Coercive Diplomacy - the West's Strategic Blunder
Part 1

Laurie Meadows

11 November 2023 1000 hrs NZDST
(updated 29 Nov 2023)

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 
World order
Coercive takeover of multilateral organisations
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     
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     
Russia's new postulate - armed force to prevent an absolutely inevitable armed attack 
Escalation of armed conflict    
Russia's retaliation?
Escalation dominance    
Asymmetric retaliation
Strategic defeat     
US escalation - the threat of tactical nuclear weapons 
Russia's Trans-national self defense zone  
Buying Time
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
Rational persuasion and reasonable compromise diplomatic strategy      
The Place of Trust in Relations between States                      
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
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.

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 (November 2023) 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'.

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 are changing this calculus). 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', a bankrupt policy which continues to this day.

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, 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 delusional. Western politicians are slow to comprehend this reality.

Later, recognising the vast cultural differences between European Greece on the one hand and Turkey, and adjacent Arab Mediterranean countries on the other, the term 'rimland bridge' was coined by Dr Spyros Katsoulas. The 'rimland bridge' is regarded as a gateway connecting Europe to the Middle East and is a land-based bridge to Asia.

As importantly, this 'land bridge' is seen as a strategic 'chokepoint' between Europe and 'Asia' that traverses a politically unstable region. (Of course, 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 can be achieved by policies based on 'divide and rule' and subsequent economic and political coercion. 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.

Containment concept
These ideas permeate US government coercive foreign policy, especially the concept of 'containing' Russia and China. Threats to these countries are a subset of the 'containment' delusion. 'Containment' requires installing compliant governments in rimland 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.

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. 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 much money (capital) as it wanted. This debt-capital was used both to develop their own country essentially 'for free'. In other words the USA government had huge ability to exercise power - military, economic, cultural, educational.

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.

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

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,..."

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

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 wellbeing 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 cuckoo in a wren's nest. The cuckoo nestling grows faster, hog 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. Compunding 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.

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?

Interests [edited 29 November 2023]

'Interests' 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.

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 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.

Russia defends its interests within the bounds of international law

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.

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), became 2 sovereign republics, 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 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.

"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 

"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 Sates, 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 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 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
The world is developing country and regional 'poles', whose culturally different constituents broadly agree with a way of living together peacefully, even if not harmoniously. Relations between sovereign countries extend to many-sided relationships, an inter-connected web, and one that changes over time as relations between countries - or the political parties that head them - change. This world requires competent diplomats, flexible foreign policies, and a culture of non-coercive negotiations and compromise. These are the requirement for working in a multipolar world.

"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 

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" (as Mr. Lavrov put it) towards multipolarity . You can't both 'lead' and be an equal one of many, especially if that 'leadership' is self-appointed.

Coercive takeover of multilateral organisations

"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 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 

World order [Added 29 November 2023]
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.

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.

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 s, 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.

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 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

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

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.)

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

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.

"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

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.

The west pretended to be friendly and considerate of Russia's vital security interests. 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

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

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

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 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 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 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, and controlled by the far right and 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 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 both used on a powerful country, and the aggressor refuses to talk in a respectful, adult manner. 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

The weakest 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 cereminial greetings, banquets, and the like. These manoevers send a signal, but there is 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 wil 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

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 there current  moves seem to indicate it is on that states 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 an 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.

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

Russia doesn't Bluff

"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. (It is interesting to note that the Russian government

But, once again, Russia does not bluff.

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

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 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). Various Russian cultural works in literature, dance and so forth have been banned. 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 

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.

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

"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 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, they 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 shameful list 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 the did in Syria, they 're-brand' the terrorists as 'armed opposition'. If true, then Saudi Arabian 'armed opposition' destroyed the twin towers in USA. (By the way, the USA occupation army still sponsors armed terrorists near their illegal Al Tanf base in Syria.)

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. Targeted killing of non-combatants is simply terrorism, and punishable as such.

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.

There must be an adequate response to dissuade state terrorism, in particular, 'long arm' state terrorism.

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.

Heads of State and diplomats are exempt from reprisals, and Russia (unlike the United States government) sticks to this rule. Russia has responded to the Ukrainian government 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 both punitive (it cost very large amounts of money to repair) and to deter 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

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 (which is 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 evidence, then it would be legitimate to strike civilian, security, or military infrastructure both as an act of reprisal and to deter further state terrorism. 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 is a 'wrong act'.

After that, it is a matter of whether a state has the coercive power to force the proxy terrorist to either pay up, or apply selective levies that apply only to the terrorist state or its co-conspirators/enablers.

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.

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.

Removing all the alternatives to coercive diplomacy

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


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). It 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.

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 power, the acknowledged 'deep learning'  on effective conduct of conflict across all weapons platforms, 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.

The sophistication, leadership, endurance, and mineral resource are the major power-factors of military potential as a deterrence, and Russia has all 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. Manifestations of 'non-state actor' coercion - such as terrorism - are relatively immune from deterrence, and the main requirement is vigorous, determined communal policing to protect the Eurasian homelands.

"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

Russia developed 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 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).

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. Ukrainian infantry are no more than mercenaries.

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” 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

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.

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 (precursor to terrorism).

"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 

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

"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

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 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.

Retaliation 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 

"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.

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. Proportionally, Russia should arrange the destruction of 3 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 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. The question is then - how long have the grievances been accumulating, and what proportion of the 'tab' should be settled?

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. But while Russia is at the top of its military escalation ladder (and it is a longer ladder than the USA's one), 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 staring to arrange their international affairs in a manner that places them out of reach of US and western interference.

Asymmetric retaliation

"We note that we will be ready to take symmetrical and asymmetrical measures in response to the unfriendly use of force against us."

Whereas retaliation tends to be 'one for one', Russia's retaliation may be asymmetric - in scale, in sector, 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.


"...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, reprisals can include the concept of compensating for lost opportunities and lost income where colonists pay a pittance for the resources they extract.

In the long run, the global south may decide economic reprisals against the US and west for lost resources are well and truly overdue.

Russia may decide they are due more immediately.

Russia has lost soldiers dead and disabled, buildings and infrastructure damaged and destroyed, money (cost of war), Central Bank money has been stolen. Nothing can bring back the dead, but pensions must be paid, as must lifelong rehabilitation and care for the seriously wounded. On-going payment, in gold or inflated prices for goods sold to the USA might be indicated. These are, of course 'reparations', a word which is derived from the principle of 'putting back in order', repairing, making ready for use once again.

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.

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 la 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 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.

Both retaliation and reprisal are are punitive in nature, but reprisals include the notion of taking back what was lost (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 perhaps a package of economically, politically, and culturally consequential measures than 'simple' retaliation. 

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. 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 deploys strategic patience as an overlay in their decision process.

At the same time, when a swift response is the most useful response, it is made promptly. When they say "we will provide a tough response", expect the worst. Somewhere. It could be in any part of the world.

Strategic defeat

"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 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 US, via US and NATO country weaponry, was 'in charge' of seriously degrading 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.

US escalation - the threat of tactical nuclear weapons

"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 

"...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.

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 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

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 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."

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."

NATO is well aware that this may be the final result if no security treaty is negotiated.

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.

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 plants where they try to repair hardware but the number is constantly decreasing because when we get information on what is taking place and where, we try to deal with it.

Meanwhile, our production is growing and the quality is improving. The specifications – the range and precision – are being improved.

If we did not have this special military operation we probably would not have understood how to upgrade our defence industry to make our army the best in the world. But we will do this."
Vladimir Putin 13 June 2023

When the plan fails, as it has in Ukraine, the inciting parties, having set fire to the other sides reasonable compromise and proposed settlement, then insolently take a role as the 'only ones' dousing the flames. They urge 'diplomacy', as if these wreckers and haters weren't the same people who deviously sabotaged all Russias diplomatic efforts in the first place.

What almost always follows next is the blackmail strategy, whereby the west promises to 'suspend' sanctions on Russia, as long as Russia does what the west says on other matters,  such as deployment of hypersonic missiles.

But when the country you are trying to blackmail has the upper hand militarily, economically, diplomatically, and morally, then vacuous threats are no more than weak prattle.

Failed coercion - settlement

"The issue of whether or not this is going to keep Putin from continuing to fight, the answer is: Putin has already lost the war.  Putin has a real problem.  How does he move from here?  What does he do?  And so, the idea that there’s going to be — what vehicle is used, he could end the war tomorrow; he could just say, “I’m out.” 

But what agreement is ultimately reached depends upon Putin and what he decides to do.  But ...there is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine.  He’s already lost that war.  Imagine if — even if — anyway.  He’s already lost that war."
Joseph Biden, 13 July 2023

"The colossal resources that were pumped into the Kiev regime, the supply of Western weapons, such as tanks, artillery, armoured vehicles and missiles, and the deployment of thousands of foreign mercenaries and advisers, who were most actively used in attempts to break through the front of our army, are not helping...the whole world sees that the vaunted Western, supposedly invulnerable, military equipment is on fire, and is often even inferior to some of the Soviet-made weapons in terms of its tactical and technical characteristics.

Yes, of course, more Western weapons can be supplied and thrown into battle. This, of course, causes us some damage and prolongs the conflict.
But, firstly, NATO arsenals and stockpiles of old Soviet weapons in some countries are already largely depleted.
And secondly, the West does not have the production capacities to quickly replenish the consumption of reserves of equipment and ammunition. Additional, large resources and time are needed.

The main thing is that formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffered huge losses as a result of self-destructive attacks: tens of thousands of people.

And, despite the constant raids and the incessant waves of total mobilisation in Ukrainian cities and villages, it is increasingly difficult for the current regime to send new soldiers to the front. The country’s mobilisation resource is being depleted.

People in Ukraine are asking a legitimate question more often: for what, for the sake of whose selfish interests, are their relatives and friends dying. Gradually, slowly, but clarity comes.

