Chicago Tribune Putin Editorial Is Both Wishful Thinking and Dangerous Denial

Its title is long and hyperbolic: “Putin talks menacingly of nukes. These are desperate threats from a despot on the ropes.”

Unfortunately, the Trib is engaged in wishful thinking that Ukraine is winning while Russia is losing the Russo Ukraine war. That represents denial of both facts on the ground and the stark potential nuclear war may occur.

Claiming Ukraine’s determination to resist has led to “victory after victory on the battlefield” is delusional. In 213 days, Ukraine launched one counteroffensive, regaining about 2% of the 20% of conquered territory, while sacrificing 5,000 soldiers in their faint to the south to retake Kharkiv.

The Trib is in denial that Ukraine is now an economically and militarily failed state, utterly dependent on endless US and NATO billions just to function. How endless? Over $60 billion so far on way to a hundred billion by year end. Will our proxy war against Russia using only Ukrainians as cannon fodder be America’s next trillion dollar war?

The Trib is in denial that Western Europe will stick with the endless weapons regime when major recession and energy shortages may make their upcoming winter unlivable, provoking major unrest.

The Trib is in denial when it claims Putin’s invasion, though criminal and unnecessary, wasn’t provoked by the US since 2008 when we floated eventual NATO membership to Ukraine. That provocation accelerated wildly after we helped anti-Russian Ukrainians depose Russian friendly but democratically elected Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych in 2014

The Trib’s most serious, potentially catastrophic denial, is that Putin may be bluffing when he says nuclear weapons may be used should Russia be attacked. Citing unnamed “analysts” as holding that view before offering the possibility Putin is serious, the Trib goes with the first opinion, urging endless weapons instead of sensible negotiations which could provide both Ukraine and Russia an off ramp from war. If the Trib weren’t in denial about Putin’s history, they would know he does not bluff. He didn’t in 2014 when he seized the Crimea to safeguard the Russian naval base as Sevastopol after the US supported coup. He didn’t bluff when he told the US last December that Ukraine NATO membership was an existential red line that would provoke a Russian response. Why the Trib would surmise Putin is bluffing on nuclear weapons is astounding.

We in the peace community reject endless billions for a futile proxy war getting only Ukrainians killed, fostering economic meltdown and possibly triggering nuclear war. We know only negotiations leading to a truce and peace agreement have any chance of success. Time for the Trib to get on the Peace Train instead of hitching their editorial stance to another endless US war.

Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at

9 thoughts on “Chicago Tribune Putin Editorial Is Both Wishful Thinking and Dangerous Denial”

  1. The Trib’s most serious, potentially catastrophic denial, is that Putin may be bluffing when he says nuclear weapons may be used should Russia be attacked.

    This completely misses the point of what he said. He said that if Russia is attacked with nuclear weapons, then they will defend themselves.

    Media turned that into “Russia threatens to use nukes!”

    It’s not much better to say “Russia threatens to use nukes if they are attacked”. It’s if they are attacked with nukes.

    And why did Putin say that? Because U.S. officials have talked about nuclear weapons. Throughout this conflict all talk about nukes has been in the West, not in Russia. And he began this part of the speech by pointing out that Ukraine has bombed the nuclear power plant in the south. With Zelensky lying and saying it was Russia attacking the power plant that Russia holds. Even Western media have now been forced to admit that it was the Zelensky regime that bombed, AND CONTINUES TO BOMB, the power plant, as the UN observers have confirmed – but the media have only mentioned it in passing.

    1. Absolutely correct. Putin would never use nukes in Ukraine for the simple reason that he will never need to, short of the US supplying Ukraine with nukes or using nukes in Ukraine. And that reveals the real threat – that the deluded neocons will convince the crash-test dummy that the US should do that.

      Mercouris pointed out a Washington Post article that says the US has been issuing veiled threats to Russia for months about using nukes in back-channel communications. He believes this is what Russia was responding to. I suspect Putin also referred to Liz Truss’ comment about being willing to “push the button” when he mentioned “high-ranking officials” making nuclear threats.

      Bottom line: Absent the US or NATO doing something stupid – which, unfortunately, is quite likely – there is no threat of Russia using nukes.

      1. The Neocons are always looking to destabilize any country every chance they get Knapp.

        Jul 31, 2016 Karl Rove Iraq War “ABSOLUTELY” Worth It, Gets Called A War Criminal!

        In this video Luke Rudkowski randomly see’s Karl Rove walking around the perimeter of the Democratic National Convention so he decides to ask him an important question. Over 10 years from the fact was the Iraq war worth it and the former George W. Bush presidential advisor said Absolutely.

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