By Pepe Escobar, originally posted at The Cradle, reposted with the author’s permission
Realizing NATO’s war with Russia will likely end unfavorably, the US is test-driving an exit offer. But why should Moscow take indirect proposals seriously, especially on the eve of its new military advance and while it is in the winning seat?
Those behind the Throne are never more dangerous than when they have their backs against the wall.
Their power is slipping away, fast: Militarily, via NATO’s progressive humiliation in Ukraine; Financially, sooner rather than later, most of the Global South will want nothing to do with the currency of a bankrupt rogue giant; Politically, the global majority is taking decisive steps to stop obeying a rapacious, discredited, de facto minority.
So now those behind the Throne are plotting to at least try to stall the incoming disaster on the military front.
As confirmed by a high-level US establishment source, a new directive on NATO vs. Russia in Ukraine was relayed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken, in terms of actual power, is nothing but a messenger boy for the Straussian neocons and neoliberals who actually run US foreign policy.
The secretary of state was instructed to relay the new directive – a sort of message to the Kremlin – via mainstream print media, which was promptly published by the Washington Post.
In the elite US mainstream media division of labor, the New York Times is very close to the State Department. and the Washington Post to the CIA. In this case though the directive was too important, and needed to be relayed by the paper of record in the imperial capital. It was published as an Op-Ed (behind paywall).
The novelty here is that for the first time since the start of Russia’s February 2022 Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, the Americans are actually proposing a variation of the “offer you can’t refuse” classic, including some concessions which may satisfy Russia’s security imperatives.
Crucially, the US offer totally bypasses Kiev, once again certifying that this is a war against Russia conducted by Empire and its NATO minions – with the Ukrainians as mere expandable proxies.
‘Please don’t go on the offensive’
The Washington Post’s old school Moscow-based correspondent John Helmer has provided an important service, offering the full text of Blinken’s offer, of course extensively edited to include fantasist notions such as “US weapons help pulverize Putin’s invasion force” and a cringe-worthy explanation: “In other words, Russia should not be ready to rest, regroup and attack.”
The message from Washington may, at first glance, give the impression that the US would admit Russian control over Crimea, Donbass, Zaporozhye, and Kherson – “the land bridge that connects Crimea and Russia” – as a fait accompli.
Ukraine would have a demilitarized status, and the deployment of HIMARS missiles and Leopard and Abrams tanks would be confined to western Ukraine, kept as a “deterrent against further Russian attacks.”
What may have been offered, in quite hazy terms, is in fact a partition of Ukraine, demilitarized zone included, in exchange for the Russian General Staff cancelling its yet-unknown 2023 offensive, which may be as devastating as cutting off Kiev’s access to the Black Sea and/or cutting off the supply of NATO weapons across the Polish border.
The US offer defines itself as the path towards a “just and durable peace that upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” Well, not really. It just won’t be a rump Ukraine, and Kiev might even retain those western lands that Poland is dying to gobble up.
The possibility of a direct Washington-Moscow deal on “an eventual postwar military balance” is also evoked, including no Ukraine membership of NATO. As for Ukraine itself, the Americans seem to believe it will be a “strong, non-corrupt economy with membership in the European Union.”
Whatever remains of value in Ukraine has already been swallowed not only by its monumentally corrupt oligarchy, but most of all, investors and speculators of the BlackRock variety. Assorted corporate vultures simply cannot afford to lose Ukraine’s grain export ports, as well as the trade deal terms agreed with the EU before the war. And they’re terrified that the Russian offensive may capture Odessa, the major seaport and transportation hub on the Black Sea – which would leave Ukraine landlocked.
There’s no evidence whatsoever that Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the entire Russian Security Council – including its Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev – have reason to believe anything coming from the US establishment, especially via mere minions such as Blinken and the Washington Post. After all the stavka – a moniker for the high command of the Russian armed forces – regard the Americans as “non-agreement capable,” even when an offer is in writing.