We can see the public opinion changing in Europe, too. Both the Europeans and European elites see that support for Ukraine is, in fact, a dead end, an empty, endless waste of money and effort, and in fact, serving someone else’s interests, which are far from European: the interests of the overseas global hegemon, which benefits from the weakening of Europe. The endless prolongation of the Ukrainian conflict is also beneficial to it...
Vladimir Putin 21 July 2023

Settlement terms are determined by the victor. In the case of Ukraine this is Russia. Mr. Biden must have known this at the time he made the above statement.  Russia made their terms known in late March 2023. (I have summarised them here.) But the Russian terms worsen as Ukraine 'holds on' unreasonably, in a bizarre and pointless Monty Python 'Black Knight' strategy.

"We would like to finish, as soon as possible, the war the West was preparing for and eventually unleashed against us through Ukraine.
Our priority is the lives of the soldiers and civilians that remain in the zone of hostilities."
Sergey Lavrov 28 December 2022

Unlike the west, Russia always wanted the conflict in Ukraine to end in settlement as soon as possible.

"...for the Russian side, peace always has priority over combat. So, let me remind you that we already participated in a negotiation process with Kiev, in the spring of 2022, and came close to a positive outcome. However, all efforts were undermined by the Anglo-Saxons, whose plans clearly did not include the cessation of hostilities. They have remained obsessed with the manic idea of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia...

Of course, we have meticulously studied all the peace initiatives we have received. We have held special consultations with several of our partners and discussed their ideas in detail...We agree with many of our partners’ proposals...

At the same time, we have to admit that Vladimir Zelensky’s Western curators completely refuse any form of de-escalation. The Kiev regime has directly and immediately rejected the possibility of talks on peace initiatives proposed by China, Brazil and African countries. Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mikhail Podolyak said that “talks would be meaningless, dangerous and deadly for Ukraine and Europe.”"
Sergey Lavrov 13 July 2023

Settlement with Ukraine will bring only partial settlement with the West.

Ukraine must restore Ukraine's founding principles of neutrality and non-bloc status (outlined in the 1990 declaration of independence) and de-militarise. Ukraine must never join NATO, de-nazify, re-affirm its non-nuclear status, and not join the EU, and Ukraine must recognise as part of Russia the territories Russia has occupied and in which it has held referendums which confirm a majority desire to join Russia.

That is just the Ukraine element, which, is 'not even the main thing'. The 'main thing' is to either negotiate or coerce the west to move nuclear weapons away from Russia's border. Either method will do, but Russia always prefers negotiation. The west, because it is run by ideologues and has lost the culture of diplomacy, doesn't know how to negotiate in good faith.

Removing the threat to Russia posed by the west
Once the measures to end the threat from Ukraine are in place, the west will have partially met the promises made to Russia at the time the then Soviet Union agreed to move out of East Germany.

It only remains to move antiballistic missiles away from the Russian border. But how?

Russia might decide to use the doctrine of premptive self defense to coerce the west into removing missiles to a safe distance. This can be done by ultimatum - remove all platforms in Europe capable of launching any projectile capable striking Russia within a 25 minute window from launch 'or else'. The projectile could be nuclear-capable, field rocket, cruise missile, ballistic missile, glide bomb, torpedo, suicide drone (including underwater drone), or an artillery shell. If the west refuses to comply, Russia could launch missile attacks to destroy the platforms - multiple rocket launch systems, cruise missiles, integrated ground launched missile systems, nuclear bomber, nuclear capable fighter-bombers, ships with missile and torpedo systems, suicide drone storage areas and/or production facilities, ammunition dumps and/or production facilities. The scale of such an operation in the vastness of Europe makes this scenario impossible. Russia had difficulty finding Ukrainian weapons systems. The problem of locating weapons systems across that part of europe within a 30 minute launch zone of hitting Russia seems an insurmountably difficult and expensive task.

That leaves either negotiation or one of the strategies within coercive diplomacy - that of economic coercion.

Negotiation will have to be done over many many years, via protracted diplomatic negotiations on arms control in general. The process will speed up as the European States fall into economic collapse due to high energy prices.

Russia has a certain amount of leverage on oil prices. All economies exist only because of energy sources that are both economically affordable and reliably available. The 'price' of re-establishment of cheap Russian energy is likely to be a 30 minute flight-time de-militarised zone around Russia, removal of all US nuclear bombs from Europe, and progressing the Russia-USA Strategic Arms Treaty (including coverage for hypersonic weapons) so that agreement can reached before expiry in 2026. 

In addition, in regard to Europes 'sanctions', it goes without saying that every form of 'sanctions' will have to be removed first, and compensation paid for pipeline damage and lost revenue, and perhaps compensation paid for the otherwise avoidable death and destruction caused by european armaments and munitions delivered after the point in time the Ukrainian side had run out of war-fighting materiel.

This use of coercive diplomacy is more than justified given the desire of the USA and Europe to not only incite and arm others to kill Russians, but also to attempt to overthrow the Russian government. This is use of coercive diplomacy is retaliation, reprisal, and reparations, and re-balancing, all richly deserved.

"With regard to our allies and strategic partners not ending their relations with the West, we haven’t severed relations with it, either. As far as I, the West, had a grudge against Russia that dared to defend its legitimate historical interests. The West acted out its anger by severing almost all relations with us.

This began long before the special military operation. In December 2016, then US President Obama kicked out dozens of our citizens three weeks before leaving office. Then, five properties were taken from us in violation of intergovernmental agreements and in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. These sanctions continued to escalate...

We maintain diplomatic relations with Western countries and we are not shutting ourselves off. President Putin recently emphasised this when he said that we are not self-isolating. Of course, we maintain relations with those who are willing to act honestly (based on equal rights and compliance with international law, including the UN Charter-enshrined provision that makes it obligatory for everyone to respect the sovereign equality of large and small states alike).

We are not “shutting the door” on the West. It is the West that is trying to isolate itself from us.

But if and when reasonable people come to power there, and if they suggest that we consider opportunities to expand our contacts, which are still there, but have been reduced to the bare minimum, we will see what they have to offer. We will respond based on our core interests.

Never again during the life of the current politicians and the generation that will come after us, at least not when it comes to developing strategic sectors of the economy and areas that are critical for the sovereignty and independence of the Russian Federation, will we rely on “projects” involving our Western colleagues."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023 

Russia would like to achieve a mutually acceptable arms settlement with the west, but is in no hurry, because it has both defensive dominance and threat dominance against all NATO countries (including the United States). The continuing advances in Russia's defensive dominance and in threat dominance are novel, robust, large scale and affordable. The education, technical training, commitment, and state-system research and industry base that creates these continuously advancing weapons systems will almost certainly guarantee Russia's relative security even if the west never signs a mutual security treaty. But this is a brittle security, predicated on fast and effective response to coercive provocations by the west. In the best of systems, things can go wrong. A mutual security treaty would give resilience, and ability to prevent and deal with incidents professionally and correctly. But the

Russia will not, for the medium term future, do joint projects with the west where it involves mineral extraction, nuclear energy, and wheat production. Nor will it do joint pipeline projects, or use western turbines, or involve itself in joint aviation projects. All are strategic.

"We see how the EU’s ruling circles are acting to the detriment of the fundamental interests and wellbeing of their citizens. They are obediently following the overseas hegemon’s anti-Russian course on almost all issues...It would be sufficient to mention that the US prohibited the European countries to maintain the dialogue with Russia on energy, which provided the Europeans with unprecedented prosperity for decades.

Naturally, there can be no “business as usual” with such partners. We are not going to knock on closed doors or initiate joint projects.

Fortunately, the European Union is not our only partner; we have many friends and like-minded forces in other parts of the world.

If and when Europe begins to feel the cruel hangover from the current Russophobic zeal and then sobers up, if coherent national-oriented politicians appear there who understand the advantages of an equal and mutually beneficial partnership with Russia, I assure you, there will be no problems on our side....

We will continue to work with those few Europeans who value their friendship with Russia. We are not going to cooperate with the Russophobes."
Sergey Lavrov 27 December 2022

In the meantime, the Russians have already said their future bilateral relations with the west will reflecting the degree they participated in the economic and military coercion of Russia.  

"President Putin has said more than once: when and if they come to their senses and come up with proposals to restore relations in a particular form, then we will look into what they are asking for and what each of their roles was in unleashing a hybrid war against the Russian Federation."
Sergey Lavrov 26 June 2023

When finally coercion fails and you have negotiate, you have to give promises that you will or won't do something. But the west has lost all credibility by saying something won't be done - not expanding NATO "one inch east" for example - and then breaking the agreement.The west has iron-clad demonstrated that any post-coercion assurance they give is likely to be a lie.

So Russia can really only afford to allow agreement in small stakes games only - games Russia can afford to lose to western duplicity.

Russia relations with Europe
"We proceed from the fact that when and if our Western colleagues, our neighbours on the continent, decide to reclaim their common sense, stop playing their ideology-driven and confrontational schemes imposed on them by the Americans and a few other aggressive neighbours (yours [Belarus] and ours), refuse to be subservient to Washington in everything and start acting like independent states and thinking about their national interests, we will not slam the door in their faces.

However, the terms of our interactions will be determined by mutual benefit, not their wishes."
Sergey Lavrov 26 October 2023

Europe has destroyed all trust. Their proxy involvement in the Ukrainian conflict have cemented that in. Russia has destroyed their tanks and other military equipment, including the German tanks they intended to roll once again over Russian soil.. Worst of all, they still refuse to negotiate a comprehensive security treaty providing security for Europe and Russia indivisibly. Their diplomatic dealing with Russia were dismissive, arrogant, manipulative and duplicitous. Worse, they were unreliable and ineffective.

There was a commercial agreement to build a pipeline to bring cheap 'green' gas from Russia to Germany, ensuring reliable energy security and cheap manufacturing many years into the future. Germany, a financial partner in the project, allowed someone to destroy it at the very point the first gas was to start flowing.

What is the point of having any agreement with them, whether commercial or political ? It is pointless. They say they are serious, but in reality are just teasing. Whatever the cause, their current politicians are quite unstable.

"Importantly, a half-truth is worse than a lie. In fact, Mr Steinmeier left out some important episodes and turning points in the events that he mentioned....

...Mr Steinmeier forgot to say that Germany, France, Poland and the entire European Union showed total helplessness and lack of self-respect. Their signatures were trampled on.

Tacitly, they even began to encourage this whole thing when they realised that the thugs who came to power would help the West in every possible way and manipulate it.

