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Fighting Russophobia bulletin, 2014

Pathological Russophobia of the US elite  2017 2016 2015 2014 2013

2014 should be called the year of propaganda. It is also a year of start of new cold war with Russia in another attempt to crush Russian economic progress (and simultaneously cripple EU). China is the nest winner. Russia and EU are losers. The USA is just playing usual dangerous game so it is too early to tell whether this is good or not  -- dollar is weakened as the result of those actions as Russia in now openly hostile toward the USA led financial system. 

Patrick Buchnan on Dec 9, 2014 published an interesting article -- A Foreign Policy of Russophobia The American Conservative -- in which it tried to analyse the paranoya of US elite toward Russia which is coused by imperial pretentions of Washington.

thinking or actions of the U.S. government.

Last week, the House passed such a resolution 411-10. As ex-Rep. Ron Paul writes, House Resolution 758 is so “full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War.” H.R. 758 is a Russophobic rant full of falsehoods and steeped in superpower hypocrisy.

Among the 43 particulars in the House indictment is this gem: “The Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008.”

Bullhockey. On Aug. 7-8, 2008, Georgia invaded South Ossetia, a tiny province that had won its independence in the 1990s. Georgian artillery killed Russian peacekeepers, and the Georgian army poured in. Only then did the Russian army enter South Ossetia and chase the Georgians back into their own country.

The aggressor of the Russo-Georgia war was not Vladimir Putin but President Mikheil Saakashvili, brought to power in 2004 in one of those color-coded revolutions we engineered in the Bush II decade.

H.R. 758 condemns the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia, which also broke from Georgia in the early 1990s, and in Transnistria, which broke from Moldova. But where is the evidence that the peoples of Transnistria, Abkhazia, or South Ossetia want to return to Moldova or Georgia?

We seem to support every ethnic group that secedes from Russia, but no ethnic group that secedes from a successor state. This is rank Russophobia masquerading as democratic principle.

What do the people of Crimea, Transnistria, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Luhansk, or Donetsk want? Do we really know? Do we care?

And what have the Russians done to support secessionist movements to compare with our 78-day bombing of Serbia to rip away her cradle province of Kosovo, which had been Serbian land before we were a nation?

H.R. 758 charges Russia with an “invasion” of Crimea. But there was no air, land, or sea invasion. The Russians were already there by treaty and the reannexation of Crimea, which had belonged to Russia since Catherine the Great, was effected with no loss of life. Compare how Putin retrieved Crimea, with the way Lincoln retrieved the seceded states of the Confederacy—a four-year war in which 620,000 Americans perished.

Russia is charged with using “trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure” and interfering in Ukraine’s “internal affairs.” This is almost comical. The U.S. has imposed trade barriers and sanctions on Russia, Belarus, Iran, Cuba, Burma, Congo, Sudan, and a host of other nations.

Economic sanctions are the first recourse of the American Empire.

And agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries, our NGOs and Cold War radios, RFE and Radio Liberty, exist to interfere in the internal affairs of countries whose regimes we dislike, with the end goal of “regime change.”

Was that not the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, along with John McCain, prancing around Kiev, urging insurgents to overthrow the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych? Was Nuland not caught boasting about how the U.S. had invested $5 billion in the political reorientation of Ukraine, and identifying whom we wanted as prime minister when Yanukovych was overthrown?

H.R. 578 charges Russia with backing Syria’s Assad regime and providing it with weapons to use against “the Syrian people.”

But Assad’s principal enemies are the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, and ISIS. They are not only his enemies, and Russia’s enemies, but our enemies. And we ourselves have become de facto allies of Assad with our air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

And what is Russia doing for its ally in Damascus, by arming it to resist ISIS secessionists, that we are not doing for our ally in Baghdad, also under attack by the Islamic State? Have we not supported Kurdistan in its drive for autonomy? Have U.S. leaders not talked of a Kurdistan independent of Iraq?

H.R. 758 calls the President of Russia an “authoritarian” ruler of a corrupt regime that came to power through election fraud and rules by way of repression. Is this fair, just or wise? After all, Putin has twice the approval rating in Russia as President Obama does here, not to mention the approval rating of our Congress.

Damning Russian “aggression,” the House demands that Russia get out of Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Transnistria, calls on Obama to end all military cooperation with Russia, impose “visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions,” and send “lethal … defense articles” to Ukraine.

This is the sort of ultimatum that led to Pearl Harbor.

Why would a moral nation arm Ukraine to fight a longer and larger war with Russia that Kiev could not win, but that could end up costing the lives of ten of thousands more Ukrainians?

Those who produced this provocative resolution do not belong in charge of U.S. foreign policy, nor of America’s nuclear arsenal.

 


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[Dec 30, 2014] Why America Can't Stop by Mikhail Khazin

Translated by Roobit

Or an attempt to describe how US problems correlate with international security.

On several past occasions I have written that the United States is deliberately destroying the entire system of international security, the same system that they had built together with the USSR. Why did they start dismantling the international security system is also understandable, in the 1990s the generation of "victors" came to power in that country, these people are convinced that they had "defeated" the USSR (as our theory explains it is obviously not so, please refer to http://worldcrisis.ru/crisis/188291 ) and because they are "victors" they may do anything they please. They decided that collective security arrangements are onerous, and that they need their own security system, the one that only they will have control over.

If we were to evaluate rhetoric of individuals who were in charge of the states that were admitted as new NATO members in the last 20 years, then we can figure out the logic that stands behind the expansion (and perhaps a bit even farther still). "We are being threatened and the USA is our only possible protection, therefore we must all be integrated within a US-centered security structure." This was all going on while Russia, as a matter of principle, was not participating in affairs of those countries (not even in those of the Ukraine, which was abandoned to its own devices, something that has to a great extent caused the recent events in that country), Russia was not a threat to anyone (and of course it is not a threat to anyone now), the point of this all was deliberate destruction of the old global security system, in which Russia used to play a key role.

Obviously constructing a new security system from scratch is an endeavor that is both expensive and slow, and that is the prime reason why on some issues (such as nuclear disarmament) the United States continued to talk with Russia although the background of those communications can be best expressed through a formula: we only talk about questions which we consider to be of interest to us, and the rest is not really your business. The trouble is that all those plans, which were developed in the 90s and which they began to implement during 2000s (quite possibly, the events of September 11, 2001 http://worldcrisis.ru/crisis/86502 were organized to launch the execution of those plans, same way as the Pearl Harbor was staged to extract the United States from its "embrace of isolationism"), so those plans had been based on the premise of continuous economic growth, itself founded upon the primacy of America's resources. Instead they ended up with a crisis, which has significantly reduced those available "resources."

I must note that the period of capture of former Socialist Commonwealth's markets has indeed become "the golden age" of American economy, even their budget scored a surplus. But our work in 2001 in which we evaluated the balance between different branches of American economy in the 1998 showed that ( http://worldcrisis.ru/crisis/73174 ) already then the US economy was standing on the brink of abyss comparable to where it found itself in the early 1930s. Today's picture is far more frightening and what can be done about it unclear as well. The old security model has been destroyed. Trust cannot be restored, a new model does not exist, there are some elements of it here and there, but they function only if the US directly intervenes into the process. Intervention factually consists of allocating large sums of money to all participants in the process, and it is faulty: Palestine, ISIS, etc.

This is happening while the situation inside the US worsens. The problem is that for a long time they have a barrier in place that has separated the elite from the rest of the society, the barrier of the kind that's only being built here (in Russia). American educational system, and I mean educational system that prepares societal leaders, has been destroyed already back in the 1960s, an average citizen (the sheep in the parlance of the elite) has actually no chances of advancement to an upper "elite" level, the one from which the society is being governed. A successful marriage could serve as a theoretical exception, but this social advancement mechanism cannot be employed in a systemic fashion. However for those few who are born active, unless the punitive psychiatry destroys them at a tender age or they fall victim to juvenile justice, something that now gets written a lot about, for them there are still mechanisms for upward social mobility which could bring them up to the level of technocratic elite.

The trouble is that in the course of this half of a century they've had accumulated lots of people who are absolutely unprepared to tolerate a sharp decline in their standards of living. But along with the worsening of the economic crisis, in order to maintain their grip on power and their status the "actual" elites must most definitely reduce the living standard of these population strata of the American society. And that can push the system up onto the critical level of mutual contradictions. Because internal resources necessary for maintenance of the quality of life of this so called upper middle class are depleted, they need to find some substitute external resources. To phrase it differently: the United States can only preserve domestic social stability at the expense of someone else.

Here we stumble upon remnants of the old security system. The Bretton Woods system was based upon a premise that all assets of participating member states will be dollar denominated. So fresh dollars were printed along with introduction of new assets into the system, and the US elites could then work out how those dollars are to be shared with the elites of those new countries (or regions) that were about to be incorporated within this dollar zone. How those regional elites were going to split those dollars with their own population was their own concern. But there are no more assets to be brought into the system, consequently no new dollars are being printed, and worse than that, existing dollars are being redistributed for America's benefit through US controlled world dollar system. This makes internal conflicts in many of the world's countries all but unavoidable.

Some of those conflicts are at their beginning stage while others are already burning hot, but their essence is all he same, counter-elites, the ones who were not let into the proverbial dollar cookie jar now make claims upon existing elites demanding either to restore the scale of support they get (that means that the old elites must commence financing of the economy from their own pockets) or yield power and get out of the way. Most obvious that because those existing elites are all pro-American, the scenario is developing under accompaniment of increasingly anti-American rhetoric.

We would like to remind you that similar processes already took place in Latin America after the investment flows from the United States changed their direction in aftermath of the Second World War. There the finale was either a breakdown of the economy or emergence of new forces at the helm of the state, frequently personified by brutal dictators, and sometimes, like in Chile, both a combination of both developments. What is going to happen to the world's regions is an open question, but the choice of means to control the situation which remains at America's disposal is shrinking dramatically.

The United States are obviously witnessing these processes and are impotent to do anything about them. From that standpoints, Obama's officials are no different from Putin, he might not like Nabiullina's policies but he cannot just fire her because giving her the boot would destroy the consensus of the elites (and he's too hesitant as doesn't venture to reign in the elites), likewise the administration team in the US is unable to go against their elites, which adamantly refuse considering anything that might somehow threaten their status. And that in turn means that rocking the boat is forbidden!

That can be defined as: sudden moves that can be interpreted as a game changer which in turn might alter the very rules that the United States has introduced in the decade of 2000 and such moves are not allowed. For example, you cannot just change borders. Possibly, if the United States could turn the clock back, then they might have left the Pandora's box safely closed and would not have amputated Kosovo from Serbia, but what's done is done, besides that all happened during prosperous 90s. But to permit the phenomenon of Crimea (or anything similar) is just impermissible. Because if we allow to change borders on a regional level, then entire Eastern Europe, the Middle East and many other areas will turn into serious war theaters.

Essentially we are the ones who understand that this is unavoidable, but American elites will never come to grips with that (and that's why our economic theory is something they would never agree with), this why they will do whatever it takes to postpone their own end, they'll drag it until the whole structure collapses upon them on its own. In that sense, it is implausible to expect that they would remove sanctions or that they will somehow agree to us acting independently. Perhaps they would be happy to but they are prisoners of their own system.

[Dec 29, 2014] From Energy War to Currency War America's Attack on the Russian Ruble

Dec 26, 2014 | Global Research
Currency Warfare and Inflation

The price of the Russian ruble begun to drop in December 2014 as a consequence of the economic siege on the Russian Federation, the drop in global energy prices, and speculation. "Judging by the situation in the country, we are in the midst of a deep currency crisis, one that even Central Bank employees say they could not have foreseen in their worst nightmares", Interfax's Vyacheslav Terekhov commented on the currency crisis while talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Kremlin press conference on December 18, 2014. [2] Putin himself admitted this too at the press conference. While answering Terekhov, Putin explained that "the situation has changed under the influence of certain foreign economic factors, primarily the price of energy resources, of oil and consequently of gas as well". [3]

Some may think that the drop in the Russian ruble's value is a result of the market acting on its own while others who recognize that there is market manipulation involved may turn around and blame it on the Russian government and Vladimir Putin. This process, however, has been guided by US machinations. It is simply not a result of the market acting on its own or the result of Kremlin policies. It is the result of US objectives and policy that deliberately targets Russia for destabilization and devastation. This is why Putin answered Terekhov's question by saying that the drop in the value of the Russian ruble "was obviously provoked primarily by external factors". [4]

Both US Assistant-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland - the wife of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and neo-conservative advocate for empire Robert Kagan - and US Assistant-Secretary of the Treasury Daniel Glaser told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in May 2014 that the objectives of the US economic sanctions strategy against the Russian Federation was not only to damage the trade ties and business between Russia and the EU, but to also bring about economic instability in Russia and to create currency instability and inflation. [5] In other words, the US government was targeting the Russian ruble for devaluation and the Russian economy for inflation since at least May 2014.

It appears that the US is trying to manipulate the Kremlin into spending Russia's resources and fiscal reserves to fight the inflation of the Russian ruble that Washington has engineered. The Kremlin, however, will not take the bait and be goaded into depleting the approximately $419 billion (US) foreign currency reserves and gold holdings of the Russian Federation or any of Russia's approximately 8.4 trillion ruble reserves in an effort to prop the declining value of the Russian ruble. In this regard, while holding a press conference, President Putin stated the following on December 18, 2014: "The Central Bank does not intend to 'burn' them all senselessly, which is right". [6] Putin emphasized this again when answering Vyacheslav Terekhov's question by saying that the Russian government and Russian Central Bank "should not hand out our gold and foreign currency reserves or burn them on the market, but provide lending resources". [7]

The Kremlin understands what Washington is trying to do. The US is replaying old game plans against Russia. The energy price manipulation, the currency devaluation, and even US attempts to entrap Russia in a conflict with its sister-republic Ukraine are all replays of US tactics that have been used before during the Cold War and after 1991. For example, dragging Russia into Ukraine would be a replay of how the US dragged the Soviet Union into Afghanistan whereas the manipulation of energy prices and currency markets would parallel the US strategy used to weaken and destabilize Baathist Iraq, Iran, and the Soviet Union during the Afghan-Soviet War and Iraq-Iran War.

Instead of trying to stop the value of the ruble from dropping, the Kremlin appears to have decided to strategically invest in Russia's human capital. Russia's national reserve funds will be used to diversify the national economy and strengthen the social and public sectors. Despite the economic warfare against Russia, this is exactly why the wages of teachers in schools, professors in post-secondary institutions of learning and training, employees of cultural institutions, doctors in hospitals and clinics, paramedics, and nurses - the most important sectors for developing Russia's human capital and capacity - have all been raised.

... ... ...

Both US Assistant-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Assistant-Secretary of the Treasury Daniel Glaser even told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in May 2014 that the ultimate objectives of the US economic sanctions against Russia are to make the Russian population so miserable and desperate that they would eventually demand that the Kremlin surrender to the US and bring about "political change". "Political change" can mean many things, but what it most probably implies here is regime change in Moscow. In fact, the aims of the US do not even appear to be geared at coercing the Russian government to change its foreign policy, but to incite regime change in Moscow and to cripple the Russian Federation entirely through the instigation of internal divisions. This is why maps of a divided Russia are being circulated by Radio Free Europe. [17]

According to Presidential Advisor Sergey Glazyev, Washington is "trying to destroy and weaken Russia, causing it to fragment, as they need this territory and want to establish control over this entire space". [18] "We have offered cooperation from Lisbon to Vladivostok, whereas they need control to maintain their geopolitical leadership in a competition with China," he has explained, pointing out that the US wants lordship and is not interested in cooperation. [19] Alluding to former US top diplomat Madeline Albright's sentiments that Russia was unfairly endowed with vast territory and resources, Putin also spoke along similar lines at his December 18 press conference, explaining how the US wanted to divide Russia and control the abundant natural resources in Russian territory.

It is of little wonder that in 2014 a record number of Russian citizens have negative attitudes about relations between their country and the United States. A survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center has shown that of 39% of Russian respondents viewed relations with the US as "mostly bad" and 27% as "very bad". [20] This means 66% of Russian respondents have negative views about relations with Washington. This is an inference of the entire Russian population's views. Moreover, this is the highest rise in negative perceptions about the US since 2008 when the US supported Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi's war against Russia and the breakaway republic of South Ossetia; 40% viewed them as "mostly bad" and 25% of Russians viewed relations as "very bad" and at the time. [21]

Russia can address the economic warfare being directed against its national economy and society as a form of "economic terrorism". If Russia's banks and financial institutions are weakened with the aim of creating financial collapse in the Russian Federation, Moscow can introduce fiscal measures to help its banks and financial sector that could create economic shockwaves in the European Union and North America. Speaking in hypothetical terms, Russia has lots of options for a financial defensive or counter-offensive that can be compared to its scorched earth policies against Western European invaders during the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and the Second World War. If Russian banks and institutions default and do not pay or delay payment of their derivative debts and justify it on the basis of the economic warfare and economic terrorism, there would be a financial shock and tsunami that would vertebrate from the European Union to North America. This scenario has some parallels to the steps that Argentina is taken to sidestep the vulture funds.

[Dec 28, 2014] Putin It Is Time to Play Your Ace in the Hole By: Ron_Holland

Dec 26, 2014 | The Market Oracle

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done.
"The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers

The entire world is watching Putin play poker with the Western politicians lead by Obama and followed by Washington quislings in London, Brussels and Berlin. America's goal since the end of the Cold War has been to weaken by financial, economic and, if necessary, military means any real competition to its global financial and resource domination through the petrodollar and dollar world reserve currency status.

The current trade and economic sanctions against Russia and Iran follow this time-tested action that is never successful on its own, as we know from the 50-plus-year blockade of Cuba. But this strategy can lead to opposition nations retaliating by military means, often their only alternative to end blockades etc., which are an act of war and allow the US and other democracies to bring their ultimate superior military power to bare against the offending sovereign state. This worked for Lincoln against the Confederate States of America, by Woodrow Wilson against the Central Powers before World War One, against the Japanese Empire before World War Two, Iraq, Libya – the list is endless.

Recently the US has created the oil price collapse, working closely with its client state Saudi Arabia, in order to weaken the economic power of both Iran and Russia, the two main nations opposing US hegemony, foreign policy and petrodollar policy. Yes, this will play havoc with the US shale oil industry as well as London's North Sea oil industry but oil profits pale in comparison to the importance of maintaining Western power over Russia and China.

I hope Putin realizes the US is not playing games here, as this is a financial and strategic game to the death for Washington and it's Western allies that have foolishly followed the Goldman Sachs/central banking cartel's deadly sovereign debt recipe and for growth and prosperity. The time is up; the debts can never be repaid and sooner or later must be repudiated one way or the other.

China is waiting in the wings as the new world economic power and while it is too big to challenge, US strategy is to take out its top two allies, Iran and Russia, to buy time for Wall Street and Washington. The strategy might be a competitive economic course of action but the risk of military consequences and even a third world war loom on the horizon and no country has ever defeated Russia in a land attack. This is risky brinkmanship just to protect our banking and Wall Street elites and their profits at the expense of the American people, I might add, but the US has done this before.

Is This Just a Repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style?

This has all happened before. It's the same old game with different players. I fear we are watching a repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style. If you look closely at real history rather than the establishment-directed propaganda dished out to the public, you'll realize that the Western financial elites and central banking cartel seldom change tactics. Why should they? Their financial empires continue to grow during all major wars and financial crises and if they should guess wrong, then they get taxpayers to bail them out.

The Goldman Sachs, Rothschild and Soros types control the Western democracies as well as the financial markets and use paid or blackmailed cheerleaders and front men to advance their best interests to the populace as acceptable economic or political policies.

For example, Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points statement given on January 8, 1918, claiming the war and US intervention was a moral cause to advance peace in Europe after World War One, was one of the leading reasons the Germans sued for peace. In hindsight, we know that American intervention was really instituted to prevent an Allied loss or negotiated settlement that could make it impossible for French and British banks to pay back their massive loans to the US banking establishment and thereby bankrupting our leading banks of the day.

Once the war was over the platitudes about freedom, self-determination and making the world safe for democracy dissolved into the Treaty of Versailles, probably one of the most vengeful and unfair peace treaties ever forced on a defeated foe. The entire Austrian-Hungarian empire was totally destroyed except for the small area of present Austria and Germany, which was stripped of much of its territory and subjected to a vengeful, unpayable war debt comparable to America's current national debt today. Sadly, the treaty created the public anger and economic chaos that eventually brought Hitler to power and set the stage for the Second World War.

So Where Does Russia Go from Here?

First, the US cable pundits are suggesting that Putin might retaliate by invading Ukraine. Why would Russia want Ukraine? Except for substantial agricultural resources that can be purchased on the open market, this is a bankrupt country with a long list of failed governments. The country has become a pawn in the battle between East and West, and its people have already suffered so much. Now Russia might move in the East to protect Russian-speaking areas and could be willing to suffer the additional economic consequences of creating a land bridge to Crimea but the military option appears quite limited and counter-productive at best.

No nation will win a shooting war between the US, UK and EU versus Russia and China. The consequences are too horrible to be contemplated but Russia has an ace in the hole that can win the financial and economic battle going on today.

First, Russia should join with China in a new gold, oil and natural resource backed monetary union as an alternative to the failed debt democracy model pushed by Wall Street, the central bank cartel and self-serving politicians in the West. It simply does not work in the long term to finance prosperity and improved standards of living through mountains of debt placed on future generations.

Washington has destroyed every tax haven and bit of personal and financial privacy in the world because of its desperate need for revenue. Every financial haven has caved, including Switzerland, because they cannot hope to prevail against the US, UK and EU. The US intends to make Russia a pariah state and cut it off from trade, funds transfer, banking and Western credit markets. It will not relent until Putin is overthrown and Russia is compliant with and a supporter of the New World Order. Next in line following Russia will be China. Thus, a monetary union could provide the needed support for Russia necessary to guarantee the independence and self-determination of China.

Second, Russia should act offensively rather than defensively on the financial front by creating corporate tax-free/low income tax zones and welcoming corporations, successful individuals and entrepreneurs to take up residence and create jobs and prosperity. The Hong Kong model does work to create industry, service industry and free-market prosperity and to win, Russia needs far more than a resource-based economy.

Russia needs more population and a larger middle class and should offer residency and citizenship opportunities to productive and successful workers, entrepreneurial businesses and corporations etc. with the right of reasonable financial and corporate privacy along with the low tax benefits.

Canada, the wonderful country I live and work in today, offers permanent residency benefits and citizenship to hundreds of thousands of foreigners wanting to work and immigrate to Canada together with low corporate tax benefits.

Russia can and should do the same, although the market will require bargain prices as Russia does not have the long history of rule of law, security and peace like Canada does. Russia should look at good climate areas like Crimea and other areas around the Black Sea and maybe Kaliningrad in the north directly in the middle of the EU.

Competititon, free markets, minimal regulation and low taxes are the 21st century solution to military aggression, over-indebted and resource-hungry empires. Putin said it best in his news conference last week.

"They won't leave [the bear] alone. They will always seek to chain it. And once it's chained, they'll rip out its teeth and claws. The nuclear deterrence, speaking in present-day terms. As soon as this happens, nobody will need [the bear] anymore. They'll stuff it. And start to put their hands on its Taiga [Siberian forest belt] after it. We've heard statements from Western officials that Russia's owning Siberia was not fair." – Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, now is the time to play your ace in the hole. Russia can win the financial and economic war being waged against it but not by playing the same old game of poker where cheating prevails. Show the world that Russia is worthy of 21st century leadership in a peaceful and competitive manner by using the debt, currency and banking weaknesses of the West to defeat an opponent out to chain Russia as it has the rest of the world into surrender and serfdom.

... ... ...

Ron Holland [send him mail], a retirement consultant, works in Zurich and is a co-editor of the Swiss Mountain Vision Newsletter. He is the CEO of Biologix Hair Inc., providing a revolutionary way to regrow your natural hair with the Biologix Hair Therapy System™.

© 2014 Copyright Ron Holland - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

[Dec 28, 2014] In Reversal, Germany Cools to Russian Investment By JACK EWING and ALISON SMALEDEC

Germany hurts itself following the USA foreign policy. You can expect German trade with Russian to be halved: "Including other companies like BMW, Mercedes and Ford of Europe, which is based in Cologne, German automakers will lose 15 billion euros, or about $18.3 billion, in Russian sales and €600 million in profit through 2017, according to estimates by Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen. "
Dec 28, 2014 | NYTimes.com
FRANKFURT - Few countries have invested more heavily in Russia than Germany has, rushing in to exploit new trade opportunities that opened up after the Cold War ended. More than 6,000 German companies set up operations there, and Russia became a major customer for German cars, pharmaceuticals and machinery.

But now the rush is going in reverse. The announcement last week by the German chemical giant BASF that it had canceled a planned deal with Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, involving natural gas extraction and distribution, was the latest example of how German companies are delaying projects and investment.

... ... ...

Russia's largest trading partners

Total trade, January through August 2014 (billion $)

... ... ...

...Russia's problems have helped slow Germany's momentum. Exports to Russia fell 22 percent through October compared with the same period a year earlier.

... ... ...

Last weekend, the two most prominent Social Democrats in Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition government of center right and center left - the party leader, Sigmar Gabriel, and the foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier - voiced concern that sanctions might hobble the stricken Russian economy, and they opposed tightening them.

Ms. Merkel, clearly frustrated with the behavior of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, has so far taken a harder line. But the potential for conflict within Ms. Merkel's government complicates her efforts to use Germany's close ties with Russia as leverage to fashion a solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Business groups, normally strong backers of Ms. Merkel's Christian Democrats, have agreed with the Social Democrats on Russia and warned against using economic means to put pressure on Mr. Putin.

"Sanctions are not the proper means to resolve this political crisis," Eckhard Cordes, a former Daimler executive who is chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, which represents companies doing business in the former Soviet bloc, said in an email. "The West cannot have an interest in destabilizing the Russian economy or Russian politics."

... ... ...

The Russian market has turned sour for German automakers. Opel said in September it would cut production at its main factory in St. Petersburg, where it makes Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze cars, eliminating a shift and 500 out of 1,600 jobs.

Volkswagen halted production for 15 days at a plant in Kaluga in recent months, in addition to the usual Christmas and New Year's shutdown. The company said in a statement it remained committed to Russia but was "watching the market with concern."

Including other companies like BMW, Mercedes and Ford of Europe, which is based in Cologne, German automakers will lose 15 billion euros, or about $18.3 billion, in Russian sales and €600 million in profit through 2017, according to estimates by Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

http://rt.com/business/217867-visa-russia-banks-crimea/

"According to the US sanctions imposed against Crimea on December 19, 2014, Visa currently cannot provide services and offer their products in the Crimea. This means that we can no longer issue or accept bank cards in Crimea, and service them in ATMs," the company has confirmed to TASS.

"As for the time period, these limitations will last until the sanctions are lifted from Crimea. At the moment it is unclear when this will happen; it will depend on the development of the political and diplomatic situation. VISA continues to follow closely the events and will provide you with the information as soon as it appears,"a statement to journalists added.

The Central Bank of Russia has promptly responded saying Crimea banks continue to operate as usual, TASS says.

"Russian credit institutions operating in the territory of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol work as usual, including the opening of bank accounts, transferring funds, and deposits and withdrawals of funds," said the Central Bank.

As of December 16, about 31 banks were operating in Crimea.

Last week US President Barack Obama authorized individual and sectoral sanctions against Crimea. This included a ban on the export and import of goods, technology, and services, as well as new investment in the peninsula.

The head of the Duma financial markets committee, Natalya Burykina, has said the move isn't new and plastic cards haven't been working in Crimea since March.

"Visa did not provide a card service in Crimea," Burykina said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

She explained the cards in use since March had been issued by Russia's Sberbank, and were part of their inner payment system.

"This happened after Crimea joined Russia," she said, adding that it's the same with MasterCard.

READ MORE: Obama authorizes 'economic embargo' on Russia's Crimea

In March Visa and MasterCard temporarily stopped servicing clients of blacklisted Russian banks, which triggered concerns in Russia over the excessive reliance on the Western financial system.

Since then the Central Bank and economic ministers have accelerated efforts to develop a self-sufficient and independent financial system in Russia.

On Friday, the CBR launched its domestic alternative to the SWIFT global system for banking transactions.

In mid-December, Russia's sanctioned Rossiya and SMP banks started testing the country's own payment system.

On Friday, Ukraine also cut off electricity and train services to Crimea. It is the second time in a week that Crimea has been hit by blackouts because, according to the Ukrainian energy ministry, the peninsula failed to curb consumption as required.

"There remains an energy deficit in Ukraine and they [Crimea] exceeded their limit and therefore electricity supplies were switched off. As soon as they return to the limit, they'll be reconnected," an energy ministry spokesman said.

Ukraine's state rail company has also ceased operating its Crimean service for an uncertain time, including both passenger and cargo trains to the Black Sea peninsula.

"In order to ensure the safety of passengers … [the railway] will cut the route to Crimea off at Novooleksiyvka and Kherson," the company said in a statement.

Sophia Musik

This American believes Russia got a raw deal and will emerge more powerful when this soap opera is over.

Our country has deep troubles. America needs a leader like Putin.

[Dec 28, 2014] http://marknesop.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/the-southern-gas-corridor-is-a-blind-alley/

karl1haushofer , December 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

Russia playing nice guy again. From Sputnik News.

Russia has agreed on a new deal to supply coal and electricity to Ukraine, which is struggling with a lack of raw fuel for power plants due to a separatist conflict in the industrial east, Russian officials said on Saturday.

The move comes a day after Kiev said it would suspend train and bus services to Crimea, effectively creating a transportation blockade to and from the region annexed by Moscow in March this year. Kiev has briefly cut off electricity to Crimea before.
Russia will supply coal and electricity to Kiev without advance payment as a goodwill gesture from President Vladimir Putin, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency.
"Putin made a decision to start these supplies due to the critical situation with energy supplies and despite a lack of prepayment," Peskov said.
Russia plans to supply 500,000 tonnes of coal to Ukraine per month, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told Rossiya 24 television. It is ready to supply another 500,000 tonnes per month if an additional agreement is reached, he added.
Ukraine's coal reserves stand at 1.5 million tonnes compared with normal winter stocks of 4-5 million tonnes, according to energy ministry data.
The country used to be self-sufficient in electricity, but months of fighting a pro-Russian uprising has disrupted coal supplies to thermal power plants, which had generated around 40 percent of its power.
Last week Ukraine's energy minister, Voldymyr Demchyshyn, said he was holding talks with Russia's energy ministry on coal and power supplies. Earlier attempts to import Russian coal have been hampered by supplies being held up at the border.
Supplies will come at Russian domestic prices, Kozak said, adding that he hoped the move would help ensure reliable energy supplies to Crimea.
He did not say whether the transportation hold-ups at the border had been resolved.
Russia will also supply electricity to Ukraine, Kozak said, without giving supply volumes.
Kiev's pro-Western government has accused Russia of orchestrating the rebellion in Ukraine's east, a charge Moscow denies.

karl1haushofer, December 27, 2014 at 10:59 am

"Russia will supply coal and electricity to Kiev without advance payment as a goodwill gesture from President Vladimir Putin,"

How nice of Russia.

yalensis , December 27, 2014 at 11:10 am

Yeah, like I said above, it's response to Ukie blackmail.

patient observer, December 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm
Fear, vengefulness or arrogance would justify a different response. Russia has none of these.

If Russia were a business it would be doing well in the market by building a great reputation for customer service and warranty support. Their less-than-ethical competition would respond by smear campaigns and dirty tricks.

Even if the management of the competition had a come-toJesus moment, it would make no difference because their employees have no experience, no processes, no procedures to operate differently. Essentially, their corporate culture, vision and mission consigns them to unethical and "dirty" behavior until the doors are closed, the lights turned off and the "out of business" sign hung from the chain link fence.

If I were responsible for seeking a supplier, a company acting like Russia would have a considerable advantage over the better known but unethical competition.

Business analogies can be quite useful at times and this is one of them.

karl1haushofer, December 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm

So you really see this as a goodwill move against Ukraine, and not something that Russia just had to do because of Ukraine's blackmail over Crimea's energy supplies?

But if we pretend that you are right then Russia should have at least demanded pre-payment for its coal and electricity.

patient observer, December 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

If Russia were to withhold electricity or coal imports to Ukraine, the damage to Ukraine would be orders of magnitude more devastating than a Ukraine blockade of Crimean energy imports. Their economic "kill ratio" would be 10:1 figuratively so if they wanted merely to cause damage to millions of civilians, they should not sell coal or electricity.

So what is motivating Russia? Try this – Russia does not want a country with tens of millions of destitute people on its border regardless of their political or religious beliefs. Heck, they don't want Novarussia for that matter. Russia is offering the energy at a fair price which is to my mind fully justifiable on business as well as longer term objectives.

Russia needed Crimea and they got it in the most humane, adroit and fair way possible. They had no interest in the rest of Ukraine.

While you consistently attack Putin, note that the Russia population seems to be solidly behind him regarding Ukraine. They do not want to ride to the rescue.They support easing the suffering and seeking a peaceful resolution but do not want to invade much less take ownership of that mess. By your reckoning that makes the majority of Russians stupid and/or greedy and/or fearful as you seem to recognize no other human motivation in your world. How dismal.

Regarding your question of prepayment, I don't have the information to make a judgement. A company or country always has recourse for those who do not pay their bills.

Fern, December 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Karl, I wonder if you're not getting unnecessarily wound up here. If Russia has made this coal offer in response to Ukrainian blackmail, isn't it likely to be a short-term pragmatic solution to the problem of ensuring continuation of the power supply to Crimea? Russians are not exactly dumbos when it comes to engineering projects so sorting out Crimea's utilities must be more complicated than it seems. Sometimes a situation has to be tolerated until it can be ultimately resolved and eliminated. As with gas transit, Russia has put up with endless Ukrainian shenanigans for years but Gazprom has made it clear that its ultimate goal is to take Ukraine out of the game.

There's another issue which is a kind of spin off from the points patient observer makes below. I've long suspected that Kiev wants large-scale deaths from the cold which can be laid at Russia's door thus cranking up the propaganda and sanctions machines. The coal transports head that off at the pass as well as, hopefully, making more Ukrainians think about who is actually offering real, practical help – the EU that prates about values non-stop but is actually absent of any or Russia.

patient observer, December 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Yes, that is a good extrapolation of what I was trying to say. Russia is not interested in revenge or body counts (that sort of focus is something quite Western where death becomes another metric in its "success").

Is Russia the ideal enemy for western capitalists? by Dagmar Henn

Most people look at geopolitical interests and at the military-industrial complex, when they think about the economy of war. This might be right for the small ones, but it underestimates the impact of the big ones. Whole industrial empires rose from the profits of war, and not necessary in the areas of weapons production. The Quandt dynasty in Germany (they own f.e. BMW) started from selling uniforms in WWI and continued benefiting from slave labor in WWII. Bertelsmann, one of the biggest global media companies, turned from a tiny publisher of Christian literature to a big publishing house through selling 20 million books to the Wehrmacht. And when the big chemical corporation IG Farben was broken up after WWII, each of the three companies created out of it, BASF, Bayer and Hoechst, was as big as IG Farben itself before the war. They made a handsome profit from synthesized petrol... (not to mention a more gruesome product called Zyklon B).

For an industry desperately looking for demand this is the ultimate Keynesian kick. A big war is programmed obsolescence on speed – products intended for destruction, on a market free of competition, paid for by the customer of last resort, the state, who in his turn posts a bet upon refinancing the cost through plunder. If the bet goes wrong and the war is lost – well, that´s what Swiss bank accounts were invented for...

The present economic crisis is not a financial one. Finance is just the surface. The wave of deindustrialisation sweeping over most of the Western economies during the last decades tells another story. Industry became too efficient; it doesn´t generate enough jobs, therefore it doesn´t hand out wages sufficient to pay for all the products produced. For some time this problem could be covered up by credit-financed consumption and the roving circus of low-cost-country production, but finally it came back to roost. Industrial production recovered nearly nowhere to it´s pre-2008 level; so even if there were a beneficial wizard who took all the states debts out of the system, and all the fictive capital called derivatives or MBS or what-so-ever, it still would be dead-end-street.

Source: querschuesse.de

But who wants to relinquish power? Concede that the famous invisible hand turned rheumatic, leave those beautiful mansions with well-cultivated lawns and share an ordinary life? Unimaginable. As long as there is a single card left inside the sleeve the gamble continues. And this last card is called war. On a large scale.

Now, let´s look at it from an economic perspective. There is an enormous need for demand; all those peripheral conflicts simply don´t size up to answer it. They generate profits for small, specialized segments of industry, but they don´t require enough material to set the whole industrial machinery back in motion. They don´t destroy a sufficient quantity of real values, which would also create a need for reconstruction – which values are left over to destroy in Afghanistan?

So what would be the criteria for the ideal enemy? There should be enough bounty, so that the whole enterprise can be refinanced by resources to be stolen. Cross out all countries that lack natural resources. The area that is fought over should contain a sufficient quantity of real values. Scratch out all non-industrial countries The enemy should be able to resist, because time equals demand. Scratch out all countries with weak armies. This seriously limits the choice. Adding the point that it´s not really advantageous to start an attack from the see, you can have a look at the globe and you will end up with one single option. Russia.

Oops. They got nuclear bombs. Isn´t it absolutely insane to risk a nuclear confrontation? It is, but – there are two points to consider.

The first one has to do with human memory. After a certain period, historic research talks about more or less eighty years, an event moves into the realm of legend; as soon as there are too few living persons around that have experienced it themselves. A few weeks ago this split in perception got very visible in German politics – the people who signed the appeal for reasonable politics towards Russia simply belong to an older generation, for them the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still real. The politicians who lead at the moment know them only from tales; this is a weak argument against an economic collapse they can see and feel and taste.

The second point is the mindset of the ruling classes themselves. There can be no doubt they are better informed about the real state of capitalism than we are, and even we can read the writing on the wall. So why shouldn´t they play their last card? Just because there is a risk of total oblivion?That doesn´t change much from their point of view. Novels of the 18th and 19th century are full of aristocrats that prefer death over a loss of status. The character-masks of capital pass their lives considering the rest of humankind some type of cattle. And not because they lack brains or suffer from a faulty character; it´s a necessity for their self-legitimation. They couldn´t stand to be what they are and do what they do if they saw the world from a normal perspective. What seems completely irrational therefore turns into a rational choice. A peaceful continuation of collapse will definitely end in them losing their status. A bet on war might end in them losing their lives. And it might not. Marie Antoinette for sure would have turned the planet into a radioactive ashtray without hesitation, if she had the possibility.

It is our tiny problem that we don´t just share the same planet with these people; we still accept their rule.

The quote above is from Brecht´s "Mother Courage".

[Dec 26, 2014] The main lesson of 2014

The Colder War Has Begun…
a-dyukov.livejournal.com

The civil war in Ukraine demonstrated the absence in the world of absolute values. Human rights, tolerance towards minorities, the rejection of neo-Nazism - all what seems to be the cornerstone of contemporary Europe - was exclusively "for friends only". Not that we did not suspect this attitude before - Syria was an earlier example -- but Syrian example was not crystal clear.

Baltic example of mass human rights violations were "not enough brutal". Well, they deprived hundreds of thousands of people political rights; destroyed education in the Russian language contrary to EU standards - but they did not kill people!

Well, we now got that: in Ukraine people killed, thrown in jail for knowingly fabricated cases (tried to poison the reservoir - remember?), kidnapped - and all of OK for good old Europe. The EU provides comprehensive support of neo-Nazi regime. Because violate the rights -- of Russian speaking aliens. Everything is normal.

Actually, this is probably the most terrible and the most obvious result of 2014. Contrary to the fantasies about the "end of history", we still live in a dangerous world - essentially the same as it was in a tragic twentieth century. The only think that increased is the level of hypocrisy.

[Dec 26, 2014] The descendants of white emigration letter about Russophobia

Google translation. French original is at http://www.russkymost.net/?lang=fr
Nov 26, 2014 | rg.ru

For almost a year Ukrainian events are deeply concerned about all of us, the descendants of white emigration, especially in contrast to the people around us we are because of our origin, we have access to comprehensive information. Knowledge of the recent past, namely the last pre-revolutionary Russia, gives us the opportunity, and with it the duty to expose the obvious historical falsifications that led to the current drama in Ukraine. In the face of heightened tensions in the Donbas and in international relations conclusion is that aggressive hostility, unfolding now against Russia, devoid of any rationality. The policy of double standards rolls.

Where is the European values?

Russia accused of all crimes, without a priori evidence it is declared guilty, while other countries have shown an amazing condescension, in particular with regard to human rights.

We are in no way refuse to protect those values upon which our ancestors taught us, doomed to exile after the 1917 revolution. We do not refuse any condemnation of the criminal acts of the Bolsheviks and their successors, or by restoring the historical truth about that terrible time. But this does not mean that we can live with every day falls on us slander against modern Russia, its leadership and its president, which is sanctioned and mixed with mud, contrary elementary common sense.

This self-destructive for the European countries and ridiculous idea firce to think seriously everybody who see in it more of the desire to prevent the development of Russia than to settle the crisis in Ukraine. Especially ridiculous systematic attack on all, that somehow relates to the "Russian world": we are talking about the historical, geographical, linguistic, cultural and spiritual realities of the great civilization that has enriched the world that we are proud of.

We also resent the shameful silence European official institutions and the media of the brutal bombing that Ukrainian army, supported by military groups wearing Nazi symbols inflicts on Donbass civilians and civilian infrastructure. Such silence is perceived as the sign of approval by the Kiev authorities and is equivalent to the right of right to continue those killing and destruction. For months, children and old people are killed or seriously injured, and prisoners are tortured. Now the Kiev government has introduced complete blockade (gas, electricity, railways, pensions, salaries, medication, institutions, hospitals, etc.), to finally destroy the region, which it declared to be that part of their territory. And how not to condemn violent acts committed by supporters of Kiev in relation to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine ?! Priests are persecuted, forced to flee and even killed; fifty temples was bombed, of which twenty were completely destroyed; believers are persecuted. Where is the European values?

We can not put up with the daily falls upon us slander against modern Russia

Despite the complete rejection of the Soviet Union, our fathers and grandfathers grieved suffering endured by the Russian people during World War II. In turn, we will not stay indifferent and silent witnesses in the face of the systematic destruction of the population of Donbass, blatant Russophobia and hypocritical approaches, completely contrary to the interests of our beloved Europe. Really want to hope that the country gave shelter to our families again take the path of prudence and impartiality.

Paris, November 26, 2014
Google Translate for Business

Paul Krugman: Conquest Is for Losers

Krugman as an establishment neoliberal decided to play the role of presstitute. And I would say that he succeeded beyond expectations. He completely lacks understanding of Russian foreign policy and Ukrainian coupe d'état and try to to pronounce some platitudes to cover his ass. From comments: "The point is that there is a still-powerful political faction in America committed to the view that conquest pays, and that in general the way to be strong is to act tough and make other people afraid. One suspects, by the way, that this false notion of power was why the architects of war made torture routine - it wasn't so much about results as about demonstrating a willingness to do whatever it takes." ... "Krugman is pure liberal establishment through and through albeit that ox is a moron. Krugman lacks the neocon taste for muscular millitaristic hegemony and expresses his putrification of it along with a necessary measure of hyperbole to keep it clear what side of the fence that he is on. Krugman has probably never met a global production oligopoly petite hegemone that he did not like."
December 22, 2014 | economistsview.typepad.com

War. What is it good for?:

Conquest Is for Losers, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: More than a century has passed since Norman Angell, a British journalist and politician, published "The Great Illusion," a treatise arguing that the age of conquest was or at least should be over. He didn't predict an end to warfare, but he did argue that aggressive wars no longer made sense - that modern warfare impoverishes the victors as well as the vanquished.
He was right, but ... Vladimir Putin never got the memo. And neither did our own neocons, whose acute case of Putin envy shows that they learned nothing from the Iraq debacle.
Angell's case was simple: Plunder isn't what it used to be. You can't treat a modern society the way ancient Rome treated a conquered province without destroying the very wealth you're trying to seize. And meanwhile, war or the threat of war, by disrupting trade and financial connections, inflicts large costs over and above the direct expense of maintaining and deploying armies. War makes you poorer and weaker, even if you win. ....
The point is that there is a still-powerful political faction in America committed to the view that conquest pays, and that in general the way to be strong is to act tough and make other people afraid. One suspects, by the way, that this false notion of power was why the architects of war made torture routine - it wasn't so much about results as about demonstrating a willingness to do whatever it takes.
Neocon dreams took a beating when the occupation of Iraq turned into a bloody fiasco, but they didn't learn from experience. (Who does, these days?) And so they viewed Russian adventurism with admiration and envy. ...
The truth, however, is that war really, really doesn't pay. The Iraq venture clearly ended up weakening the U.S. position in the world, while costing more than $800 billion in direct spending and much more in indirect ways. America is a true superpower, so we can handle such losses - although one shudders to think of what might have happened if the "real men" had been given a chance to move on to other targets. But a financially fragile petroeconomy like Russia doesn't have the same ability to roll with its mistakes.
I have no idea what will become of the Putin regime. But Mr. Putin has offered all of us a valuable lesson. Never mind shock and awe: In the modern world, conquest is for losers.

Second Best :

Doing nothing in self defense invites war, then it is too late. Every terrorist attack was precipated by warnings ignored by passivists like Krugman. According to the Cheney doctrine even if the risk of terrorism is only 1% it is worth it to go to war with the 100% to stop the 1%, or give Haliburton more business, whichever comes first.

03:56 AM ilsm -> Second Best...

"Forward defense" had been the paradig since Xerxes saw Athens as a threat.

Pearl Harbor happened because the US withdrew from the Riyuku Islands after opening Japan!

Second Best -> ilsm...

Torture photos from the Senate report were blocked as a forward defense measure to prevent their use against the US as propaganda and encourage more terrorist attacks.

They flipped a coin that came up heads for this decision. If it came up tails they had planned to release the photos as a deterrent to further terrorist attacks since torture is known to work. Maybe next time.

anne -> Second Best...

Devastating.

Lafayette :

{PK: ... a British journalist and politician published "The Great Illusion," a treatise arguing that the age of conquest was or at least should be over. He didn't predict an end to warfare, but he did argue that aggressive wars no longer made sense - that modern warfare impoverishes the victors as well as the vanquished.}

How I wish that were true - but it didn't and it isn't. Not in the US, anyway.

WW2 entailed a horrendous loss of life in Europe, both militarily and civilian deaths. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#Total_deaths

What do we learn from the numbers? The "winners" (US/UK/Austraila) lost mostly military personnel. The loss of civilian lives was extremely high for the "losers". (And I count those who were defeated by the Nazis amongst them.)

Meaning what? Meaning this: Of the winners, who walked away with the most and least dread of war. Evidently the US, since we've become used to it (and it does provide high P/E ratios for some companies ...)

Who are the most abhorrent of war and remain leading "peace-mongers" after successive generations. I suggest it was the losers, mostly because their civilian-deaths were more and therefore the combined memory of war (and its vestiges) is still very much alive despite the fact that three generations have been born since.

America inherited a sense of "invincibility" - as if it were predestined to win, whatever the cost. We've had how many minor and major wars since?

And for what benefit? As an American, I cannot set foot in any Muslim country today without the least thought of danger. And just yesterday a French Muslim plowed his car into a crowded bus-station, yelling Al-Akbar! (God is Greater!) here in France.

Ain't no way to spend your year-end holidays ...

JohnH -> Lafayette...

"As an American, I cannot set foot in any Muslim country today without the least thought of danger."

Sad...and probably naive. Until recently at least, homicide rates in the United States were higher than those in Arab countries.

In the last five years, I visited four Arab countries, including Syria in 2010. I had far less worry of danger than what I would experience in any big American city.

Now, the situation may well have changed, at least in the Eastern Mediterranean. American and Israeli interventions and destabilization campaigns have taken their toll.

Apropos, why Krugman doesn't mention the most obvious conqueror of recent times -- Israel? Why doesn't he talk about their conquests and invasions? I guess it's good if Israel annexes territory, but bad if Russia does it.

Spare me the hypocrisy, please...

Gibbon -> JohnH...

Israel is a good mention. She has spent the last 40 years attempting to digest her conquests, one has trouble seeing how this has been at all profitable on the whole.

I think at one time I estimated the cost of buying out the settlers on the west bank would be perhaps $5-10 billion. That's not a lot of money.

Not to mention the cost of the Iraq occupation ran the US about $40,000 per Iraqi....

odikhmantievich -> Lafayette...

The Soviet Union lost between 20 and 50 million in the war. Belarus lost more than a quarter of its entire population.

Lafayette -> odikhmantievich...

The French are running a very good BBC-program on WW2 at present.

It seems that total Russian prisoners from the Nazi invasion were about 2/3 million. They were left to starve in Polish prison camps (that had been set up to exterminate the European Jewish population and extended to house them in rudimentary barracks - no beds, no covering in winter, a perfect breeding ground for lice and diseases).

Only a few thousand of the Russian-speaking soldiers survived, though they were not gassed. The Nazis simply did not feed them - they fed only the workers and arrivals were gassed immediately. Of course, the treatment against soldiers was against the Geneva Conventions. For the Jews, however, it was the intended liquidation of an entire race of people.

The enormity of what the Nazis did is mind-boggling even to this day. It was highly effective - murderous but efficient given the numbers.

Otoh, the Allies bombed German cities populated by civilians, for which there was no strategic military objective.

War is insane ...

ilsm :

"Vladimir Putin never got the memo." WRONG!!

The US disdained that memo in 1950.

Vlad's predecessors never had the empire, nor the CIA the US imposed since 1945.

Trillions for empire (not paying for itself), the money inside the beltway is good and the safety nets pay!

At least India paid for the Bengal Lancers!

ilsm -> pgl...

I do not waste time on NPR, but I hear NPR wasted hours dissing Putin, every sense applies the US not only the neocons: Obama, W Bush, war profiteering salespitches......

yuan -> ilsm...

npr gives fox news a run for it's money when it comes to chest-thumping jingoism.

bakho :

Krugman condemns the Russian takeover of Crimea (are they complaining?) but ignores the Neocon backed ouster of an elected president in Ukraine by appealing to right wing ethnic nationalists to provide the violent rioters necessary for the coup. Our press continues to unquestioningly support the Neocon position.

Crimea and East Ukraine reacted vehemently to the overthrow of an elected government and the inclusion of Svoboda and other right wing ethnic nationalist elements in the new government. The new government welcomes participation by ethnic nationalists in powerful positions, has few institutions to protect minority rights and little commitment to a multiethnic, multicultural state. Instead they bomb their own citizens to gain ethnic dominance rather than recognize the legitimate fears of their large minority populations, allowing a minority voice and self rule in majority-minority areas. The Neocons got their revolution by enlisting unsavory right wingers. They got the pyrrhic victory of a state in open conflict because ethnic intolerance does not play well in Crimea or East Ukraine. The Ukraine people are suffering because of a game played between Greedy Neocons with unholy allies and the Russian Mafia.

Russian sanctions cut both ways. Ukraine is short on coal for electric generation (should reduce global warming). Many states with ties to the EU can no longer trade with Russia because Russia has countered with their own sanctions and lacks the money to buy. States such as the Baltics are getting an economic hit as they can no longer pass through EU products to Russia and some of their own produce is blocked. The FT ran an article on spillover into Europe; Not whether it would happen but how bad the spillover would become.

It is a mistake to back the Right Wing government in Ukraine. The US should use its influence instead to demand institutions for protection of human and minority rights, negotiations with the minorities who are legitimately revolting against a government that is hostile and to purge the government of disruptive right wing Nationalists. Ukraine can have government by ethnic nationalists and a divided country (or half a country) or Ukraine can create a new multiethnic coalition government to run the country with respect for minority rights.

JMW -> pgl...

Also by the $5 billion we poured into Ukraine.

Dan Kervick -> pgl...

Nevertheless, Crimea, which was already a quasi- independent republic within Ukraine, seceded.

Krugman's piece is not very nuanced. The Russian policy of defending ethnic Russians abroad when they are threatened is indeed very dangerous. Nevertheless, the events in Ukraine must be terrifying to many of the (very numerous) ethnic Russians who live there. And the revolutionary government, which is suffused with some very scary nationalist types, made things infinitely worse by voting overwhelmingly to undo the Russian language law (only vetoed after much international protest) and tolerating a great deal of belligerent ethnic hate speech.

The neocons are not just active now, but have been driving policy in that part of the world, even under the current administration, by continuing their obsession with completely surrounding Russia with EU and Nato states. Pre-revolutionary Ukraine was clearly very divided politically between those who wanted to to to Europe and those who wanted to tilt Russian. The US has shouldn't be in the business of promoting revolutions to enable one side to win the argument by force.

US policy in Ukraine has been incredibly reckless. There is absolutely no reason in the world why this administration should have allowed itself to be maneuvered into stumbling into another Cold War with Russia. The US doesn't need this; the world doesn't need this; and it was avoidable.

When Hilary Clinton's new bro Robert Kagan is invited to join her administration, will Krugman continue his criticisms of neocons?

bakho -> Dan Kervick...

Well Stated.
My Hope for President Hillary is better domestic and labor policy. Her Neocon buddies scare the heck out of me.

Obama Mr Anti-war seems perfectly content with the Neocons driving his foreign policy.

DrDick -> bakho...

Hillary is well to the right of Obama on economic issues.

pgl -> bakho...

"The US should use its influence instead to demand institutions for protection of human and minority rights, negotiations with the minorities who are legitimately revolting against a government that is hostile and to purge the government of disruptive right wing Nationalists. Ukraine can have government by ethnic nationalists and a divided country (or half a country) or Ukraine can create a new multiethnic coalition government to run the country with respect for minority rights."

Yes! But the Russians need to leave Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Lots of luck with seeing this actually occur.

DrDick -> bakho...

"The US should use its influence instead to demand institutions for protection of human and minority rights, negotiations with the minorities who are legitimately revolting against a government that is hostile and to purge the government of disruptive right wing Nationalists."

Now would you care to apply that same logic to Russia, which has an abyssmal record in this regard? Dagestan, Chechnya, and many othrs await your answer.

bakho -> DrDick...

This is why conquest is for losers. As Russia conquered new territory, it became increasingly multicultural. To be stable, Russia actively suppressed ethnic nationalism and promoted secularism as an antidote to long standing religious and ethnic hostilities. Stalin deported whole populations.

After the breakup of the FSU, ethnic nationalists were no longer suppressed and tensions increased as Nationalists sought independent states that were ethnically pure or ethnically dominated. This movie has been repeated in numerous places. In 1989, Chechnya was over 20% ethnic Russian. Today, it is under 5%. People can argue whether the ethnic Russians left voluntarily or were forced out but the outcome resembles ethnic cleansing.

This is what ethnic nationalists do. They force out the minorities. Russians living in Eastern Ukraine have seen this movie before. The Ukraine government bombs its own citizens. The US media and the Neocons don't consider this to be a problem. I do. Ethnic minorities will fight, get the message and abandon their former lives and property or be run out by the Ukrainian Nationalists. It does not excuse bad Russian behavior, but it takes a very naive person to believe that these governments are run by nice people. They are not. The agenda of the more radical nationalists is nasty. Radical Ethnic Nationalism is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores.

DrDick -> bakho...

Actually, the Soviets deliberately seeded the conquered territories with ethnic Russians to suppress ethnonationalist revolts. It still does not address the horrific Russian treatment of ethnic minorities living in Russia. You focus only on the former republics and not the heart of the empire. Putin has enthusiastically embraced and promoted Russian ethnonationalists both at home and in the FSR.

anne -> anne...

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/19/krugman-joins-the-anti-putin-pack/

December 19, 2014

Krugman Joins the Anti-Putin Pack
Official Washington's "group think" on the Ukraine crisis now has a totalitarian feel to it as "everyone who matters" joins in the ritualistic stoning of Russian President Putin and takes joy in Russia's economic pain, with liberal economist Paul Krugman the latest to hoist a rock.
By Robert Parry

When America's opinion-making herd gets running, it's hard for anyone to get in the way regardless of how erroneous or unfair the reason for the stampede. It's much easier – and career-wise safer – to join the pack, which is what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has done regarding Russia, Ukraine and Vladimir Putin.

In the latest example of the New York Times' endless Putin-bashing, Krugman begins his column * with what you might call a "negative endorsement" of the Russian president by claiming that ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has "an embarrassing crush on the swaggering statesman."

But Krugman misleads his readers. Giuliani wasn't really praising Putin when he said "that is what you call a leader" in commenting on Putin's decisiveness. Some liberal defenders of President Barack Obama simply cherry-picked the quote to counter Giuliani's attempt to disparage Obama by comparing Obama's chronic indecisiveness to Putin's forcefulness.

In the fuller context, Giuliani was not expressing a fondness for Putin at all. Indeed, he disparaged the Russian leader as "a bully" and urged a tough-guy response to Putin over Ukraine. "Instead of him pushing us around, we push him around," Giuliani said in the Fox News interview. "That's the only thing a bully understands."

So, why did Krugman begin his Putin-bashing column by misrepresenting what Giuliani was saying? It may have been a form of "negative endorsement." Since many American liberals hate Giuliani, Giuliani's praise is supposed to translate into liberal hatred for Putin.

But "negative endorsements" are inherently unfair. Just because Josef Stalin might have liked Franklin Roosevelt and because we may hate Stalin, that doesn't mean we should hate Roosevelt, too. The use of "negative endorsement" is akin to guilt by association. And, in this case, Krugman was playing fast and loose with the facts as well

Krugman also opts for some of the most hyperbolic language that has been used in the U.S. mainstream media to distort events in Ukraine. For instance, Krugman claims that "Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine without debate or deliberation." But that really isn't true either.

The Ukraine crisis is far more complicated and nuanced than that, as Krugman must know. If he doesn't, he should consult with fellow Princeton professor Stephen F. Cohen, who has bravely challenged the prevailing "group think" on both Ukraine and Russia.

Cohen, one of America's premier Russia experts, has even warned that "American media coverage of Vladimir Putin … has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security. …

"Mainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have increasingly portrayed Putin as a czar-like 'autocrat,' or alternatively a 'KGB thug,' who imposed a 'rollback of democratic reforms' under way in Russia when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. He installed instead a 'venal regime' that has permitted 'corruptionism,' encouraged the assassination of a 'growing number' of journalists and carried out the 'killing of political opponents.' Not infrequently, Putin is compared to Saddam Hussein and even Stalin."

Yet, Cohen said, "there is no evidence that any of these allegations against him are true, or at least entirely true. Most seem to have originated with Putin's personal enemies, particularly Yeltsin-era oligarchs who found themselves in foreign exile as a result of his policies – or, in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in prison. Nonetheless, U.S. media, with little investigation of their own, have woven the allegations into a near-consensus narrative of 'Putin's Russia.'" **

'Shock Therapy'

Indeed, much of what Krugman finds so offensive about Putin's Russia actually stemmed from the Yeltsin era following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the so-called Harvard Boys flew to Moscow to apply free-market "shock therapy" which translated into a small number of well-connected thieves plundering Russia's industry and resources, making themselves billionaires while leaving average Russians near starvation.

When Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 2000, Putin challenged some of the oligarchs and pushed others out of the political arena, while also moderating some of the extreme policies and thus making life somewhat better for the average Russian, thus explaining Putin's broad popularity. Putin could be fairly criticized for not going further, but economist Krugman must surely know this history regarding how the Russian "kleptocracy" got started.

Yet, Krugman slides into the now common demonization of Putin. "Mr. Putin never had the resources to back his swagger," Krugman smugly writes.

"It's quite a comedown for Mr. Putin. And his swaggering strongman act helped set the stage for the disaster. A more open, accountable regime - one that wouldn't have impressed Mr. Giuliani so much - would have been less corrupt, would probably have run up less debt, and would have been better placed to ride out falling oil prices. Macho posturing, it turns out, makes for bad economies."

In other words, Krugman buys into the "group think" that blames Putin's "macho posturing" over Ukraine for the current financial crisis in Russia, which has resulted from falling oil prices as well as the U.S.-led sanctions punishing Russia for its alleged "aggression" in Ukraine.

That puts Krugman in the same camp as the neocons who have pushed the bogus narrative that the megalomaniacal Putin is trying to reconstitute the Russian Empire. The actual facts, however, disprove that narrative. ["The Crazy US 'Group Think' on Russia."]

Putin himself has a much better understanding of recent Russian history – and what Official Washington's goals are regarding him and Russia – as he explained in an end-of-year news conference on Thursday.

Asked if the economic pain was the price for accepting Crimea back into Russia, Putin responded: "No. This is not the price we have to pay for Crimea. … This is actually the price we have to pay for our natural aspiration to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state. …

"I gave an example of our most recognizable symbol. It is a bear protecting his taiga. … Maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone.

"But no, he won't be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he's chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as – God forbid – it happens and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over. … And then, when all the teeth and claws are torn out, the bear will be of no use at all. Perhaps they'll stuff it and that's all.

"So, it is not about Crimea but about us protecting our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist. That is what we should all realize."

The Neo-Nazi Reality

There is another unpleasant reality about Ukraine that Krugman ignores - its neo-Nazi element - apparently not wanting to be out of step with his New York Times colleagues who have studiously looked the other way. Again, Krugman could learn something from his fellow Princeton professor Cohen, who has recounted the grim facts about neo-Nazism in Ukraine, facts that would put Putin's supposed "invasion" in defense of Ukraine's ethnic Russians in a different light.

In an article for The Nation magazine, Cohen wrote: "Independent Western scholars have documented the fascist origins, contemporary ideology and declarative symbols of Svoboda and its fellow-traveling Right Sector. Both movements glorify Ukraine's murderous Nazi collaborators in World War II as inspirational ancestors. Both, to quote Svoboda's leader Oleh Tyahnybok, call for an ethnically pure nation purged of the 'Moscow-Jewish mafia' and 'other scum,' including homosexuals, feminists and political leftists.

"And both hailed the Odessa massacre [on May 2 when ethnic Russian protesters were trapped in the Trade Union building and burned alive]. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was 'another bright day in our national history.' A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, 'Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Devils burn in hell.'

"If more evidence is needed, in December 2012, the European Parliament decried Svoboda's 'racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU's fundamental values and principles.' In 2013, the World Jewish Congress denounced Svoboda as 'neo-Nazi.' Still worse, observers agree that Right Sector is even more extremist. …

"In December 2012, a Svoboda parliamentary leader anathematized the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis as 'a dirty kike.' Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and militias have routinely denigrated ethnic Russians as insects ('Colorado beetles,' whose colors resemble a sacred Russia ornament). More recently, the US-picked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referred to resisters in the Southeast as 'subhumans.' His defense minister proposed putting them in 'filtration camps,' pending deportation, and raising fears of ethnic cleansing.

"Yulia Tymoshenko - a former prime minister, titular head of Yatsenyuk's party and runner-up in the May presidential election - was overheard wishing she could 'exterminate them all [Ukrainian Russians] with atomic weapons.' 'Sterilization' is among the less apocalyptic official musings on the pursuit of a purified Ukraine."

By leaving out this troubling context, it's much easier to mislead Americans about what is actually happening in Ukraine. Instead of understanding Russia's interest in protecting ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine from these brutal neo-Nazis, the crisis can simply be presented as Putin's "aggression" or – as Krugman says – how "Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine." ***

More fitting Krugman's expertise about the dangers of free-market extremism, he might do better looking at the consequences of those strategies on both Russia and Ukraine, where corrupt oligarchs also took power and have now moved to the center of Ukraine's U.S.-backed regime.

And, if Krugman wants some current example of cronyism, he might look at the curious case of Natalie Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who parlayed $150 million in U.S. AID funds designed to help Ukraine develop an investment-based economy into a personal fortune and now into the post of Ukraine's new Finance Minister.

According to corporate records, the U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine involved substantial insider dealings by Jaresko, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled. Meanwhile, the $150 million stake provided by the U.S. taxpayers appears to have dwindled to less than $100 million. ["Ukraine's Made-in-the-USA Finance Minister."]

But critical reporting about the U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime would violate Official Washington's narrative that prefers the Kiev authorities to be dressed in white hats while Vladimir Putin wears the black hat.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/opinion/paul-krugman-putins-bubble-bursts.html

** http://www.thenation.com/article/167746/stop-pointless-demonization-putin

*** https://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/18/the-powerful-group-think-on-ukraine/

anne -> anne...

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/22/the-liberal-idiocy-on-russiaukraine/

December 22, 2014

The Liberal Idiocy on Russia/Ukraine

American pundits are often more interested in scoring points against their partisan rivals than in the pain that U.S. policies inflict on people in faraway lands, as columnists Paul Krugman and Thomas L. Friedman are showing regarding Russia and Ukraine.

By Robert Parry

JohnH -> anne...

Go Anne! Unfortunately, McCarthyism by pretend liberals is thriving. Remember when anyone tried to raise a voice against invading Iraq? Or Libya? What about those who point out US involvement in stoking conflict in Syria and Ukraine?

Well, they were summarily dismissed by the media, who persists in genuflecting to their gods--neocons and liberal interventionists.

The same seems to happen to anyone questioning Obama's presumed progressive instincts. Anyone criticizing the president who proposed cutting Social Security gets immediately labeled all sorts of nasty things by "liberals" who are content to parrot Washington's Democratic spin masters.

pgl -> JohnH...

McCarthyism? WTF? No one is doing that. To cry McCarthyism is such a pathetic little ploy in this context.

JohnH -> pgl...

Apparently you're too young to remember the efforts to cleanse universities of dissenting professors after the invasion of Iraq. And you've forgotten what happened to Phil Donahue, who dared to question the invasion on his TV program.

And you're probably unaware of Steven Salaita who got fired from the University of Illinois for offenses against "civility and collegiality."

http://www.thenation.com/article/181406/why-unhiring-steven-salaita-threat-academic-freedom

Renowned Middle East expert was refused a chair at Yale for the same reason.

And you have probably forgotten the cases of James Risen, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

The folks behind these assaults on free speech are the usual suspects among the neocons and liberal interventionists, latter day McCarthyites.

As for leftist criticism of Obama, no one is losing his job yet. Instead criticism is just blocked from the media. And there is plenty of it in the Democratic base. Just look at the polls and results from the last election, where Democrats just stayed home.

JohnH -> JohnH...

Renowned Middle East expert Juan Cole was denied a chair at Yale for his views on Israel.

pgl -> JohnH...

No I am very aware of the neo-Mccarthyism that has plagued this nation ever since the 9/11 excuse to invade Iraq. How the hell does this apply to anyone who has commented here? How does this justify Anne going all Pravda on us. One can blast Putin and the neocons at the same time.

JohnH -> pgl...

Why do you get so upset by someone who offers opinion that differs from the conventional wisdom vomited by the corporate media?

Heck, even Henry Kissinger disagrees with the US short-sighted Ukraine policy. Why can't anne?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-to-settle-the-ukraine-crisis-start-at-the-end/2014/03/05/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

pgl -> JohnH...

Why do you call anyone who disagrees with you McCarthy. Disagreeing is one thing but insane inaccurate claims like that are just stupid.

Julio -> JohnH...

Actually, Iraq was different: there were large marches against it, and support for those in Congress who voted against the war resolution (much good it did us, but that's another discussion).

By Lybia time, as anne keeps reminding us, any opposition was marginalized and ignored. I suspect part of the reason was that the Iraq experience got the wind out of our sails.

The discussion about Ukraine is now reached similar levels. Any attempt at a description of what actually went on in the coup is drowned by chants of "Putin bad!".

anne -> Julio...

Actually, Iraq was different: there were large marches against it, and support for those in Congress who voted against the war resolution (much good it did us, but that's another discussion).

By Libya time...any opposition was marginalized and ignored. I suspect part of the reason was that the Iraq experience got the wind out of our sails.

The discussion about Ukraine is now reached similar levels. Any attempt at a description of what actually went on in the coup is drowned by chants of "Putin bad!".

