
Sergei Shoigu, Defense Minister, reporting to President Vladimir Putin, 20 February 2024

If the conflict can only continue if western countries supply munitions, armour, artillery pieces, and satellite targeting, then those western countries are now left fighting Russia. And thisthis is exactly what has happened. The city of Donetsk has been regulalrly shelled by Ukraine for over a decade. Most of the shelling came from Ukraine forces which occupied and massively fortified the adjacent satellite city of  Avdiivka. Once that town was liberated in late February 2024, the Donetsk resident thought the random death from the sky would stop. Instead, the west supplied shells with an extended range, and civilian targets continued to be hit. Ukrainian infantry are no more than mercenaries. The west is now fully in control of prosecuting the war on Russia.

Therefore those western countries involved in ensuring the re-vitalisation of what should be a 'dead' conflict can be construed as a parties to the conflict, and a belligerent.

“...yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks...But the most important, and the crucial part is, that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”
Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister Germany, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 24 January 2023

"The collective West led by the US and the Anglo-Saxons is conducting an undeclared hybrid war against Russia. It is using the Kiev regime as an instrument of this war. The Ukrainian Nazis are supplied with modern weapons and ammunition; instructors and mercenaries are sent to Ukraine. The enemies are openly declaring their goals – to defeat the Russian army on the battlefield, undermine our political and economic sovereignty and push Russia to the periphery of global politics"
Sergey Lavrov 19 June 2023

"The bottom line on the “costs” of supporting Ukraine:
1️. Zero American service members in combat.
2️. Zero American service members killed in Ukraine.
3️. A very small percentage of the American defense budget has been spent to assist Ukraine’s military.
4️.The Ukrainian military systematically dismantling Putin’s Army.
 Good deal for America and all who love freedom."
American Senator 15 July 2023

"the Western countries' military personnel have been present in Ukraine for a long time. They had been there before the coup d'état, and after the coup their number has grown several times.

Today they are involved both directly as military advisers and as foreign mercenaries, and they suffer casualties.

Yet I am certain that even if foreign countries are to send their troops officially, it will not change the situation on the ground – and this is the most important thing because arms supplies change nothing."
Vladimir Putin 13 March 2024

Sergey Lavrov publicly identifies 'the enemies'. Without naming them, he indicates those who 'openly declaring they wish for Russia's defeat on the battlefield and those who impose sanctions on Russia' are the enemy. On July 7 2023 Sergey Lavrov's spokesperson identified those who supplied war materiel, mostly NATO members. Only some publicly stated they wished to defeat Russia on the battlefield, but the list of potential enemies of the Russian Federation are: Germany, United States, Britain, France, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Japan, and New Zealand. Turkey, at the moment, is not there, even although they supply drones to Ukraine. And, up until now, neither is Israel, which also arms Ukraine.

"It is a hybrid war that the West is waging against Russia, while using the Kiev regime to do the fighting. This is a very clear definition.

There is no Russian-Ukrainian war or confrontation.

There is the West using Ukraine as a tool to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. We can generalise this as a hybrid war against our country.

Why is it a hybrid war? Because it is being waged by proxy: the West is doing it under the colours of another country and in using the political capabilities and figures it has planted in that country in advance.

The campaign includes a wide range of trade wars against Russia, which were unleashed long before it, as well as an information aggression against our country, with the latest technologies used to exert information and psychological pressure on Russians. This includes cyberattacks, calls made from Ukraine with callers posing as representatives of Russian law enforcement agencies or banks, or bomb scares concerning civilian infrastructure (we have listed those repeatedly).

Furthermore, they are using financial institutions to make our lives even more difficult, complicate economic relations with the world, including in making payments, and disrupt the development of entire industries in Russia by blocking cooperation in technological and scientific spheres.

This is a true hybrid war that the West has unleashed against our country using the Kiev regime to do the job."
Maria Zakharova 6 December 2023 

Those who applied sanctions on Russia could also be regarded as enemies, as the war declared by the west is hybrid - military, economic, and incitement to hatred (a precursor to terrorism). By early December Russia was (indicatively) shifting to post-war thinking - emphasising that, firstly, the west had 'planted' its agent in Ukraine, an agent that allowed the 'grooming' of the nation to far right racist white supremacist thinking. Secondly, the west used these Clockwork Orange droogs to attack East Ukrainian Russians - in the full knowledge Russia would ultimately win. The Russian spokeswoman goes further - emphasising that the war was never a war on the Ukrainian people - it was a war responding to a western force. Implicitly, ordinary Ukrainians unwitting victims of western duplicity.

The west's hybrid war was not intended to be a successful territorial conquest of Russia - it was a war of military and psychological attrition, economic attrition, intended to degrade Russian people's living conditions to the point social cohesion failed and Russia became weak. There were 2 objectives: first make Russia ripe for planted western sock puppet comprador leadership there, and second, implement the west's tried and tested 'divide and conqueror technique'. In other words carving off various areas of Russia into independent states, or incite separatist sentiment, leaving them in perpetual internal conflict and breeding terrorists.

Ukraine was a means to this end. And when the USA has made its profits it will do what it always does - it will walk away, leaving Ukraine with a ruined economy, a ruined society, bankrupt, corrupt, depopulated, mired in gang violence, drugs, alcoholism, and suicide. The bitter fruits of the west's coercive policy.

"The United States ... is waging a war against the Russian Federation using the Ukrainians as proxies."
Sergey Lavrov 26 June 2023 

"...The Russian side emphasised the fact that hostile actions by the United States, which had long since become a party to the conflict, have plunged Russian-US relations into a profound and dangerous crisis, fraught with unpredictable consequences. It is high time Washington realised that any form of aggression against Russia will continue to be invariably repelled in the most resolute way."
Russian Federation Press release on demarche to US Embassy in Moscow 26 May 2023

"When the special military operation began, the United States and other NATO and EU countries stepped up their proxy war against Russia. In fact, they had launched that war in 2014. ...aggressive steps by unfriendly states create an existential threat for Russia."
Sergey Lavrov 13 July 2023 

"... a larger and highly significant, if so far imperceptible mistake is that the United States is becoming more directly involved in this conflict. It is becoming involved – this is an obvious thing. And let no one say that it has nothing to do with this. We believe it has."
Vladimir Putin 18 October 2023

"We know what American troops in the Russian territory are. These are invaders. That is how we will treat them even if they appear in the territory of Ukraine, and they understand it."
Vladimir Putin 13 March 2024

The Russian President is unequivocal. Not only has the United States been directly involved in the Ukraine conflict, it is becoming even more involved as time goes on. He brushes aside the US Government claims they are not involved. This is important. It is important because Russia is warning the United States it has made a mistake, and it is notifying the United States that they 'cannot see' that it is a mistake. They cannot 'see' their mistake because they are not experiencing any pushback from Russia.

The USA says there are no 'official' USA military on the ground in Russia's new territories or in Ukraine. On March 15 2024 the Russian Ministry of Defense said of "the 1,113 'soldiers of fortune' arriving from the US lost 491 killed". No doubt many more were wounded. The Russian President bluntly states that if "American troops", that is armed fighting formations, appear in the territory of Ukraine they will be treated as "invaders', that is, attacked just as the other US specialist troops disguised as mercenaries are treated.

I believe the USA (along with Germany, Britain and France) will eventually have to pay compensation to Russia - in some form or another.

As Poland supplies repaired armoured vehicles, Germany supplies tanks (and, with Ukraine, will build a plant in West Ukraine (not East Ukraine) to build armoured vehicles and manufacture artillery shells, mostly for Ukraine) has, France supplies various missiles, the United Kingdom supplies tanks and missiles, and the United States supplies artillery, missiles, military communication apparatus, various forms of 'military assistance' - the full list is long - all are belligerents and therefore a military response can be made on those countries own territory to counter the belligerents' military measures.

"The news about plans by Rheinmetall to build a tank factory in Malorossiya [East Ukraine], looks like Kiev regime’s primitive trolling. If krauts still go on with it for real, they’re very welcome. The decision should be greeted with fireworks by Kalibres and other Russian pyrotechnic devices
Deputy Chair of the Security Council of the Russian Federation 5 March 2023

If a belligerent, they are attacking a country with a massive conventional and nuclear potential. Why do they even think of doing it? Why do they think they will get away with it?

Question: "Why do we get targeted, while defending our interests?.."

Sergey Lavrov: "I cannot be responsible for the psychological condition of people who repeatedly, daily prove their lack of sanity."
25 June 2023 

Russia is required by international law to go to the United Nations to try for peaceful solutions. It did this on 29 June 2023.

No non-military solution arose from the meeting.

On 5 July 2023 Russia told the USA government to stop supplying arms and personnel to Ukraine:

"On September 15, 2022 and February 21, 2023, the Foreign Ministry made demarches with protest notes to the US Embassy in Moscow in connection with numerous facts of the direct involvement of US citizens, including retired and active military personnel, in hostilities as part of formations subordinate to the Kiev regime.

Russian officials said the arms supplied to the Kiev regime and the personnel servicing them were regarded as lawful targets for destruction.

We emphasised that to avoid negative consequences, the United States should immediately withdraw its military personnel, discontinue arms supplies and stop providing the Armed Forces of Ukraine with guidance in real time for striking the deployment sites of the Armed Forces of Russia and civilians.

Russian officials made it perfectly clear to the Americans that the abetting the mass war crimes committed by Ukrainian formations is confirmed by objective evidence that cuts through the standard arrogant official explanations."
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation 5 July 202

The Russian government has also added the charge of abetting war crimes to it's charge. Elsewhere, it has highlighted the role of the USA government in facilitating terrorist acts (drone strikes on civilian objects) on the territory of the Russian Federation. The USA seems to be the focus, even although Germany and the UK and France are prominently involved. Adding it all up, we have the USA being charged with being a belligerent, and abetting war crimes, and terrorism. The matters presented are more than enough justification to a military technical response.

Russia's new postulate - armed force to prevent an absolutely inevitable armed attack

On the 19th of June 2023 Russia announced that it has 'interpreted' Article 51 on the use of self defense to now include the right to a a 'preventative' strike when it is obvious that an armed attack is inevitable.

"I would like to focus on important innovations in our conceptual interpretation of the acceptable conditions for the use of force in self-defence

We have confirmed our commitment to Art. 51 of the UN Charter. President of Russia Vladimir Putin once again stressed this at his meeting with African delegations in St Petersburg on June 17.

We note that we will be ready to take symmetrical and asymmetrical measures in response to the unfriendly use of force against us.

We have introduced a new postulate on it being possible to use the Armed Forces not only to rebuff but also prevent an armed attack on Russia or its allies, if this armed attack is absolutely inevitable.

Thereby we unequivocally let potential aggressors know that Russia will resolutely defend its right and the right of our allies to free and safe development."
19 June 2023

Military diplomacy then comes into play. There is clearly an escalatory ladder available to Russia at this point. At one end of the scale Russia could easily launch a hypersonic missile from a submarine offshore the coast of the United States and destroy the factory that makes the HIMARS missiles (for example). It would be hit and destroyed before the United States has any time to react. It would clearly be non-nuclear, but would certainly be demonstrative. But Russia is very cautious. It is extremely unlikely to do this at this point.

"...this kind of reckless policy may lead to a direct armed clash between the nuclear powers. I don’t think there is any need to go over the nature of the strategic risks...and the potentially catastrophic nature of the further development of events according to the worst-case scenario.

...the West is not ready to see our position adequately. So, the responsibility for the further degradation of the situation lies fully with the Western capitals....we can firmly reiterate that Russia is determined to uphold its security interests.

We recommend the West not to have any doubt about it.

Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, 21 June 2023
Russia is more likely to start at the first rung of the escalatory ladder. This means a carefully targeted response, and not necessarily at obvious military targets. Initially the response might be a ban on exporting titanium or some other goods to the United States. (It is less likely to ban uranium exports, as these are needed to provide electricity to American people, and the Russians have long stated their arguments are with the American politicians, not the people of America.)

If military, Russia would almost certainly initially chose a target that is 'sensitive' for the United States but doesn't involve loss of life. Possibly undersea internet cables.
In a larger scale response Russia might advise the United States military illegally based at Al Tanf that the base will be destroyed with cruise missiles in 30 minutes time. In the case of Germany, the factory that manufactures leopard tanks might be destroyed (including the new one in Poland).

Topping all possible responses, Russia's reported supply of nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic  missiles (capable of hitting mainland USA) to North Korea is a perfect example of applying great pressure to the USA in 'areas sensitive to them'.

Consider this scenario. It is possible that if NATO supplies weapons capable of reaching further into Russia, and important Russian infrastructure or strategic military assets could be destroyed. If this coincides with one of NATO's provocative 'dummy' nuclear attack 'exercises' on Russia's border, Russia might destroy some important NATO military infrastructure.

What infrastructure? That associated with the use of nuclear capable fighters in close proximity to Russia's border - aircraft hangars and airfields. They would probably give the same 15 minutes warning that the US government gave Russia in the time of the Trump administration when the USA and France etc launched cruise missiles at Syrian airfields where Russian staff were also present.
"The collective West not only steers an unrestrained flow of weapons to the Kiev regime, but also hosts training of AFU and nationalist battalions, providing the Ukrainian forces with intelligence for target designation and even authorizing strikes against specific targets with Western weapons.

At the same time Western countries assert diligently that they are not involved in a conflict with Russia. In other words, they pose as neutral. But international law, including the provisions of the 1907 Hague Conventions and customary international law, unequivocally forbids neutral states to take any such action. Otherwise it leads to the loss of neutral status and turns the state into a party to an armed conflict."

Trying to justify themselves, our former partners say the 1907 Hague Conventions to have become outdated. Weird to hear this from states whose military authorities on a regular basis issue bulky volumes about the laws and customs of war. By the way, those also include a considerable section of rights and duties of neutral states that incorporates among other things the norms of those “dated” Conventions. I stress that this is not about some doctrine-style publications. This is about practical guides for army and navy commanders, which provide for the harshest measures to be taken to respond to violations of neutrality, including the use of force.

The 1907 Conventions are effective international treaties that no one ever abolished. Their main goal is to prevent the proliferation of armed conflicts and engagement of further actors in them. This is relevant today as never before, because the collective West openly declares a goal of dealing a “strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield” and backs up these reckless claims with no less reckless steps.

All this suggests a metaphor about playing with fire, but things are actually even worse. In its militarist frenzy, having lost any connection to reality, the West is knowingly provoking a direct clash among the nuclear powers."
Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on arms deliveries to Ukraine, 29 June 2023

Mr. Nebenzia's argument hinges on whether or not the Hague Conventions and customary international law do in fact forbid neutral countries sending arms across another neutral countries territory to a belligerent. If Italy, Greece, Poland and Germany are neutral, they can't allow the USA, UK, or France to send arms across their territory to Ukraine.

Mr. Nebenzia lays out to the International community an argument that there is no basis for the US to claim a neutral status, that the US, not Russia is the aggressor.
NATO as an organisation cannot claim collective self defense as the UN hasn't been notified, and even by claiming collective self defense NATO would identify itself as being at war with Russia.
NATO countermeasures (even if a belligerent) should be proportional and they aren't; and even if NATO counter-measures were legitimate, then Russia is also entitled to make counter-defense against NATO.

It is not possible know how, where, when, and for how long Russia might strike when the west forces Russia to commit to larger scale military force. Once again, Russia is very transparent and predictable about its foreign policy intentions, right up to larger scale military response. Mr. Nebenzia's comments are part of that transparency. Russia's demonstrative military manoevering is a form of military coercive diplomacy designed to convince the west to refrain from doing something, or reverse an unacceptable action before it is too late.

Russia did this dance prior to launching the military operation in Ukraine, but the west, while they understood the signal very well, continued their planned military action on the Russian population of eastern Ukraine. Everything has its limit.

When 'the time for diplomacy has passed' (as Sergey Lavrov once famously put it), Russia's military response intentions are largely a black box. The west will know nothing - until after it has happened.

At the time of Mr. Nebenzia's address to the UN Security Council it was clear to all competent military analysts that Ukraine was, in effect, already defeated. It was obvious to the well informed that NATO alone is the one keeping the conflict going, and therefore NATO is fully responsible for the continued slaughter of Ukrainian men.
In addition, it is the west that refuses peace negotiations, insisting Ukraine continues to fight, the west refuses negotiations unless the west-approved list of preconditions is agreed to. The preconditions, of course are nonsensical, unrealistic, and are designed by the Zelensky government to prevent negotiations. The Zelensky government is in essence a poorly-controlled puppet of the west, and so these preconditions are western conditions set by their Ukrainian proxy.

"Another argument is based on labeling our country an "aggressor" with reference to the resolutions of the 11th Extraordinary Special Session of the UN General Assembly. The United States, which has unleashed a record number of wars of aggression in modern history, pompously declares that one can help the "victim of aggression" without losing one’s neutral status.

Any self-respecting expert on international law would make a laughing-stock of such an argument...The main issue is that the UN Charter does not authorize the General Assembly to establish facts of "aggression”. Making any qualifications of this kind violates the provisions of the Charter and is null and void ‘ab initio’. So it turns out that "aggressor" is not a legal qualification, but a political assessment. Without a legal basis, the entire construct of "qualified neutrality" falls apart.

The portrayal of NATO, to which Ukraine is so eager to enter, as a purely defensive alliance sounds like an unfortunate joke against the extensive record of unprovoked and unjustified military aggressions involving this militaristic bloc.

The speculations in the Western legal doctrine about alleged collective self-defense under Article 51 do not stand up to scrutiny either. There are two main issues here. We cannot recall the Security Council being notified, even though according to the UN Charter, this should be done immediately.

Besides, a statement of "self-defense" against Russia would have been tantamount to stating oneself at war with our country.

What’s even more interesting is a reference to alleged counter-measures under the international law. As we all know, such measures must meet the criterion of proportionality. But what kind of damage has Russia done to the United States or the European Union that would explain the killing of our citizens with Western weapons, the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipes, or terrorist attacks on prominent Russian public personalities?

Before it is too late
, we recommend the authors of such speculative constructs to give some thought to the main question, which is as follows.

What should Russia’ counter-measures be in this case?

...when the Kiev regime, under pressure from its sponsors, stepped back on the agreements already made and also established a legal ban on peace talks with Russia, it became clear that Western states are not interested in achieving a sustainable and lasting peace in our region.

So what is it that we have today? Last March, Western countries did not allow Ukraine to agree with Russia on a peaceful coexistence and to become a neutral non-aligned state posing no threats. Instead, they are arming the country in a mad expectation that Ukraine will be able to defeat Russia.

The Western equipment is burning down, while the Kiev regime and its sponsors are running out of Ukrainian and other old Soviet equipment.’s Ukraine can only fight using the weapons it gets from NATO. It has almost nothing else...Ukraine has no weapons of its own, but still has Ukrainians, who are being herded to the slaughter...The Kiev regime's mobilization reserve has not yet run out (although this is what’s coming)...

...The balance of power will not be altered by any weapon supplies, and most independent military experts already admit openly that the defeat of the Kiev regime is only a matter of time...

...our opponents still have in their "stash" high-profile staged terrorist attacks, which they try to "hang" on Russia, such as Bucha or the destruction of the Kakhovka dam. God forbid they should dare to provoke an accident at the ZNPP, which they keep firing at...Today we circulated a letter as an official document of the UN Security Council and General Assembly...that we have no intention of blowing up the plant that we control and urge the Secretary-General and the international community to influence Kiev to refrain from provocations against the ZNPP.
Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on arms deliveries to Ukraine, 29 June 2023  

Escalation of armed conflict Edited 24 February 2024

"This is exactly why we keep emphasising the risks in the US and NATO’s actions. They seem to have plunged into an illusion of impunity as they play around with chimeras like “escalation control” and “escalation dominance.” We continue sending the West sobering signals on the need to prevent a disaster, but they remain deaf to our appeals.

