Clare Lopez: Russia Will Get Aggressive With Ukraine But It Won’t Start A War
Barry Nussbaum: Hello, and welcome to ATP Report. I’m Barry Nussbaum. We have a terrific family friend on the show today. But before we bring her on, I want to remind all of you in ATP Land. Please, if you haven’t subscribed yet, whip out your cell phone right now.
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Clare, as you all know, has a very lengthy and impressive governmental history. She worked at the State Department at the CIA. She’s a renowned expert. She’s written books, a scholar, and she posts just about everywhere. Clare, tell us the name of your website, please.
Clare Lopez: Well, my company is Lopez Liberty LLC, but I don’t quite have a website yet, so you’ll have to find me at those other outlets.
Barry Nussbaum: We’ll talk about that in a second. So, welcome back, Clare. We love having you. It’s a foreign policy day in the beginning. So, let’s jump right in with Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. These are the new hot spots in Eastern Europe.
Russia is getting real aggressive, and they think there are threats to Russia from these people that would never attack Russia in, oh, probably a billion years. They’re pushing hard on the United States to see if we’re going to back down.
I know the Russians are going all the way back to Gorbachev, were afraid of Reagan, and then Putin had a very healthy respect, if not fear, of Trump doing something stupid. It seems nobody’s afraid of Biden. So, what is Putin going to do, and what will Biden do?
Clare Lopez: Well, Barry, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has called the breakup of the Soviet Union back in 1991 the worst catastrophe of his lifetime. His mission as he sees it, I think, is to try to reestablish beyond the Russian Federation of today to renew Russia’s influence and power in what they would look at as their “near abroad.”
That would mean the different republics currently independent that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. This includes Belarus, Ukraine, and we’ll talk about Central Asia in a bit, those republics as well.
Coming back to Ukraine, it formerly was behind the Iron Curtain, part of the Soviet Union, and part of the USSR. It became independent after 1991, but Putin would like to gain back totalitarian, authoritative control over Ukraine.
Now, Ukraine is not a member of NATO. I think it would like to be, but it is not, and it is not in any talks or proceedings to become a member of NATO. Putin is inordinately concerned about what he would see as the encroachment of western influence and particularly NATO from the west of Russia.
Barry Nussbaum: So, let’s cut to the bottom line. Is he going to reestablish the USSR, maybe in a different name? Or is it just loud talk?
Clare Lopez: Well, we don’t know yet. I have to say, is the answer to that? Yes, Russia has massed upwards of 100,000 troops, tanks, artillery, and other weaponry on Ukraine’s border with Russia in a very threatening way. This has been going on for weeks and months.
The spokespeople out of Moscow say, no, they’re not going to invade, but of course, they already have set what we call, it’s termed, “green men.” These militia members into the eastern part of Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, sometimes called the Donbas, which wants to separate from Ukraine and rejoin mother Russia. So, I think my assessment relies on a couple of different, very good sources.
One is a Russian formerly close aide to Vladimir Putin. His name is Andrei Illarionov. He formerly was at the Cato Institute, now a fellow at the Center for Security Policy.
I also have been looking at the Institute for the Study of War. Very useful, very excellent analysis, extensive analysis of this situation, both agree, and I do, too. Putin is trying to obtain by bullying and threats what he probably cannot and would not perhaps even try to achieve by other means.
The argument goes something like this; he wants to use what you might call hybrid warfare or warfare in the gray zone. Information operations at which they excel, and we don’t. To pressure the West, NATO, and the United States, we are a part of NATO, of course, to grant concessions. The Foreign Ministry of Russia issued a set of demands about one month ago, in the middle of December 2021.
Those demands included things like NATO shall provide iron-clad, bulletproof, forever and ever promises that Ukraine will never be a member of NATO. NATO will never position its troops, military, or armaments on territory that might be perceived as a threat to Russia. NATO will not use airspace or waters near Russia for its troops or ships on and on these demands go
Barry Nussbaum: Let’s piggyback onto that. Ukraine has made it very clear they have no intention of relinquishing its sovereignty. They have no intention or interest in being part of a Russian Federation or some amalgamation of the old days, i.e., the USSR. So, who’s going to win in the chess game? Is Ukraine going to remain independent?
Clare Lopez: I think so. To finish the analysis from these two sources, I cited Illarionov and the Institute for the Study of War. They’re trying; Russia must go trying to wrest out of the west, out of NATO, answers, acquiescence to these demands. Well, NATO is not so inclined, and I’m happy to say that the Biden administration is not either, but if Putin was to go ahead with an all-out invasion of Ukraine.
#1 economically, they make the argument that the Russian economy could not sustain a long, drawn-out war, which it would become. They would be bogged down with lots of casualties, which would not be good going home in body bags to mother Russia.
#2. Militarily, they don’t have the wherewithal to defeat not just the entire Ukrainian army but every able-bodied Ukrainian male that would take up arms to resist the Russian invasion. So, even if they did that, the Russians invaded; they would then be throwing away with both hands any opportunity for a diplomatic solution or negotiations.
They began negotiations this week in Geneva, Russia, and the United States, and they will take up a little bit further this week in Brussels. That will include NATO. So far, it’s been a deadlock. There doesn’t seem to be progress, but that’s for the good. NATO and the United States appear to be holding fast and backing Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Barry Nussbaum: Well, let’s pile on here in the same neighborhood. Now you’ve got Kazakhstan, where thousands and thousands are in the street protesting against the leader who they want to overthrow because of incredible price increases. I’ve heard reports that as many as 10,000 people have been arrested.