[ Chanting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/opinion/sunday/thomas-l-friedman-whos-playing-marbles-now.html

December 20, 2014

Who's Playing Marbles Now?
By Thomas L. Friedman

Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug.... ]

anne -> kthomas...

"....you have no credibility anymore, darling ----."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/11/opinion/a-russia-scholars-views.html

A Russia Scholar's Views

To the Editor:

"Russia Experts See Ranks Thin, and an Effect on U.S. Policy": * I protest the way my views and I were characterized in your article. I am called the "dissenting villain" in today's media commentary on Ukraine who presents a "perspective closer to that of Mr. Putin." This may have the effect (intended or not) of stigmatizing me and discrediting my views.

For more than 40 years, I have taught thousands of undergraduates and trained scores of future Russia specialists at Princeton University and New York University. My many scholarly books, articles and media commentaries have been published in diverse mainstream places, including The New York Times many years ago. And my views are based on my years of study, not on what President Vladimir V. Putin or anyone else thinks.

Indeed, my current perspective is similar to what Henry A. Kissinger wrote ** in The Washington Post this month: "The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one."

I would go farther: The Ukrainian crisis, the worst and most fateful of the 21st century, is the outcome of Washington's 20-year bipartisan policy toward post-Soviet Russia, spearheaded by NATO's eastward expansion. I have been arguing this since the early 1990s, long before Mr. Putin appeared on the scene.

In this regard, I am a true patriot of American national security - perhaps a heretic, but certainly not the "villain."

* http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/world/europe/american-experts-on-russia.html

** http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-to-settle-the-ukraine-crisis-start-at-the-end/2014/03/05/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

STEPHEN F. COHEN
New York, March 7, 2014

EMichael -> anne...

Isn't there a limit to the amount of times one can post the same column?

If not, there should be.

We understand that all American foreign policy is evil and constitutes some sort of colonization on our part. We also understand that every single country in the world, from Russia to China to Haiti would be far better off(and so would the world) if the US never existed. And we all understand that only the US and its allies (whenever it talks its allies into acting in concert) take actions that are aggressive in nature as opposed to the actions of Russia and China which are done to reunite various ethnic groups or to reclaim property stolen by fascist, colonial powers in the past.

We've got a thousand or so posts to make us understand.

bakho -> EMichael...

Remember, under Reagan and Bush41, the US helped destabilize overthrow the progressive secular government in Afghanistan that had been backed by the FSU. Proxy War!

How well has that worked our for the US?
How well has that worked for the Afghans?

Reactive foreign policy that is anti-Russian "just because" does not always lead to successful outcomes.

EMichael -> bakho...

Never said it did.

Not in favor of any (well, many) foreign entanglements at all.

I just get a little tired of constant repetitions of the same thing. US bad. Russia good. China good.

In terms of the current situation in Russia, most of its problems are based on having a limited economy dominated by oil and the actions of the leaders of the country in allowing money to flow to the rich, and from there out of the country.

The US did none of that.

paine -> EMichael...

Tired of citizen criticism of the one state a citizen might influence

Their own ?

Surely u c s n still hear uncles cheer leaders thru the media din of boos

paine -> EMichael...

The US and the kgb engineered the present system in the 90's

The Putin gang sculpted it some in the '00"s

DrDick -> bakho...

"Remember, under Reagan and Bush41, the US helped destabilize overthrow the progressive secular government in Afghanistan that had been backed by the FSU."

Krugman is actually on record as supporting most of this (and was in real time, not just after the fact). Indeed, he quite explicitly links those policies to those of the Putin government in the piece under discussion.

The fact that US nationalist demagogues acted badly does not excuse Russian nationalist demagogues doing the same.

paine -> EMichael...

I agree. One is unlikely to convince most white americans about the deeper signifigance
of uncle sam as hegemonic power

Hegemons impact on planetary welfare can be compared only to the impact of prior hegemons

Uncle from 1946 to 1965. Looks great compared to the UK 1919 to 1938

But anne opposes all hegemons

And rightfully so

Darryl FKA Ron -> paine...

"But anne opposes all hegemons

And rightfully so"

*

[I can agree in theory, but I am not sure that civilization has reached the point that it can work in practice. There are certainly political "scientists" that have defended the role of hegemon in terms of global political and economic stability and order.

I know enough to know that I do not know nor am I concerned at all about something so far from the present realm of plausibilities.

If that were someones preferred form of mental masterbation, well then to each his own.]

ilsm -> paine...

uncle since 2001 gives hitler

a run for worst pretend hegemon

no doubt this is a republic

according to the neohegecon

no less oligarchic than the old roman

et te brute

kthomas -> paine...

...yeah, right.

Anytime there's a need for clarity and conciseness, ole paine slithers out of the mud to lecture us all about hegemony, crafted plans, or what is in anne's left wing head.

Krugman has hit the nail on the head, and the man is entitled...its his job!....to point out what a crook and grifter that runt Putin, not to mention the fact there are people in this country of ours, left and right, who think Putin is a nice fatherly man with only the dearest of interest for his people. And the mean ole USA should do nothing while he annexes territory, supplies wmd to regimes like Syria, and send submarines and warplanes into friendly skies.

Stop pretending you care.

JohnH -> kthomas...

You are obviously in need of some guidance on how to read the news:

1) What political leaders say is about as credible as the guy selling the Brooklyn Bridge. Bottom line, politicians have an agenda, will say whatever they believe will make their case, and the truth counts for little, as long as they can make what they are saying seem plausible.

2) If US intelligence services go against that agenda, you can bet that what the intelligence services say is true. Case in point, the Iran nuclear program, which most politicians swear is a threat, while the consensus opinion of the US intelligence services says does not exist, as stated in a National Intelligence Estimate.

3) If the intelligence services support the politicians' statements, that is no guarantee that what they are saying is true. They may have been compromised, as we say during the invade Iraq frenzy. More recently, however, they have tried to stick to the truth.

4) US intelligence services have not said that Russia invaded Ukraine. Their silence is very significant, because it goes against the agenda of the political establishment, the corporate media, and Paul Krugman. If the Russian is as obvious as the political and media lynch mob says, why doesn't the CIA confirm it?

5) Conclusion: Russia did not invade Ukraine.

Julio -> EMichael...

"Isn't there a limit to the amount of times one can post the same column?"

I'd say it is correlated to the number of times people find ways to ignore it.

EMichael -> Julio...

Maybe, but I was thinking it may need to include the carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the constant scrolling.

JohnH -> anne...

This was begun by kthomas charging that anne had no credibility...because she offered evidence to show that the mainstream account of Ukraine is BS.

All kthomas could come up with is "no credibility" without being able to bring any facts to dispute anne's sources.

And this is the essence of much of the current debate--one side offers data, while the other side resorts to name calling and other unsubstantiated charges.

Now if someone has evidence that Russia invaded Ukraine, I'd sure like to see it. Just because Krugman has joined most of Washington lynch mob, who says it's so, doesn't make it so. Practically all of Washington said that Saddam had WMDs, too. And those voices who disagreed were marginalized at best and made to fear for their jobs at worst (Phil Donahue), which is getting perilously close to McCarthyism.

anne -> kthomas...

....you have no credibility anymore, darling ----.

[ Simply notice the language used in characterizing Russia and the President of Russia as a symbol for Russians, simply notice the vehemence of stereotyping language and the widespread "elite" use of the prejudiced language and understand that we are returned to the time of Senator Joseph McCarthy with pretend liberals among the most vehement.

The prejudices and intimidating language of Senator Joseph McCarthy are returned in pretend liberal as well as conservative clothes. ]

Stephen Heyer -> kthomas...

kthomas: "...you have no credibility anymore, darling anne."

Anne has plenty of credibility with me, even though I sometimes don't agree with her.

I trust she will be doing her best even if mistaken. Besides, there is just the slightest chance that it is I who is wrong :)

DrDick -> anne...

You really need to overcome your ethnic bias and improve your reading skills. Krugman is clearly equating the policies of the two and doing so in an even handed manner. He is also not targeting "Russia", but rather Putin personally. The fact that you do not see the similarities is your problem, not his.

paine -> DrDick...

Its not ethnic bias
its humanist
universalism

paine -> paine...

Even handed ness
given the balance
of public opinion
Favors the hegemon decisvely

Darryl FKA Ron -> paine...

The fear of global chaos is a bitch. Secondarily, no matter how bad things seem then they can always be worse, much worse even. Imagination to be useful must be able to work both ways, imagine both the potential for better, but also for worse.

DrDick -> paine...

Sorry, but Anne will tolerate no criticism of Putin or Russia, even where well deserved (as here). You and she seek to privilege the alternative (aspirational) hegemon, while Krugman critiques both.

pgl :

Remember Country Joe & The Fish at Woodstock:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuUBCF3KKxc

C'mon Wall Street - plenty of good money to be made.

Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...

Thoma's reference to the song "War" (War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin') had me stumped so I had to Google. I remember the sound as it played repeated on the Armed Forces Radio Service in Viet Nam along with Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction." I was shocked to see that the Temptations recorded it first, but the version burned into my mind was by Edwin Starr.

pgl :

Prosecute the torturers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/opinion/prosecute-torturers-and-their-bosses.html?_r=4

Yes - Dick Cheney and John Yoo should be in jail!

paine -> pgl...

Yes

Fred C. Dobbs :

Just to review:

Largest GDPs (World Bank, 2013, Wikipedia)

1. EU
2. US (+ WW2 victor)
3. China +?
4. Japan (- WW2 loser)
5. Germany -
6. France +
7. UK +
8. Brazil
9. Italy -?
10. Russia +
11. India
12. Canada +

07:38 AM Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs...

#4, #5, maybe #9 are the would-be 'conquerors' of WW2.

07:41 AM anne -> Fred C. Dobbs...

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2014/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=66&pr.y=15&sy=2013&ey=2019&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=924%2C532%2C111&s=PPPGDP&grp=0&a=

December 18, 2014

Gross Domestic Product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation for China, Hong Kong and United States, 2013-2019

10:29 AM Anonne :

Conquest does pay! If you're a defense contractor or government official closely aligned and invested with them. These wars are about personal enrichment.

08:00 AM ilsm -> Anonne...

"If ad)you took the profit out of war there would be none" Woody Guthrie (Arlo's D

09:59 AM Chris Herbert :

I had seen some news reports that some pretty dodgy groups were central to the overthrow of the elected Ukraine government.

Parry's article, quoted entirely by Anne earlier, appeared to be pretty detailed, and for me at least, fleshed out why there were early concerns over the groups involved in the overthrow.

Both sides appear unsavory to me. From the beginning I expected Putin to do something, anything, to keep Ukraine in the Russia gravity field. There are centuries of Russian involvement, if not domination, over the Ukraine.

08:07 AM paine :

Pk is a b - geopolitician

He has a very poor sense of hegemonist's constraints

The bulk of the planet must remain open for mnc Business

Reducing resisters to rubble Creates the next great mnc frontier

09:09 AM Darryl FKA Ron -> paine...

"...He has a very poor sense
of hegemonist's
constraints

The bulk of the planet
must remain open for mnc Business..."

[Maybe or maybe not.]

"...But a financially fragile petroeconomy like Russia doesn't have the same ability to roll with its mistakes..."

[It is all in the matter of scale and also a matter of tastes. Krugman is pure liberal establishment through and through albeit that ox is a moron. Krugman lacks the neocon taste for muscular millitaristic hegemony and expresses his putrification of it along with a necessary measure of hyperbole to keep it clear what side of the fence that he is on. Krugman has probably never met a global production oligopoly petite hegemone that he did not like.

You still got to watch out for nukes in the hands of a desperate man with too much political and millitary power for one man to have just in case the tables turn and he comes out with his back against the wall.

Psychologically consider Ismaaiyl Brinsley scaled up to a global actor.]

10:50 AM Darryl FKA Ron -> Darryl FKA Ron...

[To be clear:]

"...He has a very poor sense of hegemonist's constraints"

[Maybe or maybe not.]

"The bulk of the planet
must remain open for mnc Business..."

[Definitely and Krugman knows that too. My guess is that Krugman knows that neocons are wasteful and arrogant while Putin backed into a corner might be dangerous having much less to lose and not being vetted by major corporations on his way up the political ladder. OTOH, being an establishment liberal comes with its own compulsory fair and balanced political correctness where all reactionaries must be thrown under the same or at least very similar busses.]

11:37 AM Darryl FKA Ron -> Darryl FKA Ron...

IF I had to choose then the hegemonic state that best suited contemporary global civilization was the cold war with two great powers faced in a Mexican stand-off of globally catastrophic proportion. It was the big dogs' world and the little dogs all cowered on their porches.

We are not ready for global freedom from the hegemon yet. If the US falls then another will rise to take its place, but it will be hell to pay on the way and for quite a while after.

11:41 AM im1dc -> paine...

paine is painfully right on target.

12:04 PM anne :

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/putin-battered-bruised-but-not-broken.html

December 22, 2014

Putin: Battered, Bruised But Not Broken

Yves here. The triumphalism among Western commentators as the ruble plunged last week is more than a little cringe-making. We're not yet in Two Minute Hate territory yet, but this feels like a warmup. Robert Parry provides an insanity check:

"Official Washington's 'group think' on the Ukraine crisis now has a totalitarian feel to it as 'everyone who matters' joins in the ritualistic stoning of Russian President Putin and takes joy in Russia's economic pain, with liberal economist Paul Krugman the latest to hoist a rock…

"Indeed, much of what Krugman finds so offensive about Putin's Russia actually stemmed from the Yeltsin era following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the so-called Harvard Boys flew to Moscow to apply free-market 'shock therapy' which translated into a small number of well-connected thieves plundering Russia's industry and resources, making themselves billionaires while leaving average Russians near starvation."

The piece goes on to debunk in considerable detail the caricature of Putin presented in America, the most important element being the charge that Putin was the aggressor in Ukraine and is therefore getting what he deserved....

-- Yves Smith

09:01 AM anne -> anne...

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/chapter1.1.html

1949

Nineteen Eighty-four
By George Orwell

It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate. Winston was just taking his place in one of the middle rows when two people whom he knew by sight, but had never spoken to, came unexpectedly into the room. One of them was a girl whom he often passed in the corridors. He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. Presumably-since he had sometimes seen her with oily hands and carrying a spanner-she had some mechanical job on one of the novel-writing machines....

09:03 AM Lafayette -> anne...

{Putin's Russia actually stemmed from the Yeltsin era following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the so-called Harvard Boys flew to Moscow to apply free-market 'shock therapy' which translated into a small number of well-connected thieves plundering Russia's industry and resources, making themselves billionaires while leaving average Russians near starvation."}

Yes, YS, that's why it's called a kleptocracy.

They literally finagled mineral rights that once belonged to the state (I.e., Russian people). Smart fellow?

No, not terribly smart. Just the right connections of a fellow-traveler ex-KGB agent, and Kung-fu fanatic, who was desperate to build a legacy for himself.

This one is indeed the kind that will go down in the history books.

But there wont be much marching down Red Square commemorating his birthday. In his TV-spot just three days ago, he showed once again that he hasn't a clue of what to do in the face of a major financial calamity ...

09:58 AM anne -> Lafayette...

No, not terribly smart. Just the right connections of a fellow-traveler ex-KGB agent, and Kung-fu fanatic, who was desperate to build a legacy for himself....

[ What is the point of such language, which is milder than much of the language being used but tells us nothing rather than creating a stereotypical image? ]

10:28 AM Lafayette -> anne...

It is not a stereotype, anne.

Have you read his biography? I have - he has a Very Complicated upbringing. He has to win at everything he does, typical of a person who is (actually) unsure of himself.

There is a video running on U-Tube that shows Obama and Putin sitting together (for photo-shots). Putin is mimicking every gest, including facial, that Obama does. It is called "mirroring".

There is perfect silence between them, but the facial expressions are identical. This is a trick that was taught him by the KGB, and its intent is to at once approach your opposite (towards establish a rapport) but also to not antagonize him (if there is no rapport).

In the video, one can see that Obama is visibly upset and that no communication passes between them. Putin mirrors Obama in order not to antagonize him - but the fact remains that these two "World Leaders" are not communicating.

The video was taken at a G-20 summit meeting, the intent of which is to "exchange POVs".

My point: The guy, once he has made up his mind, is inflexible and untreatable. Hitler had the same unfortunate characteristic ...

02:06 PM DrDick -> anne...

Putin is ex-KGB. KGB are NOT nice people (ask any of my Russian refugee or East German friends). HE routinely engages in macho posturing (engaging in "manly activities" shirtless for the press). He actively supports far right Russian nationalists (as in his anti-gay pogrom). Putin is not a positive influence.

I have said exactly the same thing about the US Neocons and nationalists. I have opposed every US military intervention during my lifetime except one, Korea, and I am ambivalent about that. I talk about the negative impacts of US neocolonialism in my classes. None of that, however, makes me blind to Russian transgressions, or the clear desire of many to regain their hegemonic role during the Cold War. Nor does it blind me to the questionable actions of China in Africa and South America (or to the role of prison labor and systematic abuse of labor in their massive economic development).

10:45 PM Dan Kervick -> Lafayette...

"This is a trick that was taught him by the KGB, and its intent is to at once approach your opposite (towards establish a rapport) but also to not antagonize him (if there is no rapport)."

Wow, what will those diaboloical Ruskies think of next? More horrible diplomatic techniques for developing rapport with your negotiating partners and not antagonizing your enemy?

Julio -> anne...

"We're not yet in Two Minute Hate territory yet..."

[That's only because we don't have a two minute attention span].

Chris Herbert -> Julio...

The United States of Amnesia.

10:17 AM anne -> Julio...

Scarily funny.

10:28 AM im1dc :

Mark Thoma: "War. What is it good for?:"

PK "Conquest Is for Losers, by Paul Krugman"

Both are poorly reasoned emotional responses to real world issues, imo, b/c Thoma's question is framed improperly as is Krugman's title which is the logical fallacy, Beginning the Question.

War is not so simple as outlined.

It is not always for plunder, it is frequently for pride, protection, family rivalry, religious rivalry, etc., etc.

Nor are all wars global and or so called World Wars, most are local and regional, very contained and ongoing.

In short, while a case can be made, as Angell did, against wars of plunder that range the globe and or World Wars being too expensive and not worth the ECONOMIC cost the same cannot be said - GENERALIZED - to the smaller conflicts where Economic issues are not front and center.

Time to open your eyes to unfiltered reality and see the real world as it is rather than wish it were not so.

DrDick -> im1dc...

I think you may want to look at the actual data. The Europeans were already losing money on their colonial empires long before they relinquished them. There may be short-term benefits, but war has not actually been a profitable enterprise, except to the arms makers, since the beginnings of the 20th century.

10:50 PM pgl :

One of the things I learned today is that any of us who question Putin's intentions in Ukraine as "pretend liberals" who are practicing neo-McCarthyism - at least according to those who think Putin is an awesome leader. Me? A neo-McCarthyite. And if you think I'm about to call this for the nonsense it is - you are almost right. I'm actually calling it desperate bullshit. Thank you for your indulgence.

12:02 PM Syaloch -> pgl...

I agree, the response to Krugman's last two Russia-related columns has been hard to believe. It's strange to see so many commenters here, normally capable of nuanced views, revert to a black-white duality when it comes to Russia and Putin.

Regarding Putin himself, Krugman's remarks, though not central to his primarily economic analysis, seem right on the mark. Putin is indeed a KGB-era thug to like to ride around on horseback shirtless and otherwise engage in gratuitous displays of manliness. US/EU complicitity in the Ukrainian revolution doesn't make this any less true.

And the conservative love affair isn't based on a misinterpretation of a few offhand remarks by Guliani, it's been expressed by a number of prominent right-wing pundits.

Then to hear otherwise intelligent people claiming with that Russia never sent any troops into Ukraine, well, my head nearly exploded.

As usual, Jon Stewart nails it:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/07/1282835/-MUST-SEE-Jon-Stewart-blasts-conservatives-for-praising-Putin-while-bashing-Obama

We all know that Anne has always had her quirky blind spots (China, Bill Clinton, etc.), but to hear so many others voice similarly simplistic black/white opinions was quite shocking.

12:56 PM anne -> Syaloch...

----- is indeed a KGB-era thug to like to ride around on horseback shirtless and otherwise engage in gratuitous displays of manliness.

[ Simply notice the language and understand the prejudice, if we are capable of understand such prejudice in the environment that has been created. ]

02:09 PM Syaloch -> anne...

"Prejudice"?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

02:45 PM EMichael -> Syaloch...

It means you said something she considers bad about someone she does not consider bad.

Anne's biggest problem is that she thinks she lives in a society composed of the 18th century upper class in England.

08:10 PM DrDick -> anne...

What? Speaking the truth about Putin is prejudice? Putin is quite clearly a macho imperialist who wishes to reestablish the Russian empire. That does not make him any different from the American Republican Party, but it is still reality.

10:55 PM Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...

C'mon. I can't believe you can be played so easily by this kind of visual propaganda. We shouldn't be making our foreign policy based on these kinds of emotional reactions to Putin as an individual character as measured by some US cultural sensitivity and correctness meter.

Teddy Roosevelt was also an outlandish "macho man". But helped drive the reforms of the progressive era to fruition.

Are we really down to this level of thinking about grave matters of regional conflict between nuclear armed powers?

DrDick -> Dan Kervick...

While there are parallels (both men are/were macho posturing imperialists), comparing Putin, as regressive and authoritarian as any modern Republican, and TR is rather a stretch. It is also totally irrelevant to the current context. The evaluation of both men is based on their actions and words, not their personalities.

Syaloch -> Dan Kervick...

Dan, you're a nice guy and often offer insightful commentary, but here I think you're out of touch with reality. (Kind of like Putin, at least according to statements by Angela Merkel.)

This person you apparently see as a patriotic hero "driving reforms of the progressive era to fruition" is by most accounts just a continuation or even escalation of the Yeltsin-era kleptocratic tradition.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/the-insatiable-mr-putin-20120330-1w34b.html

If anyone here is engaged in simplistic thinking regarding grave matters of regional conflict, it's you. I don't understand why you can only see things in terms of black and white, as though alleged US support of the Ukrainian opposition somehow makes Putin's motives pure as the driven snow. Others here can acknowledge the complexity of the situation and understand that all parties have motives other than the official propaganda provided for mass consumption, what can't you?

am -> pgl...

http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2014/12/quote-of-day-that-sound-you-hear-is.html

Amend the above with the thought that there are still those whose last hope for the resurrection of Communism is through China and Russia and so any criticism of these countries must be rejected then you'll get near the problem.

pgl -> am...

Earth to Anne. My name is not Peter Dorman. We over at Econospeak are all independent thinkers. So I don't dictate anything to Peter. Nor would I call anyone McCarthy for having a different view. That was MY point.

DrDick -> pgl...

Spot on. There are some here who do not seem to think it is possible to both deplore American military adventurism and Russian overreach.

10:52 PM pgl :

I forget who put me onto this but here is the original version of War song by the Temptations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUElIFMQBy0

Edwin Starr recorded this later.

12:05 PM anne :

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/22/the-liberal-idiocy-on-russiaukraine/

December 22, 2014

The Liberal Idiocy on Russia/Ukraine

American pundits are often more interested in scoring points against their partisan rivals than in the pain that U.S. policies inflict on people in faraway lands, as columnists Paul Krugman and Thomas L. Friedman are showing regarding Russia and Ukraine.

By Robert Parry

Among honest and knowledgeable people, there really isn't much doubt about what happened in Ukraine last winter. There was a U.S.-backed coup which ousted a constitutionally elected president and replaced him with a regime more in line with U.S. interests. Even some smart people who agree with the policy of going on the offensive against Russia recognize this reality.

For instance, George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, was quoted in an interview with the Russian liberal business publication Kommersant as saying what happened on Feb. 22 in Kiev – the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych – "really was the most blatant coup in history."

Brushing aside the righteous indignation and self-serving propaganda, Stratfor's Friedman recognized that both Russia and the United States were operating in what they perceived to be their own interests. "The bottom line is that the strategic interests of the United States are to prevent Russia from becoming a hegemon," he said. "And the strategic interests of Russia are not to allow the U.S. close to its borders."

Another relative voice of reason, at least on this topic, has been former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who – in an interview with Der Spiegel – dismissed Official Washington's conventional wisdom that Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked the crisis and then annexed Crimea as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim territory lost when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

"The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest," the 91-year-old Kissinger said. "It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia" – as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had suggested.

Kissinger noted that Putin had no intention of instigating a crisis in Ukraine: "Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn't make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine."

Instead Kissinger argued that the West – with its strategy of pulling Ukraine into the orbit of the European Union – was responsible for the crisis by failing to understand Russian sensitivity over Ukraine and making the grave mistake of quickly pushing the confrontation beyond dialogue.

While the comments by Henry Kissinger and Stratfor's Friedman reflect the reality of what demonstrably happened in Ukraine, an entirely different "reality" exists in Official Washington. (Note that both interviews were carried in foreign, not U.S. publications.) In the United States, across the ideological spectrum, the only permitted viewpoint is that a crazed Putin launched a war of aggression against his neighbors and must be stopped.

Facts, such as the declaration in September 2013 from a leading neocon, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, that Ukraine was "the biggest prize" and an important step toward ousting Putin in Russia, do not fit into this story frame. ["A Shadow U.S. Foreign Policy."]

Nor do the comments of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who was caught in a pre-coup phone call, handpicking Ukraine's future leaders and discussing how to "glue this thing." Nor her public statements about the United States investing $5 billion in Ukraine's "European aspirations."

White Hats, Black Hats

Instead of dealing with what actually happened in Ukraine, U.S. pundits and politicians – from conservative to liberal – have bought into a fantasy version of events in which the coup-makers all wore white hats and the elected president and his eastern Ukrainian supporters – along with Putin – all wore black hats.

But there are, as always, rhetorical differences across the U.S. partisan liberal-conservative divide. On Ukraine, the American Right urges an escalation of military tensions against Russia while chiding President Barack Obama for weakness (when compared with Putin's toughness) – and liberals cheer on Obama's supposed success in driving the Russian economy into a painful recession while accusing the Right of having a man-crush on Putin.

This liberal "theme" of jabbing the Right for its alleged love of Putin takes the Right's comments about his forcefulness out of context, simply to score a political point. But the Right-loves-Putin charge has become all the rage with the likes of Paul Krugman, Thomas L. Friedman and other liberals who are bubbling with joy over the economic suffering being inflicted on the people of Russia and presumably eastern Ukraine.

Krugman, who is quickly jettisoning his reputation for thoughtfulness, published a second columnon this topic in a row, showing that he has fully bought into all the propaganda "themes" emanating from the U.S. State Department and the compliant U.S. mainstream news media.

In Krugman's mind, it was Putin who instigated the crisis with the goal of plundering Ukraine. Operating from that false hypothesis, Krugman then spins off this question: "why did Mr. Putin do something so stupid? … The answer … is obvious if you think about Mr. Putin's background. Remember, he's an ex-K.G.B. man - which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug. Violence and threats of violence, supplemented with bribery and corruption, are what he knows.

"And for years he had no incentive to learn anything else: High oil prices made Russia rich, and like everyone who presides over a bubble, he surely convinced himself that he was responsible for his own success. At a guess, he didn't realize until a few days ago that he has no idea how to function in the 21st century."

But Krugman is not only operating from a false hypothesis – the reality was that the Ukraine crisis was forced on Putin, not that he went seeking it – Krugman also has a simplistic view of the KGB, which, like the American CIA, certainly had its share of thugs but also had a significant number of smart analysts. Some of those KGB analysts were in the forefront of recognizing the need for the Soviet Union to reform its economy and to reach out to the West.

Putin was generally allied with the KGB faction which favored "convergence" with the West, a Russian attitude that dates back to Peter the Great, seeking Russia's acceptance as part of Europe rather than being shunned by Europe as part of Asia.

Putin himself pined for the day when Russia would be accepted as a part of the First World with G-8 status and other big-power accoutrements. I'm told he took great pride in his success helping President Obama in 2013 resolve crises with Syria over the mysterious sarin-gas attack and with Iran over its nuclear program.

As Kissinger noted, Putin's hunger for Western acceptance was the reason he obsessed so much over the Sochi Olympics – and even neglected the festering political crisis in neighboring Ukraine.

In other words, Paul Krugman doesn't know what he's talking about regarding Ukraine. His stab at offering a geopolitical analysis suffers from what an economist should recognize as "garbage in, garbage out." ["Krugman Joins the Anti-Putin Pack."]

A Spreading Idiocy

Still, this liberal mindlessness appears to be catching. On Sunday, the New York Times' star columnist Thomas L. Friedman weighed in with his own upside-down analysis, smirking about the economic suffering now being felt by average Russians because of the U.S.-led sanctions and the Saudi-spurred collapse of oil prices.

Friedman wrote: "In March, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, was asked on 'Fox News Sunday' how he thought President Obama was handling relations with Russia versus how President Vladimir Putin had been handling relations with the United States. Rogers responded: 'Well, I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we're playing marbles. And I don't think it's even close.'

"Hmmm. Marbles. That's an interesting metaphor. Actually, it turns out that Obama was the one playing chess and Putin was the one playing marbles, and it wouldn't be wrong to say today that Putin's lost most of his - in both senses of the word."

Ha-ha-ha. Putin has lost his marbles! So clever! Perhaps it also wouldn't be wrong to say that Tom Friedman has lost any credibility that he ever had by getting pretty much every international crises wrong, most notably the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 when he was just as smarmy in paving the way for that bloody catastrophe.

Washington Post liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. also joined in the "group think" on Monday, writing"even … some of [Obama's] older bets were paying off. The Russian economy is reeling from sanctions imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine (and from low oil prices). An approach seen by its critics as not tough enough is beginning to show its teeth."

Beyond the propagandistic quality of these columns – refusing to recognize the complex reality of what actually happened in Ukraine, including the overwhelming referendum by the voters of Crimea to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia – there is this disturbingly smug pleasure at how the U.S. actions are hurting the people of Russia.

Whatever you think of Putin, a key reason why he has remained so popular is that he brought some stability to the Russian economy after the "shock therapy" days of plunder under Boris Yeltsin when many Russians were pushed to the brink of starvation. Putin pushed back against some of the corrupt oligarchs who had amassed vast power under Yeltsin (while also striking alliances with others).

But the cumulative effect of a more stable Russian economy was that a fragile middle class was taking shape in a country that has notoriously failed to generate one over the centuries. Because of the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine, which essentially forced Putin's response and then led to Obama's sanctions, the Russian middle class is losing its modest savings as the ruble's value collapses.

In other words, the part of Russia's population that could best propel Russia toward a more democratic and progressive future is being dismantled, in part, by punitive U.S. policies – while liberals Krugman, Friedman and Dionne celebrate.

Insider Rivalries

What really seems to matter to these pundits is getting a shot in at their conservative rivals, not the fate of average Russians. This attitude reminded me of an earlier phase of these mindless liberal-conservative food fights – in 1990 when conservative Robert Novak looked for ways to resolve Iraq's invasion of Kuwait by accepting Saddam Hussein's private offers to withdraw rather than resorting to war.

Yet, when Novak appeared on CNN's "Capital Gang," Al Hunt, a centrist who played the role of liberal pundit on the show, ridiculed the old "Prince of Darkness" for his uncharacteristic bent. Hunt hung the nickname "Neville Novak" around Novak's neck, comparing him to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who sought to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II.

When I later asked Hunt why he had derided Novak for looking at more peaceful solutions to an international crisis, Hunt defended the "Neville Novak" line by noting all the times that Novak had baited opponents for their softness against communism. "After years of battling Novak from the left, to have gotten to his right, I enjoyed that," Hunt said.

Yet, the human consequences from the failure to resolve the Kuwait crisis peacefully have been almost incalculable. Beyond the hundreds of U.S. and coalition deaths and the tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians killed, the Persian Gulf War set the stage for a decade of harsh economic sanctions against Iraq and marked a turning point for Saudi Osama bin Laden to begin targeting the United States.

Arguably, if Novak had been listened to – if Hussein's peace feelers had been taken seriously – history might have taken a very different and less violent course. However, among Washington's insiders, it seems that nothing is more important than their sparring with each other, in television and in print.

Now, these liberal columnists are enjoying bashing conservatives over their supposed love of Putin and their tolerance for Putin's "invasion" of Ukraine. Not only are the likes of Paul Krugman, Thomas L. Friedman and E.J. Dionne Jr. spreading dangerous propaganda, they are setting the stage for a new Cold War and possibly even a nuclear confrontation.

02:47 PM anne -> anne...

Let us dance:

Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug....

-- Thomas Friedman

Remember, he's an ex-K.G.B. man - which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug.

-- Paul Krugman

One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug.

-- Thomas Friedman

03:39 PM Dan Kervick -> anne...

Well Thomas Friedman has been wrong about just about everything in US foreign policy going back to 2000, so why should he change now.

10:57 PM anne :

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/opinion/david-brooks-snap-out-of-it.html

September 22, 2014

Snap Out of It
By David Brooks

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a lone thug sitting atop a failing regime....

[ Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks create a consensus on being a "thug." ]

04:07 PM anne -> anne...

Let us dance:

Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug....

-- Thomas Friedman

Remember, he's an ex-K.G.B. man - which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug.

-- Paul Krugman

One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug.

-- Thomas Friedman

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a lone thug sitting atop a failing regime.

-- David Brooks

10:58 PM Mr. Bill :

"The point is that there is a still-powerful political faction in America committed to the view that conquest pays, and that in general the way to be strong is to act tough and make other people afraid. One suspects, by the way, that this false notion of power was why the architects of war made torture routine - it wasn't so much about results as about demonstrating a willingness to do whatever it takes."

06:26 PM anne -> Mr. Bill...

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E2DF1E39F932A25752C1A9659C8B63

Avoid War Crimes

To the Editor:

In ''A Burden Too Heavy to Put Down,'' * David Brooks writes, ''Inevitably, there will be atrocities'' committed by our forces in Iraq. Did he forget to add that they must be prosecuted?

War crimes are indeed more likely if influential commentators foreshadow impunity for perpetrators of the ''brutal measures our own troops will have to adopt.''

The choice is not between committing war crimes and retreating ''into the paradise of our own innocence.'' A third option is for the United States to strive to avoid complicity.

It is untrue that ''we have to take morally hazardous action.'' Those who choose it, or urge others to, cannot evade or distribute responsibility by asserting that ''we live in a fallen world.''

* http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/04/opinion/04BROO.html

BEN KIERNAN
New Haven, Nov. 4, 2003
The writer is director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.

Lafayette :

A BETTER R-O-I?

{PK: The Iraq venture clearly ended up weakening the U.S. position in the world, while costing more than $800 billion in direct spending and much more in indirect ways. America is a true superpower, so we can handle such losses.}

Manipulating a housekeeping budget is a solid educational exercise. Each family should have one, and should plan accordingly. Our larger family (the nation) is also one that should learn how to balance-a-budget, if only it were forbidden to borrow enormous sums perpetually into the future.

Because the consequence would be to understand "the rule of trade-offs", meaning you can't have all you want, so you need to prioritize.

Were that the same rule at the level nationally, perhaps we'd have a more perceptive view of how we spend our money? And since there is rarely any great debate about "budgeting" in primaries or even a presidential election – an elected PotUS does whatever they damn well please.

And we pay the consequences. Which is why, rather than pissing almost a trillion bucks into Middle-east sandbox, we should indeed ask that budgets be balanced by each administration.

Think of this:

*We have 20 million students annually pursuing a postsecondary education, one of the most important investments they will ever make in themselves.

*The average cost per annum in a public institution of a 2- and 4-year schooling is $13.3K and $21.7K respectively.

*Furthermore, let's presume that 60% are two-year and 40% 4-year tertiary schooling attendees.

By those numbers, the total cost is about $350B per year. The DoD budget is $840B.

Which "investment" gives us a better RoI … ?

Summary of 2014 events -- despite gentle push by the West, Russia declined the invitation to be involved in Ukrainian ciliv war and self-decimation of Ukraine by Sergey Belov

regnum.ru

Nasty surprise for Western geopolitical planners-- at the end fo 2014 there are no Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine. The appointed aggressor ignored the appointment and did not come. Kiev junta is in a panic. Something went wrong. Putin had to bring in troops. The Russian army had in two days to walk to Kiev and in for four to Lvov. To occupy. To absorb. The Yatsenyuk-Poroshenko government had to flee the country and comfortably live in the West. And Europe - to give up on Russian energy resources. The USA should have been declare Russia the "aggressor" and put a new "iron curtain".

But Putin behaved differently then was expected of him. South Ossetian scenario does not work. To push Russia into the civil war in Ukraine failed. Plans for 1025 need to be corrected tanking into account new reality...
http://www.regnum.ru/news/polit/1880361.html

[Dec 22, 2014] Ruble crisis may spell financial disaster for Europe

Dec 22, 2014 | RT Business

All eyes are on the ruble this week after its spectacular crash that sparked fears of a new currency crisis in Russia, and the possibility it could spill over into Europe and put the world economy at risk.

The ruble has lost more than 45 percent against the dollar and euro since the beginning of the 2014, mostly due to falling oil prices and the tightening of Western sanctions.

"We just rescued all those European banks, and they all have huge loans in Russia. If the ruble devalues as it did in recent days, then Russian companies will have trouble paying back dollar and euro debts. From this perspective we will face even bigger problems," Michael Mross, chief editor of MMNews.de, told RT.

READ MORE: Russia crisis leaves banks around the world exposed by billions

Many Russian companies have borrowed money from European and American banks, but now the value of their domestic currency has decreased by more than 50 percent against the dollar, so the cost of the loans has doubled in ruble terms.

The risks of a volatile Russia "will come to the surface very soon. Then we will have a banking crisis triggered by the sanctions and also triggered of course by the ruble devaluation," Mross warned.

The Russian government has debt of about $150 billion it needs to pay off in 2015, much of it foreign held. Sanctions now bar many state-owned Russian credit institutions from borrowing long-term from Western capital markets.

Major retailers like Sweden's IKEA, Germany's Metro, Finland's Stockman want to stay in Russia but have halted sales to recalculate their prices. If they are raised, sales are likely to be dented.

As many as 2000, or one in three German companies doing business with Russia, may have to fire employees or cancel projects as a result of the weakening ruble, warns Volker Treier, the managing director of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.

READ MORE: Slumping Russian ruble threatens German economy – top exec

"We would be sawing off the branch we are sitting on if we erected a new wall to Russia's economy," Austrian Chancellor Werner Raymann said.

Apple has increased prices for iPhones in Russia by another 30 percent when it reopened its online store Monday. That was the second time Apple adjusted prices in Russia in less than a month, as it seeks to compensate for the falling ruble. At the end of November, Apple raised prices in Russia by about 25 percent. The tech giant doesn't operate any stores in Russia, but has made clear it is a target market, selling through thousands of licensed retailers. Lost sales mean the company will incur some losses in the market.

Last Thursday, longtime partners Gazprom and Germany's BASF abandoned a long-planned $12 billion energy asset swap, citing growing political tension between Russia and the West.

Automakers take a breather

European carmakers are having trouble steering through the volatile ups and downs of the Russian currency. Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover all said they would slow down investment in Russia given the predicted downswing. Volkswagen saw sales decrease by 13 percent in November, when the ruble crisis was just beginning to present itself. BMW predicts it could lose €150 million if it doesn't readjust for ruble fluctuations.

Korean automaker KIA has suspended sales and even stopped shipments of already paid for cars to Russia, according to Kommersant. The paper's sources suggest the company is considering returning money for existing contracts and then reselling the cars at higher prices. KIA itself, however, says that the delay in shipments is temporary and caused by increased demand.

General Motors, America's biggest carmaker with plants in Russia has completely halted sales over the rapidly changing ruble.

"In view of the volatility of ruble exchange rate and with the aim to manage its business risk, GM Russia has decided to temporarily suspend wholesaling of vehicles to its dealers in Russia as of Dec. 16," GM's European Opel division told Reuters.

Ed Jobb

On the economic front, Europe is stuffed. They talk about austerity like it's some bad thing. Austerity is an effect not a cause, and it is short-lived only if you get on it early. Austerity can't help a dead market.

Germany looks to be OK because it's vendor financing Club Med to buy German goods. For every 100 residents of Belgium, 28 are working in the private sector. European unemployment is soaring, especially among youth. Household debt in England is 170% of disposable income, while the Danes are at 265%. Italy is insolvent to the point of not paying suppliers, and let's not even talk about Greece.

Their guns are out of bullets, ie. Almost all debt has been monetized; zero interest rates, borrowing to pay the interest on money they already borrowed, they can't even reclaim their own gold back from the good old USA.

Ruble crisis? Ha! Looks like a walk in the park by comparison.

Frank Wolstencroft

The blame rests with the Russian Central Bank, which is privately owned by the international banking cabal.

"Give me control on a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws"
Mey Amschel Rothschild

Apple halts e-sales in Russia as ruble craters

[Dec 21, 2014] Wrecking Russia's economy could be a disaster for the west by Angus Roxburgh

Like in case of Iraq war the economic war with Russia is based of manufactured evidence and reflects the same ruthless desire of the US elite for the world dominations and security of hydrocarbon supplies. Putin might not be too accommodative for neoliberals in Washington, but at least he is predictable. At the same time Western elite, at first of all the US elite once again demonstrates some kind of sociopathic behaviour -- the desire to dominate at all costs. West is a 1000 pound guerilla that is perfectly capable to crash relatively small Russian economy. and probably even remove Putin form power. Then what? If I remember correctly Jana attacked the USA in Perl Harbor when it decided that economic sanctions are strangulating. Or what if sanctions lead the civil war in the nuclear armed state, following Ukrainian scenario, when fifth column will try to get to power via a coup? Or what if radical nationalists will come to power if Putin are forced out, with the increased change of "accidental" nuclear accident and "nuclear winter" aftermath? Stronger alliance of weaken Russia with China which moves China into completely different category military wise ? What is the end game after destabilizing Russia.
The US neocons and neolibs (who are often the same people) want another drunkard Yeltsin at the helm and camarilla of western neoliberals "guiding" him. That's a pipe dream. With the level of animosity and the fact that many Russian consider the USA to be a fascist (Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse ) ) or at least a national security state (Snowden revelations) chances of positive for the West change of Russian regime are pretty slim even with billions of dollars of bribes and support of fifth column. The USA lost moral standing for the successful regime change into satellite neoliberal mold and brute force might or might not work in the way originators wish. Also technology of color revolutions is now is much better known then in 1991 or, even, then in 2012. Actually Russian fifth column itself was completely decimated by Ukrainian events, event of the USA making.
Dec 16, 2014 | The Guardian

As for the west's sanctions, they were introduced with one explicit aim – to force Putin to change tack in Ukraine. At least, that was the stated aim. But since the measures show no sign of having any effect on his thinking, and yet the west is considering even more sanctions, there is obviously another goal – to punish Putin for his actions, regardless of whether he changes his mind. Sadly, it is not Putin who feels this punishment. It is the Russian people.

... ... ...

Perhaps it is time to recognise that George W Bush's disastrous foreign policy legacy encompasses far more than just Iraq, torture and the fanning of terrorism. Bush also understood nothing about Russia – right from the moment that he looked into Putin's eyes and told us how he "got a sense of his soul" – and now we are living with the consequences.

It was the Bush administration that created the sense of insecurity that has caused Russia to react, and overreact, to every perceived threat – including, most recently, the perception that Ukraine was being forcibly dragged out of Russia's orbit and into the west's. Bush unilaterally abandoned the anti-ballistic missile treaty , seen by Russia as the cornerstone of strategic balance; he began building a missile shield on Russia's doorstep; he expanded Nato to Russia's frontiers, blithely granting the east Europeans "security" while causing Russia to feel threatened.

Laurence Johnson -> HansB09, 19 Dec 2014 08:30

Former US diplomats have repeatedly stated that Washington controls Germany and that has always been the case since WW2.

If Washington controls Germany, and Germany controls the EU, then its clear where all this is going and is going to cause some very red faces if the UK leaves the EU.

Will D 18 Dec 2014 18:57

Such hypocrisy by the West. And also nasty and vindictive. Compared to the aggressive global bullying performed by the USA and its tame allies, Russia is positively saintly. Russia doesn't go around starting wars or bombing innocent 'collateral damage' women and children, or apply economic embargoes and sanctions on countries it doesn't like. It doesn't use its economic might to force unfair trade deals on other countries.

The USA and NATO have been squeezing Russia ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, trying hard to weaken it and corner it. Apart from the freezing northern ports, Russia has only one other exit point, the Crimea and Black Sea, which the West has tried on various occasions in the past to close off.

The credibility of the USA has declined massively in the last few years, and few people or countries really trust it anymore, but are locked into an uneasy alliance which would be difficult to break. Many don't want to keep supporting the USA's global imperialist aggression.

Angus is right, the solution is to bring Russia in from the cold and to stop the hostile expansionism by the West. It needs one of the USA's major allies, preferably Britain, to take a brave stand and change its USA-lapdog tune over Russia, and force the USA to back down. The rest of Europe would probably support Britain since the sanctions are causing them some pain.

Rozina 18 Dec 2014 17:09

Dear Angus,

I am no fan of the former US President George W Bush or his administration but to blame Cheney and Co for expanding NATO and creating "insecurity" for Russia is A PLAIN LIE. The process to expand NATO began earlier during Bill Clinton's time as US President: Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999.

Even if GWB had allowed the ABM treaty to lapse, the Obama government could have revived it. But the Democrats are as much under the control of US neoliberal robber barons as the Republicans are.

This and other idiocies about appeasing Putin and his government, as if they (and not the current US government and the corporations that hold its politicians in their pockets) are the spoilt global bullies, that you assert demonstrate that your articles are not to be trusted.

AMArmy 18 Dec 2014 13:03

Those who want to get deeper insight on Russia-West conflict, here is an excellent Stratfor piece on subject, titled "Viewing Russia from the Inside"

noibn48 -> ID_Neon 18 Dec 2014 10:16

Russia did, the Soviet Union didn't. It isolated itself and fell of its own weight and its own Vietnam in Afghanistan. Why was it the West's fault that the USSR had top invade Hungary in 1968 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 or couldn't even supply their people with toilet paper?

Cris Lesniak -> Ibn al Zaqqaaq 18 Dec 2014 10:09

I agree that Russia seems to be moving closer to the Erdogan regime. However, there are some conflicting FP goals, particularly in relation to Syria.

[Dec 21, 2014] Lethal American Diplomacy in Ukraine

There is no question the USA can severely undermine Russia economically, but what it the net result? Absorption of Russia into Greater China ? How America diplomacy and cultural hegemony contributed to the partitioning of Ukraine and converting it in new Yugoslavia where Eastern Ukrainian population now hates Western and vise versa.
Dec 21, 2014 | Sputnik International

In one of the final votes of the year and without general debate, both Houses of Congress passed the "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014." The legislation is part of a larger effort by the American foreign policy apparatus to dictate policy in Ukraine.

This week, US President Barack Obama signed the "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014." "Lethal" American military aid to Ukraine is the current stage of the ongoing trade war. The modern dispute began with Yanukovych's decision to forego signing the EU trade agreement, and has escalated into a civil war in Donbas.

In one of the final votes of the year and without general debate, both Houses of Congress passed the "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014." The legislation is part of a larger effort by the American foreign policy apparatus to dictate policy in Ukraine.

On January 15, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hosted a hearing on the "Implications of the Crisis in the Ukraine." The groundwork for the legislation began with testimony from Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights, and Labor, Thomas Melia, and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

'Ukraine Freedom Support Act' Advocates War, Not Freedom

Less than a month after Ms. Nuland testified that the United States would "not support any specific candidates or parties," a leaked phone call with Ambassador Pyatt proved the opposite true. In addition to declaring her support for Yatsenyuk, Nuland ended the call by noting the willingness of Vice President Biden to go through with the operation.

The Maidan coup occurred two weeks after the recording was leaked.

Vice President Biden did not visit Ukraine until November. He was accompanied by Ms. Nuland. During the visit, the two received an official request from the Ukrainian military for lethal aid. It is unknown how much influence Ms. Nuland had in the preparation of the request.

Biden's influence in Ukraine was felt in May, when it was revealed that his son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of a Ukrainian gas and oil company. The holding company, Burisma, is run by Ihor Kolomoisky, the oligarch who was appointed governor of the gas-rich Dnipropetrovsk region.

Burisma is registered in Cyprus, meaning that they could have faced high tariffs if they controlled a Ukrainian company which is extracting and exporting resources from Ukraine to Europe.

Thankfully, the EU Association Agreement passed by the Yatsenyuk government would remove these tariffs, allowing profits from the oil fields to flow into the bank accounts of Kolomoisky, Biden, and others, rather than the people of Ukraine.

The unpopularity of fracking is matched by the general unpopularity of the austerity agenda which Yatsenyuk was tasked with implementing. Anti-austerity protestors in Greece, Belgium, and France (among others) are showing the beginnings of a movement against this economic exploitation. Economic tension exacerbates ethnic tensions.

These tensions have led to the deaths of over 4,000 Ukrainians this year, a number which will hopefully grow at a slower rate if a cease fire holds. But rather than continue on a path that could result in the rebuilding of Donbas and stabilization of economic and military relations between Ukraine and her neighbors to the east and west, the American government will send more weapons.

Senator Corker, who is set to Chair the Foreign Relations Committee in the next Congress, trumpeted passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act by declaring that despite turning Ukraine into a military dependent, the legislation supports a "a firm commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty."

The legislation authorizes $350 million to be provided over three years for "increased military support for the Government of Ukraine" and was hailed by State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki as part of the American government's pursuit of a "diplomatic solution."

Despite those assurances, former-Congressman Dennis Kucinich suggested the legislation would "reignite the Cold War." He warns that "under the guise of democratizing, the West stripped Ukraine of its sovereignty with a U.S.-backed coup, employed it as a foil to advance NATO to the Russian border and reignited the Cold War, complete with another nuclear showdown."

It is yet to be seen how Secretary Kerry will use these new sanctions during his meetings with Lavrov, but it is clear that if a diplomatic solution moves forward, it will be despite the best efforts of the American government to escalate and prolong the conflict.

[Dec 21, 2014] Putin on Russia-West Relations: They Will Always Try to Chain the Bear

Dec 21, 2014 | Sputnik International

During his annual press conference Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the West's approach to Russia is reminiscent of trying to put a bear on a chain.

MOSCOW, December 18 (Sputnik) – The West's approach to Russia is reminiscent of trying to put a bear on a chain, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday during his annual year-end press conference.

"No matter what we do, we are always met with problems, opposition, and fights with us… Do you think that if our bear sits quietly and stops chasing piglets around the taiga, then they'll leave him alone? They won't. They will always try to put [the bear] on a chain," Putin said.

If the bear is chained, the West will "pull out its teeth and claws," Putin continued, adding that the West had an anti-Russian stance long before the current crisis in relations between Russia and the West started.

The evidence includes the creation of NATO anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe, and the way the western media covered the Olympic Games in Russia's city of Sochi, the president said.

Geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West intensified after Crimea's referendum to join Russia. Accusing Moscow of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, the West imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia, targeting its energy, defense and banking industries.

Another step taken by Western states in response to Russia's alleged interference in Ukraine's affairs was NATO's stepping up of military presence on Russian borders.

[Dec 21, 2014] Economist's View Links for 12-21-14

An economic was declared on Russian, require conversion of Russian economy on military rails. The Ukrainian crisis, the worst and most fateful of the 21st century, is the outcome of Washington's 20-year bipartisan policy toward post-Soviet Russia, spearheaded by NATO's eastward expansion. I have been arguing this since the early 1990s, long before Mr. Putin appeared on the scene.

Fred C. Dobbs:

Who's Playing Marbles Now?
http://nyti.ms/1v60SiL
NYT - Tom Friedman - Dec 20

In March, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, was asked on "Fox News Sunday" how he thought President Obama was handling relations with Russia versus how President Vladimir Putin had been handling relations with the United States. Rogers responded: "Well, I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we're playing marbles. And I don't think it's even close."

Hmmm. Marbles. That's an interesting metaphor. Actually, it turns out that Obama was the one playing chess and Putin was the one playing marbles, and it wouldn't be wrong to say today that Putin's lost most of his - in both senses of the word.

Rogers was hardly alone in his Putin envy. As Jon Stewart pointed out, Fox News has had a veritable Putin love fest going since March: Sarah Palin opined to the network that: "People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates." Fox contributor Rudy Giuliani observed on the same day that in contrast with Obama, Putin was "what you call a leader."

Only if leading your country to economic ruin is a form of leadership. And this is not Monday-morning quarterbacking. It has been obvious for months that Putin was fighting the market, Moore's Law, Mother Nature and human nature all at once.

He bet almost his whole economy on oil and gas that only can be exploited long-term at the risk of disruptive climate change; he underestimated the degree to which technological innovation has enabled America to produce more oil, gas, renewable energy and greater efficiency, all at the same time, helping to undermine crude prices; he talked himself into believing that Ukrainians toppled their corrupt leaders only because the C.I.A. told them to - not because of the enduring human quest to realize a better future for their kids; and he underestimated how integrated and interdependent Russia is with the global markets and how deeply sanctions, over time, would bite him.

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs:
You could say a lot of this about G W Bush and Barrack Obama.

I love it when we hear that Russian propaganda is demonizing the US while NYT blither (as Faux News) is considered an editorial.

Fred C. Dobbs -> ilsm:
Yes, in the sense that
Russia has designs on
the Black Sea area, just
as we do on the Caribbean &
China on the South China Sea.

It's a quaint Sphere of Influence thing.

Don't Be Fooled by China's Cooperation Lately.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120587/chinas-ignores-international-arbitration-south-china-sea-dispute via @tnr

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs:
The only thing worries me is nuclear winter. Much more likely in next 20 years than anthromorphic climate and too much profit (war profits are like oil profits) to stop it.

Hey, I wonder if Qatar can afford the 10 Patriot batteries they just signed up to buy!

Fred C. Dobbs -> ilsm:
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

05/30/2013 - Self-assured destruction:

The climate impacts of nuclear war http://thebulletin.org/2012/september/self-assured-destruction-climate-impacts-nuclear-war

likbez -> Fred C. Dobbs:
Wrong choice. This particular Friedman is a regular presstitute (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=presstitute). Nothing to quote unless you want to know talking point from the State Department. But Jen Psaki briefings can help you more and are more entertaining

Try another Friedman:

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/viewing-russia-inside

anne:
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/19/krugman-joins-the-anti-putin-pack/

December 19, 2014

Krugman Joins the Anti-Putin Pack

Official Washington's "group think" on the Ukraine crisis now has a totalitarian feel to it as "everyone who matters" joins in the ritualistic stoning of Russian President Putin and takes joy in Russia's economic pain, with liberal economist Paul Krugman the latest to hoist a rock.

By Robert Parry

When America's opinion-making herd gets running, it's hard for anyone to get in the way regardless of how erroneous or unfair the reason for the stampede. It's much easier – and career-wise safer – to join the pack, which is what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has done regarding Russia, Ukraine and Vladimir Putin.

In the latest example of the New York Times' endless Putin-bashing, Krugman begins his column * with what you might call a "negative endorsement" of the Russian president by claiming that ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has "an embarrassing crush on the swaggering statesman."

But Krugman misleads his readers. Giuliani wasn't really praising Putin when he said "that is what you call a leader" in commenting on Putin's decisiveness. Some liberal defenders of President Barack Obama simply cherry-picked the quote to counter Giuliani's attempt to disparage Obama by comparing Obama's chronic indecisiveness to Putin's forcefulness.

In the fuller context, Giuliani was not expressing a fondness for Putin at all. Indeed, he disparaged the Russian leader as "a bully" and urged a tough-guy response to Putin over Ukraine. "Instead of him pushing us around, we push him around," Giuliani said in the Fox News interview. "That's the only thing a bully understands."

So, why did Krugman begin his Putin-bashing column by misrepresenting what Giuliani was saying? It may have been a form of "negative endorsement." Since many American liberals hate Giuliani, Giuliani's praise is supposed to translate into liberal hatred for Putin.

But "negative endorsements" are inherently unfair. Just because Josef Stalin might have liked Franklin Roosevelt and because we may hate Stalin, that doesn't mean we should hate Roosevelt, too. The use of "negative endorsement" is akin to guilt by association. And, in this case, Krugman was playing fast and loose with the facts as well

Krugman also opts for some of the most hyperbolic language that has been used in the U.S. mainstream media to distort events in Ukraine. For instance, Krugman claims that "Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine without debate or deliberation." But that really isn't true either.

The Ukraine crisis is far more complicated and nuanced than that, as Krugman must know. If he doesn't, he should consult with fellow Princeton professor Stephen F. Cohen, who has bravely challenged the prevailing "group think" on both Ukraine and Russia.

Cohen, one of America's premier Russia experts, has even warned that "American media coverage of Vladimir Putin … has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security:.

"Mainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have increasingly portrayed Putin as a czar-like 'autocrat,' or alternatively a 'KGB thug,' who imposed a 'rollback of democratic reforms' under way in Russia when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. He installed instead a 'venal regime' that has permitted 'corruptionism,' encouraged the assassination of a 'growing number' of journalists and carried out the 'killing of political opponents.' Not infrequently, Putin is compared to Saddam Hussein and even Stalin."

Yet, Cohen said, "there is no evidence that any of these allegations against him are true, or at least entirely true. Most seem to have originated with Putin's personal enemies, particularly Yeltsin-era oligarchs who found themselves in foreign exile as a result of his policies – or, in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in prison. Nonetheless, U.S. media, with little investigation of their own, have woven the allegations into a near-consensus narrative of 'Putin's Russia.'" **

'Shock Therapy'

Indeed, much of what Krugman finds so offensive about Putin's Russia actually stemmed from the Yeltsin era following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the so-called Harvard Boys flew to Moscow to apply free-market "shock therapy" which translated into a small number of well-connected thieves plundering Russia's industry and resources, making themselves billionaires while leaving average Russians near starvation.

When Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 2000, Putin challenged some of the oligarchs and pushed others out of the political arena, while also moderating some of the extreme policies and thus making life somewhat better for the average Russian, thus explaining Putin's broad popularity. Putin could be fairly criticized for not going further, but economist Krugman must surely know this history regarding how the Russian "kleptocracy" got started.

Yet, Krugman slides into the now common demonization of Putin. "Mr. Putin never had the resources to back his swagger," Krugman smugly writes.

"It's quite a comedown for Mr. Putin. And his swaggering strongman act helped set the stage for the disaster. A more open, accountable regime - one that wouldn't have impressed Mr. Giuliani so much - would have been less corrupt, would probably have run up less debt, and would have been better placed to ride out falling oil prices. Macho posturing, it turns out, makes for bad economies."

In other words, Krugman buys into the "group think" that blames Putin's "macho posturing" over Ukraine for the current financial crisis in Russia, which has resulted from falling oil prices as well as the U.S.-led sanctions punishing Russia for its alleged "aggression" in Ukraine.

That puts Krugman in the same camp as the neocons who have pushed the bogus narrative that the megalomaniacal Putin is trying to reconstitute the Russian Empire. The actual facts, however, disprove that narrative. ["The Crazy US 'Group Think' on Russia."]

Putin himself has a much better understanding of recent Russian history – and what Official Washington's goals are regarding him and Russia – as he explained in an end-of-year news conference on Thursday.

Asked if the economic pain was the price for accepting Crimea back into Russia, Putin responded: "No. This is not the price we have to pay for Crimea. … This is actually the price we have to pay for our natural aspiration to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state. …

"I gave an example of our most recognizable symbol. It is a bear protecting his taiga. … Maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone.

"But no, he won't be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he's chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as – God forbid – it happens and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over. … And then, when all the teeth and claws are torn out, the bear will be of no use at all. Perhaps they'll stuff it and that's all.

"So, it is not about Crimea but about us protecting our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist. That is what we should all realize."

The Neo-Nazi Reality

There is another unpleasant reality about Ukraine that Krugman ignores - its neo-Nazi element - apparently not wanting to be out of step with his New York Times colleagues who have studiously looked the other way. Again, Krugman could learn something from his fellow Princeton professor Cohen, who has recounted the grim facts about neo-Nazism in Ukraine, facts that would put Putin's supposed "invasion" in defense of Ukraine's ethnic Russians in a different light.

In an article for The Nation magazine, Cohen wrote: "Independent Western scholars have documented the fascist origins, contemporary ideology and declarative symbols of Svoboda and its fellow-traveling Right Sector. Both movements glorify Ukraine's murderous Nazi collaborators in World War II as inspirational ancestors. Both, to quote Svoboda's leader Oleh Tyahnybok, call for an ethnically pure nation purged of the 'Moscow-Jewish mafia' and 'other scum,' including homosexuals, feminists and political leftists.

"And both hailed the Odessa massacre [on May 2 when ethnic Russian protesters were trapped in the Trade Union building and burned alive]. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was 'another bright day in our national history.' A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, 'Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Devils burn in hell.'

"If more evidence is needed, in December 2012, the European Parliament decried Svoboda's 'racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU's fundamental values and principles.' In 2013, the World Jewish Congress denounced Svoboda as 'neo-Nazi.' Still worse, observers agree that Right Sector is even more extremist. …

"In December 2012, a Svoboda parliamentary leader anathematized the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis as 'a dirty kike.' Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and militias have routinely denigrated ethnic Russians as insects ('Colorado beetles,' whose colors resemble a sacred Russia ornament). More recently, the US-picked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referred to resisters in the Southeast as 'subhumans.' His defense minister proposed putting them in 'filtration camps,' pending deportation, and raising fears of ethnic cleansing.

"Yulia Tymoshenko - a former prime minister, titular head of Yatsenyuk's party and runner-up in the May presidential election - was overheard wishing she could 'exterminate them all [Ukrainian Russians] with atomic weapons.' 'Sterilization' is among the less apocalyptic official musings on the pursuit of a purified Ukraine."

By leaving out this troubling context, it's much easier to mislead Americans about what is actually happening in Ukraine. Instead of understanding Russia's interest in protecting ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine from these brutal neo-Nazis, the crisis can simply be presented as Putin's "aggression" or – as Krugman says – how "Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine." ***

More fitting Krugman's expertise about the dangers of free-market extremism, he might do better looking at the consequences of those strategies on both Russia and Ukraine, where corrupt oligarchs also took power and have now moved to the center of Ukraine's U.S.-backed regime.

And, if Krugman wants some current example of cronyism, he might look at the curious case of Natalie Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who parlayed $150 million in U.S. AID funds designed to help Ukraine develop an investment-based economy into a personal fortune and now into the post of Ukraine's new Finance Minister.

According to corporate records, the U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine involved substantial insider dealings by Jaresko, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled. Meanwhile, the $150 million stake provided by the U.S. taxpayers appears to have dwindled to less than $100 million. ["Ukraine's Made-in-the-USA Finance Minister."]

But critical reporting about the U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime would violate Official Washington's narrative that prefers the Kiev authorities to be dressed in white hats while Vladimir Putin wears the black hat.

anne -> anne:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/11/opinion/a-russia-scholars-views.html

A Russia Scholar's Views

To the Editor:

"Russia Experts See Ranks Thin, and an Effect on U.S. Policy": * I protest the way my views and I were characterized in your article. I am called the "dissenting villain" in today's media commentary on Ukraine who presents a "perspective closer to that of Mr. Putin." This may have the effect (intended or not) of stigmatizing me and discrediting my views.

For more than 40 years, I have taught thousands of undergraduates and trained scores of future Russia specialists at Princeton University and New York University. My many scholarly books, articles and media commentaries have been published in diverse mainstream places, including The New York Times many years ago. And my views are based on my years of study, not on what President Vladimir V. Putin or anyone else thinks.

Indeed, my current perspective is similar to what Henry A. Kissinger wrote ** in The Washington Post this month: "The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one."

I would go farther: The Ukrainian crisis, the worst and most fateful of the 21st century, is the outcome of Washington's 20-year bipartisan policy toward post-Soviet Russia, spearheaded by NATO's eastward expansion. I have been arguing this since the early 1990s, long before Mr. Putin appeared on the scene.

In this regard, I am a true patriot of American national security - perhaps a heretic, but certainly not the "villain."

STEPHEN F. COHEN
New York, March 7, 2014

Fred C. Dobbs -> anne:
Hey, no worries.

All true-believing
progressives loathe
Tom Friedman anyway.

EMichael -> anne:
After a couple of days of reading the Putin defense, I am trying to figure out why the Lithuanias are building up their defenses.
ilsm -> EMichael:
So that Putin can take US weapons on the cheap.
EMichael -> ilsm:
That might be the result, but as far as I know there are no "ethnic Russians" in Lithuania that need to be protected from "brutal neo-Nazis".
ilsm -> EMichael:
You mean the CIA has no influence in Lithuania?
EMichael -> ilsm:
I have no idea.

But if so, they would have had to plant ethnic Russians in country a while ago.

Fred C. Dobbs -> EMichael:
Ukraine Crisis in Mind, Lithuania Establishes a Rapid Reaction Force http://nyti.ms/1Ca0Qig
NYT - Dec 19

(Lithuania being a NATO member, things could get very dicey.)

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs:
You can google the papers, studies in the past couple of years warn against small "tactical" nuclear exchanges and climate effects. NATO in Lithuania implies a trip wire.
likbez -> EMichael:
It's easy. They want attention and some money from EU
JohnH -> anne:
As a I wrote a few days ago: "merican triumphalism is in vogue, which makes me think that American elites haven't really thought this through.

Those who supplied Russia with debt are going to be hurt. And those who export to Russia will be hurt. With the dubious health of European banks and with the Europe on the verge of recession, there are probably lots of European elites who are not pleased with American triumphalism and who are as concerned about their own future as much as Putin is about his.

How much American policy can Europe tolerate having shoved down their throats before they get completely fed up and give Russia a break?"

This is already happening. Turns out that the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce is complaining about the impact on Germany:
http://rt.com/news/216447-ruble-threat-german-economy/

Why would the US media deign to cover such a story that conflicts with official group think?

The US is perfectly happy to undertake policies that harm their allies. IMO Ukraine, like Kosovo, is all about putting the US putting its "protection services" between Europe and its energy resources. Why Europeans allow this to happen is beyond me:

[Dec 21, 2014] New Rules or No Rules? Putin Defies the New World Order Part II – The Post-Speech Q&A

Dec 19, 2014 | marknesop.wordpress.com

ThatJ, December 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

World Awaits Russian Response As Obama Makes "Lethal Aid" To Ukraine Legal

As we explained previously, quietly hidden within the humanitarian-sounding "The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014″, under the premise of enabling further sanctions on Russia, is the provision of "lethal aid" to Ukraine. Today, President Obama signed it into law…

•OBAMA SIGNED RUSSIAN SANCTIONS BILL TODAY, but
•OBAMA SAYS HE DOESN'T PLAN TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS UNDER NEW LAW

Because he knows full well that is not the important part. The "lethal-aid" aspect is a direct provocation to Russia.. and he knows exactly how Putin will respond. …

… As we reported over the weekend, in the tumult surrounding Citigroup's annexation of Congress with the passage of the theatrically dramatic $303 trillion derivative quid-pro-$1.1 trillion spending quo, what most missed is that Congress also unanimously passed the The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which not only expands Russian sanctions (read the details here) but far more impotantly, provides "lethal assistance to Ukraine's military." And as we explained, passage of this law is just the pretext some Russian legislators needed to push for a full-blown, preemptive military incursion in east-Ukraine.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-18/world-awaits-russian-response-obama-makes-lethal-aid-ukraine-legal

-

Is Russia Being Driven Into the Arms of China?

The "isolation of Russia" idea is one which has been receiving a lot of traction of late. Russia's recent economic woes have sometimes been covered with barely contained glee despite the hardships that average Russians may have to endure if the rouble continues to collapse … not to mention the inevitable geopolitical backlash.

Russia has become isolated from its western neighbours on account of the putsch in Ukraine which led to the predominantly ethnically Russian Crimea seceding from Kiev through a democratic process.

European governments slavishly adhere to U.S. imposed sanctions. So from a western elite point of view, Russia is indeed isolated.