Moreover, they maliciously distort them for propaganda purposes.
Director of the Foreign Ministry Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov 25 April 2023  

Ukraine announced it planned to launch an offensive in the new Russian territories with the objective of taking Crimea, a dangerous new escalation. The above is the full text of the interview (if you could call it that) that followed after Ukraines announcement. It is was a very obvious 'signal' to the United States not to escalate their proxy war on Russia, and an attempt to coerce the US government into stopping it's dangerous military coercion from increasing in scale and scope. The Ukraine and its US government handler did not backdown.

Two days later the below-ground war planning rooms of the Soviet-era Ukrainian Military Intelligence building were hit with the precision strike of an advanced Russian hypersonic missile and destroyed. The Soviets had designed this underground facility to resist nuclear shock waves.

The demonstration of the kinetic potential and reach of this missile sent a strong cautionary warning to both the Ukrainian and US government side. Aircraft were observed transporting personnel to hospitals outside Ukraine. It is possible NATO officers were in that room. Of course, the United States government could never admit it if they were, for obvious reasons.

In the same way that the west steadily escalated the economic pressure put on the Russian Federation, so it has escalated the scale of military involvement in their proxy war on Russia.

At first, the west commenced intensive cyberattacks:

"...the Pentagon’s Cyber Command and the National Security Agency are planning and coordinating cyberattacks under the Ukrainian flag at Russia’s critical information infrastructure.

The key targets include Russian banks and financial institutions, transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure, large industrial facilities and network resources providing government services at federal and regional levels.

Ukrainian hacker groups affiliated with US intelligence agencies are actively involved in these attacks."
Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs 5 July 2023 

Question: Weapons supplies [to Ukraine] made headlines this week; they have even been promised fighter jets. Until recently, few dared even mention anything like this. Tanks, fighter jets – where is the limit to this escalation?

Sergey Lavrov: Until recently, they were afraid to mention anything other than helmets and bulletproof vests. This is what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

What we see now is an unacceptable escalation.

Political analysts in the West are already talking about “decolonising” Russia, meaning partitioning our country. They are playing with fire. There can be no doubt about it.
Sergey Lavrov,  28 May 2023

Ukraine was then supported with years of NATO training and equipping.
Then supported with intensive satellite and other intel and data processing and interpretation.
Then sent body armour for Ukrainian soldiers.
Then shoulder launched defensive missiles.
Then Soviet era artillery and other munitions from ex-Soviet states.
Then shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.
Then M777 howitzers.
Then old ex-Soviet tanks.
Then armoured fighting vehicles.
Then HIMARS multiple launch rocket system.
Then NASAM antiaircraft/guided missiles.
Then anti-mining armoured ploughs.
The advanced German leopard tanks.
Then Storm Shadow missiles.
Then cluster bombs.
Then powerful unmanned marine drones
Then Taurus missiles with a 500 kilometer range
Then HIMARS launched MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) with 160 kilometer range equipped with cluster munitions

Then on 23 February 2024, Ukraine shot down a Russian A50 AWAC over 200 kilometers from the line of contact. This may be a French made Aster30 system, which has a range of 600km, it may be a modified S200, it may be some other western missile. The British also have the Aster30 system, and it has probably been supplied to Ukraine.  Several hours before the shootdown an article appeared in a Ukrainian news site repeating a recent NATO announcement Ukraine has the right to attack Russia in its depths.

Supplying F16 fighter aircraft would be the next escalation. If aircraft capable of carrying nuclear glide bombs were supplied, this would likely be the final escalation, because Ukrainian engineers may have the competency to build a small nuclear glide bomb.

In that case the Atlantic Ocean may not be big enough to protect mainland USA from harm.

Retaliation Edited 6 January 2024

"Retaliation and reprisals - carefully measured reprisals, chosen to match but not exceed the adversary's actions, may be necessary to communicate clearly an intention to resist and, hence, offer the possibility that the opponent will desist or that the crisis may enter a stage of negotiation"
Alexander George

"Regarding the INF Treaty, we have said everything there is to say in response to groundless accusations by the United States. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has set out the Russian position: Russia will respond symmetrically. The Americans have suspended their participation in the Treaty, and we have done the same. Therefore, it will become null and void six months after we receive an official US note on withdrawing from the Treaty."
Sergey Lavrov 6  February 2019

Retaliation is usually sanely possible for either the evenly matched, or the strong against the weak. Retaliation is also for those with nothing left to lose, those with their back against the wall, in unendurable circumstances. Even then, it is often only the most strong personalities or ideologically unafraid of death who will fight back in a lop-sided battle they know they will lose.

George incorrectly claims that coercive acts are always taken in response to something the other party did first. This is false. The USA simply invents a 'pretext' for taking coercive steps. It can be as school-yard childish as Russia's 'malign' behaviour. In other words, Russia is non-specifically 'naughty'. A bizarre reversion to childhood baseless declaratory accusations of the playground. Retaliation, on the other hand, is a response to a coercive action. It is important to keep that in mind. If the coercer didn't do a coercive action in the first place there would be no retaliation.

Sergey Lavrov: "We have many Russian proverbs that Sovietologists should know such as “take measure seven times and cut once” or “Russians saddle slow, but ride fast.” I have no intention of threatening anyone or making any allusions.

I know that this flagrant terrorist attack [Ed: on the Nord Stream pipeline] will not remain uninvestigated.

If an objective, unbiased and transparent investigation is blocked or reduced to someone saying that the Swedes, the Danes and the Germans have arrived at some conclusions, so let this be the final verdict, we will, without a doubt, ponder our response to the West for this attack..."

Question: "There’s another Russian proverb. I do not want to provoke you, but it may be applicable to the situation at hand. Tell me if it's not. Here it goes: You pay a person back in the same coin."

Sergey Lavrov: "No doubt about it. By all means."
10 March 2023 

Seven months later, the gas and telecommunications pipeline from Finland to Estonia and Latvia, put in place in 2019 " to reduce local markets’ dependence on Russian gas" was damaged. This may, of course, be coincidental.

"Over the weekend, Finland and Estonia said that the undersea Balticconnector gas pipeline running between the two countries across the Baltic Sea was temporarily shut down due to a suspected leak.

Finnish and Estonian gas system operators Gasgrid Finland and Elering said an unusual drop in pressure in the pipeline was seen shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday, after which they shut it down...

However, it gave no reason for the suspected leak and announced it was jointly investigating the incident with Elering. 12 October 2023 

Retaliate means to 'do unto the other what the other did to me'. No more, no less. An eye for an eye. It comes from the latin retaliare "pay back in kind", that is, what you did to me, I will do to you. It is a re-balancing, getting even. But the accent is on equalisation.

The USA has placed nuclear weapons in the hands of the Europeans, far from the US homeland. They are there to threaten the Russian Federation. In 2022 Russia placed nuclear weapons in Belarus.

It seems Russia may have provided North Korea with nuclear missile technology - but not nuclear warheads. North Korea has developed its own warheads, but its technological ability to quickly and accurately launch intercontinental ballistic missiles has lagged. This has now changed, thanks to Russia's illegal retaliatory measures. Washington, the instigators of strife, who believed they were 'safely' thousands of kilometers away in their 'continental island', is now in North Korea's crosshairs. As is Japan.

It seems Russia might now be aiding North Korea's attempt to develop a reliable nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (capable of reaching the USA mainland), in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2321 (2016).

"The reported physical dimensions and flight trajectory data of the Hwasong-18 is nearly identical to that of the Russian Topol-M ICBM (SS-27 Mod 2).
This missile is equipped to penetrate existing U.S. ballistic missile defenses with countermeasures and deliver multiple thermonuclear weapons to targets in the continental United States.

A Hwasong-18 missile force will require the U.S. to consider additional concepts for missile defense including the use of airborne drone interceptors (“airborne patrol”).

A transfer of this ICBM or its related technology from Russia would violate an unwritten international protocol to both refrain from and prevent transferring nuclear strike capabilities to other parties...

...The key concern is that unlike the North Korean liquid propellant ICBMs we have seen over the last few years, this particular ICBM could not possibly have come into the hands of the North Koreans without the full support and cooperation of the Russian government.

In addition, North Korea could not maintain and operate Topol-M ICBMs without substantial cooperation and training from the Russian government and its scientists.  As such, the sudden appearance of the Hwasong-18 in North Korea cannot be ignored as simply “business as usual.”

The Topol-M can deliver multiple thermonuclear bombs to the continental United States, and since North Korea has demonstrated in nuclear underground tests that it has thermonuclear weapons, it now has the ability to deliver these thermonuclear bombs to the continental United States...

The new North Korean ICBM capability significantly enhances the threat to the United States mainland with a nuclear attack if the United States were to intervene in a crisis....This is not unlike the dilemma that confronted the U.S. and its allies during the Cold War – would the United States trade Washington for Berlin? 

North Korea’s objective is to threaten the U.S. so that South Korea would not trust the U.S. commitment to come to its assistance."
Professor Theodore Postol, former Science and Policy advisor on Strategic Nuclear issues to the Chief of Naval Operations

This raises the question of why Russia would break international law, something it is at pains to respect.

"Speaking about the nuclear issue, these are primarily Pyongyang and Washington but we will be ready to accompany their bilateral dialogue also in the framework of the six-party process with the participation of Russia, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. This is probably the most important issue on the bilateral agenda that Russia and China are now working to resolve.

I must say that the work on this issue is difficult. I have already said that the United States is almost openly talking about the inevitability of a military solution although everyone understands the disastrous consequences of such a venture.

When there were conditions for transitioning to dialogue, provocative actions were undertaken in the vast majority of cases – increasingly large-scale military exercises around North Korea, which provoked another round of tensions. We have a joint roadmap with China and we will actively promote it.

Speaking of one specific consequence, I have to return to the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula. If Kim Jong-un is required to wrap up his nuclear military programme, in exchange for a promise to lift the sanctions, then this is precisely the essence of the agreements between Iran and the international community. If they just put it aside now and tell Iran it should stick to its obligations, and they re-impose the sanctions, put yourselves in North Korea’s shoes.

They are promised that sanctions will be lifted in exchange for abandoning its nuclear programme, so they do, but the sanctions are not lifted. Or, on the contrary, an agreement is reached, and then the Americans just say the next morning that they are ‘men of their word’ – they give their word, then break their word. This is a popular joke."
Sergey Lavrov 15 January 2018

The first point is that, as usual, the USA impedes all attempts to move stage by stage to peace. The second point is that it stirs up war-talk, making aggressive moves (training with South Korea to murder the North Korean President - a  transparently empty coercive threat), coupled with aggressive rhetoric. The third, and most important point, is the creation of an unprecedented nuclear threats to North Korea, China and Russia - almost adjacent to their southern borders.

"Pyongyang denounced the second meeting of the US-South Korea Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG). Established in April during the summit of US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, the NCG gives Seoul a say in the planning and use of Washington’s nuclear armament and is modelled after a similar NATO nuclear-decision making body.

Washington and Seoul agreed on Friday to establish guidelines for their nuclear collaboration by mid-2024. They also agreed to hold joint war games, supposedly in response to a nuclear attack from the North, which Pyongyang’s Defense Ministry denounced as an “an open declaration on nuclear confrontation.

...the US and its allies have antagonized and goaded North Korea to justify building an anti-ballistic missile system throughout the Indo-Pacific region that ultimately targets China.

This includes Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries in South Korea and Guam, as well as associated radar systems in Japan. Rather than to protect civilian populations, these are designed to cover American bases from counter-attack in a US-instigated war.

The collaboration between the US, South Korea and Japan has now expanded into a de facto trilateral military alliance”
Ben McGrath, World Socialist Website, 19 December 2023

This is why 'reality politics' comes into play, illegal or not..(See also the US government's intellectually bankrupt 'containment concept'.) The possibility the USA would lauch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea is remote, but not zero:

"Eight days after Kelly arrived at the White House as chief of staff, Trump warned that North Korea would be "met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before." When Trump delivered his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2017, he threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" if Kim, whom he referred to as "Rocket Man," continued his military threats....Kelly was more concerned about what Trump was saying privately, Schmidt reports.

"...behind closed doors in the Oval Office, Trump continued to talk as if he wanted to go to war.

He cavalierly discussed the idea of using a nuclear weapon against North Korea, saying that if he took such an action, the administration could blame someone else for it to absolve itself of responsibility," ....

Kelly brought the military’s top leaders to the White House to brief Trump about how war between the U.S. and North Korea could easily break out, as well as the enormous consequences of such a conflict. But the argument about how many people could be killed had "no impact on Trump," Schmidt writes..."
NBC News on the revised ition of US Chief of Staff John Kelly's book on the Trump Presidency 13 January 2023

If these statements are true, then Russia, presumably now aware of how dangerous Mr. Trump was, is almost compelled to retaliate to the US implementation of the so-called 'containment policy' being enacted against itself and China. North Korea is simply a US proxy trip-wire tool. Goad it to attack South Korea, let South Korea do the fighting (eliminating another economic competitor) and using the conflict as an excuse to place nuclear weapons as well as a 'missile shield' in Japan (given South Korea is destroyed).

The nett result of Russia's retaliation will be the ability for Russia and China to implement Mr. Lavrov's 6 party agreement to take to the Security Council, an agreement where North Korea denuclearises step by step at the same time as sanctions are progressively withdrawn. This is similar in concept to the Minsk agreement. China and Russia and probably some other BRICS or SCO country will act as guarantors, and also provide security to North Korea in the case it is attacked.

If the USA blocks the Security Council endorsement, I guess that Russia and China (and probably many other countries in the global south) would observe the agreement unilaterally, and ignore Security Council Resolution 2321. In other words, learn from the wests sabotage of Minsk and the US refusal to implement the Iranian agreement and simply create 'facts on the ground' and ignore the west's cries of outrage. (And in March 2024 Russia blocked continuation of the UN oversight committee that monitored North Korea's 'forever' sanctions.)

Russia is retaliating for USA plans to base nuclear missiles in South Korea, a short distance from both China and Russia's border. At the same time, the USA is building anti-missile shields based in South Korea, Japan and Guam. These shields are somewhat pointless, as both Russia and China have sea, land, and air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles that are immune to the vunerability of the slower 'turn point' of a ballistic missile.

The Russian retaliation is a coercive step, and is fully reversible. US nuclear weapons and conventional forces out of South Korea and North Korea reciprocates in a step-like manner in conjunction with step by step removal of UN sanctions. Mr. George would be proud.

The Russian 'violation' of what Professor Postol calls an 'unwritten' protocol could be seen as retaliation for the verbal assurances by the west that they would not move NATO "one inch further" to the east, a false claim, as the archive shows.

"At first, NATO member states denied the very fact that the West had made promises not to expand NATO to the east. However, when the officials who took part in those events and negotiations started publishing their memoirs, they could no longer deny facts or claim that nothing had happened. Instead, they started saying that even if there had been some verbal promises, there were no official written documents."
Maria Zakharova, Spokeswoman Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 25, 2022

"We know the worth of such verbal assurances, fine words and promises.

Take the recent past, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when we were told that our concerns about NATO’s potential expansion eastwards were absolutely groundless. And then we saw five waves of the bloc’s eastward expansion.

Do you remember how it happened? All of you are adults. It happened at a time when Russia’s relations with the United States and main member states of NATO were cloudless, if not completely allied.
Vladimir Putin 21 December 2021

George emphasises reprisals (he really means retaliation) that are reciprocal, chosen to "match but not exceed" the adversaries action. Well, the west has provided Ukraine with billions in weapons and training to attack Russia. Russia is, under this doctrine, entitled to do the same. Russia, if it ignores UN Security Council Resolution 2321, can supply North Korea with air defense complexes, drones, or any other armaments (and training), for that matter. Except that Russia is far more mature and long-sighted than the US governement, and avoids creating further strife in the world. Like China, it is interested in mutually beneficial trade, not war. But if the west pushed too far, it will reciprocate with a "tough" retaliatory response.

"... if our Western colleagues continue their obviously aggressive line, we will take appropriate military-technical reciprocal measures and will have a tough response to their unfriendly steps."
Vladimir Putin 21 December 2021

This was Russia saying "don't say we didn't warn you". When you are dealing with a powerful and serious state like the Russian Federation, unrelenting coercion eventually brings retaliation.

Military-Technical Retaliation Edited 6 January 2024

Retaliation is selective. Russia carefully selects which target to respond to. What's more, when the response is military, it has the ability to hit exactly what it wants, where it wants, when it wants, and causing the amount of damage they want. An attack by seaborne drones receives a blow against the facility that makes them. Those who planned an attack on the Kirsk bridge have their operations room blown to smithereens with a precise deep-penetration missile/munition strike. Attacks on Russian power plants receive a strike on an urban power plant distribution facility, perhaps done at night to preserve civilian lives.

Prior to break out of full blown hostilities (war), retaliation is proportional and carefully graded in seriousness. If retaliation fails to dissuade, and reprisals are necessary to unilaterally end the aggression, then the proportionality shifts from 1:1 to maybe 10:1 in favor of the one imposing costs, and come with a 'package' of further economic measures. But reprisals are are complicated decision, with many short, medium and long-term factors to add to the final decision.

Russia has often retaliated with a 'shot across the bow', and in the case of a British warship intruding into Russian waters offshore Crimea, it was literally that. Russian aircraft will do the aerobatic equivalent. These are clearly understood warnings just short of violence. These are what George calls "exemplary or symbolic use of limited military action to help persuade the opponent to back down". Afterwards, generally, a blunt warning is given, either publicly or privately, of what will happen if the offending party does it again. Russia has forced down US drones in the Black Sea, damaged a US drone in Syria, and demonstrated their air superiority in close contacts with US government fighters illegally operating in the Al Tanf area of Syria.

When Israel and the United States government arranged for a sophisticated Russian electronic monitoring aircraft to be shot down by friendly fire in Syria the top defense officials of Israel were made to come to Moscow. What was said remained behind closed doors, but Israelis never tried the trick again. An American government spy plane was later shot down with a shoulder fired ground to air missile in Afghanistan by muhajadeen. This may be coincidental.

This brings up the question of proportionality. If the United States, for example, arranges the destruction of a Russian electronic air defense aircraft (early warning and control aircraft), should Russia arrange the destruction of just one similar USA aircraft? The United States has about 30 AEAWACS but Russia has only about 9 equivalent aircraft (after the january and February 2024 shootdown, 7). Proportionally, Russia should arrange the destruction of 4 USA AWACS.

Proportional responses, as Alexander George and Mr. Nebenzia pointed out, are important. Russia is expert at managing escalation. They never play the opposing sides game by over-reacting, or lose sight of their long term objective. They patiently warn over and over again, so if a retaliation is finally necessary, the west is given a 'tough' lesson. Respect Russia's 'red lines' in defense of its legitimate security interests - or else

"We will continue to seek pragmatic engagement with competitors about strategic stability and risk reduction. Our approach will emphasize measures that head off costly arms races, reduce the likelihood of miscalculation, and complement U.S. and allied deterrence strategies."
United States government National Security Strategy October 2022

The same document says the US military "must seek to avoid unknowingly driving competition to aggression".  'Aggression', of course, is just a US government euphemism for responding to US government prior escalating military coercion. The correct word is retaliation. These statements have to be 'tongue in cheek' - in light of US government escalatory behaviour, they are just a cynical joke.

