Civil war in Ukraine

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Disaster capitalism The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Suppression of Russian language and culture in Ukraine Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism as a stage of development of Neoliberalism New American Militarism
EuroMaidan101 Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Diplomacy by deception Ukraine's oligarchs Fifth column Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions
Events of November 30 and aftermath SBU raid on Kiev Batkivshchina office Revolt of diplomats EU-brokered agreement on ending crisis To whom EuroMaidan Sharp-shooters belong?   Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17 ?
Forming Provisional government Accession of Crimea to Russia Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Mariupol, May 9 events Presidential Elections of May 25. 2014   Poroshenko presidency
Russian Ukrainian Gas wars Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Russian sanctions Demonization of Putin Ukrainian orange revolution   Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Delegitimization of Ruling Party Compradors Opposition as a way to get rid of feeling of inferiority Human right activists or globalism fifth column Exploiting "Revolutionary Romantics" as polit-technology   Disaster capitalism
Neoliberal Propaganda The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Fighting Russophobia Foreign Agents Registration Act Russian Fifth column Humor   Etc
 

 


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Wikiquote

"War is simply the continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means. We deliberately use the phrase 'with the addition of other means' because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different. In essentials that intercourse continues, irrespective of the means it employs. The main lines along which military events progress, and to which they are restricted, are political lines that continue throughout the war into the subsequent peace."[17]

Carl von Clausewitz - Wikipedia


Introduction

As "economic nationalist" I oppose "ethnic nationalism".  This page is written from the position of economic  nationalist. In covering such  events as civil wars and uprisings it is difficult to agree on common narrative. We will cover the event from the view that the supreme duty of the national state is not it s own existence at all costs, but the well-being of its people and building prosperous economy. This position has its weaknesses as interests of people and the elite often diverge...

Economic nationalism should be understood as a set of practices to create, bolster and protect national economies in the context of globalized markets. The rise and institutionalization of economic nationalism in the 20th century was a product of the crisis of neoliberal, which revitalized ethno-nationalist movements in many European countries including Baltic republics, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. As Bannon have said Steve Bannon on white nationalism, Donald Trump agenda - CBS News

“I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” Bannon told the news outlet earlier this week. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over.”

I see Ukraine as a victim of policies of neoliberal globalization and efforts to create global, led by the USA neoliberal empire (which by extension requires weakening and possibly neutering Russia and China). Simplifying we can say that one of the most effective "disaster capitalism" scheme for establishing neocolonial control over the country is the transition of the country to debt slavery. In this regard, a simple formula:

 "color revolution" + "civil war" ->  "debt slavery".

works perfectly well. Around 11K people have been killed in the Ukraine between April 2014 and May 2017.  Around 1.6 million people have been internally displaced. European future dream turned into civil war nightmare.

The carrot of "European future" proved to work extremely well in post-Communist countries, especially for students and regions that depend on labor migrant for survival (which is again is Western Ukraine). With appropriate financial infusion it fired perfectly during Euromaydan in Ukraine. Firs of all people were tied of sliding and low standard of living. Secondly because Western Europe that they knew only from TV and saw just a  "tourist facade", not the reality of living in Western Europe (which definitely has higher standard of living, but is very far from paradise).  The real situation can be understood only after working in the particular country for three or more years and I doubt that those people came to Euromaydan.

But it was relatively easy to use far right nationalists as a ram to depose Yanukovich (a "no brainer" as some observers put it) by rallying against the government a large part of the disaffected population (especially students and small entrepreneurs, which oligarchic regime of Yanukovich really oppressed; add to that media of a couple of hostile to Yanukovich oligarchs, such  as Kolomoysky) . People already forgot how they were deceived in early 1990th. Younger people were born after this first Ukrainian Great Depression that followed obtaining independence. That suggest that you can stage a color revolution each 25 years or so. 

You just need to channel objective process of impoverishment of population under neoliberalism into the charge of corruption of the government (which was definitely corrupt, especially Yanukovich himself,  but no more corrupt the previous (Kuchma, Yushchenko) and future governments (Poroshenko) of Ukraine.   But there are side effects of this approach and in this sense the civil war in Donbass is one of "externalities" of EuroMaydan.

Both EuroMaydan and the civil war in Ukraine are related to (or even stem from) efforts of the USA to encircle Russia on one hand, as well as  the desire of the EU to get a resource base at the East and expand its market into yet another  country (plus Russophobia of elites of several countries including Poland and Sweden).  On the EU part, the "Economic Anschluss" of Ukraine can be viewed a more gentle variant of "Drang nach Osten" -- a drive to enlarge its (mostly German) economic space by absorbing some Eastern European countries in EU economic space.  

Contrary to statements about pro-Ukrainian bias of the USA policies in the region, the US efforts were not pro or anti-Ukrainian per se. Ukraine was a side show. They were mainly directed to encircling, weakening and, if possible, dismembering of Russia.  In this respect Ukraine server as a pawn in a bigger geopolitical game. Attempt to stage color revolution in Russia in 2011-2012 was the part of those efforts but failed.  So events of 2014-2017 in Ukraine were just continuation of the same policy and succeeded. They inflicted great economic and political losses to Russia as EuroMaydan followed by sanctions as well as (naturally occurring, or artificial) slump in oil prices which last full three years.  Promising population "European future" (not as prostitutes in Western cities and low paid gastarbeiters, which is the grim reality of the situation) proved to be  a viable way to fool the population into actions which undermine their current standard of living. 

This EU Anschluss  agreement (in the writing which, at least formally,  participated functionaries from Yanukovich government) also included such disastrous measures as adoption of EU standards in areas were Ukraine can't compete with the EU companies and thus de-facto replacement of local production with imported. Such a pro-Russian president ;-)  “We want to move closer to the EU in our day-to-day work,” he used to say.  He wanted to sign it, but just wanted to bargain a little bit more. And he managed to get 3 billion loan from Russia on a really good terms. But by not signing the agreement in November 2013 he sealed his fate (EuroMaidan - Wikipedia):

The demonstrations began on the night of 21 November 2013, when protests erupted in the capital, Kiev, after the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement with the European Union, to seek closer economic relations with Russia

This attempt to demonstrate some degree of independence was a fatal political mistake because Ukraine was already under firm control of pro-EU/pro-US forces (previous Yushchenko government was essentially a vassal of the West and his appointees were deeply entrenched in all critical government structures including  security services; media was also controlled by neoliberal forces and hostile to Russia); the US NGO were extremely influential in Ukraine and influenced  the media landscape (Gromadske TV, etc) with NGO officers enjoying diplomatic immunity die to a special agreement, signed, I think, by Kuchma government  ( imagine this for a sovereign country).

While from  imperial standpoint such policy is are logical as Russia is one of the main threat to the US-led global neoliberal empire and the second largest nuclear power,  is sows "dragon's teeth" as such is dangerous to the USA too. But after the USA became the only world superpower in Washington never played favorable for them situation strategically and patiently. That's why we have this "F*ck EU" coupe d'état and the attempt to kill Yanukovich in February 2014. While removing Yanukovich was "slam dunk" thing, as he was widely hated by the Ukrainian population (which is actually typical for any neoliberal president in xUSSR area) subsequent side effects of his removal did not pled for the USA so well. They really antagonized Russia, which from this point started to view the USA as the enemy not as an dominant economic power and the competition. Another nasty externalities of this coup d'état  is that it eventually lead to an uprising in the East against Western Ukrainian attempt to colonize it and eliminate Russian language and Russian culture which are native to the region.  So it really created an ethnic conflict in the country which basically was free of it.  My impression is that before EuroMaydan most Russian-speaking Ukrainians did not too closely associated themselves with Russia, viewing Moscow with some degree of suspicion. In other words they viewed Russia much like Canadians view the USA. But now at least in Donbass region and probably in several other eastern regions, the attitudes drastically changed.  As well as attitude toward Western Ukrainian nationalists (which never was too favorable in Eastern regions of Ukraine to begin with.)

Which for the country where the majority of population of which speaks the same language as people in Russia and have many family level and cultural ties reminds me the situation of the USA and Canada. Imagine that Quebec nationalists came to power in Canada and outlawed the English language.  And introduction of Ukrainian language repeats that story of reintroduction of national language in Baltic countries (or enforcement of Hebrew in Israel) and in view of dominance of English language does not have any real significance culturally (as the cultural life is now completely dominated by Western players and filmmakers in any case) and might  have  mildly detrimental effect on education and science. I would be first to admit that it was a good time to replace Russian textbooks at universities with English language textbooks: previously Ukrainian universities (with the exception of Lvov and couple of other cities) typically used Russian textbooks for natural sciences which now is politically incorrect. But they can't switch to (potentially better for natural sciences and very cheap if bought used books).  English textbooks would instantly raise the level on knowledge of English language in the country, especially among educated middle class as such would diminish Russian cultural influence and, as such, strengthen the level of independence of the country.  Although increase in intensity and quality of study of English language is definitely one of the few positive effects of EuroMaydan.

Yanukovich was a rather weak and deeply corrupt President, which was not favorably viewed in Russia (which refused to create and support he government  in exile after he fled the country). Paradoxically he has no real friend other then Joe Biden ;-). Politically at the  beginning of 2015 he was completely isolated due to his sling into authoritarianism. Now it became known that several members of his government (for example Lyovochkin) were covertly working for "EuroMaydan".

One can also wander about  Russia position in this area. Russia professes limited version of economic nationalism, while remaining by-and-large a neoliberal country (which create a big weakness in Putin position, as you can't be  half-pregnant; if you profess neoliberalism  inside the country, you should profess neoliberal globalization and by extension accept the role of Washington as the center of global neoliberal empire).  In other words Russian invented Trumpism before Trump ;-).

What were the triggers of this civil war

It is difficult to talk about a single factor that  created Donbass conflict, which later turned into civil war. There were multiple factors that created preconditions to civil war in Ukraine:

  1. A side effect of the forceful neoliberalization of the country and "fast track" to EU Anschluss adopted by Yanukovich government. From this point of view Ukraine Civil war can be viewed as textbook case of  "disaster capitalism" in action.  Neoliberals in general, and neoliberal countries in particular (read G7), are ready to use shocks and violence to implement their radical policies (aka Washington consensus)  --  neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries.  An interesting nuance here is that economic difficulties for the ordinary people, including mass unemployment and redistribution of wealth up inherent under any neoliberal or semi-neoliberal regime (and which can be easily amplified by external actions) can be used for unleashing color revolution against this "corrupt regime" (as if the next will be less corrupt)  under anti-corruption and "better life promises", which creates a mass support base for the "neoliberal revolutionaries".  Essentially this means conversion of Ukraine into "EU village", a resource base of cheap commodities and cheap workforce.  Starting the same the process that is now fairly advanced in Baltic republics, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece,  and some other central European countries.
  2. The slide of Ukraine toward more nationalist government was also facilitated by the global crisis of neoliberalism of 2008. In this respect Ukraine is not that different  from, say, Hungary, or Poland. So this were not only EU and the USA machination plus Yanukovich corruption and criminality. It looks like Ukraine just is repeating the general political trajectory of Baltic Republics, but  with 23 years delay.  And probably inevitably destined to repeat the mistakes the Baltic countries, especially Latvia, made on this path.
  3. The natural result of obtaining independence and subsequent rise of political importance and power (as guarantors of independence from Russia) of Western Ukrainian nationalists Parties and organizations,  previously completely decimated and eliminated as apolitical force in the USSR. They were resurrected with the full and enthusiastic support of the Ukrainian State and Ukrainian, especially Canadian and the USA, diaspora. As well as some NGO such as Soros foundation.  The fact that Yanukovich himself did quite a lot for resurrection of Svoboda as a political Party usually is swiped under the carpet by Western MSM, which incorrectly (with complete contempt for evidence) proclaiming him being a pro-Russian political figure. While in reality he was a moderate Ukrainian nationalist, who tried to extract some concession both from Russia and West trying to balance between them. In a sense Yanukovich brand of nationalism was not the different from the bran of nationalism which emerged in Dnepropetrovsk and was represented by Kuchma.   The fact that with Svoboda he brought into the nest a cuckoo egg escaped this mediocre and corrupt politician.  Luckily he managed to escape the attempt to kill him after the coup. Also please do not forget that his political mentor was Joe Biden. 
  4. Oligarchic republics has their own  dynamic of development and such a development in Ukraine led to loss of political power of "Donetsk elite". The contributing factors were internal frictions within Donetsk oligarchic clan and the fact that Dnepropetrovsk oligarchs (and first of all Kolomosky) openly sided with nationalists. In other words nationalists were used as the force to remove Yanukovich as a threat to other oligarchic groups.  Ukraine was and still is an oligarchic republic -- owners of big businesses still have a decisive impact on the politics and economy of the country. The Ukrainian oligarchic republic emerged during Leonid Kuchma’s presidency (1994–2004). There were several oligarchic clans in Ukraine with two most important being Donetsk clan and  Dnepropetrovsk clan. They were the cornerstones of the Ukrainian oligarchic democracy. Yanukovich, who represented the Donetsk clan and was closely linked to Akhmetov, was not a satisfactory President for other oligarchic groups. Yanukovich attempt to create "the family" as a new  oligarchic group consisting of his sons and loyal politicians were also viewed with great suspicion (see osw.waw.pl for more information)
  5. A "blowback" of the efforts of the USA to contain and encircle Russia. We can also view Ukraine as the latest victim of US geopolitics, which is directed on encircling, weakening and/or possible dismembering of Russia. And in this sense Maydan coup d'état represents the greatest success of the US diplomacy (and personally President Obama) in this direction (and an important step in the defense of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA) since the dissolution of the USSR. Now the USA managed to get a large, strategically positioned county hostile to Russia for a tiny sum of around five billion dollars invested in organizing color revolution. Please note that Israel in one year gets more. Later that led to forming in March 2018 of anti-Russian alliance of Geordia-Moldova-Ukraine -- another knockdown for Russian diplomacy in the region.  Donbass civil war can be viewed as externality of those efforts.

there were also contributing minor factors such as internal and external pressure on the Provisional Government (and euphoria from Maydan success); the side effect of Putin "overextending" his promises to Donbass residents after Crimea referendum.

Inherent political instability of neoliberal governments in post Soviet republics

Looks like deposing the elected government with the hands of disgruntled (and agitated with controlled by NGO "opposition" MSMs) citizens and few financial injections into opposition (with one stash of cash confiscated from Batkivshchyna offices) is a "sure thing". Just a matter of time and skills of intelligences agencies operatives. This is a "sure thing" method of changing the government  in any xUSSR country with some even rudimentary democratic structures and financial difficulties. Neoliberalism caused gradual sliding of standard of living of population and mass discontent. Which creates political instability and thus opportunity to install a more poor-western government with minimal spending  of money and resources by the  country that initialed such change.  If this results in a subsequent civil conflict, that OK and simplify getting control over strategic resources that happen to be in this country.  In a way it is even desirable outcome.  This latter statement is the essence of what is called "Disaster Capitalism".

While there are regional variations most of post-Soviet republics are oligarchic republics. As such  they have problem both with the  legitimacy of the ruling elite and withstand pressure form major  western countries (where oligarchs  store their assets).  See

It might well be that only "brutal dictatorships" can mount some resistance to such color revolution attempts and democracy is a very bad  idea for a country is low standard of living.

Was this conflict inevitable?

As similar tensions exists in Baltic republics, Moldavia and Kazakhstan it looks like some state of development of post Soviet republics with large Russian speaking minority involves some sort of conflict, as this population generally is not inclined to accept more provincial culture and language of the republic in which they are now citizens or permanent  residents (Latvia discriminates against Russian minority).  But whether such a conflict results and armed struggles and separation of some territory depends on additional circumstances, which might ne present or not.

Before Ukraine we have similar situation in Moldavia were part of the country with dominant Russian speaking population  also formed de-fat independent republic (Transnistria - Wikipedia). In Ukraine itself there were tensions due to attempt of "forceful Ukrainization" of  Crimea as to  lesser extent other  Eastern regions. Even in Kiev population resented forceful Ukrainization.  And the distance from such tensions to armed conflict can be crosses very quickly if favorite conditions  arise. That's why sudden appearance of  the  scene a government with a couple of mediocre and reckless politicians (Yatsenyuk and Turchinov) that  behaves like a bull in a china store was enough. You can imagine  the situation if Quebec  nationalists came to power and declared French language the only official language of Canada in order to diminish/eliminate  cultural and political influence of the USA on Canada ;-).

So the fact that Provisional government come to power in Kiev and in euphoria from their victory started to push Ukrainization further down the road proved to be  powerful enough trigger to light a civil war. Stupid and reckless actions when they encountered some resistance only help further to ignite this conflict.  It would be much wiser adding Russian as a state language but also introducing English as a new official language and requiring police and courts to accept it. Ass well as switch to teaching some subjects in English at high school and universities.

The Donbass region as an arena of this conflict was probably more or less accidental. There were no notable ethnic tensions to justify it. Just a mild resentment to forceful Ukrainization. Only later two groups of population ("vatniki" vs. "banderovtsi") became bitterly involved in this conflict. After several years of fighting and several thousands of civilians killed re-integration of this territory into Ukraine looks like very difficult, if not impossible task.

So Minsk accords, which proposes as a solution to the conflict federalizing Ukraine and granting Donbass the status similar to Crimea autonomy as well as general amnesty ( in return for putting down all arms) are probably by-and-large dead and can be used only for political games.  Even conversion of Ukraine into federative republic and granting Donbass the status of autonomy of a type formerly enjoyed by Crimean now is not enough for Donbass residents and represent too big concession for Kiev. Partially because as economic situation deteriorates,  other parts of Ukraine, especially TransCarpatian region might want the same status.

Economic consequences of Donbass conflict: The Ukrainian Second Great Depression

The  most important effect of the EuroMaydan along with dropping of the standard of living of population is an almost complete and long-term breakup of economic and cultural relations with Russia. The civil war in Donbass  only accelerated and deepened those trends.

We can view post EuroMaydan event as a Second Great Depression  for Ukrainian population (the  first was after the dissolution of the USSR). Ukrainian GDP dropped considerably after EuroMaydan, although exact figures are difficult to come buy ( see Ukraine GDP 1987-2018). Probably at least 50% in comparison with the level achieved in 2013. So it looks like another Great Depression in Ukraine. Also the fact that it is now under umbrella of EU will might eventually kill some Ukrainian  high tech industries and most of machinery manufacturing including auto industry. Without cooperation with Russia aviation industry is already dead (Ukraine has large Antonov factory in Kiev which produced transport planes and couple of other less important factories in Kharkiv) Without Russia cooperation the are all gone.  This is the same process of de-industrialization that we observed in Baltic republics. But it probably will have higher impact on Ukraine as the loss of Russian market is more critical for this country.

Resulting economic chaos and civil war destroyed the standard of living of the majorly of Ukrainian population and created several million of refugees.  Please take into account that one of the driving force of EuroMaydan was a high unemployment rate in Western Ukraine, where the growth of population was fastest (Uniate religion is close to Catholicism and does not encourage birth control).  Now the majority of Ukrainian live of less then $2 a day and will do so for many, many years, if not decades.  And that's what makes the whole EuroMaydan and subsequent Donbass conflict especially tragic, as most people who protested Yanukovich government  were striving for better life, for lower unemployment  and better economic opportunities for themselves and their children.  As all Donbass residents initially wanted was just a decree of cultural autonomy and adoption of Russian language as the second state language.

Now due to deterioration of economics and flow of refugees both to in central regions of Ukraine (especially Kiev region)  and to Russia we have zugzwang situation both for Ukraine and Donbass. Only external forces can benefit from the continuation of the war but the common ground to bring parties to the negotiation table was lost.

In other word the nest losers of those geopolitical games that created EuroMaydan is, unsurprisingly, the Ukrainian population and, first of all, the population of the Donetsk region.  Common people were forced into abject poverty as the result of  a sophisticated geopolitical game played on them with visa free travel and ability to work in EU as a carrot. After EuroMaydan far right nationalism was unleashed to dull the pain of economic rape as some kind of "opium for the masses". It allowed to project the ills brought by more deep neoliberalization of Ukraine and conversion it into debt slave nation on Russia. As the result most of Ukrainian population now is more hostile to Russia.  Of course, Ukrainians were not the first, and they are not the last among the victim of global neoliberal revolution which started with the election of Reagan.

It is surprising how resilient Ukrainians proved in such conditions. This was (and is) simply amazing to watch, despite the tragic nature of the situation.  Of course, in a standard development Kiev became an even larger sex shop for rich Western tourists and pensioners, than under Yanukovich, but this is also typical for other countries in xUSSR space. Still there were no complete economic collapse after EuroMaydan and most of infrastructure continued to function although in decrepit state and there is no money for its modernization. Railways state is especially tragic. But trains are still running.

How Ukrainians survive food prices that approach the USA prices on their salaries is a question that I cannot answer. Probably some local market have lower prices and self-grown vegetables help a lot (many Ukrainians has so called "dachas" from Soviet time, typically a plot 600 sq meters (around 6500 sq feet)  where you can grow fruits and vegetables. But transportation costs now bite hard.

Meat consumption for the majority of population is now severely restricted and all poor people can probably afford are just eggs, milk and pork fat. 

What is interesting that the process of separation of Ukraine from Russia was well under way since obtaining independence as the result of dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and would occur anyway, but probably will less economic losses for Ukrainians and Russians.  Those US propaganda tales about Yanukovich government being pro-Russian are just what they are fairy tales. No Ukrainian government since independence was pro-Russian, only the level of anti-Russian sentiments varied (with Yushchenko being the most anti-Russian, being just another Western Ukrainian nationalist).  Yanukovich  actually supported creation of Western Ukrainian training camps and indoctrination of Western Ukrainian youth into anti-Russian mindset. 

Now Ukraine started the process the results of which we can see in Baltic states: the elimination of Russian culture and language and almost complete economic isolation from Russia, as well as opening the market to Western Europe and the USA on conditions dictated to them (which are neo-colonial conditions). In Baltic republics that was smoothed by transfers from EU. While Ukraine faces full economic consequences of breaking of economic ties with Russia and subsequent gradual elimination of those sectors of manufacturing which can't compete with EU (which is the most sectors).  This de-industrialization process already started.

All economic hopes of EuroMaydan revolution -- higher salaries , more jobs, lower prices" were dashed very quickly as grivna was devaluated very quickly.  And with it the standard of living of the population (although not to the same extent, as food prices were increasing more slowly then devaluation of grivna).  But it was the  "liberalization" of gas price for population which let to dramatic jump of the cost of heating of houses and apartments, which in many cases exceeded the size of pensions of people living in those apartments. For many the only way to survive was not to pay.

As the result of neoliberal policies pursued by new Provisional government and then Poroshenko government the price of hydrocarbons for consumers (and first of all natural gas which is widely used in heating homes) in Ukraine skyrocketed and the cost of heating in winter became a huge problem in many regions and even large cities like Kiev (where salaries are probably 30% higher the at the periphery).  Since the victory of EuroMaydan the currency dropped more then 300% from around 8 grivna per dollar to around 28 per dollar. Economic promises of EuroMaydan can be viewed now only a big hoax.

The cost of heating on one bedroom apartment (say 35 square meters; around 350 square feet) the last winter exceeded the half of the average monthly salary (or full average pension). See  Cost of Living in Kiev. Updated Prices May 2017 for the current costs. Please note that average salary in Ukraine is around 3000 grivna (higher in Kiev) or $110 a month (with minimal 1000 grivna or $35 a month which is close to $1 a day -- absolute poverty; see Average Monthly Salary In Ukraine - Poltava Travel).  And the recent conversion rate is around 28 grivna per dollar

With food priced close to the level of the USA (especially for meat; vegetables, especially potato, are probably twice or three times cheaper). Ukrainians  can only thank IMF for their extreme generosity and valiant efforts in converting them into debt slaves. But that's the nature of neoliberal world order and we can do nothing about it. 

Unlike far right forces in Hungary and Poland, Ukrainian far right in this case also proved as close to neoliberal in economics as one can get, real neoliberal stooges, which proved to be a really toxic combination.

If Russia cuts supplies of gas via Ukraine (for which Ukraine gets transit fees), the country might be bankrupt. Trump is not willing to compensate for lost revenue and is generally adverse to economic aid. All he wants countries to buy as much the US weapons as possible and pay for them.  He did sold Ukraine coal to substitute for higher quality Donbass coal at double prices (the process that started under Obama I think; also South African coal was bought, which is cheaper, of lesser quality).  Which is completely within the framework of the "The Art of the Deal". The USA now also supply fuel for the Ukraine nuclear stations, displacing Russia (with some technological risk, associated with the change of the suppler). If the developments in Ukraine after EuroMaydan mirror  the same in Eastern European counties Ukrainian energy sector will be controlled by foreign multinationals, which will extract "a peace of flesh"  from the population, no matter what. Trump administration also is weighting in selling Ukraine advanced weapon, for which Ukraine will need to pay, depraving population of basic needs (Poroshenko government is locked into "Guns instead of butter policy" and can't changes it )

Economic and political consequences for Russia

Russia also suffered greatly from breaking ties with Ukraine but this was Washington design. That standard of living of population achieved at the end of 2013 did not return for the next 5 years.

Economic ties hit Russia directly as export to Ukraine was by-and-large eliminated. Import from Ukraine was also gradually eliminated. Now Ukraine import uranium rods for its nuclear electric stations from the USA, and recently started to import coal form the USA too. Paying probably twice more that comparable supplies from Russia. I think that it is only a matter of time when the  national energy companies will change hands. Ukraine also started to buy the US arms and all cooperation in arms industry with Russia stopped.   

The level of hostility to Russia which was present even under previous Ukrainian governments (especially Yushchenko), dramatically increased due to civil war in Donbass. For which Russia carry partial blame: when first they encouraged people uprising against Ukrainian nationalists who took power in Kiev via a coup, and then abandoned them limiting themselves to supply of weapons and volunteers despite implicit promises of repeating Crimea scenario, if population vote so in a referendum.  This is a personal fault of Mr. Putin. Donbass occurred on one hand because Putin irresponsible promise that Referendum would be treated just like in Crimea, but than by even more irresponsible behavior of junta (pushed by the USA which pursued their own geopolitical goal in the region in which Ukraine played the role of the patsy the only role of which is to weaken Russia as severely as possible). Far right junta moved army forces to pacify essentially minor conflict which started because of their overzealous application of the language law. There were no even minor ethnic conflict in this region with the rest of the county, which make this civil war and breakaway region somewhat unique.

Russian now has a huge and long-term problem with Ukraine. This is now hostile country, another Poland on the borders. But even more unpredictable and hostile. And sharing the language means that Ukrainian intelligence agencies represent a huge threat. Exactly like Washington wanted them to be.  As one member of Obama administration Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia and Ukraine, Evelyn Farkas  (Who the hell is Evelyn Farkas)  boasted "We have very good intelligence on Russia." Which is not bad from the point of preventing WWIII, but opens the door for various false flag operations under Russian flag, like Russiagate. 

Moreover it now is a perfect opportunity for EU to demonstrate its usual level of Russophobia. As Beckow  aptly observer  (June 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT )

...EU wants cheap, reliable energy from Russia and to export to Russia as much as possible without interference from US. That is pure business. But the dominant political forces in EU are anti-Russia, some because they are fed by the security-military-academic spending, some because they 'studied' and were politically formed in US or UK. Some because that's just the way they are.

There is a strong, EU domestic anti-Russian population based on hundreds of years of history, resentment over losses (Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland), self-brainwashing about perceived abuse (Poland, Baltics, eastern Europeans in general), hatred and contempt towards anything 'eastern', and the traditional anglo anti-Russian policies. Recently new emotional hatreds have been added with endless demonising Russia about xenophobia, hooligans, gays, stray dogs, anything the creative propagandists can push. Most Europeans turn out on reflection to be quite gullible and stupid.

There are a few minor exceptions and some Latin nations are more level headed. There is also a minority view in the German world, mostly based on their business realism that is neutral toward Russia, but not pro-Russian. There will be no political rapprochement between EU and Russia. There will be better business relations because water flows downhill and EU-Russia economic ties are such an obvious fit. The cultural hatred and political hostility will go on.

After WWII it took most Europeans less than a generation to revert to the traditional anti-Russian attitudes. In some cases, nations that were literally saved from extermination were more resentful than grateful. In Poland it took less than a year, in Czech Republic 20 years, but the old visceral hatreds emerged again.

My advise to Russia would be to mind its own business and not try to sacrifice for the others or to help them. It has always backfired because the cultural milieu in Europe is naturally resentful of Russia and the east in general. Business doesn't change that.

In other words the Ukrainian civil triggered resurgence of pre-existing anti-Russian forces in Europe. Contrary to a widespead myth, European business interests do not represent a powerful anti-russophobic force. The cancellation of SouthStream and Russian troubles with NorthStream II clearly attest that. While anti-Russian sanctions have cost Europe billions, there is no countrvailing force that  can stopsanctions. Also the US influence is way to big for most governments even try. This is why for years now various EU politicians and public figures have made some noises about lifting the sanctions, but when it came to the vote – they all voted as told by the real bosses.

But this major  geopolitical victory of the Obama administration may eventually turn into Pyrrhic victory as it facilitated re-rapprochement of Russia and China. With some signs of an economic and military union. Still Obama managed first to state color revolution in Russia (which failed, but was  no small feat) and  then to inflict real and substantial economic and political damages to Russia via Ukrainian civil war.

The Ukrainian  civil war disrupted many vital supply lines from Ukraine which were inherited from the USSR times.  Replacing them with native production, or other foreign sources takes both time and money.  Even Russian military-industrial complex was slightly disrupted as some types of engines were produced only in Ukraine (but Russians got the signal that supplies from Ukraine for Russian military industrial complex will be in 2005 with the election of Yushchenko, so they have has a decade to prepare for such a move). But the damage in "leaking vital technologies" still was done -- in the USSR years Ukraine (unlike Baltic republics) was treated like almost equal partner and now at the moment of dissolution had many critical USSR military technologies available.  Which now probably found new homes outside Ukraine, as Ukraine was always desperate for money and sold everything that can find a foreign buyer, including a large part of the military arsenal inherited from the USSR. 

In turn Ukrainian civil war also led to growth of anti-Americanism within normally pro-American part of Russian population. And some cooling of normally very friendly relations with Ukrainian industrialists and gastarbeiters. Of course. Russian wave of anti-Americanism never reached even one tenth of the Neo-McCarthyism witch hunt current in the USA. Where a simple contact with the Russian ambassador is as close to the treason as one can get ;-). Russian elite generally tries to cool down hot heads, understanding the key role of the USA as the major country in Western block as well as technological powerhouse.  And the fact that after Yeltsin years economic rape of Russia it remains weak economically and depends on the West in major technologies.

But still growing anti-Ukrainian and anti-American sentiments  in Russia represent  an important political factor... and probably like growing hostility of Ukrainian population toward Russia is also a long time factor. First of all this  factor almost completely eliminated political influence of Russian neoliberals (aka "Liberasts") for probably a next decade or more. They now are not  visible politically; just look at the most recent Russian Presidential elections. Unlike in 2012, where they were very active and enjoyed support of US NGO (now kicked out of the country) and financial support from Western embassies this time they were a sad joke. Even for such a major player in Russian politics as USA embassy support of neoliberal fifth  column become more difficult and requires more inventive schemes, especially in transferring  funds.  Now Russian neoliberals (including former cabinet members such as Kudrin) are viewed by population even less charitable than lobbists of the forign interest in Russia (aka fifth column) and more like traitors.

Paradoxically Russia did not block Ukrainian gastarbeiters, despite rather high level of unemployment and economic recession. Generally in economic relations with Ukraine  Russia  tried not to rock the boat. Which just allowed full freedom to rock it by Ukrainian side as if cutting economic relation with the largest neighbor and dominant in the region country is something that might be beneficial to Ukraine in a long run, outside plain revenge motives. 

In any case, even without open military confrontation,  this civil war guarantees that economic relations of Ukraine with Russia will continue to be in the deep freeze for the foreseeable future. While state relations now are marketed by open hostility on the part of Ukrainian State and  attempt to undermine Russia where they can. And Ukrainian  security services do have an opportunity to inflict some damage on Russia. although fear of retaliation might keep them in check. Still they provides great help the USA neocons, supplying all kind of damaging information, which helps to  turn Russia into the enemy of choice once again (despite Russia being yet another neoliberal country), much like the USSR once was during the Cold War. So it is a part of Cold War II.

Far right nationalists as patsies on neoliberals

It is interesting and pretty surprising that that ethno-linguistic nationalism proved to be not always an opponent of neoliberal globalization. Especially in emigrant/diaspora communities. For example Canadian Ukrainian nationalists (which are more radical nationalists and more Russia-hating than most Ukrainians) played far from constructive role in Ukrainian political life. Emigration breeds political extremism and combination of inflow of political extremists with economic adventurists seeking "make money fast" ventures proved to be really toxic for Ukraine. Theoretically Ukrainian nationalism should know the lessons from being a neighbor of a powerful nation with the large territory (the USA) and the problems with the sovereignty that such an "oversized" neighbor creates (As   noted  Washington treats Canada like a vassal, though most Canadians don’t seem to care). And they should be voice of reason in relations between Ukraine and Russia. But this was not the case. Canadian nationalists most put gasoline on nationalistic fire which started in Ukraine with the obtaining independence.  Geography is a destiny in some way. It is sad that they like to fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian, excluding themselves and their families.  It is the same problem as female chickenhawks in the US government: female neocons are even more militaristic and chauvinistic then their male counterparts (look at Victoria Nuland, or Hillary Clinton).

Far right  nationalists were quickly sidelined by hard core neoliberals led by Yatsenyuk and lost any influence on economic policy.  Like Germans say "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go".  And Yatsenyuk was a neoliberal who only pretended to be nationalist (much like his former boss Yulia Timoshenko). 

While Yatsenyuk was a fake nationalist, he was forced to act as the real one: Provisional government did send the army to fight and die in Donbass region. As a result we have what we have: neoliberalization, conversion of the country into a debt slave, loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass region in a country with no ethnic conflicts before EuroMaydan.  And Poroshenko government has even less sovereignty then the corrupt Yanukovich regime.  It's completely subservient to the USA and IMF. While Ukraine now is full member of "debt slave" club (Yanukovich government actually managed to shrink national debt a little bit; at least not to enlarge it).

But an important fact is that all such color revolutions, being part of "disaster capitalism" games bring more poverty and sufferings (often with the possibility of civil war) to the population. So they are essentially a counter-revolution, or more precisely revolutions by financial oligarchy against people. But that becomes evident to agitated population only when it is too late (and  now many Ukrainians are longing for the return of the times  of "corrupt Yanukovich regime").   The Yanukovich story proves that it is really dangerous to by a "half-neoliberal" and only "half of a dictator" (actually Yanukovich proved to be a despicable coward, who only accidentally, by pure luck,  escaped the destiny of colonel Kaddafi.).  As unforgettable Bush II used to say You're either with us, or against us.

Due to civil war Ukraine lost probably up to a hundred thousand people and a couple of millions were displaced.  It also lost several hundred billion dollars as economic consequences of the war. Some found refuge in Russia, some in central and western regions of Ukraine, but their social status and well-being were severely affected by this displacement.  Tiny percentage managed to emigrate the western countries, which are not that eagerly accepting a stream of Ukrainian refugees.  Which they essentially created (making the situation very similar with Syria).  Please note that there was no ethnic or religious tensions in Donbass under previous governments, which can at least partially justify this civil war. It really is an 100% artificial creation, driven by the USA and EU geopolitical moves in the region as well as Russia counter moves.  

Ukrainian nationalists also played pretty destructive role facilitating the abrupt and compete cut of economic relations with Russia, ignoring devastating economic consequences of such a move.  If Russia reciprocated by prohibiting Ukrainian nationals to work in Russia and cutting the supply of gas via Ukraine, that might well lead to the bankruptcy of the country and splitting it into several independent statelets with Western Ukraine probably being the first,  or the second.  So much for "Shche ne vmerla Ukraina".  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

When Poroshenko became a legitimate President via nationwide election (Yanukovich formally remained the legitimate president until this moment, because he was alive and did not abdicate his post) he became the hostage of old policies of Provisional government, despite having initial reservations about them.  Some oligarchs clearly decided to pour more kerosene on fire, especially Ihor Kolomoyskyi

New troubles for nationalist government in Kiev are on horizon as Trump administration might not willing to pay Ukraine the money which were flowing to the country as low percent loans under Obama administration. As the same time they are encouraging the Ukrainian government to buy as much of US arms and other goods (trains, coal, fuel for nuclear stations) as possible. They will sell it even natural gas, if possible.

As the result a severe pension crisis might loom on the horizon even taking into account miserable level of pensions in Ukraine.  In case the EU does not come to the rescue, many Ukrainian pensioners will simply starve. As of December 2017 grivna crosses the mark of 28 per dollar.

Transition from semi-independent state to "debt slave"

In no way Yanukovich's Ukraine should be viewed as a sovereign state. At best I would call it "semi-independent". The USA actually has a big, if not decisive, influence on Ukrainian foreign policy. From this point of view EuroMaydan changed very little. After Kuchma Ukraine was already in semi-colonial state with most important decisions dictated by "Washington Obcom" (Joe Biden was a big friend and mentor of Yanukovich until he put a knife into his back; Manafort was a US political operative who managed Yanukovich election campaign; both names are hardly Russian).   And Marafort was probably closely connected to the US intelligence agencies and did pressed Yanukovich to pursue pro-Us policies The Mueller Indictments Still Don’t Add Up to Collusion The Nation:

There is widespread supposition that Manafort's dealings in Ukraine make him a prime candidate for collusion with Moscow. But that stems from the mistaken belief that Manafort promoted Kremlin interests during his time in Kiev. The opposite appears to be the case. The New York Times recounts that Manafort "pressed [then–Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor] Yanukovych to sign an agreement with the European Union that would link the country closer to the West -- and lobbied for the Americans to support Ukraine's membership." If that picture is accurate, then Manafort's activities in Ukraine during the period for which he has been indicted were diametrically opposed to the Kremlin's agenda.

He also was deeply unpopular and posed to be defeated in the next Presidential elections.

In a way this new arrangement represent the reversal of the result of WWII and partial accomplishment of the goals of Nazi Germany as for Slavic people in Ukraine and Russia. The net result is close -- abysmal poverty of the majority of population. But without planned by Nazy Germany extermination of Slavic population to make space for German colonists (essentially Hitler plan was a plagiarism from the USA colonial past with Slavonic nations instead of Indians). Remember General Plan Ost ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost):

German Plan Ost to exterminate ” inferior races ”

Percentages of ethnic groups to be destroyed and/or deported to Siberia by Nazi Germany from future settlement areas.[15][16][3]

Ethnic group/Nationality Population percent subject to removal

Russians[17][16]           50–60% to be physically eliminated and another 15% to be sent to Western Siberia
Estonians[3][18]            almost 50%
Latvians[3]                    50%
Czechs[16]                   50%
Ukrainians[16]              65%
Belarusians[16]            75%
Poles[16]                     20 million, or 80–85%
Lithuanians[3]              85%
Latgalians[3]                100%

Country was forcefully  converted into the debt slave without any chances to get out, another "neo-colony" with formal sovereignty as a fig leaf and nationalism as "opium for the people".   Neoliberal colony controlled via financial instruments and local fifth column of compradors instead of occupation army. Ukraine now repeats the history of Latin America: borrow billions of dollars from foreign banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back to foreign banks, and let the ordinary people pay back the principal and interest.

The EU desire to increase the pace of colonizing Ukraine played a very important role in unleashing this civil war. EU along with  the USA was instrumental in bringing far right junta to power  as they correctly assumed that being in economics ersatz-nationalists they will suite EU economic interests better then Yanukovich government.   EU Anschluss  agreement turns Ukraine into market for EU goods and  source of  cheap raw materials. It is undeniable that under the slogans of democratization EU played a sinister, neo-colonial role in EuroMaydan color revolution. Especially such countries as Poland, Sweden and Germany. Which encouraged and participated in financing of the coup against the corrupt Yanukovich regime clearly understanding that the next regime might be even worse, equally incompetent and no less corrupt, but were pursuing their own regional interests, which at the time coincided with the USA geopolitical interests and have had a distinct anti-Russian angle (especially for Poland and Sweden). At the expense of ordinary Ukrainians who became pawns in a bigger geo-political game. That reminds me  XIX century colonial policies of European powers.  Just on a new level.

EU honchos correctly assumed that weakened after 1991 Russia with not cease supplying hydrocarbons to EU as the result of the coup and the Russian sanctions, if any, will be minor (they were limited to food items so far) and Russia can't stop importing high technology goods and machinery from the EU and the USA.  Poland economics also depends on Russian gas and transit fees and that cut would be a serious economic hit, although not to the extent of the same for Ukrainian economics, but Poland government decided to take this risk and won.  Also the level of hate of Russia of Polish elite traditionally is one of the highest in Europe (although it is not yet shared by most of Polish population). Just looks as such figure as former minister of foreign affairs in Tusk government Radoslaw Sikorski who was instrumental in forcing Yanukovich into complete capitulation (masked as an agreement with opposition leaders about peaceful transition of power via forthcoming Presidential elections (which Yanukovich would definitely lose), but which opposition did not intended to obey and used to depose him as police was withdrawn and did not defend government quarters (unlike President Salvador Allende, who was one of the first victims of neoliberal coup d'état, Yanukovich proved to be despicable coward, but  that; another story).  According  to Wikipedia:

Sikorski was involved in the events of the winter 2014 Ukraine Euromaidan protests at the international level. He signed on 21 February along with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders Vitaly Klitchko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Oleg Tyagnibok as well as the Foreign Ministers of Russia, France and Germany a memorandum of understanding to promote peaceful changes in Ukrainian power.[60]

In other words there are no good guys in this story, Yanukovich, Russia, the USA, the EU, provisional government and Poroshenko all were essentially hostile to the interests of the Ukrainian population and were instrumental in driving the population to a really abject, African level poverty. They all conspired to inflict hardships on Ukrainian population.  Ukrainian neoliberal oligarchy proved to be pretty destructive to the country, which reminds me the situation in Greece. And the country now is the same debt slave as Greece.  With the only difference that there is no civil war in Greece.

Shadow of Transdnistia

Trnasdnistia is a region of Madavia which becem infomarlly independet after the dissolution of the USSR (Transnistria - Wikipedia )

After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between Moldova and the breakaway Transnistrian territory escalated into a military conflict that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire in July of the same year. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarised zone, comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory's political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognized but de facto independent semi-presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency and vehicle registration.[11][12][13][14] Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms. It is the only country still using the hammer and sickle on its flag.

The problem of Donbass became frozen and with so much blood spilled by both sides re-incorporation of the region into Ukraine became exceedingly difficult task which need huge amount of money, money that neither the EU which facilitated this crisis, not the US who fanned insurgency against Yanukovich regime pursuing its own geopolitical interests are willing to pay. Shelling by Ukrainian side also does not help to resolve tension (and reciprocated by shelling  from separatists side) with people killed on the both sides.  Idea of conquering Donbass by military force might  succeed at great cost at blood and treasure, but also might end the same way as attempt for Georgia to conquer Abkhazia.

Attempts to solve the conflict by military means first by Provisional government (which was pretty stupid move, as initially the conflict was minor and could be solve by minor concessions) and then by Poroshenko administration (which inherited the problem and nationalistic hawks from Provisional government) put Ukrainian economics into a bigger and bigger hole.  and remember the initial issue was just a status of Russian language in the region. nothing else.  That reminds me medieval religious wars. So far the net result is loss of Crimea, destroyed industrial region and several millions of displaced population. The initial attempt to crush Donbass by Yatsenyuk-Turchinov Provisional government (which was pushed by the USA) failed dismally.

Can anything be done about this situation?

To preserve the political stability of Ukraine and to start climbing out of the debt  hole (or at least stop digging it deeper) the slide in the standard of living of population needs to be stopped. It is easy to say but very difficult to accomplish. The status of "debt slave" leave very little space for maneuvering. It also makes more difficult taming the political influence of oligarchs, halting  the war and cutting military expenses. Those three might be  steps in the right direction.

The resration of the standard  of living of population at least to the level achieved under Yanukovich would be the best revenge (before oil collapse Russia I saw figures that suggested that Russia has had the highest standard of living among xUSSR countries, above $1K a month (close to 2K in Moscow) with free university education and basic medical care; I do not know much about Russia but after oil prices collapse officially median salary dropped to say 23500/50=$470  or approximately 50% (Зарплаты в России — Русский эксперт) a month in 2016; they they rose in 2017 and 2018 due to growth of oil prices are still nowhere close to 2013 level ($23K a year).  And purchasing power of $500 in Russia is probably around $1K-1.5K in comparison with the USA or two to three times higher then in the USA (the same is true in Ukraine). This might be also be the benchmark to strive for.

From the other point  of view, the transfer of Ukraine to a colony of EU is probably the event that should have been expected after the dissolution of the USSR and now needs to be played with cool head and skilled hands.  There is some scale for maneuvering in this situation too. The task of extracting maximum benefits from this status and minimizing the damage is difficult but not impossible. But this needs talented politicians and cooperation of different  political parties, who areas in which Ukraine currently is lacking.

NOTE: In Eastern Europe there are very few regions which does not changed hands several times in the last, say, 300 years. And as balance of power after the dissolution of the USSR dramatically changed in favor of EU it is natural that it started absorbing the countries of Warsaw block and some former republics. For example, Baltic countries are only nominally sovereign and are by-and-large ruled from what is called "Brussels Obcom." With the current wave of neo-colonialism I would say that this EU might well continue this process with Moldavia, Belorussia, and Armenia, as another possible "associated states" after Ukraine (Georgia actually is already in EU orbit). Getting EU into "stans" might provoke a strong reaction from China, so EU probably with tread more carefully.


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Old News ;-)

[Jun 18, 2018] The next year the strategic position of Ukraine might get worse

Jun 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Beckow , June 16, 2018 at 12:24 am GMT

If Kiev wants to attack Donbas they better hurry. After World Cup, and definitely next year when the pipelines bypassing Ukraine will be ready, Ukraine's strategic situation will get worse. We are in a transition phase: sh..t happened in 2013-15 that is impossible to undo, but there were fortunately constraints on all sides that prevented a meltdown. In a year or two most of those constraints will be gone.

Saker is correct that EU countries will not work with Russia. Blaming it all on Washington was always stupid – there are forces in Europe, in all countries, who want a confrontation with Russia. Any event, real or fake, will be used to escalate. West cannot lose this one without another fight. And if they sit on their hands, they will eventually lose with a disillusioned Ukraine and slowly disintegrating EU. Populist energy needs to be re-directed eastward, and for that a more aggressive policy is required. This is not pessimism, there simply is no way for EU elite to climb down. How could UK make up with Russia without looking like complete idiots? Or Macron and Merkel? The hostility is at this point inherent in the situation – what started out as a badly thought-out attempt to get some quick goodies (bases in Crimea, Nato expansion, sell weapons) has evolved into a real death spiral.

We are one Franz Ferdinand moment away from a catastrophe. Let's enjoy the games while we still can. Trump knows this, so he is trying desperately to organize a summit or send some messages of conciliation. But he is powerless and it might be too late for that. Hubris never dissipates, it requires a disaster and an elite turnover to cure hubris.