They remained silent when these people burned dozens of innocent people in Odessa’s House of Trade Unions and when, on June 2, 2014, Ukrainian Air Force bombed central Lugansk...Later, during the attempts to resolve the situation months and years later, we asked them how they allowed a coup to happen. They told us it was “not quite a coup.” Then what? “The costs of the democratic process.” How can you say that with a straight face?

Frank-Walter Steinmeier forgot to mention February 2015, when, alongside the Normandy format leaders, he co-authored the Minsk agreements. Soon after the signing, actually the next day, Petr Poroshenko and his team, speaking in the Verkhovna Rada, refused to act on them....

...Then we unanimously approved the Package of Measures at the UN Security Council. It has become part of international law and thus binding.

They ignored it and in every possible way encouraged the Ukrainian regime as it continued to sabotage its obligations

We continued our efforts to find compromises, and were ready to make additional concessions and encourage the republics with which Kiev refused to talk to directly to do so as well. At some point during the talks we supported what was called the “Steinmeier formula” as a sign of our flexible approach. When we had to decide what should be done first - granting a special status or holding elections - he came up with a solution that suited everyone and became known as the “Steinmeier formula.”

A couple of weeks after the “formula” had been approved and everyone welcomed it, it was consigned to oblivion as well. Petr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky after him were vehemently opposed to following it."
Sergey Lavrov 11 April 2022 

"Germany and France played a leading role both in the Kosovo issue and in the Minsk agreements.

What did the special status for Donbass mean in the Minsk agreements?
The right to use their own language in all areas. That was not something unheard of under international conventions; that was a mandatory right.

Next, there was the right to have their own law enforcement agencies, the right to approve the appointment of judges and prosecutors, and to establish simplified economic ties with the neighbouring regions of the Russian Federation. The decision to establish the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo contained these same clauses, almost word-for word.

In both cases, the EU was the guarantor, that guarantor was humiliated when those requests were arrogantly denied without explanation. They saw no need to explain. The EU did not ask either Kiev or Pristina why they refused to fulfill what they signed.

The Russian Federation killed the European's plans to destroy the Russian Federation. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression; and finally acceptance of an uncomfortable new reality. The European Union seems stuck in a miasma of the first four stages all at once. And it is impairing their their mental health.

"Their current policy is rooted in bitterness and derangement (excuse the non-diplomatic word choice), though it’s not all about Ukraine but rather turning that country into a bridgehead from which Russia can finally be subjugated and subordinated to the global system built by the West...

...Our special military operation is designed to put an end to NATO’s unlimited expansion and to keep the US and other NATO countries from achieving total domination in the world arena."
Sergey Lavrov 11 April 2022

Russia relations with USA

Russia's relations with USA can be repaired, but re-building trust is now nearly impossible, and it is entirely the US governments fault.

Russian politicians of the future have no right to place any trust in the United States of America. A degree of trust might be re-established in the far distant future.

First, the USA governments must lose their arrogance, hubris and callous disregard for others. This means the military-industrial-political complex will have to be brought under effective control of the American people.

"...The problem lies in the loss of diplomacy and their inability to conduct a professional dialogue. This is due to the morbid feeling of their own exclusivity, exorbitant arrogance, attempts to impose a distorted picture of the world on all others, the use of unseemly methods of fighting Russia and the funding of illegitimate ways of conducting the international game...."
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, 21 June 2023

"A foreign politician said that when they discuss the foreign policy of the West and the United States, it would be wrong to talk about double standards. They have only one standard: we are the boss around here, and we do whatever we want.

If we are unable to achieve a result in any particular region, we will destabilise the situation there and fish in murky waters.

If we look at all of America’s reckless undertakings around the world over the past 50 years, since the Vietnam War, we will see that the US has not benefited any country or region in whose affairs it interfered.

This only serves to confirm a conclusion that I just voiced: it is in their interests to destabilise all and sundry.

After that, the United States will print a huge amount of dollars and wait for someone to come begging for these dollars in the hope that the US will “help” them again.

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.

While unfolding geo-political and geo-physical phenomena will make this shift inevitable in the long run, the biases in the structure of the US governance system makes it almost impossible for 'we the people' to have any real agency to do anything. Probably 'the people' would have to make amendments to the US constitution. But the ruling elite see 'power' and 'people' as dangerous to their personal interests. Hubris rules the day.

Relations will remain at low levels until the US government comes under the real control of the American people, which, as stated, means the American people being able to bring about systemic change in democratic representation and power. However, it would be a mistake to think that this is inevitable.

"Although the international environment has become more contested, the United States remains the world’s leading power. Our economy, our population, our innovation, and our military power continue to grow...our military remain unparalleled. We are experienced in using and applying our power in combination with our allies and partners ..."
United States government National Security Strategy October 2022

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together...

...Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time.

As we peer into society's future, we - you and I, and our government - must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow..."

President Dwight Eisenhower 17 January 1961

At first, relations will be largely limited to arms control issues.  Anything else will come at the end of arduous negotiations. And Russia can walk away from any negotiation that has no prospect for achieving something for the security and well-being of the Russian people.

There is one thing that nobody can walk away from. Climate change is shaping up to be a global emergency. At that point, Russia and the United States governments will likely put aside their differences on the economic and power-forming fronts and work together to meet the urgent challenge. Or, at least, this can be predicted from President Putin's remarks in June of 2013.

"To date, we don’t have any significant ideological differences. But we do have fundamental cultural differences.

Individualism lies at the core of the American identity while Russia has been a country of collectivism.

One student of Pushkin legacy has formulated this difference very aptly. Take Scarlett O'Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’ for instance. She says ‘I’ll never be hungry again’. This is the most important thing for her. Russians have different, far loftier ambitions, more of a spiritual kind, it’s more about your relationship with God. We have different visions of life. That’s why it is very difficult to understand each other but it is still possible.

The US is a democratic state, there’s no doubt about that, and it has originally developed as a democratic state. When the first settlers set their foot on this continent, life forced them to forge a relationship and maintain a dialogue with each other to survive. That’s why America was initially conceived as a fundamental democracy....

...Now take the Soviet Union. We know a lot about Stalin now. We know him as a dictator and a tyrant. But still I don’t think that in the spring of 1945 Stalin would have used a nuclear bomb against Germany, if he had had one. He could have done it in 1941 or 1942 when it was a matter of life or death. But I really doubt that he would have done it in 1945 when the enemy had almost given up and had absolutely no chance to reverse the trend. I don’t think he would. Now look at the US. They dropped the bomb on Japan, a country that was a non-nuclear state and was very close to defeat.

So there are big differences between us. But it’s quite natural that people with such differences are determined to find ways to understand each other better. I don’t think there is an alternative.

Moreover, it’s not by chance that Russia and the US forged an alliance in the most critical moments of modern history – that was the case in WWI and WWII.

Even if there was fierce confrontation, our countries united in the face of a common threat, which means there is something that unites us. There must be some fundamental interests that bring us together. That’s something we need to focus on first. We need to be aware of our differences but focus on a positive agenda that can improve our cooperation
Vladimir Putin, 11 June 2013

"Vladimir Putin: What I want – and I am completely serious – is that this nightmare about Russia’s alleged interference with some election campaign in the United States ends.

I want the United States, the American elite, the US elite to calm down and clear up their own mess and restore a certain balance of common sense and national interests, just like in the oil market.

I want the domestic political squabbles in the United States to stop ruining Russia-US relations and adversely affecting the situation in the world...

...Firstly, I do not believe President Trump was compromised. The people elected him, the people voted for him. There are those who do not like this; those who do not want to respect the opinion of the American voters. But this is not our business – this is an internal matter of the United States.

Would we be better off or worse? I cannot say either...

We will work. The US is the largest world power, a leader in many spheres, our natural partner in a variety of projects, including global security, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, climate change, as well as the environment. We have a lot of common problems which overlap that we have to work on together.

We presume that sooner or later the moment will come when we will be able to restore full-fledged relations"
Vladimir Putin 3 October 2018

There is no larger threat than human-amplified climate change.

Why the US Government Coercion Policy is hard to change

Money talks
The Military Industrial Complex makes sure the politicians on the House Armed Services Committee receive substantial donations to the politicians re-election funds. 
Some current and former officials have business (or employment) ties to the military industrial complex. It is in their interest to keep the war industries profitable. Unsurprisingly, this means forever conflict. The so-called 'elite funder class' influence who becomes the personnel advising on government policy and the personnel implementing it. Obviously they chose people who will advantage their own business interests. 'Defense' spending - more correctly 'foreign expeditionary aggression spending' - is so profitable for so many powerful 'elites' it is immune to highly pertinent questions on its relevance to todays realities.

The American public have become increasingly angry at the massive spending of taxpayer money on wars 'over there' rather than spending money 'over here'. It makes no difference. The public has no agency. Their voices will be muted. But money talks, and talks loudly. Therefore coercive diplomacy will continue to rule. And the risk of dangerous and irresponsible escalation engineered by this small cabal of aggression-enabling ideologues will rise.

Aside from well-paid careers and enrichment for western politicians, officials, and policy advising organisations, the ultimate objective, 'the big dollars' go to the banking industry, the arms industry, and associated facilitating businesses. As Major General Smedley Butler wrote in 1935 in his book 'War is a Racket':

"War is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

American dominance and coercion is part of the machinery of the racket. Nothing changes. Except now the actual fighting and dying aspect has now been franchised out to others. But the license holder will still reap the profits - while the frachisee goes broke, in all senses of the word.

American global business - and especially raw material extraction businesses - on unfair American terms - is the oldest racket, and still a profitable one. But competitors must be suppressed or eliminated. China, in particular is a competitor for this business. But so is Germany. American military power is ebbing, and mineral resources tightening. The East is rising.

"...we find ourselves at another hinge moment in history – grappling with the fundamental question of strategy, as Nitze defined it:  “How do we get from where we are to where we want to be, without being struck by disaster along the way?”
Anthony Blinken 13 September 2023

'There', of course, is American domination of resources and of 'rules' of trade and commerce. A strategy of coercion is a successful money-making tool for the elite of America. There is no incentive to change it. Along the way, war is a profitable business. As Smedley Butler said 88 years ago: 

"Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well. Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends...What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?...It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements.