"Question: You said not so long ago that the deployment of US missiles on land close to the Russian borders could lead to a crisis similar to the Caribbean [Cuban crisis] one. How likely is this scenario, given that Trump is not very much like John F. Kennedy, and Vladimir Putin is not Nikita Khrushchev?

Sergey Ryabkov: I believe that the deployment of such systems in Central Europe, and even in Western Europe, will lead to a radical change in ways to ensure our national security.

It has to do with the flight time and the response time to a particular launch. No country’s missile attack warning system is capable of telling remotely whether the missile launched has a nuclear warhead or some conventional equipment.

The deployment of such weapons, with a range covering most of the territory of the Russian Federation, at least its European part – if we are talking about the hypothetical deployment of such systems in Europe – would require response measures on our part.

Such measures do not necessarily have to include the deployment of similar (or some other) systems only in places from where they could hit these new American weapons.

Substantial asymmetry is possible in our response.

However, the Caribbean missile crisis lessons need to be remembered and refreshed. We are offering an alternative in the form of a moratorium on the deployment of such systems.

We have declared our own moratorium. We believe that responsible NATO politicians could take a similar step.

But we are always told that NATO is a defensive alliance; we constantly hear the chant that NATO is fighting for peace and is a guarantor of security. So go ahead, dear NATO gentlemen, show us in practice how you will continue fighting for peace now."
Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation 11 October 2019

When Mr.
Ryabkov refers to "asymmetry" in Russia's response to US deployment of land-based cruise missiles so near Russia's border that some will get through to Moscow, he is (probably) not referring to placing Russian cruise missiles in Mexico (or Cuba), near USA's border. Which would be a symmetrical response. No, more likely he is referring, in one case, to Russian sea-based cruise missiles 4 minutes from USA beachfront real estate - and a nuclear torpedo capable of generating a tidal wave that would drown the eastern seaboard of the United States.

"...we have developed unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths (I would say extreme depths) intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest. It is really fantastic. They are quiet, highly manoeuvrable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit.

There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.

Unmanned underwater vehicles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads, which enables them to engage various targets, including aircraft groups, coastal fortifications and infrastructure.

In December 2017, an innovative nuclear power unit for this unmanned underwater vehicle completed a test cycle that lasted many years. The nuclear power unit is unique for its small size while offering an amazing power-weight ratio. It is a hundred times smaller than the units that power modern submarines, but is still more powerful and can switch into combat mode, that is to say, reach maximum capacity, 200 times faster.

The tests that were conducted enabled us to begin developing a new type of strategic weapon that would carry massive nuclear ordnance."
Vladimir Putin 01 March 2018 

" light of the plans to build a global anti-ballistic missile system...all agreements signed within the framework of New START are now gradually being devaluated, because while the number of carriers and weapons is being reduced...the US, is permitting constant, uncontrolled growth of the number of anti-ballistic missiles, improving their quality, and creating new missile launching areas.

If we do not do something, eventually ...
all of our [nuclear] missiles [launched in reply to a US nuclear attack] could simply be intercepted.

Despite our numerous protests and pleas, the American machine has been set into motion, the conveyer belt is moving forward.

There are new missile defence systems installed in Alaska and California; as a result of NATO’s expansion to the east, two new missile defence areas were created in Western Europe: one has already been created in Romania, while the deployment of the system in Poland is now almost complete.

Their range will keep increasing; new launching areas are to be created in Japan and South Korea.

The US global missile defence system also includes five cruisers and 30 destroyers, which, as far as we know, have been deployed to regions in close proximity to Russia’s borders. I am not exaggerating in the least; and this work proceeds apace.

So, what have we done, apart from protesting and warning? How will Russia respond to this challenge? This is how.

During all these years since the unilateral US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons."
Vladimir Putin 01 March 2018 

"You have asked about Ukraine and where the red lines run. They are, above all, the threats to us that can come from that territory. ...the issue concerns the possible deployment in the territory of Ukraine of strike systems with the flight time of 7–10 minutes to Moscow, or 5 minutes in the case of hypersonic systems....So, what should we do? We would need to create similar systems to be used against those who are threatening us.

...we can do this already now, because we have held successful tests, and early next year we will put a new sea-launched hypersonic missile with a maximum speed of Mach 9 on combat duty. The flight time to those who issue orders will also be 5 minutes.

Where are we heading? Why are we doing this? The creation of such threats for us is the red line."
Vladimir Putin 30 November 2021

"Those who issue orders" are, of course, the Pentagon, as well as mainland USA Central Command. A military attack on Russia cannot be made unless someone in the top echelon of the military obeys an order from the President or the National Security staff. They then are the ones who "issue orders". Diplomatic staff, including the President (the Commander in Chief of the military), are usually exempt, even if they are the ones who gave the order in the first place. 

The Russian measures are the inevitable consequence of the US placing sea-based cruise missile launch platforms all around Russia (and now China, incidentally). The US ships are a platform to launch a crippling nuclear 'first strike' on the Russian Federation. Once all these platforms are in place and the land based Asian and European platforms are also in place, then it is just a matter of waiting until the US has achieved hypersonic manoeuvering cruise missiles. After that, the US can launch a crippling and unstoppable 'tactical' nuclear first strike on Russia at any time.

This is almost the very top rung of the US military escalation ladder.

It doesn't matter whether US missile silos or aircraft launch these nuclear weapons or nominally NATO aircraft and missile silos. NATO countries are now routinely trained in launching tactical nuclear weapons against Russia. And Russia is ringed with NATO countries. Further, US policy now allows the US to form alliances with non-NATO countries. The US plan for such countries is very clear. In time, they, too, will host sea-borne nuclear weapons, host US land based nuclear weapons, and be trained in launching tactical nuclear weapons from nuclear-capable fighter aircraft.

"Question: Washington. What on earth are they doing? Is their self-preservation instinct failing? Such an escalation…

Sergey Lavrov: Washington believes that its self-preservation is ensured by the Atlantic Ocean. It is a big delusion if they try to bring the world to the brink of the third world war.

But so far Washington is stirring up its satellites against the Russian Federation believing that it will get away with it."

Sergey Lavrov 26 May 2023

"Vladimir Putin: There is no depleted uranium yet.

Murad Gazdiev: There is coming from the UK. We have already seen articles in various neo-conservative organisations – there was a widely covered one that insisted on making tactical nuclear weapons available to Ukraine.

The question is: is the United States not afraid to endlessly escalate the situation and raise the stakes?

Vladimir Putin: They pretend not to be.

In fact, there are many people there who think clearly and are unwilling to lead the world into a third world war in which there will be no winners; even the United States will not come out of it as a winner.

Vladimir Putin 13 June 2023

Militarily, Russia is already 'at' where the US wants to be. Russia has already deployed tactical nuclear weapons on
unstoppable hypersonic cruise missiles - for use against those European countries that decide they want to harbour US nuclear weapons on their soil and that decide to host US ships with potentially nuclear tipped cruise missiles.

Russia has already deployed submarine launched unstoppable hypersonic cruise missiles carrying tactical and strategic nuclear warheads for use in a potential ultra-close proximity first strike against the US mainland. Surface ships are being equipped with the same nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons.

And, due to US escalation, Russia has finally copied the US doctrine of permitting an unannounced
decapitating 'first strike' - albeit under very specific circumstances. We can only congratulate the United States government for its success.

Russia has consistently told the US government of its red lines. It is impossible - literally - for the US government not to know Russia's red lines. Yet the US government policy is exactly the policy of removing all diplomatic options while at the same time moving to maximum escalation of military threat. Therefore, again, these US statements about 'seeking strategic stability', and the US wanting 'risk reduction' are self-serving sanctimonious claptrap. The US government knows all Russia's core concerns, it knows Russia's sensitivities (such as its memory of the losses of world war 2) and, like a child that has yet to fully learn self control, it pushes, pushes, pushes on these sensitivities. Quite deliberately. Even when it is warned there will be consequences, it keeps doing it. Why?
Because the United States government believes it 'understands' Russia, and can therefore slowly escalate its military participation in its war on Russia (the 'boil the frog' tactic) without being seen by Russia as a party to the conflict, and without triggering a sudden runaway series of events that leads to a Russian response on mainland USA.

This bring up the time dimension. How long can a country - or non-state organisation for the matter - 'turn the other cheek' when it is the object of all forms of coercion, apparently endlessly? Retaliation may wait for a very long time until the aggrieved party has developed the human, technical, and logistic power potential to retaliate (I suggest Iran is a case in point - it has endured endless Israeli incited terrorism, and the day it responds militarily is the day it has accumulated enough military potential to retaliate against Israel and, if necessary, the United States.). The question is then - how long have the grievances been accumulating, and what proportion of the 'tab' should be settled?

In the case of military retaliation, when the Russians say "we will provide a tough response", expect the worst. Somewhere in the world. A good example is Russia's response to the NATO plans to place nuclear capable cruise missiles adjacent to Russia's border, in South Korea and Japan. In late 2023 Russia supplied North Korea with an advanced hypersonic nuclear missile capable of reaching any part of the United States mainland (link Youtube interview Ray McGovern ex CIA analyst).

Asymmetric retaliation edited 2 January 2024

"We note that we will be ready to take symmetrical and asymmetrical measures in response to the unfriendly use of force against us."
Sergey Lavrov 19 June 2023

"On December 26, 2023, the Republic of Korea added 682 products to the list of goods and technology subject to export controls. ...This is already Seoul’s third package of anti-Russia economic sanctions, which are expected to come into force in early 2024.
Russia reserves the right to take reciprocal actions. Moreover, we will make sure that the measures we take are not necessarily symmetrical. So, they should not be surprised later"
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, 27 December 2023

Whereas retaliation tends to be 'one for one', Russia's retaliation may be asymmetric - in scale, in sector, in means, and in timing. Retaliation is generally well understood by both parties - they are the 'rules of the game', which means if the aggressor does a certain action they know beforehand exactly what will happen in response. However Russia has stepped outside 'the rules'. Russia may respond 'in kind', but it may respond in a completely different way. An 'eye for an eye' does not necessarily apply. It may be 'an eye for a leg' for example.

The aggressor knows that 'something bad' is going to happen in response, knows it will be roughly proportional, but doesn't know what it will be. Most likely the aggressor thinks they know what the response will be, and have already planned a response. But a response from 'out of left field', while proportional, may be asymetrically consequential, if not immediately, then over the long run.

The illegal economic restrictions inflicted on Russia by the West 'should have' resulted in Russian counter-sanctions. There were none. But Russia insisted on payment in Rubles. And so the cascade of moves to bilateral currencies began. And so the move to payment of commodities in a gold-backed digital 'token' has started. This has a very long way to go, but ultimately it may collapse the sale of US government debt to other countries. Sale of debt finances a significant part of the US government spending programs. Some of these programs will have to shrink. The consequences are obvious. The most important consequence is that the US government will no longer be able to afford to run its current partially taxpayer-funded 'war sales' business at the current scale.

Russia's retaliation?

On the 7th of July 2023 the Foreign Ministry spokewoman detailed exactly which weapons have been supplied to Ukraine by western countries (10 so far). She indicated that if countries that haven't supplied former Soviet era weapons and munitions to Ukraine want good bilateral relations from now onwards, then they should resist all blackmail and inducements.

She did not even mention future bilateral relations with the west. This is a diplomatic signal, and a far more powerful one than not displaying the national flag of a visiting dignatory in a host country photo op (as happened to the USA when Mr. Blinken visited Saudi Arabia). I suspect this is serious.

You could pass it off as simply a reciprocal cold shoulder to the west's conspicuous 'jilting' of Russian diplomats - but for Janet Yellen's visit to China in early July 2023. She had clearly gone to ask China to buy more USA debt. 'Official' China, it appears has been shifting away from holding US debt. Official China has been buying gold. In USA, as in the UK, when no one wants to buy your debt, you have to offer a higher interest rate.

Bilateral trade arrangements don't have to be made through any particular forum, they are simply agreements worked out between a pair of countries. Countries whose currency is subject to wild fluctuations would possibly be told to buy gold tokens. That way exchange rate risk to the other party is eliminated. If trade is unbalanced and gold tokens can't be used, then the existing currency exchange systems can still be used. The yuan is likely to assume a greater role over time as

Russia will do bilateral trade with those who didn't send weapons against it; who didn't place economic sanctions on it; who didn't engage in lies, distortion and hateful propaganda against it. Russia will consider doing bilateral trade with those who stop complying with all western 'long arm' domestic trade legislation. This means Russia will also agree to them joining BRICS.

It also means the 10 countries that wanted to fight Russia with someone else's hand will be shut out of BRICS.

It also means that the US dollar will slowly become devalued, and that the yuan will slowly increase in world trade. Direct currency swap lines between friendly countries (especially in South America and Africa) will ease liquidity crises without having to resort as often to the International Monetary Fund. Perhaps a gold-backed trading stable coin will provide an incentive for corrupt governments to live within their means, as stable tokens will hold value and probably only be used to against the non-parity part of bilateral trade.

This speculative scenario is not even blackmail diplomacy, because Russia wants nothing from the 'proxy war 10'. Nor is it trying to stop the 'proxy 10' from doing something. It is simply not interested in them.

Escalation dominance

'Escalation dominance' in armed conflict is decided by four major factors - first, technological superiority in weapons; second, abundant supply of such weapons; third, industrial and resource capacity to continuously produce such weapons for a planned duration plus unexpected contingencies; fourth, highly competent combined military forces management; fifth, self reliant and fiscally sound economy.

Russia has all 5 factors. No other country has. Russia alone has global escalation dominance.

"...the fact is that not only are we in a position to enact these swift, severe sanctions, we are ready to given the stakes of the matter. ...these sanctions and economic measures would be different from ones we, the United States Government, has levied in the terms of their scope, in terms of their strength.

These would be measures that we, the United States, intentionally did not pursue in 2014, but also in the way they’re implemented – because they would start at the top of the escalatory ladder as we need – would need to send a very strong signal to Russia and countries around the world that might seek to undermine the rules-based international order that this is something that the United States and our allies and partners around the world would not countenance."
Ned Price, US State Department spokesperson, 2 February 2022 

As at August 2023 the US has about reached the top of its escalatory ladder, economic and military. Russia is not yet at the top of its military escalation ladder (and it is a longer ladder than the USA's one), and Russia is far from the top of the economic 'escalation ladder'. At this point, a further Russian response is more in the nature of a reprisal, as it cannot be answered by the US or the US "allies and partners" in the west. The US 'preemptive warning' to disobedient countries around the world not to undermine the US-invented so-called 'rules-based international order' is increasingly being seen as a paper tiger. Countries around the world are starting to arrange their international affairs in a manner that places them out of reach of US and western interference.

Reprisals Edited 22 December 2023

"...reprisals - carefully measured reprisals, chosen to match but not exceed the adversary's actions, may be necessary to communicate clearly an intention to resist..."
Alexander George

Today reprisal is equated with 'punishment' for misdeeds - entirely appropriate in the context of the USA governments perfidious setting up of Russia for loss. But originally it meant 'taking back', usually property of some sort to compensate for property lost.

In the case of colonial 'mining' of a country, because mineral are used up and can't be returned, reprisals have to shift to the concept of compensation. Compensation for lost opportunities and lost income where colonists payed a pittance for the resources they extracted.

In the long run, the global south may decide economic retaliation against the US and west for lost resources are well and truly overdue.

Russia may decide reprisals, in the punishment sense, are due. And if reprisals are not immediately useful, then reparations certainly are

With the exception of diplomatic reprisals, where the unwritten diplomatic rule is simply 'tit for tat' and therefore symmetrical,  reprisals have a larger asymmetry than simple retaliation for any particular harmful act done. Retaliation is more like action and reaction.

Reprisals are one sided, that is, the offended party decides what is an appropriate 'match' to the harm done. The offended party (Russia) may include a huge range of factors - historic damage, insult to a nations status, humiliation across cultural spheres, economic losses, delayed development, loss of opportunities, historic damage from the offender using terrorists to attack it by proxy - it is Russia's choice.

The choice, in turn, depends on how much power Russia has at any point in time. 'Power' can be military, economic, or political. Cultural force is a multiplier of the 3 major forces, and is largely internal (educational levels, national unity, competent leadership, shared history of suffering and resistance at almost any cost). The 'force' (which American politicians call 'pressure') generally changes with time, whether increasing or decreasing. The other time element is duration. How long a given degree of force can be sustained. Endurance of military force is lock-step related to economic force and domestic cultural force. Political force is highly contingent on internal and external political fluxes.

The greatest of these power - levers is Russia's economic power, yet this is the power that Russia must use with the greatest caution. Russia takes a long term view, and while it doesn't need USA economically, culturally, or politically (except as noted below), it needs USA cooperation in nuclear weapons security, climate change security, and biological and chemical weapons security. Russia also takes a long term view. All this tempers the nature, scope, scale, and duration of reprisals Russia will undoubtedly impose on the USA government.

While both retaliation and reprisal are punitive in nature, reprisals include the notion of taking back lost 'real assets'. (For example, the Russian-speaking oblasts of the Ukraine political entity). While the aim of both retaliation and reprisals is to dissuade the aggressor from ever trying a similar provocation again, reprisals are a package of economically, politically, and culturally consequential measures that 'take back' sovereign and economic rights, in other words a 're-balancing' or 'setting thing right'.

Russia deploys strategic patience as an overlay in their decision-making process.

At the same time, when a swift response is the most useful response, it is made promptly.

Strategic defeat edited 10 February 2024

"When President Putin was asked whether Russia would use nuclear weapons, he provided a detailed answer. My key message is to look at and analyse what the EU and NATO leaders say. This is flat-out aggressive rhetoric. They keep repeating the mantra that Russia must suffer a “strategic defeat.”"

EU and NATO countries surely have [strategic analysts]. The Pentagon certainly does. They keep threatening Russia  - a nuclear power - with “strategic defeat” every day and for the whole world to hear.
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

A 'strategic defeat' is the defeat of the opponent through the application of various strategies - economic, propaganda, paid-for coups, trained and assisted religous or political agitation (non-violent or violent), and, finally, straight military overthrow and subsequent impostion of another governments will on the militarily defeated country. You can probably think of many instances where one or more of these strategies has worked and where it hasn't. They work best in small and corrupt countries, without a strong sense of nation.

A strategic defeat results in an enduring advantage to the victor. It is generally an economic advantage. In addition, a strategic defeat seriously degrades the opponents ability to wage war.

The Europeans were 'in charge' of ensuring that Russia's economy was destroyed, with European and US businesses providing the capital to buy up the 'juicy bits' and turn Russia into a colony whose resources would be mined for the benefit to the West.

"The collective West not only steers an unrestrained flow of weapons to the Kiev regime, but also hosts training of AFU and nationalist battalions, providing the Ukrainian forces with intelligence for target designation and even authorizing strikes against specific targets with Western weapons...the collective West openly declares a goal of dealing a “strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield” and backs up these reckless claims with no less reckless steps."
Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on arms deliveries to Ukraine, 29 June 2023

"...the West using Ukraine as a tool to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. We can generalise this as a hybrid war against our country. Why is it a hybrid war? Because it is being waged by proxy: the West is doing it under the colours of another country and in using the political capabilities and figures it has planted in that country in advance.