Mattheus , June 16, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
Saker is once again completely wrong. His theories fall short to explain lots of real events. He got hooked on his "Anglo-Zionist" theory and "one Hegemon", which is far from explaining the reality on the ground. There is no one single hegemon, but two powerful interest groups in the west. One of the power centers is dominated by the Rothschilds from the City of London and the other ruled by the Rockerfellers which is based in the US.
The powers described above are sometimes working in collusion but sometimes work against each other (They were in collusion during the Soviet Afghan war for instance). Currently, we don't see a collusion but a war being waged in between these two groups. I think it is highly self evident, so much so that it is happening almost all in the open. In the modern history we haven't witnessed such a openly fought war ever before (between these two powers). All is at stake and the war in between these two is vicious. Thus you can explain Trump's attitude towards EU, everlasting character assasination of Trump by certain opposing circles in the US, high level resignations, the state of confusion of Nato and much more. If this theory is right (and I think it is much more viable than any other theory that I came across in the Alt-Med), this makes Russia firmly embedded into one of the camps. Unfortunately, the position that Russia took makes him not a sovereign power but on contrary puts him into a subservient role. The late actions of Russia, especially in Syria, is quite telling. I know people who admire Russia get quite frustrated when they hear such a scenario and outcome, but this is possibly the only way Putin believes that Russia can survive. Thus it explains his latest house clean-up of Euroasian integrists. Even worse, if you believe in this scenario, it brings Russia and China against each other especially in the long run. This scenario also put a full stop to the idealist Euroasian multi-polar world order.
Here is the link to an older video in Russian with English subtitles. The guy's name is Andrei Fursov and he has some interesting things to say regarding this subject. This interview was just before Obama was elected but is still quite relevent. His newer videos seems to have lost steam, possibly because he is working for some state connected Russian institutions and think-thanks and thus I think he is somewhat restricted. After all it is again the famous "Game Theory", isn't it?
byrresheim , June 16, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
As long as the Author keeps talking about Ukronazis, we know that he is not at all prepared to see any problems on the Russian side at all.

Which serves devalue his argument, even if there are a lot of valid points otherwise.

Beckow , June 17, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@Philip Owen

I don't think you realize that armies need supplies. To break into Donbas cities would be hard enough, but to re-supply them would be impossible. Civilians would mostly evacuate, so there would be little to 'hide in'. Kiev cannot win militarily as long as Russia opposes it. Russia can always blast their bases from air, or with missiles. Don't kid yourself, if Russia has the will, they will prevail.

Since you mentioned 2014, there was a perfect opportunity for Maidanistas to avoid this. All they had to do was to be friendly and accommodating to its Russian minority. Offer them autonomy, re-assure them, promise that trade and ties with Russia would continue. Kiev did the exact opposite, an extremely bad tactic. US kept on telling them to cool it, that one doesn't win by attacking before ready. But in Kiev emotions prevailed, and so we are where we are.

Sooner or later a more accommodating government in Kiev will try the 'let bygones be bygones' tactic on Russia. If we are lucky enough to make it that far.

[Jun 17, 2018] Ukraine as reflection of USA. When masters fall out their men get the clout by Mark Kravets

Dec 26, 2017 | medium.com

So-called Ukrainian 'maidans' have bored the world community to death. And the public has been taking the protests currently under way in Kiev for no more than traditional autumn and winter open-air parties, similar to the Parisian 'fire shows'. Meanwhile, much more significant confrontation has been taking place in Kiev, alongside with the circus of ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. An inner conflict between two anticorruption and power-wielding departments of the country is long overdue. In their relations with the media, both representatives of those organizations and members of various Verkhovna Rada fractions have been describing specific processes that are taking place in Ukraine as 'Makhnovshchina' or a war of all against all, literally speaking.

After returning from the international anti-corruption forum organized by the U.S. State Department, Nazar Holodnitsky, head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) of Ukraine, stated in an interview to TSN , the Ukrainian TV channel, that a standoff of law enforcement agencies may escalate into a war harmful to entire Ukraine. Thus, a conflict between the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) has evolved into a hybrid war with interrogations involving physical and mental pressure and mutual accusations of all sorts of evils. Delegates of both sides have simultaneously visited their U.S. sponsors and come back comforted with just another assurance of '1000% support'.

Such confrontation of the government institutions raises eyebrows, I must say. State Department has publicly been sympathized with both the corruption fighters and the General Prosecutor's Office upon condition of the settlement of conflict by legal means and punishment of officials guilty of criminal charges. Meanwhile, the FBI has also been drawn in this undeclared war. In June 2016, the FBI and NABU adopted the Memorandum of Understanding, which allows the FBI to assist NABU and SAP in the matter of investigations and implementation of anti-corruption actions. The Bureau's special agents and analysts have been working in NABU on a temporary rotational basis.

The mere presence of the FBI suggests an idea about another U.S. security service which has been standing invisibly by in Ukraine, since it gained independence. This is the CIA, a classic rival of the FBI. The very secret visit in 2014 of the former Central Intelligence Agency chief John O. Brennan preceded the beginning of active hostilities in Ukraine. The CIA stood behind the appointment of the recent Kiev government. It had also protected the acting president of the country from rivals, up to a certain time. For instance, they conduced to the resignation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former rather ambitious Prime Minister of Ukraine who was in conflict with Petro Poroshenko and running for his post.

That helps explain the real cause of furious intransigence of NABU and the General Prosecutor's Office throwing wild accusations at each other. They have virtually been used by power-wielding structures and political forces of another state for a showdown. A never-ending internal fighting in the American national security environment has become the talk of the town being eventually accreted with new dirty wash. It seems that it has become more acute, with the passing of time.

For example, the FBI dealt a hard blow to the CIA bringing 12-count charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements, and other against Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate, Richard Gates. His other partner, Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager was involved as well. Manafort was renowned for his associations with the CIA and for consulting the Party of Regions which was led by Victor Yanukovych. It became clear who was he FBI's source of such detailed and valuable data after the statements by Artem Sytnyk , Director of NABU and Serhiy Leshchenko , a Ukrainian MP.

Nevertheless, the CIA won at this stage of confrontation, because Trump came to power. Even support to the current President of the USA prior to the elections wasn't of much assistance to the FBI Director Comey.

History has witnessed a number of episodes when Ukraine was a stage for showdown by political forces from other countries. It never ended peacefully. As far back as in the XVII century Ukrainian territory had become a theatre of operations owing to the bloody strife between Polish hetmans (high military commanders in the Army of the Kingdom of Poland) of Ukrainian and Cossack origin. As a result, lands of the Zaporizhian Host voluntarily pledged allegiance to Russia.

During World War II the Ukrainian people suffered much harder. At that time the Third Reich was intensely seeking for ways to weaken the USSR, even before it invaded Poland in 1939. It was decided to use the ancient divide-and rule tactics proven by Julius Caesar, involving gradual tearing away of territories with malcontent population. Ukraine was considered the most prospective area for fomenting disaffection.

However, there also was both ideological and political discord among the highest ranks of the Third Reich. Thus, Alfred Rosenberg, the main ideologue of Nazism, along with admiral Wilhelm Canaris (who was accused of 'spiritual instigation' of a plot against Hitler) were planning the establishment of Ukrainian buffer state controlled by the Third Reich. Using such promises they managed to recruit Andriy Melnyk, a central figure in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and notorious Stepan Bandera who, just like Mr. Yatsenyuk, was striving to lead the government in independent Ukrainian state. If the second one kept clinging to his aims all the time, Melnyk was good at matching to desires of his sponsors from Hitler's surrounding. When Himmler and Koch didn't recognize Rosenberg's ideas and wanted to weaken his power in the National Socialist Worker's Party, Melnyk was quick to assure them of his willingness to cooperate on any terms, especially when they let him know that Fuhrer didn't like the idea of a Ukrainian buffer state.

It is a paradox that those relations that had developed both within various branches of OUN-UPA and the Third Reich senior ranks coordinating them were similar to the recent situation in Ukraine. Ukrainian nationalist leaders were used not only for German purposes, but also for elimination of competitors in power. For instance, Rosenberg, after all, had to abandon his point of view. Many of his influential followers resigned just like chief Comey did to the delight of chief Pompeo, this May. Although NABU, the organization most thoroughly maintaining a steady U.S. course prepared for Ukraine, has been successfully continuing investigations, digging into Poroshenko who fell into disfavor for his poor record. And here you are, Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a close acquaintance of the U.S. president's national security advisor McMaster and Secretary of Defense Mattis has indirectly supported Saakashvili's demonstration. In September, Saakashvili hanged out happily with contenders of the recent president in future election Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and Andriy Sadoviy, in Lviv. Now a big friend of Senator McCain Yulia Timoshenko and a number of Verkhovna Rada MPs endorse him.

This mess of warring parties seems to be disordered and extremely headachy. The situation has been much worse for the number of competing forces and foreign organizations standing behind them in Ukraine was much greater during the Third Reich and it continues to be so at present. The recent Ukrainian bellum omnium contra omnes has been a reflection of competitive battle between various security and governmental agencies in the USA.

A single distinct and unequivocal fact is that being a neighbour of such a huge state as Russia, Ukraine was always suffering from those who wish to weaken that influential country. Over and over again throughout Ukrainian history the country was exploited, with nationalist sentiments artificially ignited and false promises made. Even 'humane' Rosenberg's scheme ascribed Ukraine the role of a mere supplier of raw materials and a buffer state between Germany and Eastern Slavic countries without any right to independence.

As such, the USA regards Ukraine as an administered territory which is useful for strategic and economic aims. They skillfully manipulate Kiev government with carrot and stick. Undesirable Ukrainian political puppet might be branded as corrupt and replaced by more manageable nominee, at any time. There is always a possibility to initiate another blood shedding Maidan with oppressions and civil war, in case of urgency. Today's Ukraine is no freer than it was in 1941, during the invasion of Nazi Germany. Melnyks, banderas, hetmans skoropadskies have been replaced by new 'heroes', who never changed their essence. For evanescent promises and artificially inflated ambitions they've been tearing the country apart without mercy either to each other, or their countrymen. Meanwhile, the world community has been watching with approval the beacon of democracy vigorously setting things to order in 'dark and ignorant' Ukraine. Each of them thinking, 'Better them than me.'

[Jun 15, 2018] Putin, Donbass, emigration of Ukranians to Russia and US neocons foreign policy

An interesting point about refugees and emigration of Ukrainians to Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... Donbass is a civil conflict involving some Russian support for the rebels, who're overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. These individuals have a realistic basis to oppose the Kiev based regimes that came after the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian president. ..."
"... During the American Revolution, most of the pro-British fighters were said to be colonists already based in America. Furthermore, the American revolutionaries received significant support from France. With these factors in mind, the Donbass rebels don't seem less legit than the American revolutionaries. ..."
"... Some Kiev regime elements positively reference the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs (known as Operation Storm) as a solution for ending the rebel position in Donbass. Russia doesn't seek a massive refugee problem in Donbass and some other parts of the former Ukrainian SSR. As is, a sizeable number of Ukrainian residents have fled to Russia. ..."
"... Putin isn't anti-US in the manner claimed by Peters. Moreover, Peters is clearly more anti-Russian (in a narrow minded way at that) than what can be reasonably said of how Putin views the US. Putin's obvious differences with neocons, neolibs and flat out Russia haters isn't by default anti-US. He was the first foreign leader to console the US following 9/11. The Russian president has been consistently on record for favoring better US-Russian ties (even inquiring about Russia joining NATO at one point), thereby explaining why he has appeared to have preferred Trump over Clinton. ..."
"... the Russians (by and large) prefer predictability. As a general rule this is otherwise true. However, Clinton's neocon/neolib stated views on Russia have been to the point where many Russians felt willing to take a chance with Trump, whose campaign included a comparatively more sympathetic take of their country. At the same time, a good number of Russians questioned whether Trump would maintain that stance. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mikhail , Website June 14, 2018 at 10:28 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer

Peters has been hardcore anti-Russian and anti-Serb. His views are quite collapsible. Regarding one of his mass media appearances

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/17/dnc-kiev-regime-collusion-isnt-americas-best-interests.html

Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, received well deserved praise for taking to task the permeating anti-Russian biases. The highlight of Carlson's exchanges was his encounter with Ralph Peters, who for years has spouted grossly inaccurate propaganda against Russia. Antiwar.com and Russia Insider, are among the counter-establishment English language venues commenting on the Carlson-Peters discussion. The US foreign policy establishment realist leaning National Interest carried a lengthy piece on Carlson's challenge to the neocon/neolib foreign policy perceptions. For the record, more can and should be said in reply to Peter's comments.

Peters falsely claims that Russia hasn't made a concerted effort in confronting ISIS. In one of his more accurate moments, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said that the ISIS claimed shoot down of a Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, was in response to Russia's war against ISIS. You've to be either a liar or clueless to not recognize why Russia has actively opposed ISIS. The latter sees Russia as an enemy, while having a good number of individuals with roots in Russia and some other parts of the former USSR.

Peters' characterization of Russia targeting civilian areas is disingenuous. Over the years, the matter of collateral damage is something periodically brought up in response to those killed by US and Israeli military actions.

Peters offers no proof to his suspect claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin kills journalists. There're numerous anti-Putin advocates alive and well in Russia. That country does have a violence problem. Recall what the US was like in the 1960s thru early 1970′s. For that matter, Bernie Sanders isn't blamed for the pro-Sanders person who attempted to kill Republican lawmakers.

Given the situations concerning Kosovo and northern Cyprus, Peters is being a flat out hypocrite regarding Crimea. Donbass is a civil conflict involving some Russian support for the rebels, who're overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. These individuals have a realistic basis to oppose the Kiev based regimes that came after the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian president.

During the American Revolution, most of the pro-British fighters were said to be colonists already based in America. Furthermore, the American revolutionaries received significant support from France. With these factors in mind, the Donbass rebels don't seem less legit than the American revolutionaries.

Some Kiev regime elements positively reference the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs (known as Operation Storm) as a solution for ending the rebel position in Donbass. Russia doesn't seek a massive refugee problem in Donbass and some other parts of the former Ukrainian SSR. As is, a sizeable number of Ukrainian residents have fled to Russia.

Putin isn't anti-US in the manner claimed by Peters. Moreover, Peters is clearly more anti-Russian (in a narrow minded way at that) than what can be reasonably said of how Putin views the US. Putin's obvious differences with neocons, neolibs and flat out Russia haters isn't by default anti-US. He was the first foreign leader to console the US following 9/11. The Russian president has been consistently on record for favoring better US-Russian ties (even inquiring about Russia joining NATO at one point), thereby explaining why he has appeared to have preferred Trump over Clinton.

Some (including Trump) disagree with that view, which includes the notion that the Russians (by and large) prefer predictability. As a general rule this is otherwise true. However, Clinton's neocon/neolib stated views on Russia have been to the point where many Russians felt willing to take a chance with Trump, whose campaign included a comparatively more sympathetic take of their country. At the same time, a good number of Russians questioned whether Trump would maintain that stance.

Steve in Greensboro , June 14, 2018 at 10:42 pm GMT
@Rurik

I suppose many of us saw the Tucker with Max Boot. Boot seemed unhinged, really emotionally overwrought by Tucker raising commonsensical challenges to his neocon orthodoxy. Sad, angry man.

[Apr 10, 2018] Ukraine is a debilitated state, created under Soviet auspices, hampered by a difficult Soviet inheritance, and hollowed out by its own predatory elites during two decades of misrule. But it is also a nation that is too big and independent for Russia to swallow up

Apr 10, 2018 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Ukraine is a debilitated state, created under Soviet auspices, hampered by a difficult Soviet inheritance, and hollowed out by its own predatory elites during two decades of misrule. But it is also a nation that is too big and independent for Russia to swallow up. Russia, meanwhile, is a damaged yet still formidable great power whose rulers cannot be intimidated into allowing Ukraine to enter the Western orbit. Hence the standoff. No external power or aid package can solve Ukraine's problems or compensate for its inherent vulnerabilities vis-à-vis Russia. Nor would sending lethal weaponry to Ukraine's brave but ragtag volunteer fighters and corrupt state structures improve the situation; in fact, it would send it spiraling further downward, by failing to balance Russian predominance while giving Moscow a pretext to escalate the conflict even more. Rather, the way forward must begin with a recognition of some banal facts and some difficult bargaining.

Russia's seizure of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine do not challenge the entire post-1945 international order. The forward positions the Soviet Union occupied in the heart of Europe as a result of defeating Nazi Germany were voluntarily relinquished in the early 1990s, and they are not going to be reoccupied. But nor should every detail of the post–Cold War settlement worked out in 1989–91 be considered eternal and inviolate. That settlement emerged during an anomalous time. Russia was flat on its back but would not remain prostrate forever, and when it recovered, some sort of pushback was to be expected.

Something similar happened following the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, many of the provisions of which were not enforced. Even if France, the United Kingdom, and the United States had been willing and able to enforce the peace, their efforts would not have worked, because the treaty had been imposed during a temporary anomaly, the simultaneous collapse of German and Russian power, and would inevitably have been challenged when that power returned.

Territorial revisionism ensued after World War II as well, of course, and continued sporadically for decades. Since 1991, there have been some negotiated revisions: Hong Kong and Macao underwent peaceful reabsorption into China. Yugoslavia was broken up in violence and war, leading to the independence of its six federal units and eventually Kosovo, as well. Unrecognized statelets such as Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan; Transnistria, a sliver of Moldova; Abkhazia and South Ossetia, disputed units of Georgia; and now Donetsk and Luhansk, parts of Ukraine -- each entails a story of Stalinist border-making.

The European Union cannot resolve this latest standoff, nor can the United Nations. The United States has indeed put together "coalitions of the willing" to legitimize some of its recent interventions, but it is not going to go to war over Ukraine or start bombing Russia, and the wherewithal and will for indefinite sanctions against Russia are lacking. Distasteful as it might sound, Washington faces the prospect of trying to work out some negotiated larger territorial settlement.

Such negotiations would have to acknowledge that Russia is a great power with leverage, but they would not need to involve the formal acceptance of some special Russian sphere of interest in its so-called near abroad. The chief goals would be, first, to exchange international recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea for an end to all the frozen conflicts in which Russia is an accomplice and, second, to disincentivize such behavior in the future. Russia should have to pay monetary compensation for Crimea. There could be some federal solutions, referendums, even land swaps and population transfers (which in many cases have already taken place). Sanctions on Russia would remain in place until a settlement was mutually agreed on, and new sanctions could be levied if Russia were to reject negotiations or were deemed to be conducting them in bad faith. Recognition of the new status of Crimea would occur in stages, over an extended period.

It would be a huge challenge to devise incentives that were politically plausible in the West while at the same time powerful enough for Russia to agree to a just settlement -- and for Ukraine to be willing to take part. But the search for a settlement would be an opportunity as well as a headache.

NATO expansion can be judged to have been a strategic error -- not because it angered Russia but because it weakened NATO as a military alliance. Russia's elites would likely have become revanchist even without NATO's advance, because they believe, nearly universally, that the United States took advantage of Russia in 1991 and has denied the country its rightful place as an equal in international diplomacy ever since. But NATO expansion's critics have not offered much in the way of practicable alternatives. Would it really have been appropriate, for example, to deny the requests of all the countries east of Germany to join the alliance?

Then as now, the only real alternative was the creation of an entirely new trans-European security architecture, one that fully transcended its Cold War counterpart. This was an oft-expressed Russian wish, but in the early 1990s, there was neither the imagination nor the incentives in Washington for such a heavy lift. Whether there is such capacity in Washington today remains to be seen. But even if comprehensive new security arrangements are unlikely anytime soon, Washington could still undertake much useful groundwork.

Critics might object on the grounds that the sanctions are actually biting, reinforced by the oil price free fall -- so why offer even minimal concessions to Putin now? The answer is because neither the sanctions, nor the oil price collapse, nor the two in conjunction have altered Russia's behavior, diminished its potential as a spoiler, or afforded Ukraine a chance to recover.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, Western opponents of a negotiated settlement are really opting for another long-term, open-ended attempt to contain Russia and hope for regime change -- a policy likely to last until the end of Putin's life and possibly well beyond. The costs of such an approach are likely to be quite high, and other global issues will continue to demand attention and resources. And all the while, Ukraine would effectively remain crippled, Europe's economy would suffer, and Russia would grow ever more embittered and difficult to handle. All of that might occur no matter what. But if negotiations hold out a chance of somehow averting such an outcome, they are worth a try. And the attempt would hold few costs, because failed negotiations would only solidify the case for containment in Europe and in the United States.

It is ultimately up to Russia's leaders to take meaningful steps to integrate their country into the existing world order, one that they can vex but not fully overturn. To the extent that the Ukraine debacle has brought this reality into sharper focus, it might actually have been useful in helping Putin to see some light, and the same goes for the collapse of oil prices and the accompanying unavoidable devaluation of the ruble. After the nadir of 1998, smart policy choices in Moscow, together with some lucky outside breaks, helped Russia transform a crisis into a breakthrough, with real and impressive steps forward. That history could replay itself -- but whether it will remains the prerogative of one person alone.

[Apr 01, 2018] Is a New War Against Russia in Ukraine Unfolding Before Our Eyes by by John McMurtry

This is definitely cancer stage of neoliberalism, but I doubt that there is connection between Skripal poisoning and Ukraine.
Also why the USA served as the catalyst for coming nationalists to power in 2014 the process started long ago with Yushchenko and to a certain extent is typical for all post Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan and Belorussia. they all try to distance themselves from Russia to prove their sovereignty. The low intensity warfare in Donetsk is the only differentiator, but even this remind attempt of Georgia to subdue South Ossetia in the past and Karabah conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Still the author is definitely a brilliant writer and thinker he describes geopolitical tensions really well
Notable quotes:
"... has to have such a war-drum distraction to survive. ..."
"... Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee of the UN General Assembly ..."
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.

This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments, but here with no evidence of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself, with devious political word games to get around the absence of any corroborated evidence in familiar denuciations of Russia full of aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of, once again a society, Yugoslavia, with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.

What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in the Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.

This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent traitor, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments. Yet here there is no confirmed evidence whatever of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself that is silence in the press, with devious political word games crafted to get around the absence of any corroborated facts in the familiar denuciations of Russia full of team aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of Yugoslavia -- once again a socialist society with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.

What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As always, this US-directed mass murder was reverse-blamed on the ever shifting Enemy face -- Russia's allied but duly elected government of the Ukraine. It was only after this violent-coup Nazi-led and US directed overthrow of the elected government of the very resource-rich Ukraine -- "the breadbasket of Europe" and sitting on newly discovered rich fossil fuel deposits -- that Russia annexed its traditional territory of the Crimea next to Eastern Ukraine, the latter after the violent coup put under the rule of a US-Nazi-led government until its people fought back with Russia assistance for the now NATO-targeted zones of the new Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

What is new now is that we are about to enter yet another NATO-member war build-up against the cornerstone of Western ideology, the designated Enemy Russia. As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day US-led NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's UK government, and silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding in NATO-member states, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.

Cui Bono?

The UK and the US followed by Canada and some of the EU have by expulsion of Russia diplomats prepared the diplomatic way for war in the Ukraine to seize back these lost coup-territories, and it will be in the name of "freedom", "human rights" and "the rules of civilised nations". But there is much officially suppressed colour to the warring parties political conflict which reveals who the truly heinous suppressor of human rights is. Under mass media and corporate-state cover, the US-UK-NATO axis about to make war in Ukraine is doing so under the factually absurd but non-stop pretext of "Russia aggression" constructed out of the double-agent poisoning affair, with the guilty agents and poison having no proof but the ever louder UK-led and NATO-state assertion of it in unison. Yet there is a clear answer to the cui bono question -- which party does all this benefit? Clearly once the question is posed, as opposed to completely gagged in the corporate press, Theresa May's slow-motion collapsing Tory government -- now even challenged for its fraudulent Brexit referendum protecting the big London banks from EU regulation -- has to have such a war-drum distraction to survive. The old war of aggression pattern reverse-blamed on the official enemy unwinds yet again.

It is revealing in this context how Canada's government has no such ruler need of war -- unless it be its Ukraine-descendent Foreign Minister up front and the very powerful and widely Nazi-sympathizing Ukraine Liberal vote bank and leadership brought to Canada after 1945 to overwhelm the preceding active socialist Ukrainian community in Canada. Canada's government -- not its people -- is in any case used to being a puppet regime in foreign affairs as a twice-colonized rule by big business (why the NDP is not allowed to govern unless so subjugated).

The Human Rights Question

In light of all of this suppressed factual background and motive for more war in Ukraine which is unspeakable in the official news, interaction with the United Nations is of revealing interest. While it has been the cover for US-led NATO executed genocidal wars of aggression in the past as in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Korea, the pretexts of 'human rights', 'responsibility to protect' and 'stopping communist aggression', which are in fact always been the spectacular opposite on the ground in terms of diseased, mass-murdered and destituted bodies, these pretexts may not sell well when the background facts are no longer suppressed from public view.

It is worthwhile recalling how Science for Peace leadership used to be against but has since Afghanistan collaborated with these false-pretext wars in sustaining their illusions and thus the war crimes and crimes against proceeding underneath them.

The NATO-executed Ukraine war now being orchestrated is especially revealing in its actual record of 'protecting human rights' through 'international law' and 'norms of civilised nations'. Completely buried in official records is a United Nations resolution n on Ukraine that the US and Canada repudiated on November 20 2015 after the US-led bloody coup d'etat in Ukraine was in full motion of claiming all the vast tracts of land and resources that were Russia-speaking territory in the past.

The resolution was straightforwardly against "Nazi symbols and regalia" as well as "holocaust denial". The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted for a resolution to enable measures against "the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that facilitate the escalation of modern forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance". A total of 126 member-states of the UN voted for it for the second time. Over 100 countries voted for a similar resolution in 2014 including "denial of the holocaust and glorification of the Nazi movement, former members of the Waffen SS organization, including the installation of memorials to them, and post-coup attempts to desecrate or destroy the monuments to those who fought against Nazism in Ukraine during World War II".

How could any civilised state vote against these United Nations Resolutions for human rights as Canada and the US have done and stood by ever since? Well instituted group hatred of the officially designated enemy can justify anything whatsoever, and does so right into next NATO-executed orgy of war crime and crimes against humanity, again inside Europe itself flaunting reverse-blame lies and slogans as red meat for psychotically trained masses. It is not by accident that Canada's Foreign Minister is in this near century-old Nazi loyalist vs Russia-speaking conflict was before her appointment the "proud "granddaughter of a leading Nazi war propagandist during its occupation of Poland and Ukraine described as a "fighter for freedom".

Yet on the other hand, we must not lose ourselves in ad hominem responsibility. Crystina Freeland, her Canada name, is interestingly propagandist in itself from her birth -- Christian Free Land -- but not observed in the corporate press. Minister Freeland is only a symptom of something far deeper and more systemically murderous and evil in state-executed unlimited greed and immiserization of innocent millions of people masked as 'human rights' , 'freedom' and 'rule of law' . Her more sinister double in the US is also a renamed person of the region, Victoria Nuland (read New Land) who orchestrated the whole 2014 mass-murder coup in Ukraine and now tub-thumps on public television for the 'need to teach Putin and Russia a hard lesson', aka another war attack by US-led NATO on Russia's borders.

The difference now is that the absurd pretext and geostrategic mechanisms now in motion beforehand can be seen in front of our eyes -- that is, if we can still see through the engineered prism of the US-UK led NATO war machine. This alone will stop it.

John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada whose work is translated from Latin America to Japan. His most recent book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure .

[Mar 27, 2018] Within a week after Brennan's 'routine' visit in April 2014 to the Ukraine the Ukrainian army launched a civil war. That was within 2 weeks of the CIA instigated coup an the end of February 2014

Mar 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

JR , Next New Comment March 27, 2018 at 6:24 am GMT

Within a week after Brennan's 'routine' visit in April 2014 to the Ukraine the Ukrainian army launched a civil war. That was within 2 weeks of the CIA instigated coup an the end of February 2014.

[Mar 23, 2018] In a way Ukraine stepped on the same rake twice: once in 1991 and the second time in 2014. That's unforgivable

Looks like the rules of neoliberal game for Ukraine are as following: Ukraine should be ready for fight Russia till the last Ukrainian, serving as cannon fodder for EU geopolitical interests in Eurasia; (2) As a "debt slave" Ukraine should allow the transfer of ownership of all strategic assets and commodities to EU corporations for pennies on dollar independently of how Donbass situation is resolved; (3) Ukraine should buy EU products, no matter how poor they are and local production should be be iether eliminated ("Baltics style deindustrialization"), or outsourced to transnational corporations with Ukrainian as a cheap labor force (wage slaves).
Notable quotes:
"... And the Ukraine made a massive mistake. Their situation is completely different to Poland after USSR fell. ..."
Mar 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

likbez , March 23, 2018 at 3:20 am GMT

@polskijoe

And the Ukraine made a massive mistake. Their situation is completely different to Poland after USSR fell.

Very true. Poland was the first Eastern European country which adopted neoliberal model and thus served to a certain extent as "photo model" of neoliberalism for the rest of Eastern Europe and xUSSR space. So standard of living did not drop too low. The country was somewhat supported by EU and by the USA.

Ukraine was royally raped economically in 1991-2000. Probably as bad as Russia, may be even worse.

In 2014 Ukrainians were lured by unrealistic dream of getting Western European standard of living as a gift for breaking with Russia. As well as the resentment toward kleptocrat Yanukovich (which actually was pretty typical neoliberal politician; not much worse then Poroshenko )

Now they start to understand that the EU will devour the corpse to the bones and they are stuck at the Central African level poverty of $2 a day or so (on average), but this is too late.

A very typical story, a very typical outcome. Neoliberalism is a cancer. As Russian prime minister quipped about economic rape of Russia by local and Western neoliberals in 1991-2000: "We strived to get the best [economic] outcome, but it turned out like we got even worse then average. As always." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Chernomyrdin )

So in a way they stepped on the same rake twice: once in 1991 and the second time in 2014. That's unforgivable.

[Mar 06, 2018] The Empire shall go for the Russia's internal problems and try to capitalize on that. Ukraine was taken down using that approach. Oh, wait, not only Ukraine but all those who didn't tow the line.

Notable quotes:
"... Politically the situation we see in Ukraine is that the ordinary people don't really care about the politics they are genuinely concerned about bread and butter it is quite sad actually that the US is treating the Ukraine as a pawn and a quite cheap one at that in its game with Russia ..."
Mar 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

likbez , March 6, 2018 at 4:00 am GMT

Some weak points of the article:

1. There is some mystery in this Putin "bragging" about new formidable weapons. This is not his style. Why now? Why do it when sanctions are in place and can be easily be tightened as the result? Looks like in order to make such a statement Putin should have intelligence information about a real threat of attack from the USA, or some large scale provocation in Syria or Ukraine. Only in this case his statement makes some sense. As a open warning: do not do it. Otherwise this is just an open invitation for the new, more destructive and expensive stage in nuclear arms race. The scenario that Russia should try to avoid.

2. Also the rule is: if your adversary is making a mistake, you should not try to stop him. If missile defense systems and aircraft carriers are useless why not to allow the USA to put another 100 billion dollars into it ? Something does not compute here. BTW both remain perfectly viable as the first strike weapons (you never know what those tubes contain and they can hold cruise missiles as well). The fact that they will perish is just part of the cost of the whole operation.

3. Russia has way too many problems, both economic and political. So each dollar put into military technology is stolen from the civilian sector and makes sanctions more effective. So succumbing to the arm race is like self-sanctions.

4. After 2012 it is clear that the way the USA will try to undermine Russia is most probably via political interference during the next election, in which there will be a power vacuum as Putin finishes his last term, and there is no Putin II. The problem of the leader succession is a well-known Achilles' spot of Russia. In 2012 the "collective West" achieved pretty significant success in staging color revolution in Russia using pro-West (aka Zapadniki) and comprador sector in Moscow as the fifth column. The political situation in Moscow will always favor pro-European forces, as this city has a huge concentration of employees of foreign companies, professionals and entrepreneurs who depend on the West and earn money from the West (compradors) . Efforts to put in power a classic neoliberal like Macron in France will be multiplied for elections in 2024. I do not see, why they can't be more successful then in 2012.

5. While weakened by the recent McCarthyism campaign in the USA, Russian comprador sector and neoliberals are still a very powerful political force and control a significant part of media and oligarch money. Russian constitution was written by the USA. And scars from the economic rape of Russia in 90th still did not fully heal. In other words, pro-Western forces in Russia are powerful enough to serve as a base to stage another color revolution. Probably along with crashing oil prices before the elections again, or some other nasty trick. In this case you do not need any missiles. As long as Russia is a neoliberal country Putin and his policies remain a political anomaly. And Putin himself a maverick. There will be no another Putin, but there can well be another Gorbachov, or, worse, Yeltsin. The same is true for China, but at least China has political control of the Communist Party and state ownership of the financial sector. The latter is not true for Russia and is a huge political risk. While neoliberalism entered the stage of decline there is no viable alternatives on the horizon.

6. Loss of Ukraine was/is a huge geopolitical defeat of Putin (and Russia as a country) which can't be compensated any bragging about new weapon systems. It was and still is a geopolitical knockdown.

7. Hopes about "some sensible conversation on the new world order may start between key geopolitical players" are naïve. The US elite is hell-bent on world superiority as this is a pre-condition of the existence of the dollar as the primary world currency. This situation will not probably change until the end of cheap oil, which might take another twenty years or more.

8. If time is working against the USA, why not to sit quiet and try not to anger aging hegemon as China supposedly does (having also advantage of host of "offshored" manufacturing from the USA and having the USA as debtor).

9. The level of brain drain from Russia actually is a huge limiting factor, which makes a claim about cruising missile with a nuclear reactor as a part of propulsion engine highly suspect.

10. The network of intelligence agencies around Russia (which now include Estonia and Ukraine) probably represents much more serious threat then the "first strike" capability of the USA, if such thing can ever exist.

11. "Collective West" can easily tighten sanction expanding them on more technological sectors, thus damaging Russia economic growth. So bragging about new weapons is bad diplomacy when the opponent is much stronger economically and politically.

12. China has less than 300 nuclear weapons and still is regarded as a formidable nuclear power, probably spending 20 times less money in this area.

13. The claim that "The Kinzhal effectively removes any non-suicidal surface force thousands of miles away from Russia's shores and renders its capabilities irrelevant" is highly questionable. The idea of the first strike includes the elimination of the possibility of launching most (or all) Kinzhal missiles carriers, as a necessary part required for the success of the operation. Any losses of forward deployed units are acceptable in such a huge game.

peterAUS , March 6, 2018 at 4:26 am GMT
@iffen

Just a pre-empt, tiring if you say you don't understand Ukraine, etc. then twenty comments; dem Jews.

No rain, too much rain, dem Jews.

Well, you did utter the trigger word.

Guess your family believes religiously in the eternal victimhood and in the right of Jewish people to demand special treatment from "others"– "because of Holocaust." -- This is over. After the fraternization of the Kagans' clan (via Nuland-Kagan) with neo-Nazi in Ukraine and after Israeli's support for ISIS, Jewish pretenses on superior morality (and similar fantastic inventions) have become unrealistic.

Yahweh, help us.

peterAUS , March 6, 2018 at 4:43 am GMT
@likbez

Putin should have intelligence information about a real threat of attack from the USA, or some large scale provocation in Syria or Ukraine.

I'd go for Ukraine.

Something does not compute here.

Well, "if we can't have it it's not good." Sour grapes.

Russia has way too many problems, both economic and political. So each dollar put into military technology is stolen from the civilian sector and makes sanctions more effective. So succumbing to the arm race is like self-sanctions.

Agree.

In other words, pro-Western forces in Russia are powerful enough to serve as a base to stage another color revolution. In this case you do not need any missiles.

...While neoliberalism entered the stage of decline there is no viable alternatives on the horizon.

Agree.

Loss of Ukraine was/is a huge geopolitical defeat of Putin (and Russia as a country) which can't be compensated any bragging about new weapon systems. It was and still is a geopolitical knockdown.

Agree. But, perhaps that's not true. In any case, the resident "Team Russia" will now explain that. As victory, of course.

Hopes about "some sensible conversation on the new world order may start between key geopolitical players" are naïve. The US elite is hell-bent on world superiority as this is a pre-condition of the existence of the dollar as the primary world currency.

Agree.

If time is working against the US, why not to sit quiet and try not to anger aging hegemon as China supposedly does (having also advantage of host of "offshored" manufacturing from the USA and having the USA as debtor).

and

The level of brain drain from Russia actually is a huge limiting factor, which makes a claim about cruising missile with a nuclear reactor as a part of propulsion engine highly suspect.

and

"Collective West" can easily tighten sanction expanding them on more technological sectors, thus damaging Russia economic growth. So bragging about new weapons is bad diplomacy when the opponent is much stronger economically and politically.

"Team Russia" coming up. You are about to see the light. Somehow.

peterAUS , Next New Comment March 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Putin and those around him would better do concentrate on internal issues or eventually issues will concentrate on them.

Agree.

This obsession with high tech is actually puzzling. Not only that, but, overall, which "military" is better. "Whose father/older brother is stronger" kid talk.

The Empire shall go for the Russia's internal problems and try to capitalize on that. Ukraine was taken down using that approach. Oh, wait, not only Ukraine but all those who didn't tow the line. Thinking that, somehow, a conventional war, only, will settle the issue is not only delusional but stupid. Why would The Empire do that? No reason whatsoever.

It will try to do exactly what's been doing since '91. Internal dissent.

So, while Russian elites will keep building high tech weaponry (remember USSR), The Empire will keep working on getting all those "unhappy" with Putin regime onboard and using them for weakening the regime.

If the regime in Moscow can't, or doesn't want to see it, well, it doesn't deserve that position. True, weapons industry is good for making money and stashing most of it offshore. Not sharing that wealth, though, with general population is not that smart, just, they simply can't help it. That's the way of the world there. Czars and serfs.

The problem is, of course, they can't step down even if they wanted to. Nobody wants kangaroo courts and hanging. Or public murder broadcast live on Internet. Conundrum.

FB , March 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@likbez

You make some interesting observations and your comment is thought-provoking

However I think the intent of the article was to explore some of the technical issues of what we saw on March 1 not so much the political dimension and certainly your approach is to try to get an overall wide angle picture that gets every possible Russia issue into the frame

which by necessity means you give up some resolution or granularity if you will compared to a more tightly focused article

You start with an initial premise of why announce these weapons now and question the wisdom the simple answer may be technical related these weapons may be already mature technically and now is the time to show them ?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

A couple more points you mention sanctions quite a bit but we have seen that Russia is able to carry on just fine sanctions or not

The key indicator there is that sanctions are having a much bigger blowback on the US itself i.e. the US is losing Europe

Germany has been quite vocal about US going a step too far in trying to dictate energy policy which is key to German industrial export economy and besides they may finally be finding their sea legs after years of subservience to an increasingly unhinged country that is heading for the cliff

The Germans are going to get Nordstream 2 because they want it. It is actually more important to Germany than to Russia Russia has been supplying energy to Europe for many decades going back to Soviet times but is just now starting to feed the biggest energy consumer in the world China

Other, smaller EU countries notably Italy have become quite vocal about Russia sanctions hurting them we saw just now an election in Italy where the ruling claque were turfed

So it seems that the days of US dictating the politics to its European vassals may be over the kind of friction they are making with sanctions and their increasing hysteria is only hastening this process of vassals breaking off

The other issue is Ukraine you bring to this the the typical US perspective of 'losing' a country this again goes back to the vassal game

The US gained all of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union but did Russia lose anything sensible people will say the lost they burden of empire long after it had ceased being profitable as with the British previously

Ukraine is historically something of an artificial country the original Kievan Rus [Rurivik dynasty] was the original Russia it fell apart after the Mongol invasions but the Russian and Ukrainian language and people are mostly indistinguishable other than the Galician Catholic minority

For several hundred years the peoples of the Ukraine [ie even then it was more than a single national people] were under rule by the Poles and Lithuania while the new Russian empire based in Moscow gained strength and eventually took over 300 years ago

There are and have always been Ukrainian nationalists that do not like Russia but they are in the minority the best way to think of Ukraine is similar to Scotland even the Irish are more distant from the English than Ukrainians from Russians

Politically the situation we see in Ukraine is that the ordinary people don't really care about the politics they are genuinely concerned about bread and butter it is quite sad actually that the US is treating the Ukraine as a pawn and a quite cheap one at that in its game with Russia

I don't believe the Russians look at the situation that way there is real fraternity among many Russians and Ukrainians that goes to a fundamental level again similar to Scotland where the country is divided on the issue of the English

So unless the EU and US are prepared to do a full Marshall plan to drag Ukraine into a reasonable living standard then this 'win' will turn out to be something of a chimera

Heck the polls even in eastern Europe are trending against the post Cold War direction with about half the people now questioning if the new boss is really better than the old boss

And finally if you are going to do a wide angle shot like this then get the crazy cousin into the picture also ie the US and its failing Ponzi economy that is bound to collapse just on the principles of mathematics

China and Russia are working to bury the source of all US strength the petrodollar this is literally kryptonite the US is quite simply toast once the petrodollar sinks

China is the world's biggest economy and biggest energy buyer Russia is the world's biggest energy seller other nations too that are not so strong and have felt the body blows of US economic warfare such as Iran, Venezuela and other will gladly join in

It's starting to feel like US has used up all its chips and all its markers

The entire developing world wants real prosperity not economic colonialism and corporate plunder

These are some large and powerful currents that have to be taken into account if one is going to take a wide angle shot of geopolitics

AP , Next New Comment March 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm GMT
@FB

Ukraine is historically something of an artificial country the original Kievan Rus [Rurivik dynasty] was the original Russia it fell apart after the Mongol invasions

Relationship of Kievan Rus to modern Russia and Ukraine is somewhat analogous to the relationship of Charlemagne's Frankish Empire to modern France or Germany. Although both Germany and France would have to be in the same linguistic family for the analogy to be more accurate.

For several hundred years the peoples of the Ukraine [ie even then it was more than a single national people] were under rule by the Poles and Lithuania

Correct. This meant not only political separation but largescale settlement (about 10% of the population were Polish settlers – these were absorbed by the natives, so most Ukrainians have some Polish roots), centuries of schooling, etc. And this was enough to lead to a different culture, language, identity.

eventually took over 300 years ago

The eastern half of Ukraine was linked to Moscow in the 1650s (so indeed about 300 years), but the western half in the 1770s (so 200 years) and Galicia not until 1939.

but the Russian and Ukrainian language and people are mostly indistinguishable

Incorrect. Ukrainian is about as close to Russian as it is to Polish (Ukrainian grammar and pronunciation is closer to Russian, but Ukrainian vocabulary actually has more words in common with Polish than with Russian). The Scandinavian languages are closer to each other Russian is to Ukrainian. The catch is that in everyday life about half of Ukrainians, and most urban Ukrainians other than people in Lviv, use Russian rather than Ukrainian. Kiev is a Russian-speaking city (and Dublin an English-speaking one).

the best way to think of Ukraine is similar to Scotland

Anatol Lieven correctly observed that Ukraine's relationship to Russia is somewhere between that of Scotland and that of Ireland, to England. Viewing it as Scotland is too positive, as Ireland too negative. Given that Scotland itself nearly separated, it is natural to see Ukraine as separate.

[Mar 03, 2018] Shocking EU Reforms Ukraine's public debt doubles in 4 years, while personal incomes halve

Mar 03, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com

The Ukrainian economy is in a catastrophic state after four years of "euro-reforms," said ​​Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the public movement "Ukrainian Choice – People's Right." "At the end of 2013. Ukraine's state and publicly guaranteed debt was 40% of GDP, and by the end of 2017 it had more than doubled, exceeding 80% of GDP. In 2013, Ukraine's GDP per capita was more than $ 4,075, and in 2016 decreased to $ 2221.

The average monthly salary in 2017 as a whole for the country was $ 267 (in 2013 it exceeded $ 408), pensions are also 2.3 times lower than before the euro reform. Today, it is slightly more than $ 48, while in 2013 it was almost $ 112, " Medvedchuk said.

[Mar 02, 2018] >US Approves Sale of Anti-Tank Missiles to Ukraine by Jason Ditz

Mar 02, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

$47 million sale targeted at neighboring Russia

Posted on March 1, 2018 Categories News Tags Pentagon , Russia , Ukraine

With Ukrainian officials continuing to talk up their hostility with neighboring Russia, the Pentagon announced on Thursday that approval has been granted for the sale of Javelin anti-tank systems to Ukraine.

The sale, estimated at a $47 million deal for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, would involve 37 Javelin Command Launch Units and 210 missiles . The Poroshenko government says it will be used to "protect Ukrainian soldiers."

Russia is protesting the sale, however, arguing that the sale of the missiles would encourage Ukraine to resume the use of force against Eastern Ukraine's ethnic Russian rebels, with the idea that they would deploy the missiles against any rebel tanks, and also against any Russian tanks that might join the fight.

Pentagon officials downplayed the issue, saying they don't believe the Javelin missiles will materially change the military balance of power in the region. Despite obvious offensive uses for such missiles, the US is trying to spin this as another "defensive" sale to Ukraine.

[Mar 02, 2018] Review 'Breaking Point' Finds Fake News and Real Violence in Ukraine

So Europeans, both Russians and Ukrainians are dying again for the USA geopolitical goals.
Mar 02, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

The first line of the Ukrainian national anthem is "Ukraine has not yet died," one interviewee says in "Breaking Point," a fierce documentary about that country and its recent clashes with Russia. For a land often perched on the edge of ruin, she says, mere survival is something to celebrate.

Directed by Mark Jonathan Harris and Oles Sanin, the film starts with a rundown of a history that has repeated itself for centuries -- invaders have long prized Ukraine for its resources and geography, and modern times are no exception.

... ... ...

The filmmakers supply terrifying footage: At civilian rallies, we see nightstick beatings and bloody riots. During military battles, bullets whiz by and explosions shake the cameras. Nerve-racking scenes follow Ukraine's extraordinarily bold volunteer soldiers.

[Feb 28, 2018] Barring black swan events, the Ukraine is meta-stable and can muddle along indefinitely

Feb 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

p

Pavlo , February 28, 2018 at 4:34 am GMT

the government makes a show of it.

there has been dramatic improvement in number of soldiers, usability of equipment

That is the show.

The Ukrainian army's battlefield performance after February 2015 has not improved, nor will the odds ever again be as favourable as they were in Mid-2014. Kiev has assembled an army suitable for skirmishing and the occasional terrorist attack, nothing more strenuous. Building an army capable of winning the war would entail discipline and sacrifice, and the effort would be for nothing since the RF forces would move in and crush Kiev's army if it were ever on the point of victory.

Kiev is content with the status quo – it's far from ideal for them but it's not so bad as to justify the risks involved in a new offensive (this will never happen). Barring black swan events, the Ukraine is meta-stable and can muddle along indefinitely, so long as Moscow does not pull its finger out of its backside and resolve the situation properly.

likbez , February 28, 2018 at 10:52 am GMT
@Pavlo

Kiev is content with the status quo – it's far from ideal for them but it's not so bad as to justify the risks involved in a new offensive (this will never happen). Barring black swan events, the Ukraine is meta-stable and can muddle along indefinitely, so long as Moscow does not pull its finger out of its backside and resolve the situation properly.

