The town of Shostka in Ukraine is located 317 miles away from The Kremlin in Moscow — Russia’s military central-command location.
The city of Havana in Cuba is located 1,131 miles away from Washington DC — America’s military central-command location.
A nuclearly armed missile that’s launched from Shostka to The Kremlin would take about 5 minutes to get there. It would behead Russia’s military command.
A nuclearly armed missile that is launched from Havana to Washington D.C. would take about 30 minutes to get there. It would behead America’s military command.
All of the world acknowledges that America’s President JFK in 1962 would have been fully justified to grab Cuba, or else to launch a first-strike nuclear invasion of the Soviet Union, in order to prevent Soviet missiles becoming emplaced in Cuba.
All of the world therefore must likewise acknowledge that Russia’s President Putin now would be fully justified in doing everything, up to and including to take all of Ukraine, in order to be able to prevent America from placing its missiles in Ukraine, which means that Russia has a clear right to take all of Ukraine if the U.S. continues to persist in its demand that Ukraine be allowed to enter NATO — which entrance into NATO by Ukraine would mean then that America would become able to place its missiles there a mere 5-minute striking-distance away from The Kremlin. Russia would need to be crazy in order to accept that possibility, and isn’t crazy; so, Russia doesn’t accept it.
In 1962, if the Soviet Union had been unwilling to agree with America not to place its missiles in Cuba, then America would have been fully within its rights to take over Cuba so as to prevent that from happening — or, failing that, to initiate a WW III against the Soviet Union. One way or another, it needed to be stopped. And, because both sides in that matter — JFK and Khrushchev — were decent and intelligent people, WW III did not happen then.
In 2023, if the U.S. is unwilling to agree with Russia not to place its missiles in Ukraine, then Russia would be within its rights to take over Ukraine so as to prevent that from happening. One way or another, it needs to be stopped, and this means that the leaders on both sides need to be, yet again, decent and intelligent people.
Vladimir Putin said on 6 June 2015 in his “Interview to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera” at https://archive.is/j55e0#selection-1199.37-1235.274 in the interview:
US military spending is higher than that of all countries in the world taken together. The aggregate military spending of NATO countries is 10 times, note – 10 times higher than that of the Russian Federation. Russia has virtually no bases abroad. We have the remnants of our armed forces (since Soviet times) in Tajikistan, on the border with Afghanistan, which is an area where the terrorist threat is particularly high. The same role is played by our airbase in Kyrgyzstan; it is also aimed at addressing the terrorist threat and was set up at the request of the Kyrgyz authorities after a terrorist attack perpetrated by terrorists from Afghanistan on Kyrgyzstan. We have kept since Soviet times a military unit at a base in Armenia. It plays a certain stabilising role in the region, but it is not targeted against anyone. We have dismantled our bases in various regions of the world, including Cuba, Vietnam, and so on. This means that our policy in this respect is not global, offensive or aggressive. I invite you to publish the world map in your newspaper and to mark all the US military bases on it. You will see the difference. Sometimes I am asked about our airplanes flying somewhere far, over the Atlantic Ocean. Patrolling by strategic airplanes in remote regions was carried out only by the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. In the early 1990s, we, the new, modern Russia, stopped these flights, but our American friends continued to fly along our borders. Why? Some years ago, we resumed these flights. And you want to say that we have been aggressive? American submarines are on permanent alert off the Norwegian coast; they are equipped with missiles that can reach Moscow in 17 minutes. But we dismantled all of our bases in Cuba a long time ago, even the non-strategic ones. And you would call us aggressive? You yourself have mentioned NATO’s expansion to the east. As for us, we are not expanding anywhere; it is NATO infrastructure, including military infrastructure, that is moving towards our borders. Is this a manifestation of our aggression?