The campaign includes a wide range of trade wars against Russia, which were unleashed long before it, as well as an information aggression against our country, with the latest technologies used to exert information and psychological pressure on Russians..."
Maria Zakharova 6 December 2023

"Up until now there has been the uproar and screaming about inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield. Now they are apparently coming to realize that it is difficult to achieve, if possible at all. In my opinion, it is impossible by definition, it is never going to happen"
Vladimir Putin 9 February 2024

The great irony is that the United States and western governments have inflicted a "strategic defeat" on Ukraine, not Russia. Ukraine is socially and politically in disarray, it's economy seriously damaged, its manpower depleted, its political duplicity exposed, the fact of being controlled by other countries exposed, the puppet nature of the current President exposed, Ukraines's inability to respond to simmering popular anger laid bare.

The west has also failed to inflict a strategic military defeat on Russia in the sphere of 'strategic stability' - mutually balanced nuclear weapons deployment.

The US, via US and NATO country weaponry, was 'in charge' of a strategy to seriously degrade Russia's non-nuclear military capacity. Russia's nuclear weapons dominance would be handled by the USA. NATO nuclear tipped cruise missiles placed in the countries around Russia - the 'rimland' - when combined with co-located anti missile complexes, would ensure USA/NATO could launch a preemptive decapitating low-yield nuclear strike on Russia in the dead of night. Alternatively, nuclear capable bombers in NATO countries would make a coordinated surprise attack on the Russian Federation under cover of a NATO training exercise.

Iran's strategic defeat of USA in the Middle East  Added 19 April 2024. Edited 3 May 2024

The USA has been trying to overthrow the Iranian government for decades. It, as usual, wants a compliant government so that American businesses can make money exploiting Iran's raw materials. The US government wants to control Mackinder's 'rimland', blocking the Eurasian 'heartland' from the sea and 'containing it. Iran is a 'rimland' country. And the USA wants to be able to keep the people of the region divided against each other, because war and fear of war creates a lucrative market for the arms industry and the 1% 'ers who become immensely wealthy from its taxpayer guaranteed profits. The arms industry kicks some of it's taxpayer-pumped profits to the campaigns of US politicians, and the benefits spread also to the inflated salaries of top military careerists, who gratefully loudly promote "more war", "more arms", in return.

The US government used their puppet Saddam Hussein to prosecute a war on Iran that lasted a very profitable 9 years, and resulted in around 200,000 Iranian deaths, with 1,000 of those deaths being from chemical poisoning from Iraqi chemical weapons. (Much of the chemical precursors and manufacturing equipment came from the West.) US arms were sent directly to Iraq from Israel, and US private arms dealers sold Soviet weapons to Iraq (sourced from East European suppliers).

Iran, under-developed and lacking a significant coherent modern arms industry, was unable to confront the US government directly, and could only supply manpower and training to Hezbollah, the Lebanese citizen army confronting Israeli murderous incursion into Lebanese territory.

Today, Iran now has the technical and industrial capacity to supply arms to Hezbollah and, to some extent Yemen. But it's arms industry still remains - at this time - the faintest shadow of the huge western arms industry.

Against this background, seeing Iran as weak, successive US governments have continued economic coercion on Iran, and they have used Israel as a government terrorist organisation to try to destabilise Iran politically. The events of April 2024 have now put an end to US meddling in Iran. Iran has inflicted a strategic defeat on the USA - and therefore Israel, the US proxy for US wrongful state terrorist acts. And this strategic defeat has been imposed on USA and Israel without losing a single Iranian soldier.

"To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the pinnacle of skill."

"Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack."

Sun Tzu  Chinese general and military theorist 'The Art of War' c.400–320 bc
Israeli-US defence of their most sensitive and secret military-technical missile and intelligence complex was believed to be invincible. It proved to be 'almost' invincible. Almost. But even an initial penetration rate of 1% is enough when heavy missiles are involved. 'Almost' isn't good enough. The USA is not invincible. Israel is vunerable.

Israel is a proxy of the US Edited 22 May 2024

Those who count on such assistance should recall the sad experience of all leaders of countries that had relied on the United States. As soon as the situation changed, Washington remorselessly left those leaders to their own devices and launched a new stage of its selfish policy."
Sergey Lavrov 5 November 2023

Israel is a willing tool of US government coercive policy. As Joseph Biden has several times said "if Israel didn't exist we would have to invent it". Israeli agents are instrumental in doing the US government's illegal dirty work, including terrorist attacks on Iran. Israel has murdered several Iranian nuclear scientists, and almost routinely murders Iranian military advisors working with the Syrian government to resist the terrorists the US government placed there. The US acted out of character to 'go it alone' and murder Mr. Soleimani, a top Iranian military figure - and indeed diplomatic passport holder - who was largely responsible for organising the fight against the ISIS takeover of Iraq. Iran responded to the premeditated US attack with pre-notified extremely accurate missile attacks on the US base in Iraq that the drone was launched from. The US government - to date - appears to have learned its lesson and has not carried out another state terrorist attack on Iran since. Or at least not an overt one. Israel, the US proxy, learned nothing from the Iranian deterrent response. This isn't surprising, given the character of the current Israeli political class.

This character is exploited by the US government political class - the entire class is wedded to a bizarro 'Rube Goldberg machine' where, while the machine is, like Goldberg's, "deviously complex", it is, unlike Goldberg's machines, highly practical. This machine is designed to transfer money from US taxpayers to American politicians, their hangers-on and has-beens via the US military. The Presidents men (CIA and various 'security agencies') help create crises in smaller countries, US military start bombing, the US Senate and Congress back the aggression, the military industrial financial industries ramp up war materiels and try out new military technologies, the industries such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon make a lot of money, some of this goes to US politicians as donations, and a great deal more to shareholders - among which are the US political class. Every bomb is a profit center.

Summarised, it is an elaborate taxpayer bleeding machine in the ultimate interests of the US vampire elite.

The worse disaster for politicians is when a war or conflict ends. When the Korean conflicted ended, the American war on Vietnam was launched. When that ended, the wars in Iraq were instigated, when that wound down a war on Afghanistan was launched, when that ended a war on Russia (via Ukraine) was launched. That has failed. NATO requires a fear mongered Europe, an operation in full cry. NATO is largely US, as all weapons systems must be compatible, with US a major standard setter. Ultimately, that too will fade as NATO countries see how inadequate US weapon systems are when in a real war (Ukraine conflict), from Patriots to Abrahams. Yet a war on China is impossible - for a long list of reasons.

All that is left is some minor profits from bombing a tiny area of Palestine into oblivion, using its Israeli proxy. The oil offshore Gaza may be a useful addition to the oil the US is stealing from Syria, but, to be honest, it is 'small beer' in the overall scheme of things. Israel is the US politcal classes last stand - unless it can provoke Israel to Attack Iran. A proxy war on Iran using Israel would be very profitable for the US - but won't last long.

Both Ukraine and Israel share some common characteristics that make them useful tools in the hands of the US government. Both governments are dominated by ideologically driven 'hard right' politicians. Both administrations behave arrogantly and impetuously. Both are convinced of their own superiority as a people. Both suppress resident populations that don't share the ruling groups ideology and language. Both have a history of brutality to civilians. Both have a tendency to bite their masters hand. Both ignore international law when it suits them.

Both governments are paid well by the US government for their very considerable - if not entirely faithful - services.

And both Ukraine and Israel are the US government's last trump card. Only these two irrational actors can be relied on to continue to recklessly pursue a failed US government cause - the overthrow of the Russian and Iranian governments. Ukraine is on the cusp of realising the awful truth - it has been used by the US government and, as the project has failed, Ukraine has been tossed aside. Having made it's money from weapon sales and Ukrainian agricultural asset acquisition, the US will soon walk away without a backward glance. Ukraine's recourse to state terrorism has been severely punished, by reciprocal strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and through a 'targeted hunt and kill' program directed against the state and private military (including NATO officers and technicians working in Ukraine) who ordered and directed the attacks. Those not punished on the battlefield will be found and punished in Russian courts or otherwise.

Instead of learning from Russia's actions, and returning to compliance with the United Nations Charter (Israel is a signatory), Israel spat on international law and killed Iranian diplomats and staff and also destroyed an Iranian diplomatic premises. This is an act of state terrorism and, under International law, grounds for Iran to declare war on Israel. It was a very deliberate and outrageous escalation of Israels long running direct and proxy attacks on Iranian officials.

Iran's lawful response to the Israeli state terrorist act

First, Iran took the complaint to the UN Security Council, as the UN Charter requires.

Second, Iran proposed to the Security Council that it would forgo it's right of response if the UN Security Council did two things. First, denounce Israel's terrorist attack on Iran's diplomats in the strongest possible terms; second, resolve to demand Israel hand over the Israelis who prepared and carried out the attack. The demand was legal, complying with existing international law on suppression of terrorism. The demand was reasonable in the circumstances, it was realistic, and it could be easily met. Israel should have assessed the risk of not handing over the culprits would be far greater than the risk from unhappy domestic political reactions. The Security Council neither condemned the attack nor demanded the criminals be handed over (due to veto by the US).

" As the majority of the members of the Security Council declared at the April 2 meeting here, the attack was a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the Vienna Conventions, and thus is strongly condemned.

Regrettably, the Security Council, has not taken any action during the past months to our official and repeated requests to prevent further attacks by the Israeli regime on Iran's interests, and official military counter-terrorism counselors; due to the unfortunate and completely  irresponsible behavior of the United States, the UK and France, in response to this illegal attack, this council failed even to issue a mere statement containing a simple condemnation!"
Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran 19 April 2024

The Israeli aggression was on 1 April 2024. As the UN Security Council did not act, Iran was left with the choice of ignoring the attack or making a response. Israel is fully aware of Iran's new hypersonic missile capability. Yet Israel crossed all Iranian red lines - wilfully, like a reckless child. Israel must have known Iran would have to respond, but presumably Israel was trying to use moral coercion to persuade the USA government to launch a war of aggression on Iran.

Iran's policy on those who cross it's lawful red lines is the same as Russia's - militarily punish those who gave the orders, planned and carried out the attack, whether directly or by the use of proxies. These figures are the military and secret service arms of government, not diplomats and top government figures. Iran had previously punished the US military for the murder of the Iranian military and diplomatic figure Major General Qassem Soleimani. The US Ayn al-Assad base in Iraq from which the attack was launched was given a demonstration of Iranian power. The Iranians targeting accurately avoided killing US military personnel, as this was a coercion stage 3 demonstration of intent to violently resist US coercion in future, as well as a credible demonstration of Iran's military capacity, particularly its ability to make accurate strikes. It showed Iran's determination to resist USA violence, but using a minimum of military force against US servicemen on the ground.

Those who ordered and those who planned the murder have not been forgotten. Arrest warrants are still in force for the then US President (Trump) and Secretary of State (Pompeo), Head of CENTCOM (General Kenneth Franklin McKenzie), and 30 or so other US officials involved in the murder of the Iranian diplomat. If Trump becomes President the warrant will probably be suspended for the duration of his presidency, until such time as he is simply a US citizen once again.

Iran had no choice but to move to level three of coercive diplomacy - use of limited and proportional military-technical force to change the regimes future hostile and illegal behaviour. In essence, it demands a permanent change in the Israeli extreme right wing regime policy, even if it doesn't demand a change in regime. The intention is to physically demonstrate a will to escalate if Israeli behaviour does not change. It is not an attempt to militarily 'defeat' Israel.

Military defeat of Israel-USA would require to change the nature of its engagement. It would require Iran to use a modified strategy involving a wider scope, immensely larger scale, and different choice and timing of targets (locally and internationally).

Iran's Deterrence Signal to Israel and the US

Iran signaled almost everything. It signaled it would be a military response. It signaled it would involve drone, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. It stated it would be limited in scope and time. It stated it would regard this strike as being a proportionally suitable, and was a final and satisfactory punishment for Israels immediate and previous crimes. It stated it would avoid civilian casualties and civilian infrastructure. It gave 72 hours prior notice of the strike.

As required by Article 51 of the UN Charter, Iran, as a law abiding member, gave the Security Council immediate notice of the measures it took in self defense.

"Upon instructions from my Government and pursuant to our letter dated 1 April 2024 concerning the Israeli regime's armed attacks against the diplomatic premises of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Damascus, the Syrian Arab Republic, which led to the martyrdom of seven Iranian senior military advisories (A/78/838-S/2024/281), I would like to inform you that, in the late hours of 13 April 2024, the Islamic Republic of Iran carried out a series of military strikes on Israeli military objectives.

          This action was in the exercise of Iran’s inherent right to self-defense as outlined in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, and in response to the Israeli recurring military aggressions, particularly its armed attack on 1st April 2024 against Iranian diplomatic premises, in the defiance of Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations.

          Regrettably, the United Nations Security Council has failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security, allowing the Israeli regime to transgress red lines and violate the fundamental principles of international law. Such violations have exacerbated tensions in the region and threatened regional and international peace and security.

           As a responsible Member of the United Nations, the Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and international law, and reiterates its consistent position that it does not seek escalation or conflict in the region.

          While warning about any further military provocations by the Israeli regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran reaffirms its unwavering determination to defend its people, national security and interests, sovereignty, and territorial integrity against any threat or acts of aggression and to respond to any such threat or aggressions vigorously and in accordance with international law.

             The Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate to exercise its inherent right of self-defense when required. Should the Israeli regime commit any military aggression again, Iran’s response will assuredly and decisively be stronger, and more resolute.

          I should be grateful if you would circulate the present letter as a document of the Security Council."
Ambassadors Letter to UNSC Regarding Irans Response to Israeli Regimes Aggressions 13 April 2024

"Mr. President,

No member state  -- I repeat -- "no member state " would ever remain silent in the face of such a brazen and serious military attack on its Embassy, which is considered a symbol of its sovereignty as well as the killing of its officially-assigned diplomat agents.

For the purpose of preventing the escalation of tension, considering the regional situation and giving opportunity to the role of the United Nations, the Islamic Republic of Iran, until recently showed considerable restraint against other terrorist missile attacks of the Israeli regime. When we saw repeated greenlight of the White House to the continued Isrtaeli regime crimes and murder in the light of the continuous inaction of the Security Council to stop the Israeli attacks, we could no longer exercise patience against attacks to our embassy and sovereignty.  

Therefore, Iran's military response on 13 of April, was first and foremost, absolutely necessary because Iran had no other alternative;

Secondly, it was not premeditated ab initio but was carried out in response to a series of attacks and recurring aggressions by the Israeli regime on Iran's interests, especially on our Embassy in Syria;

Thirdly, Iran’s response took place in the fulfillment of Iran's right to legitimate defense under international law;

Fourthly, Iran’s response considered the criterion of non-aggression to civilian people and places;

And fifthly, Iran’s response was directed solely on two military bases of the Israeli regime used in the attack on our Embassy, and therefore it was completely limited and proportionate in terms of scope and military requirements.

Moreover, since it was clear that the supporters of the Israeli regime ...would definitely assist the regime in neutralizing the Iranian attack, our legitimate defense was put up to ensure we achieve our objective.

The calculated and accurate design of our attack which carried a message and was limited and minimal within the framework of the international law and legitimate defense as well as the damages incurred on military targets and non-aggression to civilian areas by the armed forces of my country guaranteed the proportionality and accuracy of our assessment in exactly hitting the target. 

I emphasize that Iran's legitimate defense and proportionate and counter action have terminated. Therefore, the Israeli regime must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests.

Certainly, in case of any use of force and aggression by the Israeli regime against the Iranian interests, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate a bit to
exercise its inherent right to give a decisive, strong and immediate response to it to make the regime fully regret its actions. This is an unchangeable decision.

I would like to make it abundantly clear with a loud voice from New York that Iran has always been a positive part of regional developments particularly in stabilizing peace and lasting security, including the fight against terrorism, and will have no reservations  and we will not compromise at all with any party over our national security and interests as well as the collective security in the sensitive region of West Asia."
Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran 19 April 2024

After its response, Iran notified the UN Security Council of the actions it took and why it took them, as is required by article 51 of the United Nations Charter. It advised the United Nations Security Council of its resolve to defend itself in future against any further breach of the peace by Israel. It further advised the United Nations Security Council that if Israel attacked Iran militarily Iran would reply with a stronger, and, more importantly, "decisive" response. 'Decisive' implies that the nature and result of the military response would be so damaging to Israel that Israel would be too afraid of Iran to in future make any decision that crossed Iran's red lines. This is fully in line with the doctrine of escalation - that is, if a proportional and limited military response does not bring the opponent to negotiation through the UN, then, if the opponent escalates with further significant aggressions, the military retaliation should be maximal and decisive.

Strategic defeat of Israel

Recall, a 'strategic defeat' boiled down to the defeat of the opponent through the application of various strategies - economic strangling, greater military threat, or potent direct military engagement coupled with an ability to endure and outlast. 

A strategic defeat results in an enduring advantage to the victor. It is generally an economic advantage. In Iran's case it increases Iran's ability to develop it's economy and trade relations in peace. A strategic defeat generally seriously degrades the opponents ability to wage war. In the case of Israel, it remains fully able to engage in war with Iran, but Iran's military potential and resource/logistics base is such that - given Israel's small country size -  Israel would be destroyed as a viable Jewish nation. Bear in mind that Iran's 2021 exercise practicing a strike on the Dimona nuclear facility (allegedly the site producing and/or storing Israeli nuclear weapons) only differed from a real attack was a change in the angle and trajectory of the missiles, at least according to Major General Hossein Salami.

Israeli aircraft have a limited ability to reach within striking distance of Iran (the US recently supplied a few extended range F16's), and Iran has its own anti-aircraft missile defense systems the
Khordad 15 and Bavar-373. The Bavar system is similar in range and capablities to Russia's most advanced versions of the S300, with the latest Bavar version able to detect targets as far away as 450 kilometers away - including Israeli stealth F35 jets - as well as track 60 targets at once. The Bavar system's Sayyad 4B missile able to hit drones, ballistic missiles and fighter jets, including F35s. Iran also has Russian S-200 and S-300, which are still formidable systems, and the S-300, in particular, may have been upgraded to near .S-400 level.

Iran's layered air defenses include at least 3 mid range (up to 200 kilometers), the most recently developed of which (the Arman), which can defeat short-range ballistic rockets such as the US ATACMS, the Israeli predator Hawk, and the Russian Iskander; as well as both guided and unguided glide bombs (as used by Israel in its Gaza campaign of genocide).  Any that penetrate the mid layer then face the short range layer of defensive missiles, which includes at least 3 types (
Azarakhsh, Majid and Zoubin). The Azarakhsh is an advanced and flexible system designed to bring down slow moving drones and quadcopters and other types of aerial threats. It is used to protect important military-economic installations, but the mobile version can be deployed at short notice anywhere. It is integrated into Irans overall missile defense network.

Iran has relatively few fighter aircraft, around 20 Iranian-upgraded legacy F-14's, some Su-24's, maybe 20 or so Iranian upgraded Mig-29 Fulcrums. (The Mig-29's have been upgraded so that they can be refueled in flight by Irans
707 and 747 tankers to allow a greater operational range.) Overall aircraft have a limited value in Iran's air defense.

But Iran builds all it's own missiles and anti-missile systems - unlike Israel, which must import missiles as well as many of the missile components used in those missiles it does produce domestically. Iran's manufacturing facilities have been working hard to produce extremely large numbers of indigenously manufactured ballistic missiles, and presumably, air-defense missiles. (A senior Iranian official once commented that Iran churns out endless numbers of ballistic missiles "like cigars".)