For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to  the people -- who do not profit...A few profit -- and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it...

It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war."
Major General Smedley Butler, 'War is a Racket', 1935


The 'coercive' policy has roots in academia - George himself is a good example. Staff and graduates of the 'Alma maters of coercion' end up being identified by existing powerful politicians (in both the two parties) and groomed for future positions in the administration. Like live lobsters in a seafood restaurants aquarium, they are kept 'fresh' in 'think tanks' until they are needed to be appointed to government positions. Anyone who deviates from the military-industrial-coercive line disappears from the menu. You can argue against received institutional 'norms' under the appearance of academic freedom, but not too much, and not for too long.

Coercion is an ideology. It is embraced, lived, breathed, by a depressingly large part of the American political class (a group that has not changed much over the decades, as Mark Twains description shows). This  ideology is that America is the 'leader' of the world because the American political and economic system is superior. The origin of the ideology that America has a 'natural' right to impose its 'rules' on the world is derived from America's feeling of cultural superiority. The ideology, and the consequent right to interfere anywhere in the world, cannot be questioned. And not asking questions is core to maintaining the rigid system of American sclerotic and inflexible foreign diplomacy. 'Diplomacy' that is now privatised and held hostage by the cabal popularly known as 'neocons'.

"Personnel is policy"
Scott Faulkner, Director of Personnel, Reagan Presidency

Coercion is also the only instrument left after multiple contradictions inherent in US political ideas are awkwardly reconciled. The instrument is crude, simply a cudgel.

"The factors that condition the policy of states are many; they are permanent and temporary, obvious and hidden; they include, apart from the geographic factor, population density, the economic structure of the country, the ethnic composition of the people, the form of government, and the complexes and pet prejudices of foreign ministers; and it is their simultaneous action and interaction that create the complex phenomenon known as "foreign policy.""
Nicholas Spykman, "Geography and Foreign Policy, I". American Political Science Review, 1938

Inevitably, ideology, married up with the tools of coercion, becomes a self-sclerifiying system that cannot possibly meet the needs of the time. The system fills with contradictory concepts, there is no imagination, and this rigid nexus is a place that kills any ability for professional discourse to take place. Key staff, appalled by what amounts to institutional artheriosclosis, start to leave.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs: "'s so off the wall - but I understand what he's talking about, I understand that they're off the-wall!

They are so confused. They want to be tough to China, so being tough to China apparently means killing people right and left, or engaging in a losing war in Ukraine that is leaving hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians dead. They're very confused people.

They have a wrong idea of the world.

They have an absolutely wrong idea of China!
The Chinese cannot figure this out, by the way. The Chinese are very sophisticated - I was just in Beijing, I talk regularly with the Chinese foreign policy officials - they cannot figure out what are they talking about."

Judge Napolitano: "'they' of whom you speak - is the Biden foreign policy establishment? "

Professor Sachs: "Essentially,'s also the the broader political class in Congress as well, so it probably extends beyond the White House. But, they're absolutely dumbfounded by this.

It's so lacking coherence, professionalism, ideas, concepts, reality. And it's sad to see Blinken talk like this. It's a nonsense.

But I can only tell you Judge, I hear it from others in Washington also - they've completely lost the melody, they don't get it at all, and what's weird about this, by the way, is that at the same time they're trying to improve the diplomacy with China because they're trying to get ready for a Biden - Xi summit around the the Apec meetings at the end of November - and then Blinken comes out and says, 'yes we need this war against Gaza and the Ukraine war to show how tough we are to China...'

...the Chinese are looking at this in amazement as the US basically goes over the edge in disasters, isolating itself from the rest of the world."
Professor Jeffrey Sachs interview with Judge Andrew Napolitano, 'Judging Freedom' 01 November 2023

Professor Sachs neatly describes the absurdities that are an inevitable result of a system of coercion born in the colonial era, growing up in the era of post-war wealth and power in the USA, and now aged and unfit - mentally weak, refusing to face the reality of his fading strength.

Inauthentic politicians and political appointees

As Mark Twain pointed out, many of those who 'know best' for us are duplictuous and inauthentic "It has always been a peculiarity of the human race that it keeps two sets of morals in stock–the private and real, and the public and artificial."

This is hardly new - it has always been so. But the culture of 'hidden agenda' which the public must not know about is deeply embedded in American, British, German and French political and strategic cultures. Of course there are authentic and transparent politicians. But they very rarely achieve positions of power.

Those with the characteristics attributed to used car salesmen are more likely to succeed - charming, apparently open, jovial, self deprecating even, sometimes (falsely) humble - but behind closed doors strategising covert and overt actions they know the public won't agree with.

Cultural biase

"When you want to take a look at what the Soviets were saying internally about this issue, that issue, this issue they didn't lie. Maybe didn't put all the information out there. But they didn't lie, and you would get more insight, and I think Ray got more valuable insight - as as an analyst - and I got valuable insight as an analyst, by reading that, than you do by reading the the highly compartmented intelligence, the sigint [US govt. signals intelligence] and other things that...the [US govt] analysts put together.

They were almost always wrong because they're tainted by our own prejudices, by our own biases.

But if you go and just read what they say...if you want to learn about Putin...he's one of the most transparent leaders...there is...When he holds a meeting in Russia it's broadcast there's a record of it, there's a transcript of it, it's it's all out there for people to see. ...[Russia's] transformation...wasn't done in secrecy it was done with total see an effective leader, a manager who sits down who listens to people, who absorbs what they tell him, and then makes decisions based upon that to the betterment of of Russia"
Scott Ritter, 'CIA Analyst Ray McGovern and Scott Ritter talk about Russia and Ukraine' Sep 16, 2023

It is politically convenient for US politicians to create a less-wholesome 'other' because the US political policy is to attempt to dominate, be the 'master ('dominus' in latin), of the other. 'The other', necessarily, must become the servant ('servus' in latin), and therefore servile.

Part of creating cultural myths about  'the other' is inventing and repeating ignorant 'one-liners' about 'the other' (whether 'the other' is Russia, China, Syria, Vietnam, Iraq, Venezuela,Afghanistan, Libya, or any other 'adversary' or 'enemy' of the political moment). The lies, distortions facts, and mischaracterisations add to the cardboard cutout simplistic view of the self-created 'opposition'.

All sorts of base motives are attributed to Russia, the people and politicians are actively denigrated, expressions of Russian culture suppressed, and Russian voices censored.

Any attempt to genuinely understand the culture, motives, and legitimate concerns of Russia can then be easily dismissed. This phantasmic 'thought-set' has become a self-reinforcing illusion in the highly contrived and shallow geopolitical culture of the United States.

"...the United States is extremely arrogant - or naive.  When you read Blinken's speech, nothing is real, nothing is true, and you wonder, is he completely just lying at each point, or is he so naive that he really doesn't understand the situation? I don't know the answer, frankly, to that. I found the speech amazing in how cliched and juvenile it is.

The fact of the matter is, the United States is continuing to try to maintain its dominance... There's no serious discussion in this document at all. Yes, he acknowledges this is a 'hinge moment', I think he quotes Biden as calling it but the whole speech is a bunch of cliches about why the United States needs to maintain its power, and why those who don't want the U.S leadership are just evil, Russia and China are evil, and so they need to be combated, and this is the great struggle.

And if you frame the world this way, you just are not telling the truth, and not explaining what's really going on.

The United States is the country with military bases in 85 countries around the world; it's the one that pushes military enlargement; it is the biggest user of unilateral coercive economic measures - which are against international law.

Also in this document Blinken talks about the economic coercion by China. Are you kidding?!

The United States by every objective account is way in the lead of using universal unilateral coercive measures against whole economies, often for decades, such as Cuba or Venezuela or Iran.

Not a mention of this reality at all, just how terrible it is what China is doing. It's a game, but it's so thin...

I just saw - again I may be paraphrasing, and it was just a banner across the newsstream - that said that president van der Leyden called Xi Jinping a dictator. Following the kind of empty and nasty rhetoric of Biden...right now this is a hatred being stoked daily by terrible speeches by our secretary of state and shocking war mongering by our columnists in the New York Times and elsewhere."
Jeffrey Sachs 'The US Covert and Overt Operations', Dialogue works, 16 September 2023

The obvious consequence of an intemperate, speech-bubble, cultural biase towards a powerful and consequential country, whether China or Russia, is that ill-informed and ignorant people create ill-informed and inadequate foreign policy. Leaving the United States and the West highly vulnerable to important unintended consequences - geostratically, geopolitically, and geologically.


“For expressions of likelihood or probability, an analytic product must use one of the following set of terms:
01-05% – almost no chance, remote;
05-20% – very unlikely, highly improbable;
20-45% – unlikely, improbable;
45-55% – roughly even chance, roughly even odds;
55-80% – likely, probable;
80-95% - very likely, highly probable;
95-99% – almost сertain(ly), nearly certain.
Analysts are strongly encouraged not to mix terms from different rows.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, US Intelligence Community Directive 203,January 2, 2015, page 3”

According to respected ex-government analysts such as Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern, those in charge of studying Russian government and popular opinions have a shallow and culturally biased understanding of Russian politics, Russian history, and Russian culture. Accordingly, the analysts in the 17 or so security agencies reporting to the politicians create reports with 'confidence levels' that cannot be correct. But they look very authoritative. Those reports that go against the prevailing ideology are, of course, 'disappeared'.

This is nothing new. As the cynical world war 2 phrase self-illustrates “excrementum vincit cerebellum” (bullshit baffles brains).

Manipulation by the agenda-driven unaccountable leashless government agencies

"[Kennedy] understood that the world was  dangerous and he was going to avoid it. And yet the first year was a massive debacle because the CIA came to him and said, "Mr. President, now you have to implement the invasion of Cuba."

And he had serious doubts about it, but like most presidents and certainly most presidents in their first months, he kind of went along and said, okay, you can do it, but I'm not going to give air cover. And some flaky set of decisions from the CIA and Kennedy had them go forward.

And of course the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was itself a debacle, a disaster."
Jeffre Sachs on the Chris Hedges Report 30 September 2023

...I think first, it's fair to say, that being  president of the United States is a tough job and it's impossible to do right in the early days  and early years, because you don't get it.