Whether antagonising Russia is damaging to Russia is a moot point. Certainly in Russia's current straits the bankrupt west is in no position to help. European farmers are suffering from a loss of export markets while Europe is still dependent on Russian natural gas.

So how "isolated" is Russia in reality?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-18/russia-being-driven-arms-china-0

-

Putin Paints a Besieged Russia, Says U.S. Wants to 'Rip Out Its Teeth and Claws'

…"[H]e believes that the economy is capable of withstanding the shock," said Alexei Makarkin, deputy director of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies. "Putin's psychology is very simple. From his point of view Russia has made concessions for years and to no effect."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-18/putin-says-central-bank-shouldn-t-use-reserves-to-protect-ruble.html

-

Putin signals he will not back down over Ukraine

Russia's president signals he will not back down over the Ukraine crisis and insists Russian economy will recover at annual press conference

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/11301484/Putin-signals-he-will-not-back-down-over-Ukraine.html

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Anti-Islam Rally Grows as Immigrant Backlash Hits Europe

…[T]hree firebombing attempts have taken place in Berlin since August on the Reichstag which houses parliament, a parliament office building and the headquarters of Merkel's CDU, according to German news agency DPA. In all three attacks, which didn't cause any damage, far-right propaganda or a letter claiming responsibility was left at the scene.

Three buildings due to be used as housing for asylum seekers were also burned on Dec. 11 in the Bavarian town of Vorra, state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said in a Bayern2 radio interview. The attacks "are very clearly arson and the swastikas daubed on the walls lead to the suspicion that the culprits were right-wing extremists," he said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-15/anti-islam-rally-grows-as-immigrant-backlash-hits-europe.html

[Dec 19, 2014] el-murid.livejournal.com

Within five days, of which two were output, the Central Bank has twice raised its discount rate: December 11, up to 10.5%, December 16 - to 17% per annum. Such a rapid and unprecedented sharp increase of the rate of only three working days may indicate a complete loss of control of the situation.

While the Central Bank continues to ignore the administrative measures for the stabilization of the situation - for example, mandatory sale of currency proceeds. Reliance on "market" methods in environment destruction market says anything about the helplessness of the monetary authorities, either on a conscious policy, which executes someone plan.

Rate of 10.5 percent was already beyond - this is a bet for speculators, but not for production. 17% mean that any investment activity in the real sector will have to forget - very few people have such profitability today. In fact, the Central Bank finishes the Russian economy, and a festive week in January and already makes it worst month in a year in production.

The situation has clearly cannot be explained by problems in the oil market - it obviously is controlled character. The question is whether, in the proportion whether the management of the Central Bank or customers of collapse just used his professional unsuitability.

Putin's Bubble Bursts by Paul Krugman

Economist's View
JohnH -> John Cummings...
Krugman's jumping on the anti-Putin propaganda band wagon suggests that he's angling for a top job in Washington. Not that Putin--or Bush, Cheney, or Obama--are any saints!

A look at the Ukraine at provisions of the sanctions bill (passed by 'unanimous consent' with three House members present!') reveals what the whole dust up with Putin is really all about:

"- Provisions for privatization of Ukrainian infrastructure, electricity, oil, gas and renewables, with the help of the World Bank and USAID.

- Fifty million dollars to assist in a corporate takeover of Ukraine's oil and gas sectors.

- Three hundred and fifty million dollars for military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank, anti-armor, optical, and guidance and control equipment, as well as drones."

Meanwhile the Ukrainian parliament passes a bill declaring that "Ukraine should become a "military state...[and] increase military spending in Ukraine from 1 percent of GDP to 5 percent, increasing military spending by $3 billion over the next few years."
http://www.truthdig.com/search/results?q=Kucinich

Looks like the banking, energy and weapons industries just got a huge Christmas gift from Obama, Boehner and Reid.

And Krugman singles out Putin as a crony capitalist?

bakho :

The one constant in the war and division that has hit some states of the FSU is the rise of ethnic nationalism. The Czechs and Slovaks were able to divide their country peacefully into Bohemia Czech Republic (Majority Czech) and Slovakia (mostly Slavic). There was no Nationalistic Party demanding dominance of the whole in power. Other states with majority ethnic groups have had Nationalists rise to power, demanding ethnic dominance, official language and no guarantee of minority rights. These have seen war and conflict.

The West enlisted Ukraine Nationalists to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. The Nationalists were brought in to the new government. Only when these ethnic tensions divided the country did Russia move to take back Crimea and support ethnic Russians who are being bombed by their own country.

Ukranians who only want to live in peace are caught in a war between the Russian Mafia and Greedy Neocons. The West made a pact with divisive Right Wing Nationalists to overthrow an elected government. Ukraine has no institutions to protect minority rights. Powerful Ethnic Nationalists who do not support a multicultural state and institutions have been encouraged. They want to crush the minorities. Lacking internal institutions to protect minority rights, external forces have moved in. Arming the Ukrainian Nationalists is exacerbating the problem. The Nationalists must be purged from power and the new government told to fight Nationalism an pursue institutions and protection of minority rights. A multi ethnic Ukraine is possible but so is further division of the country.

A country who bombs its own citizens is not good.

ilsm -> bakho...

Vladimir the Terrible!

A stable Russia seems not in US' interests. The influence of the CIA.

What if Vlad imported French tutors?

pgl -> bakho...
Seriously? This President has no interest in regime change in Russia. If Putin pulls his troops out of Ukraine, this crisis would end immediately.
likbez -> pgl...
I think you are either deluded or naïve. Coup d'état in Ukraine was directed exactly against Russia and indirectly designed (yes designed and financed) to facilitate regime change (as previous attempt failed in 2012).

You can't be a part of neoliberal world and not to obey the dictate of the USA. I think this is one thing that Putin failed to understand. Now he and his country are paying the price.

anne :

If you're the type who finds macho posturing impressive, -------- ----- is your kind of guy....

-- Paul Krugman

[ A viciously prejudiced opening to a supposed analysis. The disdain for and hatred of Russia, especially through the ridicule of the Russian President, that is being fostered in the United States is shameful and dangerous and will prove self-defeating.

Repeatedly, we have turned to ridicule of leaders in other countries that we wish harm to. That a Princeton Professor would so contribute to fostering such harm of another people is shameful. ]

Johannes Y O Highness :

"accountable regime - one that wouldn't have impressed Mr. Giuliani so much - would have been less corrupt, would probably have run up less debt,
"
~~pK~

Here is my impression of William S Buckley talking on TV :

Thank you professor pK! You have just elucidated the inner workings of an inherently corrupt junta not at all unlike our very own Capitol Hill! As you can easily visualize from the Nobel Laureates summary, within each heavily-financially-oriented-regime lies a wide open channel running from public debt directly to the pick-pockets who so deftly skim the buying power of the hapless but loyal American military and civilian citizens. And now back to our spiffy new commercial announcement from your friendly Rigger National Financial Conglomerate Holding Company.

Don't touch that dial!

Y' hear

The Implications of Red Monday Zero Hedge

Mayhem! Carnage! Katastrofa!

These are the messages that blared forth from my TV screen and broker notes this morning. Monday - hereafter branded as "Red Monday" - was a day of reckoning for the Russian economy. The schadenfreude on display in Western media is nearly as relentless as the ruble's sell-off:

"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy" - WSJ, on Putin

"Russian sanctions could be lifted 'within days' if Vladimir Putin makes different choices, John Kerry says" - Daily Telegraph

Let's disregard the fact that Secretary Kerry may be a bit premature with the sanctimony after two years of diplomatic outmaneuvering and general ????????? (beatings) at Putin's hands in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. It might be easy to get caught up in the media hype around yet another Russian currency crisis, but time can be better spent in considering what Putin's next moves might be, and the ramifications for the global economy.

Few will disagree that Vladimir Putin is easily the most effective head of state on today's world stage. Americans may not like him, but Russians love and adore him. Trust me on this one, Mr Putin is not going anywhere and the only effective outcome of Kerry's sanctions has been to unite the Russian people in defense of their president.

Let's quickly recap the facts as we know them now:

RTSE and Brent Crude

Courtesy: Financial Times

All of this information is readily available - but what does this mean for the global markets? How can we predict the "second bounce of the ball" or the unintended consequences of the Russian implosion?

I lived and worked in Moscow for a couple of years, and during my tenure the RUB never breached the 32 handle. This morning a friend told me via email that middle-class Muscovites are piling into IKEA, 7th Continent and other large retailers to buy every consumer good on the shelves before the inevitable mark-ups are applied. I only wish that I were there to load up on deeply-discounted bottles of Kalashnikov vodka - a much better souvenir than the NFL-themed matryoshka dolls from the tourist traps at Ismailovskiy Park.

Russia's first post-Soviet currency crisis, in 1998, pre-dates my arrival there but I often heard about how market traders would price their goods in "conditional units" instead of rubles - a thinly-veiled attempt to price their goods in USD (which is illegal; Russian businesses can only price their goods in RUB).

It is virtually indisputable that Russia will experience a painful recession next year; their economy's most significant shortcoming is its near-total reliance on resource exports. Russia's break-even production cost of crude oil is just over $100, so the country's famed $400bn "stabilization fund" will soon begin to draw down. Russia has its problems, to be sure, but their fiscal policy has actually been quite solid since they launched this fund in 2004 to mitigate volatility in the crude oil market.

Let's tick off some other, lesser-known (but no less true) facts:

Russian GDRs

Make no mistake, this sell-off is a big problem - not just for Russia, or for the other over-levered emerging market currencies (TRY, INR, ZAR) that stand to be traumatized by a rising US dollar, but ultimately even for the US itself. As US capacity utilization returns to pre-2001 levels, and inflation gains momentum, dollar-pegged currencies around the world are about to come under increasing strain. I expect that Putin's plans to chip away at the global reserve currency - the US Dollar - are about to shift into high gear.

I'll be watching this situation closely. In the meantime, some food for thought... it might be time for investors to give some serious thought to the major Russian names out there. Here is what I saw in the GDRs this morning...

Current prices, P/Es and dividend yields for Russian majors:

Russian GDRs

Of course one must remember that these companies' ability to pay such attractive yields may be imperiled by crude prices that are currently 40% below Russia's production break-even. Nonetheless, it's indisputable that there are going to be some real bargains in this market. (Disclosure: I own all of the stocks on this list in my personal account. This is not a recommendation; make your own decisions please!)

I'll write more about this in a few days. I'm increasingly of the opinion that 2015 is going to be a year that investors will someday tell their grandchildren about.

------------

Certainly something to think about over the weekend which I hope you enjoy as much as I plan to. I'll be enjoying some quiet time and staying well away from any retail outlets where people will be amassing in force trying desperately to figure out what to buy for people who don't need anything and who in turn will be out doing the same thing, all the while maintaining the same fake enthusiasm for Christmas as North Koreans did for Jim Jong Il.

- Chris

"Under the most negative external economic scenario, this situation can last two years." - Vladimir Putin on 18 December, 2014

[Dec 18, 2014] Putin on the defensive forced to invest a lot of his personal political capital

vineyardsaker.blogspot.com

Let's begin by what I personally consider bad news: either Putin really believes in liberal market economics or he has to say he does. He began his Q&A and ended it with a categorical expression of full support for the policies of the Central Bank and its Chairwoman, Nabiulina, and a no less categorical expression of support for the Government and its Prime Minister, Medvedev. Worse, Putin declared that he believes that market forces will by themselves correct the current disequilibria. At most, he agreed that certain decisions should have been taken earlier or more forcefully, but that's it.

Some will love it. Lew Rockwell went as far as to say that he would hand Elvira Nabiulina the award of "Central Banker of the Year". Not everybody agrees. For example, Victor Gerashchenko, a former Chairman of the Central Bank, declared that if he had been in the position of Nabiulina today he would have "asked for a gun to shoot himself".

I have to admit that I personally am dismayed by Putin's apparent beliefs in market economics. I say 'apparent' because there might be things going on which I am not aware of. For example, while Putin speaks of "market forces" China seems to get heavily involved in the Russian economic crisis. For those interested in these developments, please check the following sources:

The Chinese friend who sent me the article in the People's Daily made a particularly interesting comment. He wrote:

"Yin and yang politics? I cannot help but notice a strong pattern. China and Russia each engages each other's enemies/allies with whom they have friction in order to bring them into the Eurasian fold. What do you think? Is this intentional? I had my doubts earlier in the year, but more and more this keeps happening".
I think that he is spot-on here. It is very much in the Russian strategic interest to have China applying some "Yuan diplomacy" in the EU not only because China is a close ally, but mainly because China is "not the USA". At this point in time, *anything* which can weaken the total control of the USA over its EU colonies is welcome. Any Yuan invested in the EU is one Dollar which is not.

This is just an example. Putin probably knows a lot of things which we don't and he probably cannot say everything he thinks or plans. But my purely subjective impression is that Putin simply does not have the power needed to confront the Atlantic Integrationists head on. Mikhail Khazin, who knows a lot, recently even declared that there were Atlantic Integrationists in the "power ministries". And since I am pretty sure that he was not referring to the Ministry of Defense that leaves either Internal Affairs or State Security. If true, that is not good. Either that, or Putin sincerely believes in liberal market-economics. I most definitely don't believe in them at all.

There are, in my opinion, two major problems with Putin's logic. First, Russia needs not less, but more regulation and more state control. At the very least, I really believe that the very institution of the Central Bank is a toxic one: it was created by the US-controlled Eltsin regime to subordinate Russian politics (and politicians) to the international banking cartels and we see that it works perfectly. Putin can send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico, but he is unable to remove Nabiulina, nevermind take control of the Central Bank. Nikolai Starikov has even said that there is a joke going around now saying "Putin, send the troops into the Central Bank!". That is how disgusted many Russians have become with this supra-national institution which is accountable to nobody. But there is even worse.

The choice of a free-market non-regulated "solution" basically leaves Russia fully enmeshed into the AngloZionist controlled financial system. How can Russia free herself from the "Dollar yoke" while remaining fully part of the Dollar-dominated international system?!

I have to tell you that while I gratefully posted Peter Koenig's excellent "Free Fall of the Ruble – A brilliant ploy of Russian economic Wizards? Who's chess game" this was one of those instances when I post something I find very interesting but which I do not agree with. I just don't get the sense that Putin is about to pull some clever judo-move on the western plutocrats. I most sincerely hope that I am wrong here, but that is my gut-feeling.

Generally, Putin was clearly defensive when asked questions about the Central Bank and the Government. Especially in contrast to the absolutely magnificent way he handled the questions about the Ukraine, even when asked by a very hostile Ukrainian journalist. Again, as I so often say this, I am not a mind-reader or a prophet. I cannot tell you what Putin thinks or what he will do. But I think that many years of studying the man give me a pretty decent gut feeling about him and that gut feeling tells me that while he has a clear and strong vision on international politics in general, and especially about the Ukraine, he lacks such a vision for economic problems.

For the Ukraine his position is crystal clear: "Crimea is ours forever, we will not let you crush the Donbass, we want a untied Ukraine in which the rights of all people and regions are respected and you will have to negotiate with the Novorussians who have a right of self determination" (which leaves open the possibility that while Russia might "prefer" a united Ukraine, the Novorussians have the right to decide otherwise).

Clear, direct and, I would argue, perfectly reasonable. In contrast, in economic I get a sense of faith-based politics: "market forces will correct the current artificial situation and within 2 years the crisis will be over". The problem with that is that the very same Putin ALSO says that the West is completely manipulating the markets and not allowing them to act. So what he is really saying is this: "the Empire does not have the means to artificially skew the markets for more than two years". Oh really? I am not so sure of that at all. In my book the Empire has been skewing the markets for many years already (I would argue since 1971).

Bottom line, what I hear from Putin is "more of the same" and since I don't like what I have seen so far, I can only add "only worse".

Can this nightmare be averted?
Still, the situation is not necessarily hopeless. While I think that Putin's economic policies are wrong and while I believe that the Russian Central Bank is very much part of the problem and not the solution, this is not a black and white binary kind of choice: playing by the wrong rules or on the wrong field does not necessarily mean that you will lose, only that you have made the wrong initial choice. For one thing, you can make the argument that the Ruble is a much more credible currency then the Dollar. Second, I do agree that market forces are resisting the US distortion and that the integration of China and Russia will inevitably contribute to help the Russian economy. Third, the EU is already in recession and if that get's worse, and it will, this will start pulling down many US banks who are heavily linked to the EU market. Fourth, in objective terms, Russia is sitting on a tangible fortune of natural resources and she has full access to the gigantic Chinese market. In these conditions, it is going to be awfully hard for the AngloZionists to "isolate" Russia. So, objectively, Putin is right about one thing: even if it does get worse before it gets better, it will inevitably get better.

So is Putin a genius chess player? That is not quite how I would put it. He definitely has a record of absolutely brilliant moves, but right now he is clearly struggling. I am like everybody else, I would like him to pull yet another brilliant "chess move" and stick it to the Empire but I don't see how we could do that, at least not in this point in time.

What I saw today is a Putin clearly on the defensive who had to invest a lot of his personal capital of popularity and trust. He honestly admitted that things might get worse and that there is no quick fix to the current crisis. He did commit to a time frame of 2 years which is both very shot and very long. It is plenty enough time to lose his popularity and very little time to turn around such a huge country like Russia.

The most poignant moment of the entire 3 hours came when Putin explained what was at stake today. He :

You know, at the Valdai [International Discussion] Club I gave an example of our most recognisable symbol. It is a bear protecting his taiga. You see, if we continue the analogy, sometimes I think that maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone. But no, he won't be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he's chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as – God forbid – it happens and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over (...) And then, when all the teeth and claws are torn out, the bear will be of no use at all. Perhaps they'll stuff it and that's all. So, it is not about Crimea but about us protecting our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist. That is what we should all realize.
Amazing words which fully confirm one of the most important facts of the current situation: the AngloZionist Empire and Russia are at war, a war in which either the Russian Bear will be "stuffed and that's all" or the AngloZionist Empire will crumble. This is an existential war for both sides, for the AngloZionist Empire and the Russian Civilizational Realm - one of them will defeat the other.

This is not the first time that Putin explains this, but this time I felt an urgency in his voice which I have not heard before. He was both warning the Russian people and asking for their support for him personally. My guess is that he will get it, I just don't know for how long.

The Saker

20 comments

Free Fall of the Ruble – A brilliant ploy of Russian economic Wizards? Who's chess game? by Peter Koenig

The world is still hell-bent for hydrocarbon-based energy. Russia is the world's largest producer of energy. Russia has recently announced that in the future she will no longer trade energy in US dollars, but in rubles and currencies of the trading partners. In fact, this rule will apply to all trading. Russia and China are detaching their economies from that of the West. To confirm this decision, in July 2014 Russia's Gazprom concluded a 400 billion gas deal with China, and in November this year they signed an additional slightly smaller contract – all to be nominated in rubles and yuan.

The remaining BRICS – Brazil, India and South Africa – plus the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and considered for membership since September 2014 are also India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia, with Turkey also waiting in the wings – will also trade in their local currencies, detached from the dollar-based western casino scheme. A host of other nations increasingly weary of the decay of the western financial system which they are locked into are just waiting for a new monetary scheme to emerge. So far their governments may have been afraid of the emperor's wrath – but gradually they are seeing the light. They are sensing the sham and weakness behind Obama's boisterous noise. They don't want to be sucked into the black hole, when the casino goes down the drain.

To punish Russia for Ukraine, Obama is about to sign into law major new sanctions against Russia, following Congress's unanimous passing of a recent motion to this effect. – That is what the MSM would like you to believe. It is amazing that ten months after the Washington instigated Maidan slaughter and coup where a Washington selected Nazi Government was put in place, the MSM still lies high about the origins of this government and the massacres it is committing in the eastern Ukraine Donbass area.

Congress's unanimity - what Congress and what unanimity? – Out of 425 lawmakers, only 3 were present for the vote http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40489.htm. The others may have already taken off for their year-end recess, or simply were 'ashamed' or rather afraid to object to the bill. As a matter of fact, of the three who were present to vote, two at first objected. Only after a bit of arm-twisting and what not, they were willing to say yes. This is how the 'unanimous' vote came to be, as trumpeted by the MSM – unanimous by three votes! The public at large is duped again into believing what is not.

What new sanctions does this repeatedly propagated bill entail? – It addresses mostly Russian energy companies and defense industry with regard to sales to Syria, as well more anti-Russia propaganda and 'democratization' programs in Ukraine – and Russia; all countries with the objective for regime change.

How do these sanctions affect Russia, especially since all Russian energy sales are no longer dollar denominated? – Sheer propaganda. The naked emperor once more is calling an unsubstantiated bluff. To show his western stooges who is in power. It's an ever weaker showoff.

Now – as a consequence of declining oil prices and of western 'sanctions' – of course, what else? - Russia's economy is suffering and the ruble is in free fall. Since the beginning of the year it lost about 60%; last week alone 20%. As a result and after serious consideration, says MSM, the Russian Central Bank decided a few days ago to increase the interest of reference from 10.5% to 17% to make the ruble more attractive for foreign investors. It worked only for a few hours. Raising the interbank interest was Putin's reply to Obama's bluff – feeding at the same time western illusion about Russia's decline.

The propaganda drums tell you Russia is helpless because the world has lost the last bit of confidence in President Putin – of course. Regime change is on the agenda. Mr. Putin must be blamed as the culprit, hoping to discredit him with his people. He is leading Russia into a deep recession; the worst since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The mainstream media show you interviews with average mainstreet Russians saying they have lost all their savings, their salaries and pensions are worth nothing anymore and they don't know how to survive this coming calamity.

In reality, at least 80% of the Russian population stands solidly behind Vladimir Putin. He has brought them universal education, health care and fixed infrastructure that was decaying after the fall of the Soviet Union. President Putin is literally revered as a hero by the vast majority of Russians – including the country's oligarchy.

In fact, nobody in the western economic system these days is dealing in rubles. In short-sighted connivance with Washington, the treasuries of the western vassals are releasing their ruble reserves – which Russia does not buy, thereby flooding the market. Russia not only has large dollar reserves, plus the ruble is backed by gold, a fact consistently omitted in the MSM. For now, Russia prefers to let the ruble plummet.

Under another 'arrangement' by bully Obama, Middle Eastern oil producing puppets like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are overproducing and flooding the market with petrol and gas, thereby driving the price down to the ostensible detriment of Russia and Venezuela, both countries where Washington vies for regime change. A double whammy thinks Washington, buying kudos with the stooges. The sheiks that control their energy output apparently have been promised enough goodies from Washington to bite the bullet and take their own losses.

Russia needs rubles. That's her currency. That is the currency Russia needs for future trading – detached from the western monetary system.

When Russia deems that her currency has reached rock-bottom, she will buy back cheap rubles in the market with massive amounts of dollars. Russia may then flood the western market – with dollars, and by now we know what that does to a currency – and simultaneously buy back rubles from the West. A brilliant move to reestablish Russia's currency in a new emerging monetary system – which Europe would be welcome to join, but willingly, no by Washington style arm-twisting.

Is this another precursor to war? A nuclear confrontation or Cold War II? – Precursor to a false flag attempting Moscow to fall into the trap? - Not necessarily. Russia is playing a clever chess game, diplomacy at its best. Instead of sabre rattling – Russia is coin rattling. It might lead to a western financial fiasco early in 2015 for the dollar and euro denominated economies. And the winner is…?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
86 comments

[Dec 18, 2014] Will take care of your piglets. Low price guaranteed.

Dec 17, 2014 | valery-pavlov.livejournal.com

...Have questions about our unwillingness to go to war (well, as in the USSR in June 41). Wars of the 21st century differs from wars in the 20-m and involves finances.

Action of CB small with last minute impromptu action, and not with the routine, designed in advance actions. And the search for the least damage (to throw into the furnace billions or to pay for damage from a speculative attack the same money), counterattack, etc. All this can be oput into a mathematical model and simulated. This is the work of not one Nabiullina, it is the analysis and forecast of economically tied institutes and universities

There are questions to understand - and who attacks the ruble and the official version. These futures contracts on foreign exchanges, etc, - who is this? Names, passwords, addresses.

Az for internal players there is some clarity. And even as for them, not everything is clear.

Rabbiits breaders like faithful Sancho Dima Medvedev with his statement "the ruble is clearly undervalued" on Monday and Tuesday cannot convince anyone. As before, his words had no weight. His words does not mean anything. Accordingly, it can in no way affect the financial market.

Tasks of the American PR and financial fifth columns (read American agents such as RBC , newspaper "Vedomosti", and so on) try to push the explantaion of deep slide of ruble by deep, fundamental factors. This is what Jew call chispan, but nothing suprising as this is a war against us. That is, short-term, artificially created situation which they try to sell us as the reason of changing out strategic course. While what is needed now are emergency mesures. And thatn we can talk about staragic changes.

It is the same con the was used by bandits of 1990th. Take you on speed. And who BTW were was more stupid than the American gansters who try to play this trick now. "Decide now, otherwize it will be too late".

Putin Defiant, Lashes Out At West, Tells Russians Economy May Stay Weak For Two Years

Zero Hedge
Having started at noon Moscow time (4am Eastern), Putin's annual Q&A run for a massive three and a half hours, during which the Russian leader took numerous questions from the public and as expected, reiterated the key "rally around the flag" talking points that have permeated Russian rhetoric over the past few weeks as the economic situation in Russia deteriorated.

As Bloomberg notes, the conference was attended by hundreds of reporters and carried live on television around the world, the event took on heightened importance this year as the president sought to reassure a Russian public unnerved by the ruble's plummet.

While he did acknowledge the difficult economic reality, Putin sought to reassure his countrymen that the current weakness "would last no longer than two years." Putin promptly pivoted against the west and accused the U.S. and European Union of trying to undermine his country and blaming external factors for the sharp plunge in the ruble, notably the drop in oil saying that "the economy will naturally adapt to the new conditions of low oil prices."

... ... ....

He accused the West of building up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization toward Russia's borders and expanding an antimissile systems.

"It's not a matter of Crimea. We are defending our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist, we should all understand this," he said later in response to a question about whether the current economic troubles were "payment for Crimea."

In tough language, Mr. Putin returned to an analogy he'd used earlier this fall, comparing Russia to a bear in the Siberian Taiga wilderness, saying it was naive to hope that the West would leave Russia alone.

"They will always try to put it in chains and once they have it in chains, they will take out its teeth and claws, which in this case means our strategic nuclear deterrent," he said. "Once they've got the Taiga, they won't need the bear," he said, accusing Western leaders of saying publicly that Russia should be deprived of its vast natural resources.

Asked about tensions with the West, Putin struck a harsh tone, accusing it of seeking to subdue and disarm Russia. Acknowledging that Western sanctions over the country's role in Ukraine were biting, he said the current economic troubles "are payment for our independence, our sovereignty."

... Putin again accused the U.S. and European Union of using the Ukraine conflict as way to contain Russia as they have done since the end of the Cold War through the expansion of NATO, comparing the current situation to a new division akin to the Berlin Wall.

"This is payback for our natural desire to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization and state," Putin said. "The crisis in Ukraine should make our partners understand that it's time to stop building walls."

drendebe10

..3 1/2 hours... no teleprompter no doubt... could anyone imagine the most transparent corrupt incompetent arrogant narcissistic illegal indonesian kenyan alien muslim sociopathic pathological liar in chief fudgepacker doing that.... har de har har har....

Silky Johnson

That guy is on point. He's not mealy mouthed or vague. He tells them there is going to be pain and the reason for it. That's a dude!

Arius

Somewhat ironically, Putin said that Russia shouldn't waste currency reserves protecting the ruble as the country prepares for a downturn brought on by the collapse of the oil price and sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, he said.

"Under the most negative external economic scenario, this situation can last two years," Putin said. "If the situation is very bad, we will have to change our plans, cut some things."

This doesnt sounds like someone in a rush to sell ... in exchange for your trouble of typing a few zeros in your laptop

Torgo

To paraphrase Amon Amarth: His spirit was forged in snow and ice to bend like steel forged over fire. He was not made to bend like a reed nor to turn the other cheek.

McCormick No. 9

A free-flowing, non-rehearsed press conference...Who can remain unimpressed?

Meanwhile Obama waits until the last minute to free Cuba, something he should have done with courage the one minute into 2008. Since Obama is on the way out, here's a preview of how to compare Hillabitch to Putin, or Jubhead to Putin:

Hillabitch: What did you say? Guards take that man away! I never want to see him alive again!

Jubhead: I can't answer that question, as my interactive response algorythm seems to be breaking down into pure jibberish.

HardAssets

Even for us who don't speak Russian . . . you can watch the man's body language and you get the sense that its no bullshit when he talks.

The difference appears to be that the Russian leadership cares about their country and its people. Russia has gone through hell over the centuries.

With American 'leadership' it all seems to be about disdain for, lies to, and the intentional destruction of the citizenry in order to deflect attention from that 'leadership' when everything inevitably collapses.

Day_Of_The_Tentacle

I watched it all live despite my ever instant nausea, when it comes to anything remotely related to politicians. He did a very good job. Including when asked less pleasant and quite critical questions. Including when asked frivolous privacy prying questions. Including when asked ridiculously longwinded and fuzzy questions. Including when asked questions of populist and incendiary nature. Including when asked questions with extreme emotional charge due to recent tragedy and deaths. Good job.

Edit: And I agree with others. There were no lashing out or flailing arms at all. There were a few well articulated uppercuts with a quick series of jabs in the middle prompted by chosen questioners - but those jabs were completely deserved. I would not have been able to stay that cool on those particular subjects.

ebworthen

"It's not a matter of Crimea. We are defending our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist, we should all understand this,"

BINGO! Putin is not going anywhere. He makes our leaders look like spoiled kids at a Chuck E. Cheese b-day party.

blaireauhedge

De Gaulle from France used to do that. No prompter. Not notes. He would throw dates, statistics, litterary and historic quotes, etc. at journalists. It was something else. And all done in absolutely perfect, classic French.

Find me ANYBODY in the western world that could do that today.

I can't speak for Putin's Russian (its style), but he does seem to have a great grasp of a wide array of topics.

Bollixed

When you don't tell lies it's easy to remember how the story goes. When everything is spun the stories never match across scripts. Is it any wonder all we get is gibberish out of our leaders? For them the events change faster than their writers/propaganders can keep up with. Trying to balance all the lies across so many scenarios is a hard task. Actually, it's a fool's errand.

Son of Captain Nemo

Find me ANYBODY in the western world that could do that today.

De Gaulle is dead and all that is left are politicans that clutch teleprompters like "gy gy blankets"... More importantly what does it say about the rest of us who allow them to become our leaders when they are incapable of holding a thought in their head for more than 2 minutes that requires assistance!

They are a lost breed, and once they are gone they are near impossible to get back!

taraxias

He handled himself extremely well as any great leader would but this man didn't just read The Art Of War, he lives it everyday. It's what he didn't say that's the real bitch. Blowback is in the works for the US and its puppet allies. I don't know how, when or where but you can count on it. I suspect not too long from now either.

blaireauhedge

I did not find him "defiant" at all.

And much to the dismay of those who support him, and I'm actually one of them, he absolutely did NOT lash out at the west.

At some point this site will have lost all credibility.

Kinskian

"This is payback for our natural desire to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization and state," Putin said.

Note that he did not say "as a people". I like Putin, but in the end he's just holding out for a more senior position in the JWO.

Son of Captain Nemo

In the end m g we either understand our history, our direction, purpose and the current state we have created for ourselves.

Good or bad choices we're eventually forced to pick a side.

I used Putin's quote about the wall because it speaks so enduringly to Russia's history and the fact that Western Europe has always been antagonistic towards it -like that fact or not. Pick a timeline starting with Napoleon, "charge of the light brigades", WWI, WWII and you get a " Defensive Wall" when your adversary who you helped win the war that should have ended all wars with 20 million of your own countrymen dead after they declare victory turns around and threatens you!

Less than 40 years later that Defensive Wall comes down and gives way to detente which allegedly begins only to make way for an "Offensive Wall" by the same cast of characters that made you their enemy 69 years earlier after they helped you win that "war to end all wars"?...

Needless to say I picked my side and know a winner when I see one!

[Dec 18, 2014] An economic cold wind -- if not war -- can be felt in Europe

August 1, 2014 | CNN.com

If you're still querying any economic freeze between Russia and the West, digest this line from VTB bank the day Europe's sanctions took effect: The European Union "have gone against their own interests to do the bidding of their senior colleagues from across the ocean," the Russian financial giant said.

That's a publicly-traded, Western-style bank bluntly calling European governments lapdogs of the U.S. It's not a statement likely to win Western business in the future.

.... ... ...

But European companies are suffering. Adidas is closing stores in Russia in anticipation of deteriorating sales. Volkswagen and Renault have already noted a slowdown that pre-dates the sanctions. Industrial and engineering giant Siemens has said it sees a "serious risk" to European growth as a result of the sanctions.

... ... ...

I do wonder if changing sentiment will generate the most long-term pain between Europe and Russia. More sectors could be hit as financiers fear future sanctions and retaliation from Moscow, deals could dry up and finance could flee. That, in turn, could put a chill on European firms doing deals in Russia even if they are is not impacted by sanctions.

An economic cold wind, if not war, is certainly blowing through the financial capitals of Europe.

[Dec 15, 2014] ​Sorry, Putin. Russia's economy is doomed

The quality of the USA comments suggests that the USA would be much better off staying British colony. Compare with Guardian comment section or Telegraph...
December 15, 2014 | The Washington Post

A funny thing happened on the way to Vladimir Putin running strategic laps around the West. Russia's economy imploded.

The latest news is that Russia's central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 percent at an emergency 1 a.m. meeting in an attempt to stop the ruble, which is down 50 percent on the year against the dollar, from falling any further. It's a desperate move to save Russia's currency that comes at the cost of sacrificing Russia's economy.

Sim Gu, 12/21/2014 9:23 AM EST

Ukrainian Major and military expert Oleksandr Taran who's been on the "enemy" territory and drove about 300km in current conflict zones says that he did see Cossacks and volunteers that came from Russia fighting on the militia's side, but didn't see any regular Russian military units. He also says that the Ukrainian government and security services act like terrorists.

Ukrainian TV channel "Espreso.TV". November 24, 2014. English subtitles.
http://youtu.be/wFgC4e2OdeU

Sim Gu, 12/21/2014 9:13 AM EST

Russia will be able to overcome economic problems - Chinese Foreign Minister
Economy
December 21, 15:44 UTC+3
"If the Russian side needs it, we shall offer all possible support we may have," the foreign minister said.

Atanesyan Artur, 12/19/2014 11:20 AM EST

Germany started World War II.
The US used nuclear weapons in Japan.
Russia has saved the world from fascism!

Ettore Murabito, 12/17/2014 12:43 PM EST

I don't think this article grasp the real deal here. A more insightful analysis is provided here:

What America Does Not Understand About Russia & Oil Zero Hedge

A (very) week ruble may serve Russia's interest right now.

Maria Radkevich, 12/17/2014 10:15 AM EST

It was good that the American establishment does not understand Russian. And all because of ignorance and lack of understanding of history that not everyone in this world is driven by money ... The paradigm of development in Russia is fundamentally different from the Anglo-Saxon. You capture territory and start to rob her. So believes that the more grip, the more you earn ... In Russia, everything develops completely different. Our country is attacked from outside enemies. Arrange the atrocities and war crimes, but in the end are completely destroyed. To make it clear in 1610 - the invasion of Poles in Russia and the capture of Moscow. In 1612, the people raised a general uprising and drove the Polish and Swedish invaders, as well as the democratic choice made on the basis of the ruling dynasty all secret and equal suffrage. Was chosen by an electoral college, and she was the king. 1740 - War with Prussia 1812 - Napoleon's invasion, 1914 - The Great War (salvation from taking Paris by the Germans), 1922- invasion of Poland, 1941 - Hitler's invasion ... And we beat all ... except that in 1918 there were problems of -this actions of Wall Street when they prepay Lenin and his gang. So, when we chased the enemy, we instead otbrat they all began to support them, gave money, creating industry, given education and science ... For example the Baltic republics (illegally created by the German command in all occupational 1918). After returning from the part of Russia for these plants were built, to create a high-tech production, all the conditions for national development. Warsaw Pact countries ... Denial of reparations from the German Democratic Republic and the restoration of their industry and the economy. Hungary - the same as Bulgaria, again, the same as Poland, so there were also spent huge amounts of money for the restoration. Recent history - Afghanistan - the creation of modern industry and the secular state, the elimination of Islamic terrorists bombed ...

Mariia Kobzeva, 12/17/2014 5:35 AM EST

US trying to implement their actions a coup in Russia. Dear Americans, tell your president that he will not succeed. We survived and in the worst of times. We are Russians - you do not understand. Let the euro and the dollar even fly into space, we will go to the village, dig potatoes, and will enjoy Smile

Todd Ojala, 12/17/2014 11:35 AM EST

The problem with trying to reason with Americans, Mariia, is that they are both stupid and uninformed. Or rather, they are informed only by the fake hyper-reality of the media... that is, claims are believed simply because they appear in the lying media. Tell Putin and your leaders that you must completely disengage from the dollar system, and create a completely separate, parallel system of currencies with China and the BRICs. De-dollarization is necessary for any nation or block of nations that wishes to enjoy sovereignty. The dollar's reserve currency status is a weapon that the Anglo-zionists will use mercilessly until they destroy the dollar's reserve status. Use the current crisis to motivate your people. The world's defense against the neo-fascism of the EU and USA depend on it.

dimitrovgrad, 12/17/2014 4:11 AM EST

It's true that the US plays dirty economic games and uses economy as a geopolitical tool against Russia. Ukraine was a part of the USSR. The US says Russia can't meddle in Ukraine but what did they do in february, when Kiev was called Nulandistan and the democratically elected president was evicted? Surely enough the US is mad at Russia for more than one reason. They blocked attempts to bomb Syria into submission and bring jihadi's to power there, and they gave shelter to political refugees such as Snowdon. They annoyed "the empire", as the US is called in Latin America.

Fine, but on the long term this is not going to make the US any more popular in Russia. People will remember. And by the way if Putin falls down, the ones replacing him are more than likely the communists, the only credible opposition. They urge for even closer ties to China. On the long run US policy is counterproductive, as was their aggressive policy in Afghanistan in the 80's, hich resulted in 9/11...

cesaralvarezmoreno, 12/16/2014 9:31 PM EST

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Russians; they have an uncanny way of overcoming adversity. All you have to do is look at the 20th century. Three times they were attacked by the West; first by Germany in 1914 during the First World War; ; second by the United States and Britain in 1919 after the Bolshevik Revolution against the capitalist and imperial government, and the Russians pulling out of the war, after the Germans failed to defeat them, then again by the Germans during World War II. Each time they defeated their adversaries and by a huge margin. Six out of every 10 German soldiers, pilots and seamen who were wounded or killed during the Second World War was on the so-called Russian Front, in reality the Soviet Union front.

They have an uncanny ability to pull together and confront adversity when they are under threat. It's been a long time since those earlier exploits; rather than count them out, let's see how they respond to the coordinated challenge directed at them by the European Union and the United States over their defense of their sphere of influence in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

The United States wouldn't for more than a minute or two allow Russia to step into Mexico or Canada and overthrow that government. But it's ok if John McCain and other congressmen go to Ukraine and foment insurrection.

The Russians may have to respond

Alfonso Galindo, 12/16/2014 7:19 PM EST

US Federal Reserve only has a basic capital ratio of 1.26%. Talk about razor thin. (This is down from 4.5% just a few years ago)
That means if the value of the Fed's assets declines by only 1.26%, the issuer of the world's dominant reserve currency becomes insolvent.
Now, what happens to the liabilities of an insolvent entity? They decrease in value. Just like how Greek bonds (the liabilities of the Greek government) collapsed a few years ago.
What are the Fed's liabilities? Open your wallet. Those green pieces of paper aren't 'dollars'. Just look. They have "Federal Reserve Note" (i.e. debt) printed on them.
So the Fed's pitiful financial condition directly affects the value of the dollar over the long-term.
On the other hand, the Russian central bank's ratio is 12.5%-literally almost TEN TIMES GREATER than the Fed.
central bank's GOLD reserves as a percentage of the money supply, i.e. how much gold backs the money supply.

In Russia, it's 6.2%. And rising. Last year it was 5.5%, and the central bank is continuing to heavily stockpile more.

How much gold backs the dollar?

Precisely zero point zero percent. Zilch. NADA

Moderate312, 12/16/2014 6:51 PM EST

Just like the 1980s--we don't need bombs and troops. Well just destroy you economically. Boy I bet those people in the Crime would like a re-do.

DragonStrike, 12/16/2014 6:49 PM EST

God, americans truly are incompatible with logic. Just in case, the following info. you can easily google'up if you want to.But i encourage you to do so, for self-educational reasons.
Russia is leading in space programme, owns 60% of ISS, and still helping US with their space programme.
Russia beating US in warpower,"Nuclear shield",and nuclear weapon stockpile
Russia has much lesser government debt than US.
Russian economy is 5th largest in the world, 30 places up in the rating since 2005, you can't do that with only just oil.
Russia have much more highly-educated people than the U.S.
Which makes it the most educated country in the world.
Russia is still the most powerfull and influential country.
You should reconsider your opinions, and accept the fact, that Russia is not that weak-post-USSR country, Russia ruled USSR, Russia survived after it's fall, Russia rised up, and going to return the title of superpower country.
So it's pretty funny though, to read your absolutely stupid comments, well, nice time to you, americans..Or mexicans...i think they're making the top etnicity in america.

AmbassadorIII, 12/16/2014 6:37 PM EST

By the way, Matt please get your facts straight. Russia did not invade Ukraine. And Russia entered Tskhinvali only after 150 of its peacekeepers were butchered and the US puppet regime in Georgia began its genocide. The European commission that investigated the events confirmed as much. The rehash of incorrect White House propaganda is fatiguing.

thump41, 12/16/2014 6:38 PM EST

AmbassadorIII
6:29 PM EST
The US will end up falling on its own sword. Russia will exit the Fed system and take with it most of the world. With the debt being what it is Russia's exit will mean the collapse of the US dollar.
____________________________________________________

Who are you trying to convince of this?

Archy Bunka, 12/16/2014 6:27 PM EST

You may not like this idea but, it is an important time now for Obama to reach out to Russia, and let them know we are not reveling in their downspin.

Hard times makes for desperation and drastic acts, we have had enough of those the last few months. A statesman would do this.

Certainlyso, 12/16/2014 6:28 PM EST

I completely agree. A failed nuclear state is not a good option.

Archy Bunka, 12/16/2014 6:28 PM EST

Will we be screwed again, probably, but that beats a war.

Russian2014, 12/16/2014 6:35 PM EST

I have to say that people sometimes blame US for everything, these russian people are wise enough to see the root cause of the problems in our own economy. Putin or government may of course point fingers to US or EU, but do not underestimate average russian. So, no hard feelings, actually. We surely might work on our economy more during previous 15 years and be prepared better. In a way, this average russians even supports sanctions and visa bans to some of our oligarkhs, because they are really greedy and stupid.

[Dec 15, 2014] These are lies the New York Times wants you to believe about Russia by Patrick L. Smith

Dec 10, 2014 | salon.com

Our sanctions caused Russia's downturn. They protect Big Oil, the well-connected, and make the world more dangerous Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, looks back at US President Barack Obama, left, as they arrive with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, at the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.(Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

You can look at the Russian economy two ways now and you should. So let's: It is an important moment in the destruction of something and the construction of something else, and we had better be clear just what in both cases. The world we live in changes shape as we speak.

Holiday surprise: There is a Truth No. 3 and it is this: Truth No. 1, the siege of the Russian economy, is proving a significant catalyst in the advance of Truth No. 2, the creative response of a nation under ever-mounting pressure.

Timothy Snyder, the Yale professor whose nitwittery on the Ukraine crisis is simply nonpareil (and praise heaven he has gone quiet), exclaimed some months ago that Putin is threatening to undermine the entire postwar order. I replied in this space the following week, Gee, if only it were so.

Already it seems to be. But miss this not: Russia is advancing this world-historical turn with a considerable assist from its adversaries in the West, not alone. For all the pseuds who pretend to know Schumpeter but know only one thing, the creative destruction bit, how is this as a prime example of the phenom?

Details in a sec, but this thought first: We are all bound to pay close attention to these events because they matter to everyone, whether this is yet obvious or not. Probably in our lifetimes - and I had it further out until recently - we will begin to inhabit a different planet.

And it stands to be a better one, if you accept that equilibrium, interdependence, cooperation and all those other notions Washington is frightened to death of will make for a more secure world than our lopsided primacy, incessant confrontations, drone murders, waterboarding, nuclear arsenals and the National Endowment for Democracy's subversions will ever deliver for us.

How much more capable, equally, will be a human community that addresses its problems with the wisdom not of one civilization, which happened by historical circumstance to modernize in the material sphere before others, but with the smarts and imaginations and perspectives of many?

Those details come in flurries now and fall into two files, destruction and construction. To the former first.

The economics ministry in Moscow has just forecast a swoon in its outlook for 2015. On a dime, it shifts from a prediction of 1.2 percent growth to 0.8 percent contraction. The math is easy: This is a rip of 2 percentage points right out of Russia's middle. No sentient American should have any difficulty understanding what these numbers will mean to many millions of ordinary Russians.

The ministry's report is the first to anticipate the consequences of the several rounds of sanctions imposed this year, the 34 percent drop in the ruble's value this year and the collapse in oil prices. The last are now far below what Russia needs - about $105 a barrel - if the petroleum sector is to contribute to national revenues. As detailed in this space a few weeks ago, there are ample grounds to question whether price patterns in global oil markets are the consequence of American manipulations.

As to the ruble, we saw this coming months ago as reports of "silent sanctions," as financial services people call them, began to come through. Off-the-books sanctions is the better term. A few at a time - HSBC, Lloyd's - banks began denying credit to Russian enterprises; as documented, these decisions were at the Treasury Department's informal urging.

Reflecting the creep of interdependence in the global economy, financing from Western banks is vital to Russian corporations of all sizes. At this point, my sources in the markets tell me, the spigot is off: Credit and all customary loan rollovers are virtually unavailable across the board.

This is the anatomy of much suffering that is about to get done. Is the course wise? Is there a point? Is it other than ridiculous to posit some "net-positive" justification for this?

I see nothing good in this whatsoever. I see recklessness.

Think of it this way, as an old friend from Asia days suggests. Currency speculators abandoned the Thai baht en masse in 1997 and before we knew it Thailand had dragged all of East Asia into prolonged crisis. Remember? Now consider the size of the Thai economy - tiny in the scheme of things, and heavily agricultural still.

Now consider the size of the Russian economy. It is the world's No. 2 producer of natural gas and No. 3 producer of oil. In terms of nominal gross domestic product - standard measure - Russia's economy, at $2.1 trillion, is slightly larger than Italy's. Another measure, purchasing power parity, values Russia's economy at $3.5 trillion, but never mind: Even by nominal GDP, Russia is the world's No. 8 economic power.

Comfortable now with the sanctions regime, are we?

The cliques in Washington are because the U.S. trades very little with Russia and they have no grasp of limits of any kind. This is cynicism made flesh when you consider Europe's vulnerabilities. The contagious economic and social crisis is already spreading to nations near Russia's borders.

As Germans and other Europeans understand, take down this beast and the blood will spatter everywhere. Now you can see, maybe, why one consequence of the Ukraine crisis is a serious deterioration of relations between America and those known as "the allies," a term that has masked many complications since the Cold War's onset.

As to the point of it all, it gets bitterer the more we learn of Ukraine and its arriving future.

Long ago, an English diplomat in Tokyo wrote to his Foreign Office in London, "The Japanese can neither love the Americans nor endure being loved by them." It is dead on the fate of Ukrainians so far as one can make out. All signs are they are in for the suffocating embrace. Here comes the neoliberal order. It will be very weird to watch.

My jaw hit the corner of my desk when I read last week that Ukraine's new finance minister, one Natalie Jaresko, is 1) an American citizen, granted a Ukraine passport simultaneously with her cabinet appointment, 2) a former State Department officer, 3) recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in that $5 billion Victoria Nuland famously bragged of spending in State's effort to yank Ukraine westward and 4) a participant in apparently extensive insider dealing via the investment management company she co-founded after leaving State.

Get this:

Jaresko served as president and chief executive officer of Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development with $150 million to spur business activity in Ukraine. She also was co-founder and managing partner of Horizon Capital, which managed WNISEF's investments at a rate of 2 percent to 2.5 percent of committed capital, fees exceeding $1 million in recent years, according to WNISEF's 2012 annual report.

Her title at Horizon Capital must be CCIO, chief conflict of interest officer.

Full credit, given with gusto: The above passage is from the long exposé of this sordid business by Robert Parry, whose work on Ukraine is invaluable. Read this piece here: a riveting read covering a tangled web. Parry, in turn, cites John Hellmer, a former Moscow correspondent who recently explored Jaresko's story as State Department official (and diplomat in post-Soviet Kiev) turned recipient of USAID funds.

Surely this is the right person to regulate Ukraine's financial markets, counter corruption with archangelic purpose and negotiate with Washington, the Europeans and the IMF in behalf of Ukrainians' interests. No wonder the parliament in Kiev erupted when Jaresko's appointment was announced.

Footnote here: That $150 million fund State handed Jaresko has lost more than a third of its value since the Ukrainian economy tanked. As she steps into office, Kiev's foreign reserves are down to $10 billion and shrinking, while inflation roars at 22 percent.

My jaw has been bruised, to be honest, since, as the Ukraine crisis got hot, Vice President Biden's son, R. Hunter, was named to the board of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine's No. 1 producer of natural gas. I cannot make out who is the chief conflict of interest officer here, Joe or the boy.

News comes of our Hunter, it turns out. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that he was bounced from the U.S. Navy Reserve earlier this year after a positive drug test. If the 44-year-old were Ukrainian (or any other nationality) and had been so charged, he would not be allowed into this country. This is the kind of person America is now happy to send abroad.

More substantively, Burisma announced last month that it will now commence drilling near Slavyansk, where Ukrainian troops have been dodging bullets while installing the company's hydraulic fracturing equipment. Slavyansk, alert readers will recall, was the object of three months' sustained bombing and artillery shelling prior to this announcement.

Overseeing all this is Jaresko and - second of three foreigners named to a new cabinet - Aivaras Abromavicius, a Lithuanian and a partner in an asset-management firm called East Capital. He will be the incoming economy minister, such as there is an economy.

Why these foreigners? In my read, Biden is a straight-out emissary sent to shepherd American corporations into the resource game via joint ventures or what have you, we will have to see, and the others are roughly the equivalent of compradors - in effect, bought-off locals.

Here is a tableau worth a moment's consideration: Over here, Vicky Nuland stands before a Chevron plaque as she explains to business executives how well the $5 billion was spent. Here we have Hunter Biden doing Burisma's legal work. Over here we have a small-town mayor in Romania who is run out of town for selling Chevron a fracking lease. (This you can read of in the Times.) And over there, also in the Times report, we have the Lithuanians forcing Chevron to abandon a shale-drilling project after widespread demonstrations opposing it.

You want to know why I hold the neoliberal agenda and those who advance it in contempt? This is why. We watch a corporate shark-feed. It has nothing to do with democracy. There is nothing in this for Ukrainians. They are about to hear their first lectures on the virtues of "austerity."

I have three remarks.

One, the greed at the cost of human life and society is so brazen here it causes me to stop typing to reread the sentences. Can market-consciousness have brought us this low?

Two, please count the number of times you have read the words "Chevron," "Burisma" or "shale-gas interests" in any account of Ukraine by correspondents covering it. I can find no mention of any from those in the field. This is "the power of leaving out," as I often put it, in spades. I rest the case (for now).

Three, there is a deeper tragedy. Ukrainians live between East and West. This is not only a matter of geography: There is among them a mix of Eastern consciousness and Western consciousness. Accordingly, they had a chance to stand as the very best the new century offers us, a planet whose old divisions could be erased in favor of a more fulsome idea of the successful society and its potential.

This chance is now all but lost - destroyed by those who resisted it.

What I find remarkable now is that Moscow does not seem to be taking Ukraine's misfortune and the West's aggressions against Russia itself passively - or even negatively, for that matter. So we pass from the destructive file to the constructive.

Neil MacFarquhar, a standout in the New York Times' Moscow bureau for his full-frontal prejudices, gave as negative an account as he could when he covered Putin's year-end address. I had another read. This guy is bloodied, O.K., but he is not bowed, and I would advise against waiting for it.

I did like the Times' head, parenthetically: "Putin, Amid Stark Challenges, Says Russia's Destiny Is at Hand." Without going histrionic, that is likely to prove precisely what is at hand. My favorite MacFarquhar sentence: "Mr. Putin enjoyed ever-greater support from March to August, but in the months since, as sanctions began to bite with inflation, support began to erode - though his approval ratings remain in the 80s."

You have to love a paper that will publish this. Somehow.

Look at Putin's foreign agenda this past year: Latin America just as the sanctions came in - an intentional finger in Washington's eye, as I read it - then China, China again recently, Turkey more recently, India just now. He has not been to Iran, but there, as in all these other places, he has forged or reiterated promising relations. The deals cut are too numerous to list.

A couple are worth mentioning. The twin gas deals with China, worth nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars, are historic all by themselves. In six years' time China will be buying more gas from Russia than the latter now sells to Europe. And do not miss this: My sources tell me that this gas can be priced such as to crowd the U.S. at least partially out of the Asian market.

Other side of the world: Putin has just canceled a planned pipeline to southeastern Europe, the South Stream. This is the defeat Western media put it over as, surely: Russia loses some customers. But two points: One, it was soon enough clear that the Europeans, having used South Stream as leverage in the sanctions game, probably overplayed their hand. The day following the announcement they were struggling for composure so far as I can make out.

Two, Putin stunned everyone with his decision from Ankara, where he stood with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to announce that South Stream would be rerouted to serve the Turkish market. Think about this: It is more than a new deal; there are significant political and diplomatic implications in this, given Turkey's traditional alliances, its EU aspirations and so on.

This is the way the world changes shape, the way new worlds get built. Think of these new ties in terms of the old trade routes. Many things other than goods traveled along them. As then, the traffic will run in both directions, making our latest globalization the two-way street it should have been from the first.

One could say it is not the West's world any longer, and I called it "post-Western" in a book several years ago. This is not quite so. It is ours, but only to the extent that it is destined to be everybody's, if I read history rightly. As an American, my biggest regret on this score - apart from all the suffering caused in our names - is that my country seems bent on doing almost everything it can to lose out on a great deal of what would be its share in the arriving era; this in the name of prolonging a time that is no longer.

Patrick Smith is the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century." He was the International Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote "Letter from Tokyo" for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

[Dec 11, 2014] At the root of all this is the USA's belief that it has the God-given right to punish those whom it considers miscreants under the banner of "freedom" and "democracy".

Moscow Exile. December 11, 2014 at 6:41 am
RT is full of US trolls yucking it up at the present trials of the struggling ruble and rejoicing at the prospect of abject poverty in Russia because of the Evil One's policies and the Home of the Brave's rightful retaliation… and the misery that they hope it will cause. (No mention, of course, that Banderastan is now in the knacker's yard.)

At the root of all this is the USA's belief that it has the God-given right to punish those whom it considers miscreants, assuming this right from its self-appointed moral high ground, where there flutters the banner of "freedom" and "democracy".

The USA only punishes – physically punishes – those who it knows cannot retaliate: Iraq, Libya and Serbia have all been attacked from afar with aerial bombardment and with seeming impunity, albeit the seemingly backward, peasant European Serbs managed to down one of their super, state-of-the-art, can't-be-seen aircraft.

And then it came to "punishing" Assad of Syria in like manner – as a "warning" – and in stepped Russia.

In O'Bummer's words, Russia crossed the red line – and the US government chickened out.

They won't admit that, of course, but they know that Russian can and would retaliate in kind if need be.

And if there's one thing that the USA hates more than anything else in the world, it's the label "loser" and Russia must be punished for its effrontery and its shaming of the USA on the world stage.

But how to punish the Empire of Evil?

The reason why no punishment missiles have been launched from US warships in the Black Sea, why no bombardment of Russian military establishments by units of the USAF scattered around Russia's borders have taken place is simply because the bully knows that the Russians will return any such blow meted out to them – and in trumps, because the Russian military, unlike the US and other Western armed forces is – and always has been – willing to suffer losses in order to achieve its aims. The Russian military has long had a tradition similar to that of Bushido: a soldier's duty is to die and for that reason he must always be ready to meet death.

Western generals, however, don't like the idea of their soldiers dying – because these Western powers, it is maintained, are "democracies", where the public at large would not tolerate a stream of body-bags coming home. That's why there are none of these much talked about boots on the ground, US personnel for the use of: if the much vaunted US Marines dared to land, say, in the Crimea, there would be no shilly-shallying in response from the Russian forces there.

And so we have economic warfare: firstly, because of the logistical problems that the US military and its lick-spittle European underlings would face in delivering sufficient military force to engage with the Russians and secondly, because they cannot launch their wonderful drones, cruise missiles, stealth bombers etc. against Russia without suffering retaliation.

So brave with Afghans, Libyans, Iraqis, Serbs – but with the Russians? It seems not.

So economic warfare it is, and the target is the lifeblood of the Russian economy: oil.

(Well, crude oil is not the lifeblood, as a matter of fact: natural gas has that honour – but the US has this thing, as voiced by idiot senator McCain, about Russia being just one big "gas station" – that's "gas" as used in the US vernacular, meaning gasoline – and that those dumb Russians are incapeable of manufacturing anything of value and that their military is totally useless and has outdated, crappy weaponry.)

So they have had to resort to striking a deal with their sodomist, misogynist, paederast, fornicating – you name it, they do it around the world's fleshpots – so-called princes of the family Saud in order to "punish" Russsia.

But they won't come out fighting.

Losers!

dany8538, December 11, 2014 at 7:03 am
I couldn't agree more, especially with your assertion about the american belief in the god-given right to govern the planet as they see fit. I believe this american exceptionalism is one of the root causes for the death and destruction we have seen in the past 20 or so years. Putin pointed out this idea of exceptionalism in the new york times and we all saw what the response to that op-ed was. Americans responded not by saying that Putin is wrong and at least pretend that they dont believe in it, on the contrary, they screamed "How dare he!!!!???" while arrogantly and openly supporting this idea of exceptionalism.
james, December 11, 2014 at 9:40 am
i agree with moscow exiles overview.. i would suggest that the reason the us is able to bully others financially is because the world financial structure definitely needs to change whereby one nation's currency is not allowed to be the de facto world currency. this is all about power and obviously there are those with the power unwilling to relinquish it.. just how this changes is anyone's guess, but it's important to realize just how central finances and the world financial system is to what is taking place today.. why fight a physical war when you can do it via finances?
patient observer, December 11, 2014 at 3:10 pm
Agreed with everything you wrote. I would add that another reason why the US does not directly challenge Russia is to maintain its mythical invulnerability and overwhelming military superiority nurtured by 3rd world cakewalks, Hollywood movies and video games in order to 1) keep the US population convinced that overseas wars will never have blow-back (i.e. murder with impunity) and 2) cower any country with aspirations for freedom.

Even a small military confrontation with Russia that ends in a US defeat would have repercussions far beyond the tactical losses. The US would be compelled to double down risking an even great loss. We have become slaves to our cultivated arrogance.

When you squint your eyes just right, the US appears to be nothing more a mafia state using a mixture of intimidation to those who may resist and crumbs for those who comply.

Analysts Have No Idea How The Russian Central Bank Plans To Rescue The Troubled Rouble On Thursday

Just two days before the Russian Central Bank is scheduled to a hold a meeting to set interest rates, analysts' forecasts about the bank's plan to rescue the rouble are all over the place.

Market analysts are forecasting a hike of the central bank's key interest rate of 9.5% by anything from 25 basis points to as much as 250 basis points, according to the Wall Street Journal. That is, people are expecting anything from 9.75% to 12%!

Inflation in Russia hit 9.1% last month as sanctions on imports and the collapsing rouble drove up prices in the country. The Economic Development Ministry is forecasting that prices are unlikely to level off until at least the end of the first quarter of 2015.

The rate of price rises and ongoing falls in the value of the currency has put pressure on the central bank to increase interest rates in order to slow the pace of spending in the economy by encouraging people to save more of their money. However doing so risks worsening the already parlous state of Russia's economy, which is now expected to fall into a recession next year.

Piotr Matys, rates strategist at Rabobank, is one of the outliers and is quoted as saying that he expects the Bank of Russia to raise rates sharply despite the risks to the economy (emphasis added).

"I expect the Bank of Russia to raise its base rate to 12% from 9.5%. The rouble rout not only worsened the outlook for inflation, but more importantly poses a major threat to financial stability in Russia. Fairly aggressive interest rate hikes should prove a far more efficient tool to finally discourage speculators and stabilise the battered rouble rather than large scale FX interventions. Admittedly, such a strong dose of monetary policy tightening would have serious negative implications for the Russian economy. However, at this stage of the crisis stabilising the rouble should be priority with the economy already heading for a recession."

And he is not alone in expecting a sharp hike. Tatiana Orlova, Russia economist at RBS, and Per Hammarlund, emerging markets strategist at SEB, also expect a sharp increase in rates, albeit only to 11%.

The problem is that the central bank has tried to use shock tactics before to limited effect. At the end of October it raised rates from 8% to 9.5% in a widely unexpected gamble that higher rates will halt the rouble's slide against the dollar and the euro. Unfortunately, while the economic outlook certainly declined as expected the move failed to prevent the rouble from sliding.

The central bank has admitted that it has been forced to intervene again in currency markets spending over $1.9 billion on Monday. So far in December it has spent over $4.5 billion in an attempt to prop up the currency, despite announcing the "abandonment of unlimited foreign exchange interventions" last month.

One dollar would have bought you around 46 roubles a month ago. The same amount will now buy you 54.

[Dec 08, 2014] ​US seeks to overthrow political leadership in Russia - Foreign Ministry

RT News

By imposing sanctions on Moscow, the US aims to change the political leadership, says the Russian Foreign Ministry, adding that Washington is "twisting the arms" of its allies so that they can continue an "anti-Russian front."

"Behind the formally-declared aim to make us alter our position towards Ukraine, [we] see the [US] plan to form social and economic conditions to change leadership in Russia," said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

According to Ryabkov, first of all Western countries wanted "to punish" Russia for "free will of people in Crimea and [the city of] Sevastopol," who in a March referendum decided to separate from Ukraine and to join Russia.

Then they decided "that Russia has to, according to US opinion, totally change course towards the Kiev authorities and Eastern Ukraine in general, and to re-evaluate its foreign policy," he said.

Ryabkov noted that apart from plans to destabilize Moscow leadership, US are "twisting arms" of their own allies so that they could continue "Anti-Russian front" and follow US policies on sanctions against Russia.

"But the US is not ashamed of insisting on cooperation with us [Russia] on matters affecting its own interests," he said. He used the example of the Iranian nuclear talks, in which both Russia and the US take part.

... ... ...

Ryabkov doesn't exclude that there will be further complications with the US in the future.

Moscow is "trying hard to stabilize relations" with Washington, but the resolution is a barometer of quite different attitude in the US towards Russia, he added.

"We are not ready to make concessions to the US on principal questions, but we are ready and will be looking for the balance of interests and common denominator where it is possible," he said.

[Dec 08, 2014] What Comes After Putin Could Be Worse

Pretty clueless for the voice on NY bankers... I think this was written by Victoria Nuland or her husband Robert Kogan ;-). and again they want regime change. Kick in a chin compradors got in 2012 probably was not enough...
Bloomberg View

In the short term, Putin appears well equipped to survive the malaise. His military adventures and the attendant propaganda have boosted his approval ratings to new highs. Even the sanctions to some extent play into his hands, allowing him to cast economic suffering as a necessary consequence of standing up to the West, rather than a result of his own mismanagement. In one stroke, Putin has rewritten Russia's social compact, justifying the Kremlin's grip on power not with the promise of prosperity but with an appeal to nationalist pride.

In the longer term, though, Putin's position is more precarious. His ability to mollify soldiers, state workers and pensioners -- and to distribute billions of dollars in contracts to powerful allies -- depends heavily on the oil and gas revenue that make up about half of the federal budget. Although the government has set aside almost $90 billion to insure against an energy slump, prices are now so low that Russia could easily burn through the rainy-day fund in a couple of years. If borrowing remains difficult, Putin will then face the politically fraught task of cutting spending or raising taxes to make ends meet.

... ... ...

The longer Russia's economic malaise lasts, the greater the chances that the opposition to Putin will turn into something more virulent. At that point, unless some faction of Russia's elite managed to remove Putin and hold free and fair elections, revolution would be the most likely route to regime change. The middle-class Muscovites who led the rebellion of 2011 and 2012 failed because too few of them were desperate enough to risk their lives. Next time around, the outcome could be different -- and much worse.

[Dec 08, 2014] Russia's tough rhetoric over Ukraine does not tell the whole story by Simon Tisdall

While Russia faces difficult times, the ability to keep oil prices below $70 might well be limited to a year or two. After that the lack of infrastructure investment that are now frozen might provide upswing, as is natural for capitalism. The EU faces real possibility of losing a large chunk of Russia market to China and other countries. And not a temporary loss -- permanent loss. And that's a lot of money. Neither Ukraine nor Moldova can compensate for this loss. d now EU need to pay for its Ukraine coup d'état. Supporting Ukrainian nationalists in their colonization of South-East is an extensive proposition. In other words EU now faces consequences. The USA is the net winner of the mess as it managed to considerably weaken both EU and Russia using minimal spending for the support of Ukrainian nationalists and organization of the color revolution. But it is unclear what is coming next and despite current huge success in destabilizing both Russia and EU in a long run the US elite might be burned in its desire to impose Pax Americana over the whole world.
Dec 8, 2014 | The Guardian
An angry claim by Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, that the US and its allies are plotting regime change in Russia is further evidence that the east-west standoff over Ukraine is hardening.

... ... ...

"It is hardly a secret that the goal of the sanctions is to create social and economic conditions to carry out a change of power in Russia," Ryabkov told Russia's parliament on Monday. Relations with the US were deeply chilled, he said. Washington was deliberately trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Ukraine and other former Soviet republics.

Western sanctions were illegitimate and Russia would neither enter into negotiations for their removal nor reverse its annexation of Crimea, he said. "There will be no easy or fast way out of this."

Ryabkov's remarks echoed those of his boss, Vladimir Putin. Faced by a devaluing rouble, plunging oil revenue, and price inflation fuelled by sanctions, Russia's president remains defiant. The country's woes were the direct result of western efforts to carve up Russia, he said last week.

The US would have acted against Russia even if the Crimea annexation had not happened, he said. "The policy of containment was not invented yesterday … Every time when anyone thinks Russia has become strong, independent, such instruments are applied immediately."

Putin and his circle have an unwritten social contract with the Russian people. The regime provides rising living standards and economic prosperity. In return, citizens do not question too closely its undemocratic and authoritarian behaviour. But this tacit deal is breaking down.

Last week Putin could only offer increased austerity, while appealing for national unity to confront a predatory external enemy. His tactics appear to be working, for now at least. A Levada opinion poll released on Monday showed 74% of Russians have negative views of the US. But growing domestic discontent, for example over wage freezes and public spending cuts, is evident.

... ... ...

Analysts at the Berlin thinktank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the European Council on Foreign Relations warned last week that if the rift with Russia over Ukraine was not overcome, Europe could – in one scenario – face 15 years of protracted confrontation, including a military buildup in eastern Europe, a new arms race with Nato, and the creation of a semi-permanent "zone of instability" from the Baltic to the Balkans and the Black Sea.

[Dec 05, 2014] Ron Paul Warns, Reckless Congress Just 'Declared War' On Russia

Zero Hedge
Yesterday the US House passed what I consider to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever. H. Res. 758 was billed as a resolution "strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination."

In fact, the bill was 16 pages of war propaganda that should have made even neocons blush, if they were capable of such a thing.