For a person of his high degree of intelligence (here meaning intellectual ability, not “intelligence” like the CIA, MI6, etc.), Putin is strikingly incompetent at “PR” (propaganda and public relations) and has only once publicly stated in a clear way what’s at issue here, which issue is the necessity for Russia to protect itself against The West’s (i.e., by the U.S.-and-allied countries) thus-far ceaseless and ravenous aggression that increasingly clearly aims to conquer (‘regime-change’) Russia. He said it only once, and this happened at a ridiculously inappropriate forum for it, deep down within a lengthly public meeting with international investors who have, or were considering to have, investments in Russia (in other words, this crucial statement about Russian national security was presented within a context that was not about Russia’s national security — it was instead in a totally wrong public forum for presenting his only relatively clear public statement about his #1 concern regarding his #1 responsibility as Russia’s President, which is national security — specifically Russia’s national security — and about what the leaders of The West were trying to do that endangers and gravely threatens Russia’s national security; i.e., to position U.S. missiles in Ukraine). He said, there, at the “Russia Calling! Investment Forum”, on 30 November 2021, that (at https://archive.is/zLr4t#selection-1491.105-1499.681 in the proceedings), despite all our warnings, conversations and requests, the [[NATO] bloc’s] infrastructure ultimately approached our border. The situation went as far as the deployment of BMD systems in Poland and Romania, and the launchers that have been stationed there, the Mk 41, can be used to launch Tomahawk missiles and other strike systems. This is creating a threat to us – this is an obvious fact. What has happened in response to all our appeals and requests not to do this? You can see it now. As a result, we had to – I want to stress this – we had to reciprocate by launching the creation of hypersonic weapons. This was our response [due to NATO’s moving so close to us]. But we were not the first to start all this – it all began when our partners [that term, “partners,” had been his term referring to The West before he totally gave up on it and knew that they definitely were only Russia’s enemies, totally — and increasingly irrevocably — the opposite of partners] withdrew from the ABM Treaty and later from the INF treaty. 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 [i.e., only from Ukraine, because its border is far closer to Moscow than any other nation’s border is]. If the enlargement, the infrastructure continues to be enlarged – I have said this publicly, but you are businesspeople and may not have the time to follow this, I will repeat this once again, that 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. Just imagine that. Incidentally, you live in Moscow, as far as I know. East Capital is in Moscow, isn’t it? The flight time to Moscow is 5 minutes [for these systems].
Then, on 6 December 2021, the Russian Maxim Samorukov, a scholar of Russia, at a U.S. NGO in Moscow, headlined “Tuning Out Putin on Ukraine is Easy – and Self-Defeating”, and he discussed the key portion of that statement from Putin:
“I will repeat once again that 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. Just imagine that.” Why is Putin, who sometimes keeps his cards close to the vest, being so specific? Seen from Moscow, it appears that the Kremlin’s key objective in the current crisis is not to inflict a humiliating defeat on Kyiv or to take on the unsavory job of occupying Ukraine. Rather it is aimed at persuading the West that Russia is prepared to start a full-scale war over Ukraine unless something is done about the existing and (in Putin’s eyes, at least) completely unacceptable state of affairs.
Although one may reasonably presume that Putin had stated this same concern, regarding Ukraine and NATO, and stated his refusal to accept the possibility of America placing its missiles five minutes away from Moscow, many times in private to Western leaders, he made the statement publicly only on that one occasion, on 30 November 2021. Of course (especially given the forum and the way that he said it), it was ignored. The forum was wrong for it, and his crucial statement there, “that 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. Just imagine that.” was simply buried in, and hardly relevant to, his lengthy presentation there. Perhaps his disappointment that all Western leaders had ignored Russia’s “red line” concerning Ukraine caused him to think that any attempt by Russia to press that point in its news-media that are directed toward The West would be equally fruitless. He wasn’t listened-to by The West: they wanted ONLY to replace him. So: when he stated it publicly, almost no one even noticed it. None of the many questions that Putin was asked by that international audience of investors in Russia after the brief diversion he had made there to the topic of Russia’s national security, mentioned or picked up from it. It was just a dead end.
Putin’s continued failure to obtain ANY interest from The West regarding Russia’s most-essential national-security worry caused him on 17 December 2021 to expand upon that concern, by adding to it all of the relevant specifics, and he then presented this, on that date, as Russia’s demand upon The West. But even then it was presented only as a request, not a demand. It was titled “Agreement on measures to ensure the security of The Russian Federation and member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”. It was presented also to Western news-media, but only hostile opinion-pieces about it were published, not the document itself. Western publics were kept in the dark about the document itself.