And our security state in the United States, which was created by the National Security Act of 1947, which created a secret security state and a private army of the United States called the CIA, which is one half its function, because it does intelligence and it does private warfare of the United States.

And the whole apparatus is secret and largely out of control. And it is absolutely out of control by any public understanding or scrutiny or accountability or congressional oversight today as it was in the early 1960s."
Jeffrey Sachs on the Chris Hedges Report 30 September 2023

The CIA is the President's creature. It provides necessary and useful service, but an incoming President, unless they had had prior experience, is (depending on temperament) putty in their hands. So there is an intersection of the agenda and biases of upper level staff of the CIA and the background knowledge and temperament of the incoming President.

As Professor Sachs points out, it is easiest for a 'green' president to go along with the advice given, until he at least finds his feet. The head of the CIA is a political appointee, and can usefully filter agency ambitions, but if the political appointee is a an ideologue, then he or she is likely to skew the Presidential coercive advice even more radically.

When I say 'coercive advice' I consider it a given that this is virtually all the advice the president receive - all more temperate and fact-based advice that doesn't fit current ideologies having been diverted to the waste team.

The question arises - what if the President doesn't bend to agency heads opposing strongly held ideology? According to Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, in the case of John Kennedy, the evidence is compelling that the CIA and military acted together to murder the American President John Kennedy because he would not provide them with the war that they wanted. Presumably todays USA agencies are unlikely to murder a President whose policy they strongly disagree with. However, they may blackmail Presidents. Mr. Trump swore he would "drain the swamp". He had a dozen or so action points preventing retiring military from joining arms manufacture firms and so forth. Not one was item on the list was completed. He was conspicuously warned by a senior senate member that if a President - a President! - "angers" the intelligence community " the intelligence Community "they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you "

Therefore, if the military industrial financial complex wants to continue coercive policies and the President does not, the President best change his mind.

Top-down manipulation of the government agencies in order to hear only what the President's Security Council wants to hear

"the National Security Act of 1947, the one that created the CIA, says zero about covert action, all it says is that the CIA shall:
 "perform such other the functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the National Security as the National Security
Council May from time to time Direct"
Now what is National Security Council that's an Advisory Board to the President. The president is the one who directs. The president is one who gives the orders"
Ray McGovern, retired CIA Analyst November 2023
The National Security Council members come from hand-picked men and women:
"The National Security Council (NSC) is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the Council's function has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.

The NSC is chaired by the President. Its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence advisor... "

Naturally, the President's advisors are picked to give the President exactly the advice he wants to hear. The President can change his staff at whim. Therefore, there is inbuilt pressure to 'follow the President's line'. This pressure in turn feeds down through the layers of bureaucracy. Ultimately, it becomes a Presidential echo chamber. All the President hears are his own thoughts and his own biases.

This is the major weakness of any Presidential system. An elected 'President' can't be cast aside when top politicians realise he is a liability, or with a personality defect that leads to very bad decisions. In a Parliamentary system where the 'Prime' Minister is elected by the Ministers, and simply the 'first among equals', such a defective leader can be voted out by a cabinet vote of no confidence and 'be gone by lunchtime'. She is then quickly replaced by the leader of a cabinet faction with the most support. Or, if suffering from 'burnout' (or realising she has made a major strategic blunder whose consequences are yet to come to light) she can quietly step down and be instantly replaced by cabinet vote.

In the case of coercive diplomacy, when the policy is obviously heading fofr a disaster, the damage could be quickly limited by a nervous cabinet voting the reckless one out of the top seat. But in the American system, if the President insists on steering the Titanic straight for an iceberg because he 'knows' the ship is strong enough to smash it, no one can stop him. The tragedy, of course, is that even while heading for disaster, all the advisors will be praising his resolve, his navigation,and his transcendent wisdom.

Cognitively biased decision making

"...coercive diplomacy...assumes pure rationality...But in real life 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

'External' psychological factors probably refers to leaders social set - who their colleagues and social class are - and the 'norms' and prejudices in that setting ('group think'). Georges "these factors also affect their identification and evaluation of options" discretely refers to the fact that analysts who wish to 'get ahead' in the job tell their superiors what they know their superiors really want to hear - usually support for an existing institutional or higher government level political position.


Overconfidence is inevitably the result when dispassionate analysis is substituted with 'opinion' mixed with inability to admit (or even be aware of) personal bias, let alone under-education on the matter being opined on. This was perfectly expressed by Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, author of the book 'Thinking Fast and Slow'.

"There was a study by Phil Tetlock about the ability of pundits, CIA analysts and academic experts to make long-term strategic predictions, looking five to 10 years ahead.

They couldn't do it, but believed they could.

And the people who were most overconfident, and had the strongest theory? They're the ones who were on TV.

We're blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We're not designed to know how little we know. Most of the time, [trying to judge the validity of our own judgements] is not worth doing. But when the stakes are high, my guess is that asking for the advice of other people is better than criticising yourself...
Daniel Kahneman, psychologist 24 November 2011

Unwillingness to think

Inadequate and unprofessional popular journalism has dumbed-down and manipulated public thinking to the point that both academics and otherwise thoughtful and analytical ordinary people have lost the both the will and perhaps the ability to ask skeptical questions. The will and ability to look at other sources of information beyond the lock-step public media is gone. All that is left is an echo chamber. The echo chamber resonates not with 'prove it', but with 'I believe'. Even highly respected academics like Professor Brenner has stopped attempting to engage in public discourse. People can't hear dissenting voices, with different premises, with facts that sit uncomfortably with what they have been told. The level of cognitive dissonance is too high. There is no one to talk to.
"I had expressed highly skeptical views about what I believe is the fictional storyline and account of what has been happening in Ukraine, back over the past year and most pointedly in regard to the acute crisis that has arisen with the Russian invasion and attack on Ukraine. I received not only an unusually large number of critical replies, but it was the nature of them that was deeply dismaying.

One, ...most of them came from people whom I did know, whom I knew as level-headed, sober minds, engaged and well informed on foreign policy issues and international matters generally.

Second, they were highly personalized, and I had rarely been the object of that sort of criticism or attack—sort of ad hominem remarks questioning my patriotism; had I been paid by...Putin; my motivations, my sanity....

Third was the extremity of the content of these hostile messages.

And the last characteristic, which really stunned me, was that these people bought into—hook, line and sinker—every aspect of the sort of fictional story that has been propagated by the administration, accepted and swallowed whole by the media and our political-intellectual class, which includes many academics and the entire galaxy of Washington think tanks.

And that’s a reinforced impression that had been growing for some time, that to be a critic and a skeptic was not just to engage in a dialogue..., but to place one’s views and one’s thoughts and send them into a void, in effect. A void, because the discourse as it has crystalized is not only uniform in a way, but it is in so many respects senseless, lacking any kind of inner logic, whether you agree with the premises and the formally stated objectives or not.

In effect, this was an intellectual and political nihilism.

...And he is, Putin himself, an extraordinarily sophisticated thinker. But people don’t bother to read what he writes, or to listen to what he says.

I know, in fact, of no national leader that has laid out in the detail and the precision and the sophistication his view of the world, Russia’s place in it, the character of interstate relations, with the candor and acuity that he has.

It’s not a question of whether you believe that that depiction he offers is entirely correct, or the conclusion that he draws from it, with regard to policy. But you are dealing with a person and a regime which in vital respects is the antithesis of the one that is caricatured and almost universally accepted, not only in the Biden administration but in the foreign policy community and the political class, and in general.

And that raises some really basic questions about us, rather than about Russia or about Putin. As you [the interviewer] mentioned, the question was: what is it that we’re afraid of? Why do Americans feel so threatened, so anxious?...What is there today that really threatens us? At the horizon, of course, there is China, not Russia; although they now, thanks to our unwitting encouragement, have formed together a formidable bloc. But...even the Chinese challenge is to our supremacy and our hegemony, not to the country directly...

...we have to look in the mirror and say, well, we’ve seen...the source of our disquiet, and it’s within us; it’s not out there, and it is leading to gross distortions of the way in which we see, we depict and we interpret the world...geographically and in terms of...different arenas and dimensions of international relations.

And of course, continuing along this course can only have one endpoint, and that’s disaster of some form or other...

...I truly believe that we are talking about collective psychopathology."

Professor Michael J. Brenner, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, former Director of the International Relations & Global Studies University of Texas, 15 April 2022

Pandering to popular uninformed prejudice

The American 'system' of echo chamber group-think becomes an inescapable trap. The politicians use their compliant and brain-dead mainstream media to create a false cardboard-cutout image they call 'Russia', a fantasyland holograph embued with certain powers, motives, impulses, reactions. They tell the public how to 'feel' about this 'Russia'. Once the population 'knows' how to believe about anything pertaining to Russia - as presented by the journalistically derelict mainstream media - anything outside the existing political framing triggers immediate 'cognitive dissonance', and is angrily rejected.

Politicians who attempt to bring reality into the discourse cut their own throats. Even when someone has taken the time and trouble to go to a land 'over there' and try to find something more closely corresponding to reality, if they try to convey what they have learnt - at first hand - they are instantly tagged and reviled as [insert leader or country] sympathiser. Politicians also learn to lie. Even when they know what they are saying is absurd on various levels, they still repeat popular tags and labels, because if they don't, they won't have an audience.

And if they don't have an audience, they can't get elected, they can't get big donations. So, like Tulsi Gabbard, they withdraw.

Lying pays in a 4 year electoral cycle

"First of all, no one can join NATO while a war is going on...because that guarantees that we’re in a war, and we’re in a third world war."
"Putin has already lost the war.  Putin has a real problem.  How does he move from here?  What does he do?... there is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine.  He’s already lost that war.  Imagine if — even if — anyway.  He’s already lost that war."
Joseph Biden, President of the United States of America, 13 July 2023 

At the time the US President said this all competent military analysts were stating the obvious - Russia has now won the war. Ukraine was unable to advance. When Ukraine withdrew any significant distance, it was unable to permanently regain that lost ground. So why lie? Because the current President is up for re-election in 2024, and needs 'to save face'. If instead of lying he called off the USA governments attacks on Russia, he would immediately prevent the death or maiming of several hundred Ukrainian conscripts per day. But then he would have to admit that his officials are lying and dissembling, and the media is lying and dissembling to the American public, day in, day out. And that would be bad for his chances at re-election.