Two consideration:

1. Ukraine decides very little. Government was outsourced to Washington, DC. If creation of tension with Russia is necessary, they will launch offensive.
2. Nationalist movements, especially far-right, have their own often destructive dynamics and can do things that are illogical and/or highly harmful for the country. They also are ready to fight and die for their ideas. In this sense Poroshenko is a hostage of Galician far right "revolutionaries. "

[Feb 27, 2018] Syria vs Ukraine

Looks like Poroshenko is playing with fire. the longer Donetsk and Lugansk republics exists as a separate political entities the more difficult and costly will be to bring them back. Each year matters in this respect. After, say, ten year probably no compromise could ever emerge, unless Russia is weakened and /or dissolved into smaller statelets (the permanent problem for Russia is change of leadership, so 2024 will be a very important year, as Putin does not have any realistic successor who can continue his policies. So iether Russian "economic nationalists" (to borrow Bannon's term) or Pro-European faction will come to power. In both cases foreign policies change. Or the US economy crash again and military budget will be drastically cut, leaving no money for foreign military adventure and the protection of neoliberal empire. Direct attach might elicit Russian response and as such is highly risky (especially in view of Russia being pissed by the USA all the time now and might want to make Ukraine, as a US client, a boy for beating) , but periodic skirmishes just run this territory into wasteland that Syria regions now are. They also drive population out.
Notable quotes:
"... IMO the emerging partition is likely to last a long time. Syria is only 80 years old as a state and a prolonged de facto partition as opposed to wartime occupation can easily become more or less perm ..."
"... If the Kurds of Afrin throw themselves on the mercy of the Syrian government in Damascus then Kurdish autonomy is squashed in that enclave. And, when it is all said and done, isn't that what Erdogan really wants? ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

turcopolier , 25 February 2018 at 11:06 PM

TTG et al

You don't understand what I mean. IMO the emerging partition is likely to last a long time. Syria is only 80 years old as a state and a prolonged de facto partition as opposed to wartime occupation can easily become more or less permanent as was the case with Turkey's acquisition of Hatay. pl

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 26 February 2018 at 12:30 AM
I certainly don't dispute that Turkey is invading Afrin. And I agree with you that if things continue to stand as they are now then that invasion will continue until all of Afrin has been overrun.

But to simply extrapolate from what has happened into the future suggests that circumstances won't change or - if they do - that Erdogan will continue on like some wind-up automaton.

If the Kurds of Afrin throw themselves on the mercy of the Syrian government in Damascus then Kurdish autonomy is squashed in that enclave. And, when it is all said and done, isn't that what Erdogan really wants?

If the Kurds are too stupid or too proud to play that card then, yeah, sure, you and I both agree that they will be ground into the dirt.

But if they do supplicate to Assad then the situation changes.

You (I assume) believe that in that circumstance Erdogan will continue to grind on with this invasion regardless.

I believe he will beat his chest and then go home.

One of us will be wrong, and one of us will be right.

[Feb 25, 2018] I were in the US or EU leadership, I'd make sure that Ukraine is not my friend, simply for the sake of self-preservation.

Neither EU nor the USA want to be Ukrainian friends. They want Ukrainian market and resources. That's it.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anon Disclaimer , February 26, 2018 at 12:20 am GMT

Anon from TN

Somehow in numerous statements in this thread, mostly boiling down to "mine is more Russian than yours", the key issues were missed. I am not even talking about obvious trolls trying to denigrate Putin's foreign policy feats. He achieved a lot more with a relatively weak hand than the US with a much stronger one, both in Syria and in Ukraine.

Admittedly, Ukraine does not count: only Americans, who have no history and don't know the history of other countries, could have stepped into that particular pile of s Ukraine brings ruin to anyone it supports. At the beginning of the eighteens century Ukrainian Hetman Mazepa betrayed Russia and joined the Swedes. Peter the Great decimated Swedes in the battle near Poltava. That was the end of Sweden as a great European power. Western Ukrainians fought for Austro-Hungarian Empire in WWI. Where is that Empire now? Then "independent" Ukraine supported Germans. Well, they lost WWI. Then Ukrainians served Hitler in WWII. USSR smeared Nazi Germany over he wall. Then Ukrainians were "holier then thou" supporters of the Soviet Union. Where is it now? So, if I were in the US or EU leadership, I'd make sure that Ukraine is not my friend, simply for the sake of self-preservation.

Syria is a totally different story. The Empire, on behalf of Israel and Saudis, tried to break it up into a bunch of powerless Bantustans. The plan seemed to be close to bearing fruit until Putin threw a wrench into the works. With ridiculously small ground and air force he turned the tide of the war. The Empire was frustrated. Hence the hysterics.

Anyway, IMHO Putin's Russia has two major weaknesses. One is the profusion of oligarchs who stole their riches from the state and hid the loot offshore. He does not seem inclined to tackle them, likely honoring the deal he made in 2000. "Protected" appear to include even such notorious figures as Chubais (if you ask Russians, ~90% would say that oligarchs should be stripped of their wealth, tried, and imprisoned; but as many or more would say that Chubais should be publicly hanged). The other weakness is that it remains a one-man show, i.e., the absence of credible state institutions and an obvious successor. The rest is chaff.

Jake , February 26, 2018 at 12:50 am GMT
"what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent."

ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

Robert Dunn , Website February 26, 2018 at 1:06 am GMT
I'm like so totally sure the CIA will not be interfering with their election.
Kiza , February 26, 2018 at 1:36 am GMT
@utu

Just for a moment I will take you seriously, although you sometimes write truly silly stuff, and respond.

Yes, the AngloZionist would prefer to turn and absorb the Russian and Chinese elite, but only as low subordinates. This is what they have been doing in other conquered countries – generating a mix of the new and compliant part of the old elite with a greater proportion of the new elite. The Russian neo-Liberals are ready and waiting for the job, looking down on their compatriots as cattle (the same word as goyim, what an amazing coincidence!?). Read what this Felix writes about the Russians. This gang turned Russia into killing fields in 1917 and will gladly do it again given half a chance by their foreign masters.

The masters are underwriting the full-time writing of puppets such as Karlin. Karlin is the Russian Elliot Higgins , interpreting data without a faintest idea of solid data analysis, a paid full-time hack drawing the right conclusions for the empire. Perhaps he sees himself as a minister in the Russian puppet government after the successful regime change.

Therefore, this group of regular trolls (about 10 nicks) on all Saker's writings are aiming to be that future new Russian servant elite when Russia would be absorbed. They are truly the last thing that Russian people need.

As I said above, I have seen it all before, it is deja vu all over again (Yogi Bear).

[Feb 25, 2018] Poland vs Ukraine

Actually life in Ukraine was not that bad in 2010-2014. Hopefully "After-Maydan" deterioration might be temporary, although without new markets for Ukrainian industrial goods recovery is almost impossible. Also the level of foreign debt is now much higher, so they dig a deeper hole for themselves to climb out. Other probable scenario is bankruptcy. See also Bill Black Once a Poster Child for Austerity, Latvia Becomes a Hotbed of Corruption naked capitalism
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

Dmitry , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 7:15 pm GMT

@Felix Keverich

Poland's level of GDP per capita is 6 times bigger than Ukraine's. They started out around the same level in 1991 and were supposed to follow the same playbook. To the extent that their paths diverged can be explained by Ukrainian corruption and incompetence.

Poland received hundreds of billions of dollars in EU subsidies and transfers. Not a fair comparison. Even still today they are receiving this transfer of wealth from net contributor countries in the EU (there's another good reason EU became unpopular in net contributor countries like the UK and the Netherlands):

https://msp.gov.pl/en/polish-economy/economic-news/4015,Poland-to-get-nearly-EUR-106-bln-from-2014-2020-EU-budget-pool-expected-impact-o.html

Felix Keverich , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Energy subsidies from Russia to the Ukraine are estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars since 1991. The Ukraine has been well subsidized since independence. What they have been desperately lacking is governance.

[Feb 25, 2018] The neoliberal "methodology" for "showing economic success" is propaganda masquerading as "science". So they sell Latvia as a poster child of austerity, true neoliberal market miracle. In reality it is a hot bed of curruption and deindustrialization

Latvia now is a typical neoliberal debt slave and flourishing sex trafficking market. Not that different from other Baltic states, Ukraine, Moldavia and generally all xUSSR space.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

YankeeFrank , February 25, 2018 at 7:38 am

Bill mentions the brain drain from Latvia, but I seem to recall a quite massive general emigration from the country during austerity, which also helped to "reduce unemployment" as well. The neoliberal "methodology" for "showing economic success" is moral and economic bankruptcy masquerading as "science". And wow. So we have Latvia to thank for the coming nuclear holocaust as well. A true neoliberal market miracle.

Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism are once again brought to mind:

#1 Because markets.

#2 Go die.

Skip Intro , February 25, 2018 at 11:03 am

All those 'excess' workers who left were helping keep wages low in the EU
In the sense that Latvia's future productivity is sacrificed for short-term benefits on the books, it starts to look like another asset-stripping scheme, and the costs are borne by workers in the EU.

The Rev Kev , February 25, 2018 at 8:40 am

This is not the first time that Latvia has appeared on NC ( https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/latvias-economic-disaster-as-a-neoliberal-success-story-a-model-for-europe-and-the-us.html ) and probably won't be the last. What is it about neoliberalism that that seems to have corruption as part of its DNA?

Latvia already has one of the highest levels of poverty and income inequality in the EU and its population has dropped by about a fifth in the past 18 years which is a bit of a record considering that there was no war, that is, unless you count the neoliberal war on people. Some moved to the capital Riga but most bailed out of the country altogether and are not coming back. You can find whole blocks of empty buildings in some towns.
But don't worry. The Latvians are on the case. The head of the Latvian Central Bank detained for extortion and the Latvian Ministry of Defense both blame, you guessed it, Russia!

Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism may have to be updated. He already has
#1 Because markets.
#2 Go die.

He may have to modify the second one to say
#2 Go die or get the hell outta Dodge.

DJG , February 25, 2018 at 9:11 am

Now I may be prejudiced because the Gs came from deepest darkest Lithuania–and we're talking out in the endless woods in a village along a lake.

When people talk about population decline in Latvia, you are talking about part of the corruption. The native Latvians wanted a way of getting rid of the Russian population, many of whom are considered immigrants. So dropping 20 percent of the population means throwing out the Russians. When your "population policy " is based on something like that, you can image what the country's economic policies are like.

In contrast–although Lithuania, too, has lost some 10 – 15 percent of its population since restored independence–the Lithuanians came to terms, imperfect terms, with their smaller Polish and Russian minorities. Nevertheless, the Lithuanians didn't go whole-hog free-market fundamentalism. And when a recent president was found to be corrupt, they impeached him and threw him out.

So you have different models for how to survive as a Baltic State. Latvia has made a mess of its "model."

edmondo , February 25, 2018 at 10:53 am

"Now of course that's still in a land where they had really severely repressed wages for the working class and for middle class, and continued to tolerate a fair degree of unemployment and underemployment for folks, as well. So, yeah it works really well for the oligarchs. And they do employ people. The unemployment rate drops, but the country invariably becomes extremely corrupt."

Was he still talking about Latvia or did he switch over to the USA?

Altandmain , February 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm

There is a strong correlation between inequality and corruption.

Furthermore, in the medium term there is a causal relationship:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1331677X.2016.1169701

This would suggest that inflicting austerity on a population, which worsens inequality, will set the precedent for corruption in the future.

Massinissa , February 25, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Half a decade ago when Latvia was considered a success story for neoliberal austerity, one animator made this great satire video making fun of how farcical it was to consider it such.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IRUBJ8qraY

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Latvia also being part of that running sore which involves according to the US state department's last global estimate, about 800,000 to a million victims per annum of people trafficking. Of which around 80% are female, with a not stated amount being children, used for both labour & sexual purposes.

I suppose that it comes as little surprise that the 2 main flows of these commodities is from East to West & South to North.

[Feb 24, 2018] How to Solve the Ukraine Crisis Peacekeepers

An interesting discussion with two polar views on the situation. There is no good guys in the story anyway. Nether the USA, or Russia, or Ukrainian nationalists, or separatists qualify. Truth probably lies somewhere in between. The debate itself reminds the current political debate in the USA between neoliberals/globalists and "economic nationalists"/isolationalists : the two sides do not hear other and their positions are irreconcilable. Each has its own set of grievances. Its own version of history. And its own vision of the desirable future.
Independence by itself meant huge stimulus to Western Ukrainian nationalists (who historically lived a long time under Hapsburg empire). So their political ascendance were given and Maydan was just the culmination point of a long process (actually encouraged by EU members such as Germany, Poland , Baltic republics and Sweden)
The USA clearly tried to secure it geopolitical interests via forcefully turning Ukraine to the West. Despite the fact that it was not completely ready for such a move yet; although were slowly moving in this direction since independence. Germany (and EU in general) played the same fatal role of "accelerator" as well. They wanted new markets for their goods and also have geopolitical interests in weakening Russia (which did happened; Ukraine was the biggest strategic defeat of Putin). The Nazi Lebensraum was, after all, about Ukraine.
But the process of "separation" from Russia was pretty much under way since independence and proceeded at a brisk pace under Yanukovich too, who actually supported Ukrainian nationalists during his term (especially Svoboda, hoping to create something like the USA two party systems: nationalists vs Party of Regions). And it was Yanukovich government which prepared and intended to sign the association agreement with the EU. Then Yanukovich hesitated to sign it and at this point was doomed as pro-Western forces has already their own dynamics and financial support from abroad. With the financial. organizational and political support support of the USA and EU were able to depose him. Large (for Ukraine political scene) amount of money was injected, protesters bused from Western Ukraine, and eventually yet another color revolution (the first was so called Orange revolution which brought to power Yushchenko government) took care of Yanukovich regime. The problem is that this "alternative" political course and a new vision of Ukrainian future proved to be a minefield. Also the association agreement with EU was very unfair to Ukrainian economic interests and essentially downgraded the status of Ukraine to the status of neo-colony openly promoting deindustrialization like in Baltic Republics.
Some unrealistic dreams about benefits of Ukraine association with EU were pretty widespread and become a political factor in the success of the Maydan. nobody understood that by trying to balance between Russia and the West Yanukovich postponed the day of reckoning and kept economics expanding. Everybody hated corrupt Yanukovich although some members of his cabinet were pretty competent technocrats. Nobody calculated losses from the separation of economic ties with Russia and having a hostile Russia as a neighbor. Hopes that EU will open its market for Ukrainian agricultural goods and to Ukrainian gastarbeiters proved to be exaggerated. To say nothing about the danger (or even mere possibility) of civil war as the result of Maydan. All those dreams about improving the standard of living via association with EU were buried after the Maydan very soon. The currency dropped around 300% after 2014 from 8.5 to 27 grivna per dollar. Markets in Russia are almost completely lost.
Ukrainian nationalists decided that the success of Maydan gave them carte blanche on neo-colonization of Eastern Ukraine as well as the suppression of Russian language and culture. They miscalculated. This policy was similar to "Polinization of Western Ukraine" by Poles and it faced growing resistance. Lugansk and Donetsk republic are direct results of this resistance (not without Russia help). In other words this policy backfired, and now those regions represent a Gordian knot for both the USA, EU, Russia and Ukraine. For Poroshenko government to agree on federalization (which Minsk accords presuppose) means to lose face politically (Why to organize Maydan in such cases, if the net result is a huge drop of the standard of living, loss of Crimea, and federalization of Ukraine?), and they prefer military solution to the problem. The USA under Trump administration are only happy to sell weapons to them (as well as coal to replace lost coal from Donetsk region). And nuclear fuel to electrical stations inread of Russia. Meanwhile economics is not improving and that also represents a political threat to Poroshenko, making push for the military solution more probable.
Notable quotes:
"... Any agreement, however -- at least as far as the U.S. State Department is concerned -- would require that Russia must make the first move to ease tensions. ..."
"... Secretary Tillerson has made it abundantly clear that Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence and resolve this conflict by fully implementing the Minsk Accords." ..."
"... Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for ..."
"... . You can follow him on Twitter: ..."
"... This country is screwed, alas. Peacekeepers will not change much, but they could help stop shellings and thus help regular people who suffer the most. ..."
"... Strelkov came into Donbass on April 12, 2014 and the acting president Turchinov announced ATO (Anti terrorist operation) on April 7. The people of Donbass protested peacefully for months and no one wanted to talk with them. They sent tanks and jets instead. ..."
"... "And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals." ..."
"... Indeed, that is why there is a civil war in Ukraine. "Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war" https://www.thelocal.ch/201... ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Any agreement, however -- at least as far as the U.S. State Department is concerned -- would require that Russia must make the first move to ease tensions. However, it is unclear is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or anyone in his department truly speaks for the Trump Administration.

"It's important to be clear about U.S. policy towards the conflict: Crimea is Ukraine. The Donbas is Ukraine. We will never accept trading one region of Ukraine for another. We will never make a deal about Ukraine without Ukraine," John J. Sullivan, deputy secretary of state, said during a speech in at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Diplomatic Academy in Kiev on Feb. 21 . "To advance these fundamental goals, Secretary Tillerson appointed Ambassador Kurt Volker as Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations in July of last year. And his mandate is to break the deadlock with Russia over Ukraine. Secretary Tillerson has made it abundantly clear that Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence and resolve this conflict by fully implementing the Minsk Accords."

Time will tell if any progress will be made in solving the Donbas situation.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest . You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar .


Joe Stevens , February 22, 2018 2:20 AM

If that's the case, then America needs to pull it's own illegal occupation forces out of eastern Syria ASAP too! Eastern Syria is Syria. Eastern Syria is NOT part of Kurdistan! What a bunch of hypocrites.

Vic , February 22, 2018 7:11 AM

"One potential approach -- which as been proposed by U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker -- is where peacekeepers would be deployed in phases while Ukraine implements some of the measures it agreed to under the Minsk agreements."

-That could work, here is the Minsk 2 agreement for those that don't know, https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

It stipulates that Ukraine should complete a number of things, and by the end of it Donbass will be returned to Ukraine. If you add phased peacekeepers to this it could work, the peacekeepers would start between Donbass and Ukraine, and then move into Donbass and get more control the more of the Minsk 2 agreement Ukraine completed.

The peacekeepers could not be NATO or Russian troops for each side to agree obviously

VadimKharichkov , February 22, 2018 5:08 AM

Europe and the US have nothing of value to offer to Ukraine because there's little to exchange it for. There is no economy and too few natural resources to fight for. Thus, Ukraine will remain a suitcase without a handle despite wet dreams of its ultra-nationalists (should be represented in the troll section of this thread).

It will remain useless as an economical ally to Russia in the upcoming years because Ukraine is divided within itself.

The only thing it will be good for, is to serve as an example for everybody on how foolish it is to overthrow democratically elected governments for the sake of fairy tales.

The conflict there will be frozen for decades, as it was frozen in Moldova and Georgia. Without Russian and European investments, there will be no economical development in Ukraine.

This country is screwed, alas. Peacekeepers will not change much, but they could help stop shellings and thus help regular people who suffer the most.

Jorge Martinho VadimKharichkov , February 22, 2018 6:13 AM

Vadim, if Ukraine is not important, why do you spend so much of your precious time writing about it? Why does Russia keep financing the war in Donbass if its so uninteresting to invest in Ukraine? Why did Russia steal Ukrainian gas in the Azov Sea? Or why does it steal ukrainian coal in Donbass? Where did the machinery from the Donbass factories go, Vadim?

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 7:02 AM

"Or why does it steal ukrainian coal in Donbass?"

-The coal belongs to the people of Donbass, not Ukraine, and Ukraine itself banned buying gas from these territories in hope that it will cause more misery to the civilians living there, just like Ukraine stole their pensions and their social welfare in hope for causing maximal suffering.

Jorge Martinho Vic , February 22, 2018 9:09 AM

The Donbass is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine. Second Ukraine is not obliged to pay for the Russian occupation of its territory. The occupation force is responsible for everything that happens inside that territory, even the payment or not of pensions.

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 10:06 AM

That is a pure lie, the conflict between Donbass and Ukraine is a civil war. Russia is not occupying those territories. And Donbass will return to Ukraine if they can follow thru on the Minsk 2 agreement like they agreed to, but never will of course, because the hyper-corrupt Ukrainian government need the legitimacy and distraction that war brings both domestically to avoid coup and internationally as an excuse.

"Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war" https://www.thelocal.ch/201...

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 1:56 PM

Strelkov, referring to the war he helped start in Donbas: "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight."

Pro-Russian agitators like Pavel Gubarev tried to illegally take over government buildings in E Ukraine, and also tried to organize protests, but they had little support from the local population. The local population was cynical about Kiev, but they certainly weren't interested in starting a civil war. That is why Strelkov and other Russians had to start the war.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 2:48 PM

"but they certainly weren't interested in starting a civil war. That is why Strelkov and other Russians had to start the war."

-Nobody wanted a war of course, that is one reason why the Kiev government became so dependent on volunteer n4zists, they were the only one that was eager and willing to kill their brothers at the whims of the unconstitutional coup regime. The average Ukrainian soldiers didn't want to fight and a lot of the Donbass fighters came from defected Ukrainian soldiers.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 5:55 PM

Again, all I have to do is point to Strelkov: "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight."

"I dream of a Russia in its natural borders," he says. "At least those of 1939." He claims to have been the one who convinced Putin to intervene militarily in Ukraine, at a time, he says, when the Kremlin was still debating the proper approach to the country."

"I was the one who pulled the trigger for war," Strelkov boasts."

http://www.spiegel.de/inter...

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:17 AM

Doesn't matter at all what some commanders "boasts" , the war was started when the unconstitutional and unelected government of Ukraine sent its army to crush the rebels.

brylcream Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 3:20 AM

Strelkov came into Donbass on April 12, 2014 and the acting president Turchinov announced ATO (Anti terrorist operation) on April 7.
The people of Donbass protested peacefully for months and no one wanted to talk with them. They sent tanks and jets instead.

"and also tried to organize protests, but they had little support from the local population. "

This is a blatant lie.

Alex Robeson brylcream , February 23, 2018 7:18 AM

Strelkov took Slavyansk on April 12 - that's not when he arrived. As for the ATO, yes, it was announced on April 7, after armed separatists stormed regional government buildings in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov, raised Russian flags, and said they would hold an independence referendum. What would Russia do if Karelia was taken over by pro-Finnish separatists? And keep in mind, when the ATO was announced, Turchynov promised amnesty for separatists who laid down arms.

No, the "people" of Donbass did not protest peacefully (Gubarev and others were not representative of the people of Donbass). Gubarev and others repeatedly tried to seize buildings and declare self-rule/independence. But polls during that time clearly showed that people did not want independence, even if they were unhappy about Yanukovych being ousted from the presidency. Public opinion did not really shift towards independence until after the fire of Odessa and Mariupol, when Donbass regions were under separatist control and influenced by Russian propaganda.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 2:46 PM

"Strelkov, referring to the war he helped start in Donbas: "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight.""

-The civil war was started when the unelected and unconstitutional coup government sent the army to kill the rebels in Donbass for just wanting their language rights protected.

"Pro-Russian agitators like Pavel Gubarev tried to illegally take over government buildings in E Ukraine,"

-Pavel is a Ukrainian, and it is pretty far fetched to call it illegal to resist to an illegal unconstitutional coup government.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 2:58 PM

I have not seen any proof that there was a coordinated coup to remove Yanukovych. On Feb 21st, Western powers got what they wanted when Yanukovych agreed to form a coalition government with Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok (OK, maybe Tyahnbok wasn't they're first choice) and have early elections. Yanukovych fled because the security forces abandoned him. They most likely abandoned him because the Feb 21st agreement called for investigation into violence on the Maidan, and they thought they would be blamed for everything.

I never said Gubarev wasn't Ukrainian. But he was clearly a pro-Russian agitator. And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals.

brylcream Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 3:35 AM

Yanukovich was in Donetsk when they broke their constitution in the Rada, when they didn't have enough votes to impeach him.

"And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals."

Really?
https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Alex Robeson brylcream , February 23, 2018 7:50 AM

He was in Kharkiv, but not on an official visit. He was fleeing. And sorry, but protests attended by a few thousand people do not mean that Gubarev had widespread support.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 3:14 PM

""governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals."

-It is worth to point out that there was no democratic support for the coup in Kiev however. Which I guess is why there was a coup in the first place.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 4:20 PM

You still haven't offered any proof for your claim of a coup in Kiev.

brylcream Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 3:37 AM

Check the Ukrainian constitution, Article 111. There is described how a president could be impeached.

Alex Robeson brylcream , February 23, 2018 7:33 AM

That's not a coup. It's an unconstitutional removal of a president who abandoned his post. What were they supposed to do - live with a power vacuum?

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 3:09 PM

"And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals."

-Hardly illegal, quite the opposite, more like it was a duty to resist an unconstitutional coup government. And while I have not found a opinion poll on rebel controlled areas, the closes I found suggest that the rebels has a very high support among the Donbass population.

"An opinion poll that was taken on the day of the referendum and the day before by a correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Washington Post, and five other media outlets found that of those people who intended to vote, 94.8% would vote for independence. The poll did not claim to have scientific precision, but was carried out to get a basis from which to judge the outcome of the referendum, given that independent observers were not present to monitor it. Even with those who said they would not vote counted in, a 65.6% majority supported separation from Ukraine"
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/...

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 5:52 PM

You should probably try reading the actual article, instead of quoting Wikipedia. The journalists polled 186 people, and of those 110 supported independence. That's a tiny and insignificant sample size. People voting for independence had been going through a war started by pro-Russian separatists, they were under the martial law of pro-Russian separatists, and their only news was Russian propaganda telling them that Kiev was all Nazis who wanted to exterminate Russia. Also, as you no doubt saw while reading Wikipedia, polls taken before Strelkov and the others started the war showed that the locals were not supportive of independence.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:22 AM

" them that Kiev was all Nazis who wanted to exterminate Russia"

-Pretty close to the truth actually, Kiev certainly did and are doing everything they can do exterminate the local civilians in Donbas, but stealing their pensions, cutting of social pay, hindering and stoping food, medicine and water.

Actually I mentioned that in my comment, there are no opinion polls but the closes we get is the opinion polls from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Washington Post, which shows a massive support for the rebels. Which is no surprise as we are talking about an illegal unconstitutional pro-nazi government seizing power.

"tthe locals were not supportive of independence.

-The support for rebels are as all sources show quite high, of course nobody wanted the war, but that was forced on them by the unelected coup government. If Ukraine had just language right of the Donbass people there would have been no war.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 8:14 AM

No, Kiev was not filled with Nazis. Russia engaged in fearmongering to get Crimeans to vote for independence. And what happened? The Ukrainian Army in Crimea resisted all provocations to start a war. Kiev thought that the international community would come to its aid. Remember the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2014? Svoboda and Right Sector barely had any public support at all. The lie that Kiev was filled with Nazis was just that - a lie.

Again, your Frankfurter Allgemeine poll was less than 200 people who happened to be willing to talk to Western journalists. Only 110 of them said they wanted independence, and this was after living under martial law and Russian propaganda for months. There were plenty of actual scientific polls conducted in April before the "referendum" which showed that there was no support for secession - at most, people wanted decentralisation.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 3:05 PM

Well, depends on what you mean with proof I suppose, is an American marxist oligarchs admitting they spent millions to training demonstrators to subvert Ukrainian democracy proof?
Is the fact that 100% of NATO controlled media support the Ukrainian opposition proof?
Is that fact that USA leaders went down to Ukraine and gave out cookies to the undemocratic opposition and held speeches encouraging them to overthrow their government proof?
Is leaked phone calls from USA telling Ukraine which leaders should be installed(which later were installed) proof?
Is Obama openly admitting they handled the "transition of power" in Ukraine proof?
Is the fact that the fascist and ultra-nationalist groups used used to overthrow the democratic government of Ukraine(OUN) known CIA assets proof? I mean, basically, it was the most blatant coup in world history. But if you literally want the USA government to totally in details describe and admit to every detail you will just have to wait a few years or decades until it is released in a FOI report like the fact that USA created ISIS.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 4:38 PM

- I'm assuming you mean the $5 billion the US invested over 20+ years? Russia invested $40 billion in the same time frame - 8x as much as the US (see Sergey Glazyev's March 24, 2014 interview with National Review). Financial investments in democratic institutions are not proof of a coup, but nice try.

- NATO controlled media? There's no such thing.

- Why is it such a big deal with Nuland giving out cookies?

- John McCain didn't encourage them to "overthrow their government". When did he say that? He said "We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe."

- Did you know that government officials from European countries and the EU also encouraged the protesters?

- Nuland and the US were clearly operating to keep the opposition united, and yes, they pushed their interests by encouraging Yatsenyuk to take the lead. But Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok were already established as opposition politicians in general, and had been accepted by the Maidan protesters before the US arrived on the scene. And besides, the Feb 21st agreement was what the US wanted - it would have placed those three figures in a coalition government with Yanukovych, followed by early elections. All of that considered, the fact that they emerged as leaders after Yanukovych left is really not surprising.

- Obama admitted what everyone knew - the US had entered into the crisis on the side of the EU to push Yanukovych to listen to the protesters. Russia, of course, was pushing Yanukovych to crack down. I remember when RT and Sputnik tried to twist it to mean Obama was claiming the US was behind a coup - it was the most blatant spin/propaganda I've ever seen. Go back and watch Obama's interview with Fareed Zakaria.

- You'll have to provide at least an ounce of proof that ultranationalist, far-right, or neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine are "CIA assets". Otherwise you're just another baseless conspiracy theorist.

- Yes, the US and USSR (Russia) have engaged in regime changes in the past. There's zero proof though, that there was a coup in Ukraine.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:27 AM

lol, yes, that is what is called a coup. Not only a coup but the most blatant coup in history I would say, I can only imagine if Russia funded trained and funded demonstrators Mexico, Russian leaders went to Mexico handing out cookies and giving support to the demonstrators, and ordering the opposition which leaders should be installed after the coup and so forth,and then afterwards openly admitting it did it.Hilarious. But I guess you are paid troll, and even when FYI releases information where USA planned the entire thing in detail, like it has with its creation of ISIS and al-qaeda you will deny it still.

Here is the head of Stratfor by the way, the "Shadow CIA" saying the exact same thing, xD

"Head of Stratfor, 'Private CIA,' Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was 'The Most Blatant Coup in History'"
http://www.washingtonsblog....

Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 9:01 AM

Watch the video of Obama's interview ( https://www.youtube.com/wat... - he clearly states "Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine." In other words, he openly admits to helping form the February 21st "Agreement on settlement of political crisis in Ukraine". Obviously he's not talking about the Rada removing Yanukovych from office.

Nuland's conversation backs this up. It shows the Obama administration was helping Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok stay united. Yanukovych was individually offering them posts in his government. The US was pushing them to resist those offers. This culminated in the February 21st agreement, where the US and EU got additional concessions from Yanukovych - a coalition government with those three leaders, early elections, and investigations of the violence on Maidan.

As for the head of Stratfor, George Friedman went on to write an article in which he said that his quote was completely taken out of context ( http://www.businessinsider.... .

You think handing out cookies means people are funding coups. I'll have to remember that when giving cookies to my children.

Jorge Martinho Vic , February 22, 2018 2:34 PM

Civil wars dont involve foreign powers invading another country...

Duendao Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 7:21 PM

So what is doing the US in syria?

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 2:43 PM

Indeed, that is why there is a civil war in Ukraine. "Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war" https://www.thelocal.ch/201...

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 7:01 AM

Russia does not steal anything, the Crimean people voted to join Russia and that is their democratic right.

"With two studies out of the way, both Western-based, it seems without question that the vast majority of Crimeans do not feel they were duped into voting for annexation, and that life with Russia will be better for them and their families than life with Ukraine. A year ago this week, 83% of Crimeans went to the polling stations and almost 97% expressed support for reunification with their former Soviet parent."
https://www.forbes.com/site...

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 1:48 PM

Crimea was a coup, initiated on February 27, 2014 when armed/masked militants (Spetsnaz?) stormed the Crimean parliamentary building, raised the Russian flag over the building, and barricaded themselves inside. During this occupation, an emergency parliamentary session was called. It is unknown how many MPs participated - a number have said they were not there, even though they were claimed to have been there. But in that emergency session, the Crimean PM (Anatolii Mohyliov) was illegally removed and replaced with an unpopular pro-Russian MP (Sergey Aksyonov). Aksyonov immediately called for the independence referendum. Just to emphasize, all of this happened while the parliamentary building was under armed occupation from unknown pro-Russian forces (most likely Spetsnaz), and against the will of the current Crimean and Ukrainian governments. Interestingly, just the day before (February 26), the Crimean government had told pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters outside the building that there would be no effort to seek independence from Ukraine.

It was, without doubt, a coup.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:28 AM

Derp, there is quite literally a source right above you debunking your lies and linking to several USA and Germany opinion polls verifying that the result of the referendum was reflective of the democratic will of the Crimean people.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 9:03 AM

I didn't dispute the poll. What I said is that before the referendum Russia instigated a coup, suppressed protests, and created a sense of fear in Crimea that drove people to think Kiev was filled with Nazis. Of course they voted to join Russia after that.

BlackRoseML Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 1:27 PM

Isn't that what happened throughout Ukraine when "protestors" (more accurately thugs) took over the Regional Administration buildings and occupied them? Well, before the coup in Kiev, numerous government buildings in other regions were occupied.

You said that it was a big propaganda exercise to portray being pro-Ukraine as being pro-Nazi. Then why was the Euromaidan far right? Why were the most prominent activists and leaders of the "revolution" associated with Svodoba and Right Sector? Why were there thugs destroying monuments to Lenin? Why were many activists extolling Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych?

The people on the Maidan behaved like far-right lunatics and brigands. No wonder why there it isn't difficult to conceive of them as Nazis.

If I were a woman in Crimea, I would be grateful that I am not living under the jackboot of the Maidan thugs.

[Feb 24, 2018] As Washington's efforts to recapture and return Russia to vassalage have failed it has resorted to a growing series of provocations and conflicts

Notable quotes:
"... Nevertheless, the US retains its political clients in the Baltic , the Balkans and Eastern and Central European regimes. However, these clients are unruly and often eager to confront a nuclear-armed Russia, confident that the US-NATO will intervene, in spite of the probability of being vaporized in a nuclear Armageddon. ..."
"... Despite President Trump's campaign promises to 'pull-back', the US has re-entered Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in a big way. The Trump shift from global containment and realism to 'rollback and aggression' against Russia and China has failed to secure a positive response from past and present allies. ..."
"... China has increased economic ties with the EU. Russia and the EU share strategic gas and oil trade ties. Domestically, the US military budget deepens the fiscal deficit and drastically threatens social spending. This creates a scenario of increasing US isolation with its futile aggression against a dynamic and changing world. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Russia has reduced and challenged the US pursuit of a uni-polar global empire following the recovery of its sovereignty and economic growth after the disaster of the 1990's. With the ascent of President Putin, the US-EU empire lost their biggest and most lucrative client and source of naked pillage.

Nevertheless, the US retains its political clients in the Baltic , the Balkans and Eastern and Central European regimes. However, these clients are unruly and often eager to confront a nuclear-armed Russia, confident that the US-NATO will intervene, in spite of the probability of being vaporized in a nuclear Armageddon.

Washington's efforts to recapture and return Russia to vassalage have failed. Out of frustration Washington has resorted to a growing series of failed provocations and conflicts between the US and the EU, within the US between Trump and the Democrats; and among the warlords controlling the Trump cabinet.

Germany has continued lucrative trade ties with Russia, despite US sanctions, underscoring the decline of US power to dictate policy to the European Union. The Democratic Party and the ultra-militaristic Clinton faction remains pathologically nostalgic for a return to the 1990's Golden Age of Pillage (before Putin). Clinton's faction is fixated on the politics of revanchism . As a result, they vigorously fought against candidate Donald Trump's campaign promises to pursue a new realistic understanding with Russia. The Russia-Gate Investigation is not merely a domestic electoral squabble led by hysterical 'liberals.' What is a stake is nothing less than a profound conflict over the remaking of the US global map. Trump recognized and accepted the re-emergence of Russia as a global power to be 'contained', while the Democrats campaigned to roll-back reality, overthrow Putin and return to the robber baron orgies of the Clinton years. As a result of this ongoing strategic conflict, Washington is unable to develop a coherent global strategy, which in turn has further weakened US influence in the EU in Europe and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the intense Democratic onslaught against Trump's initial foreign policy pronouncements regarding Russia succeeded in destroying his 'pivot to realism' and facilitated the rise of a fanatical militaristic faction within his cabinet, which have intensified the anti-Russia policies of the Clintonite Democrats. In less than a year, all of Trump's realist advisers and cabinet members have been purged and replaced by militarists. Their hard core confrontational anti-Russia policy has become the platform for launching a global military strategy based on vast increases in military spending, demands that the EU nations increase their military budgets, and open opposition to an EU-centered military alliance, such as the one recently proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Despite President Trump's campaign promises to 'pull-back', the US has re-entered Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in a big way. The Trump shift from global containment and realism to 'rollback and aggression' against Russia and China has failed to secure a positive response from past and present allies.

China has increased economic ties with the EU. Russia and the EU share strategic gas and oil trade ties. Domestically, the US military budget deepens the fiscal deficit and drastically threatens social spending. This creates a scenario of increasing US isolation with its futile aggression against a dynamic and changing world.

[Feb 23, 2018] American Meddling in the Ukraine by Publius Tacitus

Ukraine is now now a pawn in a big geopolitical games. With USA EU (Germany) and Russia pulling the country in different directions. But the victory of Ukrainian nationalists is not surprising and is not solely based on the US interferences (althouth the USA did lot in this direction) pursuit its geopolitical game against Russia. It repeats the story of Baltic Republics, albeit with a significant time delay. There should be some social group that secure independence of the country and Ukrainian nationalists happen to be such a group. That's why Yanukovich supported them and Svoboda party (with predictable results).
Notable quotes:
"... The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations. ..."
"... The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine. ..."
"... US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts. ..."
"... I wouldn´t put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations.

Who is the United States government and media supporting? The Nazis . You think I'm joking. Here are the facts, but we must go back to World War II :

When World War II began a large part of western Ukraine welcomed the German soldiers as liberators from the recently enforced Soviet rule and openly collaborated with the Germans. IThe Soviet leader, Stalin, imposed policies that caused the deaths of almost 7 million Ukrainians in the 1930s--an era known as the Holomodor).

Ukrainian divisions, regiments and battalions were formed, such as SS Galizien, Nachtigal and Roland, and served under German leadership. In the first few weeks of the war, more than 80 thousand people from the Galizien region volunteered for the SS Galizien, which later known for its extreme cruelty towards Polish, Jewish and Russian people on the territory of Ukraine.

Members of these military groups came mostly from the organization of Ukrainian nationalists ka the OUN, which was founded in 1929. It's leader was Stepan Bandera, known then and today for his extreme anti-semitic and anti-communist views.

CIA documents just recently declassified show strong ties between US intelligence and Ukrainian nationalists since 1946.

Jump ahead now to the April 2014 "uprising" of anti-Russian forces in the Ukraine (Maidan 2). The US was firmly on the side of the protesters, who ultimately succeeded in ousting the elected President. And who were helping lead this effort?

Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council is Andriy Parubiy. Parubiy was the founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler's Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians.

The Social National Party would go on to become Svoboda, the far-right nationalist party whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok was one of the three most high profile leaders of the Euromaidan protests. . . .

Overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy as the Deputy Secretary of National Security is Dmytro Yarosh , the leader of the Right Sector – a group of hardline nationalist streetfighters, who previously boasted they were ready for armed struggle to free Ukraine.

The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine.

US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts.

But Viktor Yuschenko is not an American who speaks a foreign language. He is very much a Ukrainian nationalist and steeped in the anti-Semitism that dominates the ideology of western Ukraine. During the final months of his Presidency, Yuschenko made the following declaration:

In conclusion I would like to say something that is long awaited by the Ukrainian patriots for many years I have signed a decree for the unbroken spirit and standing for the idea of fighting for independent Ukraine. I declare Stepan Bandera a national hero of Ukraine.

Without hesitation or shame, Yuschenko endorsed the legacy of Bandera, who had happily aligned with the Nazis in pursuit of his own nationalist goals. Those goals, however, did not include Jews. And here is the ultimate irony--Bandera was born in Austria, not the Ukraine. So much for ideological consistency.

US interference was not confined to serendipitous relationships, such as the Yuschenko marriage. It also included the open and active funding of certain political groups and media outlets. The US State Department sent money through a variety of outlets. One of these was the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening aka CEPPS. This is :

a USAID program with other National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated groups: the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. In 2010, the reported disbursement for CEPPS in Ukraine was nearly $5 million.

The program's efforts are described on the USAID website as providing "training for political party activists and locally elected officials to improve communication with civic groups and citizens, and the development of NGO-led advocacy campaigns on electoral and political process issues."

Anyone prepared to argue that it would be okay for Russia, through its Foreign Ministry, to contribute several million dollars for training party activists in the United States?

What we do not know is how much money was being spent on covert activities directed and managed by the CIA. During the political upheaval in April 2014 (Maidan 2), there was this news item:

Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine's communications systems – and Washington isn't about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

Do you think Americans would be outraged if the head of Russia's version of the CIA, the SVR or FSB, traveled quietly to the United States to meet with Donald Trump prior to his election? I think that would qualify as meddling.

Count me as one of the people who is outraged by the hypocrisy and stupidity now on display in the United States. I am not talking about Trump. I am referring to the Republicans and Democrats and pundits and media mouthpieces who are fuming about Russian citizens writing on Facebook as one of the worst catastrophies since Pearl Harbor or 9-11.

There clearly is meddling going on in America's political landscape. But it ain't the Russian Government. No. There are foreign and domestic forces aligned who are keen on portraying Russia as a threat to world order that must be opposed by more defense spending and tougher sanctions. That is the propaganda that dominates the media in the United States these days. And that is truly dangerous to our nation's safety and freedom.

Posted at 01:24 PM in Publius Tacitus , Russiagate | Permalink


james , 23 February 2018 at 02:11 PM

good post pt.. thanks... i never knew ''the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department.'' that is informative.. i recall following this closely back in 2014.. the hypocrisy on display in the usa at present is truly amazing and frightening at the same time.. it appears that the public can be cowed very easily..
Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , 23 February 2018 at 02:29 PM
good points well made.

On the twitters, you would be accused of "whatabouttism" - which is the crime of excusing Putin's diabolism by pointing out American interference with the internal politics an elections of other nations. A CIA guy recently said the US only interferes to 'promote democracy' - tell that to Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Congo, Russia, Ukraine...it's a long long list.

An independent Ukraine was also a project of German foreign policy after the Brest-Litowsk Treaty (the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty, only aimed at Russia) SO I have o wonder how much of the enthusiasm for Vicky Nuland's Israel friendly Nazi state-let (oh what irony!) is a product of Germany wanting to reassert itself in the east, using NATO solidarity as a fig leaf. Maybe they will make Ukraine import a lot o Africans "refugees" so that Soros' project of creating a brown Europe will be advanced in the Slavic sphere as well as the west.

Adrestia , 23 February 2018 at 02:39 PM
It's not only the US. The EU borg are also meddling. In my country we had a referendum about Ukraine. The population voted "Against" on the question: "Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Ukraine%E2%80%93European_Union_Association_Agreement_referendum,_2016

This was the only referendum that was done since it was implemented in 2015. A second one is being organized on the Intelligence and Security Services which has controversial parts with regard to access to internet traffic.

This referendum will take place on March 21, 2018 and will probably be voted against because of the controversial elements (in part because there is still living memory of our Eastern neighbors in the second world war)

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_op_de_inlichtingen-_en_veiligheidsdiensten_2017

These 2 will probably be the last. Our house of representatives have voted yesterday to end the referendum law (with a majority vote of 76 out of 150 representatives!)

So much for democracy. The reason stated that the referendum was controversial (probably because they voted against the EU borg). Interesting is that the proposal was done by the party that wanted the referendum as a principal point. This will almost certainly ensure that the little respect left for traditional parties is gone and they will not be able to get a majority next elections.

The liberal party - who provides the prime-minister - EU leader Hans van Baalen and Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhostad held a controversial speech on the Maidan square in support of the protesters that the EU will support them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIL1FWCIlu8

Tom , 23 February 2018 at 03:22 PM
I wouldn´t put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. The deeper problem of Ukraine is the fact that in the East of the country (and maybe even the majority of the country) Bandera is indeed regarded as a villain. But in the West he is a hero to this day. Even in Soviet times people from Western Ukraine were regarded as "fascists" by much of the rest of the country. No wonder as there were anti soviet partisans until late in the fifties.

Even in the nineties anybody who travelled in Ukraine could feel the tension between East and West. The Russians were certainly aware of it and mindful not to rip the country apart they cut the Ukrainians an enormous amount of slack. Of course they supported "their" candidates and shoveled money into their insatiable throats. Only to be disappointed time and again. "Prorussian" Kutshma turned into a Ukrainian "patriot" (such is the logic of statehood) and the same thing happened with Yanukovich. People forget that he would have signed an association agreement with Europe had Europe not refused because he was insufficiently "democratic". Really the West should have been content with things as they were. But the West wanted it all. They wanted Ukraine firmly in the "Western" camp. Thereby they ripped the country apart. As a good friend of mine who has studied in Kiev in Soviet times remarked: to ask Ukraine to choose between East and West is like asking a child in divorce proceedings who it liked more: daddy or mummy?
Really the West (not only the US -the Eu is also guilty) is to blame. It is long past time to get down from the high horse and stop spreading chaos and mayhem in the name of democracy,

Jony Kanuck , 23 February 2018 at 03:27 PM
Publius,
An informative column.
The coup & later developments soured me on the MSMedia. I'm an initiate into modern Russian history: NATO in the Ukraine = WW3!

Some additional history:
A Ukrainian nation did not exist until after WW1; one piece was Russian, another Polish and another Austrian. The Holodomor is exaggerated for political purposes; the actual number dead from famine appears to be 'only' 2M. It wasn't Soviet bloody mindedness, it was Soviet agricultural mismanagement; collectivizing agriculture drops production. They did this right before the great drought of the 1930s - remember the dustbowl. There was a famine in Kazakestan at the same time; 1.5M died. The Nazis raised 5 SS divisions out of the Ukraine. As the Germans were pushed back they ran night drops of ordnance into the Ukraine as long as they could. The Soviets had to carry on divisional level counter insurgency until 1956. After the war, Gehlen, Nazi intelligence czar, kept himself out of jail by turning over his files, routes & agents to the US. He also stoked anti Soviet paranoia. The Brits ended up with a whole Ukr SS division that they didn't want, so they gave it to Canada. Which is why Canada has such cranky policy around the Ukraine!

bluetonga , 23 February 2018 at 03:28 PM
A very interesting conversation between Victoria Nulland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, caught at picking the future rulers of liberated Ukraine :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk

This is not meddling. This is a defensive (preemptive?) action against Russian agression.

Publius Tacitus -> Tom... , 23 February 2018 at 03:31 PM
Tom,
I'm sure you'd like us to ignore Bandera. I bet he liked children and dogs. Just like Hitler. Bandera was a genuine bad guy. There is no rehabilitating that scourge on society. Nice try though.
Publius Tacitus -> bluetonga... , 23 February 2018 at 03:36 PM
I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that your final comment is sarcasm. When you have two senior US Government officials who will and will not constitute a foreign government, you have gone beyond meddling. It is worse.
VietnamVet , 23 February 2018 at 03:57 PM
PT

The media is hysterical. Today, Putin's Facebook Bot Collaborator contacted the Kremlin before his mercenaries attacked Americans in Syria. I've never seen such an intense barrage of propaganda before in my life. America is fracturing apart like Ukraine. This is no coincidence. In both countries, oligarchs have seized power, the rule of law abandoned and there is a rush of corruption. A World War is near. The realists are gone. The Moguls are pushing Donald Trump pull the trigger. Either in Syria with an assault to destroy Hezbollah (Iran) for good or American trainers going over the top of trenches in Donbass in a centennial attack of the dead.

The Twisted Genius , 23 February 2018 at 03:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

Hallelujah and jubilation! We're in full agreement on this subject. What we did to Ukraine is shameful in every way. A remember a video of a pallet of money being unloaded from a USG place at Kiev during Maidan 2. That's in addition to Nuland's bag of cookies. I always thought that one of the objectives of our meddling in Ukraine was to make Sevastopol into a NATO naval base. I would definitely want to see a full account of what support we provided to the nazi thugs of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor. We have a long history of meddling, at least twice as long as the Soviet Union/Russia. But that does not mean we should stop investigating the Russian interference in our 2016 election. Just stop hyperventilating over it. It no more deserves risking a war than our continuing mutual espionage.

