Clint Ehrlich Profile picture
Jan 16 16 tweets 5 min read
The world is perched on the edge of an abyss.

We may soon see the worst combat in Europe since WW2 – killing thousands of people, and raising the likelihood of nuclear war.

It didn't have to be this way. A thread. 1/N Image
What's happening?

Russia has built up a potential invasion force on its border with Ukraine.

Recent photos and video show the Russian military pre-positioning attack helicopters and troop transports.

It looks a lot like final preparations for a cross-border assault.
Why is this happening? Russia has issued an ultimatum.

In the words of their Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov:

"For us, it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never — never ever — becomes a member of NATO." Image
The Russians insist that NATO expansion into Ukraine poses an existential risk to their security.

President Putin argues that NATO missiles in Ukraine could hit Moscow within 7 minutes – or even 5 minutes, once NATO has hypersonic weapons. Image
The U.S. and its European allies have refused to assuage that concern.

They insist that *someday* NATO will expand to include Ukraine – just as the alliance promised in 2008.

And so, from Russia's perspective, negotiations have hit a dead end. The time for words is ending.
This was all foreseen by the architect of U.S. grand strategy during the Cold War.

George Kennan was the diplomat who devised our plan to "contain" the Soviet Union.

After the USSR collapsed, he warned that expanding NATO would lead us towards war with Russia. Image
Kennan called the first round of NATO's eastward expansion in 1998 "a tragic mistake."

He said that our differences during the Cold War had been ideological, and that with the collapse of communism, it was no longer necessary to treat Russia as an enemy. Image
"It is the beginning of a new Cold War," Kennan predicted.

"Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong.'' Image
Kennan went to his grave believing that his efforts to secure peace in Europe had been squandered by his successors.

"This has been my life, and it pains me to see it so screwed up in the end," he said. Image
The irony is that NATO would prefer *not* to add Ukraine.

The 2008 declaration was mostly symbolic, which is why Ukraine has never been presented with an actual timeline for joining the alliance.

But we're ready to let Ukraine burn for the *principle* that it *could* join.
The Biden administration is preparing to fight the Russians inside Ukraine, based on the template of fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The plan is to train insurgents at camps inside NATO member states, then send them across the borden to Ukraine with NATO weapons. Image
The thesis of this strategy is that NATO can kill Russian soldiers with impunity.

That its member states can launch cross-border raids using NATO-trained, NATO-armed armed foreign fighters.

And that there is no real risk of Russia retaliating.
What if the Russians decide to launch their own cross-border insurgencies inside NATO member states?

What if Russian-trained, Russian-armed fighters start killing NATO forces in Slovenia, Slovakia, or Poland?

Would *we* do nothing then? Or would we retaliate...?
The problem with beginning a chain of escalation is that it's not clear where it ends.

Once our countries are caught in a cycle of tit-for-tat retaliation, we inch closer and closer to destroying the world.

To sacrificing every human life at the altar of abstract principles.
In 1962, Khrushchev wrote to Kennedy to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

He said that our nations ought not pull on the ends of the rope in which the knot of war is tied, because there will come a time when neither of us can untie it.
Today, our leaders are busy pulling the ends of the rope.

The knot of war is growing tighter, and tighter.

I pray that the day will never come when it shall be cut.

But I am fearful.

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More from @ClintEhrlich

Jul 26
Today, Russia doubled down on its goal of toppling Zelensky.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "We will certainly help the Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime."

This wasn't loose language. It was a clue to Russia's current grand strategy. 🧵 1/N
Western commentators have assumed that there are two clear, separate stages to the war.

In the first, Russia aimed to topple Zelensky.

In the second, it abandoned that plan and chose to focus only on conquering the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine.
In reality, Russia views conquering the Donbas as a *means* to destabilize the government in Kiev.

Specifically, it believes that nationalist hard-liners within the Ukraine government make it impossible for Zelensky to give up territory.
Read 9 tweets
May 12
The U.S. government has been paying me to build a replacement for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

It's called KRNC (@KRNCinc) and it's a protocol that upgrades the U.S. Dollar.

Here's a thread on how it works – and how it could increase the value of the Dollars in your bank account.🧵
What's wrong with the existing U.S. Dollar? Why do we need to upgrade it using a blockchain?

The main problem is scarcity. The Dollar is losing its value, because its supply is unlimited.

When new Dollars are created, they lower the value of the ones that already exist.
Bitcoin is often marked as a solution to inflation.

Central Banks can't print more Bitcoin, because its supply is limited by rules encoded in the blockchain protocol.

The maximum amount of BTC that can ever exist is limited, which lets it store value like "digital gold."
Read 20 tweets
Apr 28
The West is pushing Ukraine to attack inside Russia.
It's a great tactic – but a horrible strategy.

Putin can respond by declaring war on Ukraine, making millions of conscripts available.

The conflict would grow to an apocalyptic scale matching WW2.🧵👇 A mega-thread...
There have already been a series of mysterious fires and explosions inside Russian territory.

Many of these involve facilities needed for the war effort.

For example, Russia alleges that Ukrainian helicopters blew up an oil-storage depot in Belgorod, Russia.
And Ukrainian drones recently penetrated 140 miles into Russian territory.

At the same time, blasts at nearby Russian military facilities allegedly killed multiple soldiers.

It looks like it may be part of a targeted campaign to strike inside Russia.…
Read 25 tweets
Apr 26
This is a remarkable piece of misinformation being spread by major accounts.

They claim the FSB is so dumb that it forged a neo-nazi letter and accidentally signed it "Signature Illegible."

It's amazing that stories this dumb get RTed +10,000 times... 🧵
In reality, "Signature Illegible" is the alleged moniker of the neo-nazi extremists.

Here is the cover of a piece of extremist literature where it's prominently displayed.

The meaning isn't entirely clear: it could refer to e.g. the "signature" of a criminal group.
Another book showing the same moniker is shown in the original video from the FSB.

So it's obvious this wasn't a bizarre oversight in signing the letter.

It's clearly supposed to be a moniker associated with the extremists.
Read 5 tweets
Apr 25
Today, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said America wants to see a "weakened" Russia.

It's an example of a senior Biden administration official saying the quiet part out loud.

A quick thread on the implications... 🧵
First, this is simply bad diplomacy.

Russia has always argued that the West's goal was to bring Russia to its knees.

That was part of Putin's justification for launching the invasion of Ukraine.

Publicly endorsing that strategy helps Putin by apparently vindicating him.
Second, it raises questions about America's actual goals in Ukraine.

I believe we should seek to end the conflict in order to minimize the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

But I've long argued that is not the Biden administration's policy.
Read 8 tweets
Apr 23
Many people are celebrating Ukraine's unexpected battlefield successes against Russia.

In reality, NATO assistance to Ukraine is pushing us closer to nuclear war.

There's a clear path from where we are today to the first combat use of nukes since WW2.🧵
Today, Zelensky gave a press conference inside a metro station in Kiev.

He stated that if the West provides Ukraine with sufficient weapons, then Ukraine will begin a campaign to take back all of the territory that Russia has occupied.
These were Zelensky's exact words, threatening to retake all Russian occupied territories using NATO weapons:

"All that they [Russia] occupy we will return. It is a question of weapons. If we have enough of them, we will immediately begin to return the occupied territories."
Read 17 tweets

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