"Truth is treason in the empire of lies.”- George Orwell

Why do top officials also lie? Because their position, their career, their remuneration depends on supporting the agreed lies. If they step out of line and admit the truth, they are regarded as being a traitor to the greater cause.

Sociopathological politicians

"Capitol Hill is where warmongers and principles go to die. It’s an assisted living facility for psychopaths...The whole place smells like night terrors and urine...It’s where they warehouse souls too atrophied and mummified to take a stand against the empire in order to give Americans the illusion of living in a democracy."
Caitlin Johnson, social commentator 31 August 2023

Apparently US politicians suspend all empathy when it comes to the suffering they cause others. President Biden recently said  "A job is...about your dignity, how you’re treated, and being able to make a living and you can tell your kids it’s going to be okay." While he - personally, but while representing the American people - applies crippling trade restrictions to Syria, a country the USA government attempted to destroy using the ISIS thugs and other criminal extremists. And funded and armed these brutal thugs.

The US government occupies the Syrian oil fields and uses proxies to control the major wheat producing areas. The United States government steals Syrian oil. Entire factories were looted by the terrorists and shipped to Turkiye (before Russia put a stop to it). The Syrian industrial base is deeply damaged, as is the infrastructure - except in the north, where the Kurds receive a constant stream of aid and largesse from the west - including, no doubt from the pillaging of Syria's oil and wheat. Syria was once self-sufficient in oil and in food. Now it is a beggar. The US government destroyed Syrian jobs. It took the food from Syrian families mouths. Even while Syria is still fighting the last terrorist groups in the west, the US government keeps it's sociopathic boot on the Syrian peoples throat. No mercy, not even for the hungry, the sick, the unemployed. Winter is coming. Electricity is limited to a few hours a day. Wood is unaffordable. This is what the American government does to ordinary people to coerce the Syrian government...collective punishment. A crime against humanity.

This is a vivid illustration of the utter lack of empathy for the civilian populations of the countries the US government illegally places its boots in. This is just one story among a long history of blatant and gross interference in other countries. It is clear that many, if not most, American politicians have no empathy for 'the other'. They are concerned for the wellbeing of their own children, but callously hurt other nations children.

An ineradicable culture of total indifference to the pain and suffering the US government causes to 'foreign' people is deeply embedded within much of the political class of that country. I'll leave it to appropriate professionals to suggest why.

Loss aversion

Once the US foreign policy flywheel starts to turn, it is hard to stop. Even as things start to fall apart, the US government, not wishing to 'lose face', stubbornly refuses to 'do the right thing'. As the popular American saying goes they 'double down on stupid'.

USA aims to destroy its old equipment using Ukraine.(Listen to Scott Ritter a military expert and analyst describe in detail why Ukraine cannot win, and has never had a real chance).

Rational persuasion and compromise diplomatic strategy

" ...political rage is only a temporary thing and will go away on its own after they run out of steam, then we will be ready to conduct a serious, professional and propaganda-free conversation that remains within the bounds of the law."
Sergey Lavrov 18 October 2018

"What is happening in Ukraine and what is happening in Israel is showing how profoundly, profoundly, dangerous it is not to have diplomacy, not to engage in problem solving... try to rely on force and to believe that the United States through force can absolve a country of the responsibilities of decency and International law and diplomacy and cooperation. And they can't"
Professor Jeffrey Sachs interview with Judge Andrew Napolitano, 'Judging Freedom' 01 November 2023 

This strategy is sparingly used by the West, but this is where the west will have to turn to in future. Throughout the west's endless name-calling, unilateral restrictions, uncooperative behaviour, and endless dangerous - and sometimes murderous - staged offenses, the Russian diplomats have been endlessly patient and polite, although the Foreign Minister's reference to the western polity as "partners" is actually ironic.

Question: In your interviews, you nearly always refer to our foes as partners. Why?
Sergey Lavrov: Sometimes, I fail to express irony through intonation.
17 December 2018 

"One must always be polite. We are polite people.

We speak on any topic, as we believe that it is necessary to communicate, to listen to each other.

However, the fact that we speak politely does not mean we would make any concessions that run contrary to the core national interests of the Russian Federation."
Sergey Lavrov 15 May 2019 

"I understand those who think that Russia could be more aggressive in reacting to the openly high-handed, unseemly rhetoric from Western leaders.

In our diplomatic and political culture, we are not used to resorting to thuggish rhetoric.

We are polite people and are used to achieving our goals in a civil and civilised manner. As we say: “God is not in power but in truth.”
Sergey Lavrov, 3 February 2021

The outrageous and deliberately arrogant and provocative, sometimes contemptuous behaviour of the western so-called 'diplomats' is generally a ritualistic performance, kabuki theatre, much of it a 'threat display' of 'toughness' aimed at their domestic audience. It is a form of psychological coercion designed to cause frustration and annoyance. Whether or not it works on the domestic audience is uncertain (especially as social media can open a window on a world hidden behind the propaganda curtain). Psychological coercion doesn't work on professional diplomats.

"I don’t think any member of the Government, not to mention the Foreign Minister, should let themselves get rattled. To be honest, I find it easy to deal with. But those who take it harder must keep their perfectly justified feelings to themselves.

As the old Hollywood saying goes, “Never let them see you sweat.”
Sergey Lavrov 12 February 2021

"It goes without saying that we are ready for a dialogue with our Western colleagues, but only if it’s based on equality, mutual respect and the search for a fair balance of interests rather than the ultimatums we keep hearing and which demand that Russia “change its ways” before the West even agrees to talk to us.

We all went to school. Our teachers also admonished us. But those were teachers we loved and recognised.
Sergey Lavrov 24 June 2021

It seems to me this rather farcical insistence on an impossibly positive Russian diplomatic stance was directed and led at the insistence of the Russian 'Diplomat-in Chief', Vladimir Putin. Of course, his decision was informed by the tone at the top of the Russian diplomatic continuum, particularly Russias highly respected foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.  Russia has professional diplomats, unlike the US government, which a shifting mish-mash of political appointees who toe the US uniparty foreign policy line.

"We will continue pursuing peace-loving neighbourly foreign policy and will remain open to constructive cooperation with our foreign partners in all geographical areas and in any format based on mutual respect, predictability and negotiability.

This fully applies to the United States, the West as a whole and such agencies as the EU and NATO, all the more so since many countries in Europe realise the futility of this line towards confrontation with Russia that has been imposed on them.

I am convinced that common sense will eventually prevail. We will probably never be absolutely the same. There will always be differences in our approaches to these and other problems. But let us uphold our positions through dialogue rather than threats and ultimatums."
Sergey Lavrov 20 November 2018 

Ultimatums, "you are either with us or against us" false dichotomies and other aspirations formulated as 'imperatives', whether childishly couched in condescending tones or not, have no place in diplomatic negotiations with mature adults.

" one should be presented with the “either-or” choice.

We cannot try and substitute the essence of the problem, and tasks for resolving it, by our geopolitical ambitions."
Sergey Lavrov 8 October 2021

Often there prevails the desire to issue accusations, ultimatums and demands. We believe that today, as never before, it is important to try to return to the sources and basics of diplomacy, to the painstaking, protracted, occasionally thankless, but eventually effective search for points of contact and compromises, and to the coordination of positions. We are ready for this work and are ready to conduct it with all our partners without exception."
Sergey Lavrov 14 October 2020

"We have to comment on ...Mr Borrell’s ...statement...This particular text is based on the illusion and dangerous self-deception that it is possible to speak to Russia in a language of threats and ultimatums. I don’t know why they so stubbornly close their eyes and ears to our statements that talking to us like that is unacceptable and that any attempts to conduct dialogue from this position are sure to fail."
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  1 July 2021

"It appears that our Western partners cannot, or more likely don’t want to deal with us on the basis of mutual respect, or to look for mutually acceptable solutions...There is little doubt that...tomorrow we will hear ultimatums and aggressive statements, most of them Russophobic, demanding that we change our policy. We will try to encourage them to talk, but there is a limit to everything.

We prefer dialogue aimed at reaching mutually acceptable agreements that will ensure collective security as well as the security of all parties to the agreements, most likely the OSCE in the first place.

We are ready for this. If our Western partners have lost or are losing (the process has not reached the final stage yet) the culture of dialogue and the culture of looking for compromise, this means that we are knocking on a locked door, which will never open. I hope this is not so."
Sergey Lavrov 1 December 2021

The west, and particularly the USA government, set about destroying diplomatic relations with Russia. They have done a very thorough job, from seizing Russian diplomatic property in USA to endlessly hysterically vilifying the Russian head of state. The US government is willing to engage with Russia to get what it wants, but it is a one way street from its point of view. Hopelessly self centered which means it is also short sighted.

"In 2009, President Obama and I thought we could achieve key US national interests with Russia through an approach with three elements: finding specific areas for cooperation where our interests aligned, standing firm where our interests diverged, and engaging consistently with the Russian people themselves"
Hill Clinton 'Hard Choices, published 2014

The key national interests were the so-called new START treaty (the old one had expired the the US "hadn't had any weapons inspectors on the ground in Russia checking what was happening in their missile silos", to quote Mrs Clinton ), sanctioning Iran, and air access to Afghanistan's northern border to conduct military operations. The other key national interest, illegitimate, but key, was to incite dissent in any and every way possible within Russia in order to overthrow it and install a malleable President ready to once again hang out the 'for sale' sign.

"The other side often has a problem...which is that they are good at showing firmness bordering on rudeness, but they are rather unprepared for dialogue."
Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister 20 December 2021

"Unfortunately, relations between Russia and the United States, which directly affect global security and stability, are going through a deep crisis. It is rooted in fundamentally different approaches to the formation of the modern world order.

Madam Ambassador, I do not wish to upset the positive atmosphere of the ceremony for presenting the letters of credence and I know that you probably won’t share my opinion, but I must say that the use by the US of such foreign policy tools as support for the so-called colour revolutions, including support for the state coup in Ukraine in 2014, ultimately led to the current crisis in Ukraine and exacerbated the deterioration of Russia-US relations.

