The “nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use”

These things do escalate.

Where does this end up? Biden says U.S. would ‘respond’ to Russia if Putin uses chemical or biological weapons

US President Joe Biden says NATO would respond if Russia was to use chemical weapons in Ukraine, adding the “nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use”.

Pretty open-ended. Ever heard of The Gulf of Tonkin “Incident”? You have to go back to 1964 but it was the invented moment that led to the Vietnam War going full-on and full-time.

On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, was approached by three Vietnam People’s Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. The Maddox fired warning shots and the North Vietnamese boats attacked with torpedoes and machine gun fire. In the ensuing engagement, one U.S. aircraft (which had been launched from aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga) was damaged, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed, with six more wounded. There were no U.S. casualties. Maddox was “unscathed except for a single bullet hole from a Vietnamese machine gun round”.

On August 4, 1964, destroyer USS Turner Joy joined Maddox on another DESOTO mission. That evening, the ships opened fire on confusing radar and sonar returns that had been preceded by communications intercepts suggesting that an attack was imminent. The commander of the Maddox task force, Captain John Herrick, reported that the ships were being attacked by North Vietnamese boats. In fact, there were no North Vietnamese boats present. While Herrick soon reported doubts regarding the task force’s initial perceptions of the attack, the Johnson administration relied on erroneously interpreted National Security Agency communications intercepts to conclude that the attack was real.

While doubts regarding the perceived second attack have been expressed since 1964, it was not until years later that it was shown conclusively never to have happened.

Let me repeat that last sentence: While doubts regarding the perceived second attack have been expressed since 1964, it was not until years later that it was shown conclusively never to have happened.

So back to The Ukraine with the question now, are we in the same blundering into war that led to World War I? If the US wants to invent an incident they have the history. Do you remember The Maine?

A slogan of the Spanish-American War. The United States battleship Maine mysteriously exploded and sank in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, in 1898. Stirred up by the yellow press (see yellow journalism), the American public blamed the sinking on Spain, which then owned Cuba.

You now have to fear what comes next. The Americans are it seems gunning for a full-on confrontation. If they want to arrange a pretext, so many of us seem to be in a pre-war mentality, over nothing much more than whether The Ukraine should be part of NATO. 

52 thoughts on “The “nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use””

  1. It’s scary times indeed.

    I’m getting the sense that the Democrats fearing that they are on the nose for the mid-terms are trying to engineer a war.


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  2. I’m getting the sense that the Democrats fearing that they are on the nose for the mid-terms are trying to engineer a war.

    Quite the possibility. Start a war, suspend all elections, do everything they want while keeping the war going.


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  3. bemused is spot on.
    This is the way the Democrats see as saving themselves in November, one way or another.
    Do not for one moment think that there are any limits to what they will do to hold on to power.


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  4. The Americans are it seems gunning for a full-on confrontation. If they want to arrange a pretext, so many of us seem to be in a pre-war mentality, over nothing much more than whether The Ukraine should be part of NATO.

    The stakes are much higher than merely whether Ukraine is part of Russia. This is now about the continuation of Putin as President; whether, if removing Putin is achievable, Russia can be ‘turned’ into a friend of the west to thwart its burgeoning relationship with China; if not, the continued existence of Russia as a federation; and, China’s stated objective to recover Taiwan.

    To be clear, whether Ukraine is part of NATO is an important issue but there is a lot more going on in the background. This is a geopolitical tussle with gigantic implications for the entire world.

    If NATO get involved and it becomes NATO vs Russia (which will spark a global war because such a thing cannot be contained to Europe), there are obvious implications for all of us.

    Sixty years ago the Cuban missile crisis brought the world dangerously close to war between nuclear armed superpowers. If the Russia/Ukraine genie escapes from the current containment, we have turned full circle but this time, we have Biden in the White House and Putin in the Kremlin.


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  5. US President Joe Biden says NATO would respond if Russia was to use chemical weapons in Ukraine, adding the “nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use”.

    Probably wise of Biden to leave it open ended like that (did I really just write that?). This is because the term ‘chemical’ weapon is pretty loose. A white phosphorous shell (also used by Australia) is different to a sarin gas attack.