That’s unbelievable-Russia’s sending troops. Armenia has sent some troops. The riots are similar to the riots all over Europe, although I would consider those mostly COVID resistance riots. What’s going to happen in Kazakhstan?
Clare Lopez: So, you’re right, Barry. What happened is, on the first of January this year, 2022, the president of Kazakhstan, whose name I always have to look at, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and his regime removed price controls on the price of fuel. This immediately impacted ordinary people being able to buy gasoline heating fuel for their homes in the dead of winter now.
They took to the streets, just as you say, thousands, mostly in the former capital of Almaty. Primarily there, that’s the biggest city in Kazakhstan. Not necessarily in other cities or even the capital Astana, but in Almaty. Immediately, the regime of President Tokayev cracked down and gave shoot-to-kill orders against the protesters.
I don’t know if the numbers are up to date, but over 160 reportedly have been killed to date. As you say, something like 10,000, maybe more, who knows, arrested, but what Tokayev did immediately was called upon this treaty organization that is the counterpart to NATO. It takes place in the way of the Warsaw Pact.
It’s called the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and it does include the countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, and Belarus. Russia immediately sent about 3,000 troops to help Tokayev put down the demonstrators. Armenia also sent a small contingent, and I’m unsure about the other member countries.
But the brutal suppression of the demonstrations probably already has finished. As you say, the immediate protests were about the increase in fuel prices but very quickly turned to protests against the regime itself and its authoritarian, oppressive, tyrannical rule over the people of Kazakhstan.
So, that is the threat Russia sees. Once again, Russia shares a 4,750-mile border with Kazakhstan to its near abroad. Kazakhstan is rich in minerals, oil, gas and also had the launch site, a space launch site that Russia used for so many years on its territory. So, Russia doesn’t want to see Kazakhstan slipping its grip, if you will, any in any meaningful way. It’s too far away to matter to Western Europe, the U.S., and NATO. So, they cracked down on the people, and it won’t last forever. Tyranny does not let forever. The human spirit rebels, but for the moment, it looks like it’s been put down.
Barry Nussbaum: Speaking of tyranny, Clare Lopez, it just befuddles me to no end that the Iran nuclear talks are still going on. Iran seems to be running away from a deal because every other day, they’re bragging about how much enrichment they’re doing, satellite testing, and missile testing.
Literally, they are saying we are never going back to where we were, but the whole group is still in Vienna, including the United States, that’s not even in the room. It sure seems to me, Clare, that Biden’s going to sign a new JCPOA, no matter what Iran does. What do you think?
Clare Lopez: You know, I don’t think that he will or that the United States can, and that’s because Iran holds all the cards. For example, the Biden administration, at least in public statements, says it wants to go back to the original terms of the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Nuclear Deal, reached in July of 2015.
The problem is, and I think we’ve talked about this before. The problem is that Iran has gone so far beyond the provisions of the JCPOA, never mind the 1970s era nonproliferation treaty, to which Iran remains a signatory. Still, they’ve gone beyond these provisions in terms of how much uranium they are enriching, to what percentage, above 60%, that they admit. Never mind the clandestine program. They were supposed to halt, go up to, and no further than 3.67% enrichment.
They have installed thousands of brand-new, updated, modern, more efficient, faster centrifuges in places like Natanz and Fordo. They’re up to generation six. You know, they go by generation; IR-1 is what the original deal was supposed to keep to; they’re on up to installing IR-6s right now.
They’re milling uranium metal, which has no civilian use but only for the formation of the bomb itself, the pit, the two hemispheres that make up a nuclear bomb. All these things put Iran so far outside of the original provisions of the nuclear deal.
There’s no way to go back to it, and I’m moderately hopeful that the Europeans, the P5+1, are parties to this agreement. P5, of course, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, +1 is Germany, that they too will hold to that.
I think we see statements out of some of those European countries of concern where Iran is going with this program, how fast, and how far. Even they are becoming uneasy with it, and I’m not seeing a new deal being concluded in the works or a return to the old deal, I guess we should say.
Barry Nussbaum: I hope you’re right. Clare tell people where they can follow you and read the stuff you’re constantly producing.
Clare Lopez: Well, certainly right here at American Truth Project, where you can use your cell phone to sign up for text messages that will let you know when videos like this one of mine are coming out. You can text to my name, L-O-P-E-Z, Lopez, to 88202, which will get you the announcements.
Not too often. We won’t blow up your phone when the videos are coming out. I also have my pieces published in the United West. At the Citizens Commission on National Security. I also write occasionally for the David Horowitz Freedom Center at FrontPage magazine, and I am on video programs, the Glazov Gang from time to time with Jamie Glazov.
I’m also on social media so far. On Twitter @ClareMLopez, on Facebook, my name is the same as well. Then also, on Telegram, I am at Lopez Liberty. So, thank you very much for looking for me in any of those places.
Barry Nussbaum: I advise you to follow up and follow Clare. You will learn something every day with her. Thanks for joining us today on ATP Report. We sure appreciate your viewership and your support. Again, I’m Barry Nussbaum. Thanks for joining us.