By Dmitry Orlov for the Saker Blog
Or maybe he, like Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz, grandson of Fritz von Scholz, SS lieutenant-general who supervised the slaughter of Jews in Poland and the Ukraine, thinks that genocide is a joke? Let’s explore…
A reader has asked me to comment on a recent post by Roberts titled “The Kremlin Has Missed the Opportunity to End the Provocations of Russia that Are Bringing the World to Nuclear War.” And so I took a look at it. At first, it made me angry, but only for a moment, because there is no possibility of actual harm from his scribbling: his unsolicited advice to “the Kremlin” will pass unnoticed and therefore unheeded. Rather, it made me sad. I used to think highly of Roberts, but now he is just another confused old man who, like our friend Brendan, has missed a perfectly good opportunity to hang it up and fade away. Mind you, I am trying to be kind and polite here.
Roberts saw it fit to write that “If Russia had hit Ukraine with a devastating conventional all-inclusive attack, the war would have ended before it started,” and, after some additional musings, that “the failure of Russia to impress the West with an overwhelming exercise of military force in Ukraine means another step has been taken toward nuclear armageddon.” And then he rambles along to “The Kremlin’s inability to be proactive and unwillingness to clear Washington’s fifth column out of Russia’s ruling circles will be the hallmarks of Russian defeat.”
Really? No, not really.
I should make no assumptions on what you or Roberts know or don’t know about the Ukraine or “the Kremlin,” so I will simply state the obvious.
There is no easily discernible difference between Russians and Ukrainians: same culture, language, religion and history. As a state, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is a failed state; as a territory, it is part of Russia. Therefore, an all-out attack on the Ukraine would be essentially an attack on Russia itself. Apparently, Roberts feels that Russians should kill millions of other Russians in order to impress the West. That’s really cute, you know, in a genocidally maniacal sort of way, but completely impossible.
The complexity of the Russian Special Operation in the Ukraine had to do with disentangling the civilian population (which needed to be evacuated) and the regular Ukrainian military (which needed to be given a chance to surrender peacefully) from the Nazi battalions (which need to either be killed in battle or captured, convicted by a tribunal and shot). That is not something that can be done quickly.
There are other, less important but still very significant reasons to take it slow:
1. There is a rather large group of Ukrainians who wanted the Ukraine to be part of Europe, not part of Russia. These are now departing Ukrainian territory, mostly to Poland, and that, from the Russian point of view, is a wonderful thing because the Ukraine isn’t Europe, it is Russia, and those who believe it is Europe or want it to be Europe should be given a chance to go to the Europe of their dreams and stay there forever, helping Europe’s general dire demographic predicament and specific shortage of white people. For this reason, it has been important to keep the Ukraine’s western border open to exiting migrants, even though this allows weapons and mercenaries to filter in (for the Russians to blow up).
2. The Europeans’ willingness to absorb millions upon millions of Ukrainian migrants, whereas they balked at accepting anywhere near similar numbers of migrants from the Middle East or North Africa, exemplifies their essential racism. As it is, two-thirds of the world is either neutral or supports Russia in its effort to reclaim the Ukraine; as the message that the EU and NATO are essentially white supremacist organizations sinks in around the world, more and more countries will shift from neutral to supportive without Russia having to lift a finger to convince them. From this point of view, it is really helpful that a lot of the Ukrainians like to draw swastikas on monuments and shout Nazi slogans such as “Slava Ukraini” (of World War II Nazi collaborator vintage) and “Ukraina ponad use” (the Ukrainian version of “Ukraine über alles.”
3. Russia has a great and prosperous future as a wealthy, well-educated, civilized, vast and resource-rich country, but this future has nothing to do with Europe or the rest of the West, which are going to collapse. The fact that Russia has been rather tightly integrated with the West ever since Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg has complicated its transition away from the West and its turn eastward. Western sanctions, rampant Russophobia and the application of cancel culture to Russian culture has made this transition inevitable in the eyes of most Russians, but the process takes time. It would not be helpful if tensions with the West decreased prematurely or if anti-Russian sanctions were removed before they are made completely irrelevant. Also, the West’s unwillingness to buy Russian energy, metals, fertilizer and other essentials speeds up its collapse timeline and that, for Russia, is also a positive.