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  6. Lol, there is no blundering only planned pretexts. This is a gamed confrontation and the wests (US) last roll of the dice to maintain its steadily crumbling global hegemony. Ukraine is a pawn and bait for the Russian bear. Eurasia is beginning de dollarisation, removing the petrodollar as a support for the US financial system. Creating alternative financial systems. It’s an existential crisis for both power blocs and they will act accordingly. Knowing that The hubris of the US has no bounds, they won’t accept their potential status as just a regional power. Unfortunately the west doesn’t have the geopolitical cards, the resources nor the population or military strength anymore. Checkmate and szah.


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  7. This is now about the continuation of Putin as President; whether, if removing Putin is achievable, Russia can be ‘turned’ into a friend of the west to thwart its burgeoning relationship with China

    We, or rather Western leaders, for I don’t believe the average Westerner has anything against Russians, had the perfect opportunity to do that in the early ’90s. Bush Sr. outlined the plan. Then Clinton, Albright, Bush Jr. & Obama blew it moved in exactly the opposite direction, expanding NATO and doing everything they could to alienate the Russian leadership.


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  8. President Joe Biden said Thursday that NATO would respond “in kind” if Russia uses weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.

    Seeing NATO the US doesn’t stock
    chemical weapons (no laughing at the back), presumably Brandon means he’ll
    start lobbing nukes about if Vlad does a VX lay down somewhere.
    For those who don’t have their NBCD Aide Memoire handy,
    VX is one of those odourless agents which might actually have an odour,
    but you’d be dead before you could say ‘It smells like fresh bread.’
    (Old NBCD joke.)


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  9. Froggersays:
    March 25, 2022 at 12:30 pm
    Lol, there is no blundering only planned pretexts. This is a gamed confrontation and the wests (US) last roll of the dice to maintain its steadily crumbling global hegemony. Ukraine is a pawn and bait for the Russian bear. Eurasia is beginning de dollarisation, removing the petrodollar as a support for the US financial system. Creating alternative financial systems. It’s an existential crisis for both power blocs and they will act accordingly. Knowing that The hubris of the US has no bounds, they won’t accept their potential status as just a regional power. Unfortunately the west doesn’t have the geopolitical cards, the resources nor the population or military strength anymore. Checkmate and szah.

    Yep, pretty much sums it all up, neat and tidy. I would however add congressional financial corruption, the gready politicians version of the Big Lebowski.


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  10. I’m sure all Presidents have an inflated opinion of their own significance, but Biden surely is the only one where it’s purely imaginary. As far as I am aware, over his 50 year career, he has no achievements of any kind. Apart, of course, from Barack Obamas’ remark “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up”.


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  11. The Americans are it seems gunning for a full-on confrontation.
    On the contrary, the US won’t even facilitate the provision of Polish MIGs to UKraine, whicxh has been invaded by Putin’s army.
    WTF is this apologia intended to convey?


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  12. The Ukraine is just a stick which the US neocons use to poke the Russian bear.

    Remember when the Japanese poked the sleeping giant? That didn’t go well for the Japanese.


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  13. WTF is this apologia intended to convey?

    “WTF is this objectivity intended to convey?”

    There fixed it for you. The answer, of course, is self evident.

    Aren’t you tied yet ?


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  14. Old Bloke
    The Ukraine is just a stick which the US neocons use to poke the Russian bear. Putin was foolish to respond with an invasion.

    I would contend that the Bear walked in with full knowledge of it being a trap. Only to trap the eagle in what is now becoming a death tussle.
    It’s not like it wasn’t exceedingly clear from the incessant NATO encroachment as well as Serbia 1999, Kosovo, 2004 orange revolution and then 2014 Ukrainian coup, Georgian invasion of 2008, 2011 attempted colour revolution in Russia and Syria, Turkish coup attempt 2016, Belarus coup attempt 2020, Kazakhstan 2021, the Donbass provocation for 8 years, Ukraine defacto status as a NATO subsidiary etc etc what the US hand in mind.