But we have always supported the development of Russia-US relations exclusively on the principles of equality, mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and interests, and non-interference in internal affairs. We will continue following these principles in the future as well.
Vladimir Putin 5 April 2023 

From 2014 onward, from the second Obama term as President, there has been an ever-worsening move to extreme coercive diplomacy by US government administrations. Effectively, there is no US government diplomatic engagement with Russia.

Regardless of what the US government administrations do in future, Russia will continue to exclude any form of diplomatic engagement other than those engagements fully compliant with the principles of:
1. Equality
2. Mutual respect for each others sovereign decisions made in compliance with International law
3. Mutual respect for each others legitimate interests
4. Non-interference in internal affairs

Those are not Russian rules. Nor are they western rules. They flow from the rules in the United Nations Charter and associated documents.

Recently, these United Nations based rules are re-gaining some of their power, or so it seems. Coercion has no place there. It is a place of cooperative diplomacy.

It is a great irony that Zbigniew Brzezinski, who promoted Mackinder's coercive 'heartland' concept, did a complete 'about face in 2016'. He realised that Russia and China were too powerful to successfully coerce, and promoted cooperative diplomacy instead. He was ignored.

There is another irony The military coercion boot is now on the other foot. Russia could coerce the United States. Salvos of the new the Kh-BD cruise missile can be air launched from bombers flyiing in eastern Russia and travel about 6,000 kilometers to reach large parts of Northwest continental United States. This is a cruise missile, not a ballistic missile, and it has a low radar profile. In time, it will likely replace the nuclear tipped Kh-BD, as well as current conventionally armed shorter range missiles (limited to roughly 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers).

Strategic balance has been restored, but it has not been formalised by treaty. Russia wants mutually acceptable security treaties to be negotiated, covering all outstanding matters - NATO army exercise on Russia's borders, tactical nuclear weapons on NATO fighter aircraft - also on Russia's borders, and so on. Ironically, Russia could simply leave matters as they are. But it has now created threats to the United States that are arguably greater than the semicircle of missiles the US government will place around Russia's border.

Strategic patience

"Regarding further talks on this or any other subjects dealing with strategic stability and arms control, President Putin has also clearly set out our position. There is no shortage of initiatives that we have submitted to our colleagues in the United States, NATO and the West generally. We have repeatedly mentioned them, calling for launching talks that should not be delayed. For example, this concerns matters linked with the possible extension of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), due to expire in 2021.

Our Western colleagues, including US colleagues, did not respond in any way.

Therefore, as you know, President Putin instructed Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and me not to raise these matters any more but to wait calmly until (and if) our Western partners respond to our proposals on the entire range of strategic stability matters that were submitted long ago."
Sergey Lavrov" 6 February 2019

One of the features of Russia's rational interaction and compromise diplomatic strategy is strategic patience. The coherence and unchanging nature of their diplomatic strategy endures because it is based on a long diplomatic institutional memory made possible by career diplomats with long service. More importantly, Russia has never experienced global hegemonic 'unipower', and has had to get along with everybody. While at the same time dealing with complex relationships with culturally different states surrounding - and within -  its borders.

Russia is an old civilisation with a long and sometimes turbulent history. It has had to learn patience. Meanwhile, the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

  The Place of Trust in Relations between States

"The Nazi philosophy of hatred for Russians is what really unites the Kiev regime and its American patrons. The hateful Russophobic remarks by other officials and representatives of the political establishment in Washington and Kiev are still fresh in memory. ...

...It's no secret that the Kiev ghouls and their overseas curators not only wish the death of the Russians, but directly engage in killings and terrorist attacks.

I wonder if everyone in the West now understands that the Kiev regime openly engages in terrorist activities ...Until when will Washington, London and Brussels sponsor these thugs? Up until the point they fly their planes into the City of London?
Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 29 May 2023

In diplomacy, the principle of reciprocity applies to everything – to good attitudes and to concessions, as well as to rude behaviour."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023 

The west cannot be trusted. This is an established objective truth. At the personal level, no concessions of any kind will be made to the inciters of hate within the western governments. At the state level, Russian diplomats recognise that business still has to be done, no matter what type of person is across the table. Better progress in relations result when the parties tell the truth, rather than lie and deceive. Even better mutually satisfactory progress is made when both parties keep their word and do what they say they will do.

Russia tries to uphold the precept of keeping their word, keeping confidential negotiations confidential, telling the truth, and generally the whole truth, and avoiding lies and deceit (except in war).

Building Trust

Trust is slow to build, and quick to destroy. This is the same in all human relations. The Russian Federation, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has worked hard and consistently to build trust with all countries, especially the large and powerful countries.

Russia now has trusting relations with China and Iran, in particular. But his and his teams effort to build trust through consistancy, predictability, honest dialogue, and willingness to 'go the extra mile' to try to solve problems have failed in the west. Not through any defect in the diplomatic style or approach, but because the west wishes to punish Russia for not obeying the wests directions. Of course, they want to acquire a large stake in Russia's natural wealth as well. This is not a fault on Russia's part, it is a concious decision by western politicians


Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative

President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation met today in New York and agreed on a Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative as a constructive basis for strengthening trust between the two sides and for further development of agreed measures to enhance strategic stability and to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles and missile technologies worldwide. In furtherance of this initiative, the two Presidents approved an implementation plan developed by their experts as a basis for continuing this work.

The Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative builds on the Presidents' agreement in their two previous meetings. The Joint Statement on Principles of Strategic Stability, adopted in Moscow on June 4, 2000, and the Joint Statement on Cooperation on Strategic Stability, adopted in Okinawa on July 21, 2000, establish a constructive basis for progress in further reducing nuclear weapons arsenals, preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty, and confronting new challenges to international security.

The United States and Russia reaffirm their commitment to the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability.

The United States and Russia intend to implement the provisions of the START I and INF Treaties, to seek early entry into force of the START II Treaty and its related Protocol, the 1997 New York agreements on ABM issues and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and to work towards the early realization of the 1997 Helsinki Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces. The United States and Russia also intend to seek new forms of cooperation in the area of non-proliferation of missiles and missile technologies with a view to strengthening international security and maintaining strategic stability within the framework of the Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative between our two countries.

The Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative could include, along with expansion of existing programs, new initiatives aimed at strengthening the security of our two countries and of the entire world community and without prejudice to the security of any state.<...>

<...>Early warning information. The United States and Russia, in implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on the Establishment of a Joint Center for the Exchange of Data from Early Warning Systems and Notification of Missile Launches signed in Moscow on June 4, 2000, intend to establish and put into operation in Moscow within a year the joint center for exchange of data to preclude the possibility of missile launches caused by a false missile attack warning. The Parties will also make efforts to come to an early agreement on a regime for exchanging notifications of missile launches, consistent with the statement of the Presidents at Okinawa on July 21, 2000.

Missile Non-Proliferation measures. The United States and Russia intend to strengthen the Missile Technology Control Regime.

They declare their commitment to seek new avenues of cooperation with a view to limiting proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. Consistent with the July 21, 2000, Joint Statement of the Presidents at Okinawa, they will work together with other states on a new mechanism to integrate, inter alia, the Russian proposal for a Global Control System for Non-Proliferation of Missiles and Missile Technologies (GCS), the U.S. proposal for a missile code of conduct, as well as the MTCR.

Confidence and transparency-building measures. Bearing in mind their obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the United States and Russia will seek to expand cooperation related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to promote a mutually beneficial technical exchange that will facilitate the implementation of the CTBT after its entry into force.

The United States and Russia are prepared to discuss confidence and transparency-building measures as an element of facilitating compliance with, preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty.

These measures could include: data exchanges, pre-notifications of planned events, voluntary demonstrations, participation in observations, organization of exhibitions, and strengthening the ABM Treaty compliance verification process.

The Presidents of the United States and Russia have agreed that officials from the relevant ministries and agencies will meet annually to coordinate their activities in this area, and look forward with interest to such a meeting in the near future.

The United States and Russia call upon all nations of the world to unite their efforts to strengthen strategic stability.



New York City September 6, 2000

"Together with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the ABM Treaty not only created an atmosphere of trust but also prevented either party from recklessly using nuclear weapons, which would have endangered humankind, because the limited number of ballistic missile defence systems made the potential aggressor vulnerable to a response strike.

We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the 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.

Vladimir Putin 1 March 2018

"In 2014, when it all happened, the EU...imposed sanctions on our country and cancelled the Russia-EU summit planned for June 2014, destroyed every other mechanism that it took us decades to create, such as biannual summits, annual meetings between the Russian Government and the European Commission, four common spaces that underlay four road maps, 20 sector-specific dialogues, including a dialogue on visa-free travel and much more. All of that was ruined overnight. Relations have been non-existent since then.

From now on, we will never trust the Americans or the EU. ...When and if they get over their obsession and come back with some kind of a proposal, we will see what exactly it is about.

We will not play along with their self-serving plans.

If it comes to resuming the dialogue, we will push for a level playing field for everyone and a focus on balancing the interests of all participants on an equal footing.
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2022

"...we can no longer trust the West in matters of security, trade or economic ties, or financial mechanisms that were created as part of the globalisation effort, which 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  

Rational argument, compromise, respecting legitimate interests, respectful interaction and pragmatic cooperation is the very essence of Russian diplomacy. Like China, Russia recognises that confrontation and a desire to control other nations in pursuit of US corporate profit and extraction of other countries mineral wealth has no future.

The fact that the American government signed a positive and practical roadmap for strategic stability in 2000 and then simply unilaterally pulled out of it in 2002 - the ink was barely dry! - is a powerful testament to the fact that the US governments has no capacity for acting in a trustworthy war, even on the most important matter for the world - security from nuclear annihilation.

Both Russia and China view cooperation simply to fulfill some ideological concept is wasted effort. Inter-country cooperation should be toward practical goals, centered around the fair flow of trade in pursuit of better living conditions for the peoples of both sides of the trade and cultural equation. Trade and culture alone don't fully define relationships between countries. Practical cooperation is required if we are to correctly deal with problems such as global warming, drugs, cybersecurity, arms control, food security, terrorism and so on. Shared problems, problems that affect all countries, require universal cooperation, whatever the political or cultural differences countries have. And that in a connected world-system this cannot be achieved at someone else's expense, and it cannot be enduringly achieved by strategies of coercion and blackmail.