4. Immediately after Russia commenced its Special Operation in the Ukraine, much of Russia’s remaining fifth-columnists departed for other lands. They already had no impact on Russian politics, but they still exerted some amount of influence in culture and education, and their departure has been most welcome. Given the absolutely overwhelming public support for the Special Operation in Russia, those liberals who have spoken out against it have thereby excused themselves from Russian public life, making room for new talent and new blood. This is also a process that needs to run its course and should not be rushed.
5. The Special Operation has allowed Russia to demonstrate the overwhelming superiority of its armed forces vis-à-vis NATO. All of the weapons that the West has managed to infiltrate into the Ukraine are either being destroyed by rocket attacks or are accumulating in stockpiles after being abandoned by retreating or surrendering Ukrainian troops. None of the obsolete Stingers, Javelins or other military junk has made much of a difference at all. There is very little of any significance that the West can do to hurt Russia’s careful and measured progress in the Ukraine. Once more, time is on Russia’s side: it will take another few months for it to register in the West that all those billions spent on aid to the Ukraine have gone into a black hole with nothing to show for it.
6. Finally, there is what Russia has to do beyond taking care of the situation in the (former) Ukraine, and that is to dismantle NATO. This will require some sort of small demonstration project: take over some small, insignificant NATO member and watch all the other NATO members run away instead of going to war against Russia over it. The myth of NATO as a defensive (as opposed to an offensive) organization would be dispelled and NATO would be no more. The demonstration country could be Lithuania, for instance: Peter the Great purchased the Baltics from Sweden for 1000 pieces of silver at the Treaty of Nystad on September 10, 1721, so it’s Russian territory. Unlike the Ukraine, which is huge, Lithuania is tiny and the entire campaign would be over in about a week. But if Finland or Sweden would like to volunteer for the role of exemplary victim by attempting to join NATO, that would be fine too. Finland’s security is guaranteed by its commitment to neutrality, based on which Russia (USSR at the time) removed its military base from Finnish soil. If Finland moves to renege on that treaty, it would forfeit its security.
Roberts seems to believe that Russia’s refusal to destroy the Ukraine with overwhelming force makes nuclear war more likely because it “gives Washington control of the explanation.” Russia’s superior position with regard to any potential nuclear provocation is subject for another article, but I assure you that it has absolutely nothing to do with “Washington’s control of the explanation” because how the hell would Washington explain its desire to commit national suicide over the Ukraine? The thesis that “Russia’s failure to quickly destroy the Ukraine raises the likelihood of nuclear war” is… I am grasping for a word here… stupid.
Sad article. The “kind” condescension, personal insults and denigration are unfortunate. Sadly not untypical of some of what appears on the otherwise excellent and informative Saker site. Those with who disagreement is expressed are stupid, ignorant, old and senile. They are political scientists and lawyers who are idiotic, uneducated and can’t comprehend history or logic, per the resident military genius. On and on and on. Sad to see analysis and discourse reduced to name calling. Instead of simply stating “I disagree with JPR’s analysis for the following reasons”, we must wade through a paragraph of gratuitous vituperation. Sad for the site. Sad for us all.
I carefully read Orlov’s “Russia’s Maddening Patience” piece from 3/21/22. In it he says Putin continues to tune Russia’s position in the sphere of hegemonic chaos as best he can, working both sides in a delicate balance of practical economic and military considerations. Here in the USA our policy makers tend to be driven by a false sense of urgency to tilt at windmills when it comes to interpreting the intentions of our Russian friends. In Paul Craig Robert’s defense, I would like to add a few things to this conversation.