TimmyB , 23 February 2018 at 04:08 PM
Our leaders are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. The Ukraine was almost evenly divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian sides. Our government, rather than waiting for an election, assisted an armed rebellion against the elected pro-Russian government. Among the groups our government allied with in this endeavor were out and out Nazis.

As a result of this rebellion, the Russian majority in Crimea overwhelming voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, which they had been part of for over 150-years. While our government continues to provide military aid to Israel, which used force of arms take over the West Bank, it imposed sanctions against Russia when the people of Crimea voted to join their former countrymen. Mind boggling.

[Feb 23, 2018] Russia loses the E. Ukraine as a buffer.

Feb 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Les | Dec 31, 2016 12:09:53 PM | 4

Kissinger reportedly working on a deal with Russia: Crimea for East Ukraine.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/henry-kissinger-russia-trump-crimea-advises-latest-ukraine-a7497646.html

[Feb 20, 2018] Russia's Election Meddling Worse Than a Crime; a Blunder by Robert W. Merry

Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ukraine is crucial in this Russian sense of territorial imperative. It's a tragically split country, with part tilting toward the West and part facing eastward toward Russia. That makes for a delicate political and geopolitical situation, but for centuries that delicate political and geopolitical situation has been overseen by Russia. Now the West wants to end that. Upending a duly elected (though corrupt) Ukrainian president was part of the plan. Getting Ukraine into NATO is the endgame.

Note that the Ukrainian revolution occurred in 2014, which just happened to be the year, according to the U.S. indictments, that Russia initiated its grand program to influence America's 2016 elections. Kennan was right: Russia inevitably would react badly to the NATO encirclement policy, and then America's anti-Russian cadres would cite that as evidence that the encirclement was necessary all along. That's precisely what's happening now.

Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder. Given all that's happened in U.S.-Russian relations this century, there probably wasn't much prospect that those relations could ever be normalized, much less made cordial. But that is now utterly impossible.

Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of seeking better relations with Russia. After getting elected he repeatedly asserted in his first news conference that it would be "positive," "good," or "great" if "we could get along with Russia." Unlike most of America's elites, he vowed to seek Moscow's cooperation on global issues, accepted some U.S. share of blame for the two countries' sour relations, and acknowledged "the right of all nations to put their interests first."

This suggested a possible dramatic turn in U.S.-Russian relations -- an end to the encirclement push, curtailment of the hostile rhetoric, a pullback on economic sanctions, and serious efforts to work with Russia on such nettlesome matters as Syria and Ukraine. That was largely put on hold with the narrative of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and vague allegations of campaign "collusion" with Russia on behalf of Trump's presidential ambitions.

It doesn't appear likely that investigators will turn up any evidence of collusion that rises to any kind of criminality. But it doesn't matter now, in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, because these indictments will cement the anti-Russian sentiment of Americans for the foreseeable future. No overtures of the kind envisioned by Trump will be possible for any president for a long time. It won't matter that every nation does it or that America in particular has done it or that the West's aggressive encirclement contributed to the Russian actions. The U.S.-Russian hostility is set. Where it leads is impossible to predict, but it won't be good. It could be tragic.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His latest book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , was released in September.

[Feb 11, 2018] What We've Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com

One consequence of the Trump-Russia fixation is the overshadowing of the far-right agenda that Trump and his Republican allies are carrying out, including, inexorably, policies that undermine the narrative of Trump-Russian collusion. But as that narrative is also used as a cudgel against Trump's presidency, it is worth asking if some of those policies are now even a direct result.

In December, Trump authorized the sale of new weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists. President Obama had rejected the arms shipments, "fearing that it would only escalate the bloodshed," as The New York Times noted in 2015. Trump had also opposed such a move during the campaign, but was swayed by lobbying from advisers and congressional neoconservatives . "Overall," observed Andrew Weiss , a Russia expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "I see this discussion [on Trump-Russia] as fitting within a broader effort by people within the national security bureaucracy to box Trump in on Ukraine."

The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response.

[Jan 30, 2018] The Unseen Wars of America the Empire The American Conservative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fighting for scores of nations, with troops on every continent and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware. "I didn't know there were 1,000 troops in Niger," said Senator Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing." ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
Jan 30, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Unseen Wars of America the Empire By Patrick J. Buchanan January 30, 2018, 12:01 AM

Forward Operating Base Torkham, in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan (army.mil) If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week's end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.

Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his forces will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.

Erdogan's foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the United States to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates all the way to Iraq.

If the Turks attack Manbij, America will face a choice: stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.

Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area, as Erdogan threatens, American credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.

But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan's forces could mean a crackup of NATO and a loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.

Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO's loss would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.

Yet Syria is but one of many challenges facing U.S. foreign policy.

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the menace of a North Korean ICBM out of the news, but no one believes that threat is behind us.

Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China's territorial claims with our warships, a clash is inevitable.

In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance jet in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.

U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a false friend.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump declared. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

As for America's longest war in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon. A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.

Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing. If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States? Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.

Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea, and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago. This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, seized power in Yemen's southern port of Aden from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis. These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn. There are other wars -- Somalia, Libya, Ukraine -- where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.

Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fighting for scores of nations, with troops on every continent and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware. "I didn't know there were 1,000 troops in Niger," said Senator Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing."

No, we don't, Senator. As in all empires, power is passing to the generals. And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city? Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia-gate.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Jan 28, 2018] Cought in geopolitical war Ukraine became a pawn in bigger games

Jan 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

Remember how the USA ignited the Ukraine to punish the Russians for their thwarting of the planned US attack on Syria? Well, the very same Ukraine has recently passed a law abolishing the "anti-terrorist operation" in the Donbass and declaring the Donbass "occupied territory". Under Ukie law, Russia is now officially an "aggressor state". This means that the Ukronazis have now basically rejected the Minsk Agreements and are in a quasi-open state of war with Russia. The chances of a full-scale Ukronazi attack on the Donbass are now even higher then before, especially before or during the soccer World Cup in Moscow this summer (remember Saakashvili?). Having been ridiculed (again) with their Border Security Force in Syria, the US Americans will now seek a place to take revenge on the evil Russkies and this place will most likely be the Ukraine. And we can always count the Israelis to find a pretext to continue to murder Palestinians and bomb Syria. As for the Saudis, they appear to be temporarily busy fighting each other. So unless the Empire does something really crazy, the only place it can lash out with little to lose (for itself) is the eastern Ukraine. The Novorussians understand that. May God help them.


Paranam Kid , January 26, 2018 at 5:58 am GMT

Saker, interesting analysis. 1 tiny point of criticism:

Remember how the USA ignited the Ukraine to punish the Russians for their thwarting of the planned US attack on Syria?

If I am not mistaken the CIA fomented "Orange revolution" in Ukraine was in 2014, whereas Russia stepped into the Syrian war in 2015. So in the quoted sentence, it seems you got the sequence of events back to front.

bliss_porsena , January 28, 2018 at 10:14 am GMT
Ha-ha! Goddam Russkies scorched the Amero-ISIS arse and now Russo-Turks are gaslighting the Kurds and their ten 'Murican lilypads. It's time for a diversionary Great Patriotic Ukrainian War, just as soon as Porko sobers up.
Seamus Padraig , January 28, 2018 at 11:53 am GMT
@Biff

You're both wrong. The Orange Revolution occurred in 2005: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution

What occurred in 2014 was the Maidan psy-op. As far as I recall, the only thing significant that happened in Ukraine in 2010 was the election of Yanukovych.

Michael Kenny , January 28, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
In an article about Syria, Russia is omnipresent and the article ends by talking about Ukraine. Nothing could better illustrate the fact that Putin has painted himself into a corner in both places. He is irreversibly bogged down in Syria and any deal he makes with the Kurds will just bog him down even more. Putin is a sitting duck. The US can lower the boom on him at any time by relaunching the war and there's nothing he can do about it. And, of course, the author makes clear that all this is "about" Ukraine. Syria is a proxy war. But in Ukraine also, Putin has painted himself into a corner. He can't go forward, he can't go backwards and he can't stay where he is!
bluedog , January 28, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Looks to me like he has done very well, the Ukraine is a basket case, surviving on little more than borrowed money(I see on the QT that they are back to having to buy coal from Russia AGAIN) and sooner rather than later there will be another coup as they find that even the EU don';t want them.Syria why does he need to make a deal with the Kurd's for they are not his problem,if anyone makes a deal with the Kurd's it will have be Syria,as far as that little chunk we carved out just what good is it landlocked with no access to a water port,as normal your trolling along with the mighty U.S. which is little more than a paper tiger with its involvement in Afghanistan Africa and other places of interest as it tries to save what can't be saved,the EMPIRE

EliteCommInc. , January 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

I am not sure there is any evidence that Pres Putin needs t do anything.

He has no intention of raking the Ukraine. Not an issue. He's responding the consequences of a western incited violent revolution that spun out of control -- and is protecting "ethnic Russians" a dynamic that plagues Europe and Asia.

In Syria he is not launching a campaign of conquest but supporting. Anyone who thinks Russia is caught in a vice is sorely mistaken. I can see from the comments that misunderstanding the motivations of pothers remains in play and that is not encouraging.

Yo be clear, I have full faith of US might. we can bring a formidable amount of force on any situation -- it's frightening, just how formidable we are. The question remains

first should we
second how long we need to sustain it
third tested against multiple adversaries (of our own making) in multiple locations
fourth tested against other modern states who themselves have engaged in tech superior forces
fifth the strategic advantages -- short verses long term

Just because one can -- doesn't . . .

Nor am I ignoring that we have allies willing to take on Russia, but when push comes to shove . . . who knows. I think we are the ones getting played and as for trapped -- and bogged down --

goodness gracious.

[Jan 27, 2018] Ukraine, Syria, Russiagate, the Media, and the Risk of Nuclear War by Robert Roth

Notable quotes:
"... London Review of Books, ..."
"... at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack ..."
"... Return to Moscow ..."
"... The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media's approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014 . The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the "other side of the story." Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a "Putin apologist" or "Kremlin stooge." ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

The claim of Russian meddling in the US election has brought US-Russia relations to what may be an all-time low, substantially contributing to the near-universal demonization of Russian president Vladimir Putin and of Russia itself in virtually all major media, with little or no discussion of the supposed evidence for the claim. A stellar exception is the London Review of Books, which published a critically important essay by Rutgers University professor Jackson Lears in the January 4, 2018 issue. Titled "What We Don't Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking," the article is an excellent overview and analysis of many of the issues the title suggests.

The claim of Russian meddling in the election remains to this day evidence-free, although you would never know that from the treatment of the topic in the mainstream media. As Professor Lears observes:

Like any orthodoxy worth its salt, the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords. Its scriptural foundation is a confused and largely fact-free 'assessment' produced last January by a small number of 'hand-picked' analysts – as James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, described them – from the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. The claims of the last were made with only 'moderate' confidence. The label Intelligence Community Assessment creates a misleading impression of unanimity, given that only three of the 16 US intelligence agencies contributed to the report. And indeed the assessment itself contained this crucial admission: 'Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.' Yet the assessment has passed into the media imagination as if it were unassailable fact, allowing journalists to assume what has yet to be proved. In doing so they serve as mouthpieces for the intelligence agencies, or at least for those 'hand-picked' analysts.

But although Professor Lears refers to the reports of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in his discussion of "Russian hacking," it seems clear there must have been a leak, not a hack, because "the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack ." ("Was the 'Russian Hack' An Inside Job?", July 25, 2017, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/25/was-the-russian-hack-an-inside-job/ .)

In any case, definitive claims about who was responsible (assuming, purely arguendo , it was a hack) face the fact that, according to Ray McGovern and William S. Binney, two members of VIPS,

On March 31, 2017, WikiLeaks released original CIA documents [the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents ] -- ignored by mainstream media -- showing that the agency had created a program allowing it to break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs like Cyrillic markings, for example. ("Trumped-up Claims Against Trump," May 17, 2017, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-trump-russia-phony-20170517-story.html ).

McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years; Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, was the agency's technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting, and created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

In other words, as Russian president Vladimir Putin has explained,

today's technology is such that the final address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual [so] that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. (Valdimir Putin's televised interview on NBC (June 4, 2017), by NBC News' Megyn Kelly, text published on the website of the President of Russia, June 5, 2017.) [9]

Demonization of Putin and Russia

The demonization of Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russia itself is just part, albeit the most dangerous part, of a disinformation campaign flowing from the mainstream media. I don't propose to present a full treatment of the subject here. But in broad outline, it's my understanding that when the Cold War ended in 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin accepted the advice of Western neoliberal planners and dismantled much of the Russian "safety net," with the result that the Russian economy tanked and millions of people faced terrific hardship.

Vladimir Putin has been attempting to repair that situation, and his initial success is part of the reason for his popularity in Russia. That understanding comes from a number of articles I've read over the years, but primarily from Tony Kevin's book Return to Moscow , mentioned above. I'm hardly an expert on internal Russian politics. But I've read many of the extensive public statements Mr. Putin has made since 2007, and with my primary concern being his role in international relations and with respect to the control of Russia's nuclear arsenal, he strikes me as a statesman. [10] . Yet as investigative journalist Robert Parry observes,

The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media's approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014 . The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the "other side of the story." Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a "Putin apologist" or "Kremlin stooge."

Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many "liberals" who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we're told to accept the assertions on faith. [11] .

One result is a needless heightening of the dangers and risks outlined in this article.

[Jan 21, 2018] Poeoshenko failed to imagine the situation a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now. Failing to resolve the Donbass crisis now might create much worse situation in the future

Notable quotes:
"... Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now ..."
"... The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days. ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

English Outsider -> Babak Makkinejad... 21 January 2018 at 11:18 AM


Babak - "The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Persian Gulf, in South Korea."

As you point out, that could have unexpected effects. We saw what happened when a previous dominant power - Great Britain, though by no means as overwhelmingly dominant and not at all so at the end - effectively cut and ran after the Second World War. It ended up more of a mess than it started out as.

Even in an ideal world, a world in which the current style of Great Power politics was universally abandoned, the sudden withdrawal of the US would cause instability and chaos. The disengagement would have to be gradual.

But there is no such ideal world as that and there will not be. Therefore the sudden withdrawal of the US would leave a power vacuum that others would fill.

What others? Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now .

The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days.

I'm one of those that still hope that the non-interventionist policy that was voted for in America in 2016 will be carried through. But if that is indeed Trump's intention then there is more in his way than local political or administrative difficulties. To engineer such a transition would require great care. It's no good if the US just steps back and worse comes forward to take its place.

It's not overly idealistic, or even that unrealistic, to hope for a world in which defense forces (AND defensive alliances) are used for the proper purpose of defence and not for expensive and destructive enterprises dreamed up by some bubble elite. That's part of what Trump 2016 was about. But getting to such a world would require a considerably more careful transition than we've seen in similar circumstances in the past.

[Jan 21, 2018] Syria - Turks Attack Afrin, U.S. Strategy Fails, Kurds Again Chose The Losing Side

There are some analogies here with the recent Poroshenko government desire to take Donbass area back by military force.
Notable quotes:
"... How will this breakup of Syrian national territory affect the situation between the Donbass region and the Ukraine junta? ..."
"... True and very sad. The Syrians have been caught in the crossfire since the beginning. We have theorized over the various causes of the war, but, in the end, when the superpowers are hanging around, Syrians are the first row of pieces to be sacrificed. ..."
"... The Afrin war plays several roles. It will demonize and demoralize further the 'independentist' Kurds, awake the nationalist Turkish feeling by displaying military power that has been damaged by the coup, boost the Islamist flame among the rural Turks so the Turks can forget about their grudge over the EU and the declining buying power. ..."
"... All the actors are tributaries flowing into the main river, and all moving in the same general direction, because the river is actually the tide of history. All players are advancing to meet their inevitable destinie ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BRF , Jan 21, 2018 10:28:49 AM | 17

Let me see if I understand all this? The Erdogan Turks fully back the terrorists in Syria aiming to dislodge the Assad Syrian government. The USA et al fully backs the same.

The USA also backs the PKK/YPG Kurd faction in Syria as a means to at least break up Syrian national territory, as originally in their plans, even if they do remove the Assad government as originally planned.

Erdogan has wanted to expand Turkey's national boundaries at the expense of Syria's. This latest encroachment, as with Euphrates Shield, accomplishes this goal especially if they can subsume their terrorist proxies occupied areas in Idlib Province as the USA has by using their newest Kurd proxies in eastern Syria. Erdogan need only create some new proxy (Turkmen?) and go after the terrorists and Kurds in western Syria. No doubt with American help.

Erdogan and the USA disagree only on what future the Kurdish people will play in the eastern territories of Syria and Turkey. So what will be the necessary accommodation between them?

If a Kurdish state is declared and backed by NATO and a UN resolution what if anything can Syria and her allies do about it as war is simply out of the question.

How will this breakup of Syrian national territory affect the situation between the Donbass region and the Ukraine junta?

NemesisCalling , Jan 21, 2018 1:41:54 PM | 37
This would not be some devious plot by Turks/US to prolong the war in Syria and give cover to send more troops in ... troops that never leave? The whole thing seems a bit too ... convenient.

Posted by: GoraDiva | Jan 21, 2018 1:22:57 PM | 35

@35 E

True and very sad. The Syrians have been caught in the crossfire since the beginning. We have theorized over the various causes of the war, but, in the end, when the superpowers are hanging around, Syrians are the first row of pieces to be sacrificed.

And I would never put my faith in any international community ruling after Syria. We are in uncharted territory, I believe. Dance with the one you came with and if you have to stand on Putin's toes to keep up, then hold him close.

"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." -- Thucydides

Can we got off this stupid ride, yet?

William Rood , Jan 21, 2018 2:03:05 PM | 41
"These oilfields seem to be the big prize and one of the main reasons the US wants to hold onto this corner of Syria."

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 21, 2018 10:37:30 AM | 18

The goal of the MIC and Deep State is just to keep the chaos going as long as possible to sell arms and benefit careers. However, Trump has been enticed to go along with it by the promise that the US will "take their oil."

Don Wiscacho , Jan 21, 2018 3:21:35 PM | 47

@ William Rood re: Kurds who can't speak Arabic

You may be correct that those Kurds aren't Syrian, but not necessarily so. The areas of Syria that have actually had Kurdish, or for instance Armenian, majorities have enjoyed a large measure of de facto autonomy, which has only increased in the last 20 years. So while nominally required to use Arabic in schools, if the school is staffed with Kurdish teachers and administrators with Kurdish students, there is little to stop them from simply teaching in Kurdish. Or Armenian, or Aramaic, etc.

Frank , Jan 21, 2018 5:13:08 PM | 56
We had wrongly predicted that Turkish threats against the Kurdish held north-west area of Afrin were empty:
Maybe not. Maybe your first analysis was correct. If the Kurdish militias do fight, it will take many weeks, and lead to substantial Turkish losses. So it is really too early to say that Erdogan will attempt to conquer Afrin no matter the cost, and too early to say that the US will not put effective pressure on Erdogan, or offer him some sort of deal.

So far, Erdogan has upped the ante, but he hasn't gone all in.

virgile , Jan 21, 2018 6:03:49 PM | 60
Erdogan is obsessed by keeping power and winning his re election in 2018 or 2019 . To get that, he needs to neutralize the Turkish Kurds who don't vote for him. Sunni conservative Kurds worship Erdogan for his promotion of Sunni Islam. For them Islam is the unifying factor of Turks especially Sunni Islam. They all vote for the AKP.

Erdogan has emasculated the burgeoning liberal Kurdish party, the HDP, by demonizing the liberal Kurds and throwing its leader in prison just to get more votes in the previous parliamentary election that he reran to win with a very small margin.

For the next election, he is very worried about the growth of other centrist parties, the weakness of his ally the MHP, a nationalist party archi-enemy of the Kurds and about the insatisfaction of the Turks with the deteriorating relation with the EU and the fall of the lira.

The Afrin war plays several roles. It will demonize and demoralize further the 'independentist' Kurds, awake the nationalist Turkish feeling by displaying military power that has been damaged by the coup, boost the Islamist flame among the rural Turks so the Turks can forget about their grudge over the EU and the declining buying power.

The question is will he win fast enough not to create the impression of failure and a quagmire that would reflect negatively on his voters? And what will be the aftermath of Afrin? early elections?

Grieved , Jan 21, 2018 6:52:02 PM | 66
I agree with everyone!

It's a multiple win-win, a great demonstration of congruent interests all doing their own thing. Lots of things remain to play out. But there are no downsides to this situation, no matter who holds what piece of Syrian territory for what temporary short time.

All the actors are tributaries flowing into the main river, and all moving in the same general direction, because the river is actually the tide of history. All players are advancing to meet their inevitable destinies: Turkey moves closer to Russia, and closer, despite much bad blood, to restoring the friendship between itself and Syria (over time); the Kurds get their final lesson about the perfidious US and settle into their lands in Syria, as Syrians; Dr. Assad gets his entire country back for his people (over time); terrorists die; the US is further marginalized and its generals scream mayhem, in words only.

Great update, b - thanks!

[Jan 21, 2018] MoA - Sundry - Shutdown, Ukraine, Omidyar And Syria

Jan 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Ukrainian Parliament has practically declared the Minsk agreements null and void and decided to militarily "liberate" Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea from the will of the people living there. Just in time the neo-nazi fanatics of the Azov Battalion received a U.S. military delegation and U.S. arms.

The 2015 Minsk II agreement ( full text ) demanded that the Ukraine creates a new law for the administration of these regions:

Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014.

Russia is not a party of the agreement. But when the resolution by the Ukrainian parliament was not forthcoming western propaganda falsely blamed Russia for "not fulfilling the Minsk agreement" and the west has since bound the sanctions on Russia to this fake conclusion.

The National Bank of Ukraine announced that an independent accountant found that PrivatBank, then owned by the coup financier and billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskiy , was plundered of $5.5 billion shortly before it went bankrupt and nationalized by the coup government. In connection with that an IMF loan of $1.8 billion to the Ukraine allegedly went directly into Kolomoyskiy's pockets. How much of this stolen money was paid to U.S. politicians?

While the anti-Trump politicians and media still fret about "Russian influence" on U.S. social media everyone seems to have forgotten that in early 2016 the Ukraine set up a massive troll farm and a Ministry of Truth. Back then even the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine disliked that . If every troll tweeting in Russian or with Cyrillic letters in its name is under the direct command of Vladimir Putin where then are those Ukrainians trolls?

les7 , Jan 20, 2018 1:57:19 PM | 18

@15
You ask "How much more is there to come...?"

The last round in Ukraine erupted while the winter games finished in Sochi. I see the empire positioning things to repeat the treatment during FIFA. Ukraine is being primed and the clock is set to create incidents that will force Russia's hand.

This potential very public shaming of Russia is what is restraining Russia from responding to many of the US and Israeli (and Turkish?) provocations in Syria. Perhaps they are hoping their present silence will gain them some grace for that showcase event.

Personally, I doubt it.

And should some incidents happen during the FIFA world cup events, we will see the real Putin - which might be for the best in the long run.

frances , Jan 20, 2018 6:11:22 PM | 42
re:?The Ukrainian Parliament has practically declared the Minsk agreements null and void and decided to militarily "liberate" Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea from the will of the people living there. Just in time the neo-nazi fanatics of the Azov Battalion received a U.S. military delegation..."
And also just in time Russia is voting on legalizing militias in Africa and elsewhere; just in time for Spring in the Ukraine?
http://russiafeed.com/russia-legalize-private-military-contractors-get-leg-africa/
Eugene , Jan 20, 2018 5:20:49 PM | 39
I'm curious about Ukraine & its neo-nazi's. How do the Israelis who work there, knowing the past-present? After all, mention the word nazi in their presence, and they go out of their collective minds attacking the source. Or maybe there's some sort of collusion taking place?

[Jan 20, 2018] Ukraine President given power to wage war in the separatist republics and Crimea.

Jan 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 19, 2018 11:49:05 AM | 57

addwnsum to 56

https://www.rt.com/news/416305-ukraine-donbass-law-war-moscow/

Ukraine President given power to wage war in the separatist republics and Crimea.

[Jan 12, 2018] How the BBC shapes the news.

Jan 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

English Outsider | Jan 10, 2018 1:41:48 PM | 30

I'm in the UK as well and now find it quite alarming how the BBC shapes the news.

Recently on Radio 4 I listened to the BBC talking of a terrorist group related to or derived from Al Qaeda merely as "rebels", and giving the impression that their actions were part of a legitimate insurgency. That's not how 9/11 was described.

It's all too like the BBC's Ukraine reporting, in which the neo-Nazi component was played down and the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Donetsk and Lugansk spoken of as legitimate warfare.

Crazy. And not only the PR. All those journalists and expensive editors and more admin staff than you can shake a stick at, and there's more fact to be got on some one man and a dog Russian news outlet. I heard recently of an old BBC hand describing the way the BBC changed after David Kelly. What with that and what with the material we now see put out by the BBC, I reckon that as far as foreign news goes we've got ourselves our very own Pravda on the Thames.

[Jan 05, 2018] Kissinger reportedly working on a deal with Russia: Crimea for East Ukraine.

Jan 05, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kissinger reportedly working on a deal with Russia: Crimea for East Ukraine.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/henry-kissinger-russia-trump-crimea-advises-latest-ukraine-a7497646.html

You think Russia loses the E. Ukraine as a buffer.

[Jan 03, 2018] When Putin Talks on Ukraine, It Is Worth Listening

Notable quotes:
"... Originally from: ..."
"... Ukraine. Putin's remarks on the state of affairs in Ukraine are, of course, wholly at odds with what Washington puts out on the subject. But they are not at odds with reality: Washington is. ..."
"... Those terms remain Putin's point of reference. They appear to remain the European Union's, too. Washington, which the Europeans and Russia excluded from the Minsk talks for the wisest of reasons, does not seem to have a point of reference, busy as it is pretending there is progress on the corruption front and that Kiev is not dependent on a frightening collection of militias, many of them led by neo–Nazi fanatics. ..."
"... These groups still present the threat of a massacre in the eastern provinces, as Putin reminded his audience. He spoke with notable ease of Russian assistance in those regions, suggesting this can end when they are capable of self-defense. ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Originally from: When Putin Talks, It Is Worth Listening

Ukraine. Putin's remarks on the state of affairs in Ukraine are, of course, wholly at odds with what Washington puts out on the subject. But they are not at odds with reality: Washington is. As Putin calmly noted, the number-one obstacle to a settlement in Ukraine is, as it has been for three years come next February, the profoundly corrupt government installed in Kiev after the American-cultivated coup in 2014.

I say three years next February because it was then the settlement framework known as Minsk II (for the city where it was negotiated and signed) was put in place.

Those terms remain Putin's point of reference. They appear to remain the European Union's, too. Washington, which the Europeans and Russia excluded from the Minsk talks for the wisest of reasons, does not seem to have a point of reference, busy as it is pretending there is progress on the corruption front and that Kiev is not dependent on a frightening collection of militias, many of them led by neo–Nazi fanatics.

These groups still present the threat of a massacre in the eastern provinces, as Putin reminded his audience. He spoke with notable ease of Russian assistance in those regions, suggesting this can end when they are capable of self-defense.

We would do well to understand where the force of inertia lies in Ukraine. This was Putin's topic. A settlement in Ukraine remains possible via the framework fixed three years ago. Let us not forget this. Moscow has not deviated from Minsk II -- another point worth noting. The spoilers are in Kiev, and behind them are those in Washington, which continues to encourage the irresponsible behavior of the Poroshenko government and other Ukrainian elites.

[Dec 29, 2017] Will War Cancel Trump's Triumphs by Pat Buchanan

Dec 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

But it is in the realm of foreign policy where the real perils seem to lie. President Trump has been persuaded by his national security team to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, for use against the tanks and armor of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Should Petro Poroshenko's Kiev regime reignite the war in his breakaway provinces bordering Russia, Vladimir Putin is less likely to let him crush the rebels than to intervene with superior forces and rout the Ukrainian army.

Trump's choice then? Accept defeat and humiliation for our "ally" -- or escalate and widen the conflict with Russia.

Putin's interest in the Donbass, a part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union for centuries, is obvious.

What, exactly, is ours -- to justify a showdown with Moscow?

In this city there is also a powerful propaganda push to have this country tear up the nuclear deal John Kerry negotiated with Iran, and confront the Iranians in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Persian Gulf.

... ... ...

The Korean War finished Truman. Vietnam finished LBJ. Reagan said putting Marines into Lebanon was his worst mistake. Iraq cost Bush II both houses of Congress and his party the presidency in 2008.

Should Trump become a war president, he'll likely become a one-term president.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

[Dec 26, 2017] Are sanctions pushing Russians to rally around the flag Not exactly

Notable quotes:
"... There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and the West concerning EU and NATO expansion into the former USSR. Russia's resisting this expansion, and the West is trying to bully Russia into accepting it. ..."
"... The Atlantic Alliance's support for the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was all about pulling that country into the EU and NATO. The West's involvement in this revolt amounted to an aggressive move by the West against Russia. In return, Russia annexed Crimea, and triggered an anti-Ukrainian revolt in Donbass. ..."
"... The West's response to this was to impose economic sanctions on Russia, in an effort to destroy that country's economy. The goal was to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate, and to permanently forgo its vital national interests in Ukraine ..."
"... Sanctions are there because Russia. is an ally of Syria , and Israel wants Syria destroyed. The sanctions are a means to punish Russia for being Syria's friend, and also to remove Russian influence from that area of the world. Their base at Tarterus. ..."
"... For all it is worth , currently the Russians have more of a legitimate justification to attack the USA and Israel , than Japan did when they attacked Pearl Harbor, because of sanctions slapped on them since they would not leave China, and then moved into Vietnam after being allowed to by Vichy France. ..."
"... Quite obvious sanctions are not hurting Russia as they were Japan otherwise it would be a nasty scene right now. But still not advisable to poke that bear further. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

AMR56 6/18/2017 10:52 AM EDT

There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and the West concerning EU and NATO expansion into the former USSR. Russia's resisting this expansion, and the West is trying to bully Russia into accepting it.

The Atlantic Alliance's support for the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was all about pulling that country into the EU and NATO. The West's involvement in this revolt amounted to an aggressive move by the West against Russia. In return, Russia annexed Crimea, and triggered an anti-Ukrainian revolt in Donbass.

The West's response to this was to impose economic sanctions on Russia, in an effort to destroy that country's economy. The goal was to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate, and to permanently forgo its vital national interests in Ukraine.

The first round of sanctions has obviously failed to have its effect. That's why the US Senate is now attempting a new, harsher round of sanctions in an effort to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate. ... more See More Like Share

MyFreeAdvice 6/16/2017 9:08 AM EDT
The new sanctions on Russia is all about giving an advantage to US LNG producers. First shipment of LNG to Poland from US, ever, was done just last week. It is all a game for the benefit of the big business while emotionally victimizing the common person in the US.
Alex Bes 6/16/2017 7:31 AM EDT [Edited]
Timoty Frai made a lot of research and did a lot of conclusions. Unfortunately he did not understand the only fact: we Russians has a little bit different mentality. Sanctions could not make us gave up if we believe that we are on a right side )))

For example: Imagine if someone say to you: "If you will not let me hurt your baby I will reject you as a customer!" Will you let him hurt your baby??? Most of the Russians won't!

Christopher Perrien 6/15/2017 9:06 AM EDT [Edited]
Sanctions are there because Russia. is an ally of Syria , and Israel wants Syria destroyed. The sanctions are a means to punish Russia for being Syria's friend, and also to remove Russian influence from that area of the world. Their base at Tarterus.

For all it is worth , currently the Russians have more of a legitimate justification to attack the USA and Israel , than Japan did when they attacked Pearl Harbor, because of sanctions slapped on them since they would not leave China, and then moved into Vietnam after being allowed to by Vichy France.

Quite obvious sanctions are not hurting Russia as they were Japan otherwise it would be a nasty scene right now. But still not advisable to poke that bear further.

Manuel Angst 6/15/2017 9:49 AM EDT
"... punish Russia for being Syria's friend"

Propping up the biggest butcher of Syrian people is hardly "being Syria's friend".

... more See More Like Nedlog and Manuel Angst 2

Revealer 6/15/2017 6:42 PM EDT
Must I remind you that many thousands of Americans living in both Southern and Northern states of American considered Abraham Lincoln a butcher of American people and a tyrant doing the U.S. civil war. In fact he outraged so many who thought of him that way he was assassinated because of a belief that he was a tyrant and a butcher of American people. Many people at the time remembered Gen. Sherman's military march through the South that burned everything in sight and believe it or not killed many civilians. Be careful who you call a butcher. ... more See More Like
Don Brook 6/15/2017 8:47 AM EDT
Putin's disciple Trump may well decide to invade some small country as a way of shoring up his own declining approval. ... more See More Like Share
Tebteb27 6/15/2017 8:54 AM EDT
You are a type locality example of the slow digression into destructive ignorance that we currently face as a nation. God help us. ... more See More Like
Ed Chen 6/15/2017 9:10 AM EDT
That is the best vision of how the leftist (the same word "liberal") propaganda screw the minds of the people like Don Brook, to bring this nation to a dangerous situation of clash with each other over nothing, but the pain could be great. Are sanctions pushing Russians to 'rally around the flag'? Not exactly. - The Washington Post
Bob Twou 6/15/2017 8:37 AM EDT
The sanctions have strengthen Russia's domestic economy and has turn the corner
despite low energy prices. Sanctions are never an effective tool for international relations, look at Cuba. lol
Russian are an educated people, they are not stupid which the Establishment media wants us to believe. Time to talk, isn't that what diplomacy is all about? ... more See More Like Share Erugo 1
altR 6/15/2017 8:58 AM EDT
You are also correct, sanctions are the biggest waste of time. They are only for the political elite to fake resolve

[Dec 25, 2017] Ukraine loses gas dispute to Russia; ordered to pay $2 billion to Gazprom by by Alexander Mercouris

Notable quotes:
"... By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period. ..."
"... Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt. ..."
"... Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia? ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | theduran.com

On Friday 21st December 2017 the Stockholm Arbitration Court made a ruling in the legal dispute between Ukraine's state owned gas monopoly Naftogaz and Russia's largely state owned gas monopoly Gazprom.

In the hours after the decision – which like all decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Court – is not published, Naftogaz claimed victory in a short statement. However over the course of the hours which followed Gazprom provided details of the decision which suggests that the truth is the diametric opposite.

The Duran recommends using WP Engine >>

Here is how the Financial Times reports the competing claims

Both Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom both on Friday claimed victory as a Stockholm arbitration tribunal issued the final award ruling in the first of two cases in a three-year legal battle between the state-controlled energy companies, where total claims stand at some $80bn.

An emailed statement from the Ukrainian company was titled:

"Naftogaz wins the gas sales arbitration case against Gazprom on all issues in dispute."

Start your own website here >>

The Stockholm arbitration tribunal -- in its final award ruling in a dispute over gas supplies from prior years -- had, according to Naftogaz, struck down Gazprom's claim to receive $56bn for gas contracted but not supplied through controversial "take-or-pay" clauses. They were included in a supply contract Ukraine signed in 2009 after Gazprom dented supplies to the EU by cutting all flow amid a price dispute -- including transit through the country's vast pipeline systems. In a tweet Ukraine's foreign minister

Pavlo Klimkin wrote: "The victory of Naftogaz in the Stockholm arbitration: It's not a knockout, but three knockdowns with obvious advantage."

But later Gazprom countered that arbitors "acknowledged the main points of the contract were in effect and upheld the majority of Gazprom's demands for payment for gas supplies", worth over $2bn. A Naftogaz official responded that the company never refused to pay for gas supplied, but challenged price and conditions.

Given the tribunal does not make its decisions public, doubt loomed over which side was the ultimate winner. Anticipation also grew over the second and final tribunal award expected early next year over disputes both have concerning past gas transit obligations.

Friday's final Stockholm arbitration ruling follows a preliminary decision from last May after which both sides were given time to settle monetary claims outside of the tribunal but failed to reach agreement.

Here is the full Naftogaz statement:

"Today, the Tribunal at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has completely rejected Gazprom take-or-pay claims to Naftogaz amounting to USD 56 billion for 2009-2017.

Gazprom said that in a separate decision on May 31 of this year, the tribunal denied Naftogaz's application to review prices from May 2011 to April 2014, ordered it to pay $14bn for gas supplies during that period, and said that the take-or-pay conditions applied for the duration of the contract. Gazprom claimed that Naftogaz would have to pay it $2.18bn plus interest of 0.03 per cent for every day the payments were late, and then pay for 5bn cm of gas annually starting next year.

When the different sides give opposite accounts of the same decision it obviously becomes difficult to say what the real decision actually is. However Gazprom says that the court upheld (1) the main provisions of the contract; (2) the contract's take-or-pay provisions, these being a particularly contentious issue in the contract; and (3) that Naftogaz has been ordered to pay Gazprom $2 billion, presumably immediately, with interest for every day the amount is unpaid.

By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period.

The key point here is that Russia agreed to reduce the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by an agreement Russia's President Putin reached with Ukraine's President Yanukovich in December 2013. After the Maidan coup the new Ukrainian government went back on the agreement causing the Russians to demand payment of the original price. However over the course of 2014, as energy prices began first to slide and then crashed, and as it became clear that Ukraine was simply not paying for its gas, Russia again reduced the price of the gas Ukraine had to pay.

What seems to have happened is that the Stockholm Arbitration Court decided to smooth out the price of gas payable by Ukraine throughout 2014, which is the sort of thing arbitration tribunals are regularly known to do, whilst leaving the essentials of the contract unchanged.

If so then this is not a victory by Ukraine but a clearcut defeat, which Naftogaz and the Ukrainian government have tried to spin into a victory by citing the reduction in the gas price in the second quarter of 2014 and the reduction in future gas import volumes, neither of which were contentious issues. By contrast it is clear that Ukraine and Naftogaz must pay the full contractual price and abide by the contract's take-or-pay provisions for the whole of the period of the contract prior to the second quarter of 2014.

What this means in terms of hard cash is that Ukraine must now pay Russia a further $2 billion on top of the $3 billion it was recently ordered to pay by the High Court in London. Just as it is holding back on paying the $3 billion it was ordered to pay by the High Court until the appeal process in London is finished, so it will try to hold off paying the $2 billion it has just been ordered to pay to Gazprom until the final decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court (thus the brave talk of Naftogaz's claims of "up to $16 billion transit contract arbitration against Gazprom") but thereafter payment of the $2 billion will fall due. I say this because the claim Gazprom owes Naftogaz "up to" $16 billion in transit fees looks like it has been plucked out of the air.

What this means is that over the course of 2018 Ukraine will have to pay Russia $5 billion ($3 billion awarded by the High Court in London and $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court). Since the $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court is technically an arbitration award, Gazprom will need to convert it into a court Judgment before it can enforce it, but that is merely a formality. At that point this debt will become not merely due but legally enforceable as well.

Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt.

Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia?

Naftogaz brags that Ukraine has saved up to $75 billion because it is no longer buying gas from Russia. However this begs the question of whether the gas Ukraine is now importing from Europe really is significantly cheaper than the gas Ukraine was buying from Russia? This is debatable and with energy prices rising it is likely to become even less likely over time.

[Dec 24, 2017] Donald Trump Prepares to Escalate Confrontation with Russia over Ukraine by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... With over 10,000 dead, the conflict in Ukraine is a humanitarian travesty but of minimal security consequence to America and Europe. Indeed, Kiev's status never was key to Europe's status. An integral part of the Soviet Union and before that the Russian Empire, Ukraine turned into an unexpected bonus for the allies by seceding from the Soviet Union, greatly diminishing the latter's population and territory. Russia's seizure of Crimea and battle in the Donbass destabilized an already semi-failed state, but did not materially alter the European balance of power. Or demonstrate anything other than Moscow's brutal yet limited ambitions. ..."
"... At the same time, transferring lethal arms would divide the U.S. from European nations, many of which oppose further confrontation with Russia, especially over Ukraine. Brussels already bridled at Congress' new sanctions legislation, which passed without consulting the Europeans and targeted European firms. If Moscow responds with escalation, Washington may find no one behind it. ..."
"... Also noteworthy is the fragility of the Ukrainian state. Kiev's self-inflicted wounds are a more important cause than Russian pressure. The government is hobbled by divisions between East and West, violent neo-fascist forces, bitter political factionalism, economic failure, and pervasive corruption. The recent specter of former Georgian President and Ukrainian Governor Mikheil Saakashvili clambering across rooftops, escaping arrest, and railing against President Petro Poroshenko epitomized Ukraine's problems. Kiev, to put it mildly, is not a reliable military partner against its nuclear-armed neighbor. ..."
"... Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (Xulon). ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Most Americans were told Donald Trump won the presidential election last year. But his policy toward Russia looks suspiciously like what a President Hillary Clinton would have pursued. Exhibit A is the apparent decision to arm Ukraine against Russia in the proxy conflict in the Donbass. This dunderheaded move will simply encourage Moscow to retaliate not only in Ukraine but against U.S. interests elsewhere around the globe.

With over 10,000 dead, the conflict in Ukraine is a humanitarian travesty but of minimal security consequence to America and Europe. Indeed, Kiev's status never was key to Europe's status. An integral part of the Soviet Union and before that the Russian Empire, Ukraine turned into an unexpected bonus for the allies by seceding from the Soviet Union, greatly diminishing the latter's population and territory. Russia's seizure of Crimea and battle in the Donbass destabilized an already semi-failed state, but did not materially alter the European balance of power. Or demonstrate anything other than Moscow's brutal yet limited ambitions.

In fact, present allied policy makes continuation of the current conflict almost inevitable. Newly released documents demonstrate that Soviet officials reasonably believed that releasing their Warsaw Pact captives would not lead to NATO's expansion to Russia's border. Well, well. Look what actually happened -- the very dramatic increase in tensions that George F. Kennan predicted would occur. For Russia sees geographical space and buffer states as critical for its security, and none are more important than Ukraine.

Expanding NATO, disregarding Moscow's historic interests in the Balkans, dismantling onetime Slavic ally Serbia, aiding "color revolutions" that brought anti-Russian governments to power along its border, announcing the intention of inducting both Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance created to confront Moscow, and finally ostentatiously backing a street revolution against a corrupt but elected leader friendly to Russia -- going to far as to discuss who should rule after his planned ouster -- could not help but be viewed as hostile in Moscow. One can easily imagine how Washington would react to similar events in Canada or Mexico.

Russia's response was unjustified but efficient and, most important, limited. Moscow grabbed Crimea, the only part of Ukraine with a majority of Russian-speakers (who probably favored joining Russia, though the subsequent referendum occurred in what was occupied Crimea). Moscow further backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, perhaps in hopes of grabbing territory or merely bleeding Kiev.

Some Western responses were near hysteria, imagining a blitzkrieg attack on Ukraine, conquering the country. The Baltic States saw themselves as the next targets. Poland remembered its twentieth century conflicts with Moscow. At least one observer added Finland to Moscow's potential target list. Others worried about intimidation of allied states, borders being withdrawn, and challenges to the European order. Some afflicted with war fever feared an attempt to reconstitute the Soviet Union and perhaps roll west from there.

None of which happened.

Perhaps President Vladimir Putin secretly was an Adolf Hitler-wannabe but was dissuaded by the U.S. and NATO response. However, economic sanctions and military deployments were modest. Assistance to Ukraine did not include lethal military aid. Most likely, Putin never intended to start World War III.

Instead, he opportunistically took advantage of the opportunity to snatch Crimea, the territory with the closest identification with Moscow, simultaneously safeguarding the latter's major Black Sea base, and create a frozen conflict in the Donbass, effectively preventing Ukraine's entry into NATO. Russia's activity there also gives him an opportunity to create additional trouble for the U.S.

Moscow's policy is unpleasant for America and Europe, but only prevents the allies from doing that which is not in their interest: inducting a security black hole into NATO. Even before 2014, Ukraine was a political and economic mess. While independent it mattered little for Western security, in NATO it would bring along all of its disputes and potential conflicts with Russia, a touchy, nationalistic nuclear power.

What State Department called "enhanced defensive capabilities," which require congressional approval, aren't likely to raise the price of the conflict enough to force Russia to back down. The Putin regime has far more at stake in preserving its gains than the U.S. does in reversing them. Moscow also is better able to escalate and is likely to consistently outbid the West: Putin's advantages include greater interests, geographic closeness, and popular support. For Ukraine more weapons would at most mean more fighting, with little additional advantage.

Indeed, the plan to arm Kiev with weapons, especially if anti-tank missiles are included, as news reports indicate, would risk turning the Donbass conflict from cool to warm--and perhaps more. Ukraine already joins Russia in failing to implement the Minsk Agreement. Kiev would not only be better armed, but might believe that it enjoyed an implicit guarantee from Washington, which in turn would have more at stake and thus be less inclined to abandon its new "investment." Then what if Moscow escalated? In 2014 the Putin government deployed Russian military units to counter Ukrainian gains. Would Washington do likewise in response to Moscow?

At the same time, transferring lethal arms would divide the U.S. from European nations, many of which oppose further confrontation with Russia, especially over Ukraine. Brussels already bridled at Congress' new sanctions legislation, which passed without consulting the Europeans and targeted European firms. If Moscow responds with escalation, Washington may find no one behind it.

Providing lethal weapons would almost certainly encourage the Ukrainians to press for even heavier arms and escalate the fighting, as well as discourage them from negotiating a settlement. U.S. officials refer to the weapons as defensive, but their capabilities are not so easily compartmentalized. Said Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the "ability to stop armored vehicles would be essential for them to protect themselves." True, but the ability to disable tanks is useful on offense as well as defense. There has been little movement in the battle line over the last couple of years. New U.S. weapons aren't necessary to preserve the status quo. Rather, they would most help Ukraine press harder for a military solution.

Does Kiev want to accept a compromise peace or fight on? Obama Pentagon official Michael Carpenter said providing weapons "will be a huge boost of support to Ukraine." Moscow is not concerned about Kiev's military potential. Russia is concerned that the U.S. and Europe say they intend to induct Ukraine into NATO. The closer the military ties grow between America and Ukraine, the greater Moscow's incentive to keep the conflict going. Russia also has opportunities to retaliate against American interests elsewhere. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said: "The United States crossed the line in a sense" and "may lead to new victims in a country that is neighboring us." America, he added, was an "accomplice in fueling war."

That might be just talk, but Russia can provide aid, sell arms, offer political backing, and give economic assistance in ways that hamper U.S. activities. Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela all provide opportunities for Russian mischief. Moscow could refuse to back additional sanctions on Pyongyang or even provide the latter with S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.

Although limited resources constrain Moscow, politics encourages a tough response. Putin is running for reelection but has lost support because of the Russian Federation's economic weakness. Nationalism remains one of his strongest issues; an assault by America on Russian interests would offer him a means to rally public support.

Also noteworthy is the fragility of the Ukrainian state. Kiev's self-inflicted wounds are a more important cause than Russian pressure. The government is hobbled by divisions between East and West, violent neo-fascist forces, bitter political factionalism, economic failure, and pervasive corruption. The recent specter of former Georgian President and Ukrainian Governor Mikheil Saakashvili clambering across rooftops, escaping arrest, and railing against President Petro Poroshenko epitomized Ukraine's problems. Kiev, to put it mildly, is not a reliable military partner against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

A better approach would be to negotiate for Russian de-escalation by offering to take NATO membership for Ukraine (and Georgia) off the table. In fact, expanding the alliance is not in America's interest: the U.S., not, say, Luxembourg, is the country expected to back up NATO's defense promises. And neither Kiev nor Tbilisi warrants the risk of war with a great power, especially one armed with nukes. Eliminating that possibility would reduce Moscow's incentive to maintain a frozen conflict in the Donbass. Backing away also would create the possibility of reversing military build-ups by both sides elsewhere, especially around Poland and the Baltic States.