"We are genuinely interested in honest, productive and pragmatic interaction.

Everyone – and I want to emphasise this, ...everyone who acts, thinks and does otherwise is damaging the global economy, in fact, shooting themselves in the foot, and the foot of those who are still forced to obey their dictates.

But this is their choice; we are ready to cooperate with anyone who wants to work with us on the principles I mentioned, at any second, at any time."
Vladimir Putin 24 May 2023

"I would like to note in this context that Russia has always taken a responsible and genuine approach to interaction with all countries. We fulfil in full – I would like to emphasise this – in full and on time – the agreements signed in the Eurasian Economic Union.

We fully carry out all of our agreements.

...referring to the energy crisis in Europe...who is to blame for this? Yes, there was a crisis, but now, fortunately, energy prices are becoming economically substantiated. But who is to blame for what happened?
The Nord Stream pipelines were blown up. Nord Stream-2 was not launched.
Poland closed the Yamal-Europe gas route via its territory. Did we do this? No, they did.
There were two main gas pipelines through Ukraine. Ukraine closed one of them. We didn’t.
Incidentally, we are supplying Europe with gas via the second line while Ukraine is safely cashing the money for transit despite calling us the aggressor.

We fulfil all of our commitments. I would like to emphasise this.
Vladimir Putin 24 May 2023

Russia hopes that in future the states belonging to the Western community will realize that their policy of confrontation and hegemonic ambitions lack prospects, will take into account the complex realities of a multipolar world and will resume pragmatic cooperation with Russia being guided by the principles of sovereign equality and respect for each other's interests. The Russian Federation is ready for dialogue and cooperation on such a basis.
The Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, 31 March 2023

Reality politics

Russia was invaded by Napoleon. And beat the French back to Paris.
Russia was invaded by the German Nazis. And beat the Nazis back to Berlin
Russia will never be invaded again.

American politicians talk behind closed doors about "breaking up" the Russian Federation. This is unrealistic at best, a phantasy.

Russia will never allow state supported Nazi ideologues to oppress Russian people again. Anywhere.

"...the West is casting a benevolent eye on Russophobia, the discrimination campaign and the banning of everything that is Russian, as well as openly racist actions with a Nazi flavour (because Nazism is flourishing in Ukraine in addition to extermination of everything that is Russian). Most of the nationalist battalion troops wear Nazi division tattoos and carry SS Nazi division banners and chevrons"
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

"We are operating on the premise of objective realities, primarily, the realities that are enshrined in our legislation, in particular, the Constitution. Following the results of the referendum, four new territories – two people's republics and two regions – joined the Russian Federation. There is no question about that. The West is unable to come to grips with that and, as in a fairy tale with a sad ending, is getting mired deeper and deeper in a swamp with every step."
Sergey Lavrov  2 February 2023 

Russia will never allow a threat to its security.

"EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and virtually the entire US administration are talking about inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia on the battlefield. They don’t mention talks, only the battlefield. We are ready to keep working on the battlefield and will do so. We know what we are fighting for.

We are fighting to eliminate a direct military threat to our security, which, contrary to its assurances, the West is creating right on Russia’s borders as it drags Ukraine into its game and is promising it NATO membership once again."
Sergey Lavrov 30 June 2023

NATO or other similar foreign military grouping will never be allowed to base itself in Ukraine. This is the reality.

Sevastapol will never be given up. It is part of the Russian Federation. This is the reality.

Russia will not allow anyone to shut it out of the Black Sea. This is the reality.

"The West...has significant leverage in the operation. We are now trying to move the Ukrainian artillery to a distance that will not pose a threat to our territories, but the more long-range weapons they send to Kiev, the further they will need to move them away from the territories that are part of our country."
Sergey Lavrov 2 February 2023 

Russia will never allow artillery or rockets to bombard Russian territory. This is the reality.

Russia will never allow any Russia-hating country to place potentially nuclear armed cruise missiles 10 minutes from Moscow. This is the reality.


The power factor

""We see that the dominance of the dollar is disappearing, settlements in national currencies appear, and, ultimately, the paradigm is changing. And if we recall the classic ‘money-commodity-money-price' scheme - this is the Bretton Woods paradigm, then now a completely different formula comes out in first place – ‘commodity-money-commodity’: first we sold gas, then we extracted it, our product – our rules.

We don't play games that we didn't make up the rules for....

You cannot describe the state of your energy system or economic system without knowing the rules of a particular commodity market, or knowing the volume of supply in that market.

And in this situation, it turns out that the institutions of the Bretton Woods system, global international institutions, lose their meaning. They don't work, and they die off quietly...The Bretton Woods system of nominal value regulation, in contrast to the possible control over the supply of commodities, provides a powerful inflationary impulse.”
Aleksey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, June 16 2022

As Aleksey Miller points out, in a high-demand commodity market, those with the potential to supply the flow of that 'tier' of a commodity that has the highest demand - a quality product from a proven reliable supplier sold on favorable terms - have market demand power. This is as true of carbohydrates (wheat) as it is on hydrocarbons (gas, oil). (In time, the same will apply to the transnational sale of 'green' electricity.) 'Nominal control' of the commodity flow - by manipulating the US dollar value - means nothing when the seller sets the terms of sale.

The sellers rules or nothing. That is market-supply power. The 'rules' of commodity sales have previously been largely in the West. Where Russia is the producer of the marginal quantity of a commodity, Russia sets rules that meet it's own interests - and the interests of 'friendly countries'. Non-friendly countries (hostile countries interested in destroying Russia) can buy or not buy, but Russia won't give then the discount that they might give to friendly and strategically important countries.

Real commodities priced in the un-debased money of economically powerful countries now wins out over dollars as a 'commodity' whose flow is controlled by one country. Power has shifted.

Russia is in the top 5 in the world for steel production.  Russia has a massive natural gas reserve. It will supply China with large volumes of overland pipeline gas cheaply and reliably. Russia's LNG shipments are increasing, and are made the more competitive by the opening up of the northern sea route. Russia is the world's 9th largest bauxite producer, and produces 10% of global primary aluminium. Russia is the world's 4th largest titanium exporter. It has very large lithium reserves. Russia provides about 18% of world coal exports. Russia has about 8% of global uranium resources. Russia supplies 43% of the world's enriched uranium.

Its military industry is effectively state-owned, highly responsive to government direction, with no middlemen and price gouging.

Russia's scientific-engineering capacities are world class, and Russian hypersonic weapons are but one manifestation of this.

Russia is almost entirely self sufficient in food production, is a major wheat exporter, and a major animal feed materials exporter.

Russia now has the most powerful defensive military force in the world. Its mineral resource and agriculture-based economy is world scale. These are essential products and are in high demand globally.

The profits derived from exploiting raw materials are turned to social purposes through majority government ownership.

It's value-added industrial output is very small, but its economic self-sufficiency is probably now the highest in the world.

It's expertise in advanced energy solutions - innovative nuclear power plants - is top level.

Its educational system is focused on science, technology, energy and mathematics and technical training.

Russia is one of the top-most respected diplomatic actors in the whole world.

In other words, it is a self-contained and confident power, it can easily weather any future political, and economic crash. It cannot 'weather' an adverse episode of extended hot and dry climatic conditions that destroy its ability to produce grains - but no country can.

Russia could easily threaten a country to do or not do something, using its dominance in hypersonic strike weapons. For example, it could have blackmailed Germany into fulfilling its existing commercial contract and open the Nordstream pipeline (referring to the situation before the US or its proxy blew most of it up).

But in the long run Germany would simply do what it is doing now - building terminals for LNG imported from the USA and Middle East.

The USA successfully blackmailed Germany into not turning on the new pipeline. And it (or its proxy) did use its military power to blow it up. Quite a contrast.

Once again, in the long run, Germany will simply pay to repair it, and once again buy Russian gas.

In the meantime, the USA has effectively destroyed a significant part of Germany's value-added industrial base. In 2020 industry made up 27% of Germany's GDP, whereas it made up only 18% of USA GDP. 

What has USA achieved with the misuse of its commercial and military power? Not just in Germany, but anywhere in the world?

It has achieved a strategic blunder of historic importance.

Failed coercion - a massive strategic blunder

The west:

*failed to stop Russia's economy from not just surviving, but booming
*failed to stop Russia oil and gas exports
*failed to admit the negative effects of expensive gas on European Industry
*failure to prevent money transfers in trade
*failed to destroy the ruble
*failed to control the price of Russian oil and gas
*failed to prevent foreign capital investing in Russia
*failed to hold onto unreasonable profits flowing from joint ventures
*failed to block Russian grain exports
*failed to keep Russian fertilisers off the global market

*failed to kill Russians at the predicted rate
*failed to understand Russia's meatgrinder military strategy
*failure to forsee the Russian ability to kill the more highly trained military
*failure to create a dirty bomb out of the Zaporozhye nuclear plant
*failed to forsee the effective use of cheap drones on Ukrainian troops
*failed to drag the conflict into a frozen conflict
*failed to demonstrate the Patriot anti missile system was effective against modern missiles
*failed to account for the advanced nature of Russias submarine fleet

*failed to put a finger on the scale of strategic nuclear weapon balance
*failed to intimidate Russia into giving one sided concessions in arms control

*failed to incite a coup that would overthrow President Putin
*failed to erode the popularity of the President
*failed to intimidate Russian society

*failed to turn African countries against Russia

*failed to turn India against Russia
*failed to turn Middle Eastern countries against Russia
*failed to turn Brazil against Russia
*failed to apply the UN resolutions to create the state of Palestine resulting in endless injustices against Palestinian people by the Israeli government, and, ultimately downward coercive spirals

*failed to prioritise the needs of their own citizens
*failed to forsee the flood of stolen Ukrainian weapons into European cities
*failed to forsee the danger of heavily indoctrinated neonazi Ukrainian refugees flooding into Europe

I will expand on these and other consequences in Part 2 (Some day).

Index of articles on security

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