First, PCR has played a soft but important role defining and presenting the case for Russia against the onslaught of western propaganda. Many of us in this country pay attention to world affairs and the daily nuances it challenges thinking people to digest. Having specifically followed his line of reasoning for the past two years on NATO/Ukraine/AZOV/Russia, I do not personally believe he is too far off the mark when he says Putin missed an opportunity to shock and awe the banking and military provocateurs we are blessed with and the vassal state sycophants they control.
Culturally In America sometimes you have to go big – Cecil B. DeMille big, if you want your antagonizers to think twice and back off. When PCR said in the “Kremlin has Missed the Opportunity” piece that “The Kremlin’s responsibility is in the weakness of its responses to provocations” he is right – Putin should have kicked ass and taken names sending a clear message to the Americans and their allies, Russia’s noble intentions to minimize casualties notwithstanding.
Second, PCR, to his credit, provides citation and backstory to his essays and interviews, allowing us to continue the information journey and draw our own conclusions inoculating us from the media Prozac of corporate talking heads along the way. Orlov himself would admit the propaganda situation here in the USA is the ultimate virtue-signaling, agenda-driven pablum. PCR surely knows what genocide is, and I think Orlov takes an undeserved shot at an otherwise elder statesman and credit to our country’s common sense who offers an obvious and valuable consideration.
And third, on Orlov’s 6th point of Russia dismantling NATO as a sequel to Ukraine. With all due respect PCR is not only right about the possible use of nuclear weapons but he is dangerously aware of how Washington thinks and acts. The USA is in the midst of a cultural and economic meltdown – unlike Putin and other individuals who are strategic thinkers, the US Govt has sadistic and calculating forces in power that war game the risk/benefit analysis with cold logic and no morality. If you ever played marbles as a kid, the bully that loses and kicks the board away considers that a acceptable victory. I believe Paul Craig Roberts made his case with sufficient logic from an American perspective.
Based on the quotes below, PCR changed his views a lot in the last three months. In late January, the U.S. and NATO were rational actors for him as these quotes from his articles show. After the start of the SMO and the use of military tactics that he disagreed with, the same people in the U.S. and NATO were now irrational. Russia needed to agree with this different psychological evaluation and act based on it, or else the world was/is declared to be marching toward a nuclear war. To argue that, and like that, is not fair. Anyway, if in January your psychological evaluation says they are rational actors and only a month later they are irrational actors who must be impressed with actions molded by this changed psychological insight, wherein if you don’t impress them by following the writer’s advice the world will end, it is good to begin by commenting that the psychological evaluations have been too inconsistent for anyone to accept this point of view based on a psychological insight:
Paul Craig Roberts, January 29, 2022:
“The Germans invaded Russia with 4,500,000 highly disciplined and motivated soldiers and were defeated. The US and NATO are nowhere close to being able to field a comparable force.
There will be no military confrontation with Russia.”
January 29, 2022:
“The US/NATO missile bases in Poland and Romania will be quietly removed over time. Washington will continue to bluster and threaten but is unable to take any action. The diplomatic Russians will allow Washington to save face in some arranged way.
All that is necessary at this point is that the diplomats in the Russian foreign ministry, who tend to put too much faith in signed documents, and Russian hardliners understand that Washington’s rejection of the proposal has been rendered meaningless and that Putin has won.”
“The world has adjusted to Russia’s inflexible demand and unmatched military superiority backed up by China.
In view of the appearance on the scene of long overdue Russian assertiveness, I expect Washington to draw in its horns and to move toward a more cooperative and peaceful position.”