A small number of these ballistic missiles were used by Iran in it's coordinated strike on the 13th of April. The separate waves of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles all arrived in Israel at the same time. They overwhelmed the US-Israeli layered defense, and 7 of 9 ballistic missiles hit their target - two elaborately protected airbases in the Negev desert. It appears some of the ballistic missiles had warheads that had the ability to maneuver and release decoy chaff as they entered the more vulnerable terminal phase, which coupled with their speed, made them unstoppable. And these weren't even Iran's most advanced and powerful missiles.

The areas the missiles hit are protected by the most advanced layered missile-radar-targeting complexes in the western world.

"On the night of 13-14 April 2024...Iranian missiles rained down on Israel, and there was nothing Israel could do to stop them....Iranian missiles, integrated into a plan of attack which was designed to overwhelm Israeli missile defense systems, struck designated targets inside Israel with impunity.

Despite having employed an extensive integrated anti-missile defense system comprised of the so-called “Iron Dome” system, US-made Patriot missile batteries, and the Arrow and David’s Sling missile interceptors, along with US, British, and Israeli aircraft, and US and French shipborne anti-missile defenses, well over a dozen Iranian missiles struck heavily-protected Israeli airfields and air defense installations."
Scott Ritter, Military Analyst and writer 'The Missiles of April' 14 April 2024

In effect, Iran proved it could do as much or as little damage to Israel as it wished at any time that it wished, and in any part of Israel that it wished. Israel has some of its strategically important structures in civilian area (and at least one facility on the roof of a hospital), but Iran has demonstrated the ability to land precise strikes. As it did with its retaliation to the US terrorist attack that murdered Soleimani, the strikes were very deliberately targeted at areas and structures of the bases unlikely to have staff present. Iran's missiles don't yet have the range to reach the US mainland, so a punitive strike against the military that ordered and directed the attack wasn't possible. But the Iranians did attack and destroy the Israeli facility in the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights that was instrumental in targeting and directing the attack. The Israelis have said nothing about this strike, and neither have the US, so it is uncertain if staff directly complicit in the terrorist 'hit' on the Iranian diplomats were killed or not. Given the 'laws' of retaliation require a mirror or proportional response in the first phase, then it seems to me it is likely Iran killed some of those who launched or guided the strike that killed the Iranian diplomats. But, just as nothing has been said about Russia's deadly strike on the underground facility in Ukraine that likely contained NATO staff involved in planning an attack on Crimea, so nothing will be said about Israeli casualties at the Israeli Golan Heights military-intelligence site.

Obviously, Iran has imposed what should be a powerful factor of deterrence on Israel. Israel can do nothing to change this situation (short of a nuclear attack from Israeli nuclear armed submarines), and thus has suffered a conventionally armed strategic defeat.

Further, Israels claim it will escalate once again and strike Iran for exercising it's self defense deterrent strike implies that Iran should, under a postulate that when an attack on a country is inevitable and imminent - as  Israel has publicly announced - then a preemptive strike in self defense is permissible under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Such a preemptive strike would be both maximal and decisive. Iran has held back the means to inflict massive damage on Israel. Israel knows it. Setting aside Israeli use of nuclear weapons, Iran currently has escalation dominance because it has a closed arms industry, access to mineral resources, land based supply lines, a relatively self reliant economy outside the west, and an ability to choke off almost all shipping to Israel. And its allies, if necessary.

Israel cannot, and will not ever again make a credible strike on Iran or its lawful interests anywhere (military and other staff officially deployed abroad, pipelines, transport, ports, rail lines, oil and gas facilities and so on).

A new balance of power in the Middle East

If Israel escalates and meaningfully attacks Iran - as it publicly said it would - Iran could reply by attacking Israeli forces illegally stationed in Syria's Golan heights, amongst other targets. Such as attack would have to be decisive. Such a large scale missile attack opens the door to Syria liberating its Golan territory from the ground - probably with Iran providing a constant supply of rocket and missile munitions. The illegal occupation of Syria by the US based in nearby Al Tanf will be forced to end. Once the Golan is free, the backdoor to the possibility of an imposed establishment of a fair division of historic Palestine is open. This is just one of many possible scenarios, but what all scenarios have in common is destruction of Israels military-industrial potential.

On the 19th of April 2024, a few drones allegedly attacked several areas of Iran. The drones were said to be shot down by Iran. No damage was done. Israel did not claim responsibility, and Iran said they did not intend to respond to Israel for what was not much more than a petulant symbolic act of no effect. The Iranian foreign Minister when asked for his comment on the attack brushed it off, saying simply "what attack?". Prior to Iran's retaliatory military response Iran asked Russia to tell Israel that Iran had no wish to escalate.

"After Iran’s response to the unacceptable strike at its consular office in Damascus where people were killed, there were contacts between the leaders of Russia and Iran as well as between our and Israeli representatives.  We clearly recorded in these conversations the idea that Iran does not want escalation. We conveyed this idea to the Israelis.

Iran cannot fail to respond to the flagrant violations of international law and the status of its diplomatic office but it doesn’t want escalation.

Practically all specialists qualified Iran’s answer in this way. Judging by everything, Israel’s yet another response on the facilities in Isfahan was much in the same manner".
Sergey Lavrov 19 April 2024

It is notable that the Iranian Permanent Representative to the United Nations had previously referred to Israel's attack on its diplomats as an "International wrongful act". This is a term used in the Law of State Responsibility.

"Following the Israeli regime's cowardly terrorist and armed attack against our diplomatic premises in Damascus the Syrian Arab Republic, on the first of April, we notified the UN Security Council and Secretary-General of such international wrongful acts as well as of Iran’s inherent right under international law to respond to such terrorist armed attacks (A/78/838-S/2024/281)."
Amir Saeid Iravani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 15 April 2024 

The implication is that at some point Iran will sue Israel for compensation. From now on, Israel will have to obey international law when it comes to Iran.

Why is Iran's strike is a strategic defeat of the US in the Middle East

The US now faces the fact that its best missile defenses can be reliably breached by Iran. The US cannot attack Iran with aircraft unless it is prepared to see a large number of them shot down. It cannot use the bases in the Middle East to attack Iran because the UAE, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia won't allow it. Even if those countries did allow it, Iran would attack those bases with ballistic missiles and destroy them. Now the US is forced to use Cyprus, or aircraft carriers standing off at least 2,000 kilometers. Missiles launched towards Iran from that distance will invite an immediate reply by Iran, probably attacking US bases in Israel and the Middle East.

Iran has also imposed deterrence on USA. There is nothing the US can do to change any of these facts (short of a nuclear attack from US nuclear armed submarines), and thus has suffered a conventionally armed strategic defeat in the Middle East.

US escalation - the threat of tactical nuclear weapons Edited 8 May 2024

"But with regard to — I — I don’t think there’s any real prospect — you never know — but of — of Putin using nuclear weapons.  Not only has the West, but China and the rest of the world has said, “That’s — don’t go there.  Don’t go there.”
Joseph Biden, President of the United States of America, 13 July 2023 

"Question: And the final question: is this it? Are we on the verge of World War III?

Sergey Lavrov: Better ask President Biden that. He was the one who said that the only alternative to a new sanctions package is a ‘third world war’.

That’s a strange way of thinking.

...Last June in Geneva, he and President Putin once again reaffirmed what the US and the USSR leaders stated back in 1980s: in a nuclear war, everybody loses, so it must never happen. In January 2022, all five leaders of the permanent member-states of the UN Security Council signed a collective statement expressing the same idea.

So, if you ask a person if there was an alternative to sanctions, and his only alternative is war, he must realise that World War III could only be fought with nuclear weapons.

But our Western partners couldn’t let go of their old habits if they believe this could happen in spite of all five permanent UNSC members declaring they are against it."
Sergey Lavrov 2 March 2022

Sergey Lavrov, of course, is referring to the USA use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in world war 2. The alternative to illegal sanctions can be expressed in a single word. Stop .Mr.Lavrov's remark is also a reference to the USA constantly not only ignoring international law when it suits them, but also constantly breaking their word - even a signed statement made in a venue like the United Nations Security Council. Their signature means nothing.

"...we totally, almost totally forget about the reality of nuclear the past, every national leader and every national government that had custody of nuclear weapons came to the conclusion and absorbed the fundamental truth that they served no utilitarian function.

And that the overriding, the imperative was to avoid situations not only in which they were used as part of some calculated military strategy, but to avoid situations in which circumstances might develop where...they would use them because of accident, misjudgment, or something of the sort.

...[Joe Biden] seems to be in a state, hard to describe, in which certainly...could permit the kind of encounter with the Russians that all his predecessors avoided. the kind of encounter where it is which nuclear weapons might be somehow resorted to in some uncalculating...way. And you see that, by the way, in articles published in places like Foreign Affairs and other respectable journals, by defense intellectuals...

...there are people of some note who are writing and talking along these lines, and some of them are neocons of note, like Robert Kagan, Victoria Nuland, ...and others of that ilk. And so, yes, this is pathological, and therefore really leads us into territory I don’t think we’ve ever been in or experienced before."

Professor Michael J. Brenner, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, former Director of the International Relations & Global Studies University of Texas, 15 April 2022

The USA government considers that Russia won't use nuclear weapons. The context was Ukraine, the unspoken subtext was NATO members. My opinion - it is no more than that - is that the assessment is likely correct. But the US government's assessment lacks nuance.

Yes, Russia will likely use hypersonic Khinzal cruise missiles rather than tactical nuclear weapons. They have as said as much. Hypersonic weapons will likely be used in Eurasia, the 'Heartland', and where Russian people live. Obviously, Russia doesn't want nuclear fallout on the Heartland soil.

Russia is extremely unlikely to use nuclear weapons on mainland United States - except if the USA government launches a nuclear attack on Russia. And the USA government probably won't do that. But the USA government is clearly medium-term aiming to incite European nations (and Japan) to hold US tactical nuclear weapons on their soil, nuclear bombs launchable by advanced F16's and by F35-A's. This is very obvious. The US styles this as 'deterrence', but really it is a form of coercion - blackmail, actually.

Russian conventional hypersonic weapons are already threatening the United States mainland with a flight time to target that matches the short flight time of USA cruise missiles launched from submarines off the Russian coast. Soon the US west coast and interior will be threatend with low radar profile long distance hypersonic cruise missiles - also air launched.

But the US arogates to itself the right to launch a cruise missile suprise attack on Russia, while threatening that if Russia responds with hypersonic cruise missiles, then the USA will attack Russia with nuclear weapons. The US government's 27 October 2022 National Defense Strategy says that if any "adversary" - which is a code word for the Russian Federation  - attempts to "achieve strategic results with conventional capabilities" then the US would think about how 'active' and 'passive' measures might be used to decrease the risk of a strike against critical infrastructure. The example the document gives is the use of "cruise missiles" to strike critical infrastructure.

A 'strategic' strike is an intercontinental strike. That is, a strike on the US mainland. "Conventional capabilities" is an ambiguous term, but probably means conventional cruise missiles that don't follow a ballistic trajectory. 'Active' measures means, presumably, anti-missile defense systems, such as the US Patriot system. Perhaps 'passive' measures includes electronic warfare. The main concern is 'critical infrastructure'. This because submarines - the most likely weapons launch platform for conventional cruise missiles  - have a finite capacity. Any damage done to military infrastructure could relatively quickly repaired.

The US policy on using nuclear weapons in a war says "consistent with prior reviews, our nuclear strategy accounts for existing and emerging non-nuclear threats with potential strategic effect for which nuclear weapons are necessary to deter...nuclear weapons are required to deter not only nuclear attack, but also a narrow range of other high-consequence, strategic level attacks. This is a prudent approach given the current security environment and how it could further evolve."

Non-nuclear high-consequence strategic-level attacks refers primarily to hypersonic missiles with conventional munitions. The 'allies' of course, are NATO countries. Europe must be confident the anti-missile shield the USA is building around Russia's borders will work. It will to a limited extent. It will be helpless against hypersonic cruise missiles, which are the missiles that would be used in Europe, were that necessary. In other words, the anti-missile defense shield in Europe is a US weapons manufacturers profit centre, not much more.

"Allies must be confident that the United States is willing and able to deter the range of strategic threats they face, and mitigate the risks they will assume in a crisis or conflict"

Ukraine shows that the USA can do little 'to mitigate the risks', because mitigate really refers to air defense, and the USA Patriot air defenses have proven to be inadequate against Russian hypersonic missiles. Thus the USA must default to it's position it will use nuclear weapons if attacked with hypersonic missiles.

The US government claims  "Modernising US nuclear forces is key to assuring Allies that the United States is committed and capable of deterring the range of threats US nuclear strategy addresses." Apart from modernising its intercontinental ballistic nuclear weapons the US government is gambling on arming all US NATO fighter aircraft stationed in Europe with 'tactical' nuclear weapons. This creates the risk of a widespread preemptive nuclear strike on Russia.  A completely unacceptable risk. The idea was to create a threat to coercively 'force' Russia to negotiate a new Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a treat which the USA unilaterally pulled out of in 2019.   

As the United States is the perpetrator of these coercive threat arrangements, Russia has had to engineer a similar threat to the United States in retaliation. One instrument, the Sarmat nuclear missile, can attack the USA from a direction where there are no antimissile defenses. It's warhead may contain multiple conventional and/or nuclear strike vehicles. And just as the American fighter launched bombs nuclear glide bombs can be varied to drop 'dialable' high to low yield bombs, bombs designed to attack underground bunkers, ground  level burst, or air burst bombs, so can the bombs on the Sarmat. Russia has also introduced hypersonic cruise missiles capable of being fired from Russian territory and hitting mainland USA. These can be armed with conventional munitions or tactical nuclear weapons

The "employment" of nuclear weapons claimed by the US to have been vetted by lawyers to ensure it complies with the Law of Armed Conflict. The US Law of War Manual is supposed to reflect the Law of Armed Conflict, which also forms US national law. The DoD Law of War Manual recognises that "[t]he law of war governs the use of nuclear weapons, just as it governs the use of nuclear weapons, just as it governs the use of conventional weapons". The Americans make the cynical statement "longstanding US policy is to not purposely threaten civilian populations or objects, and the United States will not intentionally target civilian populations or objects in violation of LOAC."

If deterrence fails, the USA government says it will use it's "flexible nuclear capabilities" ('dial-a-blast) "to achieve our objectives should the President conclude that the employment of nuclear weapons is necessary". Naturally, if used against Russia or a Russian ally, the USA mainland will receive a response, which may or may not be a nuclear response.

The US President dictates the policy and strategy with regard to use of nuclear weapons. If the US uses a nuclear weapon "the United States would seek to end any conflict at the lowest level of damage possible on the best achievable terms for the United States and its Allies and partners.

It is also a further extension of the concept of using East Europeans as a proxy of the USA government to fight Russia on the US government's behalf. All the risk remains in Europe (and Japan). The costs to USA are minimal. The profits to USA are good.

Deaths and injuries suffered by 'combatants' (if that is the correct term for victims of a tactical nuclear attack) are not worth mentioning. 'They' suffer "over there'. 'We' enjoy our calm life, very far from the harm we incite. But coercion, including tactical nuclear weapon coercion, I suggest, has now gone as far as it can go. Europe is now protected from the incompetence of the servile European politicians not by weapons, but the maturity, decency, and patience of the top Russian politicians and career diplomats who very carefully manage and calibrate retaliation to the wests reckless escalation.

"The conditions for Russia's use of nuclear weapons are clearly defined in our Military Doctrine. They are well known, and I will not repeat them once again.

At the same time, I would like to draw attention to the fact that the United States and its NATO satellites are creating risks of a direct armed clash with Russia, and this is fraught with catastrophic consequences.

Just one example of an extremely dangerous turn of events is the United States plans to transfer F-16 fighter jets to the Kiev regime.

We have informed the nuclear powers, the United States, Britain and France, that Russia cannot ignore the ability of these aircraft to carry nuclear weapons. No amount of assurances will help here.

In the course of combat operations, our servicemen are not going to sort out whether each particular aircraft of this type is equipped to deliver nuclear weapons or not.

We will regard the very fact that the Ukrainian armed forces have such systems as a threat from the West in the nuclear sphere
Sergey Lavrov 13 July 2023

"The US-made F-16 multirole fighters are expected to be deployed in the Ukrainian war theatre soon. Russia has pointed out on numerous occasions that we cannot disregard the fact that the F-16 is a “dual-capable” aircraft that can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons. The aircraft of this class formed the core of the pool used for NATO’s “joint nuclear missions.” No matter the modification of these aircraft, we will regard them as nuclear-capable and will view this action by the United States and NATO as a deliberate provocation.

In this connection, we have taken special notice of the Polish leaders’ statements that Warsaw has deliberately and in practical terms asked Washington to consider deploying nuclear weapons in Poland."
Foreign Ministry statement on the Russian Armed Forces’ exercises held to practice for the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons 6 May 2024 

Deployment of tactical nuclear weapons near Russia's border is the ultimate, and terminal escalation. To re-iterate, it means any European nuclear-capable F16 (or other nuclear capable fighter) approaching the Russian border can be considered to be a nuclear aggression threat. The fighter threat will become even more acute as pilotless remote controlled fighters and drone-bomber hybrids become a reality. Any NATO exercise somewhat near Russia could be considered a facade hiding a genuine decapitating attack on Russia by massed tactical nuclear weapons. The recent NATO summit re-affirmed NATO's intention to provoke Russia.

"NATO and Allies will continue to undertake necessary, calibrated, and coordinated activities, including by exercising relevant plans."
NATO Vilnius Summit Communiqué 11 July 2023

In a recent military 'exercise' the USA government ordered its nuclear bombers to practice flying a nuclear bombing run at Russia, coming to within 20 kilometers of the Russian border. Bear in mind that glide bomb technology is constantly advancing, and these bombs may have increasingly greater ranges. Imagine what would happen if Russia did the same to the US?

What will Russia do when or if the USA government fully achieves its plan to distribute nuclear capable fighter aircraft to countries adjacent to Russia's borders? What will Russia do when the west 'assures' Russia the bomb slung under each of these aircrafts is a dummy nuclear bomb, and it is just a training run? Well, if you read the new doctrine on self defense outlined by Sergey Lavrov on 19 June 2023, you might have an inkling. It's worth repeating:

"I would like to focus on important innovations in our conceptual interpretation of the acceptable conditions for the use of force in self-defence.  We have confirmed our commitment to Art. 51 of the UN Charter. President of Russia Vladimir Putin once again stressed this at his meeting with African delegations in St Petersburg on June 17.

... We have introduced a new postulate on it being possible to use the Armed Forces not only to rebuff but also prevent an armed attack on Russia or its allies, if this armed attack is absolutely inevitable.

Thereby we unequivocally let potential aggressors know that Russia will resolutely defend its right and the right of our allies to free and safe development."
Sergey Lavrov 19 June 2023 

Russia's allies are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Russia cannot know if nuclear capable aircraft carry a nuclear bomb as they approach within glide-bomb range of the Russian border. Given the wests clear statement they are at war with Russia and want to defeat Russia, then the worst interpretation must be put on such an approaching aircraft. After all, they know Russia's fear of unannounced nuclear strike from across the border. Russia knows the USA government readily uses proxy forces to attack it. Russia knows the USA government believes the Russian government won't use nuclear weapons against mainland USA. But Russia has publicly laid out it's red lines, including the main one - it will not tolerate the threat of an unstoppable USA nuclear surprise attack from adjacent land.

