How the U.S. is assisting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Christopher Dickey writes: The senior military commanders at NATO, officials at the State Department, and, yes, even the president of the United States proved Thursday that they have a perfectly clear idea what Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing in Ukraine. They just don’t want to say the word out loud.

So they talk about “interventions” and “incursions” but not, heaven forbid, “invasions.” This, even though they estimate considerably more than 1,000 Russian troops are operating in Ukraine to bolster separatist rebels who were incited, aided, and abetted by the Russian secret services; even though those troops have brought with them heavy weaponry, including motorized artillery and T-72 tanks; even though their anti-aircraft missile shot down a civilian airliner with almost 300 people aboard in July; and even though, in the last few days, they have opened up a new front near the Black Sea coast and engaged in direct, ferocious combat against the Ukrainian army. No, it seems that somehow “invasion” is too strong a word for all that.

“Our focus is more on what Russia is doing, [and] what we’re going to do about it, than what we’re calling it,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

But by playing semantic games, the Obama administration and European leaders are playing Putin’s game. “Confusion,” as a NATO briefer explained Thursday, “is part and parcel of this Russian hybrid warfare strategy.” We are watching an invasion using subversion, coercion, and somewhat limited military action. But it’s an invasion nonetheless. And when you refuse to call things by their real names, you are not only confusing the people who hear you, you’re accepting Putin’s obfuscations. You are sending a signal that says any Western response to his actions will be inconsequential. [Continue reading…]

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