These are the kinds of resolutions I have always watched closely in Congress, as what are billed as "harmless" statements of opinion often lead to sanctions and war. I remember in 1998 arguing strongly against the Iraq Liberation Act because, as I said at the time, I knew it would lead to war. I did not oppose the Act because I was an admirer of Saddam Hussein – just as now I am not an admirer of Putin or any foreign political leader – but rather because I knew then that another war against Iraq would not solve the problems and would probably make things worse. We all know what happened next.

That is why I can hardly believe they are getting away with it again, and this time with even higher stakes: provoking a war with Russia that could result in total destruction!

If anyone thinks I am exaggerating about how bad this resolution really is, let me just offer a few examples from the legislation itself:

The resolution (paragraph 3) accuses Russia of an invasion of Ukraine and condemns Russia's violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. The statement is offered without any proof of such a thing. Surely with our sophisticated satellites that can read a license plate from space we should have video and pictures of this Russian invasion. None have been offered. As to Russia's violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, why isn't it a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty for the US to participate in the overthrow of that country's elected government as it did in February? We have all heard the tapes of State Department officials plotting with the US Ambassador in Ukraine to overthrow the government. We heard US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland bragging that the US spent $5 billion on regime change in Ukraine. Why is that OK?

The resolution (paragraph 11) accuses the people in east Ukraine of holding "fraudulent and illegal elections" in November. Why is it that every time elections do not produce the results desired by the US government they are called "illegal" and "fraudulent"? Aren't the people of eastern Ukraine allowed self-determination? Isn't that a basic human right?

The resolution (paragraph 13) demands a withdrawal of Russia forces from Ukraine even though the US government has provided no evidence the Russian army was ever in Ukraine. This paragraph also urges the government in Kiev to resume military operations against the eastern regions seeking independence.

The resolution (paragraph 14) states with certainty that the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 that crashed in Ukraine was brought down by a missile "fired by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine." This is simply incorrect, as the final report on the investigation of this tragedy will not even be released until next year and the preliminary report did not state that a missile brought down the plane. Neither did the preliminary report – conducted with the participation of all countries involved – assign blame to any side.

Paragraph 16 of the resolution condemns Russia for selling arms to the Assad government in Syria. It does not mention, of course, that those weapons are going to fight ISIS – which we claim is the enemy -- while the US weapons supplied to the rebels in Syria have actually found their way into the hands of ISIS!

Paragraph 17 of the resolution condemns Russia for what the US claims are economic sanctions ("coercive economic measures") against Ukraine. This even though the US has repeatedly hit Russia with economic sanctions and is considering even more!

The resolution (paragraph 22) states that Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia in 2008. This is simply untrue. Even the European Union – no friend of Russia – concluded in its investigation of the events in 2008 that it was Georgia that "started an unjustified war" against Russia not the other way around! How does Congress get away with such blatant falsehoods? Do Members not even bother to read these resolutions before voting?

In paragraph 34 the resolution begins to even become comical, condemning the Russians for what it claims are attacks on computer networks of the United States and "illicitly acquiring information" about the US government. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations about the level of US spying on the rest of the world, how can the US claim the moral authority to condemn such actions in others?

Chillingly, the resolution singles out Russian state-funded media outlets for attack, claiming that they "distort public opinion." The US government, of course, spends billions of dollars worldwide to finance and sponsor media outlets including Voice of America and RFE/RL, as well as to subsidize "independent" media in countless counties overseas. How long before alternative information sources like RT are banned in the United States? This legislation brings us closer to that unhappy day when the government decides the kind of programming we can and cannot consume – and calls such a violation "freedom."

The resolution gives the green light (paragraph 45) to Ukrainian President Poroshenko to re-start his military assault on the independence-seeking eastern provinces, urging the "disarming of separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine." Such a move will mean many more thousands of dead civilians.

To that end, the resolution directly involves the US government in the conflict by calling on the US president to "provide the government of Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty." This means US weapons in the hands of US-trained military forces engaged in a hot war on the border with Russia. Does that sound at all like a good idea?

There are too many more ridiculous and horrific statements in this legislation to completely discuss. Probably the single most troubling part of this resolution, however, is the statement that "military intervention" by the Russian Federation in Ukraine "poses a threat to international peace and security." Such terminology is not an accident: this phrase is the poison pill planted in this legislation from which future, more aggressive resolutions will follow. After all, if we accept that Russia is posing a "threat" to international peace how can such a thing be ignored? These are the slippery slopes that lead to war.

This dangerous legislation passed today, December 4, with only ten (!) votes against! Only ten legislators are concerned over the use of blatant propaganda and falsehoods to push such reckless saber-rattling toward Russia.

Here are the Members who voted "NO" on this legislation. If you do not see your own Representative on this list call and ask why they are voting to bring us closer to war with Russia! If you do see your Representative on the below list, call and thank him or her for standing up to the warmongers.

Voting "NO" on H. Res. 758:

1) Justin Amash (R-MI)
2) John Duncan (R-TN)
3) Alan Grayson, (D-FL)
4) Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
5) Walter Jones (R-NC)
6) Thomas Massie (R-KY)
7) Jim McDermott (D-WA)
8 George Miller (D-CA)
9) Beto O'Rourke (D-TX)
10 Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

Moscow Exile says

December 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Dennis Kucinich: Let's get ready for US-Russia war

Former US congressman Dennis Kucinich has revealed that the House of Representatives is about to give a green light to another Cold War against Russia.

Kucinich, former US Representative from Ohio, wrote in an article on portal globalresearch.ca that Washington has plans for restarting the Cold War against Moscow.

House Resolution 758, which cited a list of "grievances, old and new, against Russia" is "tantamount to a 'Declaration of Cold War'," Kucinich wrote.

He believes that if the resolution gets approved, it will effectively open the gates of global catastrophe. House Resolution 758 is up for debate last Wednesday.

"NATO encirclement, the US-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border and a US nuclear first-strike policy are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy", he added.

Kucinich also warned US Congress that the country's treasury is being drained for Washington's "military adventures".

He noted that the resolution demanded Russia to be isolated and in other words, "let's get ready for war with Russia".

In an interview last week, hawkish Republican Senator John McCain rejected a possible conflict between the United States and Russia.

"There would never be an all-out war with Russia that I know of. I know of no scenario where that would happen", he said in an interview with euronews broadcast on Friday.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have been deteriorated over the crisis in Ukraine.

The US and its allies accuse Moscow of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of the pro-Russian forces. Russia, however, denies the accusation.

The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Moscow. Russia, for its part, has imposed retaliatory bans.

HIGHLIGHTS-Putin delivers keynote speech on economy, Ukraine

Warren, December 4, 2014 at 9:57 am
December 4, 2014 at 10:33 am

I'm posting Neuters Highlights article in full as it is 99% made up of Putin's quotes. My highlighting.!

Neuters: HIGHLIGHTS-Putin delivers keynote speech on economy, Ukraine

Here are quotes from Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual state of the union speech to members of parliament and other top officials in the Kremlin on Thursday.

ROUBLE

"The central bank has moved to a floating rate but that does not mean that the central bank has moved away from influencing the rouble market, that the rouble exchange rate can be the subject of financial speculation without any consequences."

"I ask the central bank and the government to carry out tough coordinated action to fight off the desire of the so-called speculators to play on the fluctuations of the Russian currency."

"The authorities know who these speculators are and have instruments to influence them. The time has come to use those instruments."

"The weakening of the rouble creates risks of a short-term spike in inflation."

SANCTIONS

"This is not just a nervous reaction of the United States and their allies to our stance in regard to the events and coup in Ukraine; not even in regard to the so-called Crimean spring. I am certain that had all this not taken place… they would come up with another reason to contain Russia's growing capabilities, to influence it or, even better, use it for their own goals."

"The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been applied to our country for many, many years.. every time when anyone only thinks Russia has become strong, independent, such instruments are applied immediately."

"But there is no point in talking to Russia from a position of strength."

"We will never pursue the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and search of enemies. All this is manifestation of weakness, while we are strong and self-confident."

"Our goal is to have as many equal partners in the West and in the East … Under no circumstances are we going to wind down our ties with Europe."

"The so-called sanctions and external limitations are a stimulus towards a more effective, accelerated achievement of our goals."

ECONOMY

"I propose freezing the current tax conditions and not changing them for the next four years."

"I propose a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia … This means that if people legalise their resources and property in Russia, they get firm guarantees that they won't be bothered by various bodies, including law enforcement bodies; that they won't be bothered or asked about the source and the ways the capital was acquired; that they won't fall under criminal or administrative persecution; that there will be no questions from the tax and law enforcement bodies to them."

"Let's do it now but (only) once."

"Everyone wishing to should take this (opportunity)."

"We all understand that the origins of money can be different, they were earned and obtained in various ways, but I am confident that the offshore page in the history of our economy, our country should be closed."

"As for small business, I propose providing 'inspection holidays' for them. If an enterprise enjoys a solid reputation, and it had no significant complaints in three years, then over the next three years I propose not to carry out planned checks on the state and local levels at all."

"The quality and the scale of the Russian economy should correspond with our geopolitical and historic role. We should escape the trap of zero growth. In three to four years we should reach a growth pace exceeding the global average."

"This is the only way to raise Russia's share in the global economy, which means to strengthen our influence and independence."

"We should wipe the critical dependence on foreign technologies and industrial production."

"Russia will be open for the world, for cooperation, for attracting foreign investments, for carrying out joint projects. But the main thing we need to understand is that our development depends on ourselves first and foremost."

"By 2018 we need to bring the level of annual investments to 25 percent of GDP."

STATE BUDGET

"For the next three years we should set a goal of cutting budget outlays and ineffective spending by no less than five percent from the overall spending in real terms."

CRIMEA

"Finally, there was a historic reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia."

"For Russia, Crimea … has a great civilisational and sacred meaning."

"And this is exactly how we are going to treat this from now on and forever."

UKRAINE

"Every nation has an inalienable, sovereign right to its own path of development … Russia always has and always will respect that. This applies fully to Ukraine, the brotherly Ukrainian nation."

"We have condemned the coup, the forcible seizure of power in Kiev in February. What we are seeing now in Ukraine, the tragedy in the southeast, fully confirms that our position is right."

"How can one support an armed seizure of power, violence, murder? … How can one support the attempts that followed to suppress with the help of armed forces the people in the southeast who did not agree with this lawlessness? … This is pure cynicism. I am sure that the Ukrainian nation itself will judge these events in a just way."

DEFENCE

"We do not intend to get involved in a long-term arms race but we will securely and in a guaranteed way safeguard the defensive capabilities of our country in new conditions."

"There is no doubt about it – this will be done. Russia has the capabilities and non-standard solutions. No one will manage to gain military superiority over Russia."

"Our army is modern, combat-ready. As they say now, it is 'polite' but formidable. We will have enough strength, will and courage to protect our freedom."

"Persistent work to develop the U.S. anti-missile shield system, including in Europe, continues. This poses a threat not only to Russian security but to the whole world … in terms of a possible violation of the strategic balance of forces."

"I think this is also bad for the United States itself since it creates a dangerous illusion of invulnerability, strengthens the drive to unilateral decisions that are often, as we see, not thought-through."

"Inappropriate use or embezzlement of budget allocations for state defence orders should be considered a direct blow to national security … We have just had a traditional meeting in Sochi with the leadership of the Defence Ministry, with commanders of types and branches of the armed forces, with leading designers of defence enterprises. For some items, prices grew two, three, four times and there are also cases when the price rose 11 times since the start of work. That does not correspond with inflation, with nothing at all… I want to highlight again that I am drawing the attention of law enforcement bodies to this. In this regard, I instruct the Defence Ministry… other structures involved to work out a system of tough operational control over the use of resources from state defence orders."

AGRICULTURE

"Efficient major agricultural companies and farms have appeared in Russia and we will support them."

"The current growth in the agriculture industry stands at six percent."

RUSSIA

"If for a number of European countries national pride is a long-forgotten term and sovereignty is too much of a luxury, for Russia real state sovereignty is an absolutely indispensable condition of its existence."

"We will be sovereign or be dissolved, lost in the world."

"There is no doubt they would have loved to see the Yugoslavia scenario of collapse and dismemberment for us – with all the tragic consequences it would have for the peoples of Russia. This has not happened. We did not allow it."

"Hitler also failed when, with his hateful ideas, he was going to destroy Russia, throw us back behind the Urals. Everyone should remember how it ended."

"We will stand up for the diversity of the world. We will deliver truth to people abroad… And we will do this even in those cases when governments of some countries are trying to build around Russia something next to a new Iron Curtain."

"As of Jan.1, 2014, Russian population stood at 144 million people, 8 million more than forecast by the United Nations … It is expected that at the end of 2014, taking into account Crimea and Sevastopol, Russia's population will exceed 146 million people."

"A healthy family and a healthy nation; traditional values passed on to us by our ancestors combined with a dedication to the future; stability as a condition for development and progress; respect for other nations and states with guaranteed safeguarding of Russian security; defending its legitimate interests – these are our priorities."

"The difficulties we are facing also create new possibilities for us. We are ready to meet any challenge of the times, and win."
###

Criminals legalise their property and assets in Russia? How will that work? OTOH I would be against letting this scum in yet OTOH, it allows the to return home after accepting to follow the system which should autoregulate the kinds of behavior they get away with abroad.

Nowhere near enough help for small and medium sized enterprises. They should be forming the bulk of employment and creating the new industries to help propel Russia's growth internally. Disappointed.

You broke Yugo and look what happened. Try it with this big boy and you will see what happens. FY! Marevellous!

Overall, very clearly hostile to those who wish to do harm to Russia, but not foreign citizens, investors or others. I've noted that quite a few of the Pork Pie News Networks prefer to focus on Medvyedev apparently snoozing in the front row. I bed he knows the speech by heart and probably had more than a hand in writing it…

Putin Just Announced A Massive Foreign Currency Bailout For Russia's Collapsing Banks

How do you say "TARP" in Russian?

Yahoo Finance

In his annual address to the nation on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country's reserve funds, usually earmarked for investment in state projects, should be used to bail out troubled Russian banks.

Current estimates suggest Russian businesses need to repay $35 billion this month

...Russian banks face major challenges funding this, with Western sanctions freezing them out of global capital markets on the one hand and a weakening domestic economy putting pressure on profits on the other. These issues have been compounded by a fall of about 40% in the value of the rouble since June. As the rouble loses ground to foreign currency, those debts become increasingly difficult to pay back.

On Thursday the Russian central bank cut the foreign exchange repo rate, the interest rate it charges on the currency it gives to banks. The rate fell from 1.5% above the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) - the benchmark interest rate at which banks lend to one another - to 0.5% above Libor. A lower interest rate should make it less expensive for banks to borrow from the central bank and therefore more appealing.

... ... ...

Here's the passage from his speech:

It means that we must invest as much as we save. Our savings must work for the national economy and development, rather than the export of capital. To be able to do this, we must seriously strengthen the stability of our banking system – the Central Bank has been working towards this end quite persistently – and also reduce the dependence of the national financial market on external risks.

I propose using our reserves (above all, the National Welfare Fund) to implement a programme for recapitalisation of leading domestic banks, with funding to be provided under clearly specified conditions to be funnelled into the most significant projects in the real economy at affordable interest rates. Furthermore, banks will have to introduce project financing mechanisms.(Kremlin.ru)

China, Russia and the Sinatra doctrine - China - By Gideon Rachman

The Straits Times

FOR centuries, European navies roamed the world's seas - to explore, to trade, to establish empires and to wage war.

So, it will be quite a moment when the Chinese navy appears in the Mediterranean next spring, in joint exercises with the Russians. This plan to hold naval exercises was announced in Beijing last week, after a Russian-Chinese meeting devoted to military cooperation between the two countries.

The Chinese will doubtless enjoy the symbolism of floating their boats in the traditional heartland of European civilisation. But, beyond symbolism, Russia and China are also making an important statement about world affairs. Both nations object to Western military operations close to their borders.

China complains about US naval patrols just off its coast; Russia rails against the expansion of Nato. By staging joint exercises in the Mediterranean, the Chinese and Russians would send a deliberate message: If Nato can patrol near their frontiers, they, too, can patrol in Nato's heartland. Behind this muscle-flexing, however, the Russians and Chinese are pushing for a broader reordering of world affairs, based around the idea of "spheres of influence".

[Nov 24, 2014] Jens Stoltenberg Tries Out The Latest NATO Meme – The Russian Air Force is a Menace to Civil Aviation

Nov 23, 2014 | marknesop.wordpress.com
kirill, November 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm
Thanks for producing another great article. Too bad it is so depressing to see the stream of idiocy from the west. What happened to the war on terror? We are back to the big bad Russian bear scaring poor little western children. Do the western elites to expect a in like in 1991? They could nudge the Soviet system into collapse, but it collapsed through its own internal failings. What are they going to nudge now? Russian self identity?

They can pull the Banderite card in Ukraine but no such thing exists in Russia. Russians aren't going to hit the streets to stage a revolution over western BS about corruption. They can see the level of corruption with their own eyes.

The west should get over itself. No intelligent human would sacrifice everything just to move to some suburban shack with a two car garage. The artificial deficits of consumer junk in the USSR are no longer a factor in Russia.

marknesop, November 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm
Thanks, Kirill – it's funny to think how adversarial we were when we first met on Anatoly's blog. I understand your frustration. There is no substantiation for the current western assault on Russia – it has simply decided, among its 'leaders', that now is the time for another of history's great existential battles.

It is going to hurt everyone and set us all back years, but it will not hurt those who are driving it on because they are already wealthy and comfortable.

Oddlots, November 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm
"Do the western elites to expect a in like in 1991? They could nudge the Soviet system into collapse, but it collapsed through its own internal failings. What are they going to nudge now? Russian self identity?"

That's a great point. Sadly I think it would go over the heads of our betters in government over here. Yes, they are just that stupid. The media covers this unrelentingly if also unwittingly.

marknesop, November 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm
Patrick Armstrong has a great contest going over at Russia Insider, in which contenders vie for the Porcelain Cup by submitting entries for the very worst piece of reporting on Russia. There are some lulus there, I think you will agree, but I feel quite safe with my entry – the Michael Weiss piece featured at Paul Robinson's "Irrusianality"

http://russia-insider.com/en/media_watch/2014/11/22/09-29-42am/porcelain_cup_award_worst_piece_russia

Check it out: it's a crowded field these days, but some pieces of ordure really stand out.

Oddlots, November 23, 2014 at 8:14 pm
On the subject of Russia Insider there's a newish bright light there that has had me in stitches since I happened upon him:

https://bitly.com/a/bitlinks/1Fe06Yo#

https://bitly.com/a/bitlinks/1qP8VVG#

https://bitly.com/a/bitlinks/1qPn2dE#

ucgsblog, November 24, 2014 at 12:39 am
The most ridiculous thing ever written about Russia? http://www.amazon.com/The-Guns-August-2008-Caucasus/dp/0765625083

It's a collection of the dumbest dung that Neocons came up with, nicely summarized in one "book". Calling it fiction would be nice; willful and blatant ignorance is more like it. Those "brainiacs" cannot even do PR right:

"This book is designed to present the facts about the events of August 2008 along with comprehensive coverage of the background to those events. It brings together a wealth of expertise on the South Caucasus and Russian foreign policy, with contributions by Russian, Georgian, European, and American experts on the region."

And the first "unbiased" review: "Brief AND well managed chapters, especially Chapter 1 for those who want to get the historical perspective in the nutshell…but super interesting facts"

It's, uhh, like, so super comprehensive, it has like super interesting facts in a, uhh, super nutshell, like and such as…

Other reviews are equally, erm, "stellar": "This is a very well researched and documented study. The arguments advanced in the book are supported by factual evidence which is mostly unknown to western media."

You heard it there folks! The Western coverage of the Ossetian War wasn't pro-Georgian enough! And Putin simply bought Switzerland, so that he could have the Swiss confirm that Saakashvili started the unjustified war.

Jen, November 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm
The Porcelain Cup should be like the Oscars if only because there will be such a shit-storm of nominations. If Russia Insider had the time and inclination, the Porcelain Cup could have the following categories:
– Most Abusive Piece against Putin
– Most Consistently Biased Journalist
– Most Consistently Biased Media Outlet
– Worst Cartoon

[Nov 21, 2014] Hollywood stereotypes Why are Russians the bad guys by Tom Brook

Nov 6, 2014 | BBC

Surprisingly the fall of the Berlin Wall didn't bring an end to Russian villains onscreen. Perhaps for a while their presence eased off but Russians remain the studios' favored villains.

"You can't even turn the TV on and go to the movies without reference to Russians as horrible," says US-based Russian-American professor Nina Khrushcheva, the great-granddaughter of the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

... ... ...

Given that Russia represents the seventh biggest movie market in the world why would the studios risk antagonising one of its more significant customers? One possibility is that Russia's complaints over Hollywood movies may have a public relations impact that plays positively in the studios' favour. "They'll be glad for the interest and the attention," says James Chapman. Also, Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London, says, "I think Hollywood is far more concerned about the Chinese market." Indeed there's almost an obsession over China in Hollywood – but now that Russian displeasure could depress box office revenues there may be some reassessment.

[Nov 16, 2014] Putin -- Western sanctions could backfire

Nov 15, 2014 | finance.yahoo.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Western sanctions against his country could backfire.

Speaking in an interview with German ARD television broadcast Saturday as he was attending the Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, Putin said that cutting Russian access to capital markets would hurt Western exports.

"If the resources of our financial institutions are cut off, they can extend fewer loans to the Russian companies that work with German partners," he said. "Sooner or later, it will begin to affect you as much as us."

He also said the sanctions could hurt some Russian banks, leading them to demand repayment of multibillion loans they have given to Ukraine, damaging its economy. Putin cited Russia's state-controlled Gazprombank, which he said issued loans worth $3.2 billion to Ukraine before being hurt by Western sanctions that barred it from borrowing in capital markets.

The United States and the European Union have targeted Russia with sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and Moscow's support for a pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine.

The Western sanctions have badly hurt the Russian economy, sending investors fleeing Russian markets and causing the ruble to nosedive.

Putin acknowledged that the sanctions have hurt the Russian economy, but sought to put a brave face to that, saying that the Western punishment would encourage Russia to ease its dependence on oil and gas exports.

"The comfortable life, when all we had to do was produce more oil and gas, and to buy everything else, is a thing of the past," Putin said. "Now we must think about producing goods ourselves, not just oil and gas. "

He voiced hope that the Ukrainian crisis will end and Russia-West ties will improve, adding:

"We want to have normal relations with our partners, including in the United States and Europe."

[Nov 16, 2014] Michael Hudson Putin's Pivot to Asia

Nov 15, 2014 | naked capitalism

Michael Hudson Putin's Pivot to Asia naked capitalism

Yves here. Understandably, US reporting on the just-finished APEC summit focused on Obama's objectives and supposed achievements. Russia has historically not been a major force in the region and thus received less coverage here. It was therefore surprising to see our man in Japan Clive tell us that Japanese media coverage of Putin at APEC was on a par with the column-inches given to Obama.

On Real News Network, Michael Hudson describes how Putin is shifting Russia's export focus and economic alliances towards Asia, particularly China. This has been underway informally for a while but clearly became a higher priority after Europe, at US behest, imposed economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

Hudson's roundup of what Russia achieved in Asia, and the bigger implications for the US, is a tad more positive than circumstances warrant. I'd put this in the category of Putin doing a good job of making lemonade from lemons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8vRVbjDlsxc

... ... ...

PERIES: Before you move on, Michael, isn't it a bit ironic that on one hand China signs an accord with the United States making a commitment to cut emissions, but on the other hand they're making a deal with Russia that includes oil, a fossil fuel that will obviously increase emissions, not reduce them?

HUDSON: Every economy needs oil to some extent. China has to use oil for many things that gas simply won't work for. Every country's GDP goes up in keeping with its energy consumption. You could say the rise in productivity for the last hundred years, throughout the Industrial Revolution, has been an increase in energy use per worker or per unit of output. So it's energy that's pushing growth. And of course China needs oil. In fact, one of its problems is that when people are getting richer, they want to have cars, and they use gasoline. So of course China's going to be dependent on oil from Russia.

Mr. Putin said that as a result of these deals, Russian trade with China and the rest of Asia is going to increase from 25 percent to 40 percent of Russia's GDP. This leaves Europe out in the cold. What's been clear at the meeting is that there's a coming together between China and Russia. This has been the opposite of what American foreign policy has been trying to push for since the 1980s. What is ironic is that where the United States thought that it was putting pressure on Russia and sanctions following the NATO adventure in Ukraine, what it's actually done is bring Russia and China closer together.

The most important way in which they're coming together is reflected in Mr. Putin's announcement that Russia is setting up its own bank clearing house system independent of the so-called SWIFT system. When you transfer funds from one bank to another, or when any bank uses U.S. dollars, it has to go through the SWIFT clearing house system in the United States.

Right now the only country that's not part of this is Iran. To Russia, this has tipped America's hand. It showed that what U.S. Cold Warriors really want is to break up Russia and China, and to interrupt their financial and banking services to disorient their economies. So Russia, China and Iran – and presumably other Asian countries – are now moving to establish their own currency clearing systems. To be independent of the SWIFT system and the U.S. dollar, Russia and China are denominating their trade and investments in rubles and yuan instead of the dollar. So what you've seen in the last few days in Beijing is a rejection of the dollar standard, and a rejection of American foreign policy behind it.

China has doubled its military spending since Mr. Obama was there in 2009. The president of China politely said, let's make sure there's not an accidental bang up in the air or on sea. What he means is, "We've defined our airspace over the islands that we're claiming as ours, so if one of your planes comes too close to ours and we bump into it and knock it down, please don't take this as an attack on America. We don't really mean it personally." So China's really throwing its weight around.

That's why Mr. Obama has looked so uncomfortable at these meetings. He knows that he hasn't gotten anything he wants. Asian countries are not about to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and they're moving on now to Brisbane, Australia.

In the next few days you're going to see Europe being left out. The sanctions that the United States and NATO have insisted that it impose on Russia have led to Russian counter-sanctions against French and Baltic and European exports. French farmers are already demonstrating, and Marine Le Pen's nationalists are likely to win the next election. The Baltic States are also screaming from losing their farm exports. France, Latvia, and even Germany had been looking to Russia as a growing market the last few years. Yet their leaders obeyed U.S. demands not to deal with the Russian market. This leaves Europe in a position of economic stagnation.

As for the sanctions isolating Russia economically, this is just what it needs to protect its industrial revival and economic independence. In conjunction with China, it's integrating the Russian economy with that of China, Kazakhstan and Iran. Russia is now going to be building at least two atomic reactors in Iran. The center of global investment is shifting to Asia, leaving the United States out as well as Europe.

So you can expect at the G20 Brisbane meetings next week to increase pressure from Europe to break away from the U.S. sanctions. All the United States has diplomatically at the present time is military pressure, while Russia and China have economic growth – markets and investment opportunities opening up. Despite the fact that there was an agreement on high-technology trade between the United States and China, the U.S. is basically being left out. This seems to be why Mr. Obama was looking so out of sorts at the meetings. He knows that the strategy that he was given by his neocons is backfiring.

PERIES: Finally, Michael, how do you think this is going to be dealt with by Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate now?

HUDSON: Obama said that he looked forward to dealing with the Republicans now that he doesn't have to deal with the Democrats anymore. Republicans are the only party that would agree to his pro-corporate, anti-labor Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has shown himself to be a Republican in the same spirit as Cheney and George W. Bush. The noises coming out of Washington from Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership are blaming Obama for mishandling the economy so badly and losing them the election – as if it were not their own doing and Steve Israel's support for Republican-striped Democratic Blue Dog candidates. So if I can paraphrase what Obama essentially said, it's "I'm a Republican and I'm supporting Wall Street." He's letting the Republicans know he's pushing for the kind of giveaways that the lobbyists have written into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I think you've had Lori Wallach on your show explaining exactly what this is. So you can expect Obama to move even more sharply to the right, getting Republican support while the Democrats pretend to scream in agony and say, "My God, what have we ever done with bringing this guy in?" – while supporting Hillary.

James, November 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

In the following decade, we won the cold war.

We know one side gave up the fight for sure, and has since rebounded rather nicely. Whether or not we can say the other side actually "won" remains yet to be seen, since it's still fighting against countless "enemies," some possibly real, but most purely imaginary.

Vatch, November 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

Russia has rebounded thanks to petroleum and natural gas. That doesn't alter the fact that it is a kleptocracy with severe problems of inequality. Putin is popular because he is standing up to the "foreign devils".

Of course, much of this is also true about the United States, but not the part about the leader being popular.

James, November 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Putin is popular because he is standing up to the "foreign devils".

Well, I guess you could say that the US MIC is providing Putin with valuable marketing services then. I must say, they're certainly worth every dollar, err… ruble he's paying them.

Vatch, November 14, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Mutual hostility usually benefits the elites of both nations. It is far less likely to benefit the typical citizens of the nations that are hostile to each other. On the contrary, it's likely to worsen the lives of people in both nations.

James, November 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

I must say that as the initial coup unfolded after the Olympics I was wary of some sort of "joint disinformation" campaign on the part of both the US and Russia playing to some sort of higher regional goal. But events in the interim have led me to conclude otherwise. This one's an entirely US instigated fiasco.

Vatch, November 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Coup? What coup? Are you referring to the mess in Ukraine?

Yves Smith, November 15, 2014 at 2:54 am

Yes, the US supported a coup against a democratically elected leader. You are ignorant of that??? Lordie.

And elections were mere months away.

Vatch, November 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

First of all, my question was rhetorical. And no, the U.S. was not "entirely" responsible; the people of Ukraine opposed a corrupt administration and their president fled the country. The U.S. was heavily involved, but they were not the only cause. I keep trying to teach people that reality is complex, yet they still often want simple answers. Those simple answers, such as that the Ukrainian trouble is "entirely US instigated fiasco", are usually, as in this case, false.

As I have explained many times over the past several months, the Ukrainians have enormous grievances against the Russians.

As things have turned out, Putin won, and the Ukrainians, of both the western part of the country and the eastern part, have lost. The easterners have lost because that's where the fighting is.

S Brennan, November 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I saw an error in your opening and I've fixed it below:
First of all, my question was disingenuous…

"The former Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has launched a scathing attack on what he calls a US-backed coup in Ukraine, insisting the Crimean people have the right to align their territory with Moscow and characterising sanctions against Russia as "an act of war".

He also said providing economic aid to Ukraine was comparable to giving support to rebels in Syria knowing it would end up in the hands of al-Qaida."

optimader, November 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm

"This one's an entirely US instigated fiasco."
HUH??? this "one" refers to what?

James, November 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Wow, you guys really are daft, aren't you.

YES, THE US INSTIGATED COUP IN UKRAINE!!!

Vatch, November 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

See my response to Yves. You have oversimplified a very complex reality.

myshkin, November 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Though the Soviet empire toppled first, the US empire has disastrously hollowed out its putative republic. The Cold War was a continuity of the dark inertia of the armaments based recovery of WWII, weaponry being the only public spending TPTB will ever countenance. I've argued with various older friends who had passed through the depression and WWII, who were convinced that the nuclear standoff and arms race of the Cold War was a great success, having forestalled nuclear annihilation.

My point, that only a logic invented by Dr. Strangelove could view the march to the precipice of world war, armed with doomsday weapons, bought with national treasure, drained from the welfare of the people, as a success. It also countenanced or ignored the millions who did die, casualties of the Cold War that infected and inflamed corners of the world with proxy wars and anti democratic coups while baking the worst ingredients of a militarized, deep security state into the US sociocultural cake. It was evident to me but an unimaginable leap of faith to them.

flora, November 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

I think for at least the last 20 years Washington DC and Wall St have lived in a bubble that prevents them from seeing the real economy or effectively engaging in realpolitik. It gives me no happiness to write this.

Thanks for this article.

susan the other, November 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

It is all interesting, amusing and frightening. And shameful if you once loved your country and the things it stood for. We have dealt ourselves a fatal blow by using the EU to sanction Russia. That's gotta be the dumbest thing we ever did. We managed, in our arrogance, to isolate ourselves and our asinine cowboy neoliberalism, almost as if we built the great wall of America around our shores. Xi is a fox. So is Putin. The difference being that Putin once took a chance on trusting us. The worsening debacle in the EU is because we are imposing strict neoliberalism on them and are demanding they dismantle all forms of a mixed economy, while Xi, in Asia where anything of importance is now happening, calmly states the Chinese position that SOEs are OK if they are beneficial to the health of nations.

susan the other, November 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

So of course that raises the question, Why can't the great United States survive in a mixed economy? Is it because our corporations are so distorted by their theft, productivity, efficiency, and labor-slashing pogroms, that they really have become absurd economically? Just a rhetorical question. Everybody, including Xi, knows the answer.

Vatch, November 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Businesses in China are also distorted by various forms of evil. The hell of Foxconn and the air pollution of Beijing are just two examples.

optimader, November 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

"The difference being that Putin once took a chance on trusting us."
HUH?

James, November 14, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Hard of understanding, ain't ya?

susan the other, November 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Putin started off with Little George opening up oil development to US majors and they were both interested in making it go. Putin came to the White House and gave a little speech referencing this partnership. Etc. Some analysis (forget where, maybe foreign affairs) claimed Putin himself was a Russian Atlanticist – meaing his faction was leaning toward business relationships with the US and the EU.

Then everything fell apart. It is hard to tell just how cooperative RU and we are these days. But yesterday at the G20 everybody ganged up on Putin and accused Russia of being the aggressor in Ukraine and Putin said he had more urgent business to take care of in Moscow and left.

Putin himself has spoken clearly on the US and NATO being the aggressor and wanting to create crises to maintain power. So unless it is all theater, Putin did give it a try and became the goat. And now he has gone home.

Banger, November 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

The issue is not the U.S. vs. China and Russia. China and Russia are centrally governed nation-states with, at least for China, imperial ambitions – but these ambitions are of limited Empire not like the American dreams of Empire which is to control the entire globe not just politically but culturally.

That ambition though is largely fantasy at least in political terms. The U.S. is not any longer what I would call a nation state with particular "interests." Israel, for example, is more supported in the U.S. than, say, Ohio or some segment of the U.S.

The USG sees its constituency as an international elite – whether British, Polish or Saudi–the people, as a population are, increasingly an afterthought. Washington is an international capital (as is NYC) that focuses on the multi-national corporation.

Russia and China, while not immune to such pressures, does recognize the importance of the population or power-factions that are native to it.

By forcing Russia, Iran and other states to the periphery they are moving them into a Chinese orbit. Now, how China chooses to react is something should make an interesting discussion.

James Levy, November 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I've argued to my students that the reason America is so dangerous is that Americans are the most ideological people on Earth without any understanding that they are ideological. Most Americans (certainly the foreign policy decision-makers) see doing anything dissimilar to the way "we" want it done as perverse (France), stupid (Venezuela), or malign (Iran).

The old Burkean notion that nations are what they are because of their history and traditions is unthinkable in Washington or on Wall Street.

America is the model and its up to every other country to conform – or else. Between Wilson and Truman a carapace formed over US thinking about itself and the world that has become impenetrable. It will only be burst when America is too broke or ecologically devastated to continue trying to re-form the world in its image. That's why I fear that a whole cadre of nuts would rather the world go down in flames than that the "last, best hope of humanity" not get to "tutor" the nations into doing thing

Banger, November 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Technically you are right–the USA is the last great remnant of the great ideologies of the 20th century and the ideology of American Exceptionalism is related to fascism and communism in the sense it is deeply nationalistic and also global - America wants everyone to become American. But I think this is largely over.

Leaders today only half-believe in these notions and the body politic is increasingly cynical and too self-centered to care much about "destiny" and the grand sweep of history that people like Henry Luce or Walter Lippmann articulated back in the day both on the left and the right.

Government is increasingly staffed by self-serving careerists and yuppies who long ago sold their souls. The ideologues are now mainly are inarticulate and no more than the equivalent of soccer hooligans.

Michael, November 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Neo-cons…. I assume that is who you meant.

Not much more too add. The people with real power do not show their faces. They write memos and let buffoons try to articulate them to the public. The public will buy into the ideology because they've spent their lives learning facts with out learning the importance of those facts.

Also most people are too busy trying to survive to learn enough to understand the games that the elites are playing. Hell, even the elites don't understand the system they have built. All energy is basically used to maintain the system which will eventually collapse in on itself…

I just hope I am self sufficient at this point….give me 5 more years and I should be set…homesteading is in my future.

madisolation, November 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

I just read Pepe Escobar's take on the APEC summit. There's a lot to absorb, but here is an excerpt:

Washington/Wall Street elites – talk about Cold War hubris – always took for granted that Beijing and Moscow would be totally apart. Now puzzlement prevails. Note how the Obama administration's "pivoting to Asia" has been completely erased from the narrative – after Beijing identified it for what it is: a warlike provocation. The new meme is "rebalance".

German businesses, for their part, are absolutely going bonkers with Xi's New Silk Roads uniting Beijing to Berlin – crucially via Moscow. German politicians sooner rather than later will have to get the message.

flora, November 15, 2014 at 11:03 am

This sentence:

"Washington/Wall Street elites… always took for granted that …"

Perfect description of the neo-con and neo-liberal ideological bubbles. Elite thinking is so captured by their ideologies that they can't clearly see facts on the ground, can't effectively respond to the facts, and can't accept their realpolitik failures as the consequence of their ideological capture. The 'shrewd yankee' has been replaced by the 'true believer'.

Interesting that Al From and the New Democrats have been described as idealists. No doubt they are.

Steven, November 15, 2014 at 11:29 am

Dr. Hudson has long had the right take on all this. But he doesn't seem to be able to take the last step in simplifying his analyses and prescriptions. Elites in the West and in particular the United States have no clue about the real sources of wealth and power in the modern world. Those elites, having long ago converted their wealth (the natural resources, skilled labor and, above all, the inanimate energy required to power the machinery and computers that do much of the world's real work) into money, now 'keep score' only by how much more money they can add to their bank accounts.

For those elites – and especially for the financiers and bankers to whom they have entrusted the wealth extracted from the labor of preceding generations and the spoils of pillaged continents – money is all there is. This is the core of 'American exceptionalism'. Anyone who doubts the omnipotence of money doubts the divine order of things. Educating, feeding and caring for the West's "labouring cattle" has long been viewed not as 'investment', a source of wealth, but an impediment on the more rapid accumulation of money. The only thing 50% of 'the people' are good for, in the words of Jay Gould, is slaughtering the other 50%.

The bottom line here is that real wealth and prosperity for the population at large represents a mortal threat for people whose power and social status is dependent only on money. A really wealthy population doesn't need money. For the monetarily affluent, the only possible use for advances in science and technology is the destruction of those who refuse to worship the golden calf. For the last century Western nations have removed the threat of general prosperity to their ruling classes through wars with each other and beyond their nations' borders.

Devastated by global war, much of the world managed to free itself from this self-destructive propensity by exporting the responsibility to defend their money-based ruling classes and the sanctity of money as embodied in the world's US dollar-based reserve currency to the United States. Thus we have arrived at the current division of labor in the world economy with the once 'developing nations' exporting the things people really need to live and the US and other Western nations exporting debt and death. This is the real mission of the military-industrial complex – absorbing advances in science and technology in ever more deadly weapons systems and ever mounting national debt. It can only end badly.

Events since 2008 have proved the world doesn't need the West's money. If the West's central banks can create tens of trillions of dollars, euros, yen, etc out of thin air to prevent the insolvency of its ruling elites, it can create the money it needs to pay for the real wealth required for a sustainable future.

Steven, November 15, 2014 at 11:49 am

The "last step" is dropping the 'growth' prescription. My suspicion is that a world economy purged of its waste, economic sabotage and above its weapons would be more than adequate at its current size for a long time to come.

[Nov 14, 2014] I Don't Know Where I'm Going, But I Sure Know Where I've Been

Nov 14, 2014 | marknesop.wordpress.com
karl1haushofer, November 14, 2014 at 12:07 am
Patient Observer,

"Karl, do you find it as amazing as I do that the Russian basket case economy churns out state or the art (or beyond) technologies in aerospace, nuclear engineering, power generation, heavy industrial production technology, etc."

Russian economy is not a basket case economy or a collapsing economy. It is a stagnant economy. It is also an economy which starting level is way lower than in the West. That is why Russia's growth should be a lot higher than it is in the Western countries.

If Russia ever wants to catch up the GDP/capita of the Western countries Russian economy must still grow at 6-8% a year for a couple of decades at least. Russia still has a relatively low GDP/capita which means that there is a lot of room for growth. Lack of growth suggests that there is structurally something wrong with the Russian economy.

I don't deny that Russia does well in some areas (aerospace, nuclear engineering etc.) but these sectors alone do not offer enough high productive jobs for a large number of people in Russia.

The GDP/capita in Russia is relatively low because Russian economy is structured in a way that does not produce enough per one worker. Without Oil&Gas and minerals (and all the other natural resources) the GDP/capita would be even a lot lower than it currently is.

The major task for Russia is to reform their economy in a way that increases the production per one worker in the economy. This requires improving the efficiency and competitiveness in all sectors of the economy. Getting rid of useless/low-productive jobs should be a priority as well. This will be painful and unpopular because it will increase unemployment, but it must be done. Russian non-resource exports must also become competitive in the world markets outside of the nuclear and weapons export too.

Russia will likely never be an engineering/industrial powerhouse like Germany but Russia has too much room for improvement to settle for the current relatively low level.

You also said that Russians hold more college degrees as a percentage of population than any other Western country. That may be true, but for some reason Russian businesses have not yet been able to make use of these highly educated people the way they should. The economic success is just not there, yet.

marknesop, November 14, 2014 at 8:05 am
This seems a fair criticism.
patient observer, November 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm
My first priority in discussions with you is to euthanize the concept that Russia is doomed due to a damaged genome. Such claims are utterly ridiculous and without the slightest evidence in support. I hope that you have come to realize this.

I think Western metrics of economic activity are heavily skewed toward factors that have little to do with the physical economy. As indirect proof of this, China is second to the US by Western standard of economic activity yet China has stunningly large leads in the production of steel (8 times more), concrete (26 times!), ammonia (5 times more), electricity (20% more), cars (twice as much) and the list goes on. My estimate is that the Chinese physical economy is three times the size of the US yet its GDP is variously listed as approximately 60% of the US. Based on the forgoing, GDP understates the physical economy by 4-5 times. Applying this correction factor to China suggest its "real" GDP is at least twice the US value.

Russian metrics related to the physical economy (steel, concrete, sulfuric acid, electricity, ammonia, etc.) suggest its economy is about 80% of the US value yet with 1/2 the population. The US has a much larger service sector (legal, financial, health, etc.) whose value to overall wealth is debatable. For example, an attorney may make $250K/year, 5 times more than an industrial worker but to what degree does the attorney contribute to the overall wealth? The massive deindustrialization of the US has been more than compensated by growth in the service sector resulting substantial GDP growth yet we make less and less THINGS. Something really stinks in US GDP figures.

Focusing on Russia, it produces approximately (relative to the US), 80% of steel, 80% of sulfuric acid, 88% of concrete, 110% of ammonia, etc. Car production is only 25% of the US yet that likely reflects a very well developed mass transit system rather than a deficit in transportation capacity.

So, Russia is not really a land of low productive workers but rather a land of workers that produces THINGS and not services with questionable value. Perhaps that is why they can excel in the hard stuff like nuclear engineering and aerospace technologies with a population a small fraction of the US and its economic colonies (Japan, EU, etc.).

You mentioned that Russia will never be an engineering/technical powerhouse like Germany. I contend that Russia is far and away a stronger engineering/technical leader than Germany in the hard technologies. Germany is good at cars, transportation equipment, chemicals and pretty good in machine tools. They are weak in aerospace, nuclear engineering and military technology (the stuff that separates the men from the boys).

A few more items – Russia has a very harsh climate and long distances both of which creates a large economic overhead.

Russia is not living on borrowed money unlike the US. Take away the debt growth in the US and I believe that even its inflated GDP growth would become negative.

Russia has a huge potential for further growth and they are achieving that potential through a combination of great human capital, political stability, national security and a growing sense of self-reliance.

Karl, remember that Russia has a population of only 50% of the US and a tiny fraction of the US economic block. Russia is punching well above its weight. The West will continue to stick its head up its economic ass and bray about how its GDP is growing is as it produces less and less.

[Nov 10, 2014] Dennis Kucinich 'The US Must Work to Reestablish Friendly Relations With Rus

Nov 05, 2014 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

Rossiya Segodnya sat down recently with Dennis Kucinich, Former US Representative from Ohio and two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He spoke about the recent elections, the situation in Ukraine, and the need for America to shift its foreign policy away from the notion of perpetual war, to perpetual peace.

Hello Dennis, Thank You for speaking with us, one of your most recent political drives has been "Redefining National Security From Terror to Peace". What does the Republicans' victory in midterm elections mean for US national security?

Dennis Kucinich: American people define national security as human security, as a security of a job, decent wages, healthcare that is not determined by insurance companies. They determine national security in terms of human security with respect to education of the children, safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water. They talk of national security in terms of the protection of their civil liberties, the right to be free from government spying, intrusion into private communications. And they speak of national security in very personal terms that again can be described as human security. When Washington speaks of national security, Washington means perpetual war and the rise of a national security state with the military industrial complex determining the priorities of the country, and the intelligence agencies getting more and more money to reach more deeply into the personal lives of American people. So, there is a great divide here.

Because the Democratic party voted most recently to support giving arms to the so-called Syrian rebels, the democrats once again voted for war. And the party has consistently voted for war. It has not distinguished itself from the Republican Party at matters of perpetual war which means that there is a vacuum in American politics, there is a vacuum with respect to addressing the need of the people for jobs, the need of the country for rebuilding its infrastructure which is in need of trillions of dollars worth of repairs, and the need for redefining America's role in the world as a means of recognizing that this is not a unipolar world. This is a world of multiple interests and multiple countries, and there is folly for any nation including America to try to sell itself up there as the only nation that matters because indeed we have to be ready to recognize the concerns of all people.

Will the President allow the expected Congressional increase of sanctions against Russia and Iran?

Dennis Kucinich: The United States is going to have to move into a position of economic leadership for the people here at home. We have to start taking care of things here at home. And we have to stand for human rights here at home. So again, there is a vacuum. Neither party has addressed this.

We have not honored an international system of checks and balances. We need to realize that the cohesive force in the world is human unity, that we are interdependent, and interconnected. And for that reason the use of force undermines Americans' position in the world community. The arbitrary use of force, the illegal interventions that have occurred undermines America's moral authority and undermine our own national security. We have to be very careful that we do that squander the resources of our country in perpetual war. And yet both political parties have failed to come up with a means of taking a new direction.

Certainly, this 2014 election isn't going to any dramatic change in the direction America has already taken. We have to understand that continued unilateralism, interventionism have abandoned the world order and made the world more dangerous place for everyone including Americans actually by helping to fuel the ambitions of extremists . We have to envision the world and act upon envision of the world as one. The world is interconnected and is interdependent, and our policies should be aligned with that. ...

How do you think the outcome of these elections is going to affect Ukraine? Do you think the US will supply arms to Kiev now? Or will they try and handle this as a political matter instead of a militaristic one?

Dennis Kucinich: I think that the world community needs to give the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia an opportunity to work out their difficulties for good without outside interaction.

It's quite regrettable that the events in Ukraine were triggered by my country's involvement in a coup proving once again that America really needs to pay attention to things closer to home that respond to practical needs of the people. Our founders warned about being involved in foreign tricks. That seems to be a lesson that has yet to be learnt.

The other thing I want to say, the West gave Ukraine a non-negotiable demand that did not benefit the people of Ukraine. And what that non-negotiable demand included was putting NATO at the Russian border. And that was not a defensible position, and also did not provide for the people of Ukraine to have the kind of movement throughout the European Union which would provide for the kind economic freedom and the economic opportunities which the people of Ukraine have been looking for. The bottom line is as we like to say in the US the people of Ukraine were not given a very good deal. And when the government didn't accept it, the government was overthrown. We have to find a more logical, coherent and sane way of conducting our international relations.

Do you expect serious changes in US foreign policy over the next two years?

Dennis Kucinich: The next two years I would not expect to see too much changing internationally, because America can not afford to plunge deeper into these wars. The US involvement in Syria has been characterized as one blunder after another. We switch sides so quickly that we are chasing our shadow now. This is a very dangerous position to be in, now to the extent that we have created the unleashed forces that are not easily contained. And the solution is not going to be more violence.

The US truly must work to reestablish friendly relations with the government and the people of Russia. There is absolutely no reason why we should permit the reemergence of cold war psychology, because we remember from the last cold war that the only people who benefitted were the arms manufacturers. Our people have much in common and we need to focus on that again.

I intend to continue to travel the country to talk about the importance of America taking a new direction and in making sure that our national security includes a discussion about the imperative of jobs, and wages, and healthcare, and education, and housing, and our constitutional freedoms. That is part of our national security as well. And I'm not the only one saying that, I am getting that directly from thousands of people who I met in the last months while travelling the country.

Reprinted with permission from RIA Novosti.

[Oct 30, 2014] Russian hackers: just another episode in the never-ending psych-op campaign being waged against Russia in the west

Fern , October 30, 2014 at 5:53 am
Terrific article, Mark. I'd missed this story but it does sound as though it's yet another episode in the never-ending psych-op campaign being waged against Russia in the west.

The story of Russian cyber attacks of one kind or another has been running for a while now – NATO's General Breedlove, carrying out his main mission of expanding his organisation's role in the world, was the first to posit the idea that a 'NATO for the 21st century' could see cyber attacks as a justification for invoking Article 5 of the NATO Charter – an attack on one is an attack on all – so the incremental build-up of Russia as the world's most devious hacker is probably serving this sort of purpose.

Back to Ukraine for a moment. An iconic Kiev cinema has been destroyed in an arson attack during a screening of an LGBT film. Fortunately, no-one was hurt. There seem to be two possible explanations for the incident – either a protest against the showing of this particular film or a shortening of whatever planning process operates in Kiev in order to realise the value of the site. It will be interesting to see whether the EU reacts to this.

ThatJ, October 30, 2014 at 6:36 am
In the long term, the EU and US will prefer the LGBT and other marginal freakish groups over nationalists.

However, instead of physical intimidation, the new coalition of AngloZionist-empowered marginal minorities will use the law to criminalize previously widely-held values and beliefs. This is usually done through "hate crime" laws - as if any crime toward a victim is done out of love…

Other means, such as the mainstream media and well-funded violent Trotskyite groups may be used against patriots as well, but this will take years, and like I said before, will only happen if the AngloZionists gain total control over Ukraine. As long as the country is hanging between the AngloZionists and Russia, the AngloZionists will use the shabbos goyim nationalists against the Moskali.

A certain Eugen Zelman is quoted is quoted in the article. Poor guy, he's just trying to spread some European values. Why do these people always find me?

Fern , October 30, 2014 at 6:23 am
A very good edition of RT's 'CrossTalk' on the Ukrainian elections. Peter Lavelle's guests are Nebojsa Malic, Eric Krauss and Dimitry Babich. At one point, Nebojsa sums up the choice voters faced as 'Oligarchs, Nazis and Nazi-Oligarchs' which sounds like it covers a lot of the bases.

http://rt.com/shows/crosstalk/200207-oligarchs-ukraine-elections-economy/

[Oct 29, 2014] M of A - Ukraine Winter And Reigniting The War

Yonatan | Oct 27, 2014 12:39:17 PM | 101

@95

"Having the whole world in search of the unknown submarine with a hint of Russian trace, Swedish military, as it turned out, was looking for a budget increase for military needs. And achieved his goal."

Budget Increased. Mission accomplished

[Oct 27, 2014] Many times more people are moving out of Russia now than three years ago.

karl1haushofer, October 27, 2014 at 5:42 am

According to Finnish media Russia is suffering from a big brain drain.

203,659 people moved out of Russia in January-November which is more than any other year during Vladimir Putin's presidency. In fact more people moved out of Russia during the first seven months of this year than in any other full year since 2000.

It looked as if Russia had managed to tackle the brain drain, but this year the the number of people emigrating has exploded.

karl1haushofer, October 27, 2014 at 6:12 am

This article from July talks about the same thing: http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/russian-emigration-spikes-in-2013-2014/

What is worrisome is that the emigration figures seem to have multiplied in a year or two. This is not a modest increase, but a big spike in emigration. Many times more people are moving out of Russia now than three years ago.

What does this actually tell?

Russia's Putin blames U.S. for destabilizing world order

The Washington Post

Russia's Putin blames U.S. for destabilizing world order - The Washington Post

MOSCOW - Making clear that the Kremlin has no intention of backing down from the worst Russia-Western crisis since the Cold War, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of trying to "reshape the whole world" for its benefit, in a fiery speech that was one of the most anti-American of his 15 years as Russia's paramount leader.

Seven months into a conflict over Ukraine that has seen at least 3,400 people killed, Putin predicted that the clash would not be the last to pit Russia and the United States against each other, excoriating the White House for imposing sanctions against his nation that he said were simply aimed at forcing Russia into submission.

In nationally broadcast remarks that lasted nearly three hours, Putin gave no hint of concessions to Western consternation over Russia's role in Ukraine, where Putin first pressured former president Viktor Yanukovych over his plans to sign a European-friendly trade deal, annexed the Crimean Peninsula after pro-European protesters forced Yanukovych's ouster and then helped fuel a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Russia "is not asking anyone for permission" in its conduct of world affairs, Putin said.

Although there was little new substance in the angry address, it was a bitter distillation of Putin's anti-American rhetoric at an annual forum originally intended to put a Western-friendly spin on Russia's image. Putin speaks every year before the Valdai Club, a gathering of Western and Russian analysts, journalists and officials, some of whom are critical of the Kremlin. This year's meeting was held in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, second from the right, speaks in a session of the political discussion club Valdai in Sochi, Russia. The Russian president said the United States is trying to remake the world for its own interests. (Mikhail Klimentiev/Ria Novosti/Kremlin Pool/European Pressphoto Agency)

In the past, Putin has used the forum to offer olive branches to those critics. Last year, he took questions from opposition lawmakers a day after his aides had offered them political concessions. Sometimes he has also made jokes.

This year's speech and question-and-answer session contained none of that image-polishing. Instead, Putin delivered an unsmiling, straightforward worldview that blasted the United States as taking advantage of its powerful post-Cold War position to dictate misguided terms to the rest of the world. Putin faulted the United States for a rise in global terrorism, a resumption of a global arms race and a general worsening of global security.

"It never ceases to amaze me how our partners have been guilty of making the same mistakes time and again," Putin said, accusing the United States of breeding terrorists by upsetting the established order in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

One participant said that he was left with the impression that the ouster of Yanukovych in Ukraine - a nation with deep historical and cultural ties to Russia - was the final straw that unleashed years of anti-Western anger.

"It was an emotional broadside against U.S. foreign policy," said one participant, Cliff Kupchan, a longtime Russia analyst who is chairman of the Eurasia Group, a New York-based political and business consultancy.

"If this is a turning point," Kupchan said, "we're going from bad to worse."

Kupchan said that other meetings with Russian officials over the closed three-day conference left little optimism for a durable peace in Ukraine, where a Sept. 5 cease-fire has frequently been broken. He said that officials at the meeting saw Cyprus and Bosnia as models for handling Ukraine's divisions. Neither is an exemplar of comity between ethnic groups.

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Russian officials also said that they still will not tolerate Ukraine's establishing stronger ties with the European Union, suggesting that a 15-month delay in the effective date of a landmark trade deal simply delays yet another confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, Kupchan said.

Putin offered brief praise to recent instances of Russia-Western partnership, such as removing Syria's chemical weapons and the ongoing multi­lateral negotiations to halt Iran's and North Korea's nuclear programs. But that was just a brief moment in a long anti-Western diatribe.

The real audience may not have been the assembled Valdai elite but Putin's domestic electorate, which thrives on his delivering powerful and angry messages to the West, said Vladimir Frolov, a Moscow-based foreign policy expert and former diplomat.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that "the United States does not seek confrontation with Russia, but we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which security in Europe and North America rest."

"Our focus is on continuing to engage with Russia on areas of mutual concern," she said.

Birnbaum reported from Lviv, Ukraine.

[Oct 25, 2014] Putin Accuses U.S. of Backing 'Neo-Fascists' and 'Islamic Radicals' By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

Oct 24, 2014 | NYTimes.com

...Instead of supporting democracy and sovereign states, Mr. Putin said during a three-hour appearance at the conference, the United States supports "dubious" groups ranging from "open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals."

"Why do they support such people," he asked the annual gathering known as the Valdai Club, which met this year in the southern resort town of Sochi. "They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals, but then burn their fingers and recoil."

The goal of the United States, he said, was to try to create a unipolar world in which American interests went unchallenged.

... ... ...

"We are at a dangerous point where on both sides, unilateral grievances have thoroughly spilled over into very, very emotional policies toward each other," said Cliff Kupchan, the chairman of the Eurasia Group, a Washington-based risk analysis organization, who was at the meeting.

"I think it is on a new level of acrimony," Mr. Kupchan said of Mr. Putin's speech. "I think this is a genuine message that 'Enough is enough, and I don't like being grouped with Ebola and I don't like these sanctions

[Oct 25, 2014] Vladimir Putin blames US for Islamist terrorism and Ukraine conflict Shaun Walker

From comments: IlicPetar 25 October 2014 2:28pm
However, when one British newspaper reporter asked him specifically about the repeated reports of Russian army troops operating in east Ukraine, Putin chose to ignore the question completely.
Our friend Shaun, after a pleasant conversation with Ukrainians "who refused to give his name", informs us now on unnamed journalists who ask tough questions to Putin. So probably this is about The Guardian journalist Seumas Milne. He actually asked to Putin two questions, after which Putin asked him to clarify his second question. In this sense, it turns out that Putin really avoid answering the first question. But, in the previous question, the Russian troops were not mentioned at all. However, it is better to read it yourself...
theguardian.com

Puutin said that over the past two decades, the US had behaved as if it were someone "nouveau riche who had suddenly received a lot of wealth – in this case, global leadership". Instead of using its powers wisely, said Putin, the US had created a unilateral and unfair system.

The Russian president's sentiments were nothing new, but appeared to be a more concise and concentrated version of his grievances at a time when relations between Russia and the west are more strained than at any period since the cold war.

In a terse opening statement before taking questions for nearly three hours, Putin : "The exceptionalism of the United States, the way they implement their leadership, is it really a benefit? And their worldwide intervention brings peace and stability, progress and peak of democracy? Maybe we should relax and enjoy this splendour? No!"

Beginner20 , 24 October 2014 7:08pm
Not only. Putin directly : the US is NOT democracy and never was. Whole speech is here.
BillGoatse -> hiiipower , 24 October 2014 9:05pm
In regards to Islamic terrorism I agree. How many potential terrorists has the USA created by starting a war which has killed over half a million people?! How can they fight a 'war on terror' by bringing terror to millions of innocent people? It's all so illogical and tragic and there seems to be no end to this killing.

It seems obvious that America isn't killing so many civilians in the middle east for the good of the middle east civilians. They have been planning this for years. This video is a much watch! It has a former four star general and supreme commander of NATO explaining America planned to invade 7 countries. Why this video isn't more widely seen is a travesty.

General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned - Seven C…: http://youtu.be/9RC1Mepk_Sw

nobledonkey , 24 October 2014 7:31pm
George Soros wants war with Russia and he wants the EU to help pay for it by way of inflation via the printing press i.e. further destroying the middle classes.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/wake-up-europe/?insrc=hpss

Europeans:

Are you ready to confront Russia in the name of Soros' billions?

The man has already invested quite a bit in shady NGOs like Open Society and the man was knee-deep in the theft and plundering of Russia during the 1990s by way of Renaissance Capital and other financial outfits.

How soon before Soros teams up with Khodorkovsky and his "Open Russia" NGO? Khodorkovsky wants to get back what he rightfully stole so that he can placate former business partners like Dick Cheney.

nobledonkey -> Alderbaran, 24 October 2014 9:05pm

Nobody wants war with Russia and to suggest that Khodorkovsky is driven by a desire to placate Cheney seems ludicrous.

The point I was illustrating is that Soros wants the EU to become more confrontational with Russia, at the expense of its own security and economic well-being, the latter of which would actually help his own financial interests.

The second point is that Khodorkovsky and Cheney were business partners in the past and that much of the opposition to Putin by men such as Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Kasparov, and Zakayev is closely linked not only to financial players like Soros but to the neo-conservatives as well; whose media figures have been the most hawkish re: Russia and not just since Ukraine blew up (again).

Yucos was comprehensively stolen from him under the direction of perhaps Russia's second most influential man - Sechen. This was at a time when Putin wanted to prevent Khordorkovsky moving into politics and Igor Sechen had an eye on the potential spoils of Yucos. Khordorkovsky has expressed a desire to see Russia become a successful democracy.

That's why I said that "Khodorkovsky wants back what he stole in the first place".

The idea that he wants Russia to be a successful democracy is laughable, especially in light of his treatment of employees during his heyday, in particular when he had police beat striking workers.

All these figures: American neo-conservatives, western finance, and Russian 'opposition' are bound in their desire to re-open Russia like the Yeltsin days so that it be plundered once again, for varying reasons ranging from personal power to the extension of American hegemonic ambitions.

jamesoverseas , 24 October 2014 7:56pm
You missed this nugget that explains his world view

The world works like this: the more loyalty you have to the single centre of power in the world, the more legitimate your govt is

. To be fair has has a point. Syrian government not legitimate but Bahrain and Saudi governments are...can anyone explain the difference to me? (other than the syrian regime is more secular and protective towards minorities than the other two)
SEARAY , 24 October 2014 7:57pm

Putin might be right. Things were not so bad in Ukraine until EU was reportedly "fucked" by Victoria Nuland.

Beckow, 24 October 2014 8:01pm
What would Ukraine be like today without US-EU support for the violent revolution/coup in February in Kiev?

- There would be by now a normal presidential election with a new government (Ukraine for all its faults had a democracy and Yanukovitch and before him pro-Western Yushenko were elected)
- There would be no war in the Russian-speaking east and south
- Crimea would be safely in Ukraine
- Gas imports and trade with Russia would go on as before accounting for 30% of Ukraine's trade

Instead, Ukraine has a "revolutionary" government with all kinds of street radicals and pro-Western oligarchs running around saying some of the more stupid things in recent memory (US is going to give Marshall Plan, EU is going to open its borders to Ukrainian migrants, Russia has used nuclear missiles in Ukraine, etc...

The economy is dropping almost 10% a year with the worst still coming. There are 3,000 dead and the blood-thirsty rhetoric is still escalating.

Yes, this is a result of US meddling and support for the Maidan street protests. This is a result of 5 billion dollars spent by US on "NGO's" in Kiev. This is a result of Nuland's cookies.

Seems to me that it is self-evident that US has supported Ukraine's revolution. It is also self-evident that it has been a failure and Ukraine will suffer for a very long time. But since Putin said it, I am sure many will scream and shout and demonize instead of rational thinking. Quite a spectacle we see among Western intellectuals.... Were you always like this? Or is it something about Russia that drives you incoherent with rage?

JCBKing -> Beckow , 24 October 2014 8:07pm
The Ukrainians would also have 15 billion extra. It is not as if the deal with Russia would have left some of the idiots in Ukraine without any further scope for leverage between the EU and Russia.

I'm not sure if the EU will open up it's doors or conjure up some scheme that makes it more possible for a higher number of Ukrainians to at least be able to work in Poland, the supposedly "prosperous" Baltic states or Hungary.

Beckow -> JCBKing , 24 October 2014 8:20pm

EU is not exactly suffering from labor shortages today. So more Ukrainian workers, in Poland or anywhere, would just lead to even worse labor market for everybody. Actually, Russia is suffering from labor shortage, there are 3 million Ukrainians working there already.

In any negotiation one loses power and leverage by emotionally preferring one side. Ukraine has lost any leverage over EU by so visibly "loving EU", or US (who get anything they want anyway), or Russia by showing undisguised hatred - when Ukrainian leaders make Russo-phobic speeches (Yatsenyuk) and then remain as Ukrainian leaders, well that reflects on all Ukrainians.

So today, Ukraine has no room to negotiate anything. They are left with pleading for mercy and charity. That has never led to anything good.

Alderbaran -> Beckow, 24 October 2014 8:20pm
The attempted takeover of eastern Ukraine has been way more violent and damaging than any of the protests in Kiev and I don't see how you can contest that.

Ukraine is a corrupt state but to imagine that this corruption would have gone away naturally following another election is naive. Generally I ignore posts that mention Nuland, Nazis and $5 billion but I feel compelled to disagree with you.

Months ago, many were comparing Putin's moves in Ukraine to a chess game being played masterfully. Now, many of the same voices are saying that Russia had no influence in Ukraine and that any problems there are the fault of the US.

The chess game analogy might be quite apt - Putin appears to see conflict as adversarial rather than a drive to find equilibrium and compromise. The drive to capture Crimea might have also been made in order to divert attention away from problems in Russia itself and I'm worried that he might become ever more paranoid as Russia's economy slips and that speeches such as this one might become a little more common.

creel , 24 October 2014 8:03pm
Putin makes a general observation that is well grounded. Over the past two decades, yes. In his ex Soviet backyard. Yet if one thinks back further the US has often acted thus - through her proxy allies such as Turkey, Israel; through a host of coup-empowered autocrats the likes of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Chile's Pinochet and through support for failed insurrection in Cuba, Nicaragua and indeed, after a long period of misrule, in Iran.

Why do we so easily overlook Turkey's incursion into Cyprus and her continued support for militarized ethnic enclaves ..but pillory Russia for her support for similar dissident pro-Russian populations in Ukraine? Particularly when in Russia's case, there are sound strategic reasons for her apprehension about the way a potentially hostile linked-with-Nato military alliance has openly seized opportunity to place forces ever-closer to her heartland.

Umut Gezer , 24 October 2014 8:03pm

I still believe Russia should have invaded Ukraine after Yanukovich who was elected by the popular vote was ousted by a western backed coup. Perhaps this was what the Nato planned so Russia would be sucked into a war, but it did not work. their plans all have been dumped into the bin.

also, on the point of Putin ignoring one British paper's question; the British media has been lying for a year on the Ukraine issue. It has been publishing bias news and has been a dark page in journalism.

katafonia , 24 October 2014 8:07pm
as Orwell said "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
the Russian Hercules made a great speech!
shakur_420 , 24 October 2014 8:12pm
Anyone familiar with the context and history of NATO expansion, and the facts surrounding the US-sponsored coup in Ukraine, knows full well that the Russians have shown tremendous restraint. It has been the US who has been aggressive (along with their pathetic allies, like my country) in Ukraine, as they have been on the global stage for more than half a century.

The Guardian's dismissal of the facts, and their downplaying of US government behaviour is nothing new.

SHappens , 24 October 2014 8:15pm
Putin once again delivered an outstanding speech. He speaks the truth, in a straightforward manner, there is no malice nor hate. Just a fair understanding of the present situation and a clear view on Russia's future aspirations. Putin loves his country and his people rewards him a hundredfold.

There is a lot of food for thoughts in his speech.

We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms. At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.

JCBKing , 24 October 2014 8:19pm
Caught some of it. Brilliant stuff from a highly intelligent and decent man.

It is incredible though some of the dumb questions these morons in the US and UK press ask. Not all of them but many..it defies logic. One overemotional American woman asked a stupid series of questions of pointless rhetoric that leave no scope for decent answers. The Financial Times man even worse ( a misleading question with the answer obvious) with imbecilic rudeness and fake posturing over the "accuracy" of one his reporters latest propaganda pieces .Completely out of place to mention in a meeting like this with a head of state.