This walks and talks like a desperate US gambit to stall and present some carrots to Moscow in the hope of delaying or even cancelling the planned offensive of the next few months.
Even old school, dissident Washington operatives – not beholden to the Straussian neocon galaxy – bet that the gambit will be a nothing burger: in classic “strategic ambiguity” mode, the Russians will continue on their stated drive of demilitarization, denazification and de-electrification, and will “stop” anytime and anywhere they see fit east of the Dnieper. Or beyond.
What the Deep State really wants
Washington’s ambitions in this essentially NATO vs. Russia war go well beyond Ukraine. And we’re not even talking about preventing a Russia-China-Germany Eurasian union or a peer competitor nightmare; let’s stick with prosaic issues on the Ukrainian battleground.
The key “recommendations” – military, economic, political, diplomatic – were detailed in an Atlantic Council strategy paper late last year.
And in another one, under “War scenario 1: The war continues in its current tempo,” we find the Straussian neocon policy fully spelled out.
It’s all here: from “marshaling support and military-assistance transfers to Kyiv sufficient to enable it to win” to “increase the lethality of military assistance transferred to include fighter aircraft that would enable Ukraine to control its airspace and attack Russian forces therein; and missile technology with range sufficient to reach into Russian territory.”
From training the Ukrainian military “to use Western weapons, electronic warfare, and offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, and to seamlessly integrate new recruits in the service” to buttressing “defenses on the front lines, near the Donbass region,” including “combat training focusing on irregular warfare.”
Added to “imposing secondary sanctions on all entities doing business with the Kremlin,” we reach of course the Mother of All Plunders: “Confiscate the $300 billion that the Russian state holds in overseas accounts in the United States and EU and use seized monies to fund reconstruction.”
The reorganization of the SMO, with Putin, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and General Armageddon in their new, enhanced roles is derailing all these elaborate plans.
The Straussians are now in deep panic. Even Blinken’s number two, Russophobic warmonger Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, has admitted to the US Senate there will be no Abrams tanks on the battlefield before Spring (realistically, only in 2024). She also promised to “ease sanctions” if Moscow “returns to negotiations.” Those negotiations were scotched by the Americans themselves in Istanbul in the Spring of 2022.
Nuland also called the Russians to “withdraw their troops.” Well, that at least offers some comic relief compared with the panic oozing from Blinken’s “offer you can’t refuse.” Stay tuned for Russia’s non-response response.
I hope answer from Russian side would be same as Nuland tell EU and more…F* you EU/NATO and American Straussian neocons/neolibs…there never will be peace with Russia and CHINA ONLY AFTER they will be out of DofS,DOD….
There is nobody to answer to! Should they negotiate with Washington Post?
I’d like to believe that US leaders are panicking about Ukraine. But I’m not convinced.
It remains perplexing, despite the facts on the ground – hundreds of thousands of dead AFU soldiers and more disabled.
With memories short, it is worth remembering what they all said, offset against future outcomes, for in this Proxy War over the lives of the poor Ukrainian people . . .
God Favours Russia . . . https://les7eb.substack.com/p/ukraine-long-proxy-war-vi-god-favours
You can’t trust anything coming out of DC nor Europe.. So why even talk with them without a full surrender of all of Ukraine to Russia.
This offer is better than the one hashed out in Turkey, isn’t it? Better starting point than I expected. The devil is in the details and seizing money. F-Victoria. Everybody wants lasting negotiations out here in the peanut gallery, rather than WWIII. I don’t think the Dems are getting much in contributions from us who thought they were the peace party.
Well, it could be half the basis for a deal, but only if counterbalanced by the following condition:
Russia to station tanks, troops, artillary and missiles of all types in unlimited quantities (conventional and nuclear) in an area the same size as Western Ukraine, in northern Mexico, and free to adopt offensive postures as they see fit. Sounds fair to me.
But even then, still much better to de-nazify and de-militarise NATO.