Washington and Moscow have no core security interests in conflict with each other, especially in Ukraine. Instead of turning a peripheral security issue into a potential military clash with Moscow, Washington should seek to trade military disengagement from Ukraine for Russian acceptance of that nation's territorial integrity. Moscow might not agree, but the Trump administration won't know unless it makes the offer. Right now, it doesn't seem to care to even try. Quite the contrary.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (Xulon).

[Dec 23, 2017] IMF demands that the price of gas be raised for Ukrainians

Dec 23, 2017 | rusnewstoday24.ru

As reported by the permanent representative of the International Monetary Fund in the Ukraine, Jost Longman, the Kiev authorities should increase Ukrainian gas tariffs to the level of import parity. Longman argues that an increase in gas prices will have a positive effect on the development of the free market and will teach the Ukrainians to use natural gas economically. "In the end, the final goal is the implementation of a free gas market. On the way to this, it is important to continue to adjust the price of gas in accordance with the price of imports", said Longman. "One price for all types of consumer also eliminates the space for corruptio," he added.

[Dec 23, 2017] The State Department has approved the delivery to the Ukrainian army of modified 50 calibre Barrett sniper rifles, "Model M107A"

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile , December 21, 2017 at 10:55 am

Oh look at what I just got given me!

https://icdn.lenta.ru/images/2017/12/21/12/20171221122514922/brief_f8fe6380f3186e74c06a46d665607174.jpg

The state Department has approved the delivery to the Ukrainian army of modified 50 calibre Barrett sniper rifles, "Model M107A"

It may be related to the Model 82A1®/M107®, but the M107A1 is far from a simple evolution. Driven by the demands of combat, every component was re-engineered to be lighter yet stronger. Designed to be used with a suppressor, this rifle allows you to combine signature reduction capabilities with the flawless reliability of the original Barrett M107, but with a weight reduction of 5 pounds. Advanced design and manufacturing make the M107A1 more precise than ever.

See: BarrrrettM107A1

[Dec 22, 2017] If You Are Looking for Consistency, Trump Ain't Your Man by Publius Tacitus

Dec 22, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Christmas came early for Donald Trump. He signed a historic tax cut, kept the Government funded and operating and, to the delight of many in his base, used UN Ambassador Nikki Haley as a mouthpiece to tell the rest of the world to go pound sand. He is feeling groovy. But Donald Trump is still his own worst enemy. And his Presidency will be fatally harmed if he continues with his erratic foreign policy and his empty talk on dealing with the opioid plague.

Let's start with his wildly fluctuating foreign policy. There is no consistency nor is their a theme. When he announced that he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, many assumed he was on the Israeli leash and was behaving as any obedient dog would. Perhaps.

How then do you explain yesterday's (Thursday) decision to arm Ukraine as a show of force to Russia :

The Trump administration has approved the largest U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine since 2014. . . . Administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces.

The people we are arming in the Ukraine are the actual and intellectual descendants of the Nazi sympathizers who helped the Einsatzgruppen murder more than a million Jews after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Scholar Richard Sakwa provides the horrifying details on the pro-Nazi ideological foundation of the key Ukrainian political groups we are backing:

"The Orange revolution, like the later Euromaidan events, was democratic in intent but gave an impetus 'to the revival of the radical versions of [the] Ukrainian national movement that first appeared on the historical scene in the course of World War II and a national discourse focused on fighting against the enemy'.41 " . . . .

"In Dnepropetrovsk, for example, instead of the anticipated 60 street-name changes, 350 were planned. Everywhere 'Lenin Streets' became 'Bandera Avenues' as everything Russian was purged. One set of mass murderers was changed for another. Just as the Soviet regime had changed toponyms to inscribe its power into the physical environment, so now the Euromaidan revolution seeks to remould daily life. In Germany today the names of Nazis and their collaborators are anathema, whereas in Ukraine they are glorified."

Excerpt From: Richard Sakwa. "Frontline Ukraine : Crisis in the Borderlands." from the Afterward

At the very moment we are signaling our support for Israel, the country founded largely because of the horror over the Shoah, we are also giving weapons to political groups whose parents and grand parents helped carry out the Shoah. Oh yeah, in the process of doing this we are providing a tangible threat to Russia. Imagine what our reaction would be if Russia decided to step up its weapons supplies to Cuba.

Then we have Trump's tough talk on the opioid slaughter taking place across America. Let me be clear. He is not responsible for the start of this plague. The Obama Administration carries a heavy burden on that front. CBS 60 Minutes has done a magnificent job in exposing the role that the Obama Justice Department refused to play in going after the major corporate opiate drug pusher--i.e., the McKesson Corporation :

In October, we joined forces with the Washington Post and reported a disturbing story of Washington at its worst - about an act of Congress that crippled the DEA's ability to fight the worst drug crisis in American history - the opioid addiction crisis. Now, a new front of that joint investigation. It is also disturbing. It's the inside story of the biggest case the DEA ever built against a drug company: the McKesson Corporation, the country's largest drug distributor. It's also the story of a company too big to prosecute.

In 2014, after two years of painstaking inquiry by nine DEA field divisions and 12 U.S. Attorneys, investigators built a powerful case against McKesson for the company's role in the opioid crisis.

[According to DEA Agent Schiller] This is the best case we've ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration. How do we not go after the number one organization? In the height of the epidemic, when people are dying everywhere, doesn't somebody have to be held accountable? McKesson needs to be held accountable.

Holding McKesson accountable meant going after the 5th largest corporation in the country. Headquartered in San Francisco, McKesson has 76,000 employees and earns almost $200 billion a year in revenues, about the same as Exxon Mobil. Since the 1990s, McKesson has made billions from the distribution of addictive opioids.

So what has Donald Trump done? That is the wrong question. What has he failed to do? We are approaching the one year anniversary of his Presidency and Trump has failed to nominate a Director for the Drug Enforcement Administration, a Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Director for the National Institute of Justice and an Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs . In other words, none of the people who would be on the policy frontline putting the President's tough words into action have been nominated. Not one. And those agencies and departments are drifting like a rudderless ship on stormy seas.

Another problem for Trump is his mixed signals on getting entangled in foreign wars. During the campaign he made a point of ridiculing those candidates who wanted to go to war in Syria. Now that he is in office, Trump, along with several members of his cabinet, are threatening Iran on almost a daily basis. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity just put out a memo on this very subject (which, I'm happy to note, reflects some of the themes I've written about previously):

Iran has come out ahead in Iraq and, with the 2015 nuclear agreement in place, Iran's commercial and other ties have improved with key NATO allies and the other major world players -- Russia and China in particular.

Official pronouncements on critical national security matters need to be based on facts. Hyperbole in describing Iran's terrorist activities can be counterproductive. For this reason, we call attention to Ambassador Nikki Haley's recent statement that it is hard to find a "terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran's fingerprints all over it." The truth is quite different. The majority of terrorist groups in the region are neither creatures nor puppets of Iran. ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra are three of the more prominent that come to mind.

You have presented yourself as someone willing to speak hard truths in the face of establishment pressure and not to accept the status quo. You spoke out during the campaign against the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a historic mistake of epic proportions. You also correctly captured the mood of many Americans fatigued from constant war in far away lands. Yet the torrent of warnings from Washington about the dangers supposedly posed by Iran and the need to confront them are being widely perceived as steps toward reversing your pledge not to get embroiled in new wars.

We encourage you to reflect on the warning we raised with President George W. Bush almost 15 years ago, at a similar historic juncture:

"after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."

Finally, there is the recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. I defer to Colonel Lang on this. He believes that this single decision has planted an odious seed that will sprout into a global anti-U.S. sentiment that will reduce our global influence and tangibly damage our leadership on the world stage. While I suppose there always is a chance for a different kind of outcome, I learned long ago not to bet against the old warrior on matters like this.

Taking all of this together I think we are looking at a 2018 where U.S. foreign policy will continue to careen around the globe devoid of a strategic vision.

catherine , 22 December 2017 at 07:20 PM

'' The people we are arming in the Ukraine are the actual and intellectual descendants of the Nazi sympathizers who helped the Einsatzgruppen murder more than a million Jews after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union''

They are also the descendants of the Ukrainians who were starved to death by the Bolsheviks plundering of their crops first then starved again by Stalin.
That Jews figured large in the Bolsheviks is a fact and noted:..then and later.

A collection of reports on Bolshevism in Russia
by Great Britain. Foreign Office

https://www.archive.org/stream/collectionofrepo00greaiala/collectionofrepo00greaiala_djvu.txt

''..anti-Semitism is growing, probably because the food supply committees are entirely in the hands of Jews and voices can be heard sometimes calling for a " pogrom."

So I am giving Ukraine a pass on their so called threat to the Chosen.

Babak Makkinejad -> mongo... , 22 December 2017 at 07:32 PM
Yup, every one and everything under the sun bears some responsibility except the poor, abused, manipulated, down-trodden users.
Publius Tacitus -> catherine... , 22 December 2017 at 07:32 PM
You make my point. The NAZIS came up with lots of nifty reasons to justify exterminating Jews. Starvation by Stalin, therefore kill the Jews. Yeah, that makes sense (sarcasm fully intended).

[Dec 22, 2017] When Russians Were Americanophiles, by Anatoly Karlin

Notable quotes:
"... And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts for weaselling out of their country's commitment, such as a wholly imaginary entitlement for them to decide for themselves when there is a "humanitarian" justification for doing so, or make up wholesale fantasy allegations about "weapons of mass destruction" that even if true wouldn't justify war. ..."
"... r Correction. It's the elites that don't want to join Russia. And the reason they don't is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia. ..."
"... They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia? ..."
"... The 1996 Presidential Election campaign suggests that the Russian public is no less suggestible, and so does Russian (and Ukrainian) opinions on the crisis in the Donbass. ..."
"... Soviets and Soviet Union were always in awe of America. You could see it in "between-the-lines" of the texts of the so-called anti-imperialist, anti-American Soviet propaganda. It was about catching up with American in steel production and TV sets ownership and so on. American was the ultimate goal and people did not think of American as an enemy. ..."
"... Then there is the fact that Bolsheviks and Soviet Union owed a lot to America though this knowledge was not commonly known. Perhaps one should take look at these hidden connections to see what was the real mechanism bending the plug being pulled off the USSR. There might be even an analogy to South Africa but that is another story. ..."
"... Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian ..."
"... There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it's not due to the lack of local football hooligans. ..."
"... Even among Svoboda voters, I suspect only a small minority of them are the militant types. We should be to contain them through the use of local proxies. The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army. ..."
"... Official Ukrainian propaganda worked overtime, and still works today, to hammer this into people's heads. And it's an attractive vision. An office dweller in Kiev wants to live in a shiny European capital, not in a bleak provincial city of a corrupt Asian empire. The problem is, it's ain't working. For a while Ukraine managed to get Russia to subsidize Ukrainian European dream. Now this is over. The vision is starting to fail even harder. ..."
"... Unfortunately, the Ukraine has been spending 5%* of its GDP on the military since c.2015 (versus close to 1% before 2014). ..."
"... Doesn't really matter if tons of money continues to be stolen, or even the recession – with that kind of raw increase, a major enhancement in capabilities is inevitable. ..."
"... I have read a article mentioned something like Putin said, to annexed whole Ukraine means to share the enormous resource wealth of vast Russia land with them, which make no economic sense. If Russia is worst than Ukraine, then there won't be million of Ukrainian migrating over after the Maidan coup. ..."
"... So are all those Baltic states. Russia don't want these countries as it burden, it is probably only interested in selected strategic areas like the Eastern Ukraine industrial belt and military important Crimea warm water deep seaport, and skilled migrants. Ukraine has one of lowest per capital income now, with extreme corrupted politicians controlled by USNato waging foolish civil war killing own people resulting in collapsing economic and exudes of skilled people. ..."
"... Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool. More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons ..."
"... The return of Crimea to Russia alone has been a dramatic improvement in the inherent stability of the region. A proper division of the territory currently forming the Ukraine into a genuine Ukrainian nation in the west and an eastern half returned to Russia would be the ideal long term outcome, but Russia can surely live with a neutralised Ukraine. ..."
"... You realise that Ukraine's GDP declined in dollar terms by a factor of 2-3 times, right? A bigger share of a smaller economy translates into the same paltry sum. It is still under $5 billion. ..."
"... Futhermore an army that's actively deployed and engaged in fighting spends more money than during peacetime. A lot of this money goes to fuel, repairs, providing for soldiers and their wages rather than qualitatively improving capabilities of the army. ..."
"... The bottom-line is Ukraine spent the last 3,5 years preparing to fight a war against the People's Republic of Donetsk. I'll admit Ukrainian army can hold its own against the People's Republic of Donetsk. Yet it remains hopelessly outmatched in a potential clash with Russia. A short, but brutal bombing campaign can whipe out Ukrainian command and control, will make it impossible to mount any kind of effective defence. Ukrainian conscripts have no experience in urban warfare, and their national loyalties are unclear. ..."
"... Most ukrops even admit that Kharkov could easily have gone in 2014, if Russia had wanted it/feasible ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making

What's remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians' eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
@Art Deco

There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events

That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.

You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.

Verymuchalive , December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy

Actually, present Russian borders are more those of Peter the Great, circa 1717, than Old Muscovy. Russia, unlike nearly all the Great Powers of the C20th, has retained its Empire – Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kamchatka, South Russia and the Crimea ( first acquired as recently as 1783 ).

Once those dim-witted Ukies finally implode the Ukrainian economy, Russia will be able to gobble up the rest of southern and eastern Ukraine – all the way to Odessa.

The places that seceded from the Soviet Union are places that Russians don't want ( Northern Kazakhstan excepted ) and are urgently required to receive all those Central Asian immigrants who will be deported by sensible Russian governments in the near future. ( I exclude Armenians from the last clause )

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT
Yes, US had squandered a lot of good will in exchange for extremely valuable "geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe." Incidentally, Soviet propaganda was never anti-American. It was anti-capitalist, an important distinction. Whereas in America, anti-Russian propaganda has always been anti- Russian .
Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework,

Washington could get both by integrating and not alienating americanophile Russia.

closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle.

It also closed off the possibility of an American-led Global North.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm GMT
@Randal That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm GMT
@Art Deco

You have a large national state.

Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state . Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm GMT
@Randal

It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm GMT
@Art Deco With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised agression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy – Iran.
Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state.

Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.

Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

It's western borders are no more artificial than that of any other country not bounded by mountains or water.

I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' –

'Essential'? You just can't get through the day without Minsk?

As for White Russia, your constituency there has in its dimensions fallen by half in the last 20 years.

http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/

As for the Ukraine, you've no discernable constituency for reunification. The constituency for a Russophile foreign policy weighs in there at about 12% of the public. VP's three-dimensional chess game is going swimmingly.

My own forebears discovered in 1813 that the residue of British North America was quite content with gracious George III, and our boys got their assess handed to them by them Cannucks. We got over it and so can you. Miss Ukraine is just not that into you. Best not to play the stalker.

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Art Deco As for the Ukraine, you've no discernable constituency for reunification.

You don't know much about Ukraine.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.

They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.

US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq's Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don't take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba'ath Party was responsible, but you're terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don't take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Art Deco

Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.

Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:
I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/

I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 6:06 pm GMT
@Art Deco

We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq

Except the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords. The latter only with Serbia.

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Neither the Ukrainians nor probably the Byelorussians want to join Russia. Get over it. You still have a big enough country.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT
@Art Deco

We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq

The treaty commitment in question was with almost the entire rest of the world, namely when your country entirely voluntarily signed up to a commitment to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state". If your country had retained the slightest trace of integrity and self-respect it would at least have had the decency to withdraw from membership of the the UN when it chose to breach those treaty commitments.

And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts for weaselling out of their country's commitment, such as a wholly imaginary entitlement for them to decide for themselves when there is a "humanitarian" justification for doing so, or make up wholesale fantasy allegations about "weapons of mass destruction" that even if true wouldn't justify war.

An entire nation state behaving like a lying '60s hippy or a shamelessly dishonest aggressor.

I'm sure you're proud.

and both places had it coming.

A straightforward confession of lawless rogue state behaviour, basically.

Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country's position with such arguments? Better for a real American patriot to just stop digging and keep sheepishly quiet about the past three decades of foreign policy.

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 6:45 pm GMT
@reiner Tor Correction. It's the elites that don't want to join Russia. And the reason they don't is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia.

That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian. The rulers of Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belorussia are trying to erect cultural barriers between themselves and Russia. Good luck with that, in the 21st century. It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world. Eventually it will tell.

Now, the question is if Russians will even want Ukraine back. This is not so clear.

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT
@Mr. XYZ

Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?

Integration into West is what Russians wanted. An example

IF RUSSIA HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION NOW, WOULD YOU BE FOR OR AGAINST THIS? (N=800)

08/2009:
For: 53%
Against: 21%
Difficult to say: 27%

https://www.levada.ru/en/2016/06/10/russia-s-friends-and-enemies-2/

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Randal

What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

Yugoslavia and Iraq were not that close to Russia and Russian elite was still pushing for Integration into West at that time. After 2008, "Reset" and Obama happened.

It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn't around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

Keep in mind that Obama's opponent in 2008 was McCain, that McCain. Just like Trump, Obama seemed like the lesser evil and not to blame for previous conflicts.

Darin , December 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm GMT
@inertial

That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.

This is for them to decide, not for you.

It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world.

Yeah, the culture homogenizes around the world, into global Hollywood corporate culture. In the long there, "traditional Russian culture" is as doomed as "traditional Ukrainian culture" and "traditional American culture" if there is anything left of it.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 7:56 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn't show that)

Nonsense, Mr. Clueless-About-Ukraine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_status_referendum,_2014#Polling

Polling by the Razumkov Centre in 2008 found that 63.8% of Crimeans (76% of Russians, 55% of Ukrainians, and 14% of Crimean Tatars, respectively) would like Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia and 53.8% would like to preserve its current status, but with expanded powers and rights . A poll by the International Republican Institute in May 2013 found that 53% wanted "Autonomy in Ukraine (as today)", 12% were for "Crimean Tatar autonomy within Ukraine", 2% for "Common oblast of Ukraine" and 23% voted for "Crimea should be separated and given to Russia".

The takeaway is that Crimeans were satisfied being part of Ukraine as long as Ukraine had an ethnic Russian, generally pro-Russian president like Yanukovich in charge (2013 poll), but preferred being part of Russia to being part of a Ukrainian state run by Ukrainians (2008 poll, post-Maidan).

AP , December 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm GMT
@inertial

That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.

Believer of Russian nationalist fairytales tells Russian nationalist fairytales. You managed to fit 3 of them into 2 sentences, good job.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm GMT
@AP I was referring specifically to Russian attitudes about Ukrainians. I know that among Ukrainians themselves, there is quite the confusion on this subject.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 8:15 pm GMT
@Mitleser Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

But I have been told by Russians who ought to have some knowledge of these things that Putin and the wider regime were not so naïve even back in the late 1990s, so the case can be made both ways.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state.

In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime. Obviously there will have to be a militarized occupation regime and prison camps and a network of informants. A proud home.

Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

Baltics were Russian longer than Ukraine. Central Poland became Russian at the same time as did half of Ukraine. According to the 1897 census, there were about as many Great Russian speakers in Kiev governate as in Warsaw. Take the Baltics and Warsaw back too?

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm GMT
@Darin This is for them to decide, not for you.

Yes, of course. Just don't assume they will decide the way you think.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm GMT
@AP These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless : most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

I'm sure, support for reunification will go up in Belarus, if the Kremlin shows some leadership on this issue. We will find enough people willing to work with us, the rest will just have to accept the new reality and go about their daily lifes as usual.

The situation in Ukraine is different, it differs wildly by region and will require us to modify our approach.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:24 pm GMT
@German_reader US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences.

It did nothing of the kind. It ejected two governments for reasons of state. One we'd been a state of belligerency with for 12 years, the other was responsible for a gruesome casus belli. Now, having done that, we needed to put in place a new government. There was no better alternative means of so doing than electoral contests.

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

melanf , December 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

Definitely no. American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm GMT
@Randal

Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

I am just taking into account that the early 00s were right after the 1990s when pro-Americanism was at its peak in Russia. Yugoslavia and Iraq were too distant too alienate the majority permanently.

I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option? Not because NATO are "good guys", but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia's voice in the unipolar world.

melanf , December 18, 2017 at 8:43 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Integration into West is what Russians wanted.
An example
08/2009:

Since then, everything has changed

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West.

There is no reason to assume that West will offer the Russian elite enough carrot to deregulate the Russian media order and the stick is just more reason not to do it and to retain control.

What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

And you think that people in Russian elite are not aware of it?

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT
@AP

In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime.

This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass. A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist" – these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare, they will just flee (like they already fled from Donbass).

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 8:59 pm GMT
@Randal

In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them.

I agree with most of this, but you leave out precisely why public opinion shifts. My, rather cynical, view is that media is by far the main driver in shifting public views, and so whoever gives the media marching orders is the Pied Piper here.

An example close to home was the consternation among some of my conservative friends over the events Charlottesville. They knew nothing about the American alt-right, and still less about the context of what happened that day, yet they still spoke of what a disgrace it was for Trump not to distance himself from these deplorables. This was, of course, fully the making of Swedish media.

The 1996 Presidential Election campaign suggests that the Russian public is no less suggestible, and so does Russian (and Ukrainian) opinions on the crisis in the Donbass.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

It tells me the reporters are confused or you are. There is no 'agreement' that will prevent 'Russia' from 'meddling' in American political life or the converse. The utility of agreements is that they make understandings between nations more precise and incorporate triggers which provide signals to one party or the other as to when the deal is off.

utu , December 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT
@inertial

Soviets and Soviet Union were always in awe of America. You could see it in "between-the-lines" of the texts of the so-called anti-imperialist, anti-American Soviet propaganda. It was about catching up with American in steel production and TV sets ownership and so on. American was the ultimate goal and people did not think of American as an enemy.

Then there is the fact that Bolsheviks and Soviet Union owed a lot to America though this knowledge was not commonly known. Perhaps one should take look at these hidden connections to see what was the real mechanism bending the plug being pulled off the USSR. There might be even an analogy to South Africa but that is another story.

Sean , December 18, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT
Two powerful countries beside one another are natural enemies, they can never be friends until one has been relegated by defeat. Britain and France were enemies until France became too weak to present a threat, then Britain's enemy was Germany (it still is, Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realizing it cannot compete with Germany on the continent).

Russia cannot be a friend of China against the US until Russia has been relegated in the way France has been. France has irrecoverably given up control of its currency, they are relegated to Germany's sidekick.

China is like Bitcoin. The smart money (Google) is going there. Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China's economic growth to slow down but it isn't going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China's economic growth, that will be Russia's opportunity.

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT
@melanf

American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

Being Russian, you would be in a better position than I am to comment on this, but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose? This article might hold the answer:

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 9:20 pm GMT
@Art Deco Well, they can now send troops to Syria on land.
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:25 pm GMT
@German_reader Calling me "Eurotrash"

I didn't have you in particular in mind.

oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

No, I'm a fat middle aged man who thinks most of what people say on political topics is some species of self-congratulation. And a great deal of it is perverse. The two phenomena are symbiotic. And, of course, I'm unimpressed with kvetching foreigners. Kvetching Europeans might ask where is the evidence that they with their own skills and resources can improve some situation using methods which differ from those we have applied and kvetching Latin Americans can quit sticking the bill for their unhappy histories with Uncle Sam, and kvetching Arabs can at least take responsibility for something rather than projecting it on some wire-pulling other (Jews, Americans, conspiracy x).

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 9:26 pm GMT
@Art Deco

Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

Is that "victory" for you?

An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That's something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

Is that "victory" for you?

And they don't have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

Is that "victory" for you?

AP , December 18, 2017 at 9:28 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

So according to you when hundreds or thousands of people are asked a question they are not prepared for, their collective answer is meaningless and does not indicate their preference?

So it's a total coincidence that when Ukraine was ruled by Ukrainians most Crimeans preferred to join Russia, when Ukraine was ruled by a Russian, Crimeans were satisfied within Ukraine but when Ukrainian nationalists came to power Crimeans again preferred being part of Russia?

Are all political polls also meaningless according to you, or just ones that contradict your idealistic views?

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 9:31 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the "draft" mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder. (I'm not sure "draft" is the word I'm looking for. My understanding is that they are temporarily exempt from military service if they study at university or have good jobs.)

melanf , December 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose?

It is known – the minions of Putin translated into Russian language American (and European) propaganda, and putting it on the website http://inosmi.ru/ .
The Americans also try: there is a special "Radio Liberty" that 24-hour broadcasts (in Russian) hate speech against the Russian.
But it only speeds up the process (which will happen anyway) .

AP , December 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

It was about 50,000 in 2014, about 200,000-250,000 now.

Polish military has 105,000 personnel. Poland also not united or willing to defend itself?

On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass

Avakov, Poroshenko's interior minister and sponsor of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, in 2010 got 48% of the vote in Kharkiv's mayoral race in 2010 when he ran as the "Orange" candidate. In 2012 election about 30% of Kharkiv oblast voters chose nationalist candidates, vs. about 10% in Donetsk oblast. Vkontakte, a good source for judging youth attitudes, was split 50/50 between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan in Kharkiv (IIRC it was 80/20 anti-Maidan winning in Donetsk). Kharkiv is just like Donbas, right?

A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist"

Football hooligans in these places are also Ukrainian nationalists. Azov battalion and Right Sector are both based in Eastern Ukraine.

Here is how Azov started:

The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82″ (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82″ was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82″ occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82″ there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

Here is Azov battalion commander-turned-Kiev oblast police chief, Kharkiv native Vadim Troyan:

Does he look like an intellectual to you? Before Maidan he was a cop.

these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare,

On the contrary, they will probably dig in while seeking cover in urban areas that they know well, where they have some significant support (as Donbas rebels did in Donetsk), forcing the Russian invaders to fight house to house and causing massive damage while fighting native boys such as Azov. About 1/3 of Kharkiv overall and 1/2 of its youth are nationalists. I wouldn't expect mass resistance by the Kharkiv population itself, but passive support for the rebels by many. Russia will then end up rebuilding a large city full of a resentful population that will remember its dead (same problem Kiev will face if it gets Donbas back). This scenario can be repeated for Odessa. Dnipropetrovsk, the home base of Right Sector, is actually much more nationalistic than either Odessa or Kharkiv. And Kiev is a different world again. Bitter urban warfare in a city of 3 million (officially, most likely about 4 million) followed by massive reconstruction and maintenance of a repression regime while under international sanctions.

Russia's government has adequate intelligence services who know better what Ukraine is actually like, than you do. There is a reason why they limited their support to Crimea and Donbas.

Your wishful thinking about Ukraine would be charming and harmless if not for the fact that such wishful thinking often leads to tragic actions that harm both the invader and the invaded. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators with flowers after their cakewalk.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the "draft" mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder.

Correct. The thinking often was – "the corrupt officers will screw up and get us killed, or sell out our positions to the Russians for money, if the Russians came to our city I'd fight them but I don't wanna go to Donbas.." This is very different from avoiding the draft because one wouldn't mind if Russia annexed Ukraine. Indeed, Dnipropetrovsk in the East has contributed a lot to Ukraine's war effort, primarily because it borders Donbas – ones hears from people there that if they don't fight in Donbas and keep the rebels contained there, they'd have to fight at home.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm GMT
@AP LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types. And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them – no more than 10.000 in the entire country. I assume Russian security services know all of them by name.

To deal with Ukronazi problem, I would first take out their leaders, then target their HQs, arms depots and training camps. I would kill or intimidate their sponsors. Ukronazis would be left decapitated, without resources, undermanned and demoralised, trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them. It will be a short lived insurgency.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types.

And Russians and Poles were also soft when someone invaded their country? Ukrainians are not modern western Euros.

And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

Most pensioners. It will be about 50/50 among young fighting-age people.

The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them – no more than 10.000 in the entire country

Maybe. Ukrainian government claims 46,000 in volunteer self-defense battalions (including Azov) but this is probably an exaggeration.

OTOH there are a couple 100,000 demobilized young people with combat experience who would be willing to fight if their homeland were attacked, who are not neo-Nazis in Azov. Plus a military of 200,000-250,000 people, many of whom would imitate the Donbas rebels and probably redeploy in places like Kharkiv where they have cover. Good look fighting it out block by block.

trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them

In 2010, 48% of Kharkiv voters chose a nationalist for their mayor. In 2012 about 30% voted for nationalist parties. Judging by pro vs, anti-Maidan, the youth are evenly split although in 2014 the Ukrainian nationalist youths ended up controlling the streets, not the Russian nationalist ones as in Donbas. This is in the most pro-Russian part of Ukraine.

Suuure, the population of Kharkiv will despise their kids, grandkids, nephews, classmates etc,. but will welcome the invaders from Russia who will be bombing their city. Such idealism and optimism in Russia!

It will be a short lived insurgency.

And Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 11:15 pm GMT
@AP Again, supporting Maidan doesn't mean you're ready to take up Kalashnikov and go fight. Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

This is what typical Maidanist Ukrainian youths look like; these people certainly don't look like they have a lot of fight in them: They remind me of Navalny supporters in Russia. These kind of people can throw a tantrum, but they are fundamentally weak people, who are easily crushed.

Cato , December 19, 2017 at 3:43 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Northern Kazakhstan is/was ethnically Russian, since the 1700s. This should have been folded into Russia; the North Caucasus should have been cut loose. My opinion.
AP , December 19, 2017 at 3:53 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Typical Russian mistakes regarding Ukraine: weak student-types in Russia are the main supporters of Ukraine in Russia, thus the same type must be the main pro-Maidan people in Ukraine. Because Ukraine = Russia. This silly dream of Ukraine being just like Russia leads to ridiculous ideas and hopes.

As I already said, the Azov battalion grew out of brawling football ultras in Kharkiv. Maidan itself was a cross-section – of students, yes, but also plenty of Afghan war vets, workers, far right brawlers, professionals, etc. It's wasn't simply "weak" students, nor was it simply far-right fascists (another claim by Russia) but a mass effort of the western half of the country.

Here are Afghan war vets at Maidan:

Look at those weak Maidan people running away from the enemy:

Azov people in their native Kharkiv:

Kharkiv kids:

Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

Dodging the draft in order to avoid fighting in Donbas, where you are not wanted by the locals, is very different from dodging the draft to avoid fighting when your own town is being invaded.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 4:10 am GMT
@AP Summer camp was in Kiev, but there is another outside Kharkiv.

To be clear, most Ukrainians fighting against Russia are not these unsavory types, though they make for dramatic video. Point is that pro-Maidan types in Ukraine are far from being exclusively liberal student-types.

jimbojones , December 19, 2017 at 8:01 am GMT
A few points:

- The Russians ALWAYS were Americanophiles – ever since the Revolution. Russia has been an American ally most often explicit but occasionally tacit – in EVERY major American conflict, including the War on Terror and excluding Korea and Vietnam (both not major compared to the Civil War or WW2). The only comparable Great Power US ally is France. Russia and the US are natural allies.

- Russians are Americanophiles – they like Hollywood movies, American music, American idealism, American video games, American fashion, American inventions, American support in WW2, American can-do-aittude, American badassery and Americana in general.

- There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.

- The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government. Yanukovich was certainly a corrupt scoundrel. But he was a democratically elected corrupt scoundrel. To claim Russian intervention in his election is a joke in light of the CIA-backed 2004 and 2014 coups.

Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian

Anatoly Karlin , Website December 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich I think this poll is the most relevant for assessing the question, since it covered different regions and used the same methodology.

Takeaway:

1. Support for uniting into a single state with Russia at 41% in Crimea at a time when it was becoming quite clear the Yanukovych regime was doomed.

2. Now translates into ~90% support (according to both Russian and international polls) in Crimea. I.e., a more than a standard deviation shift in "Russophile" sentiment on this matter.

3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto . Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

4. Central and West Ukraine would not be, which is why their reintegration would be far more difficult – and probably best left for sometime in the future.

5. What we have instead seen is a one standard deviation shift in "Ukrainophile" sentiment within all those regions that remained in the Ukraine. If this change is "deep," then AP is quite correct that their assimilation into Russia has been made impossible by Putin's vacillations in 2014.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm GMT
@jimbojones

The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government

Typical Russian nationalist half-truth about Ukraine.

To be clear – Yanukovich was democratically elected in 2010, into a position where his powers were limited and where he was faced with a hostile parliament. His post-election accumulation of powers (overthrowing the Opposition parliament, granting himself additional powers, stacking the court with local judges from his hometown) was not democratic. None of these actions enjoyed popular support, none were made through democratic processes such as referendums or popular elections. Had that been the case, he would not have been overthrown in what was a popular mass revolt by half the country.

There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.

A bit closer to the truth, but much too simplistic in a way that favors Russian idealism. Crimea (60% Russian) was simply not Ukraine, so lumping it in together with a place such as Kharkiv (oblast 70% Ukrainian) and saying that Russia took one part of this uniformly "Russian Ukraine" is not accurate.

You are correct that the western half of the country are a non-Russian Polish-but-not Habsburg central Ukraine/Volynia, and Polish-and-Habsburg Galicia.

But the other half consisted of two parts: ethnic Russian Crimea (60% Russian) and largely ethniuc-Russian urban Donbas (about 45% Russian, 50% Ukrainian), and a heavily Russified but ethnic Ukrainian Kharkiv oblast (70% Ukrainian, 26% Russian), Dnipropetrovsk (80% Ukrainian, 20% Russian), Kherson (82% Ukrainian, 14% Russian), and Odessa oblast (63% Ukrainian, 21% Russian).

The former group (Crimea definitely, and urban Donbas less strongly) like being part of Russia. The latter group, on the other hand, preferred that Ukraine and Russia have friendly ties, preferred Russian as a legal language, preferred economic union with Russia, but did not favor loss of independence. Think of them as pro-NAFTA American-phile Canadians who would nevertheless be opposed to annexation by the USA and would be angered if the USA grabbed a chunk of Canada. In grabbing a chunk of Ukraine and supporting a rebellion in which Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk kids are being shot by Russian-trained fighters using Russian-supplied bullets, Putin has turned these people off the Russian state.

Mr. Hack , December 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

'Asumptions' like this are what provide Swiss cheese the airy substance that makes it less caloric! Looks like only the retired sovok population in the countryside is up to supporting your mythical 'NovoRosija' while the more populated city dwellers would be opposed, even by your own admission (and even this is questionable). I'm surprised that the dutifully loyal and most astute opposition (AP) has let this blooper pass without any comment?

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin I think when answering this question, most people simple give what they consider to be the socially acceptable answer, especially in contemporary Ukraine, where you will go to prison for displaying Russian flag – who wants to be seen as a "separatist"?

In Crimea it has become more socially acceptable to identify with Russia following the reunification, which is why the number of people who answer this way shot up . The same effect will seen in Belarus and Ukraine – I'm fairly certain of it.

Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson

Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society. Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters. Most of them will react to Russian takeover by self-deporting – they have the money and resources to do it.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm GMT

Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters.

Repeating your claim over and over again doesn't make it true. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion

The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82″ (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82″ was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82″ occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82″ there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.

Mr. Hack , December 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society.

So, even by tour own admission, the only folks that would be for unifying with Russia are the uneducated, poor and those with no hopes of ever amounting to much in society. I don't agree with you, but I do see your logic. These are just the type of people that are the most easily manipulated by Russian propoganda – a lot of this went on in the Donbas, and we can see the results of that fiasco to this day.

Andrei Martyanov , Website December 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT
@jimbojones

Russia and the US are natural allies.

While geopolitically and historically it is true:

a)Post-WWII American power elites are both incompetent and arrogant (which is a first derivative of incompetence) to understand that–this is largely the problem with most "Western" elites.

b) Currently the United States doesn't have enough (if any) geopolitical currency and clout to "buy" Russia. In fact, Russia can take what she needs (and she doesn't have "global" appetites) with or without the US. Plus, China is way more interested in Russia's services that the US, which will continue to increasingly find out more about its own severe military-political limitations.

c) The United States foreign policy is not designed and is not being conducted to serve real US national interests. In fact, US can not even define those interests beyond the tiresome platitudes about "global interests" and being "exceptional".

d) Too late

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT
@AP I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis, it's kinda funny actually, so let me pose as Ukraine's "defender" here:

This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine. These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes. They are despised, looked down upon by the normal people, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike. A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft. It's just the way it is.

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm GMT
@AP The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power. Azov is simply a gang. And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs, so I don't expect Ukronazis to pose a major challenge.
reiner Tor , December 19, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich I'm not sure about Ukrainian football hooligans, but football hooligans in Hungary are not necessarily "low -lifes, criminals, delinquents", in fact, the majority of them aren't. Most groups consist mostly of working class (including a lot of security guards and similar) members, but there are some middle class (I know of a school headmaster, though I think he's no longer very active in the group) and working class entrepreneur types (e.g. the car mechanic who ended up owning a car dealership) and similar. I think outright criminal types are a small minority. Since it costs money to attend the matches, outright failures (the permanently unemployed and similar ne'er-do-wells) are rarely found in such groups.
Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
@reiner Tor LOL I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime. Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering. Their criminal activities go unpunished by the regime, because they are considered "heroes" or something.
AP , December 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis

I never denied the presence of them.

This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine.

If by "representative" you mean majority, sure. Neither are artsy students, or Afghan war veterans, or schoolteachers, any other group a majority.

Also not all of the street fighters turned militias neo-Nazis, as are Azov. Right Sector are not neo-Nazis, they are more fascists.

These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes.

As reiner tor correctly pointed out, this movement which grew out of the football ultra community is rather working class but is not lumpens. You fail again.

A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft

Are there more business owners, students (many of whom do not dodge the draft), office workers combined than there are ultras/far-right brawlers? Probably. 30% of Kharkiv voted for nationalist parties (mostly Tymoshenko's and Klitschko's moderates) in the 2012 parliamentary elections, under Yanukovich. That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren't 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?

The exteme nationalist Banderist Svoboda party got about 4% of the vote in Kharkiv oblast in 2012. This would make Bandera twice as popular in Kharkiv as the democratic opposition is in Russia.

reiner Tor , December 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime.

They are well integrated into the rest of society, so you can call them low-lifes, but they will still be quite different from ordinary criminals.

Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering.

But that's quite different from being professional criminals. Members of the Waffen-SS also committed unspeakable crimes, but they rarely had professional criminal backgrounds, and were, in fact, quite well integrated into German society.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power

Yes, there are elements of this, but not only. If they were ethnic Russians, as in Donbas, they would have taken a different path, as did the pro-Russian militants in Donbas who are similar to the ethnic Ukrainian Azovites. Young guys who like to brawl and are ethnic Russians or identify s such joined organizations like Oplot and moved to Donbas to fight against Ukraine, similar types who identified as Ukrainians became Azovites or joined similar pro-Ukrainian militias. Also not all of these were delinquents, many were working class, security guards, etc.

Good that you admit that in Eastern Ukraine nationalism is not limited to student activists and businessmen.

And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs,

They chose to stay away from Kharkiv and limit Russia's action to Donbas, knowing that there would be too much opposition, and not enough support, to Russian rule in Kharkiv to make the effort worthwhile.

utu , December 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Anon Out of all hypotheses on the JFK assassination the one that Israel was behind it is the strongest. There is no question about it. From the day one when conspiracy theories were floated everything was done to hide how Israel benefited form the assassination.
Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm GMT
@reiner Tor I feel that comparing Azov to SS gives it too much credit.

My point is that this way of life is not something that many people in Ukraine are willing to actively participate in. Most people are not willing to condone it either. AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don't see how this could work – there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.

There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it's not due to the lack of local football hooligans.

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm GMT
@AP

That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren't 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?

This means these people won't pose a big problem. These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did.

Even among Svoboda voters, I suspect only a small minority of them are the militant types. We should be to contain them through the use of local proxies. The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army. We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we're in Kharkov.

Art Deco , December 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm GMT
@Gerard2 oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the "Ukrainian" mass crimes against humanity committing --
AP , December 19, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don't see how this could work – there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.

About 1/3 of the population in Eastern Ukrainian regions voted for Ukrainian nationalists in 2012, compared to only 10% in Donbas. Three times as many. Likely after 2014 many of the hardcore pro-Russians left Kharkiv, just as hardcore pro-Ukrainians left Donetsk. Furthermore anti-Russian attitudes have hardened, due to the war, Crimea, etc. So there would be plenty of local support for native insurgents.

Russians say, correctly, that after Kiev has shelled Donetsk how can the people of Donetsk reconcile themselves with Kiev?

The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?

There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it's not due to the lack of local football hooligans.

Crimea was 60% Russian, Donbas Republics territory about 45% Russian; Kharkiv oblast is only 25% Russian.

With Donbas – there are actually local pro-Ukrainian militants from Donbas, in the Donbas and Aidar battalions.

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm GMT
@AP It was a decision that Putin personally made. He wasn't going to move in Crimea either, until Maidanists overthrew his friend

It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable. And I'm sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn't come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did

The problem with this comparison is that Crimeans were far more in favor of joining Russia that are Kharkivites.

The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army.

Ukrainian military has 200,000 – 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?

We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we're in Kharkov.

You would be able to recruit some local proxies in Kharkiv. Kiev even did so in Donbas. But given the fact that Ukrainian nationalism was 3 times more popular on Kharkiv than in Donetsk, and that Kharkiv youth were split 50/50 in terms of or versus anti Maidan support (versus 80/20 IIIRC anti-Maidan in Donbas), it would not be so easy. Moreover, by now many of the hardcore anti-Kiev people have already left Kharkiv, while Kharkiv has had some settlement by pro-Ukrainian dissidents from Donbas. So the situation even in 2014 was hard enough that Russia chose to stay away, now it is even worse for the pro-Russians.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

And I'm sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn't come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

This is rather a symptom of a much wider phenomenon: the population simply doesn't see itself as Russian and doesn't want to be part of Russia. So its hooligan-types go for Ukrainian, not Russian, nationalism as is the case in Russia.

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 5:02 pm GMT
@AP

The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?

The locals will move to disarm Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol

It's just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don't have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people's republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended. It's wide open!

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm GMT
@AP Honestly, I doubt that this kind of stuff has much impact on Putin's decisionmaking.
Mr. Hack , December 19, 2017 at 5:09 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.

Well there you have it. Putin is a much smarter guy than you are Felix (BTW, are you Jewish, all of the Felix's that I've known were Jewish?). Good to see that you're nothing more than a blackshirted illusionist.*

*фантазёр

German_reader , December 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm GMT
@for-the-record German and European reliance on US security guarantees is a problem, since it's become pretty clear that the US political system is dysfunctional and US "elites" are dangerous extremists. We need our own security structures to be independent from the US so they can't drag us into their stupid projects or blackmail us anymore why do you think Merkel didn't react much to the revelations about American spying on Germany? Because we're totally dependent on the Americans in security matters.

And while I don't believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

"How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?"

They will move to disarm ther Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome their Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol

While about 1/3 of Kharkiv voted for Ukrainian nationalists, only perhaps 10%-20% of the city would actually like to be part of Russia (and I am being generous to you). So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

It's just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don't have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people's republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended.

Are you living in 2014? Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

Ukraine currently has 200,000-250,000 active troops. About 60,000 of them are around Donbas.

Here is a map of various positions in 2017:

Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses). The map does not include national guard units such as Azov, however, which would add a few thousand troops to Kharkiv's defense.

It looks like rather than stationing their military in forward positions vs. a possible Russian attack, Ukraine, has put lot of troops in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kiev and Odessa.

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 5:34 pm GMT
@AP

Ukrainian military has 200,000 – 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?

I read Kassad blog, and he says Ukrainian formations assembled in Donbass number some 50-70 thousands men. The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn't combat ready. Ukraine doesn't just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don't have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.

By contrast the armies of people's republics have 40-60 thousand men – that's impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft.

Art Deco , December 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT
@AP So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

The local populations in Iraq were congenial to begin with, at least outside some Sunni centers. It was never an object of American policy to stay in Iraq indefinitely.

Felix Keverich , December 19, 2017 at 5:55 pm GMT
@AP

Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses).

How many people does this "motorized infantry brigade" have? And more importantly what is its level of combat readiness? Couldn't we just smash this brigade with a termobaric bomb while they are sleeping?

Ukraine is full of shit. They had 20.000 troops in Crimea, "a lot of air defenses" and it didn't make a iota of difference. Somehow you expect me to believe Ukraine has a completely different army now. Why should I? They don't have the resources to afford a better army, so it is logical to assume that Ukrainian army is still crap.

Art Deco , December 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm GMT
Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

Betwixt and between all the trash talking, they've forgotten that the last occasion on which one country attempted to conquer an absorb another country with a population anywhere near 30% of its own was during the 2d World War. Didn't work out so well for Germany and Japan.

Art Deco , December 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT
@for-the-record Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US "umbrella" to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn't Germany?

Austria hasn't been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn't have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

German_reader , December 19, 2017 at 6:32 pm GMT
@for-the-record

Germany has willingly supported the US

Not completely true, Germany didn't participate in the Iraq war and in the bombing of Libya.
I'm hardly an expert on military matters, but it would seem just common sense to me that a state needs sufficient armed forces to protect its own territory if you don't have that, you risk becoming a passive object whose fate is decided by other powers. Doesn't mean Germany should have a monstrously bloated military budget like the US, just sufficient forces to protect its own territory and that of neighbouring allies (which is what the German army should be for instead of participating in futile counter-insurgency projects in places like Afghanistan). Potential for conflict in Europe is obviously greatest regarding Russia it's still quite low imo, and I want good relations with Russia and disagree vehemently with such insanely provocative ideas as NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, but it would be stupid not to have credible deterrence (whose point it is to prevent hostilities after all). I don't think that's an anti-Russian position, it's just realistic.
Apart from that Germany doesn't probably need much in the way of military capabilities maybe some naval forces for participation in international anti-piracy missions.
Regarding nuclear weapons, that's obviously something Germany can't or shouldn't do on its own (probably wouldn't be tolerated anyway given 20th century history), so it would have to be in some form of common European project. Hard to tell now if something like this could eventually become possible or necessary.

Mr. Hack , December 19, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Sorry to prickle your little fantasy world once again tovarishch, but according to current CIA statistics Ukraine has 182,000 active personnel, and 1,000,000 reservists! For a complete rundown of Ukraine's military strength, read this and weep:

https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=ukraine

inertial , December 19, 2017 at 8:18 pm GMT
@Art Deco They've had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn't happened, and there's no reason to fancy they'll be more amenable a decade from now.

Yes, these people had been sold a vision. If only they leave behind the backward, Asiatic, mongoloid Russia, they will instantly Join Europe. They will have all of the good stuff: European level of prosperity, rule of law, international approval, and so on; and none of the bad stuff that they associated with Russia, like poverty, corruption, and civil strife.

Official Ukrainian propaganda worked overtime, and still works today, to hammer this into people's heads. And it's an attractive vision. An office dweller in Kiev wants to live in a shiny European capital, not in a bleak provincial city of a corrupt Asian empire. The problem is, it's ain't working. For a while Ukraine managed to get Russia to subsidize Ukrainian European dream. Now this is over. The vision is starting to fail even harder.

The experience of Communism shows that it may take decades but eventually people notice that the state ideology is a lie. Once they do, they change their mind about things rather quickly.

Swedish Family , December 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.

Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool . More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons:

(1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia's advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the "Ukraine is the victim" narrative. Common people know full well that the Ukrainian troops are hated in the Donbass (I once watched a Ukrainian soldier shock the audience by saying this on Shuster Live), and they know also that Kiev has a blame in all those dead women and children. These are promising conditions for future reconciliation, and they would be squandered overnight if Russian troops moved further westward.

(2) The geopolitical repercussions would be enormous. As I and others have already written, the present situation is just about what people in elite Western circles can stomach. Any Russian escalation would seriously jeopardize European trade with Russia, among other things.