    I would think that Russia began making contingency plans from 2014 and reading about its progressive attempts at modernising and expanding it’s military, stocking up on gold and putting in place SWIFT alternatives made its contingency plans clear.
    It’s also makes clear why the deep state (DS) in the US wanted to get rid of Trump, the DS knew they only had a time constrained window to enable the subjugation of Russia before it became an overwhelming military and financial threat, but it looks like they’ve missed the window.
    I mentioned Ukraine is a pawn, but so is Europe as a another sacrificial pawn, nearly wholly dependant on Russian energy, food and resources and in almost total vassalage to US foreign policy.
    No doubt US is willing to sacrifice both Europe and Ukraine on a bonfire of its own making.
    Anyway Russia sprung it’s own trap and it will be the west sanctioning itself into economic oblivion as the ROW(Rest of the world) has list trust in the wests financial institutions lest it’s own monetary reserves fall foul of US capriciousness and disappear like Libya’s, Iran’s, Venezuela’s, Russia’s etc. When the ROW has setup it’s own economic bloc, the US will be brought to heel struggling to finance it’s own basic needs with a now near worthless currency
    I somehow recall bin Laden’s words that his intent was to bankrupt the US. His prophecy is coming about, but not through the chimera of his original intent


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  15. Roger says:
    March 25, 2022 at 12:32 pm
    We, or rather Western leaders, for I don’t believe the average Westerner has anything against Russians, had the perfect opportunity to do that in the early ’90s. Bush Sr. outlined the plan. Then Clinton, Albright, Bush Jr. & Obama blew it moved in exactly the opposite direction, expanding NATO and doing everything they could to alienate the Russian leadership.

    Agreed, this entire episode could have been avoided. But various US Presidents have done the opposite. It is often said that hindsight is a great thing but in this instance, even those with only a passing interest in geopolitics/Europe/US foreign policy couldn’t have missed what was going on. Now, it is a ‘fight to the death’ insomuch as the US sees this as the opportunity, the ‘moment in time’, to crush Russia economically and militarily.

    For decades, the west has been fearful of the Russian military but now, it is (pleasantly) surprised at the difficulties Russia is having in crushing the Ukrainian military and as an added bonus, the losses of military materiel. If Russia couldn’t smack the Ukraine into the weeds in a week or two (as predicted), then it will be no match against a combined NATO. Intelligence assessments of the mighty Russian military have been wrong!! I would bet my socks that if Russia didn’t have nuclear weapons, a ‘peacekeeping force’ would already be in Ukraine and would be threatening to enter Russia. Another coalition of the willing. Iraq #2.

    In any case, and as I’ve made clear on this post and elsewhere, I am very concerned about the larger aspects that are being played out in the background. A cornered animal (Russia/Putin) is the least likely to be agreeable to compromise. The potential for a NATO vs Russia confrontation is high and to my utter bewilderment, some even seem to be cheering it on. Be careful what you wish for.


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  16. All very well to believe the US is itching for a fight (over the other side of the Atlantic) so the people really in control can cash in, but surely the closer EU members of NATO want no such thing.


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  17. If the US wants to invent an incident they have the history. \
    RobMW: let us examine the objectivity.
    Putin has invaded a sovereign nation without provocation. He has sent in an extraordinarily large force, but has been held off by a smaller force backed strongly by Ukrainian civilians, many of whom are Russian speakers. Now he is flattening the cities and shipping civilians as hostages to Russia.
    In the face of this, Biden won’t even give Ukraine some Polish – Russian – jet fighters that Ukraine has been begging for.
    Now Kates casts this picture – all of it Putin’s choice – as if Putin is the innocent whom might get dragged in to a Gulf of Tonkin incident.
    The real question: why has Biden not given Ukraine total support? But Kates can’t ask that.
    Kates is an apologist for Putin. It is plain as day.


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  18. USA’s apology for a president will only get one option from this not so well orchestrated Nato driven cluster fuck…. push the big button or back off.

    Irrespective Biden’s bun-fight will become the balls up of the century…. and glory be, he and his Democrats will own every stinking bit of it, lock stock and barrel

    Europe, The Middle East as well as Asia are still conveniently looking the other way. That will be until the nukes become a reality.


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  19. Just wait until Iran gets its nukes in order. That’ll be another tick in Biden’s illustrious list of successes.

    I am sure that Israel is grateful that he, not Trump, occupies the White House (/sarc off).