No it isn’t. Just another time buying scam just like the Minsk l, ll & lll agreements to which Merkel and Macron admitted were meant to hoodwink Russia while all the time NATO was rearming and retraining the Ukrainian Armed Forces
With the Merkel and Macron admissions along with total Western disregard for contracts[including destroying pipe lines] very fresh in the memory, the Russian Federation is surely not going to fall for further delaying tactics enshrined in agreements?
Although, it is really only going to end with a deal. But, with Russia holding all the aces.
The trick is to retrieve Odessa and Kiev from “Ukraine” before they smash them up.
According to the US Debt Clock, Total US Liabilities exceeded Total US Assets for the first time. See the last row.
Nothing on the horizon suggesting that will change anytime soon.
Are we being distracted by this war and the other conflicts? Are China, Iran and Russia going to be blamed for the US default?
Stay tuned to this bat-channel…. oh, never mind.
Europe now needs a decisive Russian victory in Ukraine, which could trigger a Nato breakup. Failing that, we’ll have to fight China next year.
The brilliance of Russian tactics or strategy, I’m never sure which word applies, is becoming clear. By adopting the “slow grind” approach, Russia has created a situation with two favourable outcomes coming to fruition.
On the one hand, Ukraine political resolve and military capacity is nearing the breaking point. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, both will crack, and Russia will be pushing on an open door.
On the other hand, the political resolve and military capacity, especially the political resolve, of the US and NATO are/is also fracturing. They are not yet ready to admit defeat, but they are admitting that they cannot win.
Game and set. Match to come.
All true but for Russia to be secure, they need DMZ at least to within 50km of Kiev
Further to strangle the remaining territory, Russia needs to own Odessa in order to extend to Moldovia very far north so a pipeline can be owned and controlled to Hungary plus the port so US can never come back
So with those land objectives need to go to the end game so Washington has no flexibility in a prefunctionury discussion.
Then it’s about returning the $300B without strings plus end of any and all sanctions and Germany repairs the pipelines at their cost and gives up direct sale to affiliates
Plus the farm land belongs to the Russian Troops and their descendents.
Why would Russia ever trust neocons? They should go for the kill. Then, we talk.
I don’t see why Russia should make any agreements whatsoever with the USA, NATO, EU, Ukraine, of any combo thereof.
Unconditional surrender of the Zelensky govt—then maybe we talk.
All Western corporate interests OUT of the Ukraine.
I bet the Russian people would stand behind this.
If the Russians have got their heads screwed on, their reply should be exactly the same as the US Army’s response to the German offer of surrender at Bastogne in 1944:
Russia was fooled once already with the “withdraw your forces and all will be well” trick at the time of the Minsk agreements. I hope she won’t be fooled again. Nothing that the West says/promises is credible, and should be ignored. The only solid foundation Russia can build on is military victory.
I don’t see any offers here at all. This is just the beginning of resetting PR for the public.
Russia will ignore this nonsense and continue work towards achieving its objectives, which extend far beyond 404.
First, this is not an offer, is it? It is more like a suggestion of best case negotiation, knowing that Russia is poised for a devastating attack, and it is worse than the Minsk Accords when it comes to Nato’s role in western Ukraine which it clearly expects to continue. Will this acceptance of territorial loss be put on the table in clear language by both the US and the Ukrainian dictator? Not very likely. Has anything actually been offered in writing to Lavrov ? It sounds like noncommittal posturing that will be amplified later as, ‘we offered everything they said they wanted’ when Russian tanks start advancing seriously. But, What if Russia says OK, admit you blew up the pipeline and pay to repair it, give a timetable to withdraw all Nato, Brit, US and foreign military advisors, stop all shelling by the weekend agree to return all the Russian financial assets, put it all in writing for the whole world to see and we have a peace deal.
I think something like this would be a powerful tactical move even if the west refused, thus admitting that they never had any serious intentions but the crippling or destruction of Russia and the Russian speaking people of Ukraine.