Russia doesn't have to worry about a nuclear attack by its European neighbours. Russia's dual hypersonic/nuclear cruise missiles have a range that allows them to be launched by SU34 from within Russia. Currently, the SU34 has been fitted to take a hypersonic cruise missile with a range of 4,500 kilometers. Any part of Europe can easily be struck, and as there are currently 150 SU34's in service - and more being produced "like hot cakes" , according to military expert Andrei Martyanov, the Wests problem of striking them before takeoff is insurmountable. They are almost like a swarm of nuclear-capable drones.

While the USA can travel thousands of kilometers to create a dangerous provocation on Russia's Europe border, Russia can launch its 4 new Tu-160M strategic bombers in the Russian far east, all of which can carry the new Kh-BD cruise missile, (BD = Bolshaya Dalnosti, or ‘long-range) which has a range of over 6,500 kilometers, even when launched from central Russia. When launched from Russia's Anadair airbase in the far north, the range is far enough to strike a large part of continental USA. Each bomber can carry 12 of these missiles.

Russia's Trans-national self defense zone
Ideally, Ukraine must once again become neutral. Ideally, no foreign forces will be permitted on Ukrainian soil. Ideally, all foreign weapons systems capable of launching a surprise attack on Russia will move a safe distance away from the Russian border. It may not turn out that way. Yet Russia's security must be guaranteed. At the same time, other countries adjacent to Russia must have security guarantees (including Ukraine, of course). Once again a comprehensive security treaty is the best solution. Russia offered such a treaty on 17 December 2021. Russia may not be able to convince adjacent countries to come to the table. Another solution may have to be found, a coercive solution, but where there is no weak 'threat', simply promise of 'military technical means' to enforce Russia's demands.

Russia may well advise the USA and western governments any nuclear capable aircraft flying into a buffer zone whose width is determined by Russia will be shot down without further warning. War ships carrying nuclear or hypersonic non-nuclear weapons entering the Black Sea, or Russia's Northern Sea route will be crippled or sunk. This is simply the practical enforcement of what Russia tried to obtain in article 5 of the security treaty it offered in 2021.

"The Parties shall refrain from flying heavy bombers equipped for nuclear or non-nuclear armaments or deploying surface warships of any type, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas outside national airspace and national territorial waters respectively, from where they can attack targets in the territory of the other Party."

In May 2024, Russia warned the United Kingdom that if Storm Shadow missiles supplied by the UK to Ukraine hit Russian territory then Russia will consider the UK to be a party to the conflict. Why? Because it has to be assumed the storm shadow missiles can be modified to carry a tactical nuclear weapon. There is allegedly the space to do it if the BROACH warhead is removed. Therefore, it has the right to regard any Storm Shadow entering Russian airspace as potentially a 'decapitating' tactical nuclear strike. It follows that Russia has the right to respond by launching a 'decisive' conventional (at least) response against any UK military facility or munitions asset, or a punitive strike on those who ordered the launch, and those who carried it out. The same logic holds for all cruise missiles stationed within strike distance of Russian territory that may be able to be converted to carry tactical nuclear warheads.

Russia may impose a 'no missile zone' all around the outside of its border. Any installations containing (or believed to contain) nuclear capable missiles would be destroyed after a suitable warning, under the doctrine of pre-emptive self defense. Hypersonic cruise missiles would likely be used for this task.

This is simply the practical enforcement of what Russia tried to obtain in article 6 of the security treaty it offered in 2021.

"The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party."

Article 7 says:

"The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories. The Parties shall eliminate all existing infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons outside their national territories.

The Parties shall not train military and civilian personnel from non-nuclear countries to use nuclear weapons. The Parties shall not conduct exercises or training for general-purpose forces, that include scenarios involving the use of nuclear weapons."

Once again, Russia will not tolerate a ring of potentially nuclear tipped cruise missiles all around its border. The tomahawk cruise missile has a nuclear version. It is allegedly 'retired'. If it is quietly brought out of 'retirement', would anybody know? Russia bent over backwards to try to keep the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in place, even to the extent of implementing a goodwill unilateral moratorium on deployment, so long as the US did not deploy missiles that were previously banned under the INF treaty. The Russians proposed countries come and physically inspect the Iskander missile to ensure it complied with the INF requirements. They refused.

"Immediately after this happened, apart from expressing regret over the treaty’s demise, President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based medium and short-range missiles in Russia. It banned the deployment of the missiles prohibited by the defunct treaty unless similar US systems appeared in a given area. This was a unilateral moratorium.

Later, a few years ago, when this moratorium failed to generate much interest, President Putin took one more step. He sent a detailed message to the US and the other NATO and EU members and our Eastern neighbours (about 50 states in all). In this message, the Russian leader described in detail our moratorium proposal and supplemented it with an invitation to cooperate.

He suggested that the Western countries also announce a reciprocal moratorium on their own without signing any legally binding agreements, simply as a goodwill gesture. In this detailed message, we discussed the West’s skeptical statements about Russia’s unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based systems that were banned by the former treaty. The West’s politicians reasoned: “Russia is as cunning as a fox. It has already deployed Iskanders in the Kaliningrad Region that violate the parameters of the former treaty” while the NATO countries have no counterpart, thus this would be an inequitable exchange.

However, to begin with, nobody has proved that Iskanders violate INF-established criteria and bans on the range of missiles. The Americans refused to provide any rationale on this...

President Vladimir Putin said...: considering the mutual mistrust, we suggest measures to verify a reciprocal moratorium.

We invite you to come to the Kaliningrad Region and see these Iskanders. In exchange, we want our experts to visit missile defence bases in Romania and Poland because Lockheed Martin, the producer of missile launchers openly promotes them on its website as dual purpose: for launching both counter-missiles and anti-strike cruise missiles....Let’s check: you are concerned about our Iskanders, and we are worried about the dual purpose of those missile defence launchers."
Sergey Lavrov 9 June 2021

The United States (NATO), having freed itself from arms control, proceeds to piece-by-piece implement its plan for a coercive missile ring around Russia and China. This is why the USA is so anxious to keep its military forces in Taiwan. US forces are also gingerly trying to encamp on Kimen Island, just 3 miles off China's coast. They are styled as 'training forces', but undoubtedly will slowly evolve into 'perma-exercise' forces, rotating constantly, and therefore 'technically', "not permanently" stationed there - the usual sophistry from the US foreign policy establishment.

On the 6th of May 2024 Russia responded to the increasing US threat with the following statement:

"...attempting to build up multifaceted missile threats to Russia, the United States has openly and manifestly launched the deployment of ground-based intermediate- and shorter-range missiles, which were previously prohibited under the INF Treaty, around the world.

Having rejected Russian initiatives on maintaining the viability of that treaty, including by settling mutual concerns on the basis of reciprocal verification measures, Washington deliberately destroyed the treaty, which had for years been a pillar of international security and strategic stability.

After that, the United States immediately revitalised the creation and testing of that class of missiles and started forming special region-specific military units and working on the establishment of the relevant infrastructure.

Today, the United States is deploying these missile systems in Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region, allegedly for the duration of military exercises held jointly with its allies, which shows that the manufacturing and testing of these weapons are in full swing.

We hereby expressly declare that we reserve the right to respond in kind, no matter where US-made intermediate- and shorter-range missiles are deployed, which would amount to the termination of Russia’s unilateral moratorium on the deployment of these weapon systems.

In reply to US actions, Russia will step up the upgrade and start manufacturing similar missile systems.

This would not take long, taking into account the previously announced R&D projects and progress in the Russian defence industry. If a deployment decision is taken, we reserve the right to deploy these weapons at our discretion."
Foreign Ministry statement on the Russian Armed Forces’ exercises held to practice for the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons 6 May 2024

Russia is effectively saying that even if the USA locates missiles beyond the maximum range restricted by the defunct INF Treaty (about 5,500 kilometres), Russia may still target military facilities and deployments within the 500 to 5,500 kilometer envelope with either conventional or nuclear intermediate range (or shorter range) missiles. This means that most of the 'unfriendly' countries in Europe will now be covered by such missiles as the hypersonic (mach 10) Kinzhal. All of Russia's border districts (including Kaliningrad a short distance from Berlin) will have air-launched Kinzhals - as most likely will Belarus. The missiles will generally be launched from within Russian borders by MiG-31K aircraft (Russian submarines can already launch Kinzhals from any ocean).

Any missiles launched at Russia by any NATO platform - mobile or stationary ground based system, F16, F-35, or surface ship will receive an instant response with a conventionally armed hypersonic missile. Any sizable logistic-backed armed land and air force complex poised for an imminent strike across the Russia runs the risk of being hit with a massive pre-emptive fire of short and intermediate range conventional missiles, or, if the wind direction is right, tactical low yeild nuclear tipped missiles.

NATO is well aware that this may be the final result of a series of NATO out-of-control ever escalating coercive threats. If no comprehensive security treaty is negotiated they may end up destroying their own countries security and prosperity in their pathological fixation on destroying Russia's security and prosperity.

If a USA (NATO) missile hits Russian territory, whether fired with US (NATO) hands or via the US (NATO) proxy, Russia will instantly respond to any US installation or target within 5,500 kilometers of any part of Russia's borders..

Buying time

Buying time is not a coercive strategy in itself. It is a diplomatic strategy to stall another parties coercive strategy, sometimes involving making uncomfortable concessions. The concept is to create a space where either the building thunderclouds can fade away, or where concrete measures can be developed to deter the coercer from carrying through with their plans. It implies that the victim of a planned coercion has either a reason-based insight or even a reasonable suspicion of what the other party plans to do.Suspicions have to be acted on if the consequences of not acting are serious. It also implies the party negotiating with the suspected duplicitous party should at first take assurances at face value, just in the off-chance the coercer decides to downgrade the originally planned level of coercion. Or circumstances may require them to abandon coercive diplomacy entirely. Small events can trigger a cascade of increasingly large events, including unforeseen actions by not just the victim of coercion, but by others with intersecting interets. As Vladimir Lenin famously said "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen".
"When the war was stopped, including at the request of Berlin and Paris, the renowned Minsk agreements were signed. Importantly, then Chancellor of Germany Merkel, President of France Hollande, and President of Ukraine Poroshenko who put their signatures under this document alongside President Putin, never intended to act on it, which they have since openly confessed.

They were banking on buying time, flooding the Ukrainian regime with weapons and resolving the Donbass “issue” by force and drown it in blood.

They had been bombing it throughout the eight years that the Minsk agreements were in force.

Eventually, they came up with the final decision that there was no place for the special status."
Sergey Lavrov, 30 June 2023

Ukraine used the attempted re-negotiation of the already agreed Minsk agreement to buy time to arm, pour concrete and train their military to NATO standards.
"In my opinion, they [the west] are trying to temporarily freeze this conflict, secure a ceasefire and bide their time, so they can again flood Ukraine with weapons, create new military infrastructure and transfer new long-range lethal weapons. At least, this scenario is favoured by American political scientists. Recently, Foreign Affairs published an article by Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan, who described exactly this scenario: achieving a cessation of fire and having a respite."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

Even the fact of massive losses on the Ukrainian side can be 'gamed' by the west. In order to set up a public climate of acceptance in the west for the apparent necessity for 'negotiations' the western press finally started admitting the truth about the scale of Ukrainian losses, and the hopelessness of the 'offensive'. They even allowed the head of the Ukrainian medical recovering team to make a statement on social media outlining the endless losses and the futility of it all. When Member of the European Parliament Clare Daley asks the head of NATO a question, and referred to "half a million dead" Ukrainian military, Stoltenberg no longer questioned the number. Negotiations are needed, for humanitarian reasons, if nothing else.

But even 'peace' negotiations can be drawn out, and used to buy time to re-arm Ukraine and train more Ukrainian conscripts.

"Sometimes it seems as if these are not even their own people that they are throwing into this counteroffensive; it is as if they are not their own people. Frankly … this is what the commanders from the front line are telling me. It is amazing....

...Since the start of the counteroffensive, they have lost 71,500 troops. They have suffered significant losses, including 543 tanks and nearly 18,000 armoured vehicles of various classes, and so on. So, it appears that they want, as their Western curators are telling them, to bite off as much territory as they can, pardon my language.

And then, when all resources, both personnel and equipment and ammunition, are close to zero, they will seek to stop the hostilities, saying they have been talking about wanting negotiations for a long time now, but use these talks only to buy time and to replenish their resources and to restore the combat capabilities of their armed forces."
Vladimir Putin 12 September 2023  

Buying time cuts both ways. George said "Buying time to explore a negotiated settlement [is a] defensive strategy [that might be] resorted to when the defender is operating under political, diplomatic, or military disadvantages..." . Russia married an attempt of a 'show of force' coercive military move designed to trigger a peace process while buying time for strengthening their military and gaining some strategic ground, in case the west sabotaged the budding peace negotiations (as they did with the Minsk 2 agreement).

"Look, our troops were outside Kiev. First, we reached an agreement, which turned out to be a good agreement about how to resolve the current situation peacefully.

Even though they tossed it, nevertheless, we used this time to get where we are now which is practically all of Novorossiya and a significant portion of the Donetsk People's Republic with access to the Sea of ​​Azov and Mariupol. And almost all of the Lugansk People's Republic, with a few exceptions."
Vladimir Putin 13 June 2023

Passive Military Coercion

"Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline on the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two  thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the united States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles."
Major General Smedley Butler, 1935, 'War is a Racket'

Today, the United States incidentally announces 'exercises' in the Pacific, the China Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic sea, in Europe. For defense. Uh, huh.

Nothing really changes. Same room, slightly different wallpaper.

This is passive military coercion, an implicit threat designed to make a country comply with USA government wishes. (It is also a major military expense, and therefore very profitable for the banking-military-industrial complex. A not inconsequential benefit, as the profits are distributed to the very few.)

A defining feature of passive military coercion is the display of military potential well outside the coercers adjacent territory at a time when there are no real threats coming from that country. China is making no military threats to the United States, for example. It has no history of invading other countries - in strong contrast to the USA.  China's legitimate claim to Taiwan is well known, and everybody in the world knows Taiwan will eventually peacefully return once again to the mainland - unless the USA government interferes. China's claim to large swathes of the Chinese Sea is contested, and is yet to be resolved by the affected parties via the appropriate International body. Even so, it is deliberately provocative for the US government to fly nuclear bombers through what China claims as it's airspace. This is passive military aggression.

In contrast, the massive USA military force placed in the Eastern Mediterranean in October 2023 was responding to a real threat to Israel's existence in its present form. The European USA 'ally' nations were 'fortuitously' holding exercises in the Mediterranean at the same time.  The Hamas uprising in the Gaza occupied territory triggered a cascade of coercive rhetoric from the Muslim 'street', with an unknown potential to morph into military action to ultimately coercively finally create the Palestinian State promised 75 years ago. A promise made by the western 'dividers up of land' but never delivered because Israel has bloody-mindedly violently blocked it all the years since. There is no threat to the United States there (beyond some US military illegally occupying parts of Syria). But the US government politicians and top-level foreign policy advisors have very deep ties to the state of Israel, which means the US government chooses to defend Israel militarily for personal and for geopolitical reasons. The US government naval force is a deterrent force, not a display of passive military coercion.

Grey Zone Military Force Coercion  Added 17 February 2024. Edited 22 February 2024.
The 'grey zone' is "activities by a state that are harmful to another state and are sometimes considered to be acts of war, but are not legally acts of war" according to the Cambridge Dictionary. 

The West has been supplying targeting data to Ukraine, using drones and satellites. Russia has positive proof of this. Russia has repeatedly emphasised that providing this data to attack Russia means that the United States is a party to the conflict. As some of these attacks deliberately target civilians and civilian infrastructure with no military purpose, USA is abetting war crimes committed against Russia. The USA repeatedly denies this, even though they know Ukraine uses targeting data to attack civilians.

Russia forced down a USA drone operatng in the exclusion zone, but the USA simply moved further out in to the Black Sea. Every major operation against Russian ships in the Black Sea was accompanied by adjacent USA drone activity, quite likely providing vital data to enable sea drones to hit their target. They possibly helped guide Ukrainian missiles through Russia air defences in order to strike naval assets in Russia's Crimean naval base.

In December a Russian plane visited the USA, some say to do the routine transfer of Russian diplomatic staff. Others suggested it may have been a meeting with the CIA and other US so-called 'security' and ironically-called 'defense' agencies (more accurately, 'aggression agencies'). I speculate the purpose was to advise the USA that Russia intended to blind or 'dazzle' the US reconnaissance satellites. Russia launched a military satellite in 2024 (Cosmos 2575). The US had recently launched 6 satellites allegedly to "detect and track missile launches", perhaps as part of the USA government's Europe-based 'missile shield', which is designed to protect continental United States at Europe's risk. It is possible the US has the capacity to enable some of its satellites to destroy or jam some of Russia's 160 satellites.

There was a lot of misleading blather in the main stream media about 'Russian nuclear weapons in space'. Well, the Russians warned USA they make themselves party to the conflict in Ukraine when they use satellites and drones to provide targetting geolocations, so at first I suspected the Russians have put satellites in place that will jam, or, less likely, even permanently 'fry' the satellites that provide this data. 'Dazzling' with intense light is technically relatively easy, but blinding permanently is another much greater degree of difficulty.

If it is possible at all, 'frying' would be done with bursts of very high intensity narrowly directed energy in immediate proximity to these satellites. If they are shielded against such attacks, then the optical apertures will be vunerable to directed energy burst. All this requires a long lived source of 'abundant' energy. Satellites have used sophisticated small nuclear power supplies for decades. It is nothing new.

But on February 20 2024 the Russian President, in conversation with Defense Minister shoigu, put paid to this speculation:

20 February 2024

Vladimir Putin:
Mr Shoigu, there is another issue unrelated to current developments along the forward edge of the front line of the special military operation. This pertains to the commotion stirred by the West, including the United States, regarding the deployment of nuclear weapons in outer space.

Our position is clear and transparent: We have always strongly opposed, and continue to oppose, the deployment of nuclear weapons in outer space. On the contrary, we urge the involved parties to uphold all agreements in this sphere, and have proposed expanding this collaborative effort several times.

For some reason, the West has brought up this issue once again and is acting rather emotionally. How can you explain this?

Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, first, I would like to clarify that this is not happening. Second, they know that we are not doing this…

Vladimir Putin: “Not doing” meaning that we do not deploy weapons in outer space.

Sergei Shoigu: Exactly, I am referring to the deployment of nuclear weapons in outer space and the use of any other nuclear weapons systems against satellites or creating debris fields that would hamper the effective operation of satellites.

In reality, they know that we are not doing this, yet they are raising a fuss nonetheless. Mr President, we are surprised because everyone is aware of our capabilities, and you openly told the world about this during your Address to the Federal Assembly in 2018.

They know that our Poseidon, Peresvet, Burevestnik and Sarmat projects have reached the completion phase, and that the Avangard project has been completed. Two regiments have been put on combat duty.

We can add a few other options in this situation. They are not speaking about this, but it really is something they should be afraid of. In our opinion, they are probably not speaking about this because they do not possess such systems.

As we see it, there are two reasons for the recent commotion. First, they want to scare senators and members of Congress into approving the allocation of funds designed not only for Ukraine but for fighting Russia and delivering a strategic defeat to it.

Second, they may be doing this to try to convince us in this awkward manner to start a dialogue on strategic stability.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I agree with that.

Sergei Shoigu: This is the most likely explanation.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I agree. As for space, we are only doing in space what other countries are doing, including the United States. And you are right, of course, that they are aware of this."

What is new is the possibility of creating a precise weapon using a much larger version of this nuclear power source, one that is effective in powering a burst of intense energy. Russia has implemented the highly energy intensive version of this technology in a ground based system, but it is not clear how far into space it can reach.