(3) There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. These "acquisitions," too, would be jeopardized by more military action.

Swedish Family , December 19, 2017 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Art Deco

You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we 'take some of the sting out of the 'Ukraine is a victim narrative'? Sounds like a plan.

No, I wrote that those civilians are already gone and that both sides had a hand in their deaths, which will help the peace process since no side can claim sole victimhood.

And your assumption that the separatists are mercenaries is groundless speculation. Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.

Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?

Risible comparison. Theirs is a conflict involving three major religions and the survival of the Israeli state at stake. On the Crimean question, we have already heard influential Westerners voice the possibility that it might one day be accepted as Russian, and if you read between the lines, many Ukrainians are of a similiar mind.

Anatoly Karlin , Website December 20, 2017 at 12:19 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Unfortunately, the Ukraine has been spending 5%* of its GDP on the military since c.2015 (versus close to 1% before 2014).

Doesn't really matter if tons of money continues to be stolen, or even the recession – with that kind of raw increase, a major enhancement in capabilities is inevitable.

As I was already writing in 2016 :

Like it or not, but outright war with Maidanist Ukraine has been ruled out from the beginning, as the more perceptive analysts like Rostislav Ischenko have long recognized. If there was a time and a place for it, it was either in April 2014, or August 2014 at the very latest. Since then, the Ukrainian Army has gotten much stronger. It has been purged of its "Russophile" elements, and even though it has lost a substantial percentage of its remnant Soviet-era military capital in the war of attrition with the LDNR, it has more than made up for it with wartime XP gain and the banal fact of a quintupling in military spending as a percentage of GDP from 1% to 5%.

This translates to an effective quadrupling in absolute military spending, even when accounting for Ukraine's post-Maidan economic collapse.

Russia can still crush Ukraine in a full-scale conventional conflict, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.

* There's a report that says actual Ukrainian military spending remained rather more modest at 2.5% of GDP ( https://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_66_ang_best_army_ukraine_net.pdf ); even so, that still translates to huge improvements over 2014.

AP , December 20, 2017 at 12:26 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn't combat ready.

250,000. Combat readiness is very different from 2014.

Ukraine doesn't just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don't have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.

Again, it isn't 2014 anymore. Military budget has increased significantly, from 3.2 billion in 2015 to 5.17 billion in 2017. In spite of theft, much more is getting through.

By contrast the armies of people's republics have 40-60 thousand men – that's impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft

It's one of the only ways to make any money in the Republics, so draft is unnecessaary.

AP , December 20, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT
@Swedish Family

Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.

80% are natives. Perhaps as much as 90%. However, often it a way to make a meager salary in those territories, so there is a mercenary aspect to it. Lots of unemployed workers go into the Republic military.

Anatoly Karlin , Website December 20, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT
@Swedish Family

Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.

80% in 2014-15, to be precise; another 10% from the Kuban; 10% from Russia, the Russian world, and the world at large.

NAF salaries are good by post-2014 Donbass standards, but a massive cut for Russians – no Russian went there to get rich.

That said, I strongly doubt there will ever be international recognition of Crimea, let alone Donbass. Israel has by far the world's most influential ethnic lobby. Even NATO member Turkey hasn't gotten Northern Cyprus internationally recognized, so what exactly are the chances of the international community (read: The West) recognizing the claims of Russia, which is fast becoming established in Western minds as the arch-enemy of civilization?

AP , December 20, 2017 at 12:56 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin Fascinating link. The numbers for the military budget are a lot lower than reported elsewhere.

Mobilization percentages by region:

"Among the leaders of the fourth and fifth wave of partial mobilisation were the Khmelnitsky, Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad and Zaporizhia regions, as well as the city of Kyiv, whose mobilisation plan was fulfilled 80-100% (the record was Vinnytsia oblast, which achieved 100% mobilisation). At the opposite extreme are the Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lugansk, Sumy, Ternopil and Transcarpathian regions, where the results of the mobilisation varied from 25 to 60%."

Summary:

2014:

The true face of the Ukrainian armed forces was revealed by the Russian annexation of Crimea and the first weeks of the war in the Donbas – they were nothing more than a fossilised structure, unfit for any effective function upon even a minimum engagement with the enemy, during which a significant part of the troops only realised whom they were representing in the course of the conflict and more than once, from the perspective of service in one of the post-Soviet military districts, they chose to serve in the Russian army

2017:

The war in the Donbas shaped the Ukrainian army. It gave awareness and motivation to the soldiers, and forced the leadership of the Defence Ministry and the government of the state to adapt the army's structure – for the first time since its creation – to real operational needs, and also to bear the costs of halting the collapses in the fields of training and equipment, at least to such an extent which would allow the army to fight a close battle with the pro-Russian separatists. Despite all these problems, the Ukrainian armed forces of the year 2017 now number 200,000, most of whom have come under fire, and are seasoned in battle. They have a trained reserve ready for mobilisation in the event of a larger conflict*; their weapons are not the latest or the most modern, but the vast majority of them now work properly; and they are ready for the defence of the vital interests of the state (even if some of the personnel still care primarily about their own vested interests). They have no chance of winning a potential military clash with Russia, but they have a reason to fight. The Ukrainian armed forces of the year 2014, in a situation where their home territory was occupied by foreign troops, were incapable of mounting an adequate response. The changes since the Donbas war started mean that Ukraine now has the best army it has ever had in its history.

* The Ukrainian armed forces have an operational reserve of 130,000 men, relatively well trained and with real combat experience, who since 2016 have been moulded out of veterans of the Donbas (as well as from formations subordinate to the Interior Ministry). It must be stressed, however, that those counted in the reserve represent only half of the veterans of the anti-terrorist operation (by October 2016, 280,000 Ukrainians had served in the Donbas in all formations subordinate to the government in Kyiv, with 266,000 reservists gaining combat status; at the beginning of February 2017, 193,400 reservists were in the armed forces). Thanks to that, at least in terms of the human factor, it should be possible in a relatively short period of time to increase the Ukrainian army's degree of combat readiness, as well as to fight a relatively close battle with a comparable opponent, something the Ukrainian armed forces were not capable of doing at the beginning of 2014.

AP , December 20, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

NAF salaries are good by post-2014 Donbass standards, but a massive cut for Russians – no Russian went there to get rich.

Which further points to the critical role played by Russians. Many of the local volunteers are participating because doing so offers a salary, which is very important in a wrecked, sanctioned Donbas. The Russian 10%-20% are motivated, often Chechen combat vets. They are more important than their % indicates.

Gerard2 , December 20, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT
@Gerard2 ..and lets not forget the failure in mobilisation from the Ukrainian military

That and having to hire loads of Georgians, Chechens, Poles and other mercenaries. Pretty much tallys perfectly with the failed shithole Ukraine government structure full of everyone else .but Ukrainians

melanf , December 20, 2017 at 5:16 am GMT
Amazing – almost any discussion in this section turns to хохлосрач (ukrohitstorm)
neutral , December 20, 2017 at 8:39 am GMT
@melanf What is almost incomprehensible for me in these endless Russia vs Ukraine arguments is how they (yes both sides) always ignore the real issues and instead keep on raising relatively petty points while thinking that mass non white immigration and things like the EU commissioner of immigration stating openly that Europe needs endless immigration, are not important.

It's like white South Africans who still debate the Boer war or the Irish debate the northern Ireland question, and are completely oblivious to the fact that these things don't matter anymore if you have an entirely new people ruling your land (ok in South Africa they were not new, but you know what I mean).

melanf , December 20, 2017 at 10:54 am GMT
@Swedish Family

Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine

much more than half. Donbass rebels: soldiers of the detachment of "Sparta". Data published by Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine:

https://imgur.com/a/Gh8zx

TT , December 20, 2017 at 12:05 pm GMT
I have read a article mentioned something like Putin said, to annexed whole Ukraine means to share the enormous resource wealth of vast Russia land with them, which make no economic sense. If Russia is worst than Ukraine, then there won't be million of Ukrainian migrating over after the Maidan coup.

So are all those Baltic states. Russia don't want these countries as it burden, it is probably only interested in selected strategic areas like the Eastern Ukraine industrial belt and military important Crimea warm water deep seaport, and skilled migrants. Ukraine has one of lowest per capital income now, with extreme corrupted politicians controlled by USNato waging foolish civil war killing own people resulting in collapsing economic and exudes of skilled people.

What it got to lose to unify with Russia to have peace, prosperity and been a nation of a great country instead of poor war torn? Plus a bonus of free Russia market access, unlimited cheap natural gas and pipeline toll to tax instead of buying LNG from US at double price.

Sorry this s just my opinion based on mostly fake news we are fed, only the Ukrainian know the best and able to decde themselves.

Randal , December 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool. More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons:

Yes, this is my view also. I think Russia was never in a position to do much more than it has, and those who talk about more vigorous military interference are just naïve, or engaging in wishful thinking, about the consequences. I think Putin played a very bad hand as well as could reasonably be expected in Ukraine and Crimea. No doubt mistakes were made, and perhaps more support at the key moment for the separatists (assassinations of some of the key oligarchs who chose the Ukrainian side and employed thugs to suppress the separatists in eastern cities, perhaps) could have resulted in a better situation now with much more of the eastern part of Ukraine separated, but if Russians want someone to blame for the situation in Ukraine apart from their enemies, they should look at Yanukovich, not Putin.

In the long run, it seems likely the appeal of NATO and the EU (assuming both still even exist in their current forms in a few years time) is probably peaking, but strategic patience and only limited covert and economic interference is advisable.

The return of Crimea to Russia alone has been a dramatic improvement in the inherent stability of the region. A proper division of the territory currently forming the Ukraine into a genuine Ukrainian nation in the west and an eastern half returned to Russia would be the ideal long term outcome, but Russia can surely live with a neutralised Ukraine.

Felix Keverich , December 20, 2017 at 1:18 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

There's a report that says actual Ukrainian military spending remained rather more modest at 2.5% of GDP ( https://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_66_ang_best_army_ukraine_net.pdf ); even so, that still translates to huge improvements over 2014.

You realise that Ukraine's GDP declined in dollar terms by a factor of 2-3 times, right? A bigger share of a smaller economy translates into the same paltry sum. It is still under $5 billion.

Futhermore an army that's actively deployed and engaged in fighting spends more money than during peacetime. A lot of this money goes to fuel, repairs, providing for soldiers and their wages rather than qualitatively improving capabilities of the army.

The bottom-line is Ukraine spent the last 3,5 years preparing to fight a war against the People's Republic of Donetsk. I'll admit Ukrainian army can hold its own against the People's Republic of Donetsk. Yet it remains hopelessly outmatched in a potential clash with Russia. A short, but brutal bombing campaign can whipe out Ukrainian command and control, will make it impossible to mount any kind of effective defence. Ukrainian conscripts have no experience in urban warfare, and their national loyalties are unclear.

AP predicts that the cities of Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk will be reduced to something akin to Aleppo. But it has taken 3 years of constant shelling to cause the damage in Aleppo. A more likely outcome is that Ukrainian soldiers will promptly ditch their uniforms, once they realise the Russian are coming and their command is gone.

Anatoly Karlin , Website December 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Nominal GDP collapsed, but real GDP only fell by around 20%. This matters more, since the vast majority of Ukrainian military spending occurs in grivnas.

By various calculations, Ukrainian military spending went up from 1% of GDP, to 2.5%-5%. Minus 20%, that translates to a doubling to quadrupling.

What it does mean is that they are even less capable of paying for advanced weapons from the West than before, but those were never going to make a cardinal difference anyway.

AP is certainly exaggerating wrt Kharkov looking like Aleppo and I certainly didn't agree with him on that. In reality Russia will still be able to smash the Ukraine, assuming no large-scale American intervention, but it will no longer be the trivial task it would have been in 2014, and will likely involve thousands as opposed to hundreds (or even dozens) of Russian military deaths in the event of an offensive up to the Dnieper.

Felix Keverich , December 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm GMT
@AP

It's one of the only ways to make any money in the Republics, so draft is unnecessaary.

It's not like the regime-controlled parts of the country are doing much better! LOL

My point is that this bodes well for our ability to recruit proxies in Ukraine, don't you think? We could easily assemble another 50.000-strong local army, once we're in Kharkov. That's the approach I would use in Ukraine: strip away parts of it piece by piece, create local proxies, use them to maintain control and absorb casualties in the fighting on the ground.

Mr. Hack , December 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

In reality Russia will still be able to smash the Ukraine, assuming no large-scale American intervention, but it will no longer be the trivial task it would have been in 2014, and will likely involve thousands as opposed to hundreds (or even dozens) of Russian military deaths in the event of an offensive up to the Dnieper.

Fortunately, we'll not be seeing a replay of the sacking and destruction of Novgorod as was done in the 15th century by Ivan III, and all of its ugly repercussions in Ukraine. Besides, since the 15th century, we've seen the emergence of three separate nationalities out of the loose amalgamation of principalities known a Rus. Trying to recreate something (one Rus nation) out of something that never in effect existed, now in the 21st century is a ridiculous concept at best.

AP , December 20, 2017 at 1:58 pm GMT

"It's one of the only ways to make any money in the Republics, so draft is unnecessaary."

It's not like the regime-controlled parts of the country are doing much better! LOL

Well, they are, at least in the center and west. Kievans don't volunteer to fight because they have no other way of making money. But you probably believe the fairytale that Ukraine is in total collapse, back to the 90s.

We could easily assemble another 50.000-strong local army, once we're in Kharkov.

If in the process of taking Kharkiv the local economy goes into ruin due to wrecked factories and sanctions so that picking up a gun is the only way to feed one's family for some people, sure. But again, keep in mind that Kharkiv is much less pro-Russian than Donbas so this could be more complicated.

Art Deco , December 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin How so? Poland and France (together around equal to Germany's population) worked out perfectly for Nazi Germany.

You're forgetting a few things. In the United States, about 1/3 of the country's productive capacity was devoted to the war effort during the period running from 1940 to 1946. I'll wager you it was higher than that in Britain and continental Europe. That's what Germany was drawing on to attempt to sustain its holdings for just the 4-5 year period in which they occupied France and Poland. (Russia currently devotes 4% of its productive capacity to the military). Germany had to be exceedingly coercive as well. They were facing escalating partisan resistance that whole time (especially in the Balkans).

Someone whose decisions matter is going to ask the question of whether it's really worth the candle.

AP , December 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT
@Art Deco Thanks for the correction. This suggests that transforming Iraq into a solidly pro-Western stable democracy would have been much harder than doing so for Japan. This I think would have been the only legitimate reason to invade in Iraq in 2003 (WMDs weren't there, and in 2003 the regime was not genocidal as it had been decades earlier when IMO an invasion would have been justified)

Again, much of Iraq is quiet and has been for a decade. What's not would be the provinces where Sunnis form a critical mass. Their political vanguards are fouling their own nest and imposing costs on others in the vicinity, such as the country's Christian population and the Kurds living in mixed provinces like Kirkuk.

Correct, but most of this have been the case had the Baathists remained in power?

You've seen severe internal disorders in the Arab world over 60 years in Algeria, Libya, the Sudan, the Yemen, the Dhofar region of Oman, Lebanon, Syria, and central Iraq.

Which is why one ought to either not invade a country and remove a regime that maintains stability and peace, or if one does so – take on the responsibility of investing massive effort and treasure in order to prevent the inevitable chaos and violence that would erupt as a result of one's invasion.

Felix Keverich , December 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin To be honest, I don't think it'll be necessary to sacrifice so many lives of Russian military personnel. Use LDNR army: transport them to Belgorod and with Russians they could move to take Kharkov, while facing minimal opposition. Then move futher to the West and South until the entire Ukrainian army in Donbass becomes encircled at which point they will likely surrender.

After supressing Ukrainian air-defence, our airforce should be able to destroy command and control, artillery, armoured formations, airfields, bridges over Dnieper, other infrustructure. Use the proxies to absord casualties in the fighting on the ground.

Andrei Martyanov , Website December 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.

Anatoly, please, don't write on things you have no qualification on writing. You can not even grasp the generational (that is qualitative) abyss which separates two armed forces. The question will not be in this:

but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.

By the time the "cruising" would commence there will be no Ukrainian Army as an organized formation or even units left–anything larger than platoon will be hunted down and annihilated. It is really painful to read this, honestly. The question is not in Russian "ambition" or rah-rah but in the fact that Ukraine's armed forces do not posses ANY C4ISR capability which is crucial for a dynamics of a modern war. None. Mopping up in the East would still be much easier than it would be in Central, let alone, Western Ukraine but Russia has no business there anyway. More complex issues were under consideration than merely probable losses of Russian Army when it was decided (rightly so) not to invade.

I will open some "secret"–nations DO bear collective responsibility and always were subjected to collective punishment -- latest example being Germany in both WWs -- the bacillus of Ukrainian "nationalism" is more effectively addressed by letting those moyahataskainikam experience all "privileges" of it. In the end, Russia's resources were used way better than paying for mentally ill country. 2019 is approaching fast.

P.S. In all of your military "analysis" on Ukraine one thing is missing leaving a gaping hole–Russian Armed Forces themselves which since 2014 were increasing combat potential exponentially. Ukies? Not so much–some patches here and there. Russian Armed Forces of 2018 are not those of 2013. Just for shits and giggles check how many Ratnik sets have been delivered to Russian Army since 2011. That may explain to you why timing in war and politics is everything.

AP , December 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

Nominal GDP collapsed, but real GDP only fell by around 20%.

About 16% from 2013 to 2015 when Ukraine hit bottom:

https://www.worldeconomics.com/GrossDomesticProduct/Ukraine.gdp

AP is certainly exaggerating wrt Kharkov looking like Aleppo and I certainly didn't agree with him on that.

I wrote that parts of the city would look like that. I don't think there would be enough massive resistance that the entire city would be destroyed. But rooting out a couple thousand armed, experienced militiamen or soldiers in the urban area would cause a lot of expensive damage and, as is the case when civilians died in Kiev's efforts to secure Donbas, would probably not endear the invaders to the locals who after all do not want Russia to invade them.

And Kharkiv would be the easiest to take. Dnipropetrovsk would be much more Aleppo-like, and Kiev Felix was proposing for Russia to take all these areas.

Andrei Martyanov , Website December 20, 2017 at 2:31 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

To be honest, I don't think it'll be necessary to sacrifice so many lives of Russian military personnel.

The question is not in losses, per se. Russians CAN accept losses if the deal becomes hot in Ukraine–it is obvious. The question is in geopolitical dynamics and the way said Russian Armed Forces were being honed since 2013, when Shoigu came on-board and the General Staff got its mojo returned to it. All Command and Control circuit of Ukie army will be destroyed with minimal losses if need be, and only then cavalry will be let in. How many Russian or LDNR lives? I don't know, I am sure GOU has estimates by now. Once you control escalation (Russia DOES control escalation today since can respond to any contingency) you get way more flexibility (geo)politcally. Today, namely December 2017, situation is such that Russia controls escalation completely. If Ukies want to attack, as they are inevitably forced to do so, we all know what will happen. Ukraine has about a year left to do something. Meanwhile considering EU intentions to sanction Poland, well, we are witnessing the start of a major shitstorm.

Mr. Hack , December 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm GMT

Most ukrops even admit that Kharkov could easily have gone in 2014, if Russia had wanted it/feasible

Really? So why didn't Russia take Kharkiv then? Why wan't it 'feasible', Mr.Know it All?

Gerard2 , December 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Trying to recreate something (one Rus nation) out of something that never in effect existed, now in the 21st century is a ridiculous concept at best.

A stupid comment for an adult. Ukraine, in effect never existed before Russia/Stalin/Lenin created it. Kiev is a historical Russian city, and 5 of the 7 most populated areas in Ukraine are Russian/Soviet created cities, Russian language is favourite spoken by most Ukrainians ( see even Saakashvili in court, speaking only in Russian even though he speaks fluent Ukrainian now and all the judges and lawyers speaking in Russian too), the millions of Ukrainians living happily in Russia and of course, the topic of what exactly is a Ukrainian is obsolete because pretty much every Ukrainian has a close Russian relative the level of intermarriage was at the level of one culturally identical people.

AK: Improvement! The first paragraph was acceptable, hence not hidden.

Gerard2 , December 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack economics, hope that the west and their puppets in Kiev would act like sane and decent people, threat of sanctions and so on.

As is obvious, if the west had remained neutral ( an absurd hypothetical because the west were the ringmasters of the farce in this failed state) ..and not supported the coup and then the evil war brought on the Donbass people, then a whole different situation works out in Ukraine ( for the better)

AP , December 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT
@Gerard2

Kharkov always was and will be as pro-Russian as Donbass

Kharkiv oblast: 71% Ukrainian, 26% Russian
Donetsk oblast: 57% Ukrainian, 38% Russian (skews more Russian in the Donbas Republic parts)

Self-declared native language Kharkiv oblast: 54% Ukrainian, 44% Russian
Self-declared native language Donetsk oblast: 24% Ukrainian, 75% Russian

(not the same thing as language actually spoken, but a decent reflection of national self-identity)

2012 parliamentary election results (rounding to nearest %):

Kharkiv oblast: 62% "Blue", 32% "Orange" – including 4% Svoboda
Donetsk oblast – 84% "Blue", 11% "Orange" – including 1% Svoboda

A good illustration of Russian wishful thinking fairytales compared to reality on the ground.

S3 , December 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm GMT
@S3 Nietzsche famously foresaw the rise and fall of communism and the destruction of Germany in the two world wars. He also liked to think of himself as a Polish nobleman. Maybe this is what he meant.
Gerard2 , December 20, 2017 at 7:25 pm GMT
@AP Kharkiv oblast: 71% Ukrainian, 26% Russian
Donetsk oblast: 57% Ukrainian, 38% Russian (skews more Russian in the Donbas Republic parts)
gT , December 21, 2017 at 7:34 am GMT
Its very amusing reading all the comments so far. But reality is that Russia should take back all the lands conquered by the Tsars, and that includes Finland.

Look at America. Currently the US has troops stationed in other countries all over the world. And most of those "independent" countries can't take virtually no decision without America's approval. This is definitely the case with Germany and Japan, where their "presidents" have to take an oath of loyalty to the US on assuming office. Now America has even moved into Eastern Europe, and has troops and radars and nuclear capable missile batteries stationed there. So America is just expanding and expanding its grasp while Russia must contract its territories even further and further. Yippee.

So Russia must take back all the territories conquered by the Tsars so as to not lose this game of monopoly. Those in those territories not too happy about such matters can move to America or deal with the Red Army. This is not a matter of cost benefits analysis but a matter of Russia's national security, as in the case of Chechnya.

The territories to Russia's East are especially necessary for Russia's security; when the chips are down, when all the satellites have been blown out of space, all the aircraft blown out of the air, all the ground hardware blown to smithereens; when the battle is reduced to eye to eye rat like warfare, then those assorted Mongol mongrels from Russia's East come into their element. Genghis Khan was the biggest mass murderer in history, he made Hitler look like a school boy, his genes live on in those to Russia's East. So if America were to get involved in Ukraine Russia would have no issues losing a million troops in a matter of days while the US has never even lost a million troops in its civil war and WW2 combined.

Lets face it, those Mongol mongrels make much better fighters than the effete Sunni Arabs any day, so Russia should get them on her side. In Syria those ISIS idiots would never have got as far as they did were it not for those few Chechens in their midst's.

But alas, Russia has to eat humble pie at the moment, internationally and at the Olympics. But humble pie tastes good when its washed down with bottles of vodka, and its only momentarily after all.

Art Deco , December 21, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT
@gT Look at America. Currently the US has troops stationed in other countries all over the world.

Since 1945, between 70% and 87% of American military manpower has been stationed in the United States and its possession. The vast bulk of the remainder is generally to be found in about a half-dozen countries. (In recent years, that would be Germany, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait). Andrew Bacevich once went on a whinge about the stupidity of having a 'Southern Command' without bothering to tell his readers that the Southern Command had 2,000 billets at that time, that nearly half were stationed at Guantanamo Bay (an American possession since 1902), that no country had more than 200 American soldiers resident, and that the primary activity of the Southern Command was drug interdiction. On the entire African continent, there were 5,000 billets at that time.

And most of those "independent" countries can't take virtually no decision without America's approval. This is definitely the case with Germany and Japan, where their "presidents" have to take an oath of loyalty to the US on assuming office.

This is a fantasy.

Art Deco , December 21, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT
@gT Why not post sober?
gT , December 21, 2017 at 4:05 pm GMT
@Art Deco Fantasy?

Read here about Merkel obeying her real masters

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/editorial-merkel-has-left-germans-high-and-dry-a-911425.html

and read here about "BERLIN IS WASHINGTON'S VASSAL UNTIL 2099″

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-183232

I especially like the bit about "Though most of the German officers were not originally inclined against America, a lot of them being educated in the United States, they are now experiencing disappointment and even disgust with Washington's policies."

Seems its not only the Russians who are getting increasingly pissed off with the US when at first they actually liked the US. No wonder the Germans are just letting their submarines and tanks rot away.

Also https://www.veteranstodayarchives.com/2011/06/05/germany-still-under-the-control-of-foreign-powers/
(damn South Africans popping up everywhere)

[Dec 16, 2017] Canada takes initiative among NATO countries in deciding to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine

Dec 16, 2017 | www.newcoldwar.org

Canada has taken a lead among NATO countries in approving heavy weapons sales to the government and armed forces of Ukraine. The Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision on December 13.

The U.S. government is poised to make a similar decision .

The decision by Washington's junior partner in Ottawa is a blow to human rights organizations and others in the U.S. and internationally who argue that increasing the arms flow to the regime in Kyiv will only escalate Ukraine's violence against the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine was compelled to sign the 'Minsk-2' ceasefire and peace agreement on Feb 12, 2015. Germany and France endorsed the agreement and have pretended to stand by it. But Ukraine has violated Minsk-2 ( text here ) ever since its signing, with impunity from Kyiv's allies in western Europe and North America.

Minsk-2 was endorsed by the UN Security Council on Feb 17, 2015. That shows the regard which NATO members such as the U.S. and Canada attach to the world body -- the UN it is a useful tool when it can be manipulated to serve their interests, otherwise it is an annoyance to be ignored. Witness their boycotting of the UN General Assembly discussion (and eventual adoption) on July 7, 2017 of the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons .

[Dec 12, 2017] Saakashvii troubles: the reliability of Western support for him in under question

Notable quotes:
"... straight from the lips of Pavlo Munchkin. The west will not react to Saakashvili's detention , and considers it to be an internal Ukrainian matter. So Kiev can make up whatever wild charges it wants, and Uncle Sam will not ride to the rescue. Saakashvili has apparently outlived his usefulness. ..."
"... Well, indeed, it looks like the collective West decided to just say to poor, ageing, clumsy Mishiko "I know thee not, old man!". The ritualistic spitting and trampling of Saakasvhili effigy in the Freest Press in the World (Western one) will commence soon enough. But before that – a quick reminder of what they were saying, before re-alignment of the winds, blowing from Washington's ObCom. ..."
"... "AFTER the Maidan revolution and the start of the Russian war against Ukraine in 2014, Western policy had two aims: to halt and punish Russian aggression and to help Ukraine become a democratic state governed by the rule of law. America imposed sanctions on Russia, ordered the president, Petro Poroshenko, to establish an anti-corruption force and sent Joe Biden, then vice-president, on repeated visits to insist on fighting graft. The EU imposed sanctions on Russia, and made support for civil-society and the rule of law a linchpin of the association agreement it signed with Ukraine in 2014. ..."
"... In that light, the news out of Ukraine over the past few weeks has been dire. The country's prosecutor-general has disrupted investigations by its National Anti-corruption Bureau, with the apparent consent of Mr Poroshenko. The interior minister has intervened to protect his son from similar scrutiny. Officers in the security service, the SBU, have tried to arrest Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president turned Ukrainian corruption-fighter, only to be driven back by protesters. Prosecutors are targeting anti-corruption activists; the army, interior-ministry troops and private militias work at cross-purposes, answering to different politicians or oligarchs . Mr Poroshenko's government has been seriously weakened. ..."
"... "To some Europeans and Americans, this picture suggests that their efforts to persuade Ukraine to turn over a new leaf were always doomed to fail. That is a misreading. In fact, the recent chaos in Ukraine comes in part because in the past year, especially since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Europe and America have eased the pressure. If they do not restore their commitment to defending anti-corruption reforms, Ukraine risks sinking back into the morass from which it tried to extricate itself with Maidan. ..."
"... Ukraine's grubby politicians and oligarchs have tried to frustrate Western aims without openly defying them (see article ). Partly as a result, policy under Mr Trump has lost its focus on fighting graft. Kurt Volker, the American envoy to Ukraine, works on external security; America may soon sell the country lethal weapons for the first time. But when the State Department complains about corruption, it is ignored -- because (unlike Mr Biden) the White House offers it no support. As for the EU, few believe it would jeopardise its association agreement with Ukraine for the sake of the rule of law. So, the country's elite no longer fears attacking investigators and activists." ..."
"... "Lay off the pay-offs ..."
"... If they succeed in ending the attempts to fight graft, it will be a disaster for Ukraine -- and a step back for Europe and America, too. The country is the focal point of the West's conflict with Russia. Weak and divided, it is vulnerable to Russian encroachment, especially if Vladimir Putin decides he needs to fire up patriotic Russian voters. Chaos would also buttress Mr Putin's claim that the West's aims in Ukraine are purely anti-Russian and have nothing to do with democracy or the rule of law. All this would undermine the rules-based global order, with consequences in the South China Sea and elsewhere. ..."
"... Now that Ukraine is defying complaints by America's State Department and the EU's foreign-policy arm, it is vital that America and Europe use every tool at their disposal to support corruption-fighters in Kiev. The EU should make plain that the benefits of the association pact depend on progress against graft; America should attach the same conditions to arms sales. Prosecutors in Western capitals should investigate the laundering of ill-gotten Ukrainian wealth. Support for Ukraine's territorial integrity should not involve tolerance for the lack of integrity among its politicians." ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Warren , December 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Al Jazeera English
Published on 9 Dec 2017
SUBSCRIBE 1.7M
He was the president of Georgia, then a governor in Ukraine, and now he's in jail on hunger strike.

The arrest, and re-arrest, of Mikhail Saakashvii in Kiev has stirred protests which evoke memories of the Ukrainian revolution three years ago.

Saakashvili's supporters say his detention is based on lies and they want him let go. They already freed him once earlier this week – from a police van.

Tuesday's dramatic scenes saw a former president being dragged across a roof. Police arrested him for allegedly conspiring with Russia against the Ukrainian state. Saakashvili then escaped custody, before police tracked him down again on Friday. The former Georgian leader says his arrest is politically motivated.

But is it really?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan

Guests:

Alexander Korman – Former Head of the Public Council and First Deputy Chairman of Public Council to the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Ukraine.
Sergey Markov – Former Russian MP & spokesman for President Vladimir Putin.
Lilit Gevorgyan – IHS Global Insigh tanalyst and principal economist covering Russia & Ukraine.

marknesop , December 9, 2017 at 9:34 pm
Aaaaand there you have it, folks, straight from the lips of Pavlo Munchkin. The west will not react to Saakashvili's detention , and considers it to be an internal Ukrainian matter. So Kiev can make up whatever wild charges it wants, and Uncle Sam will not ride to the rescue. Saakashvili has apparently outlived his usefulness.

I don't really feel sorry for him, because I've always thought he was a twat and his preening over being the golden child of Washington was sickening. In fact, he probably deserves whatever happens to him, although I expect the west will make some kind of private deal to get him out on the promise that he will stay out of Ukraine. Where he will go then is anyone's guess, since he is a stateless person with no citizenship. But it is significant to note how much weight Ukraine still swings with the west, even though Europe is getting impatient about its hamfisted anti-corruption charade. Kiev just said "Stay out of it", and the west retired smartly.

I think you will agree that is hardly a climate in which Poroshenko will feel moved to do anything much about corruption beyond making a lot of noise and promises.

Lyttenburgh , December 10, 2017 at 12:36 am
Well, indeed, it looks like the collective West decided to just say to poor, ageing, clumsy Mishiko "I know thee not, old man!". The ritualistic spitting and trampling of Saakasvhili effigy in the Freest Press in the World (Western one) will commence soon enough. But before that – a quick reminder of what they were saying, before re-alignment of the winds, blowing from Washington's ObCom.

The Economist (Editorial): Ukraine is a mess; the West should press it harder to fight graft – Lay off the pay-offs
Drama in the streets is a sign of worsening corruption. Ukraine must notbe allowed to fail

Ukraine is a mess? Nooooo waaaaaay! Are you sure? Tell me more!

"AFTER the Maidan revolution and the start of the Russian war against Ukraine in 2014, Western policy had two aims: to halt and punish Russian aggression and to help Ukraine become a democratic state governed by the rule of law. America imposed sanctions on Russia, ordered the president, Petro Poroshenko, to establish an anti-corruption force and sent Joe Biden, then vice-president, on repeated visits to insist on fighting graft. The EU imposed sanctions on Russia, and made support for civil-society and the rule of law a linchpin of the association agreement it signed with Ukraine in 2014.

In that light, the news out of Ukraine over the past few weeks has been dire. The country's prosecutor-general has disrupted investigations by its National Anti-corruption Bureau, with the apparent consent of Mr Poroshenko. The interior minister has intervened to protect his son from similar scrutiny. Officers in the security service, the SBU, have tried to arrest Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president turned Ukrainian corruption-fighter, only to be driven back by protesters. Prosecutors are targeting anti-corruption activists; the army, interior-ministry troops and private militias work at cross-purposes, answering to different politicians or oligarchs . Mr Poroshenko's government has been seriously weakened. "

That's important part – keep it mind. But here comes the "meat" of the article! Good flunkies of Ed Lukas has found the answer to the eternal question "Whom to blame?" as pertains to the Ukraine and its current woes! Are you ready? Here it is:

"To some Europeans and Americans, this picture suggests that their efforts to persuade Ukraine to turn over a new leaf were always doomed to fail. That is a misreading. In fact, the recent chaos in Ukraine comes in part because in the past year, especially since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Europe and America have eased the pressure. If they do not restore their commitment to defending anti-corruption reforms, Ukraine risks sinking back into the morass from which it tried to extricate itself with Maidan.

Ukraine's grubby politicians and oligarchs have tried to frustrate Western aims without openly defying them (see article ). Partly as a result, policy under Mr Trump has lost its focus on fighting graft. Kurt Volker, the American envoy to Ukraine, works on external security; America may soon sell the country lethal weapons for the first time. But when the State Department complains about corruption, it is ignored -- because (unlike Mr Biden) the White House offers it no support. As for the EU, few believe it would jeopardise its association agreement with Ukraine for the sake of the rule of law. So, the country's elite no longer fears attacking investigators and activists."

Trump! It is all Trump's fault! Because – surely! – under the watch of the President of Peace B. Obama and gramps Biden no dodgy things ever happened in the Ukraine, noooope! Biden (and his son) gonna defend this PO like lions! This also welcomes nasty question – aren't Mr. Poroshenko himself an oligarch, whose personal wealth skyrocketed since his election? And maybe – I'm not insisting, no-no – having lots of cash stashed in "Panama Papers Fund" precludes him from actually fighting corruption – and not, you know, the election of Trump? Heresy, I know!

But the articles goes from strength to strength, boldly skipping to the "What to do?" section. The solution is as brilliant and though-over as everything else in there:

"Lay off the pay-offs

If they succeed in ending the attempts to fight graft, it will be a disaster for Ukraine -- and a step back for Europe and America, too. The country is the focal point of the West's conflict with Russia. Weak and divided, it is vulnerable to Russian encroachment, especially if Vladimir Putin decides he needs to fire up patriotic Russian voters. Chaos would also buttress Mr Putin's claim that the West's aims in Ukraine are purely anti-Russian and have nothing to do with democracy or the rule of law. All this would undermine the rules-based global order, with consequences in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

Now that Ukraine is defying complaints by America's State Department and the EU's foreign-policy arm, it is vital that America and Europe use every tool at their disposal to support corruption-fighters in Kiev. The EU should make plain that the benefits of the association pact depend on progress against graft; America should attach the same conditions to arms sales. Prosecutors in Western capitals should investigate the laundering of ill-gotten Ukrainian wealth. Support for Ukraine's territorial integrity should not involve tolerance for the lack of integrity among its politicians."

Hahahahahhahahahhahahhahhahahahahaohmysidesarehurtinghahhahhahahahmakeitstophahahha

Nope. Your Russophobia is high (and you yourself dear Western elites are also high most of the time when it comes to Russia) that you will allow this unholy corrupt mess to persist. Because, really, you are not interested in "democracy" and "open society". Not at the prize of people electing someone, whose strings you cannot pull.

At the same time – this is "big: and "respectable" The Economist we are talking about. They smell the fire from the yet unlit tires of new Maidan. They are afraid . They know, that their "Operation: SHOWCASE" of turning Ukraine into a "democratic alternative to Russia" failed. They are in denial.

Oh, how sweet!

Cortes , December 10, 2017 at 2:08 am
The obligatory "rules-based global order" makes a tardy but welcome cameo appearance like an aging well-loved Thespian milking the audience for a final burst of applause before retirement. Great stuff!
Moscow Exile , December 10, 2017 at 6:25 am
Украинцы проголосовали за возвращение "преступного режима" Януковича

Ukrainians voted for a return of the "criminal regime" of Yanukovich
01:24 – 10.12.2017

Ninety-two percent of the audience of the Ukrainian TV channel "NewsOne" voted for the return of the regime of former President Viktor Yanukovych, reports the news portal "Politnavigator".

In Saturday's broadcast, viewers were asked to choose one of two options to answer the question "For whom would you vote: for the last criminal power or the current one?". Out of 46,686 people only eight per cent supported the policy of the current president, Petro Poroshenko.

On 23 October, the Centre for social studies "Sofia" published the results of a poll in which 79 percent of the population in varying degrees did not approve of Poroshenko being head of state: the answer "fully approve of the President" was chosen by only 1.6 percent.

On October 17, the Prosecutor General of the Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, accused former president Viktor Yanukovich of embezzling assets worth $40 billion. According to the head of the supervisory authority, this was comparable with the annual budget of the country.

Yanukovych was President of the Ukraine from 2010 to 2014. After a violent regime change by means of the Euromaidan mass protests in Kiev and other cities, he left the country.

In the Ukraine, there have been initiated several criminal cases made against the former head of state and his property on the territory of the country has been seized.

marknesop , December 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm
There's a useful lesson there for someone: more than 90% – arguably; we have no way to know how scientific or representative this poll was – of the population does not support the current government, in a country that has considerable and recent practical experience of revolution. Yet the current government prevails with complete impunity, and even flaunts its contempt for accountability. How can these two realities coexist? Is it possible the violent nationalist element wields disproportionate influence, despite all the quacking about its low support in the polls and Russian exaggeration of its extremist beliefs?
Patient Observer , December 10, 2017 at 8:39 am
Can't vouch for the entire web site but this was interesting:

Baiting is the act of deliberately annoying or provoking someone to extreme emotion. When a person baits another, they are deliberately taunting in order to provoke a response from the offender's attack.

If you are a fisherman, it might be fun but if you're the fish -- or worse a worm squirming on a hook, being used to entice a predator to amuse? It's simply not as much fun for people who are the victims of any form of bait and switch attack.

Truly believing the world as they know it revolves around them, they tend to symptomatically behave in ways that are compulsively self-promoting, grandiose, illogical, irrational, egocentric, and grandiose.

Every social interaction is seen as a competition of sorts, with the Narcissist behaving as if their distorted, self-deluded version of any fact, story, or reality is somehow rooted in divine truth (rather than being recognized as a symptom of psychiatric dysfunction and outright gaslighting tales and lies).

The condition -- a personality TYPE classification, rather than an actual diagnosis of illness (per se) -- tends to be rooted in cultural nurturing, for the most part.

http://flyingmonkeysdenied.com/definition/baiting/

Warren , December 10, 2017 at 10:44 am
Can Neoliberalism Ever Go Away?

People all over the world are protesting against globalisation, inequality and selfishness. Democratic liberalism is supposed to solve these problems, but liberalism and its big brother neoliberalism are actually the cause of these problems. Furthermore, once a country has adopted neoliberalist policies it is very hard for it ever to reject them.

https://sputniknews.com/radio_brave_new_world/201707281055961487-can-neoliberalism-ever-go-away/

[Dec 09, 2017] Criticism of Ukraine's language law justified rights body by Alessandra Prentice

Paradoxically it was language question which by-and-large fueled Crimea secession and Donbass uprising. Now they decide to step on the same rake again.
If Ukraine strive to be like Canada and the part of EU why do not adopt English as an official language, to defuse the tensions relegating Ukrainian and Russian to the role of regional languages (which both of them now actually are). That will instantly diminish the influence of Russia and thus fulfill the main goal of Western Ukrainian nationalists who are in power after Maydan (at least partially). English is a great, cultural and scientifically dominant language now and countries like Canada enjoy full benefits of this situation. Because cultural and political influence of Russia is what Ukrainian nationalists are most afraid of. English is politically acceptable to them. That also will save money of textbooks and like, especially university level textbooks.
They now actually gave a powerful tool for Russia to further limit economic ties claiming discrimination of Russian speaking population. Not that Ukrainian nationalist care much about Russian reaction.
But Western Ukrainian nationalists have a penchant for making disastrous for the Ukrainian economy moves to feed their ambitions and stereotypes. Which led to the situation when Ukraine is just debt slave nation with limited sovereignty and huge problems due to impoverishment of population and decay of Soviet era infrastructure. Neoliberalism is not a friend of such countries as Ukraine, despite all population expectations after Maydan. They want to milk Ukraine, not to help. and they are very skillful in that as Ukraine probably leaned during 90th. This is what neoliberal " disaster capitalism " is about. In other words Ukraine which previously somehow managed to balance between West and East milking both, moved itself in the zugzwang position.
As for adoption of Ukrainian (which is a beautiful language, BTW), think what would happen if Canadian French nationalists managed to force French upon the county as official language while bordering with the USA (actually like in Ukraine where in western part of the country there are few people who do not speak Russian, there are few people in Canada who neither speak nor understand English)
It is critical now that the population can speak English because the markets for Ukraine now are in the West. Ukraine by and large lost Russian market. Probably for a long time.
Notable quotes:
"... "The less favorable treatment of these (non-EU) languages is difficult to justify and therefore raises issues of discrimination," it said. Language is a sensitive issue in Ukraine. ..."
"... After the pro-European Maidan uprising in 2014, the decision to scrap a law allowing some regions to use Russian as an official second language fueled anti-Ukrainian unrest in the east that escalated into a Russia-backed separatist insurgency. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.reuters.com

Kiev has submitted the law for review by the Venice Commission, a body which rules on rights and democracy disputes in Europe and whose decisions member states, which include Ukraine, commit to respecting.

In an opinion adopted formally on Friday, the commission said it was legitimate for Ukraine to address inequalities by helping citizens gain fluency in the state language, Ukrainian.

"However, the strong domestic and international criticism drawn especially by the provisions reducing the scope of education in minority languages seems justified," it said in a statement.

It said the ambiguous wording of parts of the 'Article 7' legislation raised questions about how the shift to all-Ukrainian secondary education would be implemented while safeguarding the rights of ethnic minorities.

As of 2015, Ukraine had 621 schools that taught in Russian, 78 in Romanian, 68 in Hungarian and five in Polish, according to education ministry data. The commission said a provision in the new law to allow some subjects to be taught in official EU languages, such as Hungarian, Romanian and Polish, appeared to discriminate against speakers of Russian, the most widely used non-state language.

"The less favorable treatment of these (non-EU) languages is difficult to justify and therefore raises issues of discrimination," it said. Language is a sensitive issue in Ukraine.

After the pro-European Maidan uprising in 2014, the decision to scrap a law allowing some regions to use Russian as an official second language fueled anti-Ukrainian unrest in the east that escalated into a Russia-backed separatist insurgency.

[Dec 09, 2017] The West Backed the Wrong Man in Ukraine by Leonid Bershidsky

Poor Ukraine. It is now just a prey of major powers and other neoliberal predators, including transnational corporations. Each wants a fat piece. Looks after Poroshenko "revolt" against anti-corruption bureau prompted Washington to "switch horses during crossing the river" (which is very Tramp-style decision). A new favorite most probably is Timoshenko (about whom they have a lot of compromising material, so she will always be on the hook). When a neoliberals poodle like Aslund tweets " "President Poroshenko appears to have abandoned the fight against corruption, any ambition for economic growth, EU or IMF funding," you can be sure that Washington priorities now definitely changed. Such a brave man telling people the hard truth ;-) This guy would praise Poroshenko to skies, if that wouldn't be case. .. The message from Bershidsky handlers who ordered this "hit piece" is that same -- "The moor has done his duty, moor has to go". Such a hatchet job in MSM like Bloomberg, NYT or Wapo is usually done only under direct order from powers that be.
Re-appearance of Saakashvili with this farce of illegal crossing of the border (imagine this !) on the political scene is probably also orchestrated from Washington.
Formally Poroshenko is accused that he is trying to undermine the work of anti-corruption bureau controlled by FBI. The real situation might be that gradually Poroshenko probably understood that blind following of Washington political line is the road to nowhere and leads to further impoverishing of population. Also "independent" status of anti-corruption buro to a certain extent makes Ukrain a colony with colonial administration. Specifically it give FBI the possibility to persecute any Ukrainian politician. On the other hand Poroshenko also have far right nationalists sitting behind his back and they are probably not too exited by neoliberal reforms Poroshenko pursue. Standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level when it corresponds to standard of living of some Central African countries -- less then $2 a day. It became a "sex shop" for Western Europeans, especially French. Most of prostitutes in Western Europe are Ukrainian woman. In other words both Ukraine and Poroshenko are now is zugzwang situation.
So in desperation Poroshenko probably started making some "unapproved" moves interfering with work of FBI controlled anti-corruption buro (which actually did not jail a single US citizen for corruption). Probably following Polish example of ' disobedience " to neoliberal dictate. A reaction followed.
Charges of corruption is such a classic tool of "color revolutions" that now it can be viewed as just a symbol of renewed attempt to interfere into Ukraine political life. A Washington Obcom dictate, if you wish. Actually corruption a little bit complicates looting of the country which if done by financial mechanisms as it means that in contracts Western companies have some disadvantage and need a local "roof" which negatively affects the profits.
Notable quotes:
"... He and his first prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, knew what the U.S. State Department and Vice President Joe Biden, who acted as the Obama administration's point man on Ukraine, wanted to hear. ..."
Dec 05, 2017 | www.bloomberg.com

President Petro Poroshenko is sacrificing Westernization to a personal political agenda.

It's become increasingly clear that Obama-era U.S. politicians backed the wrong people in Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko's moves to consolidate his power now include sidelining the anti-corruption institutions he was forced to set up by Ukraine's Western allies.

Poroshenko, who had briefly served as Ukraine's foreign minister, looked worldlier than his predecessor, the deposed Viktor Yanukovych, and spoke passable English. He and his first prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, knew what the U.S. State Department and Vice President Joe Biden, who acted as the Obama administration's point man on Ukraine, wanted to hear. So, as Ukraine emerged from the revolutionary chaos of January and February 2014, the U.S., and with it the EU, backed Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk as Ukraine's next leaders. Armed with this support, not least with promises of major technical aid and International Monetary Fund loans, they won elections, posing as Westernizers who would lead Ukraine into Europe. But their agendas turned out to be more self-serving.

... ... ...

After a failed attempt to kick Saakashvili, an anti-corruption firebrand, out of Ukraine for allegedly obtaining its citizenship under false pretences, Poroshenko's law enforcement apparatus has harassed and deported the Georgian-born politician's allies. Finance Minister Oleksandr Danilyuk, who helped Saakashvili set up a think tank in Kiev -- which is now under investigation for suspected financial violations -- has accused law-enforcement agencies of "putting pressure on business, on those who want to change the country." Danilyuk himself is being investigated for tax evasion.