Obrigado, Pepe, as always.
Yes, the Atlantic Council papers provided the framework for the “offer you can’t refuse,” however, the Op-Ed in the WaPo coincided with a publication of the tank-thinkers at RAND Corporation titled
“Avoiding a Long War – U.S. Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict”
which IMHO, was the trigger behind the offer.
The paper studies five dimensions of the war, as follows,
• possible Russian use of nuclear weapons
• possible escalation to a Russia-NATO conflict
• territorial control
• form of war termination.
After a detail examination of pros and cons (and a lot of BS sweetening up the deal for Ukraine), at the “Conclusion” they infer that,
“…Our analysis suggests that this debate is too narrowly focused on one dimension of the war’s trajectory. Territorial control, although immensely important to Ukraine, is not the most important dimension of the war’s future for the United States. We conclude that, in addition to averting possible escalation to a Russia-NATO war or Russian nuclear use, avoiding a long war is also a higher priority for the United States than facilitating significantly more Ukrainian territorial control.
The paper, as the authors stated, was written from the perspective of US interests, not Ukraine, which as we know, is a puppet principality under a Clown Prince.
RAND Corporation is a tank-thinker closely linked to the Pentagon, not only highly influential inside the Beltway, but also impossible to ignore. Furthermore, the paper is considered to have been ordered by Gen. Mark Milley, JCS chair, who back in November at the Economic Club in NY made a couple of statements considered “inadequate” by the Beltway establishment.
First, he said Ukraine may not be able to achieve a military victory, followed by “winter may provide an opportunity to begin negotiations with Russia,” which launched the Biden administration into full damage control.
The offer Russia can’t refuse has been in the making in the high corridors of power for a while now.
Blinken is just a paperboy, delivering the message.
He’s incapable of putting two thoughts in line, in the proper order.
The main problem with the offer is credibility. The Collective West has none, zero, zilch, nada.
If Putin, Lavrov, Shoigu, and the stavka fall again in the trap of negotiating with non-agreement capable entities, they will be placing the future of Russia in the hands of psychopaths worse than any organized crime syndicate.
Don’t believe me?
Just take a look at the face of Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland.
Sarmat ICBMs and Borei submarines to make Russian Army one of the world’s strongest
See more at https://english.pravda.ru/news/russia/155612-sarmat_borei/
Russia doesn’t even boast about it !
Russia and China have developed militaries that are unbeatable !
Of course this was the plan all along – Ukraine is just the catalyst ! !
It would be suicide for the American Terrorist State to start anything !
How are you going to ‘project ‘ power if you get your A S S kicked in the first moments of a WAR ????
The Avangard ‘gliding ‘ missile travels at 28 MACH ( 33000 kph ) and would level the Pentagon in 15 minutes if fired from Russia !
4500 miles in 15 minutes !
Think about that for a moment !!!!
“An offer you can’t refuse” was originally coined by Mario Puzo in his 1970’s book ‘The Godfather’ wherein a reluctant seller of his family olive-oil business was presented with a generous cheque and a sales contract and told either his signature or his brains would be on the contract within a minute. So no, this is not an offer you can’t refuse.
And it hasn’t been refused – it has been dismissed. Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Z. called it a “minor statement” and basically said that as the Kiev regime have made a decree that they will not negotiate then all must be decided by the facts on the ground. In other words, for any offer to be considered at all then Kiev has to make it.
If the offer is really genuine then presumably Kiev will start negotiations along these lines. Obviously NATO will need to be involved at some point as it is a co-belligerent and Russia will be in the strongest position while the war is ongoing to extract concessions such as NATO retracting to pre-1991 borders/members.
But initially Kiev must offer.
@ Haymer Doots on January 31, 2023 · at 3:27 am EST/EDT
“…And it hasn’t been refused – it has been dismissed. Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Z. called it a “minor statement” and basically said that as the Kiev regime have made a decree that they will not negotiate then all must be decided by the facts on the ground. In other words, for any offer to be considered at all then Kiev has to make it…
Cannot just quote goddess Zakharova without pointing out to a source that back your statements. I read a similar piece in an unofficial translation, reason I didn’t post it. I went to her channel in Telegram, and her alleged statement was not there as of last night.