It is noteworthy that the senior Russian officials only mentioned nuclear systems in space, and systems that would result in space debris. But it is possible it has implemented a space-based  'dazzle' system to interfere (presumably temporarily) with optics-based satellites. This has the advantage of being a non-kinetic system, and does no damage to the actual satellite. Is it an act of war to do this? No damage is done to the satellite. The issue is in the grey zone. Close-approach electronic jamming of the major defense satellites also cannot be ruled out. Is that an act of war? Again, it is in the grey zone. The Russians are believed to have long had the capability of jamming GPS signals, so that missiles that use this system cannot find their target. Is that an act of war? Once again, the grey zone.

"The disruption of Finland's global positioning system (GPS) signal during recent NATO war games came from Russian territory, the Finnish foreign ministry said on Thursday. The Kremlin on Monday dismissed an earlier allegation from Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila that Russia may have intentionally disrupted the signal during the war games. Finland's air navigation services earlier this month issued a warning for air traffic due to a large-scale GPS interruption in the north of the country...the issue is being discussed with the Russian Federation through diplomatic channels, the ministry added in a statement on Thursday"
Yahoo News 16 November 2018

All this is predicated on developing the technology to discover the adversary's satellite's weak points. The Russians have probably achieved this task.

"The development of Russia's secretive project Nivelir ("Leveler") has reportedly been carried out by the Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics.
The endeavor supposedly envisaged building small satellites designed to inspect other satellites in space. The first three satellite-inspectors were reportedly attached to three communications satellites launched between 2013 and 2015.

According to other sources, Russia has been experimenting with satellite inspectors since 2017. The satellites maneuvered in orbit, moving away from each other and then getting closer. In 2019, the Cosmos-2535 and Cosmos-2536 devices were launched. Their goal was to study the impact of "artificial and natural factors of outer space" on Russia's space devices and to develop "technology for their protection."

It is understood that the idea behind placing satellite-inspectors in specific orbits is to affect "adversary" satellites in various ways, including "inspecting" them, i.e. collecting all necessary information on them."
Sputnik News 15 February 2024

The next task is to stop the adversary using these satellites aginst the Russian Federation. It is reasonable to think, given the American reaction, if genuine, that the Russians have also achieved this.

"...the Tirada-2S radio-electronic communication suppression system is capable of electronically jamming satellite communications with complete disabling. In this case, satellites can be deactivated directly from the Earth's surface."

"On March 1, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin first mentioned Russia's laser weapon for air defense and anti-satellite warfare, the Peresvet, during his address to the Federal Assembly.

The Peresvet...entered experimental combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces in December 2018. By February 2019, the Russian president announced the laser installations had confirmed their unique characteristics along with the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.

According to Russian military observers, the laser system is capable of blinding the optical systems of reconnaissance satellites, drones, and aircraft. The Peresvet project remains classified, so it's hard to say what type of laser it is equipped with. Some scientists believe that this is a nuclear-pumped laser, others believe that the complex uses an oxygen-iodine laser (OIL) with iodine explosive pumping."
Sputnik News 15 February 2024

The Peresvet is a land based system.

"The 14Ts034 designator is also seen in court documentation published in 2019 in which the Ministry of Defense sues RFYaTs-VNIIEF for not having met certain obligations under a project called Stuzha-RN, for which the two parties signed a contract on December 4, 2012.[13]

The goal of Stuzha-RN was to finish R&D work on what is literally called a “mobile complex to suppress electro-optical reconnaissance satellites and dual-use Earth remote sensing satellites.” This is unmistakable evidence that dazzling and/or blinding of satellite optical systems is at least one of Peresvet’s objectives, the targets being optical reconnaissance satellites and remote sensing satellites used both for civilian and military purposes (which is what is meant by “dual-use”.)

These orbit the Earth in relatively low, high-inclination orbits and would be easier targets for a laser system than early warning satellites, most of which operate in geostationary orbit.It is not clear if Stuzha (which means “severe cold”) is another secret Ministry of Defense name for Peresvet or refers only to one particular R&D phase of the project."
The Space Review 15 June 2020 

The 'nuclear pumped laser' may be a different implementation, not of the 'project excaliber' that the USA experimented with in the cold war era, but the Soviet 'Skif' project , a space based laser. This project, too, never went anywhere after the cold war. Russia has powered its globe-circling Sarmat nuclear missile with a nuclear engine. Therefore, other projects that require a good nuclear power source for jamming (at least) electronic systems used for electronic surveillance, navigation and communication are feasible. These nuclear powered systems would require reactors that could produce around 30 to 50 kilowatts, and could jam satellite signals over a large area.Once again, jamming could be turned on and off, like a light switch. No damage done to the satellite.

But the amount of power needed for a laser to destroy satellites is probably absurdly large, and therefore infeasible. But questions remain.

"The exact type of high-power laser used by Peresvet remains known. One Russian analyst recently concluded that the most likely type was a nuclear-pumped laser... Another recent Russian article, citing only “scientific forums,” says Peresvet most likely uses an explosively pumped iodine photodissociation laser, a type of laser in which a detonator is activated to dissociate perfluoroalkalyl iodides in the gain medium and raise the resulting iodine atoms to the energy levels needed to produce a laser beam....It is also the one recommended for use in the 2013 RFYaTs-VNIIEF patent that is likely related to Peresvet.

The patent holders...claim it has a longer range than two other types that could potentially be used...The reasons given for that are its ability to work in pulsed rather than continuous wave mode and its operating wavelength (1.315 µm, in the near infrared), which allows the beam to easily pass through the atmosphere.

However, the power levels of explosively pumped iodine lasers given in scientific literature far exceed the ones that would be required for the simple dazzling or blinding of sensors, raising the question why they would be needed for a system like Peresvet."
The Space Review 15 June 2020 

And the other aternative, the directed radiation beam from some nuclear explosion in space is fraught with problems of space debris destroying your own as well as the enemies satellites, and has been ruled out by the Russians anyway. Whatever the Russians have done, it appears to have had an impact on the American leaders. Russia has probably, in my opinion, dazzled or blinded a drone or American military satellite by way of demonstration of 'what will happen if'. Probably temporarily, as Russia typically starts low on the escalatory ladder. Whether they may have done this to one of the expensive electro-optical 'Keyhole' satellite systems, or one of the large number of small ELINT/SIGINT satellite (or, less likely, a GPS satellite) is not yet important. What is important is what Russia intends to do with this capability, and under what circumstances.

There is a move by the United States to militarise minisatellites in low earth orbit. The Pentagon's Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture will see small cheap intercommunicating satellites in low earth orbit, with new satellites being put in place "almost weekly."  The objective is to create a great deal of redundancy in the system, so if some satellites are knocked out, others take over.  Low earth orbit is already packed with satellites owned by Elon Musk's SpaceX, and these have allegedly been used by Ukraine as a communication channel by frontline troops. Musk's SpaceX has 5,438 Starlink craft in orbit, and the company aims to eventually have around 40,000 in low earth orbit. There are other companies with similar ambitions. It is likely that in the long run there will be a 'Kessler event', where colliding and breaking up satellites will propagate further collisions ending in a very great deal of space junk. At the moment starlink satellites do about six maneuvers per satellite before they naturally fall out of orbit and burn up.

Even so, the ability to quickly launch these satellites makes them attractive for military use. So far, the US military has only launched a handful of low earth orbit tracking satellites, but this number could easily proliferate in future. Like all satellites (and space junk) their orbital location is registered, so, in principle, they could be hit targeted by one of Russias jamming or directed energy systems, depending on orbital path.

"A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying a payload intended to bolster national missile defense.

The launch for the Missile Defense Agency and the Space Development Agency put six satellites into low-Earth orbit. Two of those satellites are for the MDA's hypersonic and ballistic tracking space sensor satellite program.

"This launch represents a pivotal time for MDA as we enter a new phase of missile warning, tracking and defense," MDA Director Heath Collins said in a statement. "These HBTSS satellites are an essential step forward in our efforts to stay ahead of our adversaries."

The other four satellites carried by the SpaceX Falcon 9 are SDA Tranche 0 tracking layer satellites, which are part of the SDA's proliferated warfighter space architecture program."
Yahoo News 15 February 2024

The satellite issue has certainly been raised in America. Is it a political stunt to lever further aid to Ukraine? That seems implausible, as it has no particular bearing on that issue.

It is possibly a device, a dipomatic trojan horse, to be able to start to re-institute diplomatic contact with the Russians. A face saving move. This is what the Russian President suggested to journalist Tucker Carlson. He asked " Do you think it is too humiliating at this point for NATO to accept Russian control of what was two years ago Ukrainian territory?" The Russian President replied "I said let them think how to do it with dignity. There are options if there is a will."

The United States is - at least apparently - in a dilemma. It claims there is some sort of issue that requires talking to Russia, but, of its own choice, has no direct diplomatic contact.

"...I am limited by how much I can share about the specific nature of the threat, I can confirm that it is related to an anti-satellite capability that Russia is developing.

...First, this is not an active capability that’s been deployed. And though Russia’s pursuit of this particular capability is troubling, there is no immediate threat to anyone’s safety. We are not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth. That said, we’ve been closely monitoring this Russian activity and we will continue to take it very seriously.

President Biden has been kept fully informed and regularly informed by his national security team, including today. He has directed a series of initial actions, including additional briefings to congressional leaders, direct diplomatic engagement with Russia, with our allies and our partners as well, and with other countries around the world who have interests at stake...

...our general knowledge of Russian pursuit of this kind of capability goes back many, many months, if not a few years. But only in recent weeks now has the intelligence community been able to assess with a higher sense of confidence exactly how Russia continues to pursue it...

...The President directed the team to — to start to inform allies and partners, including — not — not that Russia is an ally and partner, but to include diplomatic engagement with Russia on this....We will engage directly. We plan to engage directly with the Russians about this and — as well as allies and partners...There’s — there’s no issue of — it’s not about trusting. And I think — I think our record on dealing with — with Russia appropriately, I think, is pretty well-established. We don’t — it’s not about blind trust with Russia. In fact, it’s quite the — quite the opposite...Look, it’s — we certainly — we’re not — we’re not in a position where we’re trusting what’s coming out of Russia and what they say. We watch what they do. And we analyze what they do and then we make our own decisions — our own policy decisions about what we’re going to do based on — on their actions or their inactions...We’ve reached out to — we reached out to the Russian side, but we have not secured actual conversations at this point. ...We are engaging — we’re going to engage with Russia."
John Kirby 15 February 2024

Russia has pushed the Ukraine funding narrative. They also acknowledge it may be a clumsy attempt by the Americans to re-engage in a dialogue on strategic defense.

According to Mr.Kirby, Russia has so far been uninterested in talking to the USA. Yet Mr.Kirby's comments introduce the possibility Russia may have issued a coercive threat to the USA. Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, the USA has issued a coercive threat to Russia, in order to obtain better terms for the Ukraine settlement.

Russian coercive threat to USA
Russians have already demonstrated how they can jam GPS, and now may have demonstrated they can blind or dazzle a military spy satellite; if so, why escalate now? Perhaps because of the Ukrainian terrorist rocket attack on Belgorad. But I don't think so. The problem they are trying to solve is twofold. First missiles flying against Russians. Second, the USA supplying targeting data for those missiles.

"...SPACECOM delivers tremendous value across our Joint Force, with satellite communication, early warning radars, GPS that enable not only navigation for people, planes, trucks, and ships – but also the precision-guided munitions that have become a hallmark of how the US military fights in the modern era."
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks 10 January 2024

The whole problem can be solved by the west stopping the supply of missiles. Then no blocking of US satellites is necessary. The Russians already said in the Carlson interview that as soon as the west stops supplying weapons the war will end. Maybe the Russians have set up a coercion scenario, saying, 'well if you keep protracting the death and destruction by supplying weapons to Ukraine, a country which has no meaningful weapons production capacity left - then we will block your satellites so that your missiles cannot be targeted as as accurately'.

If the west refuses, the blocking will expand in scope and scale. Every time a USA drone is flying prior to or during a Ukrainian attack on Russian civilians, a military satellite will be temporarily disabled, or (if technically feasible) 'fried' with intense directed energy. Then the USA can make its foreign policy decisions based on this new reality. And based on the fact that Russia has escalation dominance.

USA coercive threat to Russia
Coercion is what Americans 'do'. It is their signature move - the only page in their playbook. the satellite 'crisis' was invented around 15 February, at the same time as the Americans launched new military satellites into space. When the Americans are about to make an aggression, they usually try to claim the victim is being aggressive to them in the first place, and they are 'only responding'. This technique is well known.

"US officials, that Washington had privately warned Moscow not to deploy a new nuclear-armed anti-satellite weapon which would allegedly violate the Outer Space Treaty and threaten US national security interests " There is no and cannot be any progress on this issue," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters. "The reason is clear - the absurdity of US' accusations against us of allegedly intending to deploy some systems with weapons-grade nuclear components in space."

"As it has been continuously said recently, and as [Russian] President [Vladimir Putin] said, we have no such intentions," Ryabkov added. "The Americans pursue the goal of demonizing Russia by making accusations of this kind. Therefore, the contact on this issue is completely unproductive." ..He also called it unacceptable that the US side had leaked details of the talks held between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Russian Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Yury Ushakov, which Moscow and Washington agreed to keep confidential.."
Sputnik News interview with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov 24 February 2024

The 'confidential' talks were held between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Russian Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Yury Ushakov. Both report to the respective Presidents. The contact on the fabricated "issue" may have been completely unproductive, but the question of the USA military satellite military capacities remains. If the USA has developed the technology to supress Russian anti missile defense ( a big 'if'), then the USA may have been trying to coerce Russia into agreeing to favorable terms with Ukraine. The USA President could then crow how he 'forced' Russia to give up this or that.

The USA 'neocon' 'elites' who control the Presidency are 'GeorgioSpykmaniacs'. That is they follow Alexander George and Spyksman's outdated coercive diplomacy slavishly. That ideology includes the concept of 'coercive threats, which, quoting the above "The threat of punishment "in the event of noncompliance", according to George, "may be signaled through military actions or by political-diplomatic moves as well as by explicit verbal warning." His hierarchy of possible actions starts with the military." If the USA has any form of credible threat it believes it can safely use against Russia to coerce them into giving something up, it will do it. It can't use direct military force. It can use the 'grey zone' of electronic warfare. It can use its willing proxy as its 'long arm once removed', so to speak.

If so, the USA will first give an oblique signal of its intentions, then have confidential talks at the near-highest level to threaten a specific action if there is no Russian compliance. If Russia refuses to comply, a demonstration of the coercive USA's consequences will follow. If there is still no compliance, there will be another demonstration. After that, unless Russia finds a counter, the escalatory mode tips into a state of strategic initiative on the USA side - denial of safe airspace for Russian aircraft.

On January 31st 2024 Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland visited Ukraine where she announced "I also leave more confident that, as Ukraine strengthens its defences, Mr. Putin is going to get some nice surprises on the battlefield and that Ukraine will make some very strong success". The two new upgraded Russian AWAC are said to cost about $500 million each. A hypothetical shooting of one down won't change the course of the conflict, but an element of (potential) enduring aerial denial covering NATO countries would be a very 'strong' USA success, even after settlement.

On Tuesday the 19th of February NATO' Stoltenberg said "...according to international law, Ukraine has the right to self-defence, and that includes also striking legitimate military targets, Russian military targets, outside Ukraine. That is international law and, of course, Ukraine has the right to do so, to protect itself.”

Mr. Kirby publicy touted possibility of talks with Russia on the 15th of February.

USA military satellites were deployed on 15th of February.

Let's assume talks with Russia were held soon after 15th of February, say 17th of February. By the 18th it would be clear Russia is not going to concede to the USA.

On the 23rd the most advanced version of the Russian AWAC A50 was, it seems, shot down. There has been no official confirmation - or denial. It has 'friend or foe' software that physically prevent it being shot down by friendly fire. After the January 2024 incident, it is inconceivable that these expense assets don't have layered airdefense in front of them, even operating from some depth in Russia. If it was indeed shot down, it was either it was shot down by a missile that 'leaked' through Russian airdefense - and this is the simplest explaination - or some American satellites have an ability to jam Russian air defense systems. Most likely, following revelations in a leaked German military conversation, NATO experts were using data from their electronic warfare intelligence to find a weakness in Russia's anti-missile defenses.

This 'leak' is a signal. It is a warning to Germany not to aid Ukraine in attacking the Kirsch bridge. If a Russian AWAC was indeed shot down, the leak proves Germans are active enablers of terrorist attacks inside Russia. In which case Russia can choose to add it to the eventual german bill due for compensation, or they can shoot down a German AWAC. Taking the compensation course is the most logical, but nothing can be ruled out.

On the 29th of February, the Russian President styled the American psych-op about space weapons as simply USA pre-election posturing, and a very amateur attempt to coerce Russia into discussing strategic defense in space, in other words, a deluded attempt at unilateral 'agenda setting" - only including what the US wishes to talk about.

"Here is a good example of their hypocrisy. They have recently made unfounded allegations, in particular, against Russia, regarding plans to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Such fake narratives, and this story is unequivocally false, are designed to involve us in negotiations on their conditions, which will only benefit the United States.

At the same time, they have blocked our proposal which has been on the table for over 15 years. I am referring to the agreement on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space, which we drafted back in 2008. There has been zero reaction to it. It is totally unclear what they are talking about.

Therefore, there are reasons to suspect that the current US administration’s professed interest in discussing strategic stability with us is merely demagoguery. They simply want to show to their citizens and the world, especially in the lead-up to the presidential election that they continue to rule the world, that they would talk with the Russians when it will benefit them and that there is nothing to talk about and they will try to inflict defeat on us otherwise. Business as usual, as they say.

But this is unacceptable, of course. Our position is clear: if you want to discuss security and stability issues that are critical for the entire planet, this must be done as a package"
Vladimir Putin 29 February 2024

Welcome to the coercion grey zone.

Active Military force coercion

Coercive diplomacy, as conceived by George, permits use of limited military force, but only just enough force and "of the appropriate kind" to "demonstrate resolution and to give credibility to the threat that greater force will be used if necessary".

"Margarita Simonyan (RT):...Donetsk is being pounded every day. This week, they attacked the maternity hospital. Our film crew later captured these women on video as they were giving birth in a basement by a caesarean section. They also hit a farmers’ market killing a mother and her 11-year-old son. In this regard, people have the following question. Of course, we are slapping them on the hands for doing so, but is it not time to punch them in the jaw? What exactly do you have in mind when you talk about the red line, after which the decision-making centres will come under attack? This is what a punch to the jaw is all about, as far as I understand.

Vladimir Putin: Look, we are talking about a special military operation, and when conducting it we must not turn the cities and towns that we liberate into a semblance of Stalingrad. This consideration comes naturally in our military planning. This is my first point."
Vladimir Putin 17 June 2022 

Importantly, military force used in coercive diplomacy has no relationship to a conventional military strategy. That is, looked at through the eyes of military planners, it 'makes no military sense', and may even expose military forces to avoidable losses.

The deliberate incursion of a British destroyer that went out of its way to move into closed waters around the Crimean Peninsular (using the 'freedom of navigation gambit) is a good example of military coercion just short of a military strike. That is, the warship was repeatedly  'buzzed' with armed Russian aircraft, and shore batteries fired warming shots close by. They could easily have incapacitated the ship if they wanted. It was an extrordinarily risky attempt at coercion, and after it the British were bluntly warned that if they tried it again they would be sunk.