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  20. RobMW: let us examine the objectivity.
    Putin has invaded a sovereign nation without provocation

    When you start dribbling shit with an outright lie in your second sentence you totally destroy any chance you had of contributing something of value.

    But it seems to be your SOP so carry on. We’ve got your number. Somewhere deeply in negative territory.


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  21. Bemused:

    Just wait until Iran gets its nukes in order. That’ll be another tick in Biden’s illustrious list of successes.

    The Israelis aren’t fools – Iran will have an ‘accident’ at their nuke assembly plant and one will go off half cocked.
    Not enough to cause a nuclear explosion of – say – 20Kt, but one sufficiently dirty at about 5 Kt and enough fallout to devastate a major city.
    A ‘fizzer’ – one that can be reliably explained away by Iranian experiments/attempts to build a bomb.


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  22. Megan:
    LTD is one of a host of Leftie idiots who follow Steve Kates around like a nasty smell, infesting everything he writes.
    This tribe were very evident on the old cat, and it looks like they’re here as well.
    Probably one of the students Steve has failed for gross stupidity.


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  23. Probably one of the students Steve has failed for gross stupidity.

    Definition of gross stupidity: 144 students in a politically correct course/faculty?


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  24. Megan etc: Given that the pro-Putin push has a classic DemSocialist line, very much akin to Corbyn and others, it would seem to me that the Putin apologists are in fact the Left element.
    Putin has no justification for his attack, and asserting that he has requires that you are either an idiot or a liar. I know that Kates had an early life in Communism, but I’m starting to think the posters here are a throw back to Tribune and the Soviet realignment that Putin is pursuing.


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  25. The Littlest Anklebiter has clearly run out of ambits to pursue in its efforts to police our wrongthink, and has now resorted to (rather hilariously) call everyone Communists.

    Nothing quite like a GetUp!-grade Leftist calling people who roll their eyes at its bullshit leftists…


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  26. There is an old “line” from the Hippie 1960’s to the effect:

    “What if they gave a war; and nobody came”.

    Typical “snappy sloganeering”. Bear in mind that the entire “peace movement” was essentially run out of the Lubyanka, (and NOT the budget hotel, either).

    For the serious trivia buff, a variant of that line turned up in a Monkees song called “Zor and Zam”? on the 1968 album “The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees”.


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  27. … and has now resorted to (rather hilariously) call everyone Communists.

    That reminds me of Homer, on C.L.’s blog, one time, accusing others he disagreed with, of being lefties!


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  28. Rex/Lee: Rocks, glass houses etc…. Yoiu know perfectly well that the default accusation in any disagreement for you is LEFTIST!!!!
    On the Putin thing, you all should be a bit embarassed that the other apologists are folk like Corbyn etc


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  29. Get ready for the false flag. And the chemical weapon play has been tried before (e.g. the white hats in Syria).
    Most wars of the 20th century have had false flags as excuses to join or start a war. From Gulf of Tonkin, USS Liberty (attempt for Israel to bring US into war with Egypt), Baby incubator farce (Gulf War), Weapons of Mass Destruction (Iraq War), and others – it’s Neocons all the way through.


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  30. Rex/Lee: Rocks, glass houses etc…. Yoiu know perfectly well that the default accusation in any disagreement for you is LEFTIST!!!!

    In your case it just happens to be 100% true.
    The point I was making was that person (Homer) accusing conservatives of being “leftist” is himself very left wing.


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  31. Putin has no justification for his attack

    I am guessing you watch a lot of mainstream media and believe the lie, or you are lying yourself. Either way it’s very easy to find the truth if you want to pursue it.
    Sadly those Azov boys really aren’t friendly and plainly want to wipe out the people in the Donbas which the 13,000+ dead over the last 8 years is testimony too.
    You can choose to be on the side of the bad guys, Nazi’s, corrupt and greedy wicked people. You have free will to choose that side- but you should choose carefully as this isn’t a game.


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  32. LTD makes the absolute classic error of many intellectually bereft undergrads I have encountered where their hubris at being at university overwhelms their limited ability to learn. They may eventually get an education and a certification but they learn little in the doing of it because they already see themselves as clever little vegemites for, you know, being at University.

    Their ability to create valid and well thought out argument suffers at the outset because schools no longer teach critical thinking skills or how to map an argument.

