EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

In the technical argot of diplomacy, what’s going on in the Ukraine crisis is nuts.

With 100,000 troops massed on Ukraine’s border, Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded a written response this week from the United States and its NATO allies regarding his demands for a guarantee that NATO will not expand eastward.

Three rounds of negotiations reached a dead end. The White House suggests Russia is planning a “false flag” operation in Ukraine as pretext for invasion. President Biden threatens severe sanctions; Putin says they would be a “colossal mistake.”

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.