Ukraine’s Catch-22

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, leading Ukraine down the primrose path to ruin

In Catch 22, Yossarian is trying his damnedest to get out of suicidal bombing runs and he finds a way out. Get certified insane. There’s only one catch, as Doc Daneeka tells him.

‘Sure there’s a catch. Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.’ There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

‘That’s some catch, that Catch-22,’ he observed.

‘It’s the best there is,’ Doc Daneeka agreed.

Today life is imitating fiction in Ukraine. Ukraine desperately wants to join NATO to chase out Russia. But in order to join NATO, they must chase out Russia. This is literally what NATO’s quisling leader Jens Stoltenberg is saying:

At the Vilnius summit and in preparation for the summit, we are not discussing sending an official invitation. We are discussing how to bring Ukraine closer to NATO. But most importantly, we all agree that the most urgent and important task now is to ensure that Ukraine prevails as an sovereign, independent, democratic nation in Europe. Because unless we do that, unless Ukraine prevails, then there is no issue to be discussed at all related to membership. We all want this war to end. But a just peace cannot mean freezing the conflict and accepting the deal dictated by Russia.

People say Putin denies Ukraine's existence, but here's Stoltenberg denying it himself. He's saying that Ukraine right now does not qualify as an independent state, and unless it 'prevails' as one, then there's no question of joining NATO at all. And yet the very pussy-footing process of joining NATO is what got Ukraine in this mess in the first place.

Ukraine is in this trouble because Russian (ie, neighbor and citizen) friendly governments were couped by America (NATO’s boss, which reserves the right to bomb and spy on even NATO members). Ukraine drew/was-dragged closer to NATO, which made Russia about as happy as having the USSR in Cuba. The USSR is gone and America’s still mad at Cuba. Having NATO steppe’ing up to its border was well-telegraphed red-line for Russia, which used to be well understood by even imperial warmongers. That was still too much war for them to ‘mong. As Peter Beinart summarizes:

George Kennan, the living legend who had fathered America’s policy of containment against the Soviet Union, called NATO expansion “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” Thomas Friedman, America’s most prominent foreign policy columnist, declared it the “most ill-conceived project of the post-Cold War era.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, widely considered the most erudite member of the US Senate, warned, “We have no idea what we’re getting into.” John Lewis Gaddis, the dean of America’s Cold War historians, noted that, “historians — normally so contentious — are in uncharacteristic agreement: with remarkably few exceptions, they see NATO enlargement as ill-conceived, ill-timed, and above all ill-suited to the realities of the post-Cold War world.”

The critics lost that argument; Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO. But a decade and a half later, as NATO rolled further east, another set of foreign policy greybeards warned against admitting Ukraine. In 2014, Henry Kissinger, the personification of the American foreign policy establishment, argued, “The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.” If “Ukraine is to survive and thrive,” he insisted, “it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.” Instead of joining NATO, Ukraine “should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland” in which it “cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, who in his time as Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor was known as a Cold War hawk, nonetheless embraced the Finland model as well. Ukraine, he insisted, could have “no participation in any military alliance viewed by Moscow as directed at itself.”

As recently and presciently as 2015, imperial scholar John Mearsheimer said “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked.” Which is precisely what happened.

You can and say NATO is a defensive organization but A) they sure do attack a lot of people (Libya, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia) and B) who are they defending against? NATO was a mix of western allies and Nazis that formed after World War II. It ‘defended’ against the USSR and now Russia. After the USSR fell, Russia actually made moves to join NATO but was repulsed. Because that was the point of NATO now, to repulse Russia. Even if you ignore the poor, colored countries it destroys and say NATO is a defensive organization, you have to understand that it’s still offensive to Russia.

You can also say that Ukraine is free™ (to be couped) and democratic™ (-ally banning opposition parties). That is has the right to join whatever alliance it wants. And I mean, OK. But that’s not really the pertinent question here, is it? The question is does the alliance want to join them? Even if you reject the very concept that Russia would have legitimate security concerns that would lead it to invade, Russia was at least clear about its intentions. It was NATO that was leading Ukraine on.

For all the hand-wringing and flag-waving about Ukraine, the fact is that none of its so-called allies are actually forming an alliance with it. They’re drip-dropping enough weapons for the country to kill off its menfolk, taking its womenfolk and others as refugees, and making a hefty profit from the misery. They make a lot of noise about friendship and parade Zelensky around like a virgin sacrifice, but when it comes down to it, they will not grant Ukraine NATO entry. With allies like these, who needs enemies?

All the media propaganda about ‘supporting’ Ukraine dances around this simple and plain rejection. As I have said, Ukraine is NATO’s side-bitch. NATO will take the Ukraine shopping at the munitions mall, but they won’t put a (security) ring on it. Ukraine have been led down the primrose path and now it’s turning up poppies. Right to Flanders fucking fields is where NATO led them on. Can we have some security? Ukraine asks. No, but you can have more bombs. To bomb your own country. It’s a farce.

Don’t take my word for the step-motherly treatment of Ukraine, here is chief chickenhawk Joe Biden, via Barron’s, ‘The United States won’t make special arrangements for Ukraine to join the NATO military alliance, President Joe Biden said Saturday, despite Russia’s invasion. “They’ve got to meet the same standards. So we’re not going to make it easy,” the US president told reporters near Washington.’

What are those standards? Well we’ll return to Biden’s quisling Stoltenberg to explain. He said. “We all agree that the most urgent and important task now is to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent, democratic nation in Europe. Because unless we do that, unless Ukraine prevails, then there is no issue to be discussed at all related to membership.” This is the Catch-22.

To salvage what’s left of its independence, Ukraine must salvage it themselves. They had multiple chances to negotiate with their neighbor, like Minsk, and even spring last year, which westerners happily torpedoed. Now that Ukraine is completely fucked, all of its fair weather friends are gone. As I’ve mentioned, all the stuff NATO sends is not security. Security would require NATO actually sacrificing something, and that they won’t do. As Stoltenberg said, “We’re not going to discuss an invitation at the Vilnius Summit, but how we can move Ukraine closer to NATO.” Motherfucker, that’s the problem. Moving close to NATO without joining NATO was the problem. You’re the problem. NATO has led Ukraine to ruin, and now they’re still leading them on.

Nowhere in this am I saying that NATO should admit Ukraine. NATO should unadmit itself, it has no reason to exist besides solving problems it creates (and not solving them). Do we really need a fundamentally white supremacist organization of colonizers constantly threatening World War III and beating up poor countries for fun? Fuck NATO. I am just making the logical argument hidden behind all the propaganda about ‘supporting’ Ukraine. NATO does not put its security guarantee where its mouth is.

But poor old Ukraine. They still think they’re abusers are going to help them. They keep trying, like when Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote in an op-ed for Foreign Affairs in April. “It is time for the alliance to stop making excuses and start the process that leads to Ukraine’s eventual accession. What we need is a clear written statement from the allies laying out a path to accession.”

Well, now Stoltenberg has given them a path Ukraine. Follow the primroses, go through the poppies, defeat Russia on your own and then you’ll get protection from Russia. Just solve your problem, and your problem solved. As Einstein didn’t say, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” and Ukraine keeps asking and getting told to go kill themselves. They’re stuck in a devilish Catch-22, and as old Yossarian said, ‘that’s some catch.’

‘It’s the best there is,’ Doc Daneeka agreed, and sent him out to die some more.