Ask anyone who has ever negotiated with Donald Trump

That truth is the first casualty of war has become a cliché, writes Frida Ghitis. But it didn't take a war for Putin's Russia to launch a stream of falsehoods and disinformation. The deceptions started decades ago and they never stopped. The war allowed the world to see it deployed in real time.

What’s really behind Putin’s invasion (?)

“It is best to see Putin not as some nostalgic madmen seeking to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, but as a clear-eyed mobster using his military might to expand his crime syndicate’s business relationships by cozying up to the growing economic powerhouse that is Xi’s China. Note also that China has enormous investments in Ukraine and would benefit from an even greater stake there.

“So, Putin controls enough petroleum resources, minerals and wheat to guarantee Xi’s conveyor belts can keep humming. At the same time, even a Chinese feint toward Taiwan may be enough to cause the United States and NATO to falter in Ukraine and relieve pressure on Putin’s forces there or be able to yield a negotiated settlement that is favorable to Moscow.”

The Russia-China relationship marries China?s mercantile business model with Russian President Vladimir Putin?s mercenary military.