I also would have liked some question from any nationality on why the US,Russia and Ukraine are all involved in obfuscation of the MH17 crash. One would assume that all 3 parties know exactly what happened from where and when and it would have been good for the President to be cornered on this,even though a direct answer would have been unlikely to have been given...everything else though was answered as usual with a great degree of detail that shames the empty headed, 15 minutes at best, nonsense from the likes of Obama and Cameron.

zelazny , 24 October 2014 8:20pm
Putin stands head and shoulders above the various western leaders, from the Pillsbury Doughboy Cameron to the "constitutional scholar" Obama.

Only the blind and the stupid don't understand that the US staged a neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine. The neo-Nazis then went on a campaign of slaughtering civilians, even burning them alive. The people in the eastern Ukraine said no to this psychopathy, and they in essence have won. The Kiev government trembles because it knows now that neither Nato nor the USA would come to their aid should Russia really attack them.

And a not so subtle threat underlies Putin's speech, because he basically has said Russia has had enough with US criminality. I think this foreshadows the eventually break from the petro-dollar by the BRICs, protected by Russia nuclear arms.

The federal reserve has to print out money by the untold billions in order to keep the US economy from another crash. Behind the facade of the increases in stock prices hides a cowering economy ready to crash at any unexpected event.

lubostron, 24 October 2014 8:28pm

...And he's bloody right!

It's beyond tragi-comic belief the amount of psychophantic scaremongering, lies, half-truths and propaganda America, Britain and others use to demonise Russia.

Luckily, there seems to be a huge disconnect between what is told/reported by governments and official (corporate) media and what many, many people actually believe.

JJRichardson lubostron , 24 October 2014 8:30pm
And have you looked at RT? It makes Soviet propaganda look sophisticated.
Nickel07 -> JJRichardson , 24 October 2014 8:38pm
I have looked at RT and I can assure you that some of the reporting is less biased than this pamphlet we are currently commenting on.

AlekNevski, 24 October 2014 8:36pm

The Russian president "has won because we were not ready to die for Ukraine, while apparently he was," Ambassador Gerard Araud said yesterday at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-22/-poker-player-putin-bluffed-and-won-french-envoy-says.html

Donetsk is 300 miles from Volgograd (Stalingrad) where 1 million (1 million?) German soldiers died in the legendary battle. Nearly 2 million Russian died too.
And these stupid bureaucrats are surprised that the Russians are willing to fight for... their land?

This level of incompetence is hard to bear. Moronic, completely and utterly moronic.

olddocrob, 24 October 2014 8:41pm

Was once told that the purpose of education was to equip one with a 100% efficient bullshit detector. There are a lot of sad, trusting folk on the site tonight; one would think uncle Jo, Adolph and their like had never trod the earth. How can anyone take seriously a man who parades half naked in front of his people looking like some extra from a homoerotic sword and saddles bash? I 'll take Putin seriously when he stops banging up journos and the singers of mildly ironic songs. Until then he's damaged goods.

donald7063 , 24 October 2014 8:47pm
Is Russia a colony of the US?

This is the opening paragraph of the National Liberation Movement of Russia's manifesto which is for the removal of unfriendly domination by the US of its economic, governmental and constitutional arrangements. For the complete manifesto go to:

www.geopolitica.ru

The National Liberation Movement in Russia has only one goal that unites everyone regardless of their political views: the restoration of the sovereignty of the country and liberation from its occupiers. The inhabitants of Russia must break free from their chains of slavery and become free citizens in a free (non-occupied) country.

To achieve these goals, the government should become ours, i.e. we must completely change the nature of the state, including through amending the Constitution. Society is a broader concept, and in fact, it should feel necessary to partake in this goal because the national liberation struggle is a struggle of the society for the restoration of sovereign control over Russia, including control over state institutions. Today, the state in Russia, as in any colony, works for the occupier under the rules established by it, placing it under the rulers' direct control. This provision is captured in the existing Constitution. Every day the main task of those millions of officials who go to work is to improve living standards and the solve the problems of the American and European peoples. That is their main function today. At the level of daily activity, it is hard to recognize this without desire and sufficient time for the conceptualisation of our historical facts and the current state of affairs in the country as a whole.

Justavoice01 , 24 October 2014 9:04pm

Since WWII, America has had plenty of wars, Committed plenty of war crimes, destabilized plenty of countries all over the world, not all for good, but for self-interest. Yet If Putin says this, it is labelled as propaganda, But it is true. America causes trouble everywhere it goes, if they don't get their way, the so called "west" defends any old stupidity they come out with. Creating chaos then try to manage it, but time and time again, it is botched up. Always defended by "compliant allies" who follows America with their follies all over the world. America has an army that don't win wars, it has too much money that is back by, god only knows, it's governance is irrational and dysfunctional, a country who votes in the dumbest individuals into positions of power and then try to dictate. I have said this plenty of time on these pages, Why do we follow them!......If the answer is WWII, the USSR won the European theatre practically by themselves.

Justthefactsman , 24 October 2014 9:06pm
I listened and watched on RT.

"When the British reporter asked about Russian troops operating in the Ukraine, Putin did reply according to the English translation to which I was listening. he even admitted that Russian troops were used to prevent Ukranian troops from leaving there base.

Maybe Shaun Walker should have gone to Sochi, or perhaps have watched RT.
As to describe Putin as railing against the U.S.A I wonder if Shaun actually knows the definition of railing ?

This whole piece is just another stick to beat the bear with.

I am not fan of Putin but then I am no fan of Obama, but can Shaun really tell us where Putin Lied about the historical past and what the recent history has been about the Ukraine?

I think Shaun should read "A Peoples Tragedy" by Orlando Fuges

johhnybgood , 24 October 2014 9:08pm
As Sergei Lavrov said to the US "we are sorry our country is so close to your bases". Lavrov's recent UN speech is a masterclass in diplomatic rhetoric. He is a million miles ahead of any US spokesperson - they are all incapable of any sort of sensible dialogue. Is anyone now listening to the constant Russophobia from the MSM.? Look what is actually happening on the ground, not what the press is reporting. It is clear that Russia has been a model of self restraint in the face of many provocations. The West has only succeeded in driving Russia closer to China.
RememberGiap , 24 October 2014 9:10pm
And Putin is right . Putin's Russia does not send drones to kill on other continents . Putin's Russian did not cause chaos in Libya , Iraq and Afghanistan . Putin's Russia did not spend billions of dollars creating fundamentalist Islamic movements on the Pakistani / Afghan border in the 1980's . Putin's Russia did not invite and fund Arab Jihadists to wage war as proxies of Russia as did the USA , a price we all suffering now . Russia does not supply arms to Israel to bomb Palestinians . Russia does not give Israel its ' veto ' on the UN Security Council to give it immunity from International law . Russia does not station its military bases throughout the world . As for US activities in toppling Governments , destabilizing countries and covert operations in Southern and Central America I'd still be typing this post tomorrow without even then revealing the tip of the iceberg !!

The USA , lovely people unfortunately living in a global Rogue State .

seamuspadraig , 24 October 2014 9:12pm
Uncle Scam is in deep doggie-do now. Russia and China aren't just some little third-world countries that Washington can wipe its ass on then throw away. Oh no... Uncle Scam is after big game now! These two animals can defend themselves. And this time, they're on the same team.

I'm waiting to see what happens in Syria.

Corrections , 24 October 2014 9:13pm
Partial English transcript:
http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/23137

The rest of the transcript will no doubt appear over the next several hours. I suppose it's better than waiting until the whole thing is translated before posting anything.

EugeneGur , 24 October 2014 9:33pm
Putin said nothing in this speech that wasn't patently obvious. There is really nothing that could reasonably be denied because most statements were pure statement of facts. He just said all this very bluntly. He started his speech by saying that he was going to speak him mind, otherwise he sees no reason to speak at all.

I am old enough to remember as in early 1990s the American press cried every day all the time "We won! We won! We are the sole remaining superpower!" I thought: Aren't we supposed to be all friends now? As it became clear very soon, no, we weren't. We were expected to be servants to "indispensable" American people destined to rule the Universe. I can't speak for the rest of the Universe, but that role somehow doesn't appeal to me.

The exceptionalism of the United States, the way they implement their leadership, is it really a benefit? And their worldwide intervention brings peace and stability, progress and peak of democracy? Maybe we should relax and enjoy this splendour? No!"

This is a mistranslation. Puting didn't say anything about splendor. He did say "relax and enjoy" but he was referring to the saying" What should you do when you are being raped? Relax and try to enjoy". A somewhat different meaning, isn't it?

[Oct 24, 2014] Henry Giroux On the Rise of Neoliberalism As a Political Ideology

A very important article. Should be read in full. Large quote below does not cover all the content of the article.
Oct 19, 2014 : truth-out.org

"There is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past."

Ryszard Kapuscinski

Are they incapable, or merely unwilling? That is the credibility trap, the inability to address the key problems because the ruling elite must risk or even undermine their own undeserved power to do so.

I think this interview below highlights the false dichotomy between communism and free market capitalism that was created in the 1980's largely by Thatcher's and Reagan's handlers. The dichotomy was more properly between communist government and democracy, of the primacy of the individual over the primacy of the organization and the state as embodied in fascism and the real world implementations of communism in Russia and China.

But we never think of it that way any more, if at all. It is one of the greatest public relation coups in history. One form of organizational oppression by the Russian nomenklatura was replaced by the oppression by the oligarchs and their Corporations, in the name of freedom.

Free market capitalism, under the banner of the efficient markets hypothesis, has taken the place of democratic ideals as the primary good as embodied in the original framing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

It is no accident that the individual and their concerns have become subordinated to the corporate welfare and the profits of the upper one percent. We even see this in religion with the 'gospel of prosperity.' In their delusion they make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, so that after they may be received into their everlasting habitations.

The market as the highest good has stood on the shoulders of the 'greed is good' philosophy promulgated by the pied pipers of the me generation, and has turned the Western democracies on their heads, as a series of political leaders have capitulated to this false idol of money as the measure of all things, and all virtue.

Policy is now crafted to maximize profits as an end to itself without regard to the overall impact on freedom and the public good. It measures 'costs' in the most narrow and biased of terms, and allocated wealth based on the subversion of good sense to false economy theories.

Greed is a portion of the will to power. And that madness serves none but itself.

This is a brief excerpt. You may read the entire interview here.

Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism
19 October 2014
By Michael Nevradakis, Truthout

"...We're talking about an ideology marked by the selling off of public goods to private interests; the attack on social provisions; the rise of the corporate state organized around privatization, free trade, and deregulation; the celebration of self interests over social needs; the celebration of profit-making as the essence of democracy coupled with the utterly reductionist notion that consumption is the only applicable form of citizenship.

But even more than that, it upholds the notion that the market serves as a model for structuring all social relations: not just the economy, but the governing of all of social life...

That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way.

And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity.

We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world."

"This is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility."

I think that as a mode of governance, it is really quite dreadful because it tends to produce identities, subjects and ways of life driven by a kind of "survival of the fittest" ethic, grounded in the notion of the free, possessive individual and committed to the right of individual and ruling groups to accrue wealth removed from matters of ethics and social cost.

That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way. And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity. We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world.

And having mentioned this impact on the social state and the 99%, would you go as far as to say that these ideologies have been the direct cause of the economic crisis the world is presently experiencing?

Oh, absolutely. I think when you look at the crisis in 2007, what are you looking at? You're looking at the merging of unchecked financial power and a pathological notion of greed that implemented banking policies and deregulated the financial world and allowed the financial elite, the one percent, to pursue a series of policies, particularly the selling of junk bonds and the illegality of what we call subprime mortgages to people who couldn't pay for them. This created a bubble and it exploded. This is directly related to the assumption that the market should drive all aspects of political, economic, and social life and that the ruling elite can exercise their ruthless power and financial tools in ways that defy accountability. And what we saw is that it failed, and it not only failed, but it caused an enormous amount of cruelty and hardship across the world. More importantly, it emerged from the crisis not only entirely unapologetic about what it did, but reinvented itself, particularly in the United States under the Rubin boys along with Larry Summers and others, by attempting to prevent any policies from being implemented that would have overturned this massively failed policy of deregulation.

It gets worse. In the aftermath of this sordid crisis produced by the banks and financial elite, we have also learned that the feudal politics of the rich was legitimated by the false notion that they were too big to fail, an irrational conceit that gave way to the notion that they were too big to jail, which is a more realistic measure of the criminogenic/zombie culture that nourishes casino capitalism.

[Oct 24, 2014] Putin Says Don't Mess With Mother Russia By Marc Champion

Putin forgot the neoliberalism means the law of jungles. See Henry_Giroux article above
Oct 24, 2014 | Bloomberg

If President Vladimir Putin is Russia, as a senior Kremlin official said this week, then this country is angry, humiliated and suffering from an almost paranoid fixation on the U.S. as the root of all the world's troubles.

In a closing speech and question-and-answer session today at Russia's annual state-sponsored Valdai conference, Putin said he was going to be frank -- he was more than that. He dived into a long list of slights and wounds inflicted by the U.S. on Russia and the world since the end of the Cold War, and gave every sign of digging in for a long period of confrontation.

The U.S., according to Putin, is a global Big Brother that blackmails and bullies its allies while producing instability and misery around the world. Because the U.S. realizes it no longer has the ability to succeed as the lone hegemon in an age of rising powers, it is trying to recoup that status by re-creating the Cold War and producing a new enemy against which to rally countries, he said.

According to Putin's tour of contemporary world history, aggressive U.S. interventionism is responsible not just for the destabilization of Iraq (which it was) and Libya, but also for Syria (where the U.S. didn't intervene against President Bashar al-Assad) and the creation of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State. And that's before you get to the Maidan protests and "state coup" this year in Ukraine.

As for the economic sanctions the European Union has imposed over Russia's annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Ukraine, that again was all because of pressure from the U.S., he said -- not any action Russia might have taken.

There is plenty of truth salted through Putin's complaints, enough to make him -- as one fawning Russian state TV anchor put it in what passed for a question -- "the face of resistance" for many around the world.

What is worrying is that the post 1990s narrative Putin laid out -- in which the U.S. has ignored, humiliated, encircled and isolated Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- is one most Russians whole-heartedly believe. They, too, can't imagine that ordinary unarmed citizens -- whether in Kiev, the Arab Spring countries or elsewhere -- might act of their own volition, rather than as pawns in a U.S. game.

"What's in his mind is what Russia is thinking. It's like you're mad at someone and just let it out," said Toby Gati, a former U.S. diplomat in the audience. Gati had told Putin she didn't recognize the U.S. he described, drawing a rare conciliatory comment that he wasn't seeking confrontation.

The wellspring of popular support Putin enjoys for any potential escalation, as unwise as that would be for Russia's long-term prosperity, allowed him to be defiant on sanctions and fatalistic on continued bloodshed in Ukraine.

Sure, Putin called for a new rule-based world order and insisted that his country had no ambitions to re-create the old empire. And no doubt he was talking, on state TV, in part to the home audience. Yet the broad thrust of his remarks was defiant, arguing that if the U.S. gets to throw its weight around and break rules, why shouldn't Russia? "What's allowed for Jupiter isn't for the bull," Putin said. "Well, the bull may not be able to, but the bear isn't going to ask anyone's permission."

There's plenty of blame to go around for allowing the situation to get this bad, but for anyone who wants to see the Ukraine crisis solved, sanctions lifted and a repaired relationship between Russia and the U.S. and EU, this was a dark and depressing performance that came close to a threat.

Putin attacks U.S. electoral college system 'There is no democracy there' - The Washington Post

ravensfan20008

I can't believe I'm saying this...but Putin is right. You want to talk about a system that should cease to exist, it's this one.

And before you point to the Constitution and say "not gonna happen," there are plans out there that would render it a moot point, like states pledging to award electors to whoever wins the popular vote nationwide. And they'd easily pass constitutional muster.

jaysonrex1

Actually, Putin is right. After all these years, it is high the time a constitutional amendment changes this system for the straight voting method used in the entire world by democracies and even by dictatorships.

And while we are at it, maybe it is also high the time U.S. abandons the imperial system (it inherited from Britain - a country that already abandoned it many years ago) and finally adopts the metric system thus joining the civilized world - so to say.

And while we are at it, U.S. should get rid of the Senate. It serves no useful purpose apart from representing a unacceptable drain of public funds.

And while we are at it, .....

mvymvy

A constitutional amendment could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

Instead, by state laws, without changing anything in the Constitution, The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes.

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of Electoral College votes-that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The candidate receiving the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) would get all the 270+ electoral votes of the enacting states.

The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founders. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

NationalPopularVote

Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

[Oct 24, 2014] Russia's Putin blames U.S. for destabilizing world order

It not so depressing the level of WashPost reaction, as the level of comments...
The Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of endangering the international order by trying to "remake the whole world" for its own, exclusive interests, and he predicted that Ukraine would not be the last conflict to embroil the major powers.

Putin charged that the United States has escalated world conflicts by "unilateral diktat" and by imposing sanctions that he said were aimed at pushing Russia toward "economic weakness," while he denied that Russia aspires to rebuild an empire or reclaim its Cold War-era stature as a superpower.

"We did not start this," Putin said of the worsening world climate. "These policies started a few years ago; it hasn't just started today because of sanctions."

The Russian president's comments, among the most incendiary he has ever directed against the United States, were made during a speech before the Valdai Club, an annual gathering of international analysts and scholars held this year in the southern Russian city of Sochi, where Russia staged the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year.

Since then, Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine have driven relations between Moscow and Washington to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

Putin said the United States had adopted a Cold War victor's mindset that was clouding its view of the world, leading to "serious delusions" about what changes are needed in the international system.

"It never ceases to amaze me how our partners have been guilty of making the same mistakes time and again," Putin said. He said past U.S. support for Islamist extremists had helped to create the current crises in Iraq and Syria, and he charged that U.S. backing for revolutions in former Soviet states now contending with chaos - such as Ukraine - were tantamount to "letting the genie out of the bottle."

magnifco1000

Trust me, if Putin weren't there, Russia would splinter into a dozen nations with half of them "Islamic States." They'd make ISIL look tame by comparison. Our interests are currently served with Russia under central control and with leadership that hate the Islamists as much as we do.

magnifco1000

The US approach to Russia is totally idiotic and unproductive. I'm a businessman and know Russia. These "Russian scholars" from Ivy League schools know nothing. Left over neocons from the Cold War just make things worse.

Russia should be engaged and worked with. We missed a golden opportunity when the Cold War ended. We don't have to feel afraid of Russia. It just has a conscript army and can barely hold it's territory together.

What's the sense of kicking them when they are down.

Giantsmax

from my own objective point of view, it is hard to argue with Putin, I think what he says bears a lot of truth.

Archy Bunka

It is hard to argue with Putin, because if you are a Russian citizen he will lock you up.

Giantsmax

But since I am an American citizen that is a moot point.

Beau7890

Of course the U.S. is trying to remake the whole world for its own interests. It's been doing this since the early 20th century. So has Russia. So has every other country that tries to lead the world-it's always for their own interests.

Putin speech at the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

Wow... Putin practically accused the United States in international terrorism. Never mentioned the term neoliberalism. Does this suggest that Putin feels that neoliberalism is dead and no longer dangerous? What if he is wrong ? What if this stance is premature? Even in zombie state neoliberalism is a very dangerous and resourceful opponent.

... ... ...

Today's discussion took place under the theme: New Rules or a Game without Rules. I think that this formula accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face. There is nothing new of course in the idea that the world is changing very fast. I know this is something you have spoken about at the discussions today. It is certainly hard not to notice the dramatic transformations in global politics and the economy, public life, and in industry, information and social technologies.

Let me ask you right now to forgive me if I end up repeating what some of the discussion's participants have already said. It's practically impossible to avoid. You have already held detailed discussions, but I will set out my point of view. It will coincide with other participants' views on some points and differ on others.

As we analyse today's situation, let us not forget history's lessons. First of all, changes in the world order – and what we are seeing today are events on this scale – have usually been accompanied by if not global war and conflict, then by chains of intensive local-level conflicts. Second, global politics is above all about economic leadership, issues of war and peace, and the humanitarian dimension, including human rights.

The world is full of contradictions today. We need to be frank in asking each other if we have a reliable safety net in place. Sadly, there is no guarantee and no certainty that the current system of global and regional security is able to protect us from upheavals. This system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. The international and regional political, economic, and cultural cooperation organisations are also going through difficult times.

Yes, many of the mechanisms we have for ensuring the world order were created quite a long time ago now, including and above all in the period immediately following World War II. Let me stress that the solidity of the system created back then rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system's 'founding fathers' had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.

The main thing is that this system needs to develop, and despite its various shortcomings, needs to at least be capable of keeping the world's current problems within certain limits and regulating the intensity of the natural competition between countries.

It is my conviction that we could not take this mechanism of checks and balances that we built over the last decades, sometimes with such effort and difficulty, and simply tear it apart without building anything in its place. Otherwise we would be left with no instruments other than brute force.

What we needed to do was to carry out a rational reconstruction and adapt it the new realities in the system of international relations.

But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this. Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.

The Cold War ended, but it did not end with the signing of a peace treaty with clear and transparent agreements on respecting existing rules or creating new rules and standards. This created the impression that the so-called 'victors' in the Cold War had decided to pressure events and reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests. If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances in place got in the way of these aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition.

Pardon the analogy, but this is the way nouveaux riches behave when they suddenly end up with a great fortune, in this case, in the shape of world leadership and domination. Instead of managing their wealth wisely, for their own benefit too of course, I think they have committed many follies.

We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms. At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.

In a situation where you had domination by one country and its allies, or its satellites rather, the search for global solutions often turned into an attempt to impose their own universal recipes. This group's ambitions grew so big that they started presenting the policies they put together in their corridors of power as the view of the entire international community. But this is not the case.

The very notion of 'national sovereignty' became a relative value for most countries. In essence, what was being proposed was the formula: the greater the loyalty towards the world's sole power centre, the greater this or that ruling regime's legitimacy.

We will have a free discussion afterwards and I will be happy to answer your questions and would also like to use my right to ask you questions. Let someone try to disprove the arguments that I just set out during the upcoming discussion.

The measures taken against those who refuse to submit are well-known and have been tried and tested many times. They include use of force, economic and propaganda pressure, meddling in domestic affairs, and appeals to a kind of 'supra-legal' legitimacy when they need to justify illegal intervention in this or that conflict or toppling inconvenient regimes. Of late, we have increasing evidence too that outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders. It is not for nothing that 'big brother' is spending billions of dollars on keeping the whole world, including its own closest allies, under surveillance.

Let's ask ourselves, how comfortable are we with this, how safe are we, how happy living in this world, and how fair and rational has it become? Maybe, we have no real reasons to worry, argue and ask awkward questions? Maybe the United States' exceptional position and the way they are carrying out their leadership really is a blessing for us all, and their meddling in events all around the world is bringing peace, prosperity, progress, growth and democracy, and we should maybe just relax and enjoy it all?

Let me say that this is not the case, absolutely not the case.

A unilateral diktat and imposing one's own models produces the opposite result. Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.

Why do they support such people? They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals but then burn their fingers and recoil. I never cease to be amazed by the way that our partners just keep stepping on the same rake, as we say here in Russia, that is to say, make the same mistake over and over.

They once sponsored Islamic extremist movements to fight the Soviet Union. Those groups got their battle experience in Afghanistan and later gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The West if not supported, at least closed its eyes, and, I would say, gave information, political and financial support to international terrorists' invasion of Russia (we have not forgotten this) and the Central Asian region's countries. Only after horrific terrorist attacks were committed on US soil itself did the United States wake up to the common threat of terrorism. Let me remind you that we were the first country to support the American people back then, the first to react as friends and partners to the terrible tragedy of September 11.

During my conversations with American and European leaders, I always spoke of the need to fight terrorism together, as a challenge on a global scale. We cannot resign ourselves to and accept this threat, cannot cut it into separate pieces using double standards. Our partners expressed agreement, but a little time passed and we ended up back where we started. First there was the military operation in Iraq, then in Libya, which got pushed to the brink of falling apart. Why was Libya pushed into this situation? Today it is a country in danger of breaking apart and has become a training ground for terrorists.

Only the current Egyptian leadership's determination and wisdom saved this key Arab country from chaos and having extremists run rampant. In Syria, as in the past, the United States and its allies started directly financing and arming rebels and allowing them to fill their ranks with mercenaries from various countries. Let me ask where do these rebels get their money, arms and military specialists? Where does all this come from? How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?

As for financing sources, today, the money is coming not just from drugs, production of which has increased not just by a few percentage points but many-fold, since the international coalition forces have been present in Afghanistan. You are aware of this. The terrorists are getting money from selling oil too. Oil is produced in territory controlled by the terrorists, who sell it at dumping prices, produce it and transport it. But someone buys this oil, resells it, and makes a profit from it, not thinking about the fact that they are thus financing terrorists who could come sooner or later to their own soil and sow destruction in their own countries.

Where do they get new recruits? In Iraq, after Saddam Hussein was toppled, the state's institutions, including the army, were left in ruins. We said back then, be very, very careful. You are driving people out into the street, and what will they do there? Don't forget (rightfully or not) that they were in the leadership of a large regional power, and what are you now turning them into?

What was the result? Tens of thousands of soldiers, officers and former Baath Party activists were turned out into the streets and today have joined the rebels' ranks. Perhaps this is what explains why the Islamic State group has turned out so effective? In military terms, it is acting very effectively and has some very professional people. Russia warned repeatedly about the dangers of unilateral military actions, intervening in sovereign states' affairs, and flirting with extremists and radicals. We insisted on having the groups fighting the central Syrian government, above all the Islamic State, included on the lists of terrorist organisations. But did we see any results? We appealed in vain.

We sometimes get the impression that our colleagues and friends are constantly fighting the consequences of their own policies, throw all their effort into addressing the risks they themselves have created, and pay an ever-greater price.

Colleagues, this period of unipolar domination has convincingly demonstrated that having only one power centre does not make global processes more manageable. On the contrary, this kind of unstable construction has shown its inability to fight the real threats such as regional conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, religious fanaticism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism. At the same time, it has opened the road wide for inflated national pride, manipulating public opinion and letting the strong bully and suppress the weak.

Essentially, the unipolar world is simply a means of justifying dictatorship over people and countries. The unipolar world turned out too uncomfortable, heavy and unmanageable a burden even for the self-proclaimed leader. Comments along this line were made here just before and I fully agree with this. This is why we see attempts at this new historic stage to recreate a semblance of a quasi-bipolar world as a convenient model for perpetuating American leadership. It does not matter who takes the place of the centre of evil in American propaganda, the USSR's old place as the main adversary. It could be Iran, as a country seeking to acquire nuclear technology, China, as the world's biggest economy, or Russia, as a nuclear superpower.

Today, we are seeing new efforts to fragment the world, draw new dividing lines, put together coalitions not built for something but directed against someone, anyone, create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and obtain the right to this leadership, or diktat if you wish. The situation was presented this way during the Cold War. We all understand this and know this. The United States always told its allies: "We have a common enemy, a terrible foe, the centre of evil, and we are defending you, our allies, from this foe, and so we have the right to order you around, force you to sacrifice your political and economic interests and pay your share of the costs for this collective defence, but we will be the ones in charge of it all of course." In short, we see today attempts in a new and changing world to reproduce the familiar models of global management, and all this so as to guarantee their [the US'] exceptional position and reap political and economic dividends.

But these attempts are increasingly divorced from reality and are in contradiction with the world's diversity. Steps of this kind inevitably create confrontation and countermeasures and have the opposite effect to the hoped-for goals. We see what happens when politics rashly starts meddling in the economy and the logic of rational decisions gives way to the logic of confrontation that only hurt one's own economic positions and interests, including national business interests.

Joint economic projects and mutual investment objectively bring countries closer together and help to smooth out current problems in relations between states. But today, the global business community faces unprecedented pressure from Western governments. What business, economic expediency and pragmatism can we speak of when we hear slogans such as "the homeland is in danger", "the free world is under threat", and "democracy is in jeopardy"? And so everyone needs to mobilise. That is what a real mobilisation policy looks like.

Sanctions are already undermining the foundations of world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property. They are dealing a blow to liberal model of globalisation based on markets, freedom and competition, which, let me note, is a model that has primarily benefited precisely the Western countries. And now they risk losing trust as the leaders of globalisation. We have to ask ourselves, why was this necessary? After all, the United States' prosperity rests in large part on the trust of investors and foreign holders of dollars and US securities. This trust is clearly being undermined and signs of disappointment in the fruits of globalisation are visible now in many countries.

The well-known Cyprus precedent and the politically motivated sanctions have only strengthened the trend towards seeking to bolster economic and financial sovereignty and countries' or their regional groups' desire to find ways of protecting themselves from the risks of outside pressure. We already see that more and more countries are looking for ways to become less dependent on the dollar and are setting up alternative financial and payments systems and reserve currencies. I think that our American friends are quite simply cutting the branch they are sitting on. You cannot mix politics and the economy, but this is what is happening now. I have always thought and still think today that politically motivated sanctions were a mistake that will harm everyone, but I am sure that we will come back to this subject later.

We know how these decisions were taken and who was applying the pressure. But let me stress that Russia is not going to get all worked up, get offended or come begging at anyone's door. Russia is a self-sufficient country. We will work within the foreign economic environment that has taken shape, develop domestic production and technology and act more decisively to carry out transformation. Pressure from outside, as has been the case on past occasions, will only consolidate our society, keep us alert and make us concentrate on our main development goals.

Of course the sanctions are a hindrance. They are trying to hurt us through these sanctions, block our development and push us into political, economic and cultural isolation, force us into backwardness in other words. But let me say yet again that the world is a very different place today. We have no intention of shutting ourselves off from anyone and choosing some kind of closed development road, trying to live in autarky. We are always open to dialogue, including on normalising our economic and political relations. We are counting here on the pragmatic approach and position of business communities in the leading countries.

Some are saying today that Russia is supposedly turning its back on Europe - such words were probably spoken already here too during the discussions - and is looking for new business partners, above all in Asia. Let me say that this is absolutely not the case. Our active policy in the Asian-Pacific region began not just yesterday and not in response to sanctions, but is a policy that we have been following for a good many years now. Like many other countries, including Western countries, we saw that Asia is playing an ever greater role in the world, in the economy and in politics, and there is simply no way we can afford to overlook these developments.

Let me say again that everyone is doing this, and we will do so to, all the more so as a large part of our country is geographically in Asia. Why should we not make use of our competitive advantages in this area? It would be extremely shortsighted not to do so.

Developing economic ties with these countries and carrying out joint integration projects also creates big incentives for our domestic development. Today's demographic, economic and cultural trends all suggest that dependence on a sole superpower will objectively decrease. This is something that European and American experts have been talking and writing about too.

Perhaps developments in global politics will mirror the developments we are seeing in the global economy, namely, intensive competition for specific niches and frequent change of leaders in specific areas. This is entirely possible.

There is no doubt that humanitarian factors such as education, science, healthcare and culture are playing a greater role in global competition. This also has a big impact on international relations, including because this 'soft power' resource will depend to a great extent on real achievements in developing human capital rather than on sophisticated propaganda tricks.

At the same time, the formation of a so-called polycentric world (I would also like to draw attention to this, colleagues) in and of itself does not improve stability; in fact, it is more likely to be the opposite. The goal of reaching global equilibrium is turning into a fairly difficult puzzle, an equation with many unknowns.

So, what is in store for us if we choose not to live by the rules – even if they may be strict and inconvenient – but rather live without any rules at all? And that scenario is entirely possible; we cannot rule it out, given the tensions in the global situation. Many predictions can already be made, taking into account current trends, and unfortunately, they are not optimistic. If we do not create a clear system of mutual commitments and agreements, if we do not build the mechanisms for managing and resolving crisis situations, the symptoms of global anarchy will inevitably grow.

Today, we already see a sharp increase in the likelihood of a whole set of violent conflicts with either direct or indirect participation by the world's major powers. And the risk factors include not just traditional multinational conflicts, but also the internal instability in separate states, especially when we talk about nations located at the intersections of major states' geopolitical interests, or on the border of cultural, historical, and economic civilizational continents.

Ukraine, which I'm sure was discussed at length and which we will discuss some more, is one of the example of such sorts of conflicts that affect international power balance, and I think it will certainly not be the last. From here emanates the next real threat of destroying the current system of arms control agreements. And this dangerous process was launched by the United States of America when it unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, and then set about and continues today to actively pursue the creation of its global missile defence system.

Colleagues, friends,

I want to point out that we did not start this. Once again, we are sliding into the times when, instead of the balance of interests and mutual guarantees, it is fear and the balance of mutual destruction that prevent nations from engaging in direct conflict. In absence of legal and political instruments, arms are once again becoming the focal point of the global agenda; they are used wherever and however, without any UN Security Council sanctions. And if the Security Council refuses to produce such decisions, then it is immediately declared to be an outdated and ineffective instrument.

Many states do not see any other ways of ensuring their sovereignty but to obtain their own bombs. This is extremely dangerous. We insist on continuing talks; we are not only in favour of talks, but insist on continuing talks to reduce nuclear arsenals. The less nuclear weapons we have in the world, the better. And we are ready for the most serious, concrete discussions on nuclear disarmament – but only serious discussions without any double standards.

[Oct 22, 2014] Don't Mistake Russia for Iran By Eric Lorber and Elizabeth Rosenberg

October 20, 2014 | foreignaffairs.com

With sanctions beginning to bite, Russia is starting to play a new economic game. To alleviate the pain of Western restrictions on its financial and energy sectors, Russia is turning for help to non-Western partners. Last week alone, Russia and China signed over 40 agreements that provide Russian firms with lines of credit worth billions of dollars and establish strategic partnerships in the energy sector.

The United States, in turn, is looking to step up its own game. Policymakers are considering giving global companies a choice: stop providing long-term financing and energy assistance to major Russian companies or be kicked out of the U.S. financial system. Such measures resemble the sanctions the United States placed on Iran a couple of years ago. But Iran was a different problem. And treating Russia the same way would be a mistake.

Sanctions can be an effective tool for forcing engagement and negotiation. But the pace and implementation must be tailored to the target. In the case of Iran, the United States was able to tighten the screws by pressuring foreign firms to stop dealing with the country. That move created some angry blowback, but it generally worked. And partially as a result, Tehran is at the negotiating table. When it comes to Russia, though, the political pushback that would come from blacklisting dealings with the strategic Russian energy and banking sectors would be much more severe because Russia is a more important market. Further, more companies would likely be willing to forego access to U.S. markets in order to continue working with the Russians. And that would undermine the sanctions' effectiveness.

More generally, policymakers in the United States should be wary of continually relying on sanctions that penalize foreign firms by preventing their access to U.S. markets. Ultimately, such a strategy could backfire. At some point, foreign companies may decide that doing business in U.S. markets -- and being subject to U.S. sanctions policies -- is simply not worth it. That would hurt the U.S. economy and diminish the United States' ability to use economic levers to advance its foreign policy.

[Oct 21, 2014] Ukraine Used Cluster Bombs, Evidence Indicates By ANDREW ROTH

Kiev doesn't bother to enforce the Geneva conventions. The army behaves in the Donbass as occupiers. They consider the local population as a hostile ethnic group like in any civil war.
Oct 21, 2014 | nytimes.com

A casing carrying cluster munitions that landed in a shed. Press officers for the Ukrainian military denied that their troops had used cluster weapons in the conflict. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

DONETSK, Ukraine - The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims.

Sites where rockets fell in the city on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5 showed clear signs that cluster munitions had been fired from the direction of army-held territory, where misfired artillery rockets still containing cluster bomblets were found by villagers in farm fields.

The two attacks wounded at least six people and killed a Swiss employee of the International Red Cross based in Donetsk.

If confirmed, the use of cluster bombs by the pro-Western government could complicate efforts to reunite the country, as residents of the east have grown increasingly bitter over the Ukrainian Army's tactics to oust pro-Russian rebels

... ... ...

On the morning of Oct. 5, Boris V. Melikhov, 37, was chopping wood outside his house in the Gladkovka neighborhood of Donetsk when he heard the loud clap of an explosion from the street.

His first sensation was "a strong push in the back," and he sprawled onto the grass. More explosions followed, showering Mr. Melikhov with dust and dirt. Unable to stand, he crawled toward a spigot in the garden, bleeding profusely and desperate for water.

"I felt the blood running down my back, down my leg," he recalled in an interview last week from his bed in a hospital, where his uncle took him after the attack. Doctors there found several identical metal fragments in his leg, chest, shoulder and hand.

Hundreds of such fragments, each about the size of a thumbtack, were sprayed out by at least 11 cluster bomblets that exploded on Mr. Melikhov's street that morning. The 9N210 bomblets are carried in surface-to-surface Uragan (Hurricane) rockets that are fired from the backs of trucks and have a range of roughly 22 miles.

Part of one of the rockets smashed into a street a few blocks away, and the impact crater indicated it had come from the southwest.

The same morning, sunflower farmers near Novomikhailovka, a small village about 20 miles southwest of Mr. Melikhov's house, saw rockets sailing almost directly overhead toward Donetsk. Local people said in interviews that the army had been launching Uragan rockets from there for more than a week.

"Trust me, when it is day after day after day, you get to know your Grad launches from your Uragan launches," said one farmer, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution for discussing Ukrainian military positions.

... ... ...

Uragan rockets can carry 30 of the submunitions, which look like metal cans with fins. Those bomblets in turn hold small pieces of chopped steel rod. The rocket releases the bomblets over a wide area, and the bomblets either explode on impact, flinging out lethal steel fragments, or land unexploded and effectively become land mines. Children often mistake them for toys.

At the Red Cross headquarters in Donetsk, Human Rights Watch researchers accompanied by a Times reporter documented 19 distinct impacts of cluster submunitions from the Oct. 2 attack. Judging by impact craters from rockets fired in the same salvo, the researchers said, the strike came from the southwest.

A witness to the Oct. 2 launch in Novomikhailovka told the reporter about the malfunctioning rockets in the fields. Other witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch on the evening of Oct. 2 confirmed that rockets had been fired from just south of the village toward Donetsk.

An advocacy group called the Cluster Munitions Coalition has been pressing Ukraine to join the international convention banning the stockpiling or use of the weapons. (Russia and the United States have not joined it, either.) The group's director, Sarah Blakemore, wrote to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in July after images were published appearing to show the use of cluster munitions against rebel positions in the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

She said in a telephone interview that she had received no reply. "When I say they neither confirmed or denied, I mean they really just did not do anything," Ms. Blakemore said.

... ... ...

In Donetsk, doctors in a city hospital and morgue said they had found cluster-munitions fragments in several patients, including Mr. Melikhov, whose spine was nicked by one on Oct. 5. He was lucky not to have been paralyzed, but the injury made it very painful to sit, stand or lie flat, he said.

"I see it as the senseless destruction of the southeast," he said of the attack. "There's something wrong in their head."

[Oct 21, 2014] Question: Does Russia represent an alternative to the current western economic/social model? Or is this view an illusion based only on the conflict between some traditional vs. post-modern values?

Left-biased, but still very interesting assessment of the situation. Especially in the first part (the first 14 questions) Quote: "All attempts by Russia to develop a hypothetical line of response based on similar strategies (i.e. mobilizing a social response based on discontent) have no future, because Russia does not represent an alternative social model, not even in the realm of Illusion of Hope. "
2014/10/19 | Sociología crítica

Danos tu opinión

Un amable lector de este blog ha realizado un resumen en inglés de nuestro artículo Las catedrales del kremlin y el capitalismo multipolar; es un resumen diferente al que nosotros hubiéramos hecho, pero de interés sin duda alguna. Ha sido publicado como apoyo a una pregunta en un coloquio con el economista ruso Mikhail Khazin organizado por The vineyard of the saker. Publicaremos aquí la respuesta.

Question: Does Russia represent an alternative to the current western economic/social model? Or is this view an illusion based only on the conflict between some traditional vs. post-modern values? / Arturo

For context to the question I will provide a translation / paraphrase / summary of some key points in the following article Las catedrales del kremlin y el capitalismo multipolar

The article contains and numbers many more points (36 in total) but I have translated/summarized only the first 14 (the rest is provided is a very raw translation --NNB)

  1. Moscow cannot defeat the American plans – i.e. the Anglo Zionist world elite – without contradicting the class interests of its own elites (Russian oligarchs): This is impossible because the system of sanctions and the blocking of access to their accounts and assets in the West generates such contradictions in the Russian power elites that, in practice, it prevents them from reacting adequately; it puts them on their knees before the American plans.
  2. Russia *could* resist those plans, since it possesses the strength, sense of identity, historical memory and material resources to do so. But in order to do so, its ruling elites would have to take measures that would affect their own class status within both the Russian system and the international system. And we can see that these are measures they are not willing to take. On the other hand, the Anglo Zionists suffer no such internal contradiction. Quite the opposite, in fact: Their own interest as the supporting base of the globalist hyperclass necessarily forces them to maintain the challenge to the end.
  3. By the term Anglo Zionists, in this analysis, we mean the dominant power group whose territorial and military base resides in the United States, and whose center originates in the historical and social links of the Anglo-American oligarchies, branching off to other historical central metropolis in Europe or other power centers in different parts of the world.
  4. The concept is made up of two elements that must be explained: the first, the "anglo" reference, has to do with the North American British connection [...] the second, the "zionist" reference, has to do with the interconnection among the economic and financial power groups that maintain various kinds of links with Israel. It is not so much a reference to ethnic origin, but rather to orientations as groups or lobbies of political and economic interests. A good part of this Zionist component consists of people who are neither Israelis nor Jews, but who feel identified with the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, Britain and other countries. Thus the term "zionist" referees here to an ideology, not to an ethnic origin.
  5. The Anglo elites on both sides of the Atlantic have evolved from being national elites to being the executive base of a world Hyperclass made up of individuals capable of exerting a determining influence in the most powerful nation, the United States.
  6. The result of the Anglo Zionist line of attack is that the contradiction and internal struggle is now occurring in Moscow between those who have already chosen to sell out and those who have not yet found the time to realize that a multipolar global capitalism is not viable.
  7. In this context, recovering Crimea was a mirage, an illusion.
  8. If we compare the implications of the Maidan coup in Kiev with the liberation of Crimea, we see that the strategic defeat implicit in losing Ukraine as an ally is of such magnitude that everything else pales by co s (all of them) in Kiev was so gigantic that its implications are frightening. It was either a failure or something even worse. In any case, the Crimea affair was merely a small episode in a confrontation that Russia is losing.
  9. Russia arrived very late at modern capitalism, and that is why its current elite will be unable to occupy a space among the globalist elite without paying the necessary toll, which is none other than renouncing its territorial power base – its country and its access to and control of its energy resources and raw materials.
  10. Stubbornly maintaining the dispute in trying to obtain a multi-polar capitalism, leads necessarily to a intra-capitalist confrontation, as it did in 1914-1918. And because of the nature of the current actors, nuclear powers … it brings the conflict to 2.0 war versions (color revolutions)
  11. All attempts by Russia to develop a hypothetical line of response based on similar strategies (i.e. mobilizing a social response based on discontent) have no future, because Russia does not represent an alternative social model, not even in the realm of Illusion of Hope. It can only elicit some empathy from those who reject the American domination, but here the class contradictions come into play again, because it is not enough to oppose Washington merely on political-military grounds, since the key to global power resides in the financial and military structures that enable global control and plunder: World Trade Organization, IMF, Free Trade agreements, World Bank, NATO… these are entities in relation to which Russia only shows its displeasure at not being invited to the table as an equal, not accepting that because it arrived late at modern capitalism, it must play a secondary role. On the other hand, Russia is ignoring the deep contempt, bordering on racism, that things Slavic generate among Anglo Zionist elites.
  12. In order to be able to fight the 2.0 versions of war that are engineered today, an alternative social model is needed. Alternative not only in regard to the postmodern vs. traditional sets of values, but fundamentally in regard to the social model that stems from the modes of production. In the postmodern vs. traditional conflict, Russia tends to align with the most reactionary values. And in regard to the social struggle, they don't want to enter that fray because they renounced it long ago. They renounced the entire Soviet Union, which they destroyed from within.
  13. The contradictions and the dialectical nature of reality have their own logic, however. Thus, a coup in Kiev and the widespread appearance of Nazi symbols in the streets of Ukraine was all that it took to induce a spontaneous reaction in the Slavic world. The popular resistance in the Donbass took strong root thanks to the historic memory of the people's of the old USSR and its war against fascism.
  14. If Russia were to abandon Novorossia to the oligarchs and their mafias, the world's "left" – or whatever remains of it - would come to scorn post-Soviet Russia even more than it already does. In the months following the brave action in Crimea and the heroic resistance in the Donbass, many people around the world looked to Moscow in search of some sign that it would support the anti-fascist and anti-oligarchic resistance, even if only as an act of self-defense by Moscow against the globalist challenge. If it finally abandons Novorossia, the price in terms of loss of moral prestige will be absolute.
  15. A support of the left has not been sought, but that is a collateral consequence of the character of class struggle open that has been given in the Donbas, where Russia has been forced to provide some assistance that would prevent the genocide at the hands of the fascist Ukrainian.
  16. Cuando say left, we refer logically to the one who has expressed their support to the struggle of people in the Donbas, as it is very difficult to consider the "left" to those who have preferred to remain silent or to have directly been complicit in the assault, and the coup in Kiev.
  17. The degradation of the left as politically active social force is very intense, their structures are embroiled in the collapse, or in the confusion, when not literally corrupt. Then related to both socialist parties since 1914 and the communists, at least from the time of fracture of 1956. The social changes experienced in Europe with the systems of welfare state, based on the elevation of the standard of living of the working population and the obtaining of social peace by sharing the power with the trade unions are at the base of the post-industrial society and the resulting profound changes of values.

    The suicide of the USSR in 1989-93 marked a brutal global change , in which the balance which was preserved during the cold war was broken. That led to the capitalist elite in the west, which we are calling the Anglo-Zionists, to the suspension of the social pact (forced abandonment of New Deal), that gave rise to the welfare state and the emergence stark reality of a global power of capitalists without systemic opposition . Today the whole neoliberal globalization system of capitalism is in danger by the depletion of the natural resources. And to sustain this mode of production, they need to speed up territorial domination in the form of control and access to resources of other countries. Now there no space in the global system for spaces, which are managed autonomously even to a certain level.

  18. The system of global domination, capitalism, ruling elites with a territorial basis in the area of Anglo-American, global parasitic Hyperclass and depletion of resources, as well as cannibalization of the other nations, in the midst of troika of crisis of climate change, peak of the energy and raw materials shortages. those three factors that challenge the current globalization framework ... And the crisis of Novorossia, been demonstrated both impotence and the lack of real political autonomy of Russian elite with the respect to the dominant power in neoliberal worlds order..
  19. The new citizen movements in the western world are not so much resistance movements as samples of the discontent of the middle classes in precarious position of marginalization and/or social trance. This protest led to a "Maidans" which are not permanent and does not question the basis of the system. The participants seems to believe that it is possible to restore the old good world of the welfare state.
  20. The western movements are brainwashed by messages emanating from the headquarters of Democratic party of North America, the propaganda anarcho-capitalist and the various networks of ideological interference, are managing to break the bonds of historical memory that unite the struggles of the past with the present, de-ideologize the struggles and conflicts and to deny the tension left and right, isolating the militants -- or simple citizens who feel identified with the values of the left - of the masses who are suffering in the first place casualisation. At the heart of this new "left" are leaders that are co-opted voices, pseudo-intellectuals who destroy the words and empty of content of key concepts in a way that the alienation of the masses demonstrate at the language itself, thus preventing putting a real name to social process and things, and to identify the social phenomena.
  21. Viva to Russia, which the only country which eve in a weak form decided to fight neoliberal world order and position itself as an anti-imperialist force... It is interesting to observe the current great moral confusion in political landscape of the societies in decay. Confusion which have been stimulated by Moscow actions. As the result some the far-right groups that are simultaneously anti-US that anti-Russian now support Moscow. Also some part of Russia far-right political groups got the sympathy and support of factions of the anti EU far right forces in France, the Nazis of the MSR in Spain, and from small groups of euro-asianists. This line of political affiliation will allow them to simply join the Russia failure [to find alternative to monopolar neoliberal capitalism] and might well discredit then more profoundly in the future.
  22. The euro-asianists forces technically speaking are reactionary forces, neoliberal forces which is comparable to the worst of the worst in the western world. Moreover, they do not have any way to solve the main contradictions that arise in the current neoliberal model in the terms of class and dominance of Anglo Zionist global elite.
  23. Euro-Asianism is just a suitable ideology for the construction of Russian national idea for those who seeks to achieve lease to life for Russia sovereignty on the world stage. It is the actual proof that Russia has come too late to globalised capitalism and fascism...
  24. Huttington and his war of civilizations cynically exploit this confrontation on Anglo Zionist elite and newcomers, redefining it along the idea of the clash of civilizations which avoid using the notion of class and thus is ideologically false. Alexander Duguin who promote similar ideas quite seriously just shows the degree of degeneration of the Russian intelligentsia, which oscillates between serving as comprador class to the global Anglo Zionist elite and the repetition (as a farce, and with 75 years of delay ) of fascist reactionary revolutions in Western Europe, which were phenomenon of the interwar period (rexistas in Belgium, Croix de feu in France, CruzFlechados in Hungary, Requetés and Falangistas in Spain).
  25. The globalist elite offered a solution formulated in class terms, as it could not be another way: in the best cases, they proposes the co-optation to a handful of members of the Russian elite as deserving members of the new global Hyperclass, but this path is opened only the very very rich, and the pre-condition is the delivery of the country to plunder, where the global elite certainly would have need of some compradors which will be more or less adequately compensated depending on their achievements and sacrifices in the name of global neoliberal domination.
  26. The part of the power elite of Russia, which managed to expel the western compradors of the Yeltsin era, and rein in the oligarchs then, had tried with some success to regain control of the territory of the country. The illusion of the members of this part of the power elite -- basically the security services, both civil and military, and various synergies of those with the military-industrial lobby -- is that it would be enough to neutralize the Russian fifth column of the Anglo Zionists to take back control of their territorial base of power. this idea is going to be shredded into pieces when it enter into contradiction with the reality of the class struggle and interests of the elite at the global level. Russia is, for its size, influence, and resources, so huge that a line of action based on the defense of its sovereignty strategic enters in collision with the global power of neoliberalism. And that why it attracts disproportional reaction of the Anglo Zionists
  27. Supporters of Anglo Zionists that are ready to consent to a German-Russian alliance or Russia-EU alliance that give the viability of a idea of mutually beneficial co-development of both Russia and Europe are forgetting that such an action would require European sovereignty. Which is was non-existent iether on the level of the EU, or on the level of member states. The penetration of the Atlantism in Europe is already systemic. In the old European states there are still ancient national traditions, which were based on the basis of cultural, industrial, economic, and political identity. And they still run strong. But in the current situation for such states there no space for the sovereignty as the dominant power bloc in the national elite as well as in EU elite are Atlantists. Where this situation takes the Russian elite and the Russian state without confrontation? A confrontation that they, on the other hand are not willing and are not able to pursue.
  28. The multi-polar capitalist world had its lifespan which come to an end (exploded) in 1914. In 2014, the globalization of the elites and the capital is of such magnitude that no serious resistance is possible on the basis of some capitalist model. In those conditions the idea of Russian elite ability to enforce change to multipolar version of the currently monopolar neoliberal world is doomed to be a failure.
  29. Zbigniew Brezinsky has raised things crudely and openly, unlike the ("fake") supporters of perestroika, and their current heirs in Russia. Brezinsky know how to think in terms of the class contradiction and knows perfectly well that the Russian oligarchy has directed its monetary flows abroad, moved families abroad, and moved their investments abroad. That means that Anglo Zionists can disrupt any claim of sovereignty over the territory and resources by simply pressing the local neoliberal elite, giving them to choose between their interests as a class and their illusionary desire for sovereignty. Because in a globalized world, with its brutal fight for the natural resources there is no possibility of maintaining both, except what can be achieved in terms of direct anti-imperialist struggle. There is no space for the national bourgeoisies in the XXI century. You can only have sovereignty if it is posed in terms of a rupture with the actually existing neoliberal order of global capitalism, which, in its core is Anglo Zionists globalization. This break does not have to be forced, but in terms of scientific analysis of the social processes is a logical consequence of following this path one way or the other. To claim sovereignty over their own resources and territory inevitably leads to confrontation, and logical needs a break up and confront the Anglo Zionist empire. If you really want to achieve the goal. And that fact imposes the logic of the relationships and balance of power in the world today.
  30. The claims of the BRIC countries -- to the extent that you do not question them -- is that they have an alternative model to the dominant neoliberal capitalism model (Ango Zionist globalization with the center in the USA) are doomed to be a failure. The efforts of the BRIC countries can generate a lot of noise and discomfort for the West, but they can not break the global neoliberal system. Those countries are rightfully fearful of their budget balances -- which are very fragile. It can be even said that they are on their way to implosion sooner or later, due to the unbalanced structure of their internal classes, including first of all their own elite.
  31. The claim that it is possible to achieve the multipolar capitalist world (which Russia defends) and which led to current Ukrainian crisis without confrontation is false. As soon as Russia wanted to return to the global chessboard. as an independent player, they instantly saw opponents attacking weak elements of their defense at the borders. Ukraine has been a defeat for Russia and the Crimea is not a adequate compensation for loss of Ukraine. Now Novorossia is being sacrificed precisely because the class contradictions that have emerged in Moscow and lack of desire of Russian elite to go the bitter end.
  32. The situation in the Donbas / Novorossia clearly shows the resignation of Moscow to the victory, and their desire to avoid the clash with neoliberal world order. The fact is that Royal Dutch Shell has already begun the fracking in the Donbas, the coup regime in Kiev are already internationally accepted without reservations, the truce imposed in Novorossia has brought to its knees the armed resistance to junta. All this leads way to deliver Novorossia to the hands of mafias sponsored by the local oligarchs with friends in Kiev and Moscow.
  33. Statement that the destiny of Russia was played in the Donbas is something more than a phrase, It is a claim based on a reality, as the defeat of Novorossia would be the proof that Moscow had not the will to struggle. The betrayal of the fighters and the hopes of Novorossia is the acceptance of the defeat and might lead in the future to the victory to the Moscow Maidan, the same alliance of compradors and nationalists using which as storm troopers the globalist elite achieved their goal in Ukraine. If Novorossia is defeated, they can expect being able to push a puppet into the Kremlin the same way. And not without reason. This summer, the heroic struggle of the militia of the Donbas was the key element that forced the changes of the script designed for Kiev as well as diminished chances of successful application of the same methods in Moscow. The Minsk Agreements and the truce imposed by them are putting Novorossia on its knees, allowing for its destruction, but this time at the hands of their allies. Sad spectacle for the Russian security services, which were effective enough to organize the Donbas resistance, but now are useless and powerless before the neofascist Kiev junta.
  34. The struggle of the Donbas does not correspond to the strategic interests of the Russian elite. They have been forced to intervene to prevent the horror of the mass murder of the population of the Donbas at the hands of the extreme right. But the dream of a Donbas free of oligarchs and with a sovereign state, committed to social justice for workers on this Slavic land are completely incompatible with the post-soviet status quo. Only to the extent that there is a significant faction of Russian elite aware of the contradictions of the global neoliberal game and who put their sense of patriotism first can lead them to face the challenge that they face. Only in this case there would be any possibility of resistance; I would say patriotic resistance, because we already know no one at the top is able to think in terms of class.
  35. While very unlikely - there can be a move from February to October in Novorossia. You would say impossible. But he insurrection of the Donbas in March, logically was "February". In order to achieve victory, to take full control over the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk needs creation of the Revolutionary Military Council and suspension of the upcoming elections. which looking to be a smokescreen for capitulation to junta. They need to declare that they are ready to resist to the end. This output would be desperate move, without a doubt, and would represent the equivalent of a new "October". The event which of it occurs would force Moscow to show their cards to their own population. And perhaps it can help to generate a pulse necessary for the organization of the fight with Anglo Zionists empire between the towers of the Kremlin. That would move the fight toward more patriotic and popular goals, But this presuppose a lot of assumptions and first of all that such a "Kremlin tower", which is capable of emitted such a pulse, exists. Only in this case we can talk about achieving a real sovereignty. As Vasily Záitsev in Stalingrad suggested: "Maybe we're doomed, but for the moment we are still the masters and lords of our land." In Novorossia there are plenty of fighters who would agree with Záitsev, but they certainly lack political direction and, now the lack the support of Kremlin.
  36. The Russian objective is achieving a multipolar capitalism with a Russia united under a nationalist ideology based on the manipulation of patriotic sentiment, Orthodoxy and various Slavic myths. This objective is being challenged by the reality of the conflict, which should be defined in terms of geopolitical goals. The reality is that the Russian elite would be allowed to control their population as they wish, provided they renounce its sovereignty over territory and resources, renounce their physical power base, i.e. homeland. This is the nature of the challenge. Putin is mistaken if he thinks that the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books. There is not enough incense in the Kremlin cathedrals to mask that reality."

[Oct 21, 2014] Address by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly

Compare argumentation with Sociología crítica To be a neoliberal society and be free from US dominance is not very realistic until oil became at least twice more expensive and neoliberal model of globalization start collapsing. While critique of the US policy is up to the point, what is the alternative to the current situation? Russia is weaker then the USA neoliberal state and so far it does not look like it decided to abandon neoliberalism. And if not, then what is the point of confrontation ? Clearly the USA has geopolitical ambitions in Eastern Europe. And they want to exploit their status as the pre-eminent neo-liberal state, like Moscow was for socialist camp, so to speak to squeeze Russia, as a dissident state, which deviates from neoliberal agenda. Ukraine just fall victim of this squeezing. Collateral damage so to speak. And the key problem with Ukraine neither the USA nor EU want to compensate the damage their actions inflicted, to offer Marshall plan to Kiev.
Sep 27, 2014 | mid.ru

...There is growing evidence of the contradiction between the need for collective, cooperative efforts to provide adequate responses to challenges common to all, and the aspirations of a number of countries for domination and the revival of archaic bloc thinking based on military drill discipline and the erroneous logic of "friend or foe."

The US-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries,acts from a completely opposite position in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of the sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and tires to decide for everyone what is good or bad.

Washington has openly declared its right to the unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests. Military interference has become common, even despite the dismal outcome of the use of power that the US has carried out in recent years.

The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, the attack against Libya and the failure of the operation in Afghanistan. Thanks only to intensive diplomatic efforts, an aggression against Syria was averted in 2013. There is the involuntary impression that the goal of various "colour revolutions" and other goals to change unsuitable regimes is to provoke chaos and instability.

Today, Ukraine has fallen victim to such an arrogant policy. The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systemic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area. The West has embarked upon a course towards "the vertical structuring of humanity" tailored to its own hardly inoffensive standards. After they declared victory in the Cold War and the "end of history," the US and the EU opted for expanding the geopolitical area under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all the people of Europe. Our Western partners did not heed our numerous alerts on the unacceptability of the violation of the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, and time and again avoided serious cooperative work to establish a common space of equal and indivisible security and cooperation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Russian proposal to draft a European security treaty was rejected. We were told directly that only the members of the North Atlantic Alliance could have the legally binding guarantees of security, and NATO expansion to the East continued in spite of the promises to the contrary given previously. NATO's change toward hostile rhetoric and to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West's own interests, and the additional build-up of the military infrastructure at Russian borders made the inability of the alliance to change its genetic code embedded during the Cold War era obvious.

The US and the EU supported the coup in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any act by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that used suppression by force on the part of the Ukrainian people that had rejected the attempts to impose an anti-constitutional way of life to the entire country and wanted to defend its rights to a native language, culture and history. It was precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that compelled the population of Crimea to take destiny into its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination. This was an absolutely free choice no matter what has been invented by those who were, in the first place, responsible for the internal conflict in Ukraine.

The attempts to distort the truth and to hide the facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukrainian crisis. Nothing has been done to track down and prosecute those responsible for February's bloody events at Maidan and the massive loss of human life in Odessa, Mariupol and other regions in Ukraine. The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in southeastern Ukraine has been deliberately underscored. Recently, new horrible facts have been brought to light as mass graves were discovered in the outskirts of Donetsk. Despite UNSC Resolution 2166 a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances into the loss of the Malaysian airliner over the territory of Ukraine has been protracted. The culprits of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice. Otherwise it is unrealistic to expect a national reconciliation in Ukraine.

... ... ...

Let me recall the not too distant past. As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933 the U.S. government demanded of Moscow the guarantees of non-interference in the domestic affairs of the US and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing political or social order in America. At that time Washington feared a revolutionary virus and the above guarantees were put on record and were based on reciprocity. Perhaps, it makes sense to return to this item and reproduce that demand of the US government on a universal scale. Shouldn't the General Assembly adopt a declaration on the unacceptability of interference into the domestic affairs of sovereign states and non-recognition of a coup as a method for changing power? The time has come to exclude from international interaction the attempts of illegitimate pressure of some states on others. The meaningless and counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we review the US blockade of Cuba.

The policy of ultimatums and philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21st century and run counter to the objective process of development for a polycentric and democratic world order.

Russia is promoting a positive and unifying agenda. We always were and will be open to discussion of the most complex issues no matter how unsolvable they would seem in the beginning. We will be prepared to search for compromises and the balancing of interests and go as far as to exchange concessions provided only that the discussion is respectful and equal.

... ... ...

New dividing lines in Europe should not be allowed, even more so given that under globalization these lines can turn into a watershed between the West and the rest of the world. It should be stated honestly that no one has a monopoly on truth and that no one can tailor global and regional processes to one's own needs. There is no alternative today to the development of consensus regarding the rules of sustainable global governance under new historical circumstances - with full respect for cultural and civilizational diversity in the world and the multiplicity of the models of development. It will be a difficult and perhaps tiresome task to achieve such a consensus on every issue. Nevertheless the recognition of the fact that democracy in every state is the "worst form of government, except for all the others" also took time to break through, until Winston Churchill passed his verdict. The time has come to realize the inevitability of this axiom including in international affairs where today there is a huge deficit of democracy. Of course someone will have to break up centuries-old stereotypes and abandon the claims to eternal uniqueness. But there is no other way. Consolidated efforts can only be built on the principles of mutual respect and by taking into account the interests of each other as is the case, for example, under the framework of BRICS and the SCO, the G20 and the UN Security Council.

The theory of the advantages of cooperative action has been supported by practice: this includes progress in the settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and the successful conclusion of the chemical demilitarization of Syria. Also, regarding the issue of chemical weapons, we would like to obtain authentic information on the condition of the chemical arsenals in Libya. We understand that our NATO colleagues, after bombing this country in violation of a UNSC Resolution, would not like to "stir up"" the mayhem they created. However, the problem of uncontrolled Libyan chemical arsenals is too serious to turn a blind eye to. The UN Secretary General has an obligation to show his responsibility on this issue as well.

What is important today is to see the global priorities and avoid making them hostages to a unilateral agenda. There is an urgent need to refrain from double standards in the approaches to conflict settlement. Everybody largely agrees that it is a key issue to resolutely counter the terrorists who are attempting to control increasingly larger territories in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the Sahara-Sahel area. If this is the case then this task should not be sacrificed to ideological schemes or a desire to retaliate. Terrorists, no matter what their slogans, should remain outside the law.

Moreover, it goes without saying that the fight against terrorism should be based solidly on international law. The unanimous adoption of a number of UNSC Resolutions including those on the issue of foreign terrorist operatives became an important stage in this fight. And conversely, the attempts to act against the Charter of our Organization do not contribute to the success of cooperative efforts. The struggle against terrorists in Syria should be structured in cooperation with the Syrian government, which has clearly stated its willingness to join it. Damascus has already proven its ability to work with the international community by delivering on its obligations under the programme to dispose of its chemical weapons.

... ... ...

[Oct 21, 2014] Igor Strelkov replies to Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Compare with Mosgovoy interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZxP-a3FlX1g
vineyardsaker.blogspot.com
Dear friends,


Today I am submitting to your attention two interesting documents. A speech by "ex-oligarch and mobster now turned democratic activist" Mikhail Khodorkovsky and a reply to that speech by Igor Strelkov.

Make no mistake, there is a war going on. True, it has not yet turned into a shooting war with armies on both sides unleashing their power, but this is a war nevertheless. This war opposes, on one hand, the 1% ruling elites of the AngloZionist Empire and their allies in Russia - we can call them the "5th column" or the "Atlantic Integrationists" - and on the other hand, the Russian "Eurasian Sovereignists" and their allies in the rest of the world, including the many supporters of a sovereign and independent Russia in the West. This war has many "fronts" including, of course, the one between in Novorussia and Banderastan, but there are many more. There is one in Syria, Iran and Iraq. There is another one right inside the EU. There is another front in Far East Asia, along the Taiwan Strait, and yet another one in Latin America. In the recent past, these fronts could also be found running across the Serbian Krajina in Croatia, the border between Israel and Lebanon and in Chechnia. In fact, this is the first truly a *planetary war* and there are "fronts" everywhere. Even the Muslim "umma" is deeply split between those who support (US backed) Saudi Wahabism and those who oppose it (lead by Iran).

Right now, the most important one of these fronts runs across the Donbass, but this can change tomorrow.

One of these fronts runs across the Russian society. Khodorkovsky is the iconic symbol and spokesman for the "Atlantic Integrationist" camp while Strelkov is the iconic symbol and spoksman for the "Eurasian Sovereignist" camp. Please read both of their manifestos and compare them - you will see that the differences between these two worldviews are not only deep, they are mutually irreconcilable.

A big "thank you!!" to "A" who translated the Strelkov manifesto for this blog.

I hope that you will enjoy this fascinating read.

Kind regards,

The Saker
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Khodorkovsky's Speech at the Freedom House Awards Dinner

The following is the prepared text of the speech delivered by Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the 2014 Freedom House Awards Dinner on October 1. The text was originally posted here.

The European choice, social justice and national mobilization

1. There is a legend about how nearly 200 years ago, the Russian political émigrés of that time asked the Russian court historian Karamzin for the news about what was happening in the Motherland. Karamzin thought for a moment and then replied with a single word: "Stealing". Little has changed in Russia since those times. Except maybe that the stealing has become even more sophisticated. Everything gets stolen in Russian, but the main thing – and this is unique, I suppose – is that in Russia even time gets stolen.

2. A little over 10 years ago I flew away from the USA to Russia, in order to strike out 10 years from my life and the life of my family. These ten years were taken away from me. In exchange I received some unique life experience that allowed me to rethink if not everything, then certainly a very large part of what I had been living by and what I had believed in the previous decade. But there is no way to bring back the time.

3. But the worst thing that I discovered when I got out of prison was that those ten years had been stolen not only from me, they had been stolen from the entire country. Time had struck the Putin decade out of Russia's life. Concealed behind a façade of outward prosperity is the fact that the country has stopped its development. Not only that, in most areas it has been flung back far into the distant past: politically, economically, psychologically. The profusion of goods in the stores and the abundance of money in people's pockets should not fool anybody. The regime can not take credit for this; it is a function of the oil market.

4. But that is not all. It turns out that the regime has robbed not only Russia, . It is trying to throw the whole world back into the era of the cold war (if not a hot one), when disputes are resolved at the point of a gun, while one's superiority is proven not by rates of economic growth, but by military aggression. Russia and the world have come to a very dangerous point, beyond which looms a Third World War.

The return to Europe

5. A return to the European values that lie at the foundation of the Euro-Atlantic civilization, – a mental and political return – is the starting point for the new political course that could help Russia work its way out of the historical snare it is now in. Russia has just two ways it can go – forward into the post-industrial era together with Europe, or back into the Middle Ages , and after that into outright non-existence.

6. All that my country has today, everything that it considers truly "its own", everything that has allowed it to become a great power and that is now its "calling card": space exploration, the nuclear shield, literature and art, the high level of education and science (which even thirty years of "timelessness" were incapable of destroying) – was created within the scope of the European cultural tradition, in interaction with European culture and within the milieu of European culture. All of the deeds of spiritual valor of the Russian people, all of the innumerable sacrifices they have brought to the altar of their independence, were performed within the fold of the Christian tradition, which was and remains European in its nature.

