May 2, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams


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Thank you!

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Apr 29, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

Thank you for your comments on the efforts of western pundits and academics to force Ukraine into a peace settlement before they have-deoccupied most of their land. It is really time that these pseudo-supporters of Ukraine be called out!!! Most of their so called "realist" arguments have nothing to do with reality but rather are reductionist, superficial and simplistic. The last thing they have in mind are Ukraine's interests, but rather their own.

I am especially angry with Anatol Lieven and the Quincy Institute he represents. LIeven is a brilliant scholar who knows the region well. How can his viewpoints on the Minsk Accords, NATO expansion, and Ukrainian democracy continually match with those of the Kremlin? How can he still be supporting these viewpoints after Putin's 2021 essay on Ukraine's lack of legitimacy, and now the invasion of 2022? Something is deeply wrong.

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Apr 30, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

I have a suggestion. Why don't you organize an online debate between Anatol Lieven and someone like Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, or Sergei Guriev of Science Pro. I believe that such an exchange would be profoundly revealing for many of us and could help sustain western support for Ukraine. Perhaps it has already been done?

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That would be great, but I’m probably still too small-time to get such heavy-hitters on board. Maybe once my profile gets bigger. Thanks for the feedback—and for reading!

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Neil A. Abrams,

I appreciate your 'to a point' apologies. Without these, I would not have spent time for this comment

As to the reasons why Putin invaded Ukraine, I find It amazing, dangerous and illogical, to seek explanations which dismiss his fears of NATO & EU expanding to Russia's borders. His reasons comprise a mixed bag of i.a. perceived 'democracy' and military threats, both embodied in NATO & EU. Putin himself, of course, stressed the military threat in his 23 Feb 2022 address:


According to then SG NATO De Hoop Scheffer, NATO should not have offered future membership to Oekraine and Georgia in 2008 at the NATO-top in Bucharest. This was done under pressure of Pres. Bush Jr against the views of i.a. GER, FR, NETH, his own SecState, and many outside experts, also scholars and diplomats with extensive Russian knowledge and experience.

https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/buitenland/artikel/3795256/jaap-de-hoop-scheffer-navo-had-rode-lijn-van-poetin-moeten-accepteren (Sorry: in Dutch)

De Hoop Scheffer recently qualified his remarks of Jan. 6, 2016, by adding that NATO should not have made that offer of future membership without simultaneously offering direct security guarantees to Ukraine and Georgia. But that would have gone too far even for Pres. Bush Jr.

Even if one dismisses the possibility of a perceived military threat - which I find illogical -, NATO should have taken due account of the perceived 'spreading-of-democracy' threat. Without, of course, condoning Putin's inexcusable horrific invasion, US/NATO should do better in its understanding of possible reactions to its decisions by an adversary, as already advised in NATO document DPC/D(74)18, some 50 years ago.

Wishing you all the best,

J Jan Willem van Waning



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Thanks for your comment. While I think it is possible to debate whether and how much Russia's fear of NATO led it to invade, I don't think that calling it the only, or even primary, cause is a defensible position - at least not in the way people typically do it, which is to play up the military and security threat Russia perceived in NATO. The problem Russia had with NATO expansion was not so much that it threatened Russia's national security but that it threatened Russia's colonial project to reestablish its empire.

This fact is perfectly evident if one views Putin's 23 Feb. address with the one he made two days earlier, on 21 Feb: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/vladimirputindonbassandukraine.htm

That address, in turn, rehashed many of the ideas he put forth in his 2021 essay, "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians:" https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/On_the_Historical_Unity_of_Russians_and_Ukrainians

There are also the many, many statements of Putin, his top officials, and Russian state media admitting that this is a war of colonial conquest. I documented some of these here: https://twitter.com/neil_abrams/status/1570879887149527040?s=20

There is also the fact that the presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil from 2014 onward effectively ruled out the possibility of Ukraine joining the alliance, so long as those troops stayed.

Then there is Russia's muted reaction to Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO. If Russia was really concerned first and foremost about NATO expansion, as opposed to colonial conquest, one would not expect such a starkly different reaction to the inevitability of Sweden and Finland joining NATO versus the nearly-impossible, very-far-off prospect of Ukraine joining.

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