The key provisions in it were Articles 4-6, namely:
The Russian Federation and all the Parties that were member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as of 27 May 1997, respectively, shall not deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other States in Europe in addition to the forces stationed on that territory as of 27 May 1997. With the consent of all the Parties such deployments can take place in exceptional cases to eliminate a threat to security of one or more Parties.
The Parties shall not deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas allowing them to reach the territory of the other Parties.
All member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization commit themselves to refrain from any further enlargement of NATO, including the accession of Ukraine as well as other States.
All of it was firmly rejected, on 7 January 2022, by both America and its NATO arm. And even its rejection received terribly little news-coverage in The West. To the public, in The West, the entire matter barely existed at all.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine started on 24 February 2022. What else could he have done? (Plenty: for example, as I headlined on 14 January 2023, “Why Won’t Russia Offer Sweden & Finland A Deal To NOT Join NATO?” I cannot understand why he hasn’t done anything of the sort. However, once he had made the decision to invade Ukraine, almost anything that he should have done but didn’t do would have been in addition to what he had already done, not a replacement for it. At that stage, nothing could have replaced an invasion of Ukraine by Russia. It had become essential to Russia’s national security. Putin did that most essential thing. He might be the best head-of-state anywhere so far in this Century. Russia is fortunate to have a leader of that caliber. Perfection doesn’t exist anywhere.)
Incidentally: Putin’s statements that are quoted here are all entirely true. Even his assertion that “US military spending is higher than that of all countries in the world taken together. The aggregate military spending of NATO countries is 10 times, note – 10 times higher than that of the Russian Federation.” is entirely true, though the facts of its being true are hidden from Western publics, as I had documented on 14 May 2018, under the headline “America Spends About Half of World’s Military Expenditures”. All of what Putin said is true.
Furthermore: ever since at least 2006, U.S. national-security policy has no longer been that nuclear weapons are only in order to prevent a global nuclear war, WW III — the meta-strategy known as “MAD” or “Mutually Assured Destruction” — but instead, now, to ‘win’ a global nuclear war, or attain “Nuclear Primacy”; and this objective (if it can be achieved at all — which would be virtually impossible in any realistic sense) can be met ONLY by America’s blitz-first-strike nuking Moscow, doing it so fast (perhaps within just five minutes) that there won’t be time enough for Russia to be certain that a nuclear-armed missile has been launched against Moscow and to respond to it by triggering Russia’s release of all its nuclear weapons.
So, because of the utter intransigence, thus far, of The West’s rulers, the world, now, could be over very suddenly, and very fast. Putin may be incompetent at PR, but he certainly isn’t incompetent at geostrategy. He now knows, and no longer has any doubt about, what The West is aiming for. And he — and the Russian people — don’t and won’t accept it. They are determined to remain an independent country, no vassal of any nation — and especially not of an America that’s trying to win a modernized version of Hitler’s “Operation Barbarossa” — a nuclear version of that first nazi regime’s attempt to conquer Russia.
As Maxim Samorukov said in his article on 6 December 2021,
Putin wants Biden to finally face up to an unpleasant dilemma. The message is simple: Washington needs to brace itself for its partner Ukraine to be soundly defeated militarily in what would be an especially humiliating re-run of recent events in Afghanistan. Or it can back down and reach a compromise with Moscow over Ukraine. The Kremlin seems to be under no illusions [to deny] that the first option would inflict huge costs on Russia’s economy and international standing. But it wants to convince the United States that it is prepared to bear those costs because of the importance of Ukraine for Russian national interests.
That importance of defeating America in the battlefields of Ukraine is real, and it is existential for Russians. On the U.S. side, the only ‘importance’ of defeating Russia in the battlefields of Ukraine is reputational, and it is virtually inconsequential for the American public, but it’s humiliating for the U.S.(-and-allied) rulers. Putin had been trying to avoid humiliating those rulers; he had wanted to enable them to become decent without their having to become humiliated. But they constantly said no to that. It was their choice. And no one is suffering the consequences of that choice more now than the residents of Ukraine do and are. They are the biggest losers, at present, in all of this. But the war in Ukraine was initiated by America — not by Russia.