7. A break with the West, with its values and its knowledge, is a dangerous step, one that leads to Russia losing its true cultural identity. The "Eurasianism" that is being actively forced upon society as the new totalitarian ideology is nothing more than a verbose justification for militant ignorance and barbarism. In order to preserve Russia as a single, independent, and sovereign state, it is imperative to return it to that path of development which it had followed in achieving its glory.

8. European values (or Euro-Atlantic, as it is now the common practice to call them) are first and foremost values of a strong and just state with effective institutions and laws that work. Russia needs these no less than any other people in the world do. Russia needs a law-based state and an open economy not because this will please Western Europe and America, but so it can work together with the Euro-Atlantic world – and if necessary compete with it as well – on equal terms. Peter the Great did not build the Russian army based on European models just to make the Swedes happy.

9. Whoever wants to be strong must not allow himself to fall behind. Russia can not and shut itself off from progress with some sort of Chinese Wall (in the literal and the figurative sense of this word). Anti-Western hysteria is a manifestation of psychological insecurity and fear of competition on the part of those fringe elements who are today's elite in Russia. Churchill once said that the reason there is no anti-semitism in England is because the English do not think they are any stupider than Jews. We have no reason to fear Europe, because we are no stupider than other Europeans.

10. To be together with Europe does not mean dissolving into Europe. Russia has both its own distinct cultural identity and its own particular national interests, which it has to know how to protect. Denying Russia a European choice under the pretext of protecting its national interests or using the European choice as an explanation for refusing to protect national interests are both equally unacceptable.

A return to fairness

11. Modern Russian society is structured unfairly. Whoever has the biggest fist in it has bigger rights as well. In Russia today might is right, but it should be the other way around – what is right has the might. Restoring the "balance of fairness" is a top-priority task for all of the forces that have the transformation of Russia into a modern and dynamically developing state as their objective. If a solution is not found for this strategic task, society is not going to put its support behind any economic, social, or political reform. Paraphrasing Engels, we can say: all previous reforms in post-communist Russia led to an increase in social injustice; now the task consists of eliminating or at least reducing this injustice.

12. A return to social justice in Russia is impossible without repairing the damage caused by an unjust privatization. Privatization was a painful historical task without which Russia's further development would not have been possible. But the way it which it was accomplished led to the emergence of extremely severe social side effects. The point of the next stage of Russia's history will consist of eliminating these "distortions". Today, the power is de facto reconsidering the results of privatization in its own peculiar way, taking ownership out of the hands of some people merely to transfer it immediately into other, supposedly more "on our side", hands. This is not what our people are waiting for. This is not going to lead anywhere except to even more stealing and corruption.

13. To begin with, restoring fairness will have to also address the question of subsoil use – the main source of the Russian people's wealth, and as of today its only one. At the given stage of historical development, we need to acknowledge the fairness of a simple formula – the income from the exploitation of Russia's subsoil needs to belong to the people of Russia. The subsoil can be in the private ownership of those who extract this income for society – specifically for society – and who are efficiently managing operations and growing them. But it can not remain at the disposal of nomenklatura rentiers, who pay themselves disproportionate "salaries" and are incapable of working efficiently.

14. It is imperative to bring back fairness in income distribution as a whole as well, restoring proportional taxation rates. . We have got to create the image of the "responsible taxpayer", with all of his obligations, but also, needless to say, with rights as well. Only someone who pays taxes has the right to ask the state – what has it done for him with these taxes? A rentier-nation does not have such a right, and this is why the power is doing whatever it wants with the nation.

15. The vector of development of Russian liberalism, which is exclusively political today, needs to be rethought. Producing draft constitutions and plans for radical political and economic reforms is a futile exercise until society begins to feel that the liberal idea is a fair idea.

16. Society has enormous potential for self-organization when there is an idea around which a matrix can form. For Russia, such an idea can only be a socially oriented nation state. The only question is will this socially oriented nation state be liberal or fascist?

War – the ultimate unfairness

17. Fascism – this is war. Russia is already making real war. those who send heroes to die not in the name of national interests, not to defend the Fatherland, but in order to keep in power a small group of plutocrats who are trying in this way to prolong the life of a regime that has already outlived itself.

18. War has become the sole driver of the moribund regime. It is happening in the Ukraine, but this war is not for Ukraine's or Russia's sake, but for the sake of power. What got such a wildly enthusiastic reaction from the man in the street is going to bring innumerable trials and tribulations to the Russian people in the nearest foreseeable future already.

National mobilization

19. The ruling regime is turning Russia into a Chinese protectorate. This is not even a question of the annexation of Siberia,. Today it would be enough just for Siberia to be completely locked in on China, which for all intents and purposes is going to be sucking resources out of it for free, like from a colony.

20. Russia has gotten stuck on a dangerous historical track, getting out of which is very complicated. In order to simply stop, and all the more so to switch to some other track, is going to require mobilization of all of the energies of the Russian people. The task of true Russian patriots is not in promising the Russian people smooth sailing but in telling the truth. Only if they understand the scale of the threat and of the historical significance of the moment can the people be moved to perform heroic deeds. And without heroic deeds, Russia today can not be saved.

21. The heroic deed of the Russian people must consist of constructive labor, of inculcating discipline and moderation, and of developing the ability to work together and to help one another – in other words, of reviving all those moral skills that had helped Russian culture to develop and that have been lost to a large extent in recent years. In order to raise the people up to be able to perform this heroic deed, the pro-European minority needs to prove its moral soundness and its readiness to observe, not in word, but in deed, the principle of equality of all before the law. It is precisely this equality of all before a law that is the same for all, before an adversity that is the same for all, and for a common cause that is the same for all, that the true sense of liberalism consists of. If the people come to believe in this, then everything else will fall into place – the reforms, economic progress, and prosperity for Russia.

22. Russia has been wasting time these past ten years; now is when we must begin to make up this lost time.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky
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Strelkov's answer to Khodorkovsky
Forword by Colonel Cassad: After a long silence Strelkov speaks with program criticism of Khodorkovsky's manifesto. Transition to public dispute where Strelkov opposes to vision of the fluent oligarch broadcasting from the USA, his vision of Russia's future, considerably defines Strelkov's vision of the country's future. In general, Strelkov's answer to Khodorkovsky, reflect his views that the Crimean Spring is the beginning of "revolution from above" which is carried out by Putin.

PUTIN'S DECADE RETURNED TO RUSSIA HOPE FOR REVIVAL

At the beginning of October in headquarters of the international human rights organization Freedom House in Washington, the former head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky made the speech convicting the Russian State and the President. The speech which formed the basis of the manifesto published afterwards. Having secured with support of global financial oligarchy, Khodorkovsky put forward some conceptual theses, using comparisons, analogy and association, familiar to the Russians, even sometimes copying methods of patriotic rhetoric. With enviable pathos and a claim for the status of an ultimate instance, the former oligarch tries to combine the incompatible. He "adds" liberal "values" alien to Russia and the Russian people to the concept of national pride and justice, close and native to the Russian heart, creating dangerous illusion of their organic compatibility. Khodorkovsky trying to accustoms active part of society to the future liberal transformations initiated by the world oligarchy and moreover – declares them, as only possible and useful. Unfortunately, it is simply impossible to ignore this combination of "warm with soft" and leave it without answer . Too dangerous speeches were heard from lips of the obvious enemy of Russia and attempt of implementation of the scenarios offered by him can be way too destructive. We have to give the, Russian, patriotic answer to the globalistic, liberal scenario imposed by Khodorkovsky under the guise of a new round of "reforms". After all it is not simply leisure reasonings of the rich and uncommon criminal who ran away from the Fatherland, it is the ideological program of new revolution in Russia – "road map" of the oligarchical revolt directed as always in the Russian history, against the Governor, the People and the Power. Well, we will sort out everything point by point.

Russian choice, social justice and national mobilization

1. 100 years ago the last Russian Tsar-martyr Nicholas II wrote:" Around treason, cowardice and deception". He meant not the people at all, not "fools and roads", but the political, military and economic elite surrounding him during that period. Treason by elite ended up with the collapse of the greatest world power, the Russian Empire. 200 years ago the political elite under the leadership of the British envoy participated in regicide of the Emperor Pavel that led to Napoleon's invasion and 1812 Patriotic war subsequently. 400 years ago during the Time of Troubles, political elite of Russia swore to impostors and the Polish king, committed treason both to the Fatherland and Faith, while only revolt by the Russian militia saved both Russia and Orthodoxy during this period, having laid the foundation of a new Russian Tsars dynasty. Since then in Russia a little has changed. The Russian governors with a support on the Russian people bring their lifes on the Fatherland altar, and the fattened, corrupted comprador elites doesn't disdain in any ways to betray the Homeland, cowardly treason the Sovereign, to rob and subordinate the people for the sake of personal instant profit. Pacification always there came after long and painful years of a distemper – Russia which left behind crisis and bloody wars started developing progressively again. The history repeated itself 23 years ago (before our eyes) again: the "red empire" which really needed serious and extremely careful reforming was plundered instead, stolen and destroyed by rack of "repainted" high-ranking party officials, sold to recent "ideological enemies" and adjoined them unscrupulous nouveau riches. The history been accelerated … its rounds become shorter. And here again – the second time on our short century – the country which is hardly starting being restored after last "disorder" appears under the threat of a greedy scramble. Those to who were not allowed to plunder finally our distressful Homeland in the 90th, are eager for a revenge now.

2. 10 years of imprisonment for you, Mr. Khodorkovsky, is a real tragedy. After all, how much it would be possible to steal during this term! Your only task now is to make up for the lost time. Let's look past 10 years of your activity. Since 1991 before the arrest, you, Mr. Khodorkovsky, "from anything" ( without investing a ruble, but having appropriated for tens of billions of dollars of national property) created the huge financial and industrial empire, having become one of the richest people of the country. Thus, as well, as all oligarchs of that time, you generously "walked on corpses", didn't constrain yourself by any moral restrictions, plundered and ruined huge Soviet industrial heritage. Rolled in money and "elitism", without refusing to yourselves of anything. During the same years me and many of my friends and comrads were almost permanently at war for the Russian people and for Russia, against enemies of the Fatherland. At first in Transnistria, then in Bosnia, then in Chechnya. While we suffered a defeat after defeat because of treachery by so-called "new elite", receded, gritting the teeth, accompanied by contemptuous and full of hatred comments from so-called "democratic" mass media, you, Mr. Khodorkovsky and such likes didn't even remember needs of the country and its people. Therefore our experiences are essentially different. You learned to steal, plunder and lie and we – to protect Russia and the people. Even when anybody didn't demand it from us. The prison always changes people, occasionally – to the better. You, alas, didn't obtain due experience from that. After all, you didn't plead guilty absolutely to anything even after return to freedom. Moreover, you appeared immediately in the camp of enemies again, thus having confirmed that you was in prison for a good reason.

3. What are you talking about using word "stole" ? You, whose credo was "to steal, steal and steal"? Have you build or manufactured something in your life, that would be possible to steal personally from you? No. Because you weren't engaged in anything, except of theft, fraud and robbery, before the prison. From all your achievements, I am personally ready to recognize, as socially useful result only those "boots" which you "stitched" in prison. From the moral point of view, only this your work also is only worthy in all your, to put it mildly, rather dirty life of the highly professional thief and talented swindler. But worst of all that this work didn't do for you good at all and, judging by with whom you act nowadays, it didn't lead you to understanding of your own mistakes and crimes. When the real Patriots of Russia and the Russian people engaged in Novorossiya, you, having received pardon from the President Putin, immediately supported his enemies and enemies of Russia. You were on a Russophobic Maidan and gathered on the enemy territory all "color" of the Russian traitors on a forum to fight against the Russian Spring. You are saying that "Russia has ceased to grow"? It is direct result of your activity, your privatization, your comprador policy. Now your call is for cardinal reforms? With whom in alliance ?? With frank enemies of all Russian? Proceeding from patriotic motives?

4. Especially brightly your "patriotism", Mikhail Borisovich, is shown in repetition by you of a "horror movie" about Russia, as a "threat to Europe and the whole world". Once Goebbels, and long before him – Napoleon and the British lords Palmerston and Disraeli loudly (and it is much more talented manner) shouted about this "threat". After them Winston Churchill did so and the U.S. President Ronald Reagan who, without a moment's hesitation called the USSR "Empire of evil". Thus, Mikhail Borisovich, you went on quite blazed way. It seems, with full confidence that only you are "the smartest" and something knew about the history, while all Russian people are full blockheads and ignoramuses. Well, cowards too who are easy for deceiving and intimidating by a ghost of "The third world war" that they easy agree to refuse the Fatherland and the help to their brothers perishing in Novorossiya in exchange for "would be no war at all cost". But the main addressee of this address is not in Russia at all. It is some kind of "oath" to those who during all history of Russia dreamed to liquidate it. In my opinion, this is typical shulersky reception at which the player operating with marked cards, understanding takes place that him just about will expose, immediately accuses partners of deception. The Western world headed by global financial oligarchy which integral part you, Mikhail Borisovich, endeavor to present us, – being going to destroy or win neighbors, always and everywhere I started accusing future opponents, attributing it in accuracy own intentions. So it is possible to state: Russia really threatens with war. In hope that it will be frightened and capitulates, having allowed to disarm at first herself, and then finally to finish. What here to tell? The task of the real Russian patriots (but not frequenters Washington "Fried House") consists in preparing for reflection of aggression from the West because only in this case Russia will have an opportunity to prevent it and to defend the sovereignty.

Return to Russia

5. Speaking about "the European values", you, Mr. Khodorkovsky, either don't understand or just pretend that you don't understand) that they have no relation to the real Values, traditional for Europe. They are revived today in Russia by the President Putin. And those "values" which are imposed by world financial oligarchy as "European", today are causing hundred thousand-strong protest actions in Europe. When last time, more than 20 years ago, the management of the USSR decided "to turn" to these so-called "values", the country was split, as a result, plundered and humiliated, and the Russian people suddenly appeared to be the largest divided nation in the world. From the moment of coming to power Putin started correcting catastrophe of the 90th: to subdue absolute power of oligarchy, to nationalize elite, to restore the destroyed economy. In process of establishment of an order the President found it possible to show mercy even to such a bastard, as you showed yourself to the world, Mr. Khodorkovsky, prior to the prison. But you didn't appreciated it. Probably, because you considered the favor rendered, as a manifestation of weakness. After all you, Mr. Khodorkovsky, of course, wouldn't bother yourself with such sentiment, isn't it? And now, having deceived the President by the false remorse, do you intend to take revenge for everything he did? That he relied on strengthening of the state and protection of national interests to the detriment of comprador elite? That he didn't allow to sell on cheap the largest stocks of natural resources to "Rotschilds", dooming Russia to the external management? That he punished you for openly stated intentions to discharge him from the power via unconstitutional way? From your words: being in prison, you "re-estimated a lot of things". But just having been released, you appeared on different sides of the front with the Russian people in war for the Russian World, in direct and rigid opposition on Donbass again. Your hatred to Putin brought you into a camp of enemies not only personally of the President, but into a camp of enemies of the Russian state and all Russian people. How can you dare to reproach Putin that he stood up to defense of the people of the Crimea and Novorossiya, didn't allow the Ukrainian nazis supported by the West to establish over the Crimea and Donbass a bloody dictatorship? After all Russians protecting themselves and their lifes. You accuse the victims that they allegedly have the nerve to defend themselves. The third world war is excluded while Russia is strong and rather powerful to guarantee, hence asymmetric, but strategic parity and while there are people in charge, who are not ready to trade off their country and the people for promises to be part of supranational financial elite. We will give worthy repulse to your persistent and not reclined during years of imprisonment, aspiration to sell something that doesn't belong to you. We also won't allow repeatedly just as was 23 years ago, to carry away ourselves through the false slogans.

6. Such things which you talking about, as "the European values and the euroatlantic civilization", not only has no relation to Russia, but directly contradicts our national history, psychology, destiny. Europe departed from its own Christian values long ago, having plunged into the abyss of the most vile defects, and eulogized "euroatlanticism" is no more than the geopolitical doctrine of USA global domination, directed against the people of the whole world still keeping own religion, the sovereignty and national traditions. Russia was twice affected already in recent times with leprosy of "the progressive European ideas" and was heavy injured by mad hobbies of its own elites and intellectuals,has two roads today : either to return to itself, anew to find the Faith, the tradition, the values, the sovereignty or be dissolved in the global West, get into slavery and to disappear as a civilization, having lost everything. I will emphasize again, what outstanding hypocrisy Mr. Khodorkovsky, you possess when you regret about lost art, literature, science, space and other achievements of imperial and Soviet "totalitarian past". Truly, "the wolf feel sorry for a horse – left tail and mane"! But even if we assume that something told by you is remotely true, I ask you to learn history a little: Russia received Christian Faith not from the Catholic West, but from the orthodox East – directly from East Roman Empire Byzantium, which remained the keeper of true Christianity throughout the whole millennium . However, how can you argue about Christian Faith?

7. Everything that Russia has today, was created by our people and our state in desperate fight for preservation of own originality, freedom and sovereignty. In fight against enemies both from the West, and from the East. Russia developed at first as the national state which grew to the great Empire because it was rather flexible in ability to perceive positive experience of neighbors. Nothing in it neither shameful nor superhonourable – because it is a way of all nations having the sane rulers, which are building and developing own state. Borrow doesn't mean to copy blindly. Enough is enough … to copy [to that extend]. Only Marxism imported exactly from Europe - what's a cost to the country! Every nation and very state is unique. As any grass field beautiful by different grasses and a scattering of various flowers, thus Mankind is beautiful in an inflorescence of the unique people, wrestling among themselves for "better place under the sun", but not reminding that "flat public lawn" into which "the euroatlantic universal men".

8. The euroatlantic values are "values of the strong and fair state"? Well done, Mikhail Borisovich! Now these values lead this greatest Europe, about which our home brew liberals so like to speak, to extinction of those people of Europe which follow them and which once created it. Is your so-called "justice" consists in it? However, you, for obvious reasons, don't care about historical destinies of any those Germans, French or Britons. As well as Russians, Bashkir, Tatars, Lezgians and so on. And "the strong state", so to think, means the USA? After all, no "strong" (that is rather sovereign and independent) states left over in Europe. The last sovereign state in Europe outside the former USSR which dared to defend interests of its citizens was Yugoslavia, has been crushed and subordinated 15 years ago. It was inclined to "the euroatlantic choice" by bombs and rockets, blockade and alien's mutiny. Now its turn of Belarus and Russia, isn't it? The Base in Ukraine was already created and the last breakthrough remains? The values spread by world financial oligarchy ("European", "euroatlantic", "universal", etc.) – these are values of the national states elimination and radical cancellation of anything that bears a faint resemblance of social justice. Here, Mr. Khodorkovsky, you are either ignorant or conscious liar. Well about "ignorance" I'm saying "for the sake of a witty remark", as I have no illusions concerning defects in your education. Liberalism which you defend, has as the ultimate goal total globalization, leveling of all people and religious communities under one consumer "comb" and the statement of the power of world financial oligarchy in process of abolition of all historically developed states (the project of the European Union – the first step in this direction). In the sphere of economic policy liberalism not only in practice, but in the theory rigidly denies social justice. Freedom of the market about which liberals go on, is incompatible with redistribution of profit as supporters of social justice insist. More Russia will be involved in globalization processes, the quicker will lose the sovereignty and opportunity to pursue social policy. Now on "mobilization". We, of course, need powerful national mobilization against aggression of the "evroatlantist" aimed at the accelerated and final plunder of Russia under the pretext of "integration into the world community" and "global economy". Mobilization both state and public. Because threat hung not only over the state sovereignty of Russia, but over cultural and moral identity of its people decomposed strenuously by propagandized and introduced "euroatlantic" defective – sodomy debauchery, pedophilia, murder of children and old men (abortions and euthanasia), drug addiction, terrorism, etc. brought by a "new humane world order".

9. "The one who wants to be strong, can't afford to be backward". This is absolutely correct thesis. For this reason the decision by the President Putin on full modernization of army by 2020 is absolutely adequate answer to Russophobic hysteria from the West. The Russian military, heads of defense industry complex, regional industrialists and businessmen have to replace by themselves comprador elite of 90th, the so-called "oligarchs", typical representative of whom you are, Mr. Khodorkovsky. Oligarchs are alien to Russia, their capitals and families are in the West though they made their capitals by exploiting the Russian people. They represent interests of global financial oligarchy, think in categories of ultra-liberalism and, in fact, consider themselves something like colonial administration. Therefore prefer to speak out their "revelations" by your "prophetical" lips from Washington DC.

10. Today is not Europe that matters, but Russia. Our way is a return to itself. It is necessary to return to Russia, to our history, to our culture, to our mission. This mission always was and remains in bearing Christ's light of belief, ideals of good and social justice to people of the world, to be "keepers" against the evil, as the Apostle Pavel told. We had very heavy past. Russia was shook all 20th century in fevers of bloody revolutions and destructive wars. But thanks to the passed heavy tests, Russia managed to save a lot of things which Europe lost almost irrevocably. If Europe wishes to return to own traditions and the Christian principles, its on the way with us, but not with the financial oligarchy of the USA bearing to people of the world a godless civilization of moral decay, ideological zombiing, spiritual and physical death.

Creation of fair society

11. "Modern Russian society is arranged unfairly", you are sayng. I completely agree with that. But I will repeat written above, it was made by you and such likes. Having used crisis of the USSR, you began to plunder and kill, appropriating national property. So you and your accomplices laid the foundation of "modern Russian society" where the most cynical and mean [social] layer, working on arrangement and instructions of transatlantic curators, got all levers of economic and partly the political power. Right after coming to power Putin started correcting the situation, but the injustice, which became in the 90th the principle, has a deep root. Therefore return to our society of social justice will be long and difficult process. But I believe that we will cope with it without councils of the fluent ex-oligarch who made a fortune plundering the national wealth, created by a hard work of generations of the Russian people.

12. While reading your criticism of privatization (by the way, quite reasonable), I was surprised by your cynicism: You and such likes, acquired the capitals during this criminal capture of public property, and now trying to accuse anyone, only not those who is actually guilty. Privatization, for what it was, is not a "distortion", but crime. As a result of it, the property was received not by ordinary people, but quick and unscrupulous minority. And largest "pieces" of property were acquired with direct support of the foreign financial capital going literally "on corpses". Who knows this better than you? Putin started establishing the correct proportions, giving to the state the most important strategic spheres of economy. Thereby he just tries to correct catastrophic consequences of criminal privatization. Without eradication of the oligarchy established just on criminal privatization there will be neither social justice, nor full development of private business.

13. Saying that natural resources has to belong to the people, you are completely right herein. I already said that sometimes (though it is rare) the prison corrects well. In this point, the shift is undoubtedly positive. This is exactly whats happened to you: assets of your energy companies, criminally created, were transferred under management of the state, thus its people. How otherwise is possible to make natural resources a national property if not through their nationalization and redistribution of provit, in favor of all citizens? It excludes a private ownership of large objects in hydrocarbon extraction. History of Yukos is an example of how natural resources comes back to the people. Efficiency of its use is another question.To start with, they should be taken away from you and such likes, then it should be used most effectively. It is hard to argue with that fact that use of a resource rent is far from ideal. The main thing is not to leave anything of natural resources in a private possession of oligarchy.

14. Proportional tax scale is absolutely correct way. It is also the movement towards social justice. But only not for you, Mr. Khodorkovsky, grown rich on a robbery of the people and taken fortune abroad, to argue on it. In what country did you pay taxes? In Switzerland, in England, in the USA? Why dob't you return to the people stolen, begin with yourself, pay taxes in Russia. Or for this purpose you should become a president at first? One similar oligarch quite recently assured electorate of the neighboring country in the same oath. His name is Petro Poroshenko. He swore give to the people of Ukraine everything sewed by his back-breaking toil -- But he isn't in a hurry. So begin with yourself! Show to the world an image of "the responsible taxpayer"! Then, perhaps, somebody (strongly naive) will also believe you.

15. Liberalism as you understand it, Mr. Khodorkovsky, is absolute delusion. This flase doctrine which is completely ignoring God, spirit, culture, mankind, society and regarding an individual, his material private interests and the sphere of finance, as of paramount importance. Liberalism, understood in such manner, is absolutely incompatible with original freedom: how can be a person free, if society in which he lives, is a slavery of interest rate, a debt bondage of the international financial oligarchy and its local supervisors? If all human life is subordinated to search and enhancement of material benefits and the bank account statement is a criterion only? Today liberalism is totalitarian ideology on which distribution the USA build the world hegemony. It is unacceptable for Russia in no shape or form – neither in political, nor in economic, in legal. This is most important: for you, Mr. Khodorkovsky, liberalism is the ultimate truth and national development and social justice is good for populism. But in Russia liberalism is doomed, it is acceptable neither by right, nor left. It is the colonial ideology going against our Russian identity. Trying to destroy this identity for the sake of a celebration of liberal ideology you are destroying Russia too. I thought, it is your ultimate goal.

16. Socially oriented, based on Christian values state is the purpose, a reference point and strategy of the real Russian patriots. In achievement of this purpose "right" and "left", supporters of a monarchy and socialism can unite absolutely freely. And of course, such state has to be based on a firm observance of precepts of law. But what is your relations to this? After all, you need to tempt the people and they are now inclined to listen to slogans of creation "the socially oriented national state" (without understanding how to build the "national" state on a place of the centuries-old Russian Empire in which hundreds of nations lived peacefully and developed). You throw this bone to us, the Russian people. But Russians are not any longer the trustful herd, which for the past century twice "pecked" on promises of "milk and honey" and as a result spilled oceans of the blood. Sincerely I hope that we learned something and we will manage to distinguish truth from the fake wrapped in a beautiful wrapper. The socially oriented national state is anything, but you, oligarchs, footmen of Rotschilds. Leave it, Mr. Khodorkovsky, national and social issues: these concepts demands clean hands and the faultless biography.

War is the tragedy which sometimes impossible to avoid

17. The USA and the American hegemony is a war. We see it in Libya, in Syria, in Iraq, and Afghanistan, in Ukraine. Everywhere, USA helps to carry out "color revolutions", fascists, extremists, fundamentalists come to the power. To be the supporter of the USA, the West and NATO – means to be the fascist helper, the lawyer of war. This war is waged against the whole Mankind, which is not interested to live by the American rules and to serve obediently and servilely interests of world financial oligarchy.

18. This war is waged against Russia, against Ukraine. Those heroes who get up in defense of the Russian World who fights in Novorossiya, didn't want this war. They wanted the peace. But peace can't be at the price of freedom and dignity. In the conditions of the neo-Nazi junta brought to power in Kiev by your masters, Mr. Khodorkovsky and supported by you personally, life is not a life, but peace is not the peace. Russians in both, Crimea and Novorossiya get up for freedom and justice, for the rights of national development, for the language and culture. It was war against war. Your appeals to peace isn't simple hypocrisy, this is treachery. However, as all the rest is. We are simply on different sides of the frontline, and your words for me who took active part in military operations in Novorossiya sound like appeals from other side: "Russian, give up! There will be a peace! You were deceived!" In reply to such call during combat conditions there is one answer. Guess, what? Problem of Russia today is not that a war is (as you say) allegedly "driver". On the contrary, Putin did everything possible and does everything possible to avoid "big" war (the small one USA is already launched by the hands of Kiev and goes on, claiming human lives daily). To reproach the authorities of Russia that she doesn't leave the Russian World to the mercy of fate, blasphemously. Defending this thesis, you find support of the westernized comprador elite which is regularly gathering for anti-Russians "Marches for the peace". However, you should say goodbye forever to those who stood on the side of historical Russia and social justice and this is a vast majority of people. You are on other side of Crimea and Novorossiya, which now, more than ever, rally the Russians, supporting unconditionally decisive steps of Putin in this direction.

National mobilization

19. Acting authorities brought Russia to the threshold of decisive breakthrough towards independence, power and freedom which is capable to bring her out from zone of direct influence by the American hegemony. Unfortunately, at my private judgment, the specified breakthrough obviously it is slow down (suspected, by your secret and obvious adherents who still have huge influence, thanks to the stolen riches and high internal political influence, bought with that). Hesitations regarding the need to move forward are visible also. But people of the country are quite ready to it and it frightens you. The hysterics concerning threat of "the Chinese protectorate" also occurs from here. "The Chinese threat" is in the theory, so far. But open protectorate of the USA established over Russia as a result of Gorbachev and Yeltsin treason is a fact of life. The main threat to the sovereignty of Russia is an aggressive impact of the world financial oligarchy frightened by possibility of losing Russia from a slop trough of "colonial economy". And in its fifth column, where you are one of ideologists.

20. The world financial oligarchy desperately and frenzy struggles against revival of Russia. If Russia withstands, it has a future; she will return to history and will win. But if the sales agent of world financial oligarchy hating all Russian (such as you), comes to the power in Russia, we will fail in a chasm in comparison with gangster era of 90th would seem as a children's game . Disintegration of the country with all that implies in the form of wars, general poverty, hunger, epidemics and large-scale technogenic catastrophes, here that waits for us in this box. How it happens, so far on much smaller scale, I had to observe personally more than once and not two. Quite recently – in Ukraine, where "cherries" are still ahead. After all, Mr. Khodorkovsky, you want to help the West to destroy again that Putin in the 2000th started restoring. But you won't be able to manage it because we are Russians, God is with us! World financial oligarchy, priests of Mammon, having put itself to the place of God and on its own behalf operating destinies of the world, overplayed itself. The American hegemony falls, as a colossus on clay feet. The West falls: its indigenous people dies out; European countries in 20 years will become Muslim; the Christian culture is tired out on the periphery of public life; China officially became the largest economy of the world; The USA aren't able to pay its huge national debt; they are shaken by disorders on the racial and social soil, in an agony the West sows on the world only chaos and destructions, blood and sufferings. We have to go in other direction, towards revival of Great Russia against all threats and calls. The enormous turn is already made in this regard- Putin assembled Crimea back to Russia and nobody will be able to take it away from us!

21. You started talking about the Russian exploits, but reduced it to moderation and labor. Probably, you believe that future happiness of the Russian people is in a slave labor for a skilly bowl for the benefit of world financial oligarchy which you represent. And for the low-standard "shows" offered in addition to a skilly, which guarantee returning the person to a condition of the an animal, following the simplest instincts. Well, then "only over our dead bodies"! The Russian people have absolutely other horizons and the purposes, than dumb submission to the corrupted western elites. Here I will distract from your theses and I will briefly formulate our Russian answer which is expressed by a simple formula "For Faith, the Tsar and Fatherland". For these sacred concepts the Russian people from time immemorial went to die, perfectly understanding that battling for them is a battle for themselves and for the future. Today it means quite concrete loyalty: to the Russian Orthodox Church, to the Russian state and Supreme Commander V. V. Putin.

22. Last fifteen years Russia prepared itself for breakthrough in the great Russian future. Now its time to make it.

Igor Strelkov

[Oct 21, 2014] Question: Does Russia represent an alternative to the current western economic/social model? Or is this view an illusion based only on the conflict between some traditional vs. post-modern values?

Left-biased, but still very interesting assessment of the situation. Especially in the first part (the first 14 questions) Quote: "All attempts by Russia to develop a hypothetical line of response based on similar strategies (i.e. mobilizing a social response based on discontent) have no future, because Russia does not represent an alternative social model, not even in the realm of Illusion of Hope. "
2014/10/19 | Sociología crítica

Danos tu opinión

Un amable lector de este blog ha realizado un resumen en inglés de nuestro artículo Las catedrales del kremlin y el capitalismo multipolar; es un resumen diferente al que nosotros hubiéramos hecho, pero de interés sin duda alguna. Ha sido publicado como apoyo a una pregunta en un coloquio con el economista ruso Mikhail Khazin organizado por The vineyard of the saker. Publicaremos aquí la respuesta.

Question: Does Russia represent an alternative to the current western economic/social model? Or is this view an illusion based only on the conflict between some traditional vs. post-modern values? / Arturo

For context to the question I will provide a translation / paraphrase / summary of some key points in the following article Las catedrales del kremlin y el capitalismo multipolar

The article contains and numbers many more points (36 in total) but I have translated/summarized only the first 14 (the rest is provided is a very raw translation --NNB)

  1. Moscow cannot defeat the American plans – i.e. the Anglo Zionist world elite – without contradicting the class interests of its own elites (Russian oligarchs): This is impossible because the system of sanctions and the blocking of access to their accounts and assets in the West generates such contradictions in the Russian power elites that, in practice, it prevents them from reacting adequately; it puts them on their knees before the American plans.
  2. Russia *could* resist those plans, since it possesses the strength, sense of identity, historical memory and material resources to do so. But in order to do so, its ruling elites would have to take measures that would affect their own class status within both the Russian system and the international system. And we can see that these are measures they are not willing to take. On the other hand, the Anglo Zionists suffer no such internal contradiction. Quite the opposite, in fact: Their own interest as the supporting base of the globalist hyperclass necessarily forces them to maintain the challenge to the end.
  3. By the term Anglo Zionists, in this analysis, we mean the dominant power group whose territorial and military base resides in the United States, and whose center originates in the historical and social links of the Anglo-American oligarchies, branching off to other historical central metropolis in Europe or other power centers in different parts of the world.
  4. The concept is made up of two elements that must be explained: the first, the "anglo" reference, has to do with the North American British connection [...] the second, the "zionist" reference, has to do with the interconnection among the economic and financial power groups that maintain various kinds of links with Israel. It is not so much a reference to ethnic origin, but rather to orientations as groups or lobbies of political and economic interests. A good part of this Zionist component consists of people who are neither Israelis nor Jews, but who feel identified with the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, Britain and other countries. Thus the term "zionist" referees here to an ideology, not to an ethnic origin.
  5. The Anglo elites on both sides of the Atlantic have evolved from being national elites to being the executive base of a world Hyperclass made up of individuals capable of exerting a determining influence in the most powerful nation, the United States.
  6. The result of the Anglo Zionist line of attack is that the contradiction and internal struggle is now occurring in Moscow between those who have already chosen to sell out and those who have not yet found the time to realize that a multipolar global capitalism is not viable.
  7. In this context, recovering Crimea was a mirage, an illusion.
  8. If we compare the implications of the Maidan coup in Kiev with the liberation of Crimea, we see that the strategic defeat implicit in losing Ukraine as an ally is of such magnitude that everything else pales by co s (all of them) in Kiev was so gigantic that its implications are frightening. It was either a failure or something even worse. In any case, the Crimea affair was merely a small episode in a confrontation that Russia is losing.
  9. Russia arrived very late at modern capitalism, and that is why its current elite will be unable to occupy a space among the globalist elite without paying the necessary toll, which is none other than renouncing its territorial power base – its country and its access to and control of its energy resources and raw materials.
  10. Stubbornly maintaining the dispute in trying to obtain a multi-polar capitalism, leads necessarily to a intra-capitalist confrontation, as it did in 1914-1918. And because of the nature of the current actors, nuclear powers … it brings the conflict to 2.0 war versions (color revolutions)
  11. All attempts by Russia to develop a hypothetical line of response based on similar strategies (i.e. mobilizing a social response based on discontent) have no future, because Russia does not represent an alternative social model, not even in the realm of Illusion of Hope. It can only elicit some empathy from those who reject the American domination, but here the class contradictions come into play again, because it is not enough to oppose Washington merely on political-military grounds, since the key to global power resides in the financial and military structures that enable global control and plunder: World Trade Organization, IMF, Free Trade agreements, World Bank, NATO… these are entities in relation to which Russia only shows its displeasure at not being invited to the table as an equal, not accepting that because it arrived late at modern capitalism, it must play a secondary role. On the other hand, Russia is ignoring the deep contempt, bordering on racism, that things Slavic generate among Anglo Zionist elites.
  12. In order to be able to fight the 2.0 versions of war that are engineered today, an alternative social model is needed. Alternative not only in regard to the postmodern vs. traditional sets of values, but fundamentally in regard to the social model that stems from the modes of production. In the postmodern vs. traditional conflict, Russia tends to align with the most reactionary values. And in regard to the social struggle, they don't want to enter that fray because they renounced it long ago. They renounced the entire Soviet Union, which they destroyed from within.
  13. The contradictions and the dialectical nature of reality have their own logic, however. Thus, a coup in Kiev and the widespread appearance of Nazi symbols in the streets of Ukraine was all that it took to induce a spontaneous reaction in the Slavic world. The popular resistance in the Donbass took strong root thanks to the historic memory of the people's of the old USSR and its war against fascism.
  14. If Russia were to abandon Novorossia to the oligarchs and their mafias, the world's "left" – or whatever remains of it - would come to scorn post-Soviet Russia even more than it already does. In the months following the brave action in Crimea and the heroic resistance in the Donbass, many people around the world looked to Moscow in search of some sign that it would support the anti-fascist and anti-oligarchic resistance, even if only as an act of self-defense by Moscow against the globalist challenge. If it finally abandons Novorossia, the price in terms of loss of moral prestige will be absolute.
  15. A support of the left has not been sought, but that is a collateral consequence of the character of class struggle open that has been given in the Donbas, where Russia has been forced to provide some assistance that would prevent the genocide at the hands of the fascist Ukrainian.
  16. Cuando say left, we refer logically to the one who has expressed their support to the struggle of people in the Donbas, as it is very difficult to consider the "left" to those who have preferred to remain silent or to have directly been complicit in the assault, and the coup in Kiev.
  17. The degradation of the left as politically active social force is very intense, their structures are embroiled in the collapse, or in the confusion, when not literally corrupt. Then related to both socialist parties since 1914 and the communists, at least from the time of fracture of 1956. The social changes experienced in Europe with the systems of welfare state, based on the elevation of the standard of living of the working population and the obtaining of social peace by sharing the power with the trade unions are at the base of the post-industrial society and the resulting profound changes of values.

    The suicide of the USSR in 1989-93 marked a brutal global change , in which the balance which was preserved during the cold war was broken. That led to the capitalist elite in the west, which we are calling the Anglo-Zionists, to the suspension of the social pact (forced abandonment of New Deal), that gave rise to the welfare state and the emergence stark reality of a global power of capitalists without systemic opposition . Today the whole neoliberal globalization system of capitalism is in danger by the depletion of the natural resources. And to sustain this mode of production, they need to speed up territorial domination in the form of control and access to resources of other countries. Now there no space in the global system for spaces, which are managed autonomously even to a certain level.

  18. The system of global domination, capitalism, ruling elites with a territorial basis in the area of Anglo-American, global parasitic Hyperclass and depletion of resources, as well as cannibalization of the other nations, in the midst of troika of crisis of climate change, peak of the energy and raw materials shortages. those three factors that challenge the current globalization framework ... And the crisis of Novorossia, been demonstrated both impotence and the lack of real political autonomy of Russian elite with the respect to the dominant power in neoliberal worlds order..
  19. The new citizen movements in the western world are not so much resistance movements as samples of the discontent of the middle classes in precarious position of marginalization and/or social trance. This protest led to a "Maidans" which are not permanent and does not question the basis of the system. The participants seems to believe that it is possible to restore the old good world of the welfare state.
  20. The western movements are brainwashed by messages emanating from the headquarters of Democratic party of North America, the propaganda anarcho-capitalist and the various networks of ideological interference, are managing to break the bonds of historical memory that unite the struggles of the past with the present, de-ideologize the struggles and conflicts and to deny the tension left and right, isolating the militants -- or simple citizens who feel identified with the values of the left - of the masses who are suffering in the first place casualisation. At the heart of this new "left" are leaders that are co-opted voices, pseudo-intellectuals who destroy the words and empty of content of key concepts in a way that the alienation of the masses demonstrate at the language itself, thus preventing putting a real name to social process and things, and to identify the social phenomena.
  21. Viva to Russia, which the only country which eve in a weak form decided to fight neoliberal world order and position itself as an anti-imperialist force... It is interesting to observe the current great moral confusion in political landscape of the societies in decay. Confusion which have been stimulated by Moscow actions. As the result some the far-right groups that are simultaneously anti-US that anti-Russian now support Moscow. Also some part of Russia far-right political groups got the sympathy and support of factions of the anti EU far right forces in France, the Nazis of the MSR in Spain, and from small groups of euro-asianists. This line of political affiliation will allow them to simply join the Russia failure [to find alternative to monopolar neoliberal capitalism] and might well discredit then more profoundly in the future.
  22. The euro-asianists forces technically speaking are reactionary forces, neoliberal forces which is comparable to the worst of the worst in the western world. Moreover, they do not have any way to solve the main contradictions that arise in the current neoliberal model in the terms of class and dominance of Anglo Zionist global elite.
  23. Euro-Asianism is just a suitable ideology for the construction of Russian national idea for those who seeks to achieve lease to life for Russia sovereignty on the world stage. It is the actual proof that Russia has come too late to globalised capitalism and fascism...
  24. Huttington and his war of civilizations cynically exploit this confrontation on Anglo Zionist elite and newcomers, redefining it along the idea of the clash of civilizations which avoid using the notion of class and thus is ideologically false. Alexander Duguin who promote similar ideas quite seriously just shows the degree of degeneration of the Russian intelligentsia, which oscillates between serving as comprador class to the global Anglo Zionist elite and the repetition (as a farce, and with 75 years of delay ) of fascist reactionary revolutions in Western Europe, which were phenomenon of the interwar period (rexistas in Belgium, Croix de feu in France, CruzFlechados in Hungary, Requetés and Falangistas in Spain).
  25. The globalist elite offered a solution formulated in class terms, as it could not be another way: in the best cases, they proposes the co-optation to a handful of members of the Russian elite as deserving members of the new global Hyperclass, but this path is opened only the very very rich, and the pre-condition is the delivery of the country to plunder, where the global elite certainly would have need of some compradors which will be more or less adequately compensated depending on their achievements and sacrifices in the name of global neoliberal domination.
  26. The part of the power elite of Russia, which managed to expel the western compradors of the Yeltsin era, and rein in the oligarchs then, had tried with some success to regain control of the territory of the country. The illusion of the members of this part of the power elite -- basically the security services, both civil and military, and various synergies of those with the military-industrial lobby -- is that it would be enough to neutralize the Russian fifth column of the Anglo Zionists to take back control of their territorial base of power. this idea is going to be shredded into pieces when it enter into contradiction with the reality of the class struggle and interests of the elite at the global level. Russia is, for its size, influence, and resources, so huge that a line of action based on the defense of its sovereignty strategic enters in collision with the global power of neoliberalism. And that why it attracts disproportional reaction of the Anglo Zionists
  27. Supporters of Anglo Zionists that are ready to consent to a German-Russian alliance or Russia-EU alliance that give the viability of a idea of mutually beneficial co-development of both Russia and Europe are forgetting that such an action would require European sovereignty. Which is was non-existent iether on the level of the EU, or on the level of member states. The penetration of the Atlantism in Europe is already systemic. In the old European states there are still ancient national traditions, which were based on the basis of cultural, industrial, economic, and political identity. And they still run strong. But in the current situation for such states there no space for the sovereignty as the dominant power bloc in the national elite as well as in EU elite are Atlantists. Where this situation takes the Russian elite and the Russian state without confrontation? A confrontation that they, on the other hand are not willing and are not able to pursue.
  28. The multi-polar capitalist world had its lifespan which come to an end (exploded) in 1914. In 2014, the globalization of the elites and the capital is of such magnitude that no serious resistance is possible on the basis of some capitalist model. In those conditions the idea of Russian elite ability to enforce change to multipolar version of the currently monopolar neoliberal world is doomed to be a failure.
  29. Zbigniew Brezinsky has raised things crudely and openly, unlike the ("fake") supporters of perestroika, and their current heirs in Russia. Brezinsky know how to think in terms of the class contradiction and knows perfectly well that the Russian oligarchy has directed its monetary flows abroad, moved families abroad, and moved their investments abroad. That means that Anglo Zionists can disrupt any claim of sovereignty over the territory and resources by simply pressing the local neoliberal elite, giving them to choose between their interests as a class and their illusionary desire for sovereignty. Because in a globalized world, with its brutal fight for the natural resources there is no possibility of maintaining both, except what can be achieved in terms of direct anti-imperialist struggle. There is no space for the national bourgeoisies in the XXI century. You can only have sovereignty if it is posed in terms of a rupture with the actually existing neoliberal order of global capitalism, which, in its core is Anglo Zionists globalization. This break does not have to be forced, but in terms of scientific analysis of the social processes is a logical consequence of following this path one way or the other. To claim sovereignty over their own resources and territory inevitably leads to confrontation, and logical needs a break up and confront the Anglo Zionist empire. If you really want to achieve the goal. And that fact imposes the logic of the relationships and balance of power in the world today.
  30. The claims of the BRIC countries -- to the extent that you do not question them -- is that they have an alternative model to the dominant neoliberal capitalism model (Ango Zionist globalization with the center in the USA) are doomed to be a failure. The efforts of the BRIC countries can generate a lot of noise and discomfort for the West, but they can not break the global neoliberal system. Those countries are rightfully fearful of their budget balances -- which are very fragile. It can be even said that they are on their way to implosion sooner or later, due to the unbalanced structure of their internal classes, including first of all their own elite.
  31. The claim that it is possible to achieve the multipolar capitalist world (which Russia defends) and which led to current Ukrainian crisis without confrontation is false. As soon as Russia wanted to return to the global chessboard. as an independent player, they instantly saw opponents attacking weak elements of their defense at the borders. Ukraine has been a defeat for Russia and the Crimea is not a adequate compensation for loss of Ukraine. Now Novorossia is being sacrificed precisely because the class contradictions that have emerged in Moscow and lack of desire of Russian elite to go the bitter end.
  32. The situation in the Donbas / Novorossia clearly shows the resignation of Moscow to the victory, and their desire to avoid the clash with neoliberal world order. The fact is that Royal Dutch Shell has already begun the fracking in the Donbas, the coup regime in Kiev are already internationally accepted without reservations, the truce imposed in Novorossia has brought to its knees the armed resistance to junta. All this leads way to deliver Novorossia to the hands of mafias sponsored by the local oligarchs with friends in Kiev and Moscow.
  33. Statement that the destiny of Russia was played in the Donbas is something more than a phrase, It is a claim based on a reality, as the defeat of Novorossia would be the proof that Moscow had not the will to struggle. The betrayal of the fighters and the hopes of Novorossia is the acceptance of the defeat and might lead in the future to the victory to the Moscow Maidan, the same alliance of compradors and nationalists using which as storm troopers the globalist elite achieved their goal in Ukraine. If Novorossia is defeated, they can expect being able to push a puppet into the Kremlin the same way. And not without reason. This summer, the heroic struggle of the militia of the Donbas was the key element that forced the changes of the script designed for Kiev as well as diminished chances of successful application of the same methods in Moscow. The Minsk Agreements and the truce imposed by them are putting Novorossia on its knees, allowing for its destruction, but this time at the hands of their allies. Sad spectacle for the Russian security services, which were effective enough to organize the Donbas resistance, but now are useless and powerless before the neofascist Kiev junta.
  34. The struggle of the Donbas does not correspond to the strategic interests of the Russian elite. They have been forced to intervene to prevent the horror of the mass murder of the population of the Donbas at the hands of the extreme right. But the dream of a Donbas free of oligarchs and with a sovereign state, committed to social justice for workers on this Slavic land are completely incompatible with the post-soviet status quo. Only to the extent that there is a significant faction of Russian elite aware of the contradictions of the global neoliberal game and who put their sense of patriotism first can lead them to face the challenge that they face. Only in this case there would be any possibility of resistance; I would say patriotic resistance, because we already know no one at the top is able to think in terms of class.
  35. While very unlikely - there can be a move from February to October in Novorossia. You would say impossible. But he insurrection of the Donbas in March, logically was "February". In order to achieve victory, to take full control over the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk needs creation of the Revolutionary Military Council and suspension of the upcoming elections. which looking to be a smokescreen for capitulation to junta. They need to declare that they are ready to resist to the end. This output would be desperate move, without a doubt, and would represent the equivalent of a new "October". The event which of it occurs would force Moscow to show their cards to their own population. And perhaps it can help to generate a pulse necessary for the organization of the fight with Anglo Zionists empire between the towers of the Kremlin. That would move the fight toward more patriotic and popular goals, But this presuppose a lot of assumptions and first of all that such a "Kremlin tower", which is capable of emitted such a pulse, exists. Only in this case we can talk about achieving a real sovereignty. As Vasily Záitsev in Stalingrad suggested: "Maybe we're doomed, but for the moment we are still the masters and lords of our land." In Novorossia there are plenty of fighters who would agree with Záitsev, but they certainly lack political direction and, now the lack the support of Kremlin.
  36. The Russian objective is achieving a multipolar capitalism with a Russia united under a nationalist ideology based on the manipulation of patriotic sentiment, Orthodoxy and various Slavic myths. This objective is being challenged by the reality of the conflict, which should be defined in terms of geopolitical goals. The reality is that the Russian elite would be allowed to control their population as they wish, provided they renounce its sovereignty over territory and resources, renounce their physical power base, i.e. homeland. This is the nature of the challenge. Putin is mistaken if he thinks that the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books. There is not enough incense in the Kremlin cathedrals to mask that reality."

[Oct 18, 2014] The Perils of Threat Inflation

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October 17, 2014 | The American Conservative

Stephen Walt sees the U.S. repeating past mistakes in its war on ISIS. The first mistake he identifies is the tendency to exaggerate foreign threats:

Why is threat inflation a problem? When we exaggerate dangers in order to sell a military [action], we are more likely to do the wrong thing instead of taking the time to figure out if a) action is really necessary and b) what the best course of action might be.

It's fair to say that U.S. officials wouldn't have to exaggerate foreign threats so often if military action were clearly necessary. The U.S. is an extraordinarily secure country, so it requires an extraordinary amount of dishonesty and exaggeration to convince Americans that launching attacks overseas is necessary for our security.

Government officials have to overstate threats from overseas in order to justify military action that they all know isn't strictly necessary, and so they also overstate how many interests the U.S. has in the world and exaggerate how important those interests are. All of a sudden, the U.S. is defending supposedly "vital" interests in places that have no importance for American security whatever.

The assumptions behind preventive war also give each administration greater leeway. These allow presidents to dismiss the lack of evidence of a direct threat right now because of a belief that a threat might materialize later on. The slightest possibility that there could be a threat at some point in the future is treated as if there definitely is one, and so the U.S. starts bombing another country. It doesn't matter that the U.S. isn't actually threatened by the government or whichever group is being targeted. All that matters is that the U.S. has responded to the overblown threat with "action." Bombing the supposed future threat becomes self-justifying, and self-defense is expanded to mean whatever the government wants it to mean.

Egypt Steve says:

October 17, 2014 at 8:15 am


Lincoln understood this:

"Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is, that if it shall become necessary, to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another country; and that whether such necessity exists in any given case, the President is to be the sole judge…But Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose – and allow him to make war at pleasure…. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you 'be silent; I see it, if you don't.'"

bacon, October 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Starting at least as far back as Viet Nam, we have found deadly enemies behind many trees and have gone after most of them with similar results. We kill a lot of them, they kill some of us, and money that ought to be spent at home on infrastructure, education, health care, and job creation goes down the rat hole.

The public eventually gets tired enough of the war du jour to scare the politicians, they figure out some way to disengage, very few if any of the predicted catastrophic consequences of such a result come to pass, and shortly afterward we start the process again.

Each iteration leaves us, in addition to the unmet needs mentioned above, with a new crop of permanently damaged men and women at home, new enemies abroad, and further diminished global prestige. What a mess.

[Oct 18, 2014] Speech of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at the UNGA on September 27th

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FHVR5Qz0ibo
The translation is perfect. You just have to use the left/right stereo balance to choose for Russian (left channel) or Englisch (on the right channel)
Veritas :
Dear The Saker,

I was wondering when Russia was going to speak at the UN.

Here is a written piece too from RT:

http://www.rt.com/news/191216-lavrov-us-rejects-principle/

I think Lavrov is making it very clear where Russia/BRICS et al all stand :).

Rgds, Veritas

Anonymous :

Saker,

I found an interesting, if somewhat dated, interview with Gleb Pavlovsky in the most recent issue of New left Review. It adds some nuances to what is going on in the Kremlin: http://newleftreview.org/II/88/gleb-pavlovsky-putin-s-world-outlook

/Hagen

Veritas :

Dear The Saker,

What do you think Russia will say about this?:

http://www.rt.com/news/191220-erdogan-turkey-isis-military/

Their game has been so transparent from the start :(

Rgds,


Veritas

Veritas :

Gerry1211,

If you go to Ria Novsti they have broken down all the main points of Lavrov's speech into articles which you can read.

Dear The Saker,

http://en.ria.ru/world/20140927/193367669/UN-Declaration-Needed-to-Prevent-Use-of-Coup-as-Means-to-Change-Regime.html

I do like this point by Lavrov - about time too!


Rgds,


Veritas

Cortes :

Gerry1211: despabilate amigo - el mundo es bien ancho (wake up buddy, the world's a big place)

Anonymous :

[from Blue]
Hard to hear. I'm downloading it and will try listening in player software that has a spectrum filter thing to adjust the magnitude of the frequencies -- see if I can filter some of Lavrov's deeper voice out.

Dalpe :

My apologies, here is a version of the speak that is understandable

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqcQQaLvlkM

Daniel Rich :

When Lavrov speaks it's an assault [according to MSM], fortunately, when Obombi opens his claptrap, it's an insult.

Even Kafka watches all this unfold with raised eyebrows.

greencrow :

"...Mr.Lavrov speaks impeccable English so why he chose to speak Russian is beyond me."

********************

This is the United Nations...not the English Nations...your ethnocentricity is appalling.

Greg Schofield :

The translator is on the right speaker and Lavrov on the left -- just change the balance between the speakers and it can be heard perfectly -- actually a very good way of doing things.

Anonymous :

El Murid: military talks took place today in Gorlovka. Moscow sent general Alexander Lentsov who assumed an openly sharp anti-Novorossiya position. He demanded unilateral withdrawals of the Army of Novorossiya, their unilateral immediate ceasefire, and threatened with closing borders and assistance denial

Henry Kissinger recommends West should take constructive approach to Russia.

http://en.itar-tass.com/world/751643

Teranam13 :

What a warrior king Lavrov is!!! "we should not allow national egoism to prevail over collective responsibility" Great summation to a well delivered speech and, by the way, Kudos to the simultaneous translator who kept up with his headlong pace really well.
He made a very important point about Libya's chemical weapons needing to be accounted for by the UN. There are those who claim that some have already
made their way into the hands of Turkish intelligence and others. Lavrov rocks!!!

Dalpe :

Report from UN: Ki-moon, "UN urged Russia to resolve the Ukrainian crisis."
http://translate.yandex.net/tr-url/ru-en.ru/www.novorosinform.org/news/id/10242

Calumny! This guy smiles and it give me the creeps.

How about urging all sides to resolve the crisis, or how about urging the, I never attack those with weapons directly, color revolutionary master, and destroyer of worlds to resolve the crisis?

Or how about urging the IMF to stop funding a fratricidal war? That would be impossible without their blood money?

More to the point, permit me to urge you, Ki-moon, to refresh yourself with the UN charter.I think it say something about not lying?

Your inference is unbalanced, inflammatory, supportive of a fictional myth as to who is responsible for sowing chaos in Ukraine.

Serendipity :

It is quite clear (to me,at least) that Lavrov should have delivered his speech in English (as we've seen, he speaks English quite well). He could have begun his speech by saying: "I have chosen today to speak in English rather than in Russian because I want my message to be perfectly clear to Americans and Europeans, especially to those people who are actively engaged in aggression directed against my country." He might have added, but, of course, being a diplomat, he would not: "Furthermore I don't trust the UN-appointed interpreter to translate my message without distorting it."

I have great respect for Lavrov and Putin, but they're not perfect, and they make mistakes (hopefully none fatal to their cause). Lavrov's decision to deliver his speech in Russian is one example. His choice of Russian ensures that no-one, other than those people who understand Russian, will take much notice of what he said. An opportunity missed to tell the Western psychopaths clearly that they, not Russia, are the aggressors and that their diabolical plans will come to naught.

Lumpy Gravy :

@ Gerry1211, 27 September, 2014 22:41
> My brain is not wired to listen simultaneously ...

Don't worry, you're not alone with this. RT have been practising this kind of "audio editing" since ages. The sheer incompetence of the RT staff in charge boggles the mind. Or is it deliberate to put people off and to drive them away from the channel? One can never tell these days what's going on in Russia's rotten msm. Just compare the search results for the name Strelkov on Russian msm and on western msm ...

Yandex:
http://www.yandex.com/video/search?text=Strelkov

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Strelkov

... crazy, isn't it?! And to top it all off, last December Vladimir Putin has managed to rid the country of its last halfway decent international radio station when he shut down VoR ... probably following the advice of some of his trusted 5th column rats. It's hopeless, really.

Anonymous :

Last night an unprecedented meeting took place - between Ukrainian generals and Novorossia military leadership, with Russan military and OSCE as observers. They pulled out a map of Ukraine and talked about where the border between Novorossia and Ukraine should be. (Russian news program Vesti)

Kiev is grabbing people on the streets to exchange them for POW's. Novorossiya side halted the POW exchange, since the flow of Novorosia POW's, according to reqused lists, has been replaced by random people, who have nothing to do with Novorossiya. The question is, where are the Novrossiya POW's - dead?

Anonymous :

100 million tons of highest quality oil discovered in the Arctic by Rosneft, comparable to entire reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Lumpy Gravy :

@ Greg Schofield, 28 September, 2014 02:05
> ... actually a very good way of doing things.

No, it' not. Listening simultaneously to two different voices speaking two different languages at identical audio levels makes it very hard to understand what is being said in either language ... and adjusting the stereo balance isn't an option for people who are trying to listening to Sergey Lavrov's speech in public places (RT always pride themselves on being available globally in 25 billion airport lounges and in 100 trillion hotels). Apart from this RT uploaded this video to their English language channel which targets an English speaking audience. Leaving Lavrov's original audio track at 50% volume is absolutely inappropriate and unprofessional.

Where-Wolf :

I with the Anglo ethnocentrists on this one.

Lavrov had an opportunity to fire a shot that would be heard and understood by potentially billions of people. No matter it would be ignored by the media. Online it could reverberate forever. This is a failure to take the bull by the horns. I know the Russian game is patient but in respect of the medium, message and timing, Lavrov missed a glorious opportunity.

The argument that no one has a monopoly on truth seems to be plucked from Western Relativists in the first place. It makes me naseous to hear it from Lavrov at this time. What good is to say you have your truth while we have ours when what Lavrov should be saying is that Russia is on the side of ultimate truth.

That may not be a fair interpretation of Lavrov's words but I am seriously disappointed.

Daniel Rich :

@ greencrow,

Q: This is the United Nations...not the English Nations...your ethnocentricity is appalling.

R: Give it a few decades and we'll all be fluent in Mandarin :o)

greencrow :

Some people just don't understand the importance of language to a culture...they're so "spoiled" at having their mother tongue be the language they listen to, that they can't comprehend other people wanting to hear their language in "important" situations. IMP these people are missing the entire point of the United Nations and International relations.

Alien Tech :

Talk about mission creep in the Internet age. It took a few years with Vietnam but already in a week, Turkey is ready to send in troops into Syria.

This is the same Turkey that supplied the Sarine gas and killed all those Syrians last year? Turkey is involved in most of the wars the US is involved in but they usually always have a UN mandate and fall under the UN commander who is mostly an American.

Why is Lavrov talking in Russian? If he wants to influence people in other countries he should have talked in English because other wise we only hear the lies and nothing from the other side. How many people are going to go find out what Lavrov said? It sure wont be published in any western media. Heck most TV would show him speaking in Russian and scroll what Obama said at the UN and people would think it was Lavrov who said that.

Mulga Mumblebrain :

Dalpe, the odious Ban was known, I believe, to the South Koreans as 'the slippery eel'. A perfect selection for Imperial stooge, although not as grotesque as the hideous Kofi Annan. The last even quarter-way decent UNSG was Boutros-Ghali, was terminated with moderate prejudice by the USA because of very slight crimes of hesitancy in executing Imperial orders. In the Real Evil Empire total submission is absolutely mandatory. We in Australia have been blessed by a succession of leaders whose groveling has been exemplary.

Anonymous :

Little bit of topic, but also from EU

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/06/19/video-of-the-day-end-the-fed-rallies-are-exploding-throughout-germany/

Feng :

@Lumpy Gravy and others

The translation is perfect. You just have to use the left/right stereo balance to choose for Russian (left channel) or Englisch (on the right channel)

[Oct 18, 2014] "Pardon Us For Our Country's Existence in the Middle of Your Military Bases" – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's Speech at the UN By Carla Stea

October 14, 2014 | Global Research

In a courageous and brilliant speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pierced the veil of obfuscation that characterizes too many speeches at the United Nations, and delivered a scathing denunciation of Western imperialism, imperialism that can only be accurately described as global theft. Lavrov, on behalf of the Russian Federation implicitly warned that US/NATO is risking global war in embarking on its campaign to seize and dominate huge territories, while inexorably and ruthlessly determined to conquer and subjugate Russia, having learned nothing from the historic reality that Napolean's effort to dominate Russia led to the collapse of Napoleonic France, and Hitler's attempt to subjugate Russia led to the obliteration of his Third Reich.

Perhaps this third attempt to conquer and subjugate Russia may lead not only to war encompassing huge territories of the globe, but, dialectically, may be the catalyst leading to the ultimate decline of capitalism, an economic system which thrives almost entirely on imperialism, and is undergoing a possibly terminal crisis, as described by the French economist, Thomas Piketty in his best-selling work "Capital in the 21 Century." In desperation, dysfunctional Western capitalism is lashing out recklessly and irrationally, unwilling and unable to preclude the disastrous consequences of its myopic policies. And one possible consequence of current US/NATO policies is thermonuclear war.

Lavrov stated: "The U.S.-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly opposite positions in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil."

"Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests. Military interference has become a norm – even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the U.S. has carried out over the recent years."

"The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, attack against Libya and the failure of operation in Afghanistan. Only due to intensive diplomatic efforts the aggression against Syria was prevented in 2013. There is an involuntary impression that the goal of various 'color revolutions' and other projects to change unsuitable regimes is to provoke chaos and instability."

"Today Ukraine has fallen victim to such an arrogant policy. The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systemic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area. The West has embarked upon the course towards 'vertical structuring of humanity' tailored to its own hardly inoffensive standards. After they declared victory in the Cold War and the 'end of history,' the U.S. and EU have opted for expanding the geopolitical area under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all peoples of Europe […] NATO enlargement to the East continued in spite of the promises to the contrary given earlier. The instant switch of NATO to hostile rhetoric and to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West's own interests, and additional build up of military infrastructure at the Russian borders – made obvious the inability of the alliance to change the genetic code it embedded during the Cold War era."

"The U.S. and EU supported the coup d'etat in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that opted for suppression by force of the part of the Ukranian people that had rejected the attempts to impose the anti-constitutional way of life to the entire country and wanted to defend its rights to the native language, culture and history. It is precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that compelled the population of Crimea to take the destiny in its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination. This was an absolutely free choice no matter what was invented by those who are responsible in the first place for the internal conflict in Ukraine."

"The attempts to distort the truth and to hide the facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukranian crisis. Nothing has been done to track down and prosecute those responsible for February bloody events at Maidan and massive loss of human lives in Odessa, Mariupol and other regions of Ukraine. The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in the South-Eastern Ukraine has been deliberately understated. Recently, new horrible facts have been brought to light when mass graves were discovered in the suburbs of Donetsk. Despite UNSG Resolution 2166 a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances of the loss of Malaysian airliner over the territory of Ukraine has been protracted. The culprits of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice. Otherwise the national reconciliation in Ukraine can hardly be expected."

In total contempt for truth and international law, Kiev's escalation of the Ukranian crisis is being relentlessly prepared, in an ultimate act of deceit, as Ukranian President Poroshenko assumes military regalia, threatening Russia's survival, and, indeed the survival of his own bankrupt country, and is now speaking of all-out war with Russia.

Last month Washington pledged and delivered 53 million dollars of US taxpayer's money to provide military aid to the Kiev regime, which is using the ceasefire arranged by Russian President Putin and the OSCE as an opportunity to acquire more sophisticated and deadly weapons and prepare for another barbarous onslaught against civilians in east and southeastern Ukraine, where the massacre of almost 4,000 citizens of East Ukraine and the desperate plight of more than one million refugees followed the "secret" visit to Kiev, (under a false name) of CIA Director John Brennan last April.

But perhaps the most brazen announcement of US/NATO intent to inflict further carnage upon the citizens of East Ukraine , whose rejection of the Nazi infested and Western controlled regime in Kiev has resulted in Kiev's campaign of extermination of its dissident Ukrainian citizens, is the return to Kiev this month of the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland. Ms. Nuland was made world famous (or world infamous) by her February declaration "Fuck the EU" while, on behalf of her neocon sponsors in Washington, she engineered the destabilization and overthrow of Ukraine's democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich, plunging Ukraine into the civil war that holds the potential of engulfing the world in a conflagration which will be known as World War III.

In her October 7, 2014 speech to the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ms. Nuland boasted: "Ukraine this year has received $290 million in U.S. financial support plus a billion dollar loan guarantee. And now you have what so many of you stood on the Maidan for, you have an association agreement with Europe and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement." That "Association Agreement" holds Ukraine virtual hostage to NATO and the IMF, whose imposition of "austerity measures" will further degrade the living standards of the already impoverished Ukrainians. Ms. Nuland brings a Trojan Horse into Ukraine, unctuously flattering gullible Ukranian students, who will ultimately provide cannon fodder for the war which US/NATO is inciting.

Further on in his September 27 address to the UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov states:

"Let me recall a history of not so far ago. As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933 the U.S. government demanded of Moscow the guarantees of non-interference into domestic affairs of the U.S. and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing political or social order in America. At that time Washington feared a revolutionary virus and the above guarantees were put on record on the basis of reciprocity. Perhaps, it makes sense to return to this topic and reproduce that demand of the U.S. government on a universal scale. Shouldn't the General Assembly adopt a declaration on the inadmissibility of interference into domestic affairs of sovereign states and non-recognition of coup d'etat as a method of the change of power? The time has come to totally exclude from the international interaction the attempts of illegitimate pressure of some states on others. The meaningless and counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we took an example of the U.S. blockade of Cuba."

"The policy of ultimatums and philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21 century and run counter to the objective process of development of a polycentric and democratic world order."

[Oct 16, 2014] Russian Government Passed Law Allowing Government To Seize Foreign Assets by Tomas Hirst

Oct. 8, 2014 | businessinsider.com

A bill to allow Russian oligarchs to claim compensation from the state for overseas assets seized under international sanctions has been passed by the country's parliament.

The "Rotenberg bill" as it has been called, after Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg had €30 million of assets seized by the Italian government, passed its first reading in the Duma by 233 votes to 202 against. The bill would also allow the government to seize foreign assets in Russia - a move that will likely cause Western and Asian investors to pull their money and resources out of Russia.

Its passage was all but guaranteed after the government made a dramatic U-turn last week.

Initially the government had claimed that it would not support the proposal from United Russia deputy Vladimir Ponevezhsky as it "violated international law." However, at the start of this month Vedomosti, the Russian business daily newspaper, reported Putin's press secretary Natalya Timakova as saying that:

[Prime Minister] Dmitry Medvedev, supported this initiative from the beginning and knew about its introduction.

The bill is already provoking controversy within the country, particularly among those concerned by the flagging economy and plummeting ruble. The Moscow Times quotes Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying that "there is no better way to create capital outflow than passing or even discussing such legislation."

Though it has passed its first reading this is by no means the final step. The Rotenberg bill will have to be submitted to the Duma for a further two readings before it is passed to President Vladimir Putin to sign it into law.

The fact that Medvedev supports strongly suggests that this too shall pass.

[Oct 16, 2014] Russia Seeks Sanctions Tit for Tat by Andrew E. Kramer

Oct 8, 2014 | NYTimes.com

The Russian Parliament on Wednesday took the first major step to authorize the Kremlin to seize foreign assets and use them to compensate individuals and businesses being hurt by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

... ... ...