... ... ...

"President Poroshenko appears to have abandoned the fight against corruption, any ambition for economic growth, EU or IMF funding," economist Anders Aslund, who has long been optimistic about Ukrainian reforms, tweeted recently.

... ... ...

Poroshenko, however, would have gotten nowhere -- and wouldn't be defending Ukraine's opaque, corrupt, backward political system today -- without Western support. No amount of friendly pressure is going to change him. If Ukrainians shake up their apathy to do to him what they did to Yanukovych -- or when he comes up for reelection in 2019 -- this mistake shouldn't be repeated. It's not easy to find younger, more principled, genuinely European-oriented politicians in Ukraine, but they exist. Otherwise, Western politicians and analysts will have to keep acting shocked that another representative of the old elite is suddenly looking a lot like Yanukovych.

[Dec 09, 2017] The Loose Cannon the Neocons Wanted in NATO by Patrick J. Buchanan

In no way Mr. Saakashvili is an independent political player, he is just a pawn of some complex gambit against Poroshenko. Who is behind him? Timoshenko, the far right nationalists (that would be very strange), the USA is completely unclear. But in no way he of his own can command loyalty of the crowd in Kiev, this crowd most probably consist of Timoshenko supporters, who were communicated the the "wish" of their leader that "we need to support Mr. Saakashvili, he is one of us". In any case those events are a huge surprise to most observers, who assumes that the USA firmly backs Poroshenko.
Notable quotes:
"... "With a Ukrainian flag draped across his shoulders and a pair of handcuffs still attached to one of his wrists, Mr. Saakashvili then led hundreds of supporters in a march across Kiev toward Parliament. Speaking through a bullhorn he called for 'peaceful protests' to remove Mr. Poroshenko from office, just as protests had toppled the former President, Victor F. Yanukovych, in February 2014." ..."
"... And there was broad support for bringing Georgia into NATO. This would have given Saakashvili an ability to ignite a confrontation with Russia, which could have forced U.S. intervention.Consider Ukraine. Three years ago, McCain was declaring, in support of the overthrow of the elected pro-Russian government in Kiev, "We are all Ukrainians now." Following that coup, U.S. elites were urging us to confront Putin in Crimea, bring Ukraine, as well as Georgia, into NATO, and send Kiev the lethal weapons needed to defeat Russian-backed rebels in the East. This could have led straight to a Ukraine-Russia war, precipitated by our sending of U.S. arms. ..."
"... Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war. ..."
"... These all purpose internationalist revolutionaries who keep turning up here and there like the proverbial bad penny usually have deep state connections. ..."
"... Neocons are a scourge on the planet. Somehow they always manage to stay in control of things even when they make so many war mongering blunders. They must have supernatural help, but not the good kind. ..."
"... "These all purpose internationalist revolutionaries who keep turning up here and there like the proverbial bad penny ' Saakashvili as a latter day Che Guevara? Ha, ha, ha. "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." K. Marx. ..."
"... Expanding NATO was a damn fool thing to do. The Romans couldn't hang onto Mesopotamia; overextension is real. Let's hope we get a leader who will retrench. Oh, and bring back Giraldi. Yes, Veruschka, there is an Israel Lobby. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Even interventionists are regretting some of the wars into which they helped plunge the United States in this century. Among those wars are Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest in our history; Libya, which was left without a stable government; Syria's civil war, a six-year human rights disaster we helped kick off by arming rebels to overthrow Bashar Assad; and Yemen, where a U.S.-backed Saudi bombing campaign and starvation blockade is causing a humanitarian catastrophe. Yet, twice this century, the War Party was beaten back when seeking a clash with Putin's Russia. And the "neo-isolationists" who won those arguments served America well.

What triggered this observation was an item on Page 1 of Wednesday's New York Times that read in its entirety: "Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, led marchers through Kiev after threatening to jump from a five-story building to evade arrest. Page A4"

Who is Saakashvili? The wunderkind elected in 2004 in Tbilisi after a "Rose Revolution" we backed during George W. Bush's crusade for global democracy. During the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, Saakashvili sent his army crashing into the tiny enclave of South Ossetia, which had broken free of Georgia when Georgia broke free of Russia. In overrunning the enclave, however, Saakashvili's troops killed Russian peacekeepers. Big mistake. Within 24 hours, Putin's tanks and troops were pouring through Roki Tunnel, running Saakashvili's army out of South Ossetia, and occupying parts of Georgia itself. As defeat loomed for the neocon hero, U.S. foreign policy elites were alive with denunciations of "Russian aggression" and calls to send in the 82nd Airborne, bring Georgia into NATO, and station U.S. forces in the Caucasus.

"We are all Georgians!" thundered John McCain. Not quite. When an outcry arose against getting into a collision with Russia, Bush, reading the nation right, decided to confine U.S. protests to the nonviolent. A wise call. And Saakashvili? He held power until 2013, and then saw his party defeated, was charged with corruption, and fled to Ukraine. There, President Boris Poroshenko, beneficiary of the Kiev coup the U.S. had backed in 2014, put him in charge of Odessa, one of the most corrupt provinces in a country rife with corruption.

In 2016, an exasperated Saakashvili quit, charged his patron Poroshenko with corruption, and fled Ukraine. In September, with a band of supporters, he made a forced entry back across the border.

Here is the Times' Andrew Higgins on his latest antics:

"On Tuesday Saakashvili, onetime darling of the West, took his high-wire political career to bizarre new heights when he climbed onto the roof of his five-story apartment building in the center of Kiev... As hundreds of supporters gathered below, he shouted insults at Ukraine's leaders and threatened to jump if security agents tried to grab him. Dragged from the roof after denouncing Mr. Poroshenko as a traitor and a thief, the former Georgian leader was detained but then freed by his supporters, who blocked a security service van before it could take Mr. Saakashvili to a Kiev detention center and allowed him to escape.

"With a Ukrainian flag draped across his shoulders and a pair of handcuffs still attached to one of his wrists, Mr. Saakashvili then led hundreds of supporters in a march across Kiev toward Parliament. Speaking through a bullhorn he called for 'peaceful protests' to remove Mr. Poroshenko from office, just as protests had toppled the former President, Victor F. Yanukovych, in February 2014."

This reads like a script for a Peter Sellers movie in the '60s. Yet this clown was president of Georgia, for whose cause in South Ossetia some in our foreign policy elite thought we should go to the brink of war with Russia.

And there was broad support for bringing Georgia into NATO. This would have given Saakashvili an ability to ignite a confrontation with Russia, which could have forced U.S. intervention.Consider Ukraine. Three years ago, McCain was declaring, in support of the overthrow of the elected pro-Russian government in Kiev, "We are all Ukrainians now." Following that coup, U.S. elites were urging us to confront Putin in Crimea, bring Ukraine, as well as Georgia, into NATO, and send Kiev the lethal weapons needed to defeat Russian-backed rebels in the East. This could have led straight to a Ukraine-Russia war, precipitated by our sending of U.S. arms.

Do we really want to cede to folks of the temperament of Mikhail Saakashvili an ability to instigate a war with a nuclear-armed Russia, which every Cold War president was resolved to avoid, even if it meant accepting Moscow's hegemony in Eastern Europe all the way to the Elbe?

Watching Saakashvili losing it in the streets of Kiev like some blitzed college student should cause us to reassess the stability of all these allies to whom we have ceded a capacity to drag us into war. Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

Kirt Higdon , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:15 am
I'd bet that Saak is a CIA asset who is probably moon-lighting for other intelligence services as well. Israel? Russia? Iran? Turkey? Who knows? These all purpose internationalist revolutionaries who keep turning up here and there like the proverbial bad penny usually have deep state connections.
Mary Myers , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:58 am
Neocons are a scourge on the planet. Somehow they always manage to stay in control of things even when they make so many war mongering blunders. They must have supernatural help, but not the good kind.
cka2nd , says: December 8, 2017 at 6:19 am
Maybe its time conservatives acknowledged that the Rosenbergs did a good thing by helping the Soviet Union get the A-bomb. It's obvious that the only thing stopping our bloodthirsty, mad dog foreign policy establishment from attacking Russia or North Korea is their nukes, just as the threat of Soviet nukes is what kept U.S. presidents from dropping ours on North Korea and North Vietnam. If the so-called "foreign policy realists" – whose forebears have copious amounts of Latin American, African and Asian blood on their hands – ever get back into Foggy Bottom and the West Wing, maybe they could prevail on the President to issue a posthumous pardon for the Rosenbergs and all of the other American Communists who greased the wheels for the Red Bomb.
Michael Kenny , says: December 8, 2017 at 10:39 am
Mr Buchanan's standard line. Vladimir Putin must be allowed to inflict a humiliating defeat on the evil United States. What Mr Buchanan sidesteps is the inherent contradiction in his argument. As anyone who has read his articles over the years will know, his enemy is the EU, which he wants to destroy at all costs, probably because he sees it as a challenge to US global hegemony. In the original neocon scam, Putin was a "useful idiot" to serve as a battering ram to break up the EU and a bogeyman to frighten the resulting plethora of weak statelets to submit to US hegemony in return for such protection as the US vouchsafed to give them. In return for his services, the US would give Putin such part of the European cake as it vouchsafed to give him. Putin, at that point, would, of course, have been an American stooge, logical in the context of US global hegemony. However, by grabbing Ukrainian territory by military force, Putin challenged US global hegemony and as long as he is allowed to occupy Ukrainian territory, US global hegemony is worthless. That, in its turn, will probably provoke a Soviet-style implosion of the whole American house of cards. Thus, in order to maintain US global hegemony by destroying the EU, Mr Buchanan has to destroy US global hegemony by backing Putin!
darko , says: December 8, 2017 at 10:42 am
"These all purpose internationalist revolutionaries who keep turning up here and there like the proverbial bad penny ' Saakashvili as a latter day Che Guevara? Ha, ha, ha. "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." K. Marx.
Grumpy Old Man , says: December 8, 2017 at 11:03 am
Expanding NATO was a damn fool thing to do. The Romans couldn't hang onto Mesopotamia; overextension is real. Let's hope we get a leader who will retrench. Oh, and bring back Giraldi. Yes, Veruschka, there is an Israel Lobby.
ukm1 , says: December 8, 2017 at 11:31 am
Mr. Buchanan wrote: "We are all Georgians!" thundered John McCain.

Will American Senators claim this time around that "We are all South Koreans!" or "We are all Japanese!" or "We are all Taiwanese!"?

LINK: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/12/06/chinese-state-media-tells-citizens-prepare-north-korea-nuclear-war/

Mary Myers , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:17 pm
Michael Kenney suffers from PDS –Putin Derangement Syndrome.
One Guy , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm
I'm having trouble understanding why I should care about the Ukraine, or NATO, or this Saakashvili person. Someone please tell me how they affect me personally.
PR Doucette , says: December 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm
That Saakashvili has always been a few bricks short of a full load is not in dispute but to argue that this means the US and Europe should back away from making it clear to Putin that parts of Eastern Europe are not going to be ceded to Russian domination again makes no sense.

Like Premier Xi of China who in now trying to argue that Chinese domination of Asia is justified by some prior period in Chinese history, Putin would like us to believe that Russian domination of large parts of Eastern Europe is perfectly natural because of past Russian history or even on religious grounds. We forget at our peril that Putin was a former communist and atheist and a part of an organization that not only believed the West was decadent and deserved to be defeated but also worked to suppress and eradicate religion. Putin now cravenly uses religiously based arguments to justify Russian actions and would like us to believe he is defending Christianity from Western decadence. We might as well put the proverbial fox in charge of the hen house if we allow ourselves to accept that Putin really has any interest in defending Christianity or doesn't lust for the restoration of Russian domination of Eastern Europe.

Russia may no longer be the "Evil Empire" that it was called when it was the USSR but it would be pure folly to not push back against Putin's dreams of Russian hegemony any more than it would make sense for the US to assume that Russian and China are not going to push back against what they perceive as US hegemony. Conversely we need to guard against assuming that just because a country declares itself to be a democracy that the actions of any new democratic leaders automatically deserves our support and protection. In fairness to Georgia, the Soviets weren't known for allowing deep pools of democracy supporting leaders to develop which unfortunately means that people like Saakashvili will float to the top.

peter , says: December 8, 2017 at 3:33 pm
Excellent article.
Yes TAC – please bring back Mr. Giraldi – his articles about the hidden aspects of international events are refreshing.

Mr. Michael Kenny – there you go again ranting against Putin!
You remind me of the "Bewitched" mother-in-law.

Senator McCain – do the country a favor and retire.

Ken Zaretzke , says: December 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm
"Three years ago, McCain was declaring, in support of the overthrow of the elected pro-Russian government in Kiev, "We are all Ukrainians now."

The neocons probably won't be saying "We're all Kazkhstans now" in a few years when the long-serving president of Kazakhstan dies without a clear successor and Russia moves in to the north and east of Kazakhstan to crush the ensuing acts of Islamic terrorism and incidentally help protect China's crucial border state of Xinjiang from ISIS, giving Russia the balance of power in Central Asia and thus restoring it to superpower status.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: December 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm
Contemplating the behavior of this gentleman really makes one think that in some cases college student is a state of mind. On the other hand, if wanted to threaten someone with his suicide, he could have swallowed a non-lethal quantity of belladonna berries instead of a dull standing on a roof. Politically the outcome would have likely been the same, but knowing the mental impact of tropane alkaloids, with a hell lot of fun along the way.

Setting this walking curiosity aside for a moment there, I also join those wishing the return of Mr. Giraldi.

[Dec 05, 2017] AFP Calling Americans A Great People Is Anti-American

In reality Ukraine is run by neoliberals. Still this is an interesting propaganda twist. Actually "antisemitism" bait works perfectly well in most cases.
moonofalabama.org

This, by AFP, is one of the most misleading propaganda efforts I have ever seen.

The headline:

Ukraine run by 'miserable' Jews: rebel chief

80% of the readers will not read more than that headline.

The first paragraph:

Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel chief on Monday branded the country's leaders "miserable" Jews in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe.

Of those 20% of the readers who will read the first paragraph only one forth will also read the second one. The "anti-semitic" accusation has thereby been planted in 95% of the readership. Now here is the second paragraph:

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, claimed that Kiev's pro-Western leaders were "miserable representatives of the great Jewish people".

Saying that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were "miserable representatives of the great American people" would be "anti-American"? What is anti-semitic in calling "the Jewish people" "great"?

The AFP reporter and editor who put that up deserve an Orwellian reward. It is one of the most misleading quotations I have ever seen. Accusing Zakharchenko of anti-semitism when he is actually lauding Jews.

Now I do not agree with Zakharchenko. There is no such thing as "the Jewish people" in the sense of a racial or national determination. There are people of various nationalities and racial heritages who assert that they follow, or their ancestors followed, religious Jewish believes. Some of them may have been or are "great".

But that does not make them "the Jewish people" just like followers of Scientology do not make "the Scientologish people".

Posted by b at 06:51 AM | Comments (76)

jfl | Feb 3, 2015 8:27:41 AM | 4

@1

Saker has a link to the youtube, the audio in Russian with English subtitles. It begins at about 12:30.

@3

When Sarkozy came in AFP really hit the skids. Like the NYTimes and Bush XLIII.

Lysander | Feb 3, 2015 12:02:09 PM | 13
What Zacharchenko did that was unforgivable is to draw attention to the fact that Kiev's current leadership is largely Jewish. From Yats to Petro (Waltzman) Poroshenko To Igor Kolomoiski. No matter how gracefully Zach would put it, it is the content that they hate.

Not saying there is anything wrong with that, but I guess there are some who would rather you not notice.

Lone Wolf | Feb 3, 2015 2:01:47 PM | 20

Right-wing nazi-rag KyivPost has a miserable coverage of same piece. "Agence France-Presse: Russia's guy says Ukraine run by 'miserable Jews'" Zhakharchenko is "Russia's guy," his picture under the headline with a totally unrelated caption, subtitled by the first paragraph of the AFP fake "news" (sic!)"Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel chief on Monday branded the country's leaders "miserable" Jews in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe.", and a link to Yahoo news reproducing the AFP piece in full.

https://tinyurl.com/nes4o9g

Zionazi thieves stole the word "semitic" to mean "Jews," when in fact it comprehends many other languages and peoples. Zhakharchenko's AFP phony "anti-Semitic jibe" would be insulting to all these many peoples.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people

"...Semitic peoples and their languages, in ancient historic times (between the 30th and 20th centuries BC), covered a broad area which encompassed what are today the modern states and regions of Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the Sinai Peninsula and Malta..."

...The word "Semite" and most uses of the word "Semitic" relate to any people whose native tongue is, or was historically, a member of the associated language family.[35][36] The term "anti-Semite", however, came by a circuitous route to refer most commonly to one hostile or discriminatory towards Jews in particular...[37]

Yet another historical theft by the so-called "chosen" crooks.

[Dec 05, 2017] Ukraine: draft dodgers face jail as Kiev struggles to find new fighter by Shaun Walker

This article is two years old, but still sounds current. The only difference now is that the conflict between Western nationalists and neoliberal central government of President Poroshenko became more acute. Nationalists do not understand that "The Moor has done his duty, Moor can go" and neoliberal government of Poroshenko do not need (and actually is afraid of) them.
Vr13vr: "Even in Kiev they view Western Ukrainians as strangers" Historically Kiev was a Russian speaking city. Western Ukrainians typically were called "zapadentsi".
Notable quotes:
"... Even in Kiev they view Western Ukrainians as strangers. ..."
"... So they didn't have any hate back towards the West Ukrainians. Besides, West Ukraine was sufficiently far from Donbass for Russians there not to feel threatened. ..."
"... So the Western [Ukrainians] hate towards Russians vs. Russian neutral attitude towards Ukrainians has existed for decades. ..."
"... "criminalizes the denial or justification of Russia's aggression against Ukraine" with a fine equivalent to 22 to 44,000 USD for the first offense and up to three years in prison for repeat offenders. ..."
"... But isn't it wrong that the faith of those people will depend on what EU or US will allow them to do rather than on their natural desire? How does it co-exist with all those democratic ideas. ..."
"... They key thing in all of this is to stop being naive. Learn it, remember it. Our media will only care for the "right" journalists and will throw campaigns only for them and there will be rallies only over the death of "right" people, while we won't pay attention to thousands of deaths of the "wrong" people. ..."
"... The US actively encouraged the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, a void filled by right wing nationalists and an act that led directly to the current conflict ..."
"... In turn, the maidan coup d'etat de facto disenfranchised the culturally russian majority in SE-ukr. ..."
"... the NW-ukr neonazi bands fighting in SE-ukr are de facto foreign in SE-ukr, both culturally and geo-politically, and are there to give this majority a lesson. ..."
"... In Zakarpattia Oblast, only 410 out of 1,110 people who received draft notices came to mobilization centers, Oleg Lysenko, a representative of General Staff said recently.(kyiv news) ..."
"... For some reason that isn't quite clear to me, discussion among Western experts has overwhelmingly centered not on the imminent economic apocalypse facing Kiev, but on whether or not the United States should supply it with advanced weapons systems to beat back the Russians. ..."
"... It might be inconvenient to note, but Russia is positively crucial to Ukraine's economy not merely as a source of raw materials and energy but as a destination for industrial production that would otherwise be unable to find willing customers. According to Ukrainian government data, Russia accounted for roughly a quarter of the country's total foreign trade. The equivalent figure from the Russian side? Somewhere between 6 and 7%. Given that reality, Russia's leverage over Ukraine is obviously much greater that Ukraine's leverage over Russia. ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, the draft was a huge issue with many thousands of young men going to Canada, thousand who were in the military receiving less than honorable discharges and still others doing jail time. The war was view as an unjust war by the better educated and those who didn't have to enlist for food and shelter ("three hots and a cot"). ..."
"... The rebellion against the draft in Ukraine tells us that the war against the people in the Eastern area is an unjust war. People don't need a degree in history to understand when they are being use in ways that is not in their interest. We find only the fascist battalion who are hungry for this war. The US and EU should keep out of this internal civil struggle in Ukraine. ..."
Feb 10, 2015 | The Guardian

vr13vr -> jezzam 10 Feb 2015 18:35

The distrust between the West and the rest of Ukraine is not 14 months old. It has always existed. Since the War at the very list. Even in Kiev they view Western Ukrainians as strangers. Western Ukrainians would call everyone a moscovite, and in the East and the South, the Russians were neutral because their lives were much closer to Russia than to all this Ukrainian bullshit. So they didn't have any hate back towards the West Ukrainians. Besides, West Ukraine was sufficiently far from Donbass for Russians there not to feel threatened.

So the Western [Ukrainians] hate towards Russians vs. Russian neutral attitude towards Ukrainians has existed for decades.

Systematic

A new law to likely be approved by the Rada "criminalizes the denial or justification of Russia's aggression against Ukraine" with a fine equivalent to 22 to 44,000 USD for the first offense and up to three years in prison for repeat offenders.

Meanwhile, while the law is not approved,

In February 8 in Mariupol a rally was planned against mobilization. On the eve the adviser of Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said that everyone who comes there will be arrested, "Everyone who comes to the rally tomorrow against mobilization, will be delayed for several hours for identification and after fingerprinting and photographing until released. Let me remind you that I and my fellow lawmaker Boris Filatov has filed a bill to impose criminal liability for public calls for the failure of mobilization "- he wrote on his page on Facebook. As a result, the action did not take place.

http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2015/02/10_a_6407945.shtml

vr13vr -> SallyWa 10 Feb 2015 18:25

With all the hot headed claims of how the Soviet Union just grabbed the piece of land from Poland, Ukraine has a good chance to correct those misdeeds. Give West Ukraine to Poland, Transkarpathia - to Hungary, and the South West - to Romania. That would be restoring historical injustice.

vr13vr -> SallyWa 10 Feb 2015 18:18

But isn't it wrong that the faith of those people will depend on what EU or US will allow them to do rather than on their natural desire? How does it co-exist with all those democratic ideas.

Besides, federalization may or may not protect them. Kiev may or may not adhere to rules in the future, there will be a tax issue, there will be cultural issues as Kiev will try to Ukrainize those areas subtly - you know those programs that are not anti-Russian per se but that increase Ukrainian presence, thus diluting the original population. Remaining under the same roof with Kiev and L'vov isn't really the best solution for Donbass if they want to preserve their independence and identity.

SallyWa -> VladimirM 10 Feb 2015 18:16

They key thing in all of this is to stop being naive. Learn it, remember it. Our media will only care for the "right" journalists and will throw campaigns only for them and there will be rallies only over the death of "right" people, while we won't pay attention to thousands of deaths of the "wrong" people.

theeskimo -> ridibundus 10 Feb 2015 18:02

The US actively encouraged the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, a void filled by right wing nationalists and an act that led directly to the current conflict. Now they want to arm a leadership with no national mandate who have ceded responsibility for prosecuting their war in the east to an ultra nationalist bunch of thugs.

I think it's you who should keep up with what's happening. By the time this is over, Ukraine will be no more.

newsflashUK 10 Feb 2015 18:01

Scraping the barrel for cannon fodder by pro-NATO puppet Poroshenko regime: "The draft officers have been tapping men from 20 to 60 years old and women of 20 to 50 years old with relevant military service experience and training. The age limit for senior officers that could be mobilized is 65 years. Vladyslav Seleznev, spokesman of General Staff, said" (Kyiv news).

theeskimo -> ridibundus 10 Feb 2015 18:02

The US actively encouraged the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, a void filled by right wing nationalists and an act that led directly to the current conflict. Now they want to arm a leadership with no national mandate who have ceded responsibility for prosecuting their war in the east to an ultra nationalist bunch of thugs.

I think it's you who should keep up with what's happening. By the time this is over, Ukraine will be no more.

newsflashUK 10 Feb 2015 18:01

Scraping the barrel for cannon fodder by pro-NATO puppet Poroshenko regime: "The draft officers have been tapping men from 20 to 60 years old and women of 20 to 50 years old with relevant military service experience and training. The age limit for senior officers that could be mobilized is 65 years. Vladyslav Seleznev, spokesman of General Staff, said" (Kyiv news).

erpiu 10 Feb 2015 17:59

The focus on Putin and geopolitics forces the actual ukr people out of the picture and blurrs understanding.

The maidan was a genuinely popular NW-ukr rebellion after NW-ukr had lost all recent pre-2014 elections to the culturally Russian majority of voters mainly in SE-ukr.

In turn, the maidan coup d'etat de facto disenfranchised the culturally russian majority in SE-ukr.

the NW-ukr neonazi bands fighting in SE-ukr are de facto foreign in SE-ukr, both culturally and geo-politically, and are there to give this majority a lesson.

USA+EU weapons would only help the punitive "pacification" of SE ukr, the place that was deciding UKR elections until the coup.

The real festering conflict is the incompatibility of the anti-Russian feelings in NW ukr (little else is shared by the various maidan factions) with the cccp/russian heritage of most people in SE ukr... that incompatibility is the main problem that needs to be "solved".

Neither the maidan coup nor yanukovich&the pre-coup electoral dominance of SE ukr voters were ever stable solutions.

newsflashUK 10 Feb 2015 17:57

In Zakarpattia Oblast, only 410 out of 1,110 people who received draft notices came to mobilization centers, Oleg Lysenko, a representative of General Staff said recently.(kyiv news)

SallyWa 10 Feb 2015 17:51

Ukraine's Economy Is Collapsing And The West Doesn't Seem To Care

For some reason that isn't quite clear to me, discussion among Western experts has overwhelmingly centered not on the imminent economic apocalypse facing Kiev, but on whether or not the United States should supply it with advanced weapons systems to beat back the Russians.

It might be inconvenient to note, but Russia is positively crucial to Ukraine's economy not merely as a source of raw materials and energy but as a destination for industrial production that would otherwise be unable to find willing customers. According to Ukrainian government data, Russia accounted for roughly a quarter of the country's total foreign trade. The equivalent figure from the Russian side? Somewhere between 6 and 7%. Given that reality, Russia's leverage over Ukraine is obviously much greater that Ukraine's leverage over Russia.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2015/02/09/ukraines-economy-is-collapsing-and-the-west-doesnt-seem-to-care/

TET68HUE 10 Feb 2015 17:35

During WW 2 Draft dodging was almost unheard of. The war was perceived as "just", a righteous cause. Thus, men correctly saw it as their duty to take up arms against fascism.

During the Vietnam War, the draft was a huge issue with many thousands of young men going to Canada, thousand who were in the military receiving less than honorable discharges and still others doing jail time. The war was view as an unjust war by the better educated and those who didn't have to enlist for food and shelter ("three hots and a cot").

The rebellion against the draft in Ukraine tells us that the war against the people in the Eastern area is an unjust war. People don't need a degree in history to understand when they are being use in ways that is not in their interest. We find only the fascist battalion who are hungry for this war. The US and EU should keep out of this internal civil struggle in Ukraine.

[Nov 29, 2017] It must be embarrassing to be European these days. To be dressed down by the corrupt country you support on handouts because you are not doing enough to support it.

Notable quotes:
"... "We live at the time of a certain degrading of European institutions and their external weakening, including by Russia. You can accept it and go with the flow but you can also recognize the fact try to resist it." ..."
Nov 29, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , , November 28, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Ha, ha!!! The Victim Of The Aggressor Country seldom fails to entertain. Here we have VR Deputy Chairperson Ira Gerashchenko bossing Europe around , and telling it that the Victim Of The Aggressor Country's parliamentary delegation will continue to insist on Russia not returning to the Council of Europe. Because, she says, Russia has stolen part of the territory of the VOTAC which was a gift from Russia in the first place (although she doesn't mention that last part), thereby setting a precedent for every country which has a province 'liberated' by the west to term it stolen by the west. But that wasn't my favourite part. No; this is – "We live at the time of a certain degrading of European institutions and their external weakening, including by Russia. You can accept it and go with the flow but you can also recognize the fact try to resist it."

Beautiful, Ira!! Inspiring!! And how many degraded European leaders are Billionaires who openly own an impressive slate of businesses and media in their countries, which they continue to operate and profit from while piously declaring their only interest is the welfare of the country? Which is, by the bye, the most corrupt country in Europe ? How many Prosecutors-General has the VOTAC had since its glorious liberation from the yoke of the Moskali? Yes, you can certainly teach Yurrup a thing or two about integrity.

It must be embarrassing to be European these days. To be dressed down by the corrupt country you support on handouts because you are not doing enough to support it. First we had the 'Me' generation. Then we had the 'Me' country.

[Nov 07, 2017] The international organization for migration has published official data which shows that every fourth prostitute in Europe is a citizen of Ukraine.

Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , November 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Did not the Kremlin Stooges predict this years ago?

http://theduran.com/new-migration-data-shows-every-fourth-prostitute-europe-citizen-ukraine/

The international organization for migration has published official data which shows that every fourth prostitute in Europe is a citizen of Ukraine.

The article discusses pamphlets that are distributed to young Ukrainian girls/women advising them on how to survive and flourish in new realities of life in the EU.

the Ukrainian labor market is being formed and is growing. Even if there is no other work and none is expected, girls should know that Europe will take care of them. The younger generation of Ukrainian schoolgirls will find out how to apply themselves If you are involved in the sex business, then this brochure is for you," it is said in the introduction. "You have chosen a very dangerous profession, but if you always follow these simple rules, then you will get a chance to live a long life You shouldn't serve several clients alone, you should avoid drunk clients, and also always to take payment in advance. And when you go to the client's apartment, try to learn in what district of the city it is located, give preference to hotels".

marknesop , November 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm
It's okay if you're a hooker, and all you have to sell is yourself. You have chosen a dangerous profession, but really the writing was on the wall, wasn't it, if only you'd had sense to read it? And the economic calamity which has come to pass in your country is really no concern of ours, while for our part we are not too upset at being offered the choice of some of the most beautiful young women on the planet, who will do anything you say for a handful of euros.

Here's to your bright new future in the EU. Incredible. I wonder if Poroshenko will tout this statistic as another validation of Ukrainians' confidence in his leadership.

[Oct 30, 2017] The Crooks, the Clowns and the Nazis by Saker

Questionable analysis by Saker (omitted for brevity). Some good comments in the discussion. The situation with the standard of living in Ukraine is really bad and it is unclear how it can improve. If you get 4000 grivna monthly salary and pay for the apartment around 2000 (heating with gas at winter often is over 1000 grivna) you can barely survive on the remaining money (2000 grivna is around 66 grivna a day) . Even food is a problem, unless you adhere to basic diet of bread, milk, eggs and potatoes. You simply can't. They are in a trap. This war in Donbass just make the bad situation even worse. But it sill continue, because there are powerful forces interesting in escalation of this war.
Notable quotes:
"... Just because one thinks American moves are not "strategic" only means you don't fully grasp what is going on. Remember, the narrative which is being presented here is that the United States has caused both conflicts. A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia is reacting – not calling the shots. ..."
"... Ask yourself a simple question: would Washington be better off with the status quo ante, would they be happy to go back to 2012? Of course they would – Crimea would be in Ukraine and in play, Russia would be subsidising Ukraine (not EU or IMF). But most importantly Russia would be sweating what 'might happen' with Crimea. Once West made its move and lost that threat was gone. It was just stupid. ..."
"... My take is that people there, based on a long experience, simply recognize that they are caught between two oligarchies, and unwilling to choose between them. That lethargy (for a lack of better word) is interesting. They don't buy US/West vision anymore. The thing is, they don't buy Russian either. They just don't care. Maybe that's worse than fighting for either side. ..."
"... The United States does not care about Poland or Estonia or Crimea or Ukraine or Syria or Georgia or even whether the other NATO members spend enough money. It cares about the bigger long-term picture. ..."
"... All this stuff like the coup in Ukraine, sanctions over Crimea – it's just probing moves, games. The US has Putin boxed in. He's got to scrape and claw over nothing. ..."
"... I guess it's kinda true in the sense that the US specifically (not necessarily the West as such, it seems) needs to have the uninterrupted chain of wars and cartoonish all-powerful super-evil adversaries threatening its very existence. I suppose it's needed for economic (mic) reasons, to maintain the internal unity/morale/discipline, and to run the usual protection racket abroad. Sorta like Oceania in Orwell's 1984. ..."
"... Russia is boxed in by its geography, and so is China. There is nothing new there. Enemies have been pressing on Russia's extensive borders forever. It is not likely that anyone would actually try to cross that border given this one reality: nuclear weapons. Unless the constant prodding has an answer to that reality, what is it all about? What's the point? ..."
"... Wars happen even if nobody 'wants' them. There are situations when wars happen almost on their own and nobody ever claims ownership. And if there is a war, there will be fighting in Poland – it is literally ground zero (as so often before), and no amount of NY Times editorials will make any damn difference. The country is too small, so it would be annihilated. Poland is storing missiles and 'defensive' divisions for its allies across the Atlantic with an open admission that they are targeting Russia. What do you think would happen in a real crisis or a war? Do you think US would look kindly at Russian missiles in Canada or Mexico? That is the true madness, and Poland is kind of in a heart of it. As so often before. ..."
"... At the end, I suspect, when/if it comes to renewal of hostilities, it will be: First and foremost artillery exchanges. Nothing changes. Then, small unit raids. Nothing changes. Then, tactical incursions by Ukrainian best. After initial success they'll be met by Donbas best.Because either side don't have many of those nothing changes too. A lot of talk from Washington and Moscow. Some dead/mutilated mercenaries. And while those "games" go the rest of peoples there just keep what they've been doing so far. Oceania vs Eurasia .. ..."
"... The single best way to assure that there isn't a 'regime change' is by constant probing of Russia's borders, by constant attacks, etc So I don't buy that, the experts in Washington are not that stupid. They understand fully well that placing missiles, coups, border harassment are by far the most reliable way to make sure that nothing changes in Moscow. ..."
"... The Ukraine situation will not be decided by fighting in Donbass, or in Moscow. It will be decided in Kiev (and Odessa, Lviv, Charkov) by the currently passive masses. Unless a miracle happens, or most people emigrate, this is not a sustainable situation. They are living worse than in 2013, and they already had it very bad in 2013. Marshall Plan isn't coming, membership in EU isn't coming either. Once that sinks in – it might take 5-10 years – things will change. ..."
"... That seems to be Russia's strategy. I agree that by far the best thing Moscow could do is to improve quality of life in Russia. Nato strategy is to delay it by any means: sanctions, energy, new arms race, whatever they can think off, lately mostly media campaigns. ..."
"... In Ukraine the EU-West infatuation will take a long time to dissipate. Getting hurt will eventually lead to making things better in the head , but it will take at least a generation. And things don't stay quiet for that long, other events will intervene. A circle cannot be squared: Kiev has attempted a great leap into its imagined future – Europe!!! – they bet everything on it, cut off all else, and there is no realistic way the leap will land Ukraine happily and soon enough in EU. EU will not agree to absorb 40 million poor people who mostly just want to live immediately like Germans, or move there. This is a mad dream, reality will intervene. ..."
"... I am sorry but I have to say this. How has led by Kissinger and Nixon strategy of opening China worked out? Is creating major geopolitical foe where there was none considered a sign of deep strategically long term thinking? ..."
"... The Ukrainian nationalists think that based on their accomplishments as a nation (there are none) they rightfully deserve to be geographically located somewhere between Germany and France. For this state of affairs they again blame the Russians. You see, because Russia is so big, and definitely in Eastern Europe, that they have the gravitational force that keeps Ukraine in Eastern Europe. If it wasn't for the Russians, Ukraine would have long ago catapulted into Western Europe – probably even geographically. It's only Russia that prevents them from acquiring their rightful place in the heart of Europe. ..."
"... In Ukrainians' defence, they have a bad location: wide-open, unprotected, with few geographic features and at the same time very high-quality earth. On second thought, if Ukraine, as is, was located in Western Europe 'somewhere between Germany and France' , I would be willing to bet that not a single Ukrainian would exist today. The Western Europeans know their genocide and know how to pacify populations. They almost got to them during WWII, Ukraine was the lebensraum that Nazis dreamt about. ..."
"... the assassination attempt on Mosiychuk [the former deputy commander of the infamous neo-Nazi Azov Battalio] is the initial phase of an escalation of the conflict between the Nazis and Jewish oligarchs headed by President Poroshenko, an escalation which is transitioning from a political to a "hot", or armed phase. ..."
"... Btw, Kolomoysky is an Israeli citizen. Speaking about Holocaust deniers – is it kosher to support neo-Nazi and work on the resurrection of Nazism in Ukraine and to remain an honorable Israeli citizen? It seems that Kolomoysky is such case. Next time the Israel-firsters attempt to squeal about any critics of "Holocaust story" they should be presented with the story of Jewish oligarch Kolomoysky. ..."
"... Your usage of the imbecilic word 'regime' betrays bias. What the f k is a'regime'? Is EU a 'regime', or the Saudi king, or China? If not, why not? Stick with term government and use it for all and you won't sound like a bitter dead-ender unable to see things rationally. ..."
"... Decent article, although some generalizations which is understandable. Couple points about Poland. Yes its allied with neocons atm (the bad). The government has some forces somewhat supporting Ukraine (Basically as long as the blame is focused on Russia). The government knows there are "neonazi" elements, as has mentioned Ukraine will not join EU until they stop that. As for the people Poland is divided like crazy on the Ukraine issue. ..."
"... Pax Americana's wave broke and is now rolling back out to sea, creating undertows as it goes. ..."
"... The ramifications of that sea change will take years, maybe decades, to play themselves out, but my assessment is that there will be no active "roll back (of the) '90s" or that said roll back is desirable/possible. The Ukraine and Serbia/Kosovo will wind up having to fit themselves into whatever new paradigm the world will be living under at the time. That paradigm won't be American led, or of American design. ..."
"... I don't see much of a future for Ukraine. Neither the West nor Russia is willing to underwrite the massive investment that would be required to rebuild the economy. Sure it makes sense to split the country. However, both sides are more than willing to live with an impoverished buffer between NATO and Russia. If the country is split, there is no longer any territorial disputes and the new West Ukraine ultimately becomes a NATO member and NATO weapons move hundreds of miles closer to the Russian border. Not to mention the fact that Russia would find it expensive to subsidize the new government. Same with the EU. ..."
"... The Black Sea may be important to Russia's regional aspirations, but for the US, what could be better than have as many Russian naval vessels as possible parked there? ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Johnny Rico , October 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm GMT

Russian activity in Syria and Ukraine are moves of desperation from a position of weakness. The United States has Russia boxed in. The United States forced Putin to take these actions. He would be removed from power otherwise. He had no choice. He is not in control.

In Russia you are either strong and in total control or they murder you. At least that has been the case for the last thousand years.

There was no "huge effort not to intervene." If there was, I'd like to know who made it and when.

This is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Comparisons to American involvement in these two places have limited utility.

Just because one thinks American moves are not "strategic" only means you don't fully grasp what is going on. Remember, the narrative which is being presented here is that the United States has caused both conflicts. A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia is reacting – not calling the shots.

The United States is not in "control" either, but it has the initiative and has Putin off-balance.

Priss Factor , Website October 26, 2017 at 3:49 pm GMT
To better understand what is going on, all three groups -- crooks, clowns, and nazis -- fall into the schnook category. They are being duped and used by the Globalist Empire that also controls the US. US is the Jewel in the Crown of the Globalist Empire but still a subject than a sovereign nation. It's like India was the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire but not a free independent nation.

... ... ...

Beckow , October 26, 2017 at 4:17 pm GMT
@Johnny Rico

Assigning emotional labels is not helpful. You are right that Ukraine is nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan, it is hard to understand why Saker would use such a facile analogy.

You are also right that US-West have the initiative. But that is not necessarily a sustainable advantage. Hitler had the initiative too, and so did Napoleon, they had all the initiative until they didn't. (I know poor analogy, but tempting).

The prize in Ukraine was Crimea and the Russian Naval base. That was the prize, not who gets to grow potatoes in Lviv or scoop up coal in Donbass. Crimea is gone, and I think all rational people would agree that for now that is irreversible. So what is the fight about? Torch marching in Kiev, Nato relevancy, or who gets to subsidise 40 million very poor people? To control Ukraine (Kiev really) is now a hot potato that nobody particularly wants. It is like fighting over who has the control of Bihar in India, or eastern Nigeria, or any number of poor, non-strategic backwaters full of people who mostly want to emigrate.

Washington (with Poland and a few other fire-eating nut-cases in EU) made a strong move in 2013-14 trying to get their hands on Crimea and to replace the very strategic Russian Navy base in Sebastopol with a Nato base. They invested a lot in it, and they had the initiative. But the locals screwed up, they were too slow, too unfocused and too distracted by nationalism. So Russia won Crimea and all else are just provincial consequences of little long-term interest.

Ask yourself a simple question: would Washington be better off with the status quo ante, would they be happy to go back to 2012? Of course they would – Crimea would be in Ukraine and in play, Russia would be subsidising Ukraine (not EU or IMF). But most importantly Russia would be sweating what 'might happen' with Crimea. Once West made its move and lost that threat was gone. It was just stupid.

peterAUS , October 26, 2017 at 5:32 pm GMT
@Johnny Rico

A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia is reacting – not calling the shots.

The United States is not in "control" either, but it has the initiative and has Putin off-balance.

Well, I'd say:
A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia was reacting – not calling the shots.

The United States is not in "control" either, but it has the initiative and had Putin off-balance.

What has been interesting to me is something Martyanov hinted to here:

no part of the Novorossia, with the exception of Lugansk and Donetsk, matched even one tenth of scale and effort required to get back to Russia, or, at least, get away from Kiev. I don't blame them but it is what it is and this couldn't be ignored and it is not being ignored, thankfully.

My take is that people there, based on a long experience, simply recognize that they are caught between two oligarchies, and unwilling to choose between them. That lethargy (for a lack of better word) is interesting. They don't buy US/West vision anymore. The thing is, they don't buy Russian either. They just don't care. Maybe that's worse than fighting for either side.

When you are, effectively, in a state of constant conflict between states and most of population doesn't care, that looks as people there got their spirit crushed. And, oligarchies do like people with crushed spirit. Just a pliable mass doing what's told. Just a thought.

Beckow , October 26, 2017 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Mao Cheng Ji

Initiative means that US-West are the ones starting conflicts. It is neither good nor bad and initiatives that fail are worse than if they had done nothing. That is true about Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine; in each case the status quo before the 'initiative' was better. Russia and China don't show anywhere as much 'initiative', they mostly react, they don't set the agenda.

People with too much initiative get stuck in muck of their own creation and eventually lose even what they safely controlled before. But the Washington-Brussels elites cannot help it, they must start things because they are not fully serious, they have had it too good, they believe in their own mythologized narratives, and their careers are based on it. So they will keep it going. The insurgencies within the domestic domain are still very minor, this has years to go, maybe decades.

Johnny Rico , October 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@Beckow

I agree with much of what you say.

My feeling is that The Saker is always talking about the superiority of Russian "strategy" in retrospect while speculating about the minutiae of tactical deployments.

Americans rarely talk strategy and there is always an ongoing discussion in the higher levels of foreign policy academia and journals about what exactly the policy or strategy is or whether we even need one.

That was the title of Kissinger's 2002 book :

Does America Need a Foreign Policy? : Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century

This, however, does not mean there is no strategy.

The United States does not care about Poland or Estonia or Crimea or Ukraine or Syria or Georgia or even whether the other NATO members spend enough money. It cares about the bigger long-term picture.

We are not fighting insurgencies (as Mao Cheng Ji contends). That ended in Iraq in about 2010 and Afghanistan in about 2012.

Since 1980, Russia and the Soviet Union have lost FAR more troops (especially as a proportion of total population) in combat than the United States.

Everywhere US elite light infantry troops are stationed now they basically sit on their asses safe in bases. Occasionally they go out and call in airstrikes for local allies or conduct a raid on a "high-value target." Occasionally they die or get suicide-bombed by a local infiltrator.

All the guys I've ever met that are in these units LIVE to do what they are doing. I even know a couple dozen guys who have been either kicked out of the military or been wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq and they still say that the best time of their lives was walking around over there with a rifle.

They would be quite surprised by the notion that they are being forced to do what they do by the "ZioMedia" – whatever that is. This is not 1968 in Vietnam.

Syria has no oil. Ukraine is a basket-case economy with too many people. Georgia has 4 million people. That's more than Albania and less than Massachusetts. Most Americans couldn't find the state of Georgia on a map – nevermind the country.

Now in 2008 Russia launched an assault on Georgia that it had been planning for at least a decade after provoking what it wanted. It didn't go well technically but it went okay tactically, but because of the size mismatch it couldn't not be a success for the Russians. But it was quick because the Georgians are stupid but not that stupid. So it could be called an operational and strategic win. The United States tailored its response. But here you will always see it portrayed as some great Russian victory over a NATO-trained military and an attempted genocide of the South Ossetians. The Russians it appears used it successfully as a learning experience and got their act together militarily.

All along the periphery of the Russian Empire/former Soviet Union the US and the Russians play games. It's a big game.

Saker's last article was about whose propaganda is better. It's a big game. It keeps people employed in the respective defense industries.

The latest thing I read is that the US is spending $8 Billion on a rapid response division or something in Eastern Europe. There was a Toyota ad I think for an armor brigade in Poland during the Super Bowl. Ridiculous. A single division.

Nobody wants a war. There isn't going to be any fighting in Poland. If Russians and Ukrainians want to kill themselves over Kharkov, Americans don't care. I think the Russians and Germans fought three times over Kharkov. I guess it had a railroad track or something. Americans don't care.

All this stuff like the coup in Ukraine, sanctions over Crimea – it's just probing moves, games. The US has Putin boxed in. He's got to scrape and claw over nothing.

The Saker always talks about Russia having a "defensive" strategy. Change the perspective for a second. Knowing that all the planet's real estate is "owned"- where the US Empire stands now – trade routes, bases everywhere around the remaining oilfields in the Middle East. AND, here is the kicker – what if you consider that the US has the defensive strategy now? That is some serious flexible depth.

And Russia is still boxed in.

Mao Cheng Ji , October 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
@Beckow

Initiative means that US-West are the ones starting conflicts.

I guess it's kinda true in the sense that the US specifically (not necessarily the West as such, it seems) needs to have the uninterrupted chain of wars and cartoonish all-powerful super-evil adversaries threatening its very existence. I suppose it's needed for economic (mic) reasons, to maintain the internal unity/morale/discipline, and to run the usual protection racket abroad. Sorta like Oceania in Orwell's 1984.

But I don't think this amounts to 'initiative' in any flattering sense. By the same token a rabid dog shows 'initiative'.

Beckow , October 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm GMT
@Johnny Rico

Change the perspective for a second. Knowing that all the planet's real estate is "owned"- where the US Empire stands now – trade routes, bases everywhere around the remaining oilfields in the Middle East. AND, here is the kicker – what if you consider that the US has the defensive strategy now? That is some serious flexible depth.

You can call it 'depth', or you can also call it being exposed with too long supply lines. I don't think there is an automatic benefit to being everywhere, it could be a liability in a multi-site crisis. Hitler controlled almost all of continental Europe (and so did Napoleon), all it did was that when he was forced on a defensive (in the east), all of those territories became potential liabilities with allied landings, rebellions, countries switching sides, etc

Another problem is that US is trying to do it on the cheap with bombing, technology and allies – but with minimal casualties. The inability to take casualties is a weakness, you cannot in the long-run control all this geography and also protect every GI's life.

And Russia is still boxed in.

Russia is boxed in by its geography, and so is China. There is nothing new there. Enemies have been pressing on Russia's extensive borders forever. It is not likely that anyone would actually try to cross that border given this one reality: nuclear weapons. Unless the constant prodding has an answer to that reality, what is it all about? What's the point?

Nobody wants a war. There isn't going to be any fighting in Poland.