Difficult to understand people’s habits of quoting others without backing up their assertions.
Any offer from the West is dead in the water because of zero trust left in their good intention and faith. In my opinion, the West, in particular the anglo-saxon countries, have to prove their trustworthiness, which will include at the very least:
1. Cease and desist of crimes against humanity: namely financial and material non-UN-sanctioned embargoes (so-called sanctions) against Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Afghanistan, Russia, pp. and full compensation of the damage these sanctions induced since January 1, 2000.
2. Prosecution of the perpetrators and profiteers of the SARS-CoV-2 health emergency. It is simply and forever unacceptable that bioweapons research – under cover of biosecurity research; careless or deliberate leakage of pathogens; prohibition of efficient treatment; and medical experimentation without informed consent is perpetrated without accountability – let alone on a global scale. Against this backdrop the former crimes against humanity by Mengele and collaborators literally dwarf. Litigation of all gains from this crime from everyone involved, investors included, is due.
3. Cease and desist of the suppression of dissident voices and full compensation for the loss incurred by persons imprisoned and/or prosecuted for their legitimate political views and/or publications. For example Julian Assange to name but one.
Once the above laundry list will be executed, I would consider enough sanity to have returned for negotiated settlements of conflicts in good faith. Unfortunately, it seems more likely that the western world continues committing economic and cultural suicide; woke and cancel unculture digging the grave for entombing the western societies.
To Saker and all contributors to his vineyard, I wish good health and enjoyable personal relationships.
It was published as an Op-Ed (behind paywall).
The Washington Post Op-Ed has been archived several times,
here is one link:
Russia Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov response to Blinken, completing the message delivered to him by the Egyptian Foreign Minister.
From Pepe Escobar Telegram channel, forwarded from Slavyangrad.
Sergey Lavrov (https://t.me/dimsmirnov175/43374) – about the message delivered to him from Blinken by the Egyptian Foreign Minister: We have always said that Russia is ready to listen to any serious proposal that aims to resolve the current situation in a comprehensive context. Once again, we heard in this message that Russia must stop, Russia must leave, – and then everything will be fine. The second part of that call was not conveyed by Blinken, but this true U.S. and Western interest was laid out by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in South Korea. He said there that Russia must be defeated, and the West cannot allow Ukraine to lose, because that would be a defeat for the West and the whole world. So he took the liberty to speak on behalf of all countries in the world. And further, he said, “That’s why NATO will realize its global responsibility.” In my opinion, everything is clear here, we are not talking about Ukraine at all. The Kiev regime is carrying out the will of the United States, whose main goal is to prevent any events on the international scene that would call into question U.S. hegemony in today’s world. So the message was incomplete, and I have now tried to add for Blinken what the U.S. is trying to achieve when it calls on Russia to stop and withdraw from Ukraine.
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Having metastasized in the West the parasite must take the fattest host left if it is to survive: Russia.
If I were in charge of Russian negotiation, I would counter with the following conditions to precede a ceasefire.
1. Immediately withdraw all Ukrainian and NATO forces from Russian territory, the liberated provinces of Donbass.
2. Immediately formally recognize Crimea and the liberated provinces as Russian territory.
3. Allow for referendums for secession from Ukraine of various adjacent territories, including Odessa.
Are they in panic or do they maybe just want to find a way towards an end like the RAND thinktank hinted, going to prepare rather for future China conflict?
Good read… but one little detail.
This is not “US foreign policy”.. this “foreign policy” is architected by the Western Oligarchs, Globalists and Money Changers… the politicians, neoCons, EU, Deep Estate, progressives and maintream propaganda machine are the bought out tools.
Just a note… because us voters have absolutely no say on any of this.