The legislation must be approved two more times by the lower chamber of Parliament, or Duma, and the Russian senate, then signed by the president to become law. The initial passage could well be saber-rattling but is still an alarming sign that Russia will not take the sanctions lightly. Even early discussions of the rule in Parliament precipitated a stock sell-off late last month, given the stakes for international corporations.

In the past, the Russian government has made no bones about taking apart private assets, dismantling the once-largest domestic oil company, Yukos, and jailing its former owner, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, for a decade. Last month, a court ordered another Russian billionaire, Vladimir P. Yevtushenkov, placed under house arrest.

American companies with large investments in Russia have been apprehensive about possible retribution or losing business to Asian competitors, Alexis Rodzianko, the director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, said in an interview. Russia, he said, now has a "hierarchy of procurement" putting Asian businesses first.

The only seeming swipe has been at the American corporate icon McDonald's. Russian authorities closed several of its restaurants in Moscow in August, citing health concerns. But the timing prompted worries that it was payback for the sanctions.

So far, those actions appear largely symbolic, with most McDonald's restaurants remaining open. Still, the symbolism was ominous. The opening of the first McDonald's restaurant in 1990 on Pushkin Square marked the dawning of a new era of post-Soviet business opportunities for Western corporations.

Others followed. Ford operates an assembly plant for Focus compact cars outside St. Petersburg. A Russian forge stamps nearly half the titanium pieces as measured by weight used in the airframe of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner airliner. Alcoa operates an aluminum smelter.

PepsiCo first came to the former Soviet Union after offering a taste sample to the general secretary at the time, Nikita S. Khrushchev, in 1959. The company has invested heavily in Russia during the oil boom and now owns one of the country's largest dairies.

Even without such rules, multinational companies are facing headwinds, as the country's economy flirts with recession. Ford has said weakening Russian demand for cars, amid all the uncertainty here, is hurting its global earnings.

Yet other multinationals have inadvertently benefited from Russia's attempts to punish Western business. The ban on European dairy imports, for example, became an unexpected boon for Pepsi's local milk and yogurt business.

The legislation, though, is amplifying corporate concerns. Russia's minister of economy, Aleksei Ulyukayev, said just last week that "there is no better way to create capital outflow than passing or even discussing such legislation."

Still, the law passed with 233 votes in favor and 202 against. It would allow Russian citizens to who suffer from an "unlawful court act" of a foreign government to appeal for compensation in Russia, ultimately by seizing foreign assets here, even those covered by immunity such as diplomatic real estate.

The Western sanctions were intended to dissuade Mr. Putin from invading Ukraine. The United States Treasury Department has called some of the targets the "inner circle" of Mr. Putin, or longtime acquaintances who would presumably have his ear.

But the sanctions appear to have had an unintended consequence...

[Oct 15, 2014] Russian Government Passed Law Allowing Government To Seize Foreign Assets by Tomas Hirst

Italian companies should be worried...
Oct. 8, 2014 | Business Insider

A bill to allow Russian oligarchs to claim compensation from the state for overseas assets seized under international sanctions has been passed by the country's parliament.

The "Rotenberg bill" as it has been called, after Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg had €30 million of assets seized by the Italian government, passed its first reading in the Duma by 233 votes to 202 against. The bill would also allow the government to seize foreign assets in Russia - a move that will likely cause Western and Asian investors to pull their money and resources out of Russia.

Its passage was all but guaranteed after the government made a dramatic U-turn last week.

Initially the government had claimed that it would not support the proposal from United Russia deputy Vladimir Ponevezhsky as it "violated international law." However, at the start of this month Vedomosti, the Russian business daily newspaper, reported Dmitry Medvedev press secretary Natalya Timakova as saying that:

[Prime Minister] Dmitry Medvedev, supported this initiative from the beginning and knew about its introduction.

The bill is already provoking controversy within the country, particularly among those concerned by the flagging economy and plummeting ruble. The Moscow Times quotes Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying that "there is no better way to create capital outflow than passing or even discussing such legislation."

Though it has passed its first reading this is by no means the final step. The Rotenberg bill will have to be submitted to the Duma for a further two readings before it is passed to President Vladimir Putin to sign it into law.

The fact that Medvedev supports strongly suggests that this too shall pass.

[Oct 15, 2014] Patrushev: the Crisis in Ukraine was created by the USA

Based on Patrushev statements (and the fact of interview itself) Russia will not surrender their positions under the weight of sanctions. So the Second Cold War can be viewed as officially started. I think the key calculations of neocons is that Russia is too weak to confront the USA in Ukraine, and will be forced to accept the USA actions under threat of damage to its economy, especially in financial area. And that sanctions will not only effectively decimate the Russian economy and greatly damage the EU economy with minimum damage to the USA. We will see if this calculation is really true, as Russian try to play sanctions as the opportunity of structural changes and kicking out "hostile" multinationals from the Russia market. I do not envy now representatives of Coca Cola, or GM in Russia. But what if Russia attacks the dollar hegemony directly, in the style à la guerre comme, à la guerre. In any case neocons like Nuland managed to make Russian public more hostile to the USA then before. Probably even more hostile then during bombing of Serbia.
Oct 14, 2014 | dni.ru

Both Ukrainian and Syrian crisis has become quite an expected result of systemic activity of the U.S government and its closest allies, said the FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev. He noted that due to their efforts in Ukraine had grown a whole generation, poisoned by the hatred of Russia and the mythology of "European values" ( I think here he exaggerated -- this is natural logic of development of most xUSSR states, probably only amplified by the USA, -- look at Baltic states, Azerbaijan and Georgia)

"The Ukrainian crisis has become quite an expected result of systemic activity of the U.S. and its closest allies. The last quarter of a century, this activity was aimed at a complete separation of the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics from Russia, total reformatting of the post-Soviet space in the American interests. They created the conditions and the pretexts for color revolutions that were supported by generous USA government organizations funding," said the Director of the FSB.

Patrushev said that the assistant Secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland has said repeatedly that Washington between 1991 and 2013 has spent five billion dollars to "support the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to a stronger, democratic government". "According to the only open sources, such as documents of the U.S. Congress, the total public funding of various American programs for Ukraine for the period from 2001 to 2012 amounted to not less than 2.4 billion US dollars. ...

"As a result of this activity in Ukraine was bred a whole generation, completely poisoned by the hatred of Russia and the mythology of "European values". They are not yet aware that these values, even in the positive sense of the term, actually are not intended for Ukrainians. No one is going to try to rise standard of living in Ukraine or to arrange employment of young people in Europe. Currently Europe itself with great difficulty coping with the serious challenges and threats in those two area" said Patrushev.

"I think that the "sobering" Ukrainians will be abrupt and painful. We can hope only that this sobering will happen relatively quickly, due to several objective reasons. I want to mention just one factor, which is of fundamental importance. Regardless of future developments, the significance of Russia to Ukraine and vise versa in the future will be restored. Ukraine simply will not be able to successfully develop itself without Russia, whether you like it or not," he told "Rossiskaya Gaseta" daily.

"The coup in Kiev, organized with explicit support from the United States, was conducted using the classical scheme, piloted in Latin America, Africa and the middle East. But never before such a scheme affected Russian interests so deeply. The analysis shows that, provoking Russia to reciprocate, the Americans are pursuing the same goals as in the 80-ies of the twentieth century in relation to the USSR. As then, they try to determine the "vulnerabilities" of our country. At the same time, by the way, they solve the problem of neutralization of the European economic competitors, which according to Washington, have grown dangerously close to Moscow", - said the head of the FSB.

"Even in periods of relative warming in relations between Russia (USSR) and the United States American partners always remained true to such hostile views. Therefore, regardless of the nuances in the behavior of the Americans and their allies, the Russian leadership now has a permanent task: to take necessary measures that guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Motherland, protection and grows its wealth, and that distribution channels for this wealth work in the interests of the multinational people of the Russian Federation", - concluded Patrushev.

marknesop, October 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I can think of worse outcomes than the USA being imbued with the belief that if it can just hang on and keep tightening sanctions until the end of 2015, Russia will fold.

The European economy would be a smoking ruin by then, assuming they just kept saying "Yessir, Uncle Sam", and doing whatever Obama told them to do. I don't think they would be very disposed from that point to help America in its cockamamie campaigns.

[Oct 11, 2014] ​Biden won't be "allowed out alone again" after "embarrassing" EU

RT Op-Edge

...being as accomplished a liar as some others in the US administration, VP Joe Biden has actually spoken the truth when he revealed that Washington had to embarrass some European states into sanctioning Russia, British MP George Galloway told RT.

RT: A week has passed since US President Vice Joe Biden gave a surprising insight about how the EU reached its decision to sanction Russia.

READ MORE: Biden says US 'embarrassed' EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

That's quite an embarrassing revelation. Why there has been so little reaction to this from Europe?

George Galloway: Because they are embarrassed. Joe Bid

en is simple sort of chap and therefore is not as accomplished a liar as some of the others in his administration. I am not sure he will be allowed out alone again. Because on this and on other matters, Turkey and its rule in Syria for example with the Islamic State so-called, he told a lot of truth over a couple of days and will probably be gagged for the rest of the presidential term.

But in this case, I am sure, that he spoke the truth. Of course some of the European leaders probably needed less pressure than others. Some of them are willing accomplices, are willing poodles of the US and I'm sitting in the capital of one such state. David Cameron is never usually in second place to those in the queue to back US policy. But Francois Hollande in France occupies now a similar role. Indeed both of them vie with each other to be America's best friends.

But the objective truth is that you have just summarized it that at the time of real serious economic hardship in Europe the very last thing that the European Union's economies needed was to go off on this foolish attempt to bring pressure to bear on the government of Russia. There are no winners in that.

RT: Should there be some sort of investigation into what really went on? Because many people are strongly oppose the sanctions.

GG: The American president often times had to embarrass the governments. Of course, the ways that the EU at the top level makes its decisions are profoundly undemocratic...If the European parliament had any real power it would be subjecting the EU to forensic examination on how these decisions were reached. But it doesn't. The British parliament has very limited scope to question the Prime Minister on actions taken by the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels. So when the Parliament goes back here in Britain we will be pressing for answers. But I'm afraid we will be fobbed off with the usual London diplomatic speech.

But the facts cannot be denied. We are all in economic trouble. Britain is still in the grip of austerity. Mass unemployment is still the reality across the EU. Huge cuts in public expenditure are being levied on the people of the EU. And here we are self-harming, here we are disfiguring the face of our own economic prospects to please Barack Obama.

RT: Do you think that the pressure will grow to such an extent that Europe and Brussels will be forced to backtrack on sanctions then?

GG: Of course if the people could be rallied to pressurize their independent states then the council of ministers outcome would be different. But the fear that we are locked into this crazy policy of aggression against Russia, at this point only financial, and propaganda aggression of doing no more than any Russian state led by whomsoever would have to do, which is be concerned about the rise of far-right ultranationalist even fascist formations in the country next door, and which is leading to huge large-scale repression of Russian speaking citizens of that country next door. President Putin is doing no more than any Russian leader would have to do if they were worthy of the name.

Robert Lung

Biden is DUMBER than an ashtray but at this point of the game does it really matter. All the European Leaders want is bags of money going into there bank accounts handed over by idiots like Joe. USA, USA, USA.

Douglas Robertson

He pushed as hard as anyone to start a new cold war. How else was his son going to make money fracking Ukraine? No one ever said he was bright.

The Seething Anger of Putin's Russia - The Atlantic

....The U.S. did not have to travel down this road, but it did, and there appears to be no way to turn back-or no way leaders in the West or Russia are prepared to take. The newly precarious state of affairs derives, in great measure, from a failure on the part of Western, and mostly American, leaders to understand Russia, which they should have tried to do, given its strategic importance, nuclear arsenal, continental dimensions, natural resources, and potential as a troublemaker-or dealmaker-in many troubled parts of the world. It also stems from America's refusal to recognize Russia's concern about the eventual expansion of NATO, a military bloc inherently inimical to it, into more terrain along its western border-terrain that is closer to Moscow than the Baltics. How would the United States react to a Russian incursion in the Western hemisphere? This is no hypothetical question. In 1962, President Kennedy took the world to the brink of atomic war to force the Soviet Union to withdraw its nuclear missiles from Cuba.

A deal ended that confrontation, and one is needed now. But to strike one, Western leaders would have to reassess their view of, and policies toward, Russia. Russia, for reasons of history, culture, size, and geography, is what it is: not Western, not Eastern, but sui generis, its own world. Predicating policy on the hopes of a peaceful uprising and the triumph of democracy here-or, conversely, on predictions of the country's collapse, with a new, West-friendly government emerging from the rubble-is futile. In the same vein, announcements of economic sanctions designed to make Russia "pay" for annexing Crimea or stirring up trouble in eastern Ukraine ring hollow to Russian ears.

And with good reason....

... In any case, Russia has set about decoupling from the West, concluding a major hydrocarbons deal with China, helping Iran weather the effects of Western sanctions, planning its own alternative to the interbank messaging service SWIFT, and establishing financial institutions to counter the World Bank and the IMF. It could at any moment derail the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan; the route home for American troops and materiel leads across Russia. Moscow cannot be bullied into changing course.

While Putin is undeniably popular in Russia now, I am not arguing that Russian democracy has survived. It has not. But Putin's icy demeanor, agate-blue eyes, and judo-trained physique all befit the current mood in Russia: seething anger over everything lost with the fall of the Soviet Union-superpower status, national pride, a generous social-welfare state, a low crime rate, and more. Democracy, barely tried in the 1990s, did not confer those things on Russia. Putin-plus high oil prices-did. Or such is the popular perception.

Whether or not Westerners agree with how Putin rose to power or rules today, they need to recognize that in the interests of peace and stability, Russia's interests have to count and be accommodated in some way. Russia must have a place at the table. The West did not exclude it (entirely) during the Cold War years. It cannot afford to do so now.

Nikita Glushkov > Riley 1066

"He is this and that by definition" is, by definition, an example of crude partisan hackery. If you want to be taken seriously, at least attempt to back up your arguments with evidence. Questionable privatisation, corruption and cronyism is what happens when a given group of elites captures the apparatus of the state - these phenomena are found in every modern society and their presence is merely a matter of degree, and do not provide evidence of dictatorship, merely that people with power use it to enrich themselves and their friends. "Steals other peoples money regularly" - Which people and and on what occasions ? Evidence ?
By the way, in case you are trying, as your brethren often do, to canonize Khodorkovsky as a glorious freedom fighter, its worth reminding you that his wealth was ill-gotten during the Yeltsin years. Putins popularity is not a mystery - During his tenure, living standards for the majority of the population, especially the dozens of millions of people who live outside the big cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg have improved vastly, especially when compared with the 90s. People buy cars and consumer goods, take foreign vacations, etc. etc. etc. Putin's electorate is not located in the capital - thus the 60% with which he won the election is not unpredictable - those precentages represent the percentage of the population who have been the biggest beneficiaries of the Putin years.

If we conclude, as is obvious, that corruption and nepotism is a feature of all governments and the elites who man them, It becomes clear that is not corruption or nepotism that Washington and its lackeys are concerned about, but rather the unwillingness of Moscow to dance to Washington's tune.

Bulos Qoqish > Nikita Glushkov

He's not a "dictator" in the strict sense of the word. But he IS a classic, far-Right, nationalist, jingoist, manipulative, corrupt demagogue, who cynically abuses mob hysteria (particularly on topics like "NATO encirclement", "support for our Russian-speaking brothers and sisters being 'oppressed' in places like Ukraine and the Baltic States", "re-building our military so we're feared by every other country", "Russia is favored by God, so says the Patriarch of Moscow" and most of all, homophobia) to advance his personal political popularity.

In other words, he's reading right from the U.S. Republican playbook, going at least as far back as Ronnie Rayguns. He's certainly learned from the best... hasn't he? All you right-wing Republicans and Tea Partiers should be proud. Congratulations, Dr. Frankenstein, the experiment was a success!

Bulos Qoqish > Riley 1066

So there is absolutely NO justification -- of any type, under any circumstances, whatsoever -- for Russian "anger" with the West in general, or the United States in particular... do I have that right?

What typical, self-righteous, U.S. neo-con nonsense posturing.

IAF101 > Riley 1066

Who are YOU to decide what is "legitimate" ? Who gave you that authority ??

What makes Obama "legitimate" ? What makes George W Bush "legitimate" ?? What makes Regan "legitimate" ??

Putin has higher approval ratings in Russia than Obama ever had in America today. What does that tell you ?

You or your country are not the sole arbiter of what's "legitimate", "just", "right" or wrong. First, hand over George W Bush to the ICC for War crimes trials for illegally invading Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanomo, rendition flights, waterboarding etc - THEN come and question Putin's legitimacy or Russia's "aggression".

Bulos Qoqish > Riley 1066

Whatever you think of Putin personally (and as I have stated elsewhere, I think he's a cynical demagogue), his election as President of Russia (not to mention the election to the Duma), was far, FAR more "free and fair" than ANY national level American election, what with its gerrymandering, 2-party oligopoly, minority voter suppression, absurd over-representation of thinly-populated, rural, white, conservative jurisdictions (Montana gets the same number of Senators as California), antiquated "Electoral College" system, and, last but certainly not least, its grotesquely-inflated amounts of money spent by rich people and corporations to buy elections.

Don't like hearing that, my American friends? Don't like hearing the (true) statement that an average Russian, has far more say over his or her government, via elections, than does the average American?

Then SHUT THE F UP, go fix your system, clean it up, and THEN come back to me with your self-righteous accusations of "rigged Russian elections". Until you do that, don't you DARE lecture me (or any foreigner), about "democracy". You wouldn't know it, if it bit you on the leg.

Bulos Qoqish > Riley 1066

How about "you're bluffing with a hand of deuces, pardner".

What's the matter?

I guess you're more comfortable debating people who don't know very much about how your country really works (as opposed to the propaganda version of it, that the U.S. nationalist Right, wants everyone else to believe in)? Are you maybe unprepared for a POV that doesn't come from, say, FOX (sic.) "News"?

Don't get me wrong. I have no special hate for the United States. There are many sensible, peaceful, reasonable Americans, some of whom are my friends. The American political system (while antiquated and grossly unrepresentative of the wishes of 90% of its voters), isn't hugely worse than equally-bad systems in some other so-called "Western Democracies". It's just that you then get up on this high horse and start calling yourself "exceptional".

It's drivel, and outside your country, we know it is. Before you take it upon yourself to try to fix Ukraine's (and Russia's... or Syria's... or Iraq's... or... "anyone's") problems, how about you fix up your own, and THEN come back and tell us how "perfect" and "exceptional" you are.

Bulos Qoqish > Riley 1066

Ah, I see, I SEE -- everybody who disagrees with your U.S.-triumphalist, Russophobic POV is an "idiot"... do I have that right?

I guess the world must be just FILLED with "idiots", with all the "smart" people (like you) exclusively populating "God's 'exceptional' country"... right? (Funny, you know... from the way it looks out here, it seems much more like the other way around. Maybe that has to do with repeated street-level tests where the Average American voter can't place either Iraq, Ukraine, or -- for that matter -- even India, on a globe or map.)

Now as to your comments about the political situation in the United States and your supposed (I think, feigned... but as I don't know you personally, I'll have to give you the benefit of the doubt) abhorrence of the crew of right-wing lunatics (e.g. the Koch Brothers, FOX "News" and the whole lot of 'em) to whom I referred in an earlier posting.

Bulos Qoqish > Riley 1066

To which "totalitarian friends" of mine do you refer, sir? If you had read any of my postings (I guess you're not much up on "reading", are you?), you'd have seen that I have roundly condemned Putin and his clique.

YOUR problem, sir, is that I condemn ALL totalitarians and authoritarians -- including the cruel, jingoistic, cynical, 2-party elite plutocracy and oligopoly that runs the United States. You're fine with people yelling at America's "devil figure of the week" (happened to be Putin a few weeks ago, this week it's ISIS, a few months ago it was Iran's leadership, next month it'll be someone different... names and faces change, but the song remains the same, because fundamentally it's an exercise in propaganda and media manipulation), but you get mad when I point the finger back at your own country.

Remember what they say about people who live in glass houses?

Bulos Qoqish > Riley 1066

Are you hard of hearing? How many times do I have to (re)explain that I despise Vladimir Putin and his clique of crony-capitalist stooges?

The real reason you keep repeating nonsense like "you defend Putin" is that your simplistic, "four legs good, two legs bad", pro-American, anti-Russian propaganda narrative can't account for someone like me, who likes NEITHER Putin NOR his U.S. elite antagonists.

Well... too bad, squire. The world is a complex place and "the enemy of my enemy ISN'T (always) my friend". That's the truth, whatever you may be hearing back in "God's 'exceptional' country."

Srikanth > Riley 1066

The western governments are just a power hungry, blood leeching community; first of all they should stop interfering in to issues of other countries -- in the name of humanitarian aid they should stop invading other countries...Western media - a propaganda machine, should stop spreading false news, they just brainwash ppl with false news. USA is the biggest dictator in the world, they try to dictate foreign policies of other nations, sanctions are their primary weapon, they are just bad !

I hope the power centre will move to Russia and Asia, so that there will be a power balance in this world....

Brendon Jaramillo > Srikanth

cultural misunderstanding. we live on one planet. and win win situations do exist. if only russians werent so paranoid and understood economics.

Bulos Qoqish > Srikanth •

I agree with your depiction of the Western governments (and their motivations); but it's naive of you to think that Russia -- particularly under Putin or another leader cut from the same cloth -- would likely be any better. Historical precedent suggests otherwise.

The world doesn't NEED a "policeman". The world needs to enforce international law and stop larger powers from bullying smaller ones... whether that's the U.S. bullying (for example) Venezuela, or Russia bullying Ukraine.

Bulos Qoqish > IAF101

"America seems to believe they can do anything without consequences."

Of course they do. They're "exceptional", you see.

Being "exceptional" means that America gets to do things (like, "kidnap helpless victims off the streets of foreign lands and spirit them away for torture and years of arbitrary confinement, in a world-wide Gulag of political prisons", "launch bombing raids against countries with which one is not at war", "invade and occupy other nations", "threaten first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear opponents", "ignore treaty obligations", "ignore U.N. resolutions", "apply its own domestic laws, extra-territorially, in other countries around the world", "exempt its soldiers and mercenaries from local laws, even when they rape and murder citizens of other countries", "violently intervene in the internal affairs of other nations", etc., etc. etc.) that -- if undertaken by ANY OTHER NATION -- would immediately have screams of outrage emanating from the Washington, D.C. plutocratic elite, along with demands for "America's young 'heroes' in the Armed Forces to 'teach this lawless enemy a thing or two' about the norms of international conduct" (the cruise missiles would be flying within the hour).

That this nonsense propaganda -- which IS the unquestioned state dogma of official Washington and the U.S. military-industrial plutocracy (including so-called "liberals" like Obama) -- is simply Soviet-style agitprop, is so painfully obvious as not to merit further elaboration. Any American politician who dares to suggest that the United States isn't, in fact, "God's 'exceptional' nation, mandated by the Lord Himself to divinely 'lead' the rest of the world to Truth, Justice and the American Way", will be immediately ruled out of contention (by the pundits of the elite media) for national public office -- particularly the Presidency. There is a level of monolithic elite agreement on this subject that rivals, for example, Soviet-era doctrine on "democratic centralism". The only real difference is what's on the flags, and the language that the propaganda is spoken in.

What worries ME, frankly, is that having become used to playing the "exceptional" card almost exclusively against weaker nations (or failed states) such as Iraq, Yemen and Serbia, the U.S. elite -- facing steady economic decline at home and needing something else to distract American workers from their falling standard of living -- will at some point think that they can get away with it, against a country that can and will call the U.S. elite's bluff. It might come in a confrontation with Russia over Eastern Ukraine, or possibly with China over the South China Sea. Maybe it will come somewhere that we can't yet imagine.

But when that day comes -- as surely it will, given the mindless, jingoistic belligerence, siege mentality, opportunism and cynicism of the U.S. military-industrial-plutocratic elite (and particularly, its Republican / Tea Party lunatic right wing fringe... these are guys who make Vladimir Putin look like Mother Theresa) -- I am really, really afraid of what might happen next.

After all... an "exceptional" nation, never backs down, after it has started a confrontation... does it?

Start digging your shelter.

David Giles > MatterOverMind

Actually, you are completely wrong. The USA started the fire. First by starting a war against Gadaffi and overthrowing a long standing Russian ally. Then by training and arming Muslim Extremists in Jordan to launch an insurrection in Syria, then by using chemical weapons in Syria in an attempt to discredit Assad and justify direct American intervention. Remember Oclown's red line. Despite the massive howls of the American public against action in Syria, Oclown was going to bomb Syrian military forces anyways. That is until Russia moved their Black Sea Fleet out of Sevastopol Crimea into the Mediterranean in front of Syria and told the US that attacking Syria would mean war and quote from Putin and Medvedev "once wars start their is no telling where they can lead, nuclear war is possible".

Oclown backed down from attacking Syria. But in response to Russia's defense of Syria the USA CIA and State Department gave $5 billion dollars to criminal gangs in Ukraine to stage an uprising against the legitimately elected government of Ukraine. They then sent in their special forces snipers that they have used in several civil disturbances to cause them to get violent, Libya and Syria being two examples. The goal in toppling the Ukrainian government is multifaceted; the biggest prize being depriving Russia of the use of the navy base in Crimea. We know how that turned out NOT!

Other goals include capturing the newly discovered vast natural gas fields in Western Ukraine and developing those fields to supply Western Europe's energy needs. Doing this deprives Russia of much needed funds through the sale of their natural gas to Europe. Further, 90% of Russia's natural gas sales to Europe go through pipelines in Ukraine. Physically controlling these pipelines puts the West in a much stronger position to negotiate prices for Russian gas as the Western Ukrainian fields are brought on line. Or so they think.

The likely scenario is Russia is going to get really pissed and cut off the flow of gas right in the middle of winter. America will try and take up the slack by shipping liquified natural gas in tanker ships. Expect severe disruption of this attempt both in US and European ports.

In the meantime, Al-Maliki in Iraq was aligning with Iran and consequently Russia and refused to sign the status of forces agreement with Oclown. Because of ongoing failures in Syria, Oclown turned his ISIS creation loose on Iraq to disrupt and over turn the Al-Maliki government. It didn't matter to Oclown and the leaders in Washington that countless thousands have been brutally murdered by their ISIS puppet. Now using the pretext of combating their own creation they are again calling for bombing Syria and arming "moderate" rebels. However, the truth on the ground speaks volumes. ISIS is driving US military vehicles and using US made weapons. As soon as Congress passed the aid bill, just days ago, ISIS made huge advances in Syria. This is no coincidence as the US military and Intelligence Agencies had the weapons on site and ready for transfer before the bill was signed. That is why it only took days from signing the bill to ISIS gaining control of more cities in Syria.

What you really need to understand is what this is all about. BANKING and control of the worlds monetary system.

Every country the US invades or topples doesn't support the IMF and World Bank but are debt slaves to those institutions after invasion is complete. And many including Syria, Iraq, and Libya planned on a new gold standard that would undermine the US dollar's control of global oil markets.

Even in this article (a well written one), it mentions Russia's creation of alternatives to the IMF and World Bank. This is the real reason the West is trying to go to war with Russia. Putin has often openly spoke of combating a global evil, one out to control all nations and install a world government, an evil who's most public face is the IMF and World Bank. Putin is a religious man as is most of Russia today. It would not surprise me if they see Satan behind the West Globalist institutions, certainly Iran doesn't hesitate to say that is the case.

And while you may think that taking down these regimes is good and the US has peoples best interests at heart...and that we are the good guys. Look at the results of ALL of the Arab Spring. Look at our ally Saudi Arabia driving tanks into Bahrain to put down that countries democratic uprising. That western media neglected invasion of a sovereign nation by a totalitarian state to put down people demanding freedom and democracy, an invasion called for and supported by Washington because the people of Bahrain would tell the USA to get the F out of their nation and take their navy base with them if they ever had a voice.

Your simplistic view of the events transpiring in the world indicates you need to lay of the US MSM koolaid.

provocateur > David Giles

Funny, most nations don't have a problem with the world bank..only backwards, intolerant, self important countries like Russia do. Whats that? They don't like dancing to the American's tune? Well build a better country and then you can call the shots. Until then, post rambling, incoherent nonsense (like your post) or kindly shut up. People realize how terrible this planet would be with Russia in charge.

Nikita Glushkov > provocateur

Your comment provides an interesting insight into the American imperial psychosis - "Well build a better country and then you CAN CALL THE SHOTS." You literally are functionally incapable of concieving that other great powers are not motivated by a desire "to call the shots" everywhere in the world. You forget that Putin does not go on television talking about "Indispendible Russia Leadership, only about local Russian national interests. You forget that only in Washington do the power elites peddle self-serving propaganda about "American global leadership." It would be great if Washington stopped forcing itself down everyone's throats and focused it's interests on it's own immediate borders, but they aren't going to do that, are they ? They would rather send Mrs. Nuland of the State Department to stage right-wing coups in Kiev. We don't want to be in charge of the world, we want Washington to stop cocking it up in our local sphere of influence.

Funny, plenty of nations and international organization, especially those that represent developing economies, have problems with the World Bank, primarily because of it's promotion of the Washington concensus and conditional predatory lending that eviscerates pensions, social spending and domestic production and investment and perpetuates a vicious cycle of dependency whereby the developing world is forced to provide raw materials to the Western nations, who then create added value which the producers never see. It's really very simple.

provocateur > Nikita Glushkov

Yeah yeah. Russia just wants everyone to get along in their multi-polar pinko paradise. The World Bank, and global economy in general is primarily an American institution as it is based on rampant capitalist ideals. You are clearly (and maybe rightfully so) frustrated at what you see as American hegemony in the financial arena. That's what happens when the state of California makes more money than 80% of the countries on Earth. As I said before, when poor, bullied Russia gets that kind of power, I wonder if you will still be whining?

Nikita Glushkov > provocateur

What on earth are you blathering on about ? Did you bother reading my comment above at all ? We couldn't care less who "gets along" in a "pinko paradise" - we have always operated on the assumption that individual states engage in policy actions motivated by their proprietary interests and this ensures a durable, if imperfect balance of stability in the world system. Like I said, WE, unlike your people in Washington, don't presume that for some reason, we are fit to tell other states how to conduct their affairs near their borders. We couldn't care less which countries the World Bank is currently beggaring, as long as Washington keeps it various institutional attack dogs away from our doorstep. Why is that concept so hard for you to grasp ? The State of California makes more money than 80% of individual sovereign states ? - care to provide evidence for that fantastical claim ? Russia would have been "bullied" in this case if we allowed Obama to get away with Ukraine in one piece - as it is, our goal, guaranteed non-expansion of NATO, has been achieved at relatively little cost and the immediate threats to our national security have been brought under control. We don't have designs for global domination. because we operate under the assumption, unlike Washington, that it's an impossible goal. So, no, we won't acquire "that kind of power" (whatever that means) because acquiring "that kind of power" was never on the agenda to begin with - leave us alone in our backyard, and we won't bother you in yours. How difficult is that to wrap your head around ?

provocateur > Nikita Glushkov

Just blindly assuming that I'm American because I dont agree with your tin foil hat theories. Im from England. Typical Russian flattering himself about how NATO wants to encircle your country. Only a Russian could not see the irony of a massive bloated nation crushing its neighbor and then making claims about how you are being "bullied." Also, LOL @ "world domination." Your paranoia is truly incredible.

Maybe the countries next to you are ASKING to join NATO because Russia is a deceitful menace to them? Isn't that more probable than whatever Nazi Alien Anti-capitalist rant you are spouting? Your writing doesn't do much to dismiss the widely held image of Russians as cabbage eating, drunken liars.

DrOph > David Giles

I see where your heart is, which is nice. But your intel is all mixed up. The fact that this exchange has garnered so much attention (regardless of the poor perspectives they both offer) is a testament to the prevailing ignorance which reigns supreme in the world. Thank god nobody cares about comments. Read the article. This is a very well articulated and reasoned piece. Heed this warning, and check this hideous rashness

Bulos Qoqish > David Giles

What I'd like to know is, "if a group of far-Left revolutionaries (including a large number of Trotskyists who were publicly pledging to 'cleanse Mexico of its filthy Jewish capitalist scum'), who were dissatisfied with the outcome of a recent election in Mexico and with the pro-American policies of the resulting Mexican government, started staging a series of violent street demonstrations in Zocalo Plaza -- thereby resulting (eventually) in the violent overthrow of the elected Mexican government, and its replacement by a far-Left successor regime far more friendly to Russia or Cuba... what would be the reaction of the United States?"

Because substitute "Mexico" for "Ukraine" and "United States" for "Russia", and there you have an EXACTLY parallel situation.

Yet America whines and shrieks about Russia's behavior. I would suggest that you Americans check the history books regarding your own track record, in Latin America, before you entertain us with your stupid posturing about "the awful Russians".

Nikita Glushkov > SgtKonus

I'd wager it's because there cannot exist separate standards for the foreign policies of various great powers - unless said separate standards can be enforced. In a world of realist power politics, it is nonsensical and disingenuous for one power to attack another for not being moral, friendly, or nice, when the prevailing state of the world is one where being moral, friendly or nice will compromise your security and survival. Feel me ?

hailexiao > Bulos Qoqish

If we instigated and supporteds separatist/US annexationist movements in Baja California and Coahuila, we would be in the wrong, just as Russia is in the wrong right now. Just because we won't do any better doesn't mean Russia or anyone who acts similarly isn't also wrong. Glass houses need to be broken by thrown rocks anywhere they exist without exception.

Bulos Qoqish > hailexiao

Suppose "we" (by "we" I assume you mean "the United States"... remember, I'm not an American) did that (note that you are, here, disingenuously implying that ALL the separatist movements in Crimea and Ukraine were purely and simply created by the Russians, out of whole cloth, and that they have absolutely no popular support in places like Crimea or Donetsk... an assertion that is obviously false).

It would still not make America's likely reaction any different. So the entire point is irrelevant. The point IS, of course, that, in true, hypocritical "U.S. exceptionalist" style, all of the Russia-baiters on these forums are frothing at the mouth to denounce Russia for doing things that their own country also does (actually, does much worse), on a routine basis.

Whether or not this kind of nonsense propaganda is appealing to Americans, I can personally attest that it has ZERO credibility or traction, outside of "God's 'exceptional' country".

Nobody out here particularly likes Putin or his cynical tactics in Ukraine. But the United States comes into this dispute as a hopelessly tainted, discredited interlocutor. America's past track record of gross violations of international law and cavalier disregard for the rights of less powerful nations, disqualifies it from being a positive force not only in this dispute... but in ALL disputes.

Jack P > David Giles

Cogent post. Thought I'd mention it because I've been through the ringers dealing with the drivel on the Russia-Ukraine situation, and commiserate. Apparently anarchists, communists, progressives, some libertarians like Ron Paul, socialists, syndicalists, and others are Putin trolls or Kremlin shills because they contradict the State Department party line. Better yet, Larry King,, Amy Martin on Breaking the Set, and economist Max Keiser are Putin trolls because they're on Russia Today. The brainwashed boneheadedness of many of these commentators is rather pathetic.

Hristo > mtbr1975

First off. As everybody knows it started with a coup against the legit Ukrainian government. This coup was initiated and backed by US mainly and EU following the "bigger brother", cause this is what they best do. They are followers. Secondly the russian "invasion" actually never happened. It wasn't confirmed by any of the official observers. Ukrainian government came up with it cause they were ashamed of loosing to significantly smaller army. So they needed an explanation. And knowingly that the west is going to hope in the wagon for political reasons they invented the "russian invasion".

Hristo > xi557xi

"an agent of irrational Russian behavior"

Wow finally you called somebody to come and help you with the writhing. Unfortunately for you it sounds, how to put it mildly - stupid. Send this person back home. You were doing better without him. Now some answers:
1. Russia proposed cheap gas and 15 billion USD loan to Ukraine. EU proposed-wait for it-nothing. Yanukovych of course the pragmatic he is new that it will take years for the Ukrainian economy to be able to integrate with EU. So he chose the logical one. That is the truth. Everything else is just your wet dreams.
2. It is good that you have evolved as a result of our discussion and now you acknowledge that there wasn't a Russian invasion. If there is (and this is a big if) any " Russian military officers, vehicles, weapons, equipment, and training involved" it is only fair since there are American such in Ukraine. Somebody's got to level the play field, eh
3. I don't know but I would guess that you do. Since the Dutch in their report didn't come with an answer either, one may suggest that you probably was the one shooting the plane, cause this is the only way to now with any certainty.

Jack P > Kevin

"Supported various genocides such as Syria." That's a real howler. The anti-Syria jihadists - the origin of IS - was supported by US/NATO via Turkey and the CIA. Yeah, I'm sure that conflict had nothing to do with Georgia's independent policies that irked the kremlin" is a classic straw man argument. It doesn't refute that Georgia and Saakashvili, with arm stockpiles provided by the US, perpetrated the murderous assault on South Ossetia. Chechnya is Russian Federation land. And yes, there is evidence that Russia has shown itself to be "caring humanitarians." Witness the three aid convoys bringing food, water and other supplies to Eastern Ukraine. What exactly has Kiev brought to that region?

Bulos Qoqish > MatterOverMind

"Appeasement". The standard, nonsense "nuclear weapon" used by the U.S. neo-con Far Right to shut off debate and stop any intelligent, reasoned, fact-based discussion of any topic that the Right doesn't want to examine.

How typically... "American".

Nikita Glushkov > MatterOverMind

Yes, my man, a fine question. Let's examine the history, shall we ? At the end of the 80s, Gorbachev, bless his heart, decided to pretend that realist great power politics ceased to exist and decided to unilaterally surrended Soviet interests on out Eastern border. In return, his naive expectation was in the absence of a "threat", Washington and it's West European lackeys would do the same. in fact, Baker, then Bush Srs. Secretarty of State, told Gorbachev clearly that if he were to allow the reunification of Germany, NATO would not be advanced, and I quote here, "not even an inch to the East." We know very well with hingsight that those promises were shat upon - instead, we got a Clinton-manufactured war to dismantle Serbia and make Kosovo essentially a huge offshore US military base, we got pretty obvious NATO expansion, we got Bush-era attempts to place so-called ABM installations on our borders (Oh, don't pay any mind to the fact that there are outside your door, they are actually aimed at the Iranians. What, the Iranians have no long range missiles ? Oh well.) So don't give me Putin restablishing the Soviet empire shtick, it's just juvenile. Thoughout this crisis, we have made clear that we will be perfectly satisfied with a non-aligned, neutral Ukraine along the Finland model - because that is the only sitation that allows for the preservation of our security interests. Putin, unlike your people,

boca_grande

Russia, has always wanted to be part of Europe. St. Petersburg was a testament to that wish, a capital built in Europe and meant to impress Europe's then heads of state. (Royal Europe) but Russia was barely European mostly Asian. And it's early history was not civilized as was Europe. Millions of uneducated surfs wedded to the land, no hope of emancipation. After this emancipation in the revolution came an expanded more enlightened population, but also a feeling of national inferiority lingered. Everything had to be Russian and big, not the best, but the biggest. The communist system failed and this empathized their degree of sophistication in governing, manufacturing and arts. Yes, Americans managed to insult the Russians, but I think they would have never really integrated with the west, as this Raw Russian history would prevail and they would have turned away from the civilized west. They see the west as decadent, and reject principles we impose on them like the extreme degree's of free speech etc.

Putin is trying to build a Russia with more discipline and control then the west. Something like the US was in the 50's. It will be time that tells just what will come of it. Putin shows his citizens how he can thumb his nose at the EU and US and get away with it. And China is going right along with him. They are forming a new hemisphere more energetic and exciting, the west just isn't offering. The tables are turning way from he west and they know it. American leaders realize the same but don't know what to do. Cut debt??? I think the only thing the world knows universally, is American leadership has faltered and the world is in a mess or influx.

David Giles > boca_grande

The Civilized West you mention created ISIS and is currently arming them despite that organizations brutal, murderous, genocidal behavior. They are doing this to take down nations that don't adhere to their banking systems. The great civilized west killing for money again. Russia has no desire to align with the godless, homo loving, baby killing west.
American leadership has not faltered, it has failed. It has failed to live up to its oath of office for over 100 years now, all selling out to the One World Government movement and betraying the American public and nation.

End the Federal Reserve, end fiat currency, end the license to steal and kill.

Jack P > SgtKonus

Only partially true. The US/NATO was arming and training Al Nusra in Turkey to go into Syria. The CIA was also involved. Of interest is that well-known picture of McCain meeting with several of the "legitimate" opposition in Syria. Who's t he guy sitting across from McCain, front left (those who want to can easily find the pic). He ends up being the head of ISIS.

Jack P > SgtKonus

Link to a treatment of McCain purportedly meeting the "legitimate Syrian opposition." The author of the commentary contacted the McCain camp wondering if he was meeting a later ISIS head. At first they said it wasn't the same person, to which the author asked for the name. They didn't provide it. So either it is a cover-up, or McCain and his camp didn't vet who he was meeting. In the case of the latter, it puts to shame the point that arms were being shipped to non-radical elements in Turkey and Syria.

http://www.bollyn.com/#article...

Bob > provocateur

Wow, you really are deluded. Well try then Saudi Arabia. How many be headings and stoning s have they performed this year? And this differs from ISIS how? And they are whose allies? This thing about Iraq's weapons is hog wash and just a phony alibi.

SWalkerTTU > Laura •

Maybe we should consider the policy of the Roman Empire, which Tacitus (I think?) sarcastically described as "They make a desert and call it peace."

Laura > SWalkerTTU

What peace is, is a complex thing. If everyone is dead, that's pretty peaceful. If one side is cowed into silence, that's peaceful.

Jack P > vkg123

Not deep in the woods at all. Given that there are Chechen separatist terrorists in the area who are going under the radar after Russia gaining control of the territory. Some of the volunteers who went to East Ukraine were formerly fighting the terrorists - or separatists however you want to look at it - in previous Chechen battle. Many of them went elsewhere, to places like Turkey and eventually where they gained US/NATO largesse.

In fact Right Sector thug Yarosh, currently in high position in the Kiev government, praised Right Sector Alexander Muzichko for his role in fighting against Russia in Chechnya. Muzichko is known for torture and murder of prisoners. That's the side that transmuted into the Syrian "opposition" and eventually the current ISIS.

[Oct 05, 2014] Latvia's ruling coalition keeps Russia-leaning party at bay in election by Shaun Walker in Riga

From comments: "Latvia is a country of 2 million people who have economic decisions made for them by the world bank, the IMF and the EU parliament." Nationalists after coming to power treat Russians as second class citizens. thanks God they can move to Western Europe which is less xenophobic. Most professionals I used to know left the country long ago. So what they are building is Ethnographic museum with banking sector specializing in laundering Russian dirty money. We can talk about democracy in apartheid country, like Latvia, only as a joke.
The Guardian

The results will give Harmony 25 seats in Latvia's 100-seat parliament, six fewer than they had before the elections, when they were also the largest single party in parliament. Other parties, however, were reluctant to enter a coalition with what is seen as the "Russian party".

... ... ...

A third of Latvia's population is Russian-speaking, but about 280,000 are "non-citizens" of the country, holding special passports that bar them from voting. In order to become citizens, they have to take an exam on Latvian culture and history, a process which Russian rights groups say amounts to discrimination, but Latvian authorities say is necessary given the history of Soviet occupation and forced Russification policies of the past.

Ilja NB, 05 October 2014 1:42pm

So far the democracy in Latvia. Fanatic Latvians op purpose exclude the largest elected party. This is how extreme hate is created which eventually will reach boiling point like in the east of Ukraine.

NSAhunter -> Ilja NB, 05 October 2014 2:05pm

Oh please, the largest party many times are excluded if they can't gain support from other parties to form a government.

Consider the 2010 Swedish election

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_general_election,_2010

The Social democrats got the most seats but the second largest party ended up making government instead because they found more allies to outnumber the largest party.


Also happened in Germany when the SPD and FDP outmaneuvered the larger CDU despite CDU having the largest share of votes because SPD and FDU combined outnumbered CDU voters.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_German_federal_election,_1976

I doubt many baltics want "closer ties with russia" given what happened to Ukraine.

The ukrainians sure got "closer ties" alright.

Hermann22 -> Ilja NB, 05 October 2014 5:27pm

The largest party had 23% of the votes. The coalition had 56%. The coalition wins by more than 2 to 1. This is democracy. Of course, this is not what Mr Putin understands as democracy but it is how things are done in the free world.

Abdullah Ahmed Faraz, 05 October 2014 1:44pm

Failure to give ethnic Russians a fair representation would lead to more unrest.

Phalanxia -> Abdullah Ahmed Faraz , 05 October 2014 2:06pm
Ethnic Russians in the Baltic states are not the monolith the Russian state want to portray them as. Some are resentful towards Baltic democracy and nostalgic for the Motherland, but others are well integrated Baltic-speakers and citizens of the Baltic democracies.
Mittag Leffler -> Skookum1 , 05 October 2014 2:21pm
Well, not quite true.

Due to some strange discriminatory laws in Latvia, more than 10% of the population are banned from any voting, and something tells me they most probably would have voted for Ushakov, wouldn't they?

On the other hand, ethnic Latvians refrain from voting for Ushakov because he is an ethnic Russian (as this very article suggests).

In other words, discrimination in all directions.... looks like it is the way of living in Latvia, unfortunately...

onu labu -> voltaire17, 05 October 2014 7:36pm

out of 2 million people in Latvia, 1.5m are eligible to vote; some 520k are ethnic Russians, plus another 110k are Ukrainians and Belarusians, adding up to a total of 630k 'Russian speakers', of whom less than half - 280k - can't vote because they can't be arsed to learn the language of a country they came to live in uninvited.

Nobul -> onu labu, 05 October 2014 7:53pm

Were the Americans, Australians, Kiwis and Afrikaners invited into their countries and learned the native languages?

GoodmansParadox -> Phalanxia, 05 October 2014 2:52pm

Crimea is Russian, was Russian, and its people want to remain Russian, not be controlled by Russophobes in Kiev by a quirk of history (Khruschev's largesse would never had happened if the potential of the Ukrainian SSR breaking away from Russia had been contemplated). Why do you hate self-determination? Because the vast majority of Crimeans reject Ukraine. This was not an invasion.

Phalanxia -> Alex Kuk, 05 October 2014 3:02pm

They can choose whatever they like - apparently a large number of them chose Europe over Russia.

Because the vast majority of Crimeans reject Ukraine.

If this was so obviously true, the referendum could have been conducted within the Ukrainian Constitution rather than at the gunpoint of the Russian soldiers who Putin now admits had invaded Crimea.

Crimea is Russian, was Russian

It was actually originally Tatar, an indigenous people which the Russian authorities have wasted no time in repressing.

whyohwhy123 -> Phalanxia, 05 October 2014 5:14pm

Phalanxia : "In other words, this is a loss for the pro-Moscow party.
It's interesting how Harmony are pursuing the same have-cake-and-eat-it-too policy the Party of Regions and Russophiles in Ukraine pursued (

===========

pro-Moscow?....so any russian party is pro-Moscow?...and of course by this token any Russian party is a BAD party in your opinion...do you know that you are a racist?

Dimmus -> Phalanxia, 05 October 2014 7:02pm

< the referendum could have been conducted >

under the OSCE monitoring, but OSCE refused to monitor.

< rather than at the gunpoint of the Russian soldiers >

- show me any photos or videos of russian guns pointing on someone who votes.

< It was actually originally Tatar, an indigenous people which the Russian authorities have wasted no time in repressing. >

- The recorded history of the Crimean Peninsula begins around the 5th century BC when several Greek colonies were established along its coast (Wiki). Then it had been settled by Scythians, Tauri, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Kipchaks and Khazars. Then Kievan Rus' and partly by Byzantium. Then Golden Horde, Venetians and by the Genovese. Then the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire. Then the Russian Empire. Then... some time later, under Soviets the Ukraine was formed and Crimea was given to Ukraine... May be historically it belongs to Greeks, but not to Tatars or Ukraine?

mattijoon Dimmus, 05 October 2014 11:12pm

< It was actually originally Tatar, an indigenous people which the Russian authorities have wasted no time in repressing. > - The recorded history of the Crimean Peninsula begins around the 5th century BC when several Greek colonies were established along its coast (Wiki). Then it had been settled by Scythians, Tauri, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Kipchaks and Khazars. Then Kievan Rus' and partly by Byzantium. Then Golden Horde, Venetians and by the Genovese. Then the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire. Then the Russian Empire. Then... some time later, under Soviets the Ukraine was formed and Crimea was given to Ukraine... May be historically it belongs to Greeks, but not to Tatars or Ukraine?

Well, you point it out. No piece of land "historically belongs" to anybody. Borders have been shifting, peoples have been moving, the Earth does not know any political boundaries.

The annexation of Crimea by Russia is not legitimate. The Russians violated the papers they signed.

SHappens, 05 October 2014 2:02pm

Harmony favours closer ties with Moscow, while maintaining Latvia's Nato and EU membership

The right thing to do. This is highly compatible and respectful for all. The same approach shall not be a problem elsewhere in Europe.

stuperman -> SHappens, 05 October 2014 2:21pm

''Harmony favours closer ties with Moscow, while maintaining Latvia's Nato and EU membership.''

That's its comment today. Tomorrow it can change its mind. As mayor of Riga why did Ušakovs visit senior Moscow officials three weeks ago? He said it was to discuss Russian sanctions of Latvian exports. That is not his responsibility; it the role of national government. We in Latvia are fully aware where his loyalties lay.

starfield, 05 October 2014 2:11pm

they have to take an exam on Latvian culture and history, a process which Russian rights groups say amounts to discrimination

Hmm, they could always go and live in Russia then if that's the culture and history they prefer.
It seems quite clear to me that there is a push to recreate the USSR but instead of having the other states still seen as states, Russia wants to just make them a part of Greater Russia.

speakout99 -> starfield, 05 October 2014 3:02pm

Nonsense. What would Russia want with a tiny, troublesome state like Latvia? In any case, it's part of the EU and NATO. You are just fantasizing.

Bythemilkwood -> starfield, 05 October 2014 5:02pm

Would you consent to be driven out of your home by ethnic cleansing?

whyohwhy123 -> starfield, 05 October 2014 5:36pm

Hmm, they could always go and live in Russia then if that's the culture and history they prefer.

===========

its like in Belgium you would say for French-speaking minority - you can always go to france and leave Belgium alone...or you can say for French-speaking minority in Switzerland - go to France if you want to speak your langauge....or in Spain and Scotland you can say to locals you can...ups !!!! - no, no, no....in other words you get it - what you have just said is total nonsence (and pretty fascist one nonsence by the way).

Gernot Kramper, 05 October 2014 2:17pm

On the long run, Lativa must face the russian speaking minority. degrading them to ciztizen without rights is far below EU standards and makes sure, "evil" putin has a foot in the door.

They can solve their problems now - or someone else will do in future

Matt Long, 05 October 2014 2:26pm

Latvia is a country of 2 million people who have economic decisions made for them by the world bank, the imf and the EU parliament.

They cannot change taxation levels, raise pensions or set budget levels without other people's say say.

Any country that took a bailout is in the same position. Fear of the Russians is the only way to be heard when you are a corrupt small nation.

I feel for the people, both ethnic latvian and ethnic russian caught up in self serving political b***s**t.

dyatel42, 05 October 2014 5:00pm

I wonder how many people would be disenfranchised if Wales insisted that an exam in Welsh had to be passed before being allowed to vote?

Presumably, Russian speakers in the Baltic states are permitted to pay taxes to the state even though they are unable to participate in the democratic process.

However, it would appear that many Russian speakers who do possess a Baltic state passport simply move to the UK, judging by the number of Russian speakers my wife overhears around town.

stuperman -> dyatel42, 05 October 2014 5:21pm

There is a difference between an ''exam'' and a test. It is a test in Latvian similar to the one in the UK for those seeking UK citizenship..

edwardrice -> stuperman, 05 October 2014 5:26pm

But Latvia is a newly independent country and the people denied citizenship were born in the territory or moved and lived in the territory for many years and called it home.

The ethnic Russians denied equal rights by the Latvian authorities didn't move to Latvia, they were already living there.

[Oct 04, 2014] Rogozin interview on youtube

Quote: "I like the bit at 5:40 where Rogozin describes how USA uses its military capability to solve political and economic issues as well, comparing to a Mafia gangster who lays a gun on the table while conducting an economic negotiation! ". He actually quoted Al Capone - Wikiquote "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."
yalensis, October 2, 2014 at 2:47 am
Rogozin interview on youtube. Saker added English subtitles.

I like the bit at 5:40 where Rogozin describes how USA uses its military capability to solve political and economic issues as well, comparing to a Mafia gangster who lays a gun on the table while conducting an economic negotiation!

ArneViman1

Great guy -- The attitude is top and how they value the young engineers.. Rogozin is not somebody caught up in a web of lies and hidden agendas as we are so used to seeing western politicians.

TheFinnmacool

Meanwhile in America the value that our young people have is their ability to go into student loan debt and forever be beholden to the banking industry.

Once someone takes on all the debt and gets old enough to realize what's happened to them they are quite jaded and demotivated.

[Oct 04, 2014] Why The Chinese Admire "Putin The Great"

zerohedge.com

As The Wall Street Journal's Jeremy Page writes, In the recommended-reading section of Beijing's Wangfujing bookstore, staff members have no doubt which foreign leader customers are most interested in: President Vladimir Putin, or "Putin the Great" as some Chinese call him.

[B]ooks on Mr. Putin have been flying off shelves since the crisis in Ukraine began, far outselling those on other world leaders, sales staff say. One book, "Putin Biography: He is Born for Russia," made the list of top 10 nonfiction best sellers at the Beijing News newspaper in September.

China's fascination with Mr. Putin is more than literary, marking a shift in the post-Cold War order and in Chinese politics. After decades of mutual suspicion-and one short border conflict-Beijing and Moscow are drawing closer as they simultaneously challenge the U.S.-led security architecture that has prevailed since the Soviet collapse, diplomats and analysts say.

The former rivals for leadership of the Communist world also increasingly share a brand of anti-Western nationalism that could color President Xi Jinping's view of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Beijing accuses Western governments of stirring unrest there, much as Mr. Putin blamed the West for the pro-democracy protests in Kiev that began late last year.

Russia has begun portraying the Hong Kong protests, too, as U.S.-inspired. Russian state-controlled television channels this week claimed that Hong Kong protest leaders had received American training.

[Oct 04, 2014] The King of Chutzpah, otherwise known as Jose Barroso, has written to Putin to express the EU's distress over Russia's position on trade with Ukraine

Fern , October 1, 2014 at 6:11 am
The King of Chutzpah, otherwise known as Jose Barroso, President of the European Commission, has written to Putin to express the EU's distress over Russia's position on trade with Ukraine once the EU Agreement kicks in. Just to remind folk of what the Evil One is proposing when the Agreement does come into force:-

"This does not mean we will forbid the import of Ukrainian goods into the Russian market. But it does mean those goods will not benefit from preferential conditions within the free trade zone, although they will be subject to the so-called "most favoured nation" regime. In other words, goods produced in Ukraine will be categorised in the same way as all other WTO member states.

That Ukrainian goods will be treated in exactly the same way as goods from all other WTO member states. Truly shocking, no? Barroso seems to think so:-

"We have strong concerns about the recent adoption of a decree by the Russian government proposing new trade barriers between Russia and Ukraine. We consider that the application of this decree would contravene the agreed joint conclusions and the decision to delay the provisional application of the trade related part of the Association Agreement," Barroso's letter to Putin reads.

Barroso added that further consultations could be held in order to address Russian concerns over the free trade zone between the EU and Ukraine.

"We are ready to continue engaging on how to tackle the perceived negative impacts to the Russian economy resulting from the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area," the letter reads.

Barroso also reminded that the Association Agreement is a bilateral agreement, "any adaptations to it can only be made at the request of one of the parties and with the agreement of the other."

http://en.ria.ru/business/20141001/193512216/Barroso-Expresses-EU-Views-on-Ukraine-Trade-to-Putin-in-Letter.html

This is clear evidence, if any were needed, that the EU thinks Plan A is still in play – Ukraine will move into the western orbit while Russia continues to subsidise it. Surely the EU's time would be better spent on working out how it can import more from Ukraine and export less? Personally, I hope Russia refuses any further dialogue with the EU on this and simply takes the actions it has warned of once the Association Agreement comes into force.

astabada, October 1, 2014 at 7:18 am
I doubt that he really thinks any such letter would have an effect on Putin. Remember, this is the same Barroso who retreated from his declarations about Putin when the latter threatened to disclose the full content of their conversation.

I cannot imagine what he would tell Putin to be so embarassing.

More likely he engages in writing such essays for the benefit of the gullible, which may even include certain Ukrainians. Bruxelles must be desperate to convince them that Kiev is not being thrown under a triple decker bus.

marknesop, October 1, 2014 at 11:31 am
Barroso points out that this is a bilateral agreement. I don't see "trilateral" in there anywhere, and I understand the two parties implied in "bilateral" to be Ukraine and the EU. I'm afraid I don't understand how this is Russia's problem. Similarly, when he speaks of "this decree contravening the agreed joint conclusions", he is not talking about conclusions to which Russia was a contributing party, and therefore I do not see why Russia should be sensitive to the concerns of a trade agreement to which it was not a party, or to interpret itself as being bound by these conclusions.

More to the point, Barroso well knows that there is nothing illegal, or even unreasonable, about what Russia is doing vis-a-vis cross-border trade – if there were, the Council of Europe would be screaming that the law be enforced, immediately. Ukraine's bizarre behaviour merely lends weight to an argument that such trade would be a threat to Russia's national security. But Barosso is like Fonzie on "Happy Days" – physically incapable of admitting he was wrong. So he is attempting to push Russia with the sheer deadweight of stuffy officialdom into doing something which is not only against its interests, but which will bring it no benefit and will instead benefit its declared enemies. Good luck with that, Jose.

Jen, October 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm
How on earth does Russia's restructuring of its trade links with Ukraine affect the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement? Did Barroso think that EU goods going into Ukraine under a free trade regime can simply pass through and enter Russia under similar terms it has with Ukraine (but not with the EU)? Either Barroso himself hasn't actually read the agreement or he has the mind of a black marketeer.

[Oct 04, 2014] Putin shrugs off damage from Western sanctions

Damage is done. Especially to EU. While sanctions allow Russia somewhat rebalance its economy and squeeze the most obnoxious Western companies (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Auditing companies, etc) dependency of Western financial sector also hurt greatly.

Speaking at an investment forum, Putin described the sanctions as "utter silliness" that hurt Western business and offered an opportunity for others to expand in the Russian market.

Europe On Triple-Dip Alert After German Manufacturing Posts First Contraction In 15 Months

Al, October 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm
Europe On Triple-Dip Alert After German Manufacturing Posts First Contraction In 15 Months
###

What's the baby going to be called? SPD or AfD?

marknesop, October 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm
It is as I have said – Europe cannot afford to keep sanctions in place, it needs every opportunity for growth it can get. All the leaders want to play tough guy, but they are ruining their nations' economies all to please Washington, which is rubbing its hands with delight at the mayhem it has caused without suffering any damage itself.

Al, October 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

Europe seems to suffer from Battered Wife Syndrome (aka Stockholm Syndrome). However much successive US Administrations abuse them, they come back for more. Surely it can't all be because the US owns the Internet?

Where's a counsellor when you need one? Nowhere to be seen!

[Sep 29, 2014] The Eternal Collapse of Russia by Paul Starobin

Quote: "So the future of the presentation of Russia as a hodgepodge of unflattering stereotypes seems bright. The naive liberal notion that the world has a teleological disposition toward a progressive end-if only holdouts like Russia would get with the program-is deeply entrenched. Headlines datelined in Russia-on corrupt oligarchs, or on control-freak KGB-generation political operators-will continue to nourish sweeping criticism of Russians, from their leaders on down, as primitive and psychologically ill. Probably no other nation is so easy (or so safe) to caricature."
August 28, 2014 | The National Interest
RUSSIA, IT IS often said, is a country that is barely able to stumble out of bed and put on matching socks in the morning. In the lead-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and continuing during the Games, the U.S. media declared open season on the nation. Americans were told that Russia is a country just about bereft of functioning elevators or toilets. Or even a national food, "except perhaps bad sushi." Its people "hardly know who they are anymore" and its essence is defined by copyright infringement and "all-encompassing corruption." All in all, Russia is "a country that's falling apart," as a New Republic cover story in February put it.

It's a hardy theme. It's also a completely bogus one. But that hasn't stopped the media from reviving it again and again.

Thirteen years ago, for example, the Atlantic published a cover story, "Russia Is Finished," on "the unstoppable descent of a once great power into social catastrophe" and ultimately "obscurity." That was a particularly bad year to predict Russia's demise, as an economic revival was starting to take hold. And these days, Russia is proving itself to be anything but "finished" as a geopolitical actor, with its aggressive seizure of Crimea and its arming of pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine-who appear to be responsible for the July shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet as it flew over rebel-held territory. Nor is Russia's determined and so far successful backing of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and its nascent alliance with China based on a historic energy pact, suggestive of a nation that is no longer a consequential player on the world stage. Russia remains a risk-taking nation-and as questionable, even reckless, as its gambles may be, as in its support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine, this is not the behavior of a country destined for insignificance. And while there is a great deal that is second-rate about Russia, from its sagging transportation infrastructure to its shoddy health-care system, such blemishes, common to many nations, including the United States, are hardly evidence of a fatal malaise.

The interesting question, then, is what lies behind this unbalanced mind-set-what might be called the "Russia Is Doomed" syndrome. What is the source of such stubbornly exaggerated thinking-and why is Russia chronically misdiagnosed in this fashion?

IT FEELS right, as a first line of exploration, to call in Dr. Freud. Maybe the strange idea that "the drama is coming to a close," as the Atlantic piece prematurely declared of Russian history, is actually a wish of the collective Western subconscious-the silent urge of the id. The Freudian recesses can subtly affect our political desires, after all, and our twenty-first-century nervousness about Russia can be traced to long-standing European anxieties about despotic Russia as a kind of repository of the primitive in the human condition-dangerously and infuriatingly resistant to higher and hard-won European values. In his popular and bigoted early nineteenth-century travelogue, the French aristocrat Marquis de Custine said that in Russia "the veneer of European civilization was too thin to be credible." His dyspeptic view of Russia has lived on ever since.

Russia was indeed less developed than Europe-according to standards of modernity such as science, technology and industry-but there was a self-serving element of power politics as well as cultural hauteur behind such disparagements. It is no surprise that the notion of Russia and Russians as representing an Other-as in, apart from "us Westerners"-was strikingly prevalent in nineteenth-century Victorian England. That was the time of the Great Game-the competition between Britain and Russia for influence and spoils in a swath of Asia stretching from the Indian subcontinent to the Black Sea.

The Crimean War of the 1850s, pitting both the French and the British against the Russians, sparked an especially intense British animus against a marauding Russian bear, pitted against the regal British lion, as the political cartoonists of the day had it. (Or a meek lion, as some illustrators sketched the scene. In one such cartoon, a massive bear, a Russian soldier's cap on its head, sits atop a prostrate Persian cat, a lion looking on helplessly in the background.) Negative images of Russia seeped into British literature. George Stoker wrote an anti-Russian travelogue, With the Unspeakables, drawn from the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878. That book, in turn, may have supplied an impetus for his older brother, Bram, who later wrote of a pair of fantastical novels, Dracula and The Lady of the Shroud, that can be read as conjuring an "Eastern" or Slavic threat to England. In the end, of course, Count Dracula has his throat slashed and is stabbed dead in the heart.

Granted, the British Empire was a promiscuous slanderer of its motley rivals-consider the aspersions regularly cast toward the French. Still, British feelings toward Russia were notably raw. The historian J. H. Gleason, in his 1950 book The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain, characterized the nineteenth-century English public's "antipathy toward Russia" as the "most pronounced and enduring element in the national outlook on the world abroad." The sentiment, Gleason concluded, was concocted by a manipulative, imperial-minded elite-and was off base, anyway, since Britain's foreign policy was actually "more provocative than Russia's" in this period. Others concur. "The world champion imperialists of modern history, the British, were in a permanent state of hysteria about the chimera of Russia advancing over the Himalayas to India," Martin Malia observed in his 1999 book Russia under Western Eyes.

What about Russia's grim demographic profile? The analyst Nicholas Eberstadt at the American Enterprise Institute labeled Russia "The Dying Bear" in a 2011 essay in Foreign Affairs. "The country's population has been shrinking, its mortality levels are nothing short of catastrophic, and its human resources appear to be dangerously eroding," he wrote. Critics of that piece pointed out that Russia in 2010 actually had a lower mortality rate than in 2000. And this progress has continued. In a Wall Street Journal piece earlier this year, Eberstadt conceded:

Russia's post-Soviet population decline has halted. Thanks to immigration chiefly from the "near abroad" of former Soviet states, a rebound in births from their 1999 nadir and a drift downward of the death rate, Russia's total population today is officially estimated to be nearly a million higher than five years ago. For the first time in the post-Soviet era, Russia saw more births than deaths last year.

It seems the ursine creature is not, after all, dying.

In any case, our taste for a country-favorable or unfavorable-shouldn't dictate our foreign policy, which is properly shaped by a cool calculation of our national interest. On these terms, America is right to resist Russia if Putin seems truly bent on bullying his way to a redrawn map of Europe, but also right to try to keep working with Russia on matters of mutual concern such as Islamic militancy. And that same calculation will hold when Putin, as must happen eventually, exits the Kremlin, willingly or unwillingly, whether replaced by a new autocrat or a more democratic figure. Today's heightened tension between the United States and Russia, conceivably the first chapter of a new cold war, with Europe as ambivalent as ever about its role, underscores that Russia is likely to remain one of America's most vexing and formidable diplomatic challenges for a long time to come.

So the future of the presentation of Russia as a hodgepodge of unflattering stereotypes seems bright. The naive liberal notion that the world has a teleological disposition toward a progressive end-if only holdouts like Russia would get with the program-is deeply entrenched. Headlines datelined in Russia-on corrupt oligarchs, or on control-freak KGB-generation political operators-will continue to nourish sweeping criticism of Russians, from their leaders on down, as primitive and psychologically ill. Probably no other nation is so easy (or so safe) to caricature.

And the "Russia Is Doomed" syndrome is bound to survive because Russia, alas, still matters. The object of such concentrated anxiety over the centuries, far from heading down a path to obscurity, remains a global force and impossible to ignore. So the worries will live on, too, as will the sublimated wish to efface Russia. But perhaps the good news for the critics is precisely that Russia is not about to go away. They will have plenty of grist for their mill for decades to come.

Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief of Business Week and the author of After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age (Viking, 2009).

Peacen1k

The author Paul Starobin lists and presents examples of Western propaganda, misconceptions, and disinformation as the causes for misrepresenting and misunderstanding Russia, but in the process adds a bunch of his own into the mix (the source for which is the same as for the ones he lists).

Was that intended as some kind of half-assed disclaimer and a placating bone thrown at an average Western reader? Was the author afraid that this reader would simply stop reading if some of the more recent propaganda wasn't used to calm the Westerner's nerves?

Very sad that this just keeps happening with no end in sight...

smoothieX12 -> Peacen1k

Very sad that this just keeps happening with no end in sight...

All "sources" of Western media in Russia are limited to Urban ultra-liberal "intelligentsia" (which is insult to this title) and those who by definition hate Russian guts. At least author had guts to point out the religious affiliation of some of those "sources". "Russian narrative" in US historically was set up by Russian Jews and other minorities and dissidents. Thus the caricature and failure to even react properly to a real information and facts, such as this crisis in Ukraine. No surprise here, when US Networks, from CNN to NBC, use Pavel Falgenhauer (MSU graduate with degree in biology) as "Russian military expert" (the guy is moron, basically) what else should one expect?