    Simplistic arguments, employed enthusiastically by LTD, are by their very nature dishonest. Desperately trying to sell something hard as if it were easy, built entirely on ideology but lacking the authority or deep thought to make it work.

    Here’s how I can tell the difference between a real argument and a simplistic one. A real argument deals with both complexity and nuance of the presented problem rather than ignoring it in favour of ideological cliche and fatuous comparisons. Try doing the hard intellectual work and build an argument from the ground up, using data, testing your assumptions, looking for your blind spots and considering the things you would much rather overlook.

    You could start by giving all of us here a simple but honest argument supporting your contention that anyone who disagrees with your simplistic position is a Putin apologist. Go!


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  33. Megansays:
    March 25, 2022 at 6:01 pm
    RobMW: let us examine the objectivity.
    Putin has invaded a sovereign nation without provocation

    Megan – it appears that you think that that is my comment. That is in fact the western value’s arsehole’s comment, not mine. My 2 comments are way above dipstick’s same boring overused comments.


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  34. Yeah sorry, Rob. It was a copy of his response to you. I didn’t think about how it would appear on screen.

    Just to be clear, that comment of mine at 6.01 is firmly aimed at the dispstick in question, not RobW.


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  35. LTD’s problem seems, at least in part, to be an excess of empathy.

    I suspect that whatever humanitarian crisis is in the news, he/she/xe feels obliged to take whichever side the Imperial Media says is downtrodden. No nuance is allowed to enter the discussion. Ergo, Ukraine completely good, Wussia totally bad in this case.


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  36. Megansays:
    March 25, 2022 at 8:43 pm
    Yeah sorry, Rob.

    Thanks Megan.

    It appears that old mate, or matett, doesn’t know what it is to get both sides of a story. Sudden onset delusion has that effect apparently. After reading what the MSM has to say about this conflict I try to find out what the other side is saying as a comparison. I found this blog called ‘The Vineyard of the Saker’ to get their side of the story rather than Russia’s versions of MSM. The fog of war is hard to navigate particularly when western values are a thing.


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  37. The resolution is dead easy. Offer Putin sanctuary in a country which won’t be attacked. Taiwan for example. Now he is friends with Xi that will protect Taiwan from China and the USA won’t dare go after him there. Simples so stop all the crazy speculations about this or that will happen. I never experienced a forum where so many people think they are prophets and when proven wrong time and again skulk away to prophecy another day.


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  38. “The Americans are it seems gunning for a full-on confrontation.”

    No we’re not. We’re quite war-weary after the bullshit supernova that was “Saddam has WMDs.” And we’re not that comfortable with the idea that we’re barreling towards a major showdown with a dementia-riddled zombie at the helm.

    I’m buying more emergency food this weekend.


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  39. Maniacsays:
    March 26, 2022 at 12:46 am
    “The Americans are it seems gunning for a full-on confrontation.”

    No we’re not.

    I think you’ll find we all agree ‘Americans’ in this context are the grifters in power, not the people who have to go and execute the planned shit-show.


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  40. Megan etc: The sole justification here for Putin’s invasion that I can see is the Azov argument. That is; Azov is Nazi. The implication is that Ukraine is Nazi and therfore Putin asserts he has to invade to save Ukrainians from Nazis.
    Two problems: Ukraine elected a leader who is not only Jewish but whose family was almost wiped out by Nazis. Second: Putin told troops they were engaged in a four day peace mission to rescue Ukrainians. The problem being that Ukrainians stood in front of tanks and told them to go home – or fired at them. The four day invasion is now five weeks in – and the biggest defence equipment exporter in the world is begging China to give them equipment.
    Some here are anti-US, so they grab the Putin propaganda about the US and NATO. Two problems: NATO refused to admit Ukraine. US refused to give Ukraine the MIGs that Ukraine asked for and Poland offered.
    As I have said, the weird experience here is being called a leftist by people who spout the line run by leftists like Corbyn.


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  41. Corbyn’s Stop the War Coalition statement says:
    “The conflict is the product of thirty years of failed policies, including the expansion of NATO and US hegemony at the expense of other countries as well as major wars of aggression by the USA, Britain and other NATO powers which have undermined international law and the United Nations.”
    Familiar?


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