After Russia defeats Ukraine in this war, nobody will think Russia is in any way weak. We all know that. Any previous restraint for the purpose of saving civilian lives will be appreciated by people as true strength. Also, it is known that Putin believes loud-talking or “chest-beating”, as amarynth put it, is weakness not strength. We also know he believes economic sanctions are an example of weakness and a lack of intelligence which he compared with someone cutting off the tree branch he is sitting on. It is easy to see that Putin identifies strength with remaining true to yourself, your principles, interests, that for him letting a supposed “dumbshit’s” thoughts and feelings determine how Russia must act would also be an example of weakness, etc. Putin does not identify violence per se with strength! Given the power he has, all policies should consider how Putin really is. I commented before that Putin is a person you can make a deal with a handshake only, because, also, of his own proud concepts about Russia, and his goal for Russia to enjoy a “true respect” (emphasis here since he likes “true”) in the world, etc. Or you can distrust a person like that and malign him endlessly until finally a Bear comes out! The way the tides of war will be shifting soon, I think the West will want to negotiate with Putin (easy forecast). It’s a hellish political cauldron – closed – so outcomes that were possible before the war are not there anymore. Negotiations are the best alternative and might provide surprisingly positive outcomes for both parties, why not. Someone may argue that Putin is a KGB agent and that a KGB agent cannot be trusted! He went up through the KGB ranks…makes the KGB look good, how can it not? “You’re a Russian!” Nah (the American).
Why does this writer feel the need to preface his fact-light piece with ad hominem attacks on other writers? He merely weakens his own, frail and clearly dognmatic, position.
Yea I don’t buy it. Had Russia committed to a serious invasion and annexation campaign initially (rather than the Kiev distraction) I think there is a higher chance elements of the Ukrainian state / security forces would have surrendered. Providing time for ‘European Ukrainians’ to flee is ridiculous. They would have fled a surrendered Ukraine in the same fashion.
Fair hypothetical, like that Ukraine then would have said “no”, that they don’t surrender in “48 hours” or in one week. Ukraine resisted a full-force assault from Germany in WWII for more than 20 days. Maybe such an attack could have steeled their resolve and the innate “rightness” of their mission to defend their country. Maybe the SMO, with its offer to the army that it preferred to negotiate with them, might have stirred stronger desires to flee or to turn against their govt. (It looks like the SMO may have been relying on the chance of a military coup, which chance is there and grows the worse things get, especially if we also presume that Ukraine might have disagreements regarding its own military results.) Back to reality: It makes no sense to continue fighting if the war is lost, which is why Ukraine still talks about winning this war (although more conditionally now, with ambivalence beginning to appear). Does the “SMO” now begin to render its expected results to those who designed it?
Ukraine did not surrender easily in WWII.
“A Look Back — How Long Did it Take the Nazis to Capture Ukraine?”
Mullah Omar of Afghanistan said in 2001 to Bush: “You might have all the clocks in the world, but we ,the Afghans, have all the time in the world”.
Nice to be reading Orlov again. I subscribed to his newsletter for years but last month when he switched from Subscribe star to boosty the one ruble charge on my bank account triggered a total freeze on my account & cards issued from that bank. Took hours & some yelling to resolve. Maybe try again later…..
Orlov may be brilliant at times, but his ego has gotten so big that he does unforgivable things like this.
Roberts is hardly a ” confused old man” who “missed a perfectly good opportunity to hang it up and fade away”, and making a very public statement to that effect simply has the effect of making Orlov look like a conceited, pompous ass, and slandering Roberts by suggesting he endorses genocide is “stupid” in the extreme.
There is far to little criticism of PCR on the net – the man is extremely prolific. And also extremely full of BS, half-truths and conspiracy – 9/11, various mass shootings and terrorist attacks, COVID – all sort of dark secret puppet-acts usually – of course! – led by a multi-cultural Jewish New World order & Democrats cabal – democratic elections fraudulent ( when Democrats win) and so are wars WW2 (poor Hitler was forced into war!), Syria, Iraq and now Ukraine ( poor Putin was forced into war!). All a plot endangering the (apparently?) MSM beseeched (really?) white male Yale Prof – know-it-all alt-right option hound come prophet of boomer- doom!!! Yawn f*king Yawn