ProV -> smoothieX12

Too many soothsayers, and not enough critics. Stephen Cohen is blacklisted now for ever daring to criticize people like Strobe Talbott.

The Guardian started its campaign against disagreeable commentators by labeling them all FSB trolls. Now you cannot read anything BTL because there are literally hundreds of accusations like this in every single article. Interestingly, GCHQ has for a number of years employed an astroturfing campaign to influence blog posts and online comment boards.

AlexZhukov > WBC

In spite of the abundance of ways available for American people to obtain all kinds of information on all subjects, US still remains a formidable bastion of bigotry and ignorance in the world, so it is no wonder that you get to read these wacky bloopers here.

This is what happens when your average Joe The Clown suddenly swings his "attention" from porn to politics.

Hegelguy

It is the same with India: according to the Anglo-American press, India can NEVER do right unless it unconditionally capitulates to every idea hatched in Washington. The West is a great hater: any sizable country that poses the smallest possible challenge to total US domination is treated with relentless hostility.

The Russians are just waking up to this truth well known to Lenin.

Jon Lester > Hegelguy • 14 days ago

I didn't learn of the disastrous anti-Bolshevik "Polar Bear" and Siberian expeditions until adulthood, and it wasn't because I missed any history classes at school. Not unlike how US actions in the Philippines in the 1890's and early 1900's tend to get passed over in most textbooks, too.

evangelical > Jon Lester • 14 days ago

Oh you mean they conveniently forgot to teach that the US killed 250,000 Filipinos after they "liberated" the islands from spain?

Guest > Hegelguy • 14 days ago

"It is the same with India: according to the Anglo-American press, India can NEVER do right unless it unconditionally capitulates to every idea hatched in Washington."

Not fair at all. It's not that the stories about India in the American press are bad, so much as they're non-existant. India gets about as much airtime in the American press as Canada. The reception towards Modi has been generally positive despite the U.S. government's past issues with him. In fact, I can't think of a major story portraying India badly in the U.S. except for the ones about religious riots years ago. The closest thing to negative press are stories about jobs going offshore--but those aren't India-specific.

You risk falling into the same spot as Russia--where a country we do a lot of business with, have no beef with, have helped out signicantly in the past (Google "Rockefeller Foundation," "famine," "1970"), and should by all rights be close allies with insists on becoming an enemy because of the gigantic nationalistic chip on their shoulder.

Mike > Hegelguy • 14 days ago

Hegelguy, Anglo-American press? It's 2014, America is anything but Anglo these days. In fact, the largest ancestry group in the US is German followed by African! English is fifth on the list for ancestry. All of that being said. India occupies about 0.1% of American news. India isn't even on the radar. No one here cares what India does or doesn't do.

ning05 • 17 days ago

It was Hitler's Nazi Germany that invaded and laid waste Soviet Russia through the corridor of Central and Eastern Europe, and it was the Red Army, not the armies of the
Western allies, which at horrendous cost broke the spinal cord of the Wehrmacht.

A nation that willingly sacrificed 14% of its entire population or more than 30% of its entire male population in the Great Patriotic War rather than surrender will never collapse. China realized that truth about Russia long time ago and pragmatically settled the border disputes and gave up the claims on a million square kilometers territory (formerly of Manchuria, not really Chinese to begin with) seized by Russian Czar more than a century ago. It is lucky for China in this century to have Russia as its ally or at least tacitly supporting and providing a strategic hinderland for China.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W...

Василий Батарейкин > harryposter • 14 days ago

Oh yeah? when did you last time read the historical books?

In 1919-1920 the Polish ruling circles declared out to restore the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the borders of 1772 and the conquest of the corridor to the Black Sea (Poland from sea to sea).

Poland seized Vilnius and Lithuania in the field in direct violation of the treaty between Lithuania and Poland in 1920 . March 17, 1938 Poland declared ultimatum to Lithuania to cancel the article of the constitution, declaring Vilnius the capital of Lithuania, and guarantee the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania. In case of disagreement on the requirements within 24 hours Poland threatened to occupy Lithuania, which then was done so.

Poland was the first State to conclude a nonaggression pact with Hitler's Germany. January 26, 1934 was signed the Polish-German non-aggression pact for 10 years. The Polish ambassador in Berlin, Jozef Lipski said on this occasion the French reporter, that "now Poland does not need in France anymore". "We are delighted with our first agreements with Hitler" - said the head of the Polish state Pilsudski to the French Foreign Minister Louis Bart in spring 1934. From 1934 to 1939, a strategic partnership with the Nazis was the core of the Polish foreign policy.

In 1938 Poland, together with Hitler'r Germany attacked Czechoslovakia and shared it.

Churchill called Poland a vulture of Europe.

But then in Poland did not manage to communicate well with Hitler, because the Poles wanted too much, and Hitler decided to do without them what he did.

Russia wanted to prevent the start of war by any price, only France and England wanted to push Germany closer to Russia's birder by making the Minich Treaty, which was actually a betrayal of both POland and Russsia. Actually in 1939 there was total chaos in Poland, so USSR had to proceed to POland to save its population from Bandera nationalists and create a buffer in otderno separate Germany from direct contact with Russia's border.

There was chaos and mess in Poland in September 1939, a process of disorganization of the entire Polish state machine. on the first day of the war the Polish president 72-year-old Ignatius Mościcki left the capital . On September 4, the evacuation from Warsaw to Lutsk was started for facilities, gold reserves, the diplomatic corps and for the government there was nothing to control. And a senseless from political point of view two-week trip to safe places of officials and government was made thereby paralyzing the work of the entire administrative system and demoralizing the population.

Supreme Commander also decided to retreat to 180 kilometers from capital. As noted by the Polish author, Rydz Smigly felt kind of leader of the nation rather than a military leader directly responsible for the defense of the country. Unfortunately, he was not Pilsudski and not equal to him in any moral authority or political talent. Smigly was a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy. He selectes as his Headquarters Brest and moved there. After him, it is not clear from what reasons, apart from the government and ambassadors, followed Minister of Foreign Affairs with the most important departments. And to cover the new precious command post the air cover Fighter Aviation Brigade has been removed from capital to Brest.

As suddenly was revealed the Brest fortress was completely not adapted for the work as military headquarters for Polish strategists, secondly, in Brest there was no connection to army. Had brought the station which could not be used as codes were forgotten in Warsaw. Twelve hours later they managed to establish telephone communication with the army in Lublin and Narew. Finally, the railway brought codes, but by this time the radio was already was not working.

After that USSR has made an official notification that due to the fact that Poland does not control its territories , a bufer zone between Germany and USSR must be created. It saved thousands of pooles from Ukrainian Nazis.

Василий Батарейкин > harryposter • 14 days ago

lier! lier! March 17, 1938 Poland declared ultimatum to Lithuania to cancel the article of the constitution, declaring Vilnius the capital of Lithuania, and guarantee the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania. In case of disagreement on the requirements within 24 hours Poland threatened to occupy Lithuania, which then was done so.

Poland was the first State to conclude a nonaggression pact with Hitler's Germany. January 26, 1934 was signed the Polish-German non-aggression pact for 10 years. The Polish ambassador in Berlin, Jozef Lipski said on this occasion the French reporter, that "now Poland does not need in France anymore". "We are delighted with our first agreements with Hitler" - said the head of the Polish state Pilsudski to the French Foreign Minister Louis Bart in spring 1934. From 1934 to 1939, a strategic partnership with the Nazis was the core of the Polish foreign policy.

In 1938 Poland, together with Hitler'r Germany attacked Czechoslovakia and shared it.

Churchill called Poland a vulture of Europe.

But then in Poland did not manage to communicate well with Hitler, because the Poles wanted too much, and Hitler decided to do without them what he did.

Василий Батарейкин > Mriordon

Darn, you lost 14% of your population in world war 2, was that before or after you switched sides? Stalin murdered at least another 14% and 10% drank themselves to death- hard to imagine you have enough people left to make the vodka.

Stalin has killed 700 000 of former revolutionaries and trozkists, not more, all the rest is your propaganda.

the population was only growing all the time. there was only a decline in population between 1941-1945 (8,4 mln dead soldiers and 14 mln dead civilians):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

DatePopulation

January 1897 (Russian Empire): 125,640,000
1911 (Russian Empire): 167,003,000
January 1920 (Russian SFSR): 137,727,000*
January 1926 : 148,656,000[2]
January 1937: 162,500,000[2]
January 1939: 168,524,000[2]
June 1941: 196,716,000[2]
January 1946: 170,548,000[2]
January 1951: 182,321,000[2]
January 1959: 209,035,000[2]
January 1970: 241,720,000[3]
July1977: 257,700,000
July1982: 270,000,000
July 1985: 277,700,000
1990: 290,938,469
July 1991: 293,047,571

You just justify yourself, saying "we are bad but you are worse", but you just lie.

Alexey Strelkov

A more or less reasonable Western article about Russia. A rare breed and, I am afraid, a dying one. However, I have to note several inconsistencies:

  1. "his efforts to dodge any responsibility for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane" - it wasn't Russia who signed the NDA regarding the investigation of the crash. Evenmore - Russian envoy to the UN Security Council has asked his Ukrainian colleague 4 (four) times whether they have provided the investigation with recordings of Dniepropetrovsk traffic control and MH17 (they were the last one who were in contact with the plane). No conclusive answer was provided.
  2. "Politkovskaya was certainly not wrong to discern a thuggish element in Putin's Russia-she herself was murdered in Moscow in 2006, on the day, suspiciously, of Putin's birthday." - according to BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russi... that data may be a little outdated now) 47 journalists died un Russia since 1992, and 14 of them died during Putin's reign. So it looks like Putin has actually improved the situation.
  3. "okroshka, typically made of sour cream, vinegar, potatoes, cucumbers, eggs and dill" - its main ingredient is kvas (Slavic fizzy drink made of bread and yeast, it's a bit of an acquired taste but I still urge you to try it. Just remember that real kvas has a very short shelf life, so the best place to try it is where it is made - Eastern Europe) or sometimes kefir (fermented milk drink very popular in Russia. Imagine thin sour drinking yoghurt)
  4. The problem with Ioffe and Gessen is not their ancestry (at least, for normal people and not neo-Nazis), but their sweeping statements on amateur culturology and history. There is also some problem with English language itself - in English "Russian" means both ethnic Russian (russkiy) AND citizen of Russia (rossiyanin - note that these are two DIFFERENT words), so Russians (and here I mean both rossiyane and russkie) get very confused when, for example, Masha Gessen says "we, Russians, are lazy/stupid/aggressive/etc" - she is neither ethnic Russian nor she lives in Russia, so we don't know whether she is being slightly racist or making a very broad statement about different peoples of a very diverse country.

P.S. While I do not usually agree with what Ioffe writes about politics (her political writing usually lacks any primary data and sources), I have to note that I find her non-political writing to be often interesting and insightful. In that sense she is the opposite of Mark Adomanis whose analysis of statistics is very convincing.

Shane

Fascinating.

I've noticed that commentators in many countries despair of their own societies and seem to see preferable societies abroad, that's not restricted to Russian elites.

Left-leaning commentators in Britain or Ireland might identify Scandinavian countries as examples, and denounce the perceived failings of their own state.

smoothieX12 .

The truth is, Russia often has been maddening to a certain strata of educated Russians (and by Russians I mean not just ethnic Russians, strictly speaking, but all peoples native to or attaching themselves to Russia)

I think that author of this piece should open Isaiah Berlin's masterpiece "Russian Thinkers" and may be not try so hard.

Russian Uzbek wife

What is Russian Uzbek?

[Sep 28, 2014] Russia's Sergei Lavrov: the US cannot change the cold war in its 'genetic code' by Associated Press

Sep 26, 2014 | theguardian.com

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Lavrov said the crisis in Ukraine was the result of a coup d'etat in that country backed by the US and the European Union for the purpose of pulling Kiev out of its "organic role as a binding link between" east and west, denying it the opportunity for "neutral and non-bloc status".

Lavrov also said the Russian annexation of Crimea earlier this year was the choice of the largely Russian-speaking population there.

Immediately before Lavrov spoke, the German foreign minister had said Russia's actions to retake Crimea were a crime.

"Russia has, with its annexation of Crimea, unilaterally changed existing borders in Europe and thus broke international law," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his address to the world body. He spent considerable time speaking about what the west sees as Russian meddling in Ukraine.

Selected Skeptical Comments
LeDingue, 27 September 2014 9:04pm

the increasingly anti-western stance of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin

Or how about 'the increasingly defensive Russia' that has been targeted by US provocations in Ukraine, a constant programme of media destabilisation using CIA "pet" oligarchs and a network of Ngo front organisations.

The US plan with the Ukraine operation was to split EU-Russian trade and political relations. No doubt 10 years of NSA surveillance of all EU leaders and top civil servants helped generate some "leverage" to persuade Europe to go along with this self-harming plan.

All this anti-Russia or anti-Putin media crusade is aimed at destabilising Russia politically. Then Iran will be a sitting duck for the US-Wahabi terror sponsors to destroy it with jihadi proxies like they're doing to Syria.
Oh, and the "pet" oligarchs can then return Russia to the broken kleptocracy that Bush1 oversaw there.

Russia was progressing with European relations. This "increasingly anti-western stance" is code for "having taken measures to prevent US subversion" and for having rebuffed attempts to pin the MH17 attack on them or the rebels. So it's more a question of "America's increasingly desperate measures in attacking Russian stability".

The US has to destroy this emergent Russian stability (it's just 14 years since the end of the Yeltsin chaos) that represents an obstacle to the US-Saudi-Israeli Eurasian ambitions. They want the Qatar-Turkey pipeline - Russian backed Assad said no. Russian backs Iran, long a target for Saudi hatred (and Israeli), and surviving even after years of strangulation sanctions. They have huge oil & gas reserves. Russia stands in the way of the Brzezinski-Wolfowitz plans for domination so they must be attacked.

davidpear -> LeDingue, 27 September 2014 9:39pm

US-Saudi-Israeli Eurasian ambitions.

The US has lusted to colonize Russia and exploit its natural resources as far back as the US invasion of Russia in 1918. It is a forgotten military disaster for the US but not forgotten by Russia.

goatrider, 27 September 2014 9:07pm
Lavrov said the crisis in Ukraine was the result of a coup d'etat in that country backed by the US and the European Union for the purpose of pulling Kiev out of its "organic role as a binding link between" east and west, denying it the opportunity for "neutral and non-bloc status".

Well said

davidpear -> goatrider, 27 September 2014 9:48pm
Well said

It was the EU that offered an unacceptable miserly trade deal to Ukraine and then said that they had to choose between the EU or Russia but could not take both trade deals. It intentionally drove a wedge between already existing divisions within Ukraine.

Bosula, 27 September 2014 9:09pm
Crimea has had three referendums since 1991 and they have all supported independence from Ukraine. Two of these referendums were organised by Kiev and they refused to recognise the results.

Crimea has consistently not seen itself as part of Ukraine.

sodtheproles -> Bosula, 27 September 2014 9:25pm
What has democracy got to do with it? That's our prerogative, to impose on or deny to others as we see fit, and in this instance, the Crimeans plainly aren't suited to democracy, since the results of their ballots fail to pass the basic democratic test of coherence with Western policy on Ukraine.
davidpear -> sodtheproles, 27 September 2014 9:51pm
What has democracy got to do with it? Nothing. US foreign policy has nothing to do with democracy, freedom, human rights and even life itself. It is all about what is best for US and multinational corporations.
RedPeony, 27 September 2014 9:29pm

Lavrov is right. USA acts like they are above everybody else. The sooner we learn that their way is the only way the better. It's frustrating. I don't know what's worse: when they openly bully you or when they pretend to be your friends (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erYpXzE9Pxs).

Papistpal -> RedPeony, 27 September 2014 10:15pm

RedPony,

No hard feelings. We want to be your friend. Please provide your address and we will send our special "Friendship Drone" with special gifts and prizes for you and all your friends.

HansVonDerHeyde -> RedPeony, 28 September 2014 2:26am

U.S "Democracy" and "Freedom" coming to a country near you.

Ivan Borisov, 27 September 2014 9:38pm

I think one of the recent episodes of Die Anstalt,, the german satirical show on German ZDF channel sums it up quite nicely.

r7781lt , 27 September 2014 9:56pm
To us old folks to hear a German foreign minister preaching about invasion of other countries sounds like bitter irony.

Just fill in the blanks in the sentence " The Reich has, with its annexation of ****, unilaterally changed existing borders in Europe and thus broke international law" Uh huh, nihil sub sole novum

ShadySunny -> r7781lt , 27 September 2014 10:05pm
1. Russia's long term end goal is to survive and prosper through the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire.

2. Russia's mid term goal is to create the conditions for regime change in Kiev, because Russia will never be safe with a neo-Nazi russophobic regime in power in Kiev.

3. Russia's short term goal is to prevent the Kiev junta from over-running Novorussia.

4. Russia's preferred method to achieve these goals is negotiation with all parties involved.

5. A prerequisite to achieve these goals by negotiations is to prevent the Empire from succeeding in creating an acute continental crisis (conversely, the imperial "deep state" fully understands all this, hence the double declaration of war last week by Obama and Poroshenko).

The Russian response to a double declaration of war

Arapas , 27 September 2014 10:07pm

the German foreign minister had said Russia's actions to retake Crimea were a crime.

You need some neck, the size of a lamp post, to make such statement.

Your country Monsieur started 2 world wars, killing 27 million Russians during the second. Your country dished out cruelty only matched by the Americans, and their Supermaxes.

I happen to be British, but If I was Russian, and I mean Sergei Lavrov, I would be permanently having your country in my nukes eye sights.

You have done it twice, you will do it again.

splodgeness Arapas , 27 September 2014 10:14pm
I'm British too. You really need to examine what you were taught about the wars:

Nazism is usually depicted as the outcome of political blunders and unique economic factors: we are told that it could not be prevented, and that it will never be repeated.

In this explosive book, Guido Giacomo Preparata shows that the truth is very different: using meticulous economic analysis, he demonstrates that Hitler's extraordinary rise to power was in fact facilitated -- and eventually financed -- by the British and American political classes during the decade following World War I.

Through a close analysis of events in the Third Reich, Preparata unveils a startling history of Anglo-American geopolitical interests in the early twentieth century. He explains that Britain, still clinging to its empire, was terrified of an alliance forming between Germany and Russia. He shows how the UK, through the Bank of England, came to exercise control over Weimar Germany and how Anglo-American financial support for Hitler enabled the Nazis to seize power.

This controversial study shows that Nazism was not regarded as an aberration: for the British and American establishment of the time, it was regarded as a convenient way of destabilising Europe and driving Germany into conflict with Stalinist Russia, thus preventing the formation of any rival continental power block.

Guido Giacomo Preparata lays bare the economic forces at play in the Third Reich, and identifies the key players in the British and American establishment who aided Hitler's meteoric rise.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conjuring-Hitler-Britain-America-Third/dp/0745321828

... ... ...

JiminNH, 27 September 2014 10:15pm
Referencing German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the author said that

He spent considerable time speaking about what the west sees as Russian meddling in Ukraine.

The author grossly misstates the facts.

Mr. Steinmeier's prepared speech contained 27 paragraphs. 6 referred to the UN in general. 5 referred to Ukraine. 4 referred to the ME crisis. 2 referred to Ebola.

In reading the 5 paragraphs involving Ukraine, only 1 can be categorized as substantive criticism of "what the west sees as Russian meddling..." Indeed, 2 were 1 sentence paragraphs.

See for yourself:

That's why I must mention the conflict in Ukraine here. Some people in this chamber may regard this as nothing more than a regional conflict in eastern Europe. But I am convinced that this view is incorrect; this conflict affects each and every one of us. Not just any state, but a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia has, with its annexation of Crimea, unilaterally changed existing borders in Europe and thus broken international law.

We had to counter this dangerous signal, because we must not allow the power of international law to be eroded from insidel We must not allow the old division between East and West to re-emerge in the United Nations.

Because so much is at stake in this conflict, not only for the people in Ukraine but also for the future of international law, Germany and its partners have taken on responsibility and committed themselves vigorously to defusing the conflict.

I am under no illusion. A political solution is still a long way off. That said, however, just a few weeks ago we were on the brink of direct military confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces. Diplomacy prevented the worst. Now the priority must be to bring about a lasting ceasefire and to arrive at a political solution, a solution based on the principles of the United Nations and preserving the unity of Ukraine.

But I am not only talking about Ukraine! As long as this conflict is simmering, as long as Russia and the West are in dispute over Ukraine, this threatens to paralyse the United Nations. But we need a UN Security Council at is able and willing to act in order to tackle the new and, in the long term, far more important tasks we are facing. For the world of 2014 is plagued not only by the old ghost of division, but also by new demons.

http://www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/gadebate/pdf/DE_en.pdf

I might note that the "political solution" and "diplomacy (that) prevented the worst" did not originate in the efforts of Herr Steinmeier, nor of Sec.St. Kerry, nor FM Hammond, nor Mr. von Rumpuy. The political solution was brought about by the diplomacy of Russia, which sought diplomatic resolution to the conflict since the US and EU helped regime change the Yanukovych government in February and then saw CIA Director Brennan secretly travel to Kyiv just days before the post-coup, unelected government unleashed the dogs of war on the eastern Ukrainians who rose in opposition to the coup that reversed their two victories in the democratic elections of 2010 (presidency) and 2012 (parliament).

As this short but sweet article demonstrates, the western "free press" continues to serve as nothing but the mouthpiece for the US & NATO globalist elites to distort the facts and reality.

The reason they do that is to condition the western audience for the oncoming global conflict being brought upon the world courtesy of the US Neocon warhawk's implementation of its declared national security strategy, called the "Wolfowitz Doctrine," to prevent Russia or any other country, or group of countries, from challenging our unilateral dominance of the world. And those Neocons are clearly willing to go to war to maintain that hegemonistic position.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfowitz_Doctrine

LeDingue -> JiminNH , 27 September 2014 10:24pm

v

Good comment.

At least someone is prepared to do a little research in the face of the endless media "spin".

FlangeTube, 27 September 2014 10:17pm
Can anybody, reasonably. disagree with this analysis?

American "leadership" is not a constant in an uncertain world, it is a myth only Americans ever believed. American foreign policy is to protect American political, economic and corporate interests - that is all. They push selfish aims behind a mask of "democracy" and have done nothing but sewn chaos around the world.

American "leadership" is a meaningless lie that fewer and fewer people can even speak with a straight face. Its economy is propped up with imaginary money and crushing debt and in its panic to secure its place at the head of the table it is pushing insane policies against China, Russia and various countries in the middle east.

America is not a good guy, and only Americans ever thought it was.

P212121 -> FlangeTube, 28 September 2014 12:07am

American foreign policy is to protect American political, economic and corporate interests - that is all.

Sometimes I think it is less than that.. Who benefited from the mess in Iraq, Libya, Syria? American people or economy certainly did not. Very few people did, and I think it is all about them.

Black Cat, 27 September 2014 10:31pm
The German FM knows the truth of it, as we all do, and the recent debacle in Ukraine proves there's a limit to how far Europe is prepared to go in order to sustain the US's insane aims for global dominance.
seamuspadraig -> Black Cat, 27 September 2014 11:45pm
It seems to me that Europe went to far already. Here's what the sanctions are doing to the German economy: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-27/not-even-dead-cat-bounce-russia-sanctions-whiff-reality-sink-%E2%80%98economic-expectations%E2%80%99
RudolfSteinerRules, 27 September 2014 10:43pm
"And Crimea was not "annexed," the Crimean people voted to secede in a referendum. The fact that the new illegal and unelected government in the Ukraine argued that the secession of Crimea violated the Ukrainian Constitution was truly ironic given that same government came to power through the unconstitutional overthrow of the country's democratically-elected president. And given the number of people in Crimea who voted to secede and the vast numbers of people in Eastern Ukraine who are fighting for secession rather than live under the new US and EU backed government, it is clear that the Euromaidan movement did not speak for all Ukrainians."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/26/obama-rewrites-history-at-the-un/

Miron, 27 September 2014 10:44pm
Dear FM of Germany,

How many mass graves were found in the path of Obama's junta in Ukrain, please.

FlangeTube -> nickpossum, 27 September 2014 10:49pm
Helping to negotiate a ceasefire between the rebels and Kiev was bullying? Giving them gas, despite billions in unpaid bills, is bullying?

Go ask Iraqis or Syrians if they would rather be "bullied" by Russia or "liberated" by America.

aprescoup -> UKey123, 28 September 2014 12:17am
Nazi Germany was a criminal State but Hitler did the world a favour by provoking a global war, the consequence of which was the end of European colonialism. Hitler even did the Jews a favour: the Jews finally received a homeland. Without the WW2, decolonialization by Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal would never have happened. History is complicated. Russia will be doing humanity a favour if Putin triggers a full sanctions conflict with the West, and that sanctions conflict leads to the end of US-EU hegemony, the collapse of the US Dollar, and the end of the Washington Consensus, IMF; World Bank, UN, mass consumerism, denial of climate warming, and more.

Trudi Goater, 27 September 2014 8:21pm

Actually I'd say he's right it is about time America stopped telling everyone how unique it is! it's unique in it's ability to chaos chaos and mess the wold up and that's it as far as I can see!

MikeBB2 -> Trudi Goater, 27 September 2014 8:27pm

Indeed - all that "uniqueness' is as mythical as the supposed benefits brought to the world by the British Empire!

Barbacana -> MikeBB2, 27 September 2014 10:02pm

as mythical as the supposed benefits brought to the world by the British Empire!

Well at least the Brits built railways in some of their colonies. The US on the other hand blows them up. So I think you're being too kind to the US.

Saint_mean -> Barbacana, 27 September 2014 10:47pm

The railways that were conceived and built for the primary purpose of accomplishing the primary goal of empire building - that is, total appropriation and exploitation of the riches of the colonized countries for the main benefit of Britain? Now, many years after, any suggestion that this is a credit to Britain, or that the dispossessed should be thankful for this is not only a crude attempt at revisionism, it is also tantamount to asking the victim of a violent robbery to recognize some 'benign' act of the robber to the victim while he was being violently robbed.

GoodmansParadox -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 27 September 2014 11:42pm

It never ceases to amaze me how the practice of repeating a lie can be interpreted as becoming proof.

We know that the "little green men" in Crimea weren't Russian troops, although Russian troops ensured there would be no conflict between the Crimeans who shrugged off Kiev's authority, and the poor Kievan forces confined to bases. As Lavrov said As Putin said.

A peaceful counter-revolution happened in Crimea, and the Crimean people gained their self-determination. Let's applaud this, hey?

The same happened in Donetsk and Luhansk, but because Russian forces weren't there to keep the peace, Kiev sent in the tanks, slaughtering the civilian population and causing mass displacement. Yet some people still support the murderers from Kiev.

Why is that?

LeDingue -> GoodmansParadox, 27 September 2014 11:56pm

It never ceases to amaze me how the practice of repeating a lie can be interpreted as becoming proof.

Well said.
Some people just never tire of repeating it!

Otuocha11 -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 28 September 2014 2:27am

"Lavrov's reputation was trashed yonks ago, he is just a Putin yes-man. He just stirs and lies, as it suits him."

If Lavrov's reputation is questionable what would you say about Kerry, Blair, Clapper, and those three-tongued Americans who keeps on deceiving the public? Are there no 'yes' men in the US? The first yes-man is you, period.

littlebigcoala -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 28 September 2014 2:31am

ElectroMagneticPulse : "is it normal in Ukraine, and perhaps Russia too, for local militias to be equipped with vast amounts of modern weaponry, enough in fact, to overrun the territory of another country?

They were decked in the full kit, from boots to helmets, with flak-jackets, camouflage, equipment, and assault rifles (current models, in use with the Russian army). There were no rag-tag soldiers, with Wellington boots and pitchforks.

==============

1. remember Chechnya? - where did chechens got their weapons and equipment that helped them actually to win in first chechen war against Russian federal forces?

2. Local regional police in Crimea actually sided with militia from the very begining - maybe it was another source of weapons

3. your photo may depict local militia as well as Russians troops - but whae (what date) it was made? - you can aquite (buy) uniform in Russia and they had support from business I am sure - so it is not a proof - there were some well equiped, others badly equipped - we saw both

4. Crimean Riot Police regiment "Berkut" accused in Kiev in supporting Yanukovych on Maidan was on the side of separatists of Crimea from the first day of separatist protest - they (Crimean riot police regiment were under investigation by Kiev and immidiatelly openned their storage/uniform/arms and even vehicled for separatists...


etc.etc...

are you honest enough to agree that you was wrong with your "arguments"?

Indianrook -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 28 September 2014 2:58am

The uniqueness of the veracity is that it can be said by anyone.

It is also not correct that only idiots believe the lies. In history there were incidents like the (in) famous WMD search that was supposedly existed in the middle east and almost all in the west had believed that story. Unfortunately there still exist many who believe in the similar type of stories land certainly they are not idiots.

davidpear, 27 September 2014 8:51pm

Vladimir Putin, who is riding a wave of popularity at home

Russians are united because the rightfully feel under attack. It is the US lead NATO that is militarily encircling Russia. Not the other way around. The US and the EU are turning logic on its head by blaming Russia for the destabilization of Ukraine.

ElectroMagneticPulse -> davidpear, 27 September 2014 9:10pm

The good thing about Russia losing the Cold War, and its status as a superpower, is it can no longer project its military strength. It is limited to playing in its own backyard, and harassing places like Chechnya and Ukraine - albeit with fearsome casualties.

Since Putin invaded Crimea, NATO has been resurrected. It is reforming, deploying troops eastwards, and Russia's worried neighbours are ardently flocking to NATO and pledging their allegiance.

After the Cold War, NATO was virtually defunct, and for the last 25 years has been scrabbling around for a reason to exist - but Putin has gifted it new purpose. This could end with NATO bases and troops strung along Russia's borders from the Black Sea to the Baltic.

Might be that Putin has committed a massive strategic blunder.

davidpear -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 27 September 2014 9:28pm

playing in its own backyard

If the US would stick to "playing in its own backyard" the world would be a more peaceful place.

foolisholdman -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 27 September 2014 10:33pm

After the Cold War, NATO was virtually defunct, and for the last 25 years has been scrabbling around for a reason to exist - but Putin has gifted it new purpose. This could end with NATO bases and troops strung along Russia's borders from the Black Sea to the Baltic.

Might be that Putin has committed a massive strategic blunder.

For something that was "virtually defunct" it certainly cost!

If it has been defunct all this last 25 years what is it going to cost now that it has come back to life?

Where did all the money that was spent on this moribund, shadowy organisation, go? Any ideas?

Since the West is allegedly "virtually bankrupt" can it afford a newly revitalized NATO?

secondiceberg -> ElectroMagneticPulse, 27 September 2014 11:00pm

Intolerably turbulent and bloody is exactly what the world is now. The U.S. and some of its allies have broken more international laws than any other country.

Bullybyte ElectroMagneticPulse , 27 September 2014 11:09pm
[The Ukraine] is a sovereign, independent nation - in the same manner as Denmark, Germany or the Czech Republic.

It is nothing of the kind. It is a failed state.

If countries resolved their territorial disputes by theft, and at gunpoint...

They do. Ask Obomber and Cameron. The Ukraine also tried to resolve its territorial disputes by theft and at gunpoint. They lost.

Ukraine's borders are protected by international law...

They are protected by their own ability to maintain them.

DELewes -> jbrebb , 27 September 2014 11:35pm

Really? Ukraine's decision to move towards adopting EU models of governance and economics, and leave Russia's behind is the West's fault? If you hadn't noticed, almost every former Warsaw Pact and USSR member has run away from Russia by choice.

Shame on you for buying Lavrov's rationalization for Putin's Folly.

HansVonDerHeyde -> DELewes , 28 September 2014 2:31am

So Maidan Protesters beating kids who wore St.George Ribbons or Russian Flags never happened? Protesters throwing molotov at the police , taking and burning government buildings never happened right? Protesters parading police officers with the word "slave" written on their head never happened? Protesters shooting at the police , patrolling Kiev streets with guns and bats also never happened ?

U.S sending Senators, Diplomats, Secretary of State, CIA Director to Maidan also never happened.

Shame on you for missing a lot of chapters on Ukraine Crisis and not thinking enough.....

[Sep 27, 2014] Russia tightens limit on foreign ownership of media by Alec Luhn

In view of events in Ukraine Russia treatment of foreign MSM is very lax and is bordeline to betryal of national interests. Also they are trying to re-invent the bicycle. They should borrow the USA practice without any major modifications instead.
Sep 26, 2014 | theguardian.com

Parliament passes law barring foreign investors from holding more than a 20% stake in Russian media outlets

The legislation, which was passed by the state Duma without debate on Friday with a vote of 430-2, forbids international organisations and foreign citizens, companies and governments from founding or holding more than a 20% stake in Russian media businesses. Although it will come into force at the start of 2016, media owners will have until 1 February 2017 to bring their holdings into compliance.

Foreign ownership of radio and television outlets, as well as print publications with a circulation of more than one million, was previously limited to 50%. The law will affect a wide variety of publications, including the country's leading business daily, Vedomosti, the Russian versions of glossy magazines such as Esquire, GQ and Cosmopolitan, and television channels such as Disney and Eurosport.

[Sep 27, 2014] The Russian response to a double declaration of war

September 27, 2014 | vineyardsaker.blogspot.com

The context: a double declaration of war

Listening to Poroshenko a few days ago and then to Obama at the UNGA can leave no doubt whatsoever about the fact that the AngloZionist Empire is at war with Russia. Yet many believe that the Russian response to this reality is inadequate. Likewise, there is a steady stream of accusations made against Putin about Russia's policy towards the crisis in the Ukraine. What I propose to do here is to offer a few basic reminders about Putin, his obligations and his options.

First and foremost, Putin was never elected to be the world's policeman or savior, he was only elected to be president of Russia. Seems obvious, but yet many seem to assume that somehow Putin is morally obliged to do something to protect Syria, Novorussia or any other part of our harassed world. This is not so. Yes, Russia is the de facto leader of the BRICS and SCO countries, and Russia accepts that fact, but Putin has the moral and legal obligation to care for his own people first.

Second, Russia is now officially in the crosshairs of the AngloZionist Empire which includes not only 3 nuclear countries (US, UK, FR) but also the most powerful military force (US+NATO) and the world's biggest economies (US+EU). I think that we can all agree that the threat posed by such an Empire is not trivial and that Russia is right in dealing with it very carefully.

Sniping at Putin and missing the point

Now, amazingly, many of those who accuse Putin of being a wimp, a sellout or a naive Pollyanna also claim that the West is preparing nuclear war on Russia. If that is really the case, this begs the question: if that is really the case, if there is a real risk of war, nuclear or not, is Putin not doing the right thing by not acting tough or threatening? Some would say that the West is bent on a war no matter what Putin does. Okay, fair enough, but in that case is his buying as much time as possible before the inevitable not the right thing to do?!

Third, on the issue of the USA vs ISIL, several comment here accused Putin of back-stabbing Assad because Russia supported the US Resolution at the UNSC.

And what was Putin supposed to do?! Fly the Russian Air Force to Syria to protect the Syrian border? What about Assad? Did he scramble his own air force to try to stop the US or has he quietly made a deal: bomb "them" not us, and I shall protest and do nothing about it? Most obviously the latter.

In fact, Putin and Assad have exactly the same position: protest the unilateral nature of the strikes, demand a UN Resolution while quietly watching how Uncle Sam turned on his own progeny and now tries to destroy them.

I would add that Lavrov quite logically stated that there are no "good terrorists". He knows that ISIL is nothing but a continuation of the US-created Syrian insurgency, itself a continuation of the US-created al-Qaeda. From a Russian point of view, the choice is simple: what is better, for the US to use its forces and men to kill crazed Wahabis or have Assad do it? And if ISIL is successful in Iraq, how long before they come back to Chechnia? Or Crimea? Or Tatarstan? Why should any Russian or Syria soldier risk death when the USAF is willing to do that for them?

While there is a sweet irony in the fact that the US now has to bomb it's own creation, let them do that. Even Assad was clearly forewarned and he obviously is quite happy about that.

Finally, UN or no UN, the US had already taken the decision to bomb ISIL. So what is the point of blocking a perfectly good UN Resolution? That would be self-defeating. In fact, this Resolution can even be used by Russia to prevent the US and UK from serving as a rear base for Wahabi extremists (this resolution bans that, and we are talking about a mandatory, Chapter VII, UNSC Resolution).

And yet, some still say that Putin threw Assad under the bus. How crazy and stupid can one get to have that kind of notion about warfare or politics? And if Putin wanted to toss Assad under the bus, why did he not do that last year?

Sincere frustration or intellectual dishonesty?

But that kind of nonsense about the Syria is absolutely dwarfed by the kind of truly crazy stuff some people post about Novorussia. Here are my favorite ones. The author begins by quoting me:

"This war has never been about Novorussia or about the Ukraine."
and then continues:
That statement is too vacuous and convenient as a copout. Do you really mean to say that the thousands of people murdered by shelling, the thousands of young Ukrainian conscripts put through the meat grinder, the thousands of homes destroyed, the more than 1 million people who have turned into refugees... NONE of that has anything to do with Novorussia and Ukraine? That this is only about Russia? Really, one would wish you'd refrain from making silly statements like that.
The only problem being, of course, that I never made it in the first place :-)

Of course, it is rather obvious that I meant that FOR THE ANGLOZIONIST EMPIRE the goal has never been the Ukraine or Novorussia, but a war on Russia. All Russia did was to recognize this reality. Again, the words "do you really mean to say that" clearly show that the author is going to twist what I said, make yet another strawman, and then indignantly denounce me for being a monster who does not care about the Ukraine or Novorussia (the rest of the comment was in the same vein: indignant denunciations of statements I never made and conclusions I never reached).

I have already grown used to the truly remarkable level of dishonesty of the Putin-bashing crowd and by now I consider it par for the course. But I wanted to illustrate that one more time just to show that at least in certain cases an honest discussion is not the purpose at all. But I don't want to bring it all down to just a few dishonest and vociferous individuals. There are also many who are sincerely baffled, frustrated and even disappointed with Russia's apparent passivity. Here is an excerpt of an email I got this morning:

I guess I was really hoping that perhaps Russia, China The BRICS would be a counter force. What I fail to understand is why after all the demonisation by the U.S and Europe doesn't Russia retaliate. The sanctions imposed by the West is hurting Russia and yet they still trade oil in euros/dollars and are bending over backwards to accommodate Europe. I do not understand why they do not say lift all sanctions or no gas. China also says very little against the U.S , even though they fully understand that if Russian is weakened they are next on the list. As for all the talk of lifting the sanctions on Iran that is farcical as we all know Israel will never allow them to be lifted. So why do China and Russia go along with the whole charade. Sometimes I wonder if we are all being played, and this is all one big game , which no chance of anything changing.
In this case the author correctly sees that Russia and China follow a very similar policy which sure looks like an attempt to appease the US. In contrast to the previous comment, here the author is both sincere and truly distressed.

In fact, I believe that what I am observing are three very different phenomena all manifesting themselves at the same time:

  1. An organized Putin-bashing campaign initiated by US/UK government branches tasked with manipulating the social media.
  2. A spontaneous Putin-bashing campaign lead by certain Russian National-Bolshevik circles (Limonov, Dugin & Co.).
  3. The expression of a sincere bafflement, distress and frustration by honest and well-intentioned people to whom the current Russian stance really makes no sense at all.

The rest of this post will be entirely dedicated to try to explain the Russian stance to those in this third group (any dialog with the 2 first ones just makes no sense).

Trying to make sense of an apparently illogical policy

In my introduction above I stated that what is taking place is a war on Russia, not hot war (yet?) and not quite an old-style Cold War. In essence, what the AngloZionists are doing is pretty clear and a lot of Russian commentators have already reached that conclusion: the US are engaged into a war against Russia for which the US will fight to the last Ukrainian. Thus, for the Empire, "success" can never be defined as an outcome in the Ukraine because, as I said previously, this war is not about the Ukraine. For the Empire "success" is a specific outcome in Russia: regime change. Let's us look at how the Empire plans to achieve this result.

The original plan was simplistic in a typically US Neocon way: overthrow Yanukovich, get the Ukraine into the EU and NATO, politically move NATO to the Russian border and militarily move it into Crimea. That plan failed. Russia accepted Crimea and the Ukraine collapsed into a vicious civil war combined with a terminal economic crisis. Then the US Neocons fell-back to plan B.

Plan B was also simple: get Russia to intervene militarily in the Donbass and use that as a pretext for a full-scale Cold War v2 which would create 1950's style tensions between East and West, justify fear-induced policies in the West, and completely sever the growing economic ties between Russia and the EU. Except that plan also failed -- Russia did not take the bait and instead of intervening directly in the Donbass, she began a massive covert operation to support the anti-Nazi forces in Novorussia. The Russian plan worked, and the Junta Repression Forces (JRF) were soundly defeated by the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF) even though the latter was suffering a huge deficit in firepower, armor, specialists and men (gradually, Russian covert aid turned all these around).

At this point in time the AngloZionist plutocracy truly freaked out under the combined realization that their plan was falling apart and that there was nothing they could really do to rescue it (a military option was totally impossible as I explained it in the past). They did try economic sanctions, but that only helped Putin to engage in long overdue reforms. But the worst part of it all was that each time the West expected Putin to do something, he did the exact opposite:

There is a pattern here and it is one basic to all martial arts: first, never signal your intentions, second use feints and third, hit when and where your opponent doesn't expect it.

Conversely, there are two things which are deeply ingrained in the western political mindset which Putin never does: he never threatens and he never postures. For example, while the US is basically at war with Russia, Russia will gladly support a US resolution on ISIL if it is to Russia's advantage. And Russian diplomats will speak of "our American partners" or "our American friends" while, at the same time, doing more than the rest of the planet combined to bring down the AngloZionist Empire.

A quick look at Putin's record

As I have written in the past, unlike some other bloggers and commentators, I am neither a psychic not a prophet and I cannot tell you what Putin thinks or what he will do tomorrow. But what I can tell you is that which Putin has already done in the past: (in no particular order)

and that list goes on and on. All I am trying to illustrate is that there is a very good reason for the AngloZionist's hatred for Putin: his long record of very effectively fighting them. So unless we assume that Putin had a sudden change of heart or that he simply ran out of energy or courage, I submit that the notion that he suddenly made a 180 makes no sense. His current policies, however, do make sense, as I will try to explain now.

If you are a "Putin betrayed Novorussia" person, please set that hypothesis aside for a moment, just for argument's sake and assume that Putin is both principled and logical. What could he be doing in the Ukraine? Can we make sense of what we observe?

Imperatives Russia cannot ignore

First, I consider the following sequence indisputable:

First, Russia must prevail over the current AngloZionist war against her. What the Empire wants in Russia is regime change followed by complete absorption into the Western sphere of influence including a likely break-up of Russia. What is threatened is the very existence of the Russian civilization.

Second, Russia will never be safe with a neo-Nazi russophobic regime in power in Kiev. The Ukie nationalist freaks have proven that it is impossible to negotiate with them (they have broken literally every single agreement signed so far), their hatred for Russia is total (as shown with their constant references to the use of - hypothetical - nuclear weapons against Russia). Therefore,

Third, regime change in Kiev followed by a full de-Nazification is the only possible way for Russia to achieve her vital objectives.

Again, and at the risk of having my words twisted and misrepresented, I have to repeat here that Novorussia is not what is at stake here. It's not even the future of the Ukraine. What is at stake here is a planetary confrontation (this is the one thesis of Dugin which I fully agree with). The future of the planet depends on the capability of the BRICS/SCO countries to replace the AngloZionist Empire with a very different, multi-polar, international order. Russia is crucial and indispensable in this effort (any such effort without Russia is doomed to fail), and the future of Russia is now decided by what Russia will do in the Ukraine. As for the future of the Ukraine, it largely depends on what will happen to Novorussia, but not exclusively. In a paradoxical way, Novorussia is more important to Russia than to the Ukraine. Here is why:

For the rest of the Ukraine, Novorussia is lost. Forever. Not even a joint Putin-Obama effort could prevent that. In fact, the Ukies know that and this is why they make no effort to win the hearts and minds of the local population. If fact, I am convinced that the so-called "random" or "wanton" destruction of the Novorussian industrial, economic, scientific and cultural infrastructure has been intentional act of hateful vengeance similar to the way the AngloZionists always turn to killing civilians when they fail to overcome military forces (the examples of Yugoslavia and Lebanon come to mind). Of course, Moscow can probably force the local Novorussian political leaders to sign some kind of document accepting Kiev's sovereignty, but that will be a fiction, it is way too late for that. If not de jure, then de facto, Novorussia is never going to accept Kiev's rule again and everybody knows that, in Kiev, in Novorussia and in Russia.

What could a de facto but not de jure independence look like?

No Ukrainian military, national guard, oligarch battalion or SBU, full economic, cultural, religious, linguistic and educational independence, locally elected officials and local media, but all that with Ukie flags, no official independence status, no Novorussian Armed Forces (they will be called something like "regional security force" or even "police force") and no Novorussian currency (though the Ruble - along with the Dollar and Euro - will be used on a daily basis). The top officials will have to be officially approved by Kiev (which Kiev will, of course, lest its impotence becomes visible). This will be a temporary, transitional and unstable arrangement, but it will be good enough to provide a face-saving way out to Kiev.

This said, I would argue that both Kiev and Moscow have an interest in maintaining the fiction of a unitary Ukraine. For Kiev this is a way to not appear completely defeated by the accursed Moskals. But what about Russia?

What if you were in Putin's place?

Ask yourself the following question: if you were Putin and your goal was regime change in Kiev, would you prefer Novorussia to be part of the Ukraine or not? I would submit that having Novorussia inside is much better for the following reasons:

  1. it makes it part, even on a macro-level, of the Ukrainian processes, like national elections or national media.
  2. it begs the comparison with the conditions in the rest of the Ukraine.
  3. it makes it far easier to influence commerce, business, transportation, etc.
  4. it creates an alternative (Nazi-free) political center to Kiev.
  5. it makes it easier for Russian interests (of all kind) to penetrate into the Ukraine.
  6. it removes the possibility to put up a Cold War like "wall" or barrier on some geographical marker.
  7. it removes the accusation that Russian wants to partition the Ukraine.
In other words, to keep Novorussia de jure, nominally, part of the Ukraine is the best way to appear to be complying with AngloZionist demands while subverting the Nazi junta in power. In a recent article I outlined what Russia could do without incurring any major consequences:
  1. Politically oppose the regime everywhere: UN, media, public opinion, etc.
  2. Express political support for Novorussia and any Ukrainian oppositionContinue the informational war (Russian media does a great job)
  3. Prevent Novorussia from falling (covert military aid)
  4. Mercilessly keep up the economic pressure on the Ukraine
  5. Disrupt as much as possible the US-EU "axis of kindness"
  6. Help Crimea and Novorussia prosper economically and financially
In other words - give the appearance of staying out while very much staying in.

What is the alternative anyway?

I already hear the chorus of indignant "hurray-patriots" (that is what these folks are called in Russia) accusing me of only seeing Novorussia as a tool for Russian political goals and of ignoring the death and suffering endured by the people of Novorussia. To this I will simply reply the following:

Does anybody seriously believe that an independent Novorussia can live in even minimal peace and security without a regime change in Kiev? If Russia cannot afford a Nazi junta in power in Kiev, can Novorussia?!

In general, the hurray-patriots are long on what should be done now and very short any kind of mid or long term vision. Just like those who believe that Syria can be saved by sending in the Russian Air Force, the hurray-patriots believe that the crisis in the Ukraine can be solved by sending in tanks. They are a perfect example of the mindset H. L. Mencken was referring to when he wrote "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong".

The sad reality is that the mindset behind such "simple" solutions is always the same one: never negotiate, never compromise, never look long term but only to the immediate future and use force in all cases.

But the facts are here: the US/NATO block is powerful, militarily, economically and politically and it can hurt Russia, especially over time. Furthermore, while Russia can easily defeat the Ukrainian military, this hardly would be a very meaningful "victory". Externally it would trigger a massive deterioration of the international political climate, while internally the Russians would have to suppress the Ukrainian nationalists (not all of them Nazi) by force. Could Russia do that? Again, the answer is that yes - but at what cost?

I good friend of mine was a Colonel in the KGB Special Forces unit called "Kaskad" (which later was renamed "Vympel"). One day he told me how his father, himself a special operator for the GRU, fought against Ukrainian insurgents from the end of WWII in 1945 up to 1958: that is thirteen years! It took Stalin and Krushchev 13 years to finally crush the Ukrainian nationalist insurgents. Does anybody in his/her right mind sincerely

By the way, if the Ukrainian nationalists could fight the Soviet rule under Stalin and Krushchev for a full 13 years after the end of the war - how is it that there is no visible anti-Nazi resistance in Zaporozhie, Dnepropetrivsk or Kharkov? Yes, Luganks and Donetsk did rise up and take arms, very successfully - but the rest of the Ukraine? If you were Putin, would you be confident that Russian forces liberating these cities would receive the same welcome that they did in Crimea?

And yet, the hurray-patriots keep pushing for more Russian intervention and further Novorussian military operations against Ukie forces. Is it not about time we begin asking who would benefit from such policies?

It has been an old trick of the US CIA to use the social media and the blogosphere to push for nationalist extremism in Russia. A well know and respected Russian patriot and journalist - Maksim Shevchenko - had a group of people organized to track down the IP numbers of some of the most influential radical nationalist organizations, website, blogs and individual posters on the Russian Internet. Turns out that most were based in the USA, Canada and Israel. Surprise, surprise. Or, maybe, no surprise at all?

For the AngloZionists, supporting extremists and rabid nationalists in Russia makes perfectly good sense. Either they get to influence the public opinion or they at the very least can be used to bash the regime in power. I personally see no difference between an Udaltsov or a Navalnii on one hand and a Limonov or a Dugin on the other. Their sole effect is to get people mad at the Kremlin. What the pretext for the anger is does not matter - for Navalnyi its "stolen elections" for Dugin it's "back-stabbed Novorussia". And it does not matter which of them are actually paid agents or just "useful idiots" - God be their judge - but what does matter is that the solutions they advocate are no solutions at all, just pious pretexts to bash the regime in power.

In the meantime, not only had Putin not sold-out, back-stabbed, traded away or otherwise abandoned Novorussia, it's Poroshenko who is barely holding on to power and Banderastan which is going down the tubes. There are also plenty of people who see through this doom and gloom nonsense, both in Russia (M. K. Bhadrakumar).

But what about the oligarchs?

I already addressed this issue in a recent post, but I think that it is important to return to this topic here and the first thing which is crucial to understand in the Russian or Ukrainian context is that oligarchs are a fact of life. This is not to say that their presence is a good thing, only that Putin and Poroshenko and, for that matter, anybody trying to get anything done over there needs to take them into account. The big difference is that while in Kiev a regime controlled by the oligarchs has been replaced by a regime of oligarchs, in Russia the oligarchy can only influence, but not control, the Kremlin. The examples, of Khodorkovsky or Evtushenkov show that the Kremlin still can, and does, smack down an oligarch when needed.

Still, it is one thing to pick on one or two oligarchs and quite another to remove them from the Ukrainian equation: the latter is just not going to happen. So for Putin any Ukrainian strategy has to take into account the presence and, frankly, power of the Ukrainian oligarchs and their Russian counterparts.

Putin knows that oligarchs have their true loyalty only to themselves and that their only "country" is wherever their assets happen to be. As a former KGB foreign intelligence officer for Putin this is an obvious plus, because that mindset potentially allows him to manipulate them. Any intelligence officer knows that people can be manipulated by a finite list of approaches: ideology, ego, resentment, sex, a skeleton in the closet and, of course, money. From Putin's point of view, Rinat Akhmetov, for example, is a guy who used to employ something like 200'000 people in the Donbass, who clearly can get things done, and whose official loyalty Kiev and the Ukraine is just a camouflage for his real loyalty: his money. Now, Putin does not have to like or respect Akhmetov, most intelligence officers will quietly despise that kind of person, but that also means that for Putin Akhmetov is an absolutely crucial person to talk to, explore options with and, possibly, use to achieve a Russian national strategic objective in the Donbass.

I have already written this many times here: Russians do talk to their enemies. With a friendly smile. This is even more true for a former intelligence officer who is trained to always communicate, smile, appear to be engaging and understanding. For Putin Akhmetov is not a friend or an ally, but he is a powerful figure which can be manipulated in Russia's advantage. What I am trying to explain here is the following:

There are numerous rumors of secret negotiations between Rinat Akhmetov and various Russian officials. Some say that Khodakovski is involved. Others mention Surkov. There is no doubt in my mind that such secret negotiations are taking place. In fact, I am sure that all the parties involved talk to all other other parties involved. Even with a disgusting, evil and vile creature like Kolomoiski. In fact, the sure signal that somebody has finally decided to take him out would be that nobody would be speaking with him any more. That will probably happen, with time, but most definitely not until his power base is sufficiently eroded.

One Russian blogger believes that Akhmetov has already been "persuaded" (read: bought off) by Putin and that he is willing to play by the new rules which now say "Putin is boss". Maybe. Maybe not yet, but soon. Maybe never. All I am suggesting is that negotiations between the Kremlin and local Ukie oligarchs are as logical and inevitable as the US contacts with the Italian Mafia before the US armed forces entered Italy.

But is there a 5th column in Russia?

Yes, absolutely. First and foremost, it is found inside the Medvedev government itself and even inside the Presidential administration. Always remember that Putin was put into power by two competing forces: the secret services and big money. And yes, while it is true that Putin has tremendously weakened the "big money" component (what I call the "Atlantic Integrationists") they are still very much there, though they are more subdued, more careful and less arrogant than during the time when Medvedev was formally in charge. The big change in the recent years is that the struggle between patriots (the "Eurasian Sovereignists") and the 5th column now is in the open, but it if far from over. And we should never underestimate these people: they have a lot of power, a lot of money and a fantastic capability to corrupt, threaten, discredit, sabotage, cover-up, smear, etc. They are also very smart, they can hire the best professionals in the field, and they are very, very good at ugly political campaigns. For example, the 5th columnists try hard to give a voice to the National-Bolshevik opposition (both Limonov and Dugin regularly get airtime on Russian TV) and rumor has it that they finance a lot of the National-Bolshevik media (just like the Koch brothers paid for the Tea Party in the USA).

Another problem is that while these guys are objectively doing the US CIA's bidding, there is no proof of it. As I was told many times by a wise friend: most conspiracies are really collusions and the latter are very hard to prove. But the community of interests between the US CIA and the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchy is so obvious as to be undeniable.

The real danger for Russia

So now we have the full picture. Again, Putin has to simultaneously contend with

  1. a strategic psyop campaign run by the US/UK & Co. which combines the corporate media's demonization of Putin and a campaign in the social media to discredit him for his passivity and lack of appropriate response to the West.
  2. a small but very vociferous group of (mostly) National-Bolsheviks (Limonov, Dugin & Co.) who have found in the Novorussian cause a perfect opportunity to bash Putin for not sharing their ideology and their "clear, simple, and wrong" "solutions".
  3. a network of powerful oligarchs who want to use the opportunity presented by the actions of first two groups to promote their own interests.
  4. a 5th column for whom all of the above is a fantastic opportunity to weaken the Eurasian Sovereignists
  5. a sense of disappointment by many sincere people who feel that Russia is acting like a passive punching-ball.
  6. an overwhelming majority of people in Novorussia who want complete (de facto and de jure) independence from Kiev and who are sincerely convinced that any negotiations with Kiev are a prelude to a betrayal by Russia of Novorussian interest.
  7. the objective reality that Russian and Novorussian interests are not the same.
  8. the objective reality that the AngloZionist Empire is still very powerful and even potentially dangerous.

It is very, very, hard for Putin to try to balance these forces in such a way that the resulting vector is one which is in the strategic interest of Russia. I would argue that there is simply no other solution to this conundrum other than to completely separate Russia's official (declaratory) police and Russia's real actions. The covert help to Novorussia - the Voentorg - is an example of that, but only a limited one because what Russia must do now goes beyond covert actions: Russia must appear to be doing one thing while doing exactly the opposite. It is in Russia's strategic interest at this point in time to appear to:

1) Support a negotiated solution along the lines of: a unitary non-aligned Ukraine, with large regional right for all regions while, at the same time, politically opposing the regime everywhere: UN, media, public opinion, etc. and supporting both Novorussia and any Ukrainian opposition.
2) Give Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs a reason to if not support, then at least not oppose such a solution (for ex: by not nationalizing Akhmetov's assets in the Donbass), while at the same time making sure that there is literally enough "firepower" to keep the oligarch under control.
3) Negotiate with the EU on the actual implementation of Ukraine's Agreement with the EU while at the same time helping the Ukraine commit economic suicide by making sure that there is just the right amount of economic strangulation applied to prevent the regime from bouncing back.
4) Negotiate with the EU and the Junta in Kiev over the delivery of gas while at the same time making sure that the regime pays enough for it to be broke.
5) Appear generally non-confrontational towards the USA while at the same time trying as hard as possible to create tensions between the US and the EU.
6) Appear to be generally available and willing to do business with the AngoZionist Empire while at the same time building an alternative international systems not centered on the USA or the Dollar.

As you see, this goes far beyond a regular covert action program. What we are dealing with is a very complex, multi-layered, program to achieve the Russian most important goal in the Ukraine (regime change and de-Nazification) while inhibiting as much as possible the AngloZionists attempts to re-created a severe and long lasting East-West crisis in which the EU would basically fuse with the USA.

Conclusion: a key to Russian policies?

Most of us are used to think in terms of super-power categories. After all, US President from Reagan on to Obama have all served us a diet of grand statements, almost constant military operations followed by Pentagon briefings, threats, sanctions, boycotts, etc. I would argue that this has always been the hallmark of western "diplomacy" from the Crusades to the latest bombing campaign against ISIL. Russia and China have a diametrically opposed tradition. For example, in terms of methodology Lavrov always repeats the same principle: "we want to turn our enemies into neutrals, we want to turn neutrals into partner and we want to turn partners into friends". The role of Russian diplomats is not to prepare for war, but to avoid it. Yes, Russia will fight, but only when diplomacy has failed. If for the US diplomacy is solely a means to deliver threats, for Russia it is a the primary tool to defuse them. It is therefore no wonder at all the the US diplomacy is primitive to the point of bordering on the comical. After all, how much sophistication is needed to say "comply or else". Any petty street thug know how to do that. Russian diplomats are much more akin to explosives disposal specialist or a mine clearance officer: they have to be extremely patient, very careful and fully focused. But most importantly, they cannot allow anybody to rush them lest the entire thing blows up.

Russia is fully aware that the AngloZionist Empire is at war with her and that surrender is simply not an option any more (assuming it ever was). Russia also understands that she is not a real super-power or, even less so, an empire. Russia is only a very powerful country which is trying to de-fang the Empire without triggering a frontal confrontation with it. In the Ukraine, Russia sees no other solution than regime change in Kiev. To achieve this goal Russia will always prefer a negotiated solution to one obtained by force, even though if not other choice is left to her, she will use force. In other words:

Russia's long term end goal is to bring down the AngloZionis Empire. Russia's mid term goal is to create the conditions for regime change in Kiev.

Russia's short term goal is to prevent the junta from over-running Novorussia. Russia's preferred method to achieve these goals is negotiation with all parties involved.

A prerequisite to achieve these goals by negotiations is to prevent the Empire from succeeding in creating an acute continental crisis (conversely, the imperial "deep state" fully understands all this, hence the double declaration of war by Obama and Poroshenko.)

As long as you keep these basic principles in mind, the apparent zig-zags, contradictions and passivity of Russian policies will begin to make sense.

It is an open question whether Russia will succeed in her goals. In theory, a successful Junta attack on Novorussia could force Russia to intervene. Likewise, there is always the possibility of yet another "false flag", possibly a nuclear one. I think that the Russian policy is sound and the best realistically achievable under the current set of circumstances, but only time will tell.

I am sorry that it took me over 6400 words to explain all that, but in a society were most "thoughts" are expressed as "tweets" and analyses as Facebook posts, it was a daunting task to try to shed some light to what is turning to be a deluge of misunderstandings and misconceptions, all made worse by the manipulation of the social media. I feel that 60'000 words would be more adequate to this task as it is far easier to just throw out a short and simple slogan than to refute its assumptions and implications.

My hope that at least those of you who sincerely were confused by Russia's apparently illogical stance can now connect the dots and make better sense of it all.

Kind regards to all,

The Saker

[Sep 26, 2014] Obama Flubs Ukraine in UN Address

The American Conservative
President Obama addressed the opening of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly today in New York and gave what could only charitably be called an incomplete accounting of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine:

Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt President fled. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into Eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.

This is a vision of the world in which might makes right – a world in which one nation's borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might – that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future.

Aside from what HL Mencken would have recognized as "the usual hypocrisies," there are, it hardly needs saying, a number of problems with this kind of capsule history of the Ukrainian crisis, not least the venue and the timing of its airing.

The United States has, as of yesterday, embarked on its fifth war (Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria/Iraq) in 15 years, and this time in the company of five Islamic countries, four of which are perhaps, and without exaggeration, some of the most odious regimes on Earth. The target of the U.S.-led airstrikes is a relatively small (30-35,000) army of fanatics and malcontents whose leadership happens to be made up of more than a few of the former Iraqi Army officers who were summarily dismissed in the aftermath of our second Iraqi adventure in 2003. The IS Group, ISIS or ISIL, has in addition to declaring war on the United States (no doubt for recruitment purposes, but no matter), also declared that none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin is in its sights for, among other things, helping to arm Assad and for Russia's degradations in majoritarian Islamic Chechnya.

What this might suggest is that Russia, because it faces a challenge from these very same extremists, and given its vast military superiority over our five allies as well as its longstanding relationships with Syria and Iran, could be of some assistance in our latest Near Eastern adventure.

All the while, incidents of violence between Russia and Ukraine since the cease fire agreement took hold on September 5 have sharply declined. And on Friday the two sides will begin talks on how to address the issue of resuming the transit of Russian gas, which has been on hold since June 15, to Ukraine. That Mr. Obama thought that the opening of the UN General Assembly would be an opportune time to hector Russia speaks volumes as to the quality of counsel he must be receiving.

And so rather than issue a plea for the cease fire to hold in eastern Ukraine, and rather than use his UN address to try and maneuver Russia into assisting the anti-ISIL coalition, the President, as he so often does, chose instead to grandstand and assert a largely fictitious American moral superiority before the world.

Paul, September 25, 2014 at 6:57 am

Sir, I take your main point to be that the timing of this address was imprudently chosen, as it will cause Russia to be more reluctant to provide assistance (in any of its myriad forms) to US efforts against ISIS / Da'ash.

That being said, we might pause to consider the ways in which the summary provided undercuts US credibility: "Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt President fled. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed."

All the people of Ukraine? Is popular protests and calls for reform" meant to refer to nonviolent demonstrations and calls for reform within established constitutional parameters? Was the government in Kiev at the time of the annexation legitimate in terms of the existing constitution (although one presumes that the preceding government also would have refused to consent)?

The implicit answers which the US President desires that we give to these questions are, in fact, false; to the extent that he understands this, the address asserts lies. This is the sort of thing that we used to decry about Soviet propaganda - not merely that it was overtly biased, but that its premises required one to deny facts which left its prescriptions open to debate.

Paul Grenier, September 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm

"Incomplete accounting" indeed (forgot to mention, for example, that the U.S. helped bring about the coup that got this war started). What Obama gave the UN, as usual with any American president (at the least since Kennedy's death), was propaganda. When a whole society allows itself to be immersed in warm-and-fuzzy-propaganda, as America has done for many years, the facts sound harsh and hateful; and those who speak them are attacked. Thanks for giving it your college best, Mr. Carden. TAC is doing essential work.

JohnG, September 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

In total agreement with SDS here.

It's all about ethnic and religious rivalries which should be none of our business. ISIS is a direct consequence of the raw deal the Sunnis were given in the new Iraq. They want their piece of territory where they can be and feel safe. The sooner that gets recognized the better, and the sooner we get rid of ISIS, which is something only the Sunnis can do, as it CANNOT be imposed by external powers. And, BTW, has anyone noticed how our "allies" the Kurds (and the Iraqi army) have no wish to go on a conquest of the Iraqi Sunnistan, while they are perfectly happy to get and protect their Kurdistan (Shiastan)? So why not just leave it at that?

Russian speakers and Russophiles in Eastern Ukraine the same thing. The central government (admittedly corrupt, but so are most governments in this world) gets overthrown and another one is installed against their will. So they rebel and demand autonomy, big deal! Give them their share and I don't see them marching on Kiev or L'viv any time soon. End of story. I am sorry but I just don't buy the idea that this would somehow be new Munich and that Putin is about to invade Ukraine, much less Poland or some other country. So the whole Polish vs. Russian army debate is throwing gasoline on a warm place where, depending on one's point of view and goals – fortunately or unfortunately, there is no fire.

Fran Macadam, September 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Gotta love all these armchair strategists safe in their recliners ready sacrifice so many innocent lives and livlihoods in the name of "Full Spectrum Dominance" – that is, world domination.

What is it about those among the powerless who salivate at the proxy experience of dreaming of domination of others, by slavish devotion to their own masters' appetites?

James Ward, September 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm

These attempts to downplay Russian actions so that we may cooperate with them smacks of an apology for the devil. It would be hard to devise a less sympathetic argument. Either the whole moral perception of the situation must be challenged directly or the subject should be left alone.

As it happens the moral perception can be challenged and should be. America is at least as culpable as Russia for the conflict in Ukraine, perhaps much more so. This is not the proper space to lay out that argument but here are a few points that are a matter of public record and may be easily verified:

Yanukovich was ousted unconstitutionally and without the support of the majority of the country.

The Crimea referendum reflected the real wishes of its residents.

Nato members supported Kiev morally, financially, and with promises of future support in launching a war in Eastern Ukraine – this despite eastern rebels doing nothing that had not been done by Maidan protestors in Western Ukraine when such potential actions were condemned by Nato members.

The Geneva agreement of April, which clearly applied to the whole country, was treated as applying only to Eastern Ukraine by Kiev. Despite this clear breach Nato members blamed Russia solely for the failure of the agreement without providing any evidence that Russia had the power to ensure the agreement was followed in the East and even though the agreement did not require Russia to do so.

The State Department repeatedly lied about or concealed air and artillery attacks carried out by the Ukrainian army against civilian targets. It likewise denied the existence of hundreds of thousands of refugees and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

All this was done without challenge in the U.S. media, nor did it gain serious attention in journals of foreign policy.

philadelphialawyer, September 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Why can't we just butt out…of the Ukraine and the alleged "crises" over ISIS?

I fail to see why either the Russians or the ISIS folks have to be our enemies. Ukraine is none of our business, nor is the Iraqi/Syrian Sunni borderland.

Yes, Obama "flubbed" it. But not because we should be sucking up to Russia so that it might join us in our absurd, never ending, pointless, fruitless, as well as illegal and immoral wars in the Middle East. Yeah, I don't see that happening, Chechnya or no Chechnya. Why would Russia be so stupid? Russia is not beholden to Israel as we are.

No, Obama "flubbed" it because, viz a viz Russia, unlike the Middle East, rather than a powerful and vociferous and wealthy and engaged lobby working overtime to ensure our continued subservience to the wrong side (or, at a minimum, to a side that doesn't deserve it), there is only the kind of tedious, easily rebutted, E European, weak sister cry babyism such as we see here in the comments. There is no Ukrainian equivalent of AIPAC and Obama actually could, if he wanted to, make a deal with Russia and end the controversy altogether, in a way that political reality doesn't really allow him to in the Middle East.

VikingLS, September 26, 2014 at 6:14 am

"Obama's accounting of the crisis in Ukraine was charitable toward Russia in my view as it left out Russia's responsibility for the generations of disorder and corruption that the Maidanists were protesting."

No one is responsible for that other than the Ukrainian political class which has done little other than engage in court intrigues since the country gained its independence. This is not Russia's fault (