"It was clear that the destroyer entered [our territorial waters] in pursuit of military objectives, trying to uncover the actions of our Armed Forces to stop a provocation, with the help of the reconnaissance aircraft they were trying to identify how we operated, and where things were was located and how they operated. We saw this and sent them the information which we deemed necessary. I may have let this slip; I hope the military will forgive me...

You said that this put the world on the brink of a global war. No, of course, not. Even if we had sunk that ship, it is nevertheless difficult to imagine that this would have put the world on the brink of a third world war because those who did this know they could not win a war like that. This is very important.
Vladimir Putin 30 June 2021

Russia used 'demonstrative military coercion'  signalling serious intent when it made a rapid strike force to the gates of Kiev. And then stopped. It was logistically overstretched, and it took military losses along the line. But it had the required effect. Ukraine agreed to come to the negotiating table, and a mutually acceptable draft settlement treaty was negotiated. This limited action followed by negotiations fits with George's coercive diplomacy concept - military force used is not strategic force, but "a component of a more complex political-diplomatic strategy for resolving a conflict of interests".

The seven year build up of NATO trained and equipped forces in Ukraine (while pretending to look for a diplomatic solution) shows that in reality NATO was trying to establish a forward base for anti-ballistic missiles, a launch complex that could host nuclear tipped cruise missiles. These in turn could be used to coerce Russia into 'giving away' the advantage Russia's hypersonic missiles give.

Ukraine would also be cut off from economic interaction with Russia, and the possibility of east-west economic and transport connectivity nipped in the bud - to advantage the US government.

The US knew beforehand - or ought to have known - that there was a close to certain probability that this effort at coercive diplomacy wouldn't work. But the political stakes for the United States government were so high that the US government decided to try to trap Russia into having to fight in Ukraine, with the hope it would be so wasteful of Russian lives that the Russian government would be seriously weakened, and maybe overthrown. First order of business was to kill any chance for peace in Ukraine - and the Russian coercive 'signal' of a lightning strike to the gates of Kiev seemed to set the stage for a settlement between Russian and Ukraine.

George's conception of use of military force is that is a restrained, "flexible" strategy, accompanied by signals, negotiations, with the goal being to "stop or to undo encroachment instead of bludgeoning him into doing so, or physically preventing him from continuing".

But what he neglects is the 'puppeteer' factor - a country (or non state organisation) taking the road of military coercion may decide at some point that the time is right to end conflict and take the diplomatic option - but those who control that actor may insist the conflict continue. And if that actor relies on financial support from their extraterritorial 'sponsor', they are faced with a dilemma - face a possible social collapse due to lack of money for the necessities of life, or continue a conflict that further degrades their own peoples safety and security. The conflict is even more acute when the other side offers a way out - a negotiated settlement.

If the now losing would-be coercer refuses negotiation and chooses continued conflict, then military 'coercive diplomacy' has no place and no meaning - if such an oxymoronic term ever had meaning in the first place.

The Ukraine-Russia settlement treaty was suddenly thrown out by Ukraine after a visit from US government agent Boris Johnston (who was also Prime Minister of Britain at the time). Why? George explains - "...the strategy of coercive diplomacy may be abandoned in favor of full scale military operations". And this is the path the west chose.

"At the current stage, we are acting in line with what our Western colleagues said – there must be a victory on the battlefield. These are their words. They renounced talks and compelled the Kiev regime to quit the negotiations in late March 2022, when it was still possible to end it politically."
Sergey Lavrov 2 February 2023

War is usually binary, you either win or you lose. Sometimes it becomes frozen, as in the Korean peninsular. This is the slim-chance gamble (from their point of view) the west made.

War is politically risky for those who incite and enable it, and when you incite and enable war with Russia it is the kiss of political death.

A high cost, high bloodshed strategy is redolent with political repercussions and the risk of stirring up strong negative emotions in voters on the losing side who were personally affected by the war. Strong emotions of anger, resentment, and even violence are unleashed. These emotions are then directed against the leadership who ordered the military attack.

It is made worse when the decision to abruptly or incrementally inflict violent on another party is made recklessly and without meaningful popular consultation (or no consultation).

It is made worse still when the population realise they were fed lies and propaganda to 'manufacture' their consent.

"...the regime in Kiev is ready to go to any length to save its treacherous hide and to prolong its existence. They do not care for the people of Ukraine or Ukrainian sovereignty or national interests...Traitors like them are ready now to open the gate to their foreign handlers and to sell Ukraine again."
Vladimir Putin 21 July 2023 

The fact that those far-off people who incited the conflict gain financially from ownership of shares in companies of a military-industrial-financial complex, or more accurately, military-industrial-financial business - (all involved make money every time a bomb falls) also contrasts glaringly with the modest incomes and oppressive debt burden of the general population of the aggressor country, a debt burden increased by the tax-cost of funding the waging of a war business inside the borders of someone else's country when that country has no prospect of paying back the debt. War-force should be the last choice of coercive strategy.

However, military destruction of other countries is a highly profitable business for the American 1% ers, and these business people have undue influence on American politicians. Therefore armed aggression by the US politicians are likely to continue, albeit increasingly constrained as more and more nations move to missiles, drones and electronic warfare.

"We are now engaged in bringing a military solution to a problem called “a war of the West at large against the Russian Federation.” They are using Ukraine as an expendable material, drugging Ukrainian soldiers for them not to feel any pain and driving them to the front lines like cattle."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

 The west never had a hope of winning this war. The true breadth and depth of Russia's adaptation and advancements in all spheres of the application of military art is laid out in detail Andrei Martyonov's 2019 book 'The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs'.

The US government certainly won the 'undeclared' economic war on Germany. I detail the plan, 'a plan as cunning as it is immoral', here.  But the US government lost the economic war against Russia - and is slowly starting to experience some of the unintended consequences. The US government can't afford to start a full-blown economic war on China at this point, and by the time it is ready China will have finished making the many adjustments needed to limit the damage the US government can inflict.

Worse, Russian general staff are steeped in the study of land war in Russia, the Russian political class have a good understanding of all the dimensions of preparing for war and executing plans, and the military, in their turn work hand-in-glove with government with full knowledge of the realities of the Russian economy, it's potential and its limitations.

Government and the military staff have long known of the plan to break up Russia, and likely worked together for years to develop an economic plan to deal with a conflict encompassing European NATO (a relatively small and mainly land-based problem) and US NATO (a large and mainly space and subsea force problem).

Russia's military theorist Alexander Svechin said:

"In light of the information at one's disposal on the political goal of the war, assessments of friendly and hostile strengths should lead to the formulation of definite missions for the economic front, a statement for the resources for accomplishing these missions and a calculation of the minimal economic base needed for waging war"

Russia had been warning the west for decades not to expand NATO to within strike range of Russia's borders. But any sober calculation of Russia's economic base at that time would have quickly revealed Russia's economic base was insufficient to sustain military action to impose Russian will on the post-Soviet west, "giddy" as Jeffrey Sachs put it, with the false conclusion the west had 'won' the cold war, and could now do anything - including assisting terrorists in Chechnya. In 2004 Russia had barely begun it's long journey to rebuild itself.

"...We are living at a time of an economy in transition, of a political system that does not yet correspond to the state and level of our society’s development.

We are living through a time when internal conflicts and interethnic divisions that were once firmly suppressed by the [former] ruling ideology have now flared up.

We stopped paying the required attention to defence and security issues and we allowed corruption to undermine our judicial and law enforcement system.

Furthermore, our country, formerly protected by the most powerful defence system along the length of its external frontiers overnight found itself defenceless both from the east and the west.

It will take many years and billions of roubles to create new, modern and genuinely protected borders.

But even so, we could have been more effective if we had acted professionally and at the right moment.

In general, we need to admit that we did not fully understand the complexity and the dangers of the processes at work in our own country and in the world. In any case, we proved unable to react adequately.

We showed ourselves to be weak. And the weak get beaten.

Some would like to tear from us a “juicy piece of pie”. Others help them. They help, reasoning that Russia still remains one of the world’s major nuclear powers, and as such still represents a threat to them. And so they reason that this threat should be removed.

Terrorism, of course, is just an instrument to achieve these aims.

As I have said many times already, we have found ourselves confronting crises, revolts and terrorist acts on more than one occasion. But what has happened now, this crime committed by terrorists, is unprecedented in its inhumanness and cruelty.

This is not a challenge to the President, parliament or government. It is a challenge to all of Russia, to our entire people. Our country is under attack.

The terrorists think they are stronger than us. They think they can frighten us with their cruelty, paralyse our will and sow disintegration in our society.

It would seem that we have a choice — either to resist them or to agree to their demands. To give in, to let them destroy and plunder Russia in the hope that they will finally leave us in peace.

As the President, the head of the Russian state, as someone who swore an oath to defend this country and its territorial integrity, and simply as a citizen of Russia, I am convinced that in reality we have no choice at all.

Because to allow ourselves to be blackmailed and succumb to panic would be to immediately condemn millions of people to an endless series of bloody conflicts like those of Nagorny Karabakh, Trans-Dniester and other similar tragedies. We should not turn away from this obvious fact.

What we are dealing with are not isolated acts intended to frighten us, not isolated terrorist attacks.

What we are facing is direct intervention of international terror directed against Russia. This is a total, cruel and full-scale war that again and again is taking the lives of our fellow citizens.

World experience shows us that, unfortunately, such wars do not end quickly. In this situation we simply cannot and should not live in as carefree a manner as previously. We must create a much more effective security system...

...But most important is to mobilise the entire nation in the face of this common danger. Events in other countries have shown that terrorists meet the most effective resistance in places where they not only encounter the state’s power but also find themselves facing an organised and united civil society...."
Vladimir Putin addressing the nation on 4 September 2004 regarding the terrorists who murdered children in the Russian town of Beslan

The Russian President was alluding to the west when he refers to "international terror" and "full-scale war".

He alludes to the fact that effective resistance depends on two factors - first, state power; second, a united civil society organised to a common purpose. But in 2004, Russia was weak. Building an economy and society capable of resisting outside forces would take time and money - and leadership.

"What can we say then about our own country that, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, suffered heavy blows in all areas, in social policy and in the economy? Following the serious events in Chechnya in the first half of the 1990s, our Armed Forces and our special services were barely on their feet and were in a state of semi-disintegration.
Vladimir Putin 2 September 2005

By 2022 Russia had gone a long way to rebuild its economy from the ground up, retrieving former state-owned strategic mineral resources from the hands of western and local Russian oligarchs.

"... in 2014, our ill-wishers were just taking their first steps as they tried to limit our technological sovereignty and obstruct our development. Back then, we talked about the need to take vigorous steps to ensure our technological sovereignty.

I must say that, first, our predictions have come true; everything happened just as we said it would.

They provoked the conflict in Ukraine and used it to their advantage.

I believe all of that was done with a purpose to create additional conditions for limiting our economic growth and restraining Russia's development.

Back then, we began thinking about what we should do to ensure our sovereignty. Much has been achieved, but there is still much to do..."
Vladimir Putin 8 September 2023

As it became obvious that the United States government was preparing an armed conflict for Russia using their long-time hate-groomed Ukrainian dupe, so Russia accelerated planning and execution of logistic lines, industrial production, weapons development and review. Luckily, the western blockades on Russian goods was accompanied by US blockade on Russian banking transactions and theft of Russian state reserves. I say luckily because non-western countries were horrified at these actions, realising that they could be next. It made it so much easier for those neutral or friendly countries to develop economic ties with Russia, and, especially start limited bilateral trade outside the dollar system.

Russia has waged a war of attrition in Ukraine for a number of reasons. Economically, it still pays Ukraine for the transit of Russian gas across Ukraine. The contract ends in 2024, and the Nordstream would have replaced it. Now a Turkish-Russian pipeline across the Black Sea will partially replace Nordstream. In any event, Ukraine is deeply in debt, and has limited capacity to use its remaining material resources to climb out of it. It is propped up by USA and European taxpayers.

The entire world runs on cheap energy, and Russia has a lot of it - in state majority-owned hands. Russia is unlikely to be economically exhausted by a war, and as Russia has almost no trade with the continental USA, there is no economic reason not to strike mainland USA with hypersonic weapons if the US strikes Russia with low-yield nuclear weapons.

When military strategy fails

"In war, the losing side has several options. Fighting to the death is one of them, capitulation and surrender are another. Depending on their rank, religion, honour, and offshore bank accounts, the losers may run away or commit suicide.

The Ukrainian regime, with the assistance of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) states and President Joseph Biden, have come up with an entirely new ploy. This is to escalate the combat, sacrificing all their troops and their equipment, and pretend this is winning — before they do a runner.

Not even Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, in their last days in the Berlin bunker, thought of this. But then Miami, Malibu, or the Côte d’Azur weren’t haven options for them.

At the current attrition rate on the front line, the Ukrainian army will have lost another one hundred thousand men dead and about three hundred thousand wounded by Christmas; their reserves will have been committed to the fight and exhausted; the army will have neither resupplies of  ammunition nor replacement NATO artillery and other equipment to fight on."
John Helmer, 15 July 2023  'Real War to Defeat, Fake propaganda to Victory - NATO is in Two Minds, Splitting'

Anyone who thinks a military strategy can always succeed against a poorly armed force - even an irregular force - is wrong. Consider the US government experience of 20 years in Afghanistan, or the Saudi government force in Houthi Yemen, or the Israeli adventure against Hezbollah in Lebanon, among other examples. Coercion through violence (whether direct or through a proxy) can fail. It may also bring the opposite result to what the rich 'elites' who devise these schemes wanted to achieve. That's hardly surprising.

The ultimate irony is the Ukraine example - Russia for years refused to recognise the Russian speaking break-away region, and insisted the regions remain in Ukraine. All in the hope the Ukrainian government would agree to implement the Minsk Agreement, allowing the breakaway regions to keep their culture and language as a part of a Ukrainian Federation. Even after the start of the Russian operation to protect the Russian speaking citizens in those regions, Russia was willing to compromise. Russia was on the point of signing a peace agreement in Turkiye that would have allowed the breakaway republics to remain under Ukrainian control for 15 years, after which a referendum would be held. But at the very last minute the West refused to allow the Ukrainian President to sign it .As a result the Wests proxy military strategy continued on, and Russia will take land containing valuable mineral and agricultural resources into it's Federation. Any Western-owned strategically important business interests there be probably be subject to the same conditions as exist in the rest of Russia.

Additionally, when the bombs stop falling, the bitterness of death and destruction remains. And then the inciters, the aggressors, must talk to their victims. For example, ask for business concessions (under the guise of 'investment') in the country whose economy they directly or indirectly tried to totally wreck. Ask to talk to the same politicians they tried - directly or indirectly - to kill or displace.

As for the general population - if you sow death and maiming, you will harvest anger and bitterness. It generally takes three generations and economic recovery for the emotional fires in the heart to burn right down. It takes many more generations of normalised relations before, for most, it finally goes out.

Then there are the war crimes. These will be prosecuted by the victor, which clearly will be Russia. (The west, of course will have its show 'trials' - which will open up demands for the US and western governments to be put in the dock and made accountable for the millions of people the west has killed, maimed, maimed and starved). Those who committed these crimes and those who incited them will be held to account, without let of time. This is not Iraq, where those who documented the US government war crimes were suppressed, and in one case killed.

".Everyone knew that the Ukrainian armed forces, especially the nationalist battalions, were using civilian sites to deploy heavy weapons since the onset of the crisis (back in 2014, when they shelled Donbass with heavy weapons and used aviation). This practice continued uninterrupted and ran rampant when the special military operation began. Heavy weapons were placed in the cities next to kindergartens and right in school buildings. Rounds were fired from there, thus causing retaliatory strikes against civilian sites. The internet is rife with witness accounts where Ukrainian citizens approach Ukrainian troops demanding that they leave kindergartens, schools, retail stores, and other civilian sites. The evidence abounds, but no one paid any attention to it. J

ust like everyone quickly forgot about the footage of the POWs being shot in the head and dumped in a pit with their hands tied behind their backs, just like the Nazis did....

No one is talking about what happened when residential areas were shelled and children were killed in Donbass. There’s an Alley of Angels in Donbass. I do not recall any Western journalist showing any interest in what was happening behind the line of contact in the territories that the UN Security Council promised to give a special status to.

Our journalists have been working 24/7 since the beginning of the coup on the line of contact. They show the destruction and atrocities committed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We demanded that the OSCE put on record the consequences of the bombing raids on these territories and the shelling of the civilian sector. However, for years that the OSCE mission operated there, it simply reported the number of ceasefire violations, shellings, and casualties, without specifying the number of casualties on the militia’s side and casualties on the side of the Kiev regime.

When we finally succeeded in getting this data published, it turned out that almost all of the casualties on the militia side came from indiscriminate bombing attacks, while the destruction on the side of the Kiev regime was the result of retaliatory fire. This truth is being swept under the rug.

You are a journalist and you can conduct investigations. The numerous fakes and lies have been dwarfed by the Western coverage of what happened in the town of Bucha, where in early April 2022 the bodies of the people who had been allegedly tortured and killed by the Russian army were displayed. There were scores of dead bodies strewn on the main street.

They were shown publicly three days after the Russian army withdrew from Bucha. It would look more credible if the bodies had been hidden in a basement. But TV cameras filmed them lying on the central street of that town. We are well aware of such staged performances. Bucha is the most cynical of them all. We asked for the names of the people who were “killed” there. It has been more than a year now, but no one is going to provide the names.  No one is talking about an investigation. ...Bucha was used to disrupt the signing of a peace agreement with Russia and for imposing another batch of anti-Russian sanctions. Who are the people that were tortured there? Probably their relatives should know about it."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

Anyone who thinks a military strategy - including a strategy of using a trained and armed and highly motivated proxy force such as NATO's Ukrainian proxy - against a well trained, very well motivated, very well equipped and very well led peer can succeed is at least delusional - if not suicidal. Especially when the peer they are fighting also has some unmatched modern technologies, unmatchable industrial capacity, and has secure logistic supply lines.

It is important to remember that sensible military strategy is best made by well informed, unbiased, and highly trained professional military strategists, working in agreement with sober and mature politicians.

But when politicians amend the military strategy in order to 'look good', then disaster can result. We have seen this played out in Ukraine. The Russians are the epitome of data-driven, reality-based, military strategist experts. Ukraine - and to an extent the US - had military strategy interfered with by politicians. Force requires clear analysis of first, what the end objective is, and second, if it is reasonably achievable with the resources at hand and the realities of the situation the conflict is placed in (set and setting).

The western politicians, are funders, inciters, and culpable parties to this proxy conflict, yet provide no leadership, no vision, all just ad hominen attacks and fact-deficient vacuous prattle. The politicians claimed 'HIMARS are a game changer', 'Patriots change the game', Storm shadow, Leopard tanks, F16s, and so on. But western politicians are profoundly ignorant of military affairs. Productive engineering base, industrial capacity, technical capacity, logistic capacity, national self provisioning, innovation, rapid implementation, advanced and constantly improving military doctrines - these are deciding. The west can't match it. End of story.

"During the year, we increased the production of our main weapons by 2.7 times. As for the manufacture of the most in-demand weapons, we increased this by ten times. Ten times! Some industrial companies work in two shifts and some in three. They practically work day and night and do a very good job.

As we say in such cases, I would like to use this opportunity to thank our labourers and engineers that are working day and night. Many of them go to the frontline to adjust equipment right in the zone of hostilities and do a very good job.

So, when we are talking about one of our main goals – demilitarisation – this is exactly how it is being achieved. They have less and less of their own equipment – almost nothing is left of it. They have some old Soviet pl