Fiona Hill declares invasion of Ukraine ‘end of existing world order’

During testimony for Trump’s first impeachment, Hill called Trump’s blackmail call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “really one of my worst fears and nightmares” in relation to an “effort not only to undermine the national security process, but to try to destroy it.” undermine what should really be a diplomatic effort.”

Hill’s insightful, informed discussion of the issues and her explanation of how Russia and Ukraine both viewed Trump’s efforts to manipulate the situation for his own benefit made her a stellar witness. In later interviews, Hill explained how she warned Trump that Vladimir Putin does intend to use nuclear weapons and that Russia’s threats to Ukraine could not be ignored, but with a “great international response.”

This time, Hill isn’t just about Putin’s ability to manipulate easily bullied men, but how Putin himself defined the illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in a way that the US, NATO, and the world thinks it can can’t afford to resign.

As she points out, one of Putin’s hallmarks is that he doesn’t back down when something turns out to be a failure. He doubles. “[Putin] always takes the more extreme step in its range of options,” Hill said, “the one that actually cuts other alternatives off. Putin has often recounted an experience he had as a child, when he caught a rat in a corner of the apartment building where he lived in Leningrad, and the rat shocked him by jumping out and fighting back.” It says something from what Putin identifies with this rat.

The Russian dictator insists on fighting even if, as in this case, “he is also the one who corners himself”. Despite extraordinarily high losses (Hill notes that some estimates put Russian losses at over 90,000), Putin takes no steps to reduce future casualties. Instead, he throws more corpses onto the situation. Russia went through many of its best trained and best equipped armed forces in the first few weeks of the war. Now it mobilizes untrained men, most of them out of shape, many of them old or sick, and forces them to the front lines with the slightest nod towards training. The families of some of those “recruited” after Putin’s grand mobilization speech have already received obituaries.

For Hill, Putin has put himself in a no-win situation, but he is unwilling or even unable to back down. His only endgame is one in which he goes on his own terms. Putin not only wants to win the war, he wants to destroy Ukraine. To “intimidate” people into submission, to erase their culture, to erase their borders in “novorossiya,‘ and ‘remove Ukraine from the map and from global affairs’. And just because what’s happening in Ukraine doesn’t fit the picture people have of a third world war — one dominated by a strategic nuclear arms exchange — doesn’t mean what’s happening isn’t more reprehensible is than the events that prompted past world wars.

“We’re having a hard time coming to terms with what we’re dealing with here,” Hill said. “This is a great power conflict, the third great power conflict in Europe in just over a century. It is the end of the existing world order. Our world will never be the same again.”

Putin does not accept the borders of the world as they are now drawn. He’s ready to plunge the world into food shortages and an economic crisis, and he’s willing to at least threaten nuclear war to see the borders redrawn in his favor. These actions and desires are indistinguishable from those that fueled World War I and World War II. Like the men who started these wars, Putin expected things to go easy and in his favor.

“I’m sure Putin thought he was unassailable with a quick, victorious war,” Hill said. “Ukraine would be back and probably Belarus after that. Moldova maybe too. There would have been a recasting of the next phase of Putin as the great tsar of a restored ‘Russkiy mir’ or ‘Russian world’.”

Only that didn’t happen. But it could still happen if the US and other allies falter in their support for Ukraine.

Hill: This goes back to the point I was trying to make when I testified against President Trump at the first impeachment hearing. There is a direct line between this episode and now. Putin has managed to stir up hostile sentiment towards Ukraine. Even when people think they are criticizing Ukraine for their own domestic political ends, because they want to claim that the Biden administration is overly supportive of Ukraine instead of giving more support to the Americans, etc. – they are repeating the pointed message that that is Vladimir Putin very carefully wormed his way into our political arena. People may think they are acting independently, but they are repeating the Kremlin’s propaganda.

The full discussion with Hill is definitely worth reading.


If true, that would be less than a quarter of the pre-war population. (Note: “right bank” in this case means right when looking downstream, so the west bank of the Dnipro River at Kherson is also the right bank.)


Ukrainian forces are still engaged in Kherson.


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