Hey Tom, good job on tackling a very complicated issue. I'm sure writing this post helped you to think deeper about the unfolding situation. Nicely done 👏 I'm looking forward to reading more of your essays. 💭

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Feb 24, 2022Liked by Tom White

Thank you for such a thoughtful and educational piece. Well done!

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As a whole world we must stop Putler. This is our responsibility. I am tired of those years-long bla-bla-bla sanctions which just make this dictator only laugh. He doesn't care.

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Hi Tom,

I admire your pieces immensely and look forward to each one irrespective of where I stand on the issue. In fact, I enjoy reading the other side of an argument for it benefits us all. Not all pieces can be for everyone and perhaps I find this latest one a little jarring.

I agree in principle with your article, and I understand your concern and visceral reaction to the war unfolding in Ukraine. As of yesterday’s actions, I too believe Putin has gone stark mad.

Whatever legitimate criticism he has against the West, Russia’s level of provocation is grotesque.

I would however caution your rhetoric around the West/NATO being feeble or allowing this to occur unpunished. If Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya are any indication—there are many unintended consequences to so called humanitarian intervention. Politicians enjoy sending our brave young men and women to wars they do not understand with implications they cannot compute.

You wrote that “Ukraine has little strategic value to US interests”, yet it continues to be used as battering ram by the West to aggravate Russia.

As Simon Jenkins wrote in the Guardian yesterday:

'Ukraine’s relations with Russia have been fraught since the toppling of the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in a coup in 2014. The country is split. When Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine rebelled, it was aided by Russia. Moscow seized Crimea. The longstanding ties with Russia were one reason why Nato left Ukraine out of its reckless post-Soviet rush to advance its security boundary as near as it could to the Russian border during the 1990s.

The reality is that the west took a calculated gamble in expanding Nato in the 1990s. There was no suggestion of imitating Finland’s careful and pragmatic neutrality towards its Baltic neighbours that lie in Russia’s sphere of influence. Nato had post-Soviet Russia on the floor and simply could not resist the opportunity of kicking the country when it was already down.'

There’s more to this history than meets the eye. For example, George Kennan,who had been the architect of the USA’s policy of containment of the USSR. He came out of retirement to deplore Bill Clinton’s support for pushing NATO east: ‘I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War,’ said Mr. Kennan ‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs. What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was.’ He added ‘I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don't people understand? Our differences in the Cold War were with the Soviet Communist regime’. As Kennan put it, NATO expansion was an insult to Russian democrats. ‘We are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime’

I was just hoping to provide some historical context; I’m by no means suggesting that there’s any justification for what Putin is currently doing. Clearly, with respect to the US, it's by no means an innocent bystander with no interests in Ukraine. On the contrary, regime change is not new for the USA.

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