Wars happen even if nobody 'wants' them. There are situations when wars happen almost on their own and nobody ever claims ownership. And if there is a war, there will be fighting in Poland – it is literally ground zero (as so often before), and no amount of NY Times editorials will make any damn difference. The country is too small, so it would be annihilated. Poland is storing missiles and 'defensive' divisions for its allies across the Atlantic with an open admission that they are targeting Russia. What do you think would happen in a real crisis or a war? Do you think US would look kindly at Russian missiles in Canada or Mexico? That is the true madness, and Poland is kind of in a heart of it. As so often before.

I don't think either Russia or West have better or worse 'strategy'. They play with what they have. Lately Russia has been prevailing, maybe because West pushed too far and is on thin ice in most of these far-away places.

By the way, your description of the Georgia conflict in 2008 omitted the key event: as the Beijing Olympics were starting, Georgia attacked S Ossetia with massive bombardment (100+ civilians killed). You say that somehow Russia 'anticipated' it and took advantage. Isn't it their job to 'anticipate'? Wouldn't any country? But the key point is that without the extremely stupid, almost suicidial attack by Georgia, none of that would happened. Who the hell told Saakasvilli that this would be a good idea? Some 'strategist' who likes to 'poke the Russian borders' to keep them in a 'box'? This is abstract thinking at its worst. Get real.

peterAUS , October 26, 2017 at 7:37 pm GMT
Speaking of crooks and thieves. True, those Ukrainian elites are that. Can't argue that most of US/Western elite aren't. But, Russian (current) regime elite? How about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_of_crooks_and_thieves

So, I guess that an average Ukrainian ponders a simple question: For which crook I am supposed to lose my life and limb? And risking the same for people I care for? Tough decision. If if doubt do nothing feels as the best option. Keep your head down, keep your mouth shut and try to scrap a living there. Or, if you can, emigrate somewhere. If you can that is.

peterAUS , October 26, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT
@Beckow

what is it all about? What's the point?

That rhetorical question? Regime change in Moscow->incorporating Russia into Empire at vassal level. Or back to happy Yeltsin era. Happy for some I mean. With vengeance.

As for this:

There are situations when wars happen almost on their own and nobody ever claims ownership

Couldn't agree more. That's the real worry at present. Combination of who are people in power and means of warfare.

People on the ground in Ukraine at "West" side incompetent and weak crooks. People on the ground in Ukraine at "East" side are also incompetent crooks. Not so sure how weak they are, though. They must be weak enough to obey Moscow but hard enough to keep .ahm..pruning own ranks from those unpopular with Moscow. Besides, they got into power by armed insurrection so usually those types can be hard.

I, personally, don't see much fuss about all this. Could be wrong, of course. The real question would be how, really, good Ukrainian armed forces are.
Have they used the time well to get good enough to create a serious problem for Donbass. My feeling .(haven't spent much time researching it) is they have not. Now, not so sure, whatever Saker is saying here, how good Donbass military is. In reality. I concede that they got better organized and equipped. Doesn't mean much , IMHO. The more important is how WILLING they would be to face an attack.

I .suspect .that the will when it was all started isn't there anymore. Could be wrong. Still think I am not. Or, better .feel that way. Those assassinations, plus overall quality of life there, plus unclear future (not what Moscow is saying, people on the ground don't buy that) aren't good for combat morale.

At the end, I suspect, when/if it comes to renewal of hostilities, it will be: First and foremost artillery exchanges. Nothing changes.
Then, small unit raids. Nothing changes. Then, tactical incursions by Ukrainian best. After initial success they'll be met by Donbas best.Because either side don't have many of those nothing changes too. A lot of talk from Washington and Moscow. Some dead/mutilated mercenaries. And while those "games" go the rest of peoples there just keep what they've been doing so far. Oceania vs Eurasia ..

Issac , October 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm GMT
@Priss Factor

Saker writing a Philip Giraldi level expose from that angle would probably have him out of a job. The Russian ruling class is not interested in making an enemy of Israel or vice versa.

Beckow , October 27, 2017 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS

"Regime change in Moscow"

The single best way to assure that there isn't a 'regime change' is by constant probing of Russia's borders, by constant attacks, etc So I don't buy that, the experts in Washington are not that stupid. They understand fully well that placing missiles, coups, border harassment are by far the most reliable way to make sure that nothing changes in Moscow.

The Ukraine situation will not be decided by fighting in Donbass, or in Moscow. It will be decided in Kiev (and Odessa, Lviv, Charkov) by the currently passive masses. Unless a miracle happens, or most people emigrate, this is not a sustainable situation. They are living worse than in 2013, and they already had it very bad in 2013. Marshall Plan isn't coming, membership in EU isn't coming either. Once that sinks in – it might take 5-10 years – things will change.

peterAUS , October 27, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT

They understand fully well that placing missiles, coups, border harassment are by far the most reliable way to make sure that nothing changes in Moscow.

That's one way to look at it. Another is that they believe that's exactly what's needed. Worked rather well since '91 I think. US soldier couldn't get pass Germany (West/East) border. Now

It will be decided in Kiev (and Odessa, Lviv, Charkov) by the currently passive masses.

Sounds reasonable. In meantime

Beckow , October 29, 2017 at 8:27 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

"'Novorussian' fighting forces have from the very beginning just been a rag tag collection of Chechen and Russian mercenaries ,with a few local alcoholic yahoos , all directed by imported Russian degenerates, supported all along with Russian national troops and armaments"

All soldiers today get paid, thus you can call all of them 'mercenaries'. All soldiers drink. Their ethnicities are hard to establish and generalize. Words like 'rag tag', 'yahoos', 'degenerates' mean literally nothing in this context, you just add them to make yourself feel better.

If you take what your wrote and strip out the unnecessary poetry you might be closer to the truth: Novorussian forces are a combination of local separatists and volunteers who joined them mostly from Russia; Russia has provided most of their modern arms. Russia also acts as a backstop in case of another Kiev offensive to make sure that they cannot be defeated.

See, I fixed it for you. Now drop the poetic abuse and tell us what can be done about it. And take into account interests of all parties and their relative strength. All people are equal, applying emotional adjectives to your enemies changes nothing.

Avery , October 29, 2017 at 9:21 am GMT
@Beckow

Well said. Regarding: { . a rag tag collection of Chechen and Russian mercenaries,with a few local alcoholic yahoos, all directed by imported Russian degenerates }

If that is true, then it means Ukrainian military is even more incompetent than it is, being soundly defeated by a 'rag tag collection of mercenaries, alcoholic yahoos, and degenerates'. Being defeated by a professional opposing force is bad enough, but being defeated and chased out of Novorussia by 'degenerates'? How embarrassing for the Kiev junta.

Beckow , October 29, 2017 at 9:26 am GMT
@Sergey Krieger

That seems to be Russia's strategy. I agree that by far the best thing Moscow could do is to improve quality of life in Russia. Nato strategy is to delay it by any means: sanctions, energy, new arms race, whatever they can think off, lately mostly media campaigns. With Russia's resources, favourable demographics and global economic realities (China), it will not work. And then what? Once the quality of life is comparable to the average EU country, the gig will be up. Today Russia is slightly worse off than Poland and Lithuania, but better off than Romania or Bulgaria. But it is dramatically worse off than Germany, Czech R or Austria. Between 2000-2014 Germany and Russia were feeding off each other's growth, now they both suffer. We will see how that plays out, but there was a natural synergy that was artificially curtailed. More than anything else the Atlantic neo-cons fear more prosperity in Russia, so they will do almost anything to prevent it.

In Ukraine the EU-West infatuation will take a long time to dissipate. Getting hurt will eventually lead to making things better in the head , but it will take at least a generation. And things don't stay quiet for that long, other events will intervene. A circle cannot be squared: Kiev has attempted a great leap into its imagined future – Europe!!! – they bet everything on it, cut off all else, and there is no realistic way the leap will land Ukraine happily and soon enough in EU. EU will not agree to absorb 40 million poor people who mostly just want to live immediately like Germans, or move there. This is a mad dream, reality will intervene.

Those still hoping for a happy ending have not been paying attention.

Sergey Krieger , October 29, 2017 at 10:51 am GMT
@Johnny Rico

I am sorry but I have to say this. How has led by Kissinger and Nixon strategy of opening China worked out? Is creating major geopolitical foe where there was none considered a sign of deep strategically long term thinking?

Cyrano , October 29, 2017 at 11:04 am GMT
@Beckow

One often hears about "historical injustices" being committed against this nation or that ethnic group. Ukraine is probably a unique (basket) case because they think (the stupid ones) that beside historical injustices, they have also suffered geographical injustice.

The Ukrainian nationalists think that based on their accomplishments as a nation (there are none) they rightfully deserve to be geographically located somewhere between Germany and France. For this state of affairs they again blame the Russians. You see, because Russia is so big, and definitely in Eastern Europe, that they have the gravitational force that keeps Ukraine in Eastern Europe. If it wasn't for the Russians, Ukraine would have long ago catapulted into Western Europe – probably even geographically. It's only Russia that prevents them from acquiring their rightful place in the heart of Europe.

Beckow , October 29, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT
@Cyrano

"they have also suffered geographical injustice"

And so a solution is to have a war against geography. That usually goes very well, check with the Georgians :)

In Ukrainians' defence, they have a bad location: wide-open, unprotected, with few geographic features and at the same time very high-quality earth. On second thought, if Ukraine, as is, was located in Western Europe 'somewhere between Germany and France' , I would be willing to bet that not a single Ukrainian would exist today. The Western Europeans know their genocide and know how to pacify populations. They almost got to them during WWII, Ukraine was the lebensraum that Nazis dreamt about.

My estimate would be that if Russia had not sacrificed 20 million people to defeat Germany, today there would be no Poles, no Ukrainians, and no Czechs. A few smaller nations, like Croats, Slovaks, Slovenians, would exist as tiny folklor-only curiosity, regularly brutally culled for potential dissenters. Those 'damn Russkies', how dare they stop this? No wonder the sneaky Westerners will never forgive them. But one wonders why some of the designated victims, Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs, are also angry that the lebensraum genocide Nazi plan was not allowed to take place. But we are leaving geography and getting into psychiatry

Anon , Disclaimer October 29, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT
@Johnny Rico

A repost from consortiumnews.com: "The Kaganzation of Ukraine, which started on Clinton watch, is moving to a next, neo-Nazi phase: http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/10/mosiychuk-assassination-attempt.html

" the assassination attempt on Mosiychuk [the former deputy commander of the infamous neo-Nazi Azov Battalio] is the initial phase of an escalation of the conflict between the Nazis and Jewish oligarchs headed by President Poroshenko, an escalation which is transitioning from a political to a "hot", or armed phase.

Ironically enough, it is the Jewish oligarch Kolomoysky who is financing the operations of such Nazi revolutionaries. Indeed, all of the "Ukrainian revolutions," as is well known, have been done with Jewish money and through the hands of Ukrainian Nazis. By all accounts, Mosiychuk himself is one of the key figures behind preparing a Nazi coup d'etat."

Any reaction from the diligent ADL? Any peep from AIPAC? Kolomoysky is an Israeli citizen and a pillar of the Jewish community of Ukraine. He has been financing the Ukrainian neo-Nazis for several years already; Kolomoysky is also implicated in the downing of MH17. Still no interest from the Israel-occupied US Congress? Amazing. In the US, the "victims of Holocaust" from the Kagans' clan have been plotting and implementing the collaborative projects with Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Interesting times.

Just to reiterate –– "all of the "Ukrainian revolutions" have been done with Jewish money and through the hands of Ukrainian Nazis." And the Jewish vigilantes are busy fighting against BDS " https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/28/hillary-clinton-keeps-pointing-fingers/#comment-293951

Btw, Kolomoysky is an Israeli citizen. Speaking about Holocaust deniers – is it kosher to support neo-Nazi and work on the resurrection of Nazism in Ukraine and to remain an honorable Israeli citizen? It seems that Kolomoysky is such case. Next time the Israel-firsters attempt to squeal about any critics of "Holocaust story" they should be presented with the story of Jewish oligarch Kolomoysky.

Beckow , October 29, 2017 at 12:17 pm GMT
@peterAUS

You use language very loosely: 'total control, 'fully integrated', 'force's skeleton', all those terms are both unprovable and meaningless in Donbass context. There are millions of Russians in Donbass, they have always lived there. They are willing to oppose post-coup Kiev government on their own. All else is vague verbiage that means nothing.

"the regime in Moscow decide to abandon the project it could dissolve that force in 12 hours tops and leave Novorussia ripe for takeover by the regime in Kiev"

Your usage of the imbecilic word 'regime' betrays bias. What the f k is a'regime'? Is EU a 'regime', or the Saudi king, or China? If not, why not? Stick with term government and use it for all and you won't sound like a bitter dead-ender unable to see things rationally.

Russia cannot abandon Donbass because the Kiev government would massacre many Russians living in Donbass. Or they would let their nationalist allies do it. In any case, millions would either be expelled, imprisoned or killed. That would mean the end of Putin's government. The fact that Brussels and Mme Merkel would look the other way and that Western media would pretend that not much was happening would not help either. So that's not going to happen, Russia is committed, it cannot 'abandon the project'. Kiev will either negotiate seriously now, or in the future. And time is definitely not on their side, longer this goes on, worse deal will be on the table for Kiev.

Anon , Disclaimer October 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@Beckow

" it might take 5-10 years – things will change." It is already on the go: http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/10/mosiychuk-assassination-attempt.html
" another Maidan to be held under openly Nazi slogans and leading to the overthrow of the Jewish oligarchs led by Petro Poroshenko who seized power in Ukraine. Ukrainian Nazis are the most consistent and terrifying enemies of the Poroshenko regime, which they call an "internal occupation regime." We are now seeing a rehearsal for such a Nazi Maidan. Apparently, Poroshenko is taking a serious turn, and now terrorist methods are being used against the regime's mortal enemies."

polskijoe , October 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm GMT
Decent article, although some generalizations which is understandable. Couple points about Poland. Yes its allied with neocons atm (the bad).
The government has some forces somewhat supporting Ukraine (Basically as long as the blame is focused on Russia). The government knows there are "neonazi" elements, as has mentioned Ukraine will not join EU until they stop that. As for the people Poland is divided like crazy on the Ukraine issue.
Sergey Krieger , October 29, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
@Mao Cheng Ji

Lots of people changed from Russians into Ukrainians. I see many guys with Russian surnames there from news who are rabidly antirussians. Give some time. When Russia rises and life in Russia will be good there will be suddenly 90% of Ukrainian population Russians.

Erebus , October 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm GMT
Alas, you've yet again missed the salient point you're commenting on. The sea change I talk about is "a sea change in both capability and prospects" . And yes, a sea change in the sense that the high water mark of the USA's capabilities and prospects is now plainly visible. Its role has been reduced from world leader to that of spoiler in Syriaq, Philippines, MENA, ECS & SCS, in Africa, and in Europe itself. A spoiler's role is a very far cry from the world leader at "the end of history" it proclaimed itself to be in the early '90s. Pax Americana's wave broke and is now rolling back out to sea, creating undertows as it goes.

The ramifications of that sea change will take years, maybe decades, to play themselves out, but my assessment is that there will be no active "roll back (of the) '90s" or that said roll back is desirable/possible. The Ukraine and Serbia/Kosovo will wind up having to fit themselves into whatever new paradigm the world will be living under at the time. That paradigm won't be American led, or of American design.

polskijoe , October 29, 2017 at 8:34 pm GMT
@Dan Hayes

Prof Cohen, he is smart on Russian affairs, for a Jewish guy suprising he speaks favorably of the Russians. I dont know his political views. Certainly a change from the Neocon bs.

anon , Disclaimer October 29, 2017 at 11:52 pm GMT
I don't see much of a future for Ukraine. Neither the West nor Russia is willing to underwrite the massive investment that would be required to rebuild the economy. Sure it makes sense to split the country. However, both sides are more than willing to live with an impoverished buffer between NATO and Russia. If the country is split, there is no longer any territorial disputes and the new West Ukraine ultimately becomes a NATO member and NATO weapons move hundreds of miles closer to the Russian border. Not to mention the fact that Russia would find it expensive to subsidize the new government. Same with the EU.

The obsession with theoretical military engagements ignore the reality that 'winning' is simply taking a nation that is still a paying customer for natural gas and turning them into an expense.

As far as the value of Ukraine as an agricultural power -- Russia no longer cares. Russia (thanks to the US sanctions, among other things) is now the world's largest grain exporter.

The Black Sea may be important to Russia's regional aspirations, but for the US, what could be better than have as many Russian naval vessels as possible parked there?

Anatoly Karlin , Website October 30, 2017 at 12:05 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

The Saker does indeed peddle a lot of BS, but you are hardly one to talk.

1. The Chechens were briefly involved in 2014, have long since left.

2. The vast majority of the NAF (80%) are Ukrainian citizens , as confirmed by multiple sources including a list of names leaked by your ideological comrades at the Peacekeeper website. About another 10% are Russians from the Kuban, which is ethnically and culturally close to the Donbass, while the last 10% are Russians and other adventurers from the wider world.

So yes, it is indeed very homegrown, though it is true that the NAF would not have survived in its embryonic stages without the more competent and experienced Russian volunteers like Strelkov, as well as Russian logistical and artillery support.

3. NAF volunteers are indeed probably lower than average on the socio-economic scale, but I would be exceedingly surprised if it was otherwise for the UAF and the independent batallions. Certainly the chronic drunkeness , accidents, etc. in the Ukrainian Army that are constantly being written about indicates that doesn't harvest the cream of Ukraine's crop. (And that makes sense – apart from a hard core of patriots and nationalists, any Ukrainian would pay to avoid conscription, if he has the means).

[Oct 24, 2017] Did the USA cool to Poroshenko? Mishiko just said: What stands between us and that future? A tiny clique of oligarchs and speculators: The President and his entourage

Notable quotes:
"... "Everyone knows that five-billion contracts are not signed by the defense minister or by his deputy, or even by any head of the Defense Ministry department. All politicians know who signs five-billion contracts. And this is the president of Ukraine," Tymoshenko said, while commenting on the scandal with the detention by the NABU of Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Pavlovsky and director of the public procurement department at the Defense Ministry Volodymyr Hulevych. ..."
Oct 24, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

yalensis , October 22, 2017 at 6:25 am

Only just got some time to start following Mishiko's "Mikho-Maidan" (English-language hashtag is #Mikhomaidan .

Apparently Saakashvili came up with a humdinger this morning: He promised his followers from the stump that the Ukraine will become a superpower dictating conditions to Europe and the world.


"Там где есть сила, там будет Украинская сверхдержава, которая будет диктовать условия в Европе и всем другим, и где люди будут жить достойно Что стоит между нами и этим будущим? Это маленькая кучка олигархов, барыг – президент и его окружение", -- сказал он, заверив, что сменить нынешнюю власть при желании населения можно "очень быстро и очень безболезненно".

"Кто-то говорит – "вот, этот гастролер, зачем он тут?" Все очень просто. Нет будущего ни у Грузии, ни у Молдовы, ни у Белоруссии, ни у кого в регионе, если не будет Украины", -- подчеркнул Саакашвили.

TRANSLATION:
"If people shall unite as a force, then there will be a Ukrainian superpower which will dictate conditions in Europe and to all the others; and people [here] will be able to live their lives with dignity. What stands between us and that future? A tiny clique of oligarchs and speculators: The President and his entourage," he said, assuring people that it would be a very quick and painless matter to overturn the existing government, given the desire of the people.
"Some people say, oh, here is that travelling showman, why is he here? It's very simple: There can be no future, neither for Gruzia, nor Moldavia, nor Belorussia, not for anyone in this region, if a Ukraine doesn't exist," Saakashvili underscored.

Pavlo Svolochenko , October 22, 2017 at 7:43 am
Does he even have any legal right to be in the country?
yalensis , October 22, 2017 at 11:56 am
No.
Jen , October 22, 2017 at 7:14 pm
Mishiko doesn't have the legal right to be in any country. He's stateless.
yalensis , October 23, 2017 at 3:08 am
He is just like Philip Nolan, "The Man Without A Country".

http://files.constantcontact.com/766c6672201/17c86a4a-16a5-412a-bffe-da50a5251b12.png?a=1127596639173

Patient Observer , October 22, 2017 at 7:56 am
Some people say, oh, here is that travelling showman, why is he here?

A good question yet to be answered by Mr. Saakashvili. The answer probably includes money, food, cocaine, public attention, food, sex and did I mention food?

marknesop , October 22, 2017 at 11:20 am
Mmmmm ..that sounds suspiciously like his oratory while President of Georgia, when he predicted that within X years of his modernizations like the Glass Bridge in Tbilisi (between 3 and 5, I forget now and the source was assimilated into the government's propaganda-pablum machine), there would be more tourists in Georgia than there were Georgians. Or like the time he told the US Senate that Georgia was so honest a place that people did not even lock their doors, the same year the US Government's State Department released a travel warning for Georgia that warned against pickpockets and various forms of thieving, including stopping your car on the road and robbing you or making you get out and taking the car. Crimes carried out by Georgian and Ukrainian organized criminals are often blamed on the Russian mafia.
yalensis , October 22, 2017 at 11:58 am
Also don't forget when Mishka bragged that Gruzia didn't need no stinking Russian wine market – they could always sell their best stuff to Western Europe!
'cause, see, the French and Germans and Italians don't produce any good wines
marknesop , October 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Yes, that's right! And then when the Russian market opened up again, it was greeted with great relief by the Georgian winemakers, and impartial sources remarked that there was not much of an appetite in Europe for Georgia's sweet and somewhat heavy wines, while Russians were very fond of them. Ukraine is learning the same bitter lesson now, and there would be nobody like Mishka to teach them. For the west's part, they would probably be quite willing to give Mishka another project, to keep him busy and keep Ukraine from slipping back into the Russian orbit.

Don't forget that Poroshenko is not likely to be going anywhere, since Ukraine is making him richer and richer, and he is likely to dabble in politics even after he is evicted in the next election. But having Mishka there to split the vote could easily result in a Tymoshenko victory. And that would be just perfect, with all her histrionic squalling about getting a machine gun and going to kill some Katsaps. She did say 'we'. Go ahead, Yooooolia. Let's see you bring it.

Speaking of Yoooolia, she now says that Poroshenko is using the army's fuel contracts to launder money .

"Everyone knows that five-billion contracts are not signed by the defense minister or by his deputy, or even by any head of the Defense Ministry department. All politicians know who signs five-billion contracts. And this is the president of Ukraine," Tymoshenko said, while commenting on the scandal with the detention by the NABU of Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Pavlovsky and director of the public procurement department at the Defense Ministry Volodymyr Hulevych.

Ponder for a moment the irony of Tymoshenko – who browbeat the director of Naftogaz into signing the take-or-pay contract with Russia which caused Ukraine such grief and then flew to Russia herself to wrap it up, after being specifically told by the Rada cabinet not to do it – pointing the accusing finger at corruption in the energy business.

[Oct 17, 2017] Ukrainian foreign trade deficit in January-August has grown to over three billion dollars

Slightly edited Google translation from Ukrainian
Please note that grivna generally kept its value and fluctuated in the band of 26-27 grivna per dollar for the same period. The general impression from 2015 to 2017 is slight growth of economic activity, especially in home building. Standard of living did not change much for this period and remains low. Food prices were more or less stable, which communal services costs especially house/apartment heating skyrocketed and even for one bedroom apartment now at winter can well exceed average pension.
Some percentage of foreign trade deficit might well be due to additional costs of import of coal (with some coming from the USA now) and gas (which is bought not directly but from Eastern European countries which has extra volumes at low prices from Russia). The continuing war at Donbass although at very low level still also attracts a lot funds.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukrainian foreign trade deficit in January-August has grown to 3.279 billion dollars, which is 2.3 times higher than the deficit for the same period last year - 1.448 billion dollars. ..."
"... The export coverage ratio was 0.89, while in January-August 2016 it was 0.94. ..."
"... For the whole 2016, Ukraine enjoyed a small surplus of foreign trade balance amounted to 337.3 million dollars. ..."
www.pravda.com.ua/

Ukrainian foreign trade deficit in January-August has grown to 3.279 billion dollars, which is 2.3 times higher than the deficit for the same period last year - 1.448 billion dollars.

Those data were reported by the Ukrainian National State Statistics Service.

Exports of goods from Ukraine over the period in comparison with the same period in 2016 increased by 21,1% - to 27,512 billion dollars, import - by 27,4%, to 30,791 billion dollars.

The export coverage ratio was 0.89, while in January-August 2016 it was 0.94. Foreign trade operations were conducted with partners from 219 countries of the world. For the whole 2016, Ukraine enjoyed a small surplus of foreign trade balance amounted to 337.3 million dollars.

[Oct 17, 2017] Kiev Should Give Up on the Donbass by Alexander J. Motyl

The article was written before April, 2017 and as such has only historical interest.
foreignpolicy.com

It didn't take long for things in Ukraine to go south in the Trump era.

Before last fall's U.S. election, Ukraine had finally appeared to be stabilizing after several tumultuous years. The country was receiving generally good grades and assistance from the International Monetary Fund; it enjoyed the political, diplomatic, and financial -- if not quite military -- support of the West; and it was making headway on internal reforms in the legal, economic, social, educational, health, and energy sectors. Finally, its armed forces had successfully transformed themselves from the 6,000 combat-ready troops available in mid-2014 to a powerful, battle-hardened army that managed to fight Russia and its proxies to a standstill in the east.

... ... ...

Kiev couldn't turn down such an offer, because it has continually insisted that the Donbass must, and will, be brought back into the Ukrainian fold. But the consequences of this gift would be ugly. Kiev would likely face an all-out war with the abandoned separatists, one that it would probably win, but then have to follow with enormous investments to fix the devastated region and try to win the hearts and minds of its anti-Kiev population. Estimates of how much it would cost to undo the damage done by Russia start at $20 billion, according to economist Anders Aslund; Ukraine's entire budget amounts to about $26 billion.

No less debilitating for Ukraine would be the political consequences of reintegrating the occupied Donbass. Several million anti-Western voters would be brought into the fold, to vote against Ukraine's pro-Western reforms. The pro-Russian political forces that ruled and still rule the region would get a second life. And the oligarchs and thieves who mismanaged the Donbass for decades would return to power. The Donbass would then play the same retrograde role it has played in Ukrainian politics since independence in 1991. Political tensions would increase, East-West polarization would return, Kiev would be rendered politically and economically impotent, and Putin would have achieved what he wanted all along -- a thoroughly unstable Ukraine, minus the cost of funding a low-level conflict in an economically doomed enclave.

Of course, it's impossible to say just which of these scenarios -- ranging from all-out war to dumping the Donbass to some other intermediate move -- will happen. The point is that, with Trump's unpredictability, radicalism, and pro-Russian sympathies, all of them are now possible or far more possible than they were before Trump's election.

The point is that, with Trump's unpredictability, radicalism, and pro-Russian sympathies, all of them are now possible or far more possible than they were before Trump's election.

Since the status quo that has held for the past two years is unlikely to do so for long, Ukraine needs to develop a realistic strategy toward the occupied Donbass -- one attuned to the new geopolitical circumstances -- and prepare for all of Trump and Putin's possible faits accomplis.

The good news is that Ukraine is prepared for all-out war with Russia; it is also prepared for and could cope with aid cutoffs from Washington and the end of sanctions. The bad news is that Kiev is thoroughly unprepared for the one scenario that could destroy Ukraine at little cost to Putin: Russia's return of the Donbass.

Whatever Kiev decides to do, Ukrainians must first decide what they believe is more important: independence or territorial integrity. The Minsk accords enabled Ukraine to enjoy the first and aspire to the second. This state of affairs could not have lasted forever, but Trump and Putin have brought it to a premature end.

Before Trump, Ukrainians could avoid making too many tough decisions about their strategic priorities. After Trump, they cannot.

[Oct 17, 2017] Empire's Workshop Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (American Empire Project) Greg Grandi

There is a danger for Ukraine to become "European El Salvador" or, worse, "European Iraq"
Notable quotes:
"... fter an opening chapter that makes the case for Latin America's role in the formation of the U.S. empire, the rest of this hook explores the importance of the region to the consolidation of what could be called a new, revolutionary imperialism. ..."
May 01, 2007 | www.amazon.com

After an opening chapter that makes the case for Latin America's role in the formation of the U.S. empire, the rest of this hook explores the importance of the region to the consolidation of what could be called a new, revolutionary imperialism.

Taken each on their own, the ideas, tactics, politics, and economics that have driven Bush's global policy are not original. An interventionist military posture, belief that America has a special role to play in world history, cynical realpolitik, vengeful nationalism, and free-market capitalism have all driven U.S.
diplomacy in one form or another for nearly two centuries. But whatis new is how potent these elements have become and how tightly they are bound to the ambitions of America's domestic ruling conservative coalition -- a coalition that despite its power and influence paints itself as persecuted, at odds not just with much of the world but with modern life itself. 6

The book goes on to explore the intellectual re-orientation or American diplomacy in the wake if Vietnam and the increasing willingness of militarists to champion human rights, nation building, and democratic reform. The third chapter considers how the rehabilitation of unconventional warfare doctrine in LI Salvador and Nicaragua by militarists in and around the Reagan White House laid the groundwork for today's offensive military posture. Here, the human costs of this resurgence of militarism will be addressed. In the many tributes that followed Reagan's death, pundits enjoyed repeating Margaret Thatcher's comment that Reagan won the Cold War "without firing a shot." The crescendo of carnage that overw helmed Central America in the 1980s not only gives the lie to such a legacy but highlights the inescapable violence of empire. The fourth chapter turns to the imperial home front, examining how r the Reagan administration first confronted and then began to solve the domestic crisis of authority generated by Vietnam and Watergate. It also argues that Reagan's Central American policy served as a crucible that forged the coalition that today stands behind George W. Bush. Chanter 5 is con cerned with the economics of empire, how the financial contraction of the 1970s provided an opportunity for the avatars of free-market orthodoxy -- the true core of the Bush Doctrine -- to join with other constituencies of the ascendant New Right, inaugurating first in Chile and then throughout Latin America a new, brutally competitive global economy.

The last chapter tallies the score of the new imperialism in Latin America. Celebrated by Bill Clinton, and now Bush, as a model of what the United States hopes to accomplish in the rest of the world, Latin America continues to be gripped by unrelenting poverty and periodic political instability, as the promise of living under a benevolent American imperialism has failed to materialize. As a result, new political movements and antagonists have emerged to contest the terms of
United States-promoted corporate globalization, calling for increased regional integration to offset the power of the United States and more social spending to alleviate Latin American inequality. With little to offer the region in terms of development except the increasingly hollow promises of free trade, Washington is responding to these and similar challenges by once again militarizing hemispheric relations, with all dissent now set in the crosshairs of the "global war on terror."

... ... ...

Over the last year, Washington has had some success in preventing leftists and nationalists from coming to power, in Peru, for instance, and in Mexico. But notwithstanding the outcome of specific votes, and despite the very real conflicts of interest among Latin American nations, the centrifugal forces pushing the region out of the U.S.'s orbit will continue.

What, then, will be Washington's long-term response to this independence movement? One could hope that the Democrats would seize the moment to assert their commitment to nonintervention and to work with economic nationalists to promote a fair and sustainable economic policy. Depending on the country, such a policy would include land reform, government regulation of foreign investment and currency speculation, more equitable contracts with multinationals, debt relief, increased spending on welfare, education, health care, and public works, and, in the U.S., a just immigration policy.

Don't count on it. Unlike after WWII, when a confident corporate class threw its backing behind New Deal political liberalism at home and at least some reform capitalism abroad, the financiers of today's Democratic Party are too deeply invested in war production and speculative capital and too intensely committed to keeping the third world open. They will not brook any sustained attempt to restructure the global economy in a more equitable direction. At the same time, the party's leadership -- unlike Republicans who are organically linked to their base -- is terrified of the antimilitarism of its rank-and-file. Thirty percent of the U.S. population opposed the war in Iraq even when it looked like a cakewalk, even as Dick Cheney and his cronies held a cocktail party to celebrate the PR-orchestrated toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad -- a significant minority that is much larger than anything the Goldwater insurgency and the Reagan Revolution started with.

But rather than building on this thirty percent, Democrats run away from it, with one after the other tripping over themselves to prove they are better equipped to fight the "war on terror'' than the Republicans. We may hope that the Democratic nominee in the 2008 election will challenge the ideology and the interests that
have capitalized on the problem of terrorism to launch a war for civilization. It's more likely we'll see him or her criticizing the way the "war" has been executed and demanding more of a say in how it is waged.

If there is change in American diplomacy, it will come from the citizens who mobilized to oppose the occupation of Iraq and who in 2006 gave back the Congress to the Democratic Party. But to truly break up the New Right, and not just temporarily slow it down, the reactive antimilitarism that so drives the neocons crazy will have to be converted into a forward-looking agenda, as cohesive and coherent as the one that led to the catastrophic war in Iraq. In this task, Latin America, long the workshop of U.S. elites, can provide a different kind of instruction.

Across the continent, political movements have emerged from decades of unrelenting state terror underwritten by imperial patronage to creatively and effectively oppose first corporate-driven neoliberalism and then a renewed U.S. militarism. Through exemplary courage, perseverance, and organizational skill, Latin American activists have provided a beacon of hope on an otherwise bleak global landscape. They have multiple agendas and objectives, yet they share a common set of values: human dignity, local autonomy, a vision of individual freedom rooted in collective solidarity, and a notion of democracy defined not simply by proceduralism or individual rights but by economic equity. It is they who are the world's true "democracy promoters" and who are fighting the real war on terror, and offering lessons to us all.

New York
December 2006

PABG, Somewhere in the world, on August 1, 2011

Unbelievable book

Have you ever wonder why the rest of America despises or doesn't trust the USA? Yes I wrote America so the people living in the USA will finally comprehend that America is a continent not a country, people please check your map!!! Well let me tell you why, is because the USA always interfere or sticks her big nose in the business of her American neighbors, just to name a few examples/ Guatemala 1954 and Chile 1973, and also a big part of the real problem is that the USA is not governed by the President, he or she is just a pawn or an employee of the big corporations, and the person in the Oval Office will do anything in his or her power to keep the big CEO's happy.

You want proof of this? Think about these recent events, 9\11, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the tax payer's money given to big corporations to cover the losses caused by their satanic greed and Guantanamo. Also I'm tired of hearing that illegal immigration has ruined the USA, let me tell you that if you keep your nose to your own business and leave the rest of America alone, you won't have a big immigration problem and just to keep in mind that the USA was built by immigrant hands. Please the USA has enough problems, public education, public health, a failed economic system and social disintegration just to mention a few, for the United States' Government to start thinking about building a global empire.

FYI I'm not a leftist or a USA hater, I like the USA and its people very much but I don't have affection for the neoconservatives and the capitalist pigs that think in big profits before their fellow human beings. Enough said, peace, live long and prosper. I'M PROUD OF BEING A REAL AMERICAN!!!!!

[Oct 11, 2017] The Perils of Arming Ukraine by Daniel Larison

Oct 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Rajan Menon and Will Ruger elaborate on why arming Ukraine would be an extremely foolish thing for the U.S. to do:

The proposition that Putin won't be provoked by a U.S. decision to send lethal arms to Ukraine amounts to a hunch. It's not supported by evidence, and Putin's past behavior contradicts it. This is not a minor point: if he does ramp up the war and the Ukrainian army is forced into retreat, the United States will face three bad choices.

First, Washington could pour even more arms into Ukraine in hopes of concentrating Putin's mind; but he can easily provide additional firepower to the Donbas insurgents. Second, it could deepen its military involvement by sending American military advisers, or even troops, to the frontline to bolster the Ukrainian army; but then Russia could call America's bluff. Third, the United States could decide not to respond to Russia's escalation given the geographical disadvantage and the limited strategic interests at stake. That would amount to backing down, abandoning Ukraine, and shredding the oft-repeated argument that American and European security hinges on the outcome of the Donbas war.

As hawks often do, advocates of arming Ukraine minimize the potential risks of their proposal while exaggerating the benefits that it will produce. On the one hand, they insist that they are "merely" calling for the U.S. to help Ukraine defend itself (they are actually calling for enabling Ukraine's government to go on the offensive), but at the same time they believe that in doing so they will "raise the costs" for Russia to such an extent that it will significantly alter Russian behavior in and towards Ukraine. If the policy is as likely to change Moscow's behavior as they say, it can't be as low-risk as they claim, but if it doesn't pose a serious risk it is probably going to have no positive effects at all. In the worst case, arming Ukraine sets them up for a disastrous defeat that the U.S. will have helped to enable.

The other flaw in the pro-arming case is that advocates of sending weapons to the Ukrainian government simply dismiss the negative consequences that are very likely to follow. They assume that the Russian government has a low tolerance for casualties, but they conveniently forget that it was Russian casualties in Tskhinvali that served as part of the rallying cry for the invasion of Georgia in the August 2008 war. The same people that called for pulling Ukraine out of Moscow's orbit in 2014 didn't anticipate the Russian response to Yanukovych's overthrow, but they still think that Moscow will be more inclined to back down now when faced with new provocations. Western hawkish analysts and pundits have consistently underestimated how far Moscow will go in this conflict, so why should their assurances be trusted now? We should have learned over the last decade that Moscow is much more likely to respond forcefully to provocative Western actions than most of us have assumed, and that means that the U.S. should approach this conflict with greater caution instead of increased recklessness.

Menon and Ruger make another important point that tends to get lost in the debate on this question:

The case for arming Ukraine also tends to be made in a vacuum, never mind that what the United States does in Ukraine could determine what Russia does elsewhere. Moscow could respond by putting more pressure on the Baltics, acting as a spoiler in North Korea or Iran, or even arming the Taliban (that would be an ironic turn: in the 1980s, the United States bled the Soviets by arming the Afghan mujahideen). If these outcomes seem impossible, consider the United States' awful record in foreseeing the effects of its military moves [bold mine-DL].

The explicit purpose of sending arms to Ukraine is to give their government the means to kill more Russians and Russian proxies. This may be dressed up in euphemisms by advocates (e.g., "raising costs," "making them pay a price"), but that is what they expressly hope to achieve with this policy. If our positions were reversed, our government would not respond to the deaths of our soldiers and proxies by yielding to the preferences of the government that provided the weapons that killed them. On the contrary, our government would intensify its support for whatever policy that government was trying to thwart. It would be foolish to assume that the Russian government would respond differently. We should assume that they would respond both directly in Ukraine by increasing their support for separatists and indirectly by aiding our enemies in other wars. This last part was the point that analyst Michael Kofman made in a report from August:

Russia's response to scattering Javelins among Ukrainian ground forces should factor into the decision, Kofman said.

"The Russians have a very clear policy of reciprocity, as we saw in the recent diplomatic purge. They see this as a premise of the U.S. wanting to kill Russians," Kofman said.

"The answer to this won't come in Ukraine."

[Oct 10, 2017] How to Turn Battleground Ukraine Into a Success Story

Notable quotes:
"... The US on the other hand is very keen on keeping control over its newest vassal, since, to quote Brzezinski's grand chess board, "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire" . ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Pifer's narrative suggests that Putin's proposal concerning peace in Donbass is not serious so long as it does not comply with the deployment scheme suggested by the West. This statement is also quite erroneous. Putin's proposal is serious. The president of Russia does want peace . But his rules imply the conservation of non-bloc status of Ukraine.

Additionally, the rules mandate that Ukraine cease its attempts to discredit Russia-Europe energy cooperation vis-à-vis Nord Stream II, bring the "Crimean question" to a close, remove sanctions, and, presumably, pay special attention and respect to the rights of the Russian-speaking community in Ukraine.

PERICLES--- , October 9, 2017 10:36 PM

No offense is intended to the authors of this article, but it wasn't hard to tell they were Russian even just judging on the contents of the proposal. The entire point of any sort of DMZ in Ukraine is to make static potentially temporary Russian gains in a fluid battleground. This hypothetical DMZ would essentially be a third-party Maginot Line for Russia. Russia has stolen a comfy little buffer zone and would like to see that maintained. That's why the US would undoubtedly veto this.

Alternatively, the US could call Putin's bluff and use armored units and heavy bombers to retake Donbas for the Ukrainians, but pointedly stop short of Crimea. Russia maintains un-plausible deniability in the Donbas, so Putin would be able to save a least a little face. Crimea is claimed as full Russian territory, Putin would be politically unable to stop war from occurring if it was retaken by Ukrainian forces. After this a full withdrawal of US forces would be advisable so as not to trigger Russian fears of encirclement. Ukraine could be a neutral- but sovereign- nation. It could do more as a positive example to potential Russian dissidents than it ever could as a NATO member. A full-blown conflict with NATO would mean Putin's fall from power, and so it is very much in his interests to avoid it. We are operating from a position of strength, let's take advantage of it.

Andrey Kuleshov -> PERICLES--- , October 9, 2017 10:58 PM

"Alternatively, the US could call Putin's bluff and use armored units and heavy bombers to retake Donbas for the Ukrainians"..."

Wet dreams

0x7be -> PERICLES--- , October 10, 2017 4:03 PM

Somewhy US doesn't want to operate from "position of strength". May be because there is no position of strength...

Midnight -> PERICLES--- , October 10, 2017 10:21 AM

Lesson of geopolitics from redneck?

PERICLES--- -> Midnight , October 10, 2017 3:51 PM

I'm a Northerner.

Sascha Gruss -> Midnight , October 10, 2017 3:21 PM

The west will act tough and send more Ukrainians to die.

Midnight -> Sascha Gruss , October 10, 2017 3:33 PM

In Russia there is such a sad joke - the Americans will fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian ((

Sascha Gruss -> Midnight , October 10, 2017 4:39 PM

It should be the US will fight Russia until the last european dies.

Fake News Russian Troll , October 10, 2017 5:44 AM

Ukraine and the West have no interest in ending the war. This is why Minsk 2 failed, this is why the peace keeper proposal is bound to fail. Putins proposal is the separation of the opposing forces.

Again: Ukraine has no interest in it. It didn't adhere to it after Minsk, instead using it to occupy territory vacated by Donbass militias adhering to the peace agreement. The Western proposal is a complete occupation of the Donbass.

The peace troops would not be impartial, instead they want them to be posed by the West. It basically is the demand to hand everything over. A demand with no correlation to the political or military situation on the ground.

And handing over the control of the borders would not merely stop the weapons flow into Ukraine (something the Donbass never depended on, since some of the worlds largest weapons storages in the world were located right there and they've got them in abundance), but would surely be abused to stop any crossings and any trade across this border whatsoever.

Ukraine is blocking almost all trade between the Donbass and the rest of the country. They don't want them to trade with anyone else. They simply want to starve them out.

And finally: The worst thing that could happen to the regime in Kiev and its Western backers would be peace. Peace would force them to give up on blaming every fault on everyone else. Peace would make the Ukrainians wonder what has happened to their country since their coup. Peace would make them wonder what has happened to their economy since. Peace would make them wonder what had happened to the tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who simply "disappeared" since the government tried to keep the already colossal losses down and the cost of paying annuities to their relatives.

Russia has no interest in this war. It knows that the economic future of Ukraine depends on Russia, and therefore has ample means to influence its neighbour.

The US on the other hand is very keen on keeping control over its newest vassal, since, to quote Brzezinski's grand chess board, "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire" .

TotalBS -> Fake News Russian Troll , October 10, 2017 12:39 PM

Amen.

bakbaklazhan , October 10, 2017 4:26 PM

"To vanquish strategically, one often needs to take a tactical step back. "

in this phrase the authors are coming clear with regards to their goal of genociding russian speaking population of the eastern Ukraine and sucking "the Ukraine" into NATO...

[Oct 10, 2017] Before Maidan Ukraine's external debt was 142 billion dollars, now, as of July 1, 2017, it is less than 115 billion. The country's GDP for 3 years fell exactly 2 times: it was 183 billion dollars, became 93 billion

Oct 10, 2017 | fish12a.livejournal.com

...The data were officially published on the website of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. http://index.minfin.com.ua/index/debt/

Before the revolution, Ukraine's external debt was more than now: 142 billion dollars. Now, as of July 1, 2017 it is slightly less than 114 billion. How this can happen during civil war it is not very clear...

But the country's GDP in three years fell exactly two times. That's what typically happens during civil war. It was 183 billion dollars, and now became 93 billion. That means $2186 per capita in 2016 year... With the average salary around $150 a month and the average pension less then $80 a month.


[Sep 18, 2017] The NYT's Yellow Journalism on Russia by Rober Parry

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America's Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you'll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that. ..."
"... At this stage, the Times doesn't even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion." The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media. ..."
"... The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a "Kremlin stooge" in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq's WMD in 2002-03 were called "Saddam apologists." ..."
"... Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate. ..."
"... For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia. ..."
"... The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn't seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism. ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
"... The Trans-Atlantic Empire of banking cartels rest upon enmity with the only other Great Powers in the World: Russia and China, while keeping USA thoroughly within their orbit, relying on our Great Power as the engine that powers this Western Bankers' Empire (the steering room lies in City-of-London, who has LONG maneuvered, via their Wall Street assets, to bring us into Empire). Should peaceful, cooperative and productive relations break out between USA, Russia, and China, this would undermine everything the Western Empire has worked to build. ..."
"... THIS is why the phony Russiagate issue is flogged to get rid of Trump (who seeks cooperation with Russia and China), AND keeping Russia as "The Enemy", keeping the MIC, Intel community, various police-state ops, in high demand for "National Security" reasons (also positioned to foil any democratic uprisings, should they see past the progs daily curtain and see their plight). ..."
"... The funny thing about living through the 'fake news' era, is that now everyone thinks that their news source is the correct news source. Many believe that outside of the individual everyone else reads or listens too 'fake news'. It's like all of a sudden no one has credibility, yet everyone may have it, depending on what news source you subscribe to. I mean there's almost no way of knowing what the truth is, because everyone is claiming that they are getting their news from reputable news outlets, but some or many aren't, and who are the reputable news sources, if you don't mind my asking you this just for the record? ..."
"... To learn how to deal with this 'fake news', I would suggest you start studying the JFK assassination, or any other ill defined tragic event, and then you might learn how to decipher the 'fake news' matrix of confusion to learn what you so desire to learn. I chose this route, because when was the last time the Establishment brokered the truth in regard to a happening such as the JFK assassination? Upon learning of what a few well written books has to say, you will then need to rely on your own brain to at least give you enough satisfaction to allow you to believe that you pretty well got it right, and there go you. In other words, the truth is out there, hiding in plain sight, and if you are persistent enough you just might find it. Good luck. ..."
Sep 18, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The NYT's Yellow Journalism on Russia September 15, 2017

Exclusive: The New York Times' descent into yellow journalism over Russia recalls the sensationalism of Hearst and Pulitzer leading to the Spanish-American War, but the risks to humanity are much greater now, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Reading The New York Times these days is like getting a daily dose of the "Two Minutes Hate" as envisioned in George Orwell's 1984, except applied to America's new/old enemy Russia. Even routine international behavior, such as Russia using fictitious names for potential adversaries during a military drill, is transformed into something weird and evil.

In the snide and alarmist style that the Times now always applies to Russia, reporter Andrew Higgins wrote – referring to a fictitious war-game "enemy" – "The country does not exist, so it has neither an army nor any real citizens, though it has acquired a feisty following of would-be patriots online. Starting on Thursday, however, the fictional state, Veishnoriya, a distillation of the Kremlin's darkest fears about the West, becomes the target of the combined military might of Russia and its ally Belarus."

This snarky front-page story in Thursday's print editions also played into the Times' larger narrative about Russia as a disseminator of "fake news." You see the Russkies are even inventing "fictional" enemies to bully. Hah-hah-hah -- The article was entitled, "Russia's War Games With Fake Enemies Cause Real Alarm."

Of course, the U.S. and its allies also conduct war games against fictitious enemies, but you wouldn't know that from reading the Times. For instance, U.S. war games in 2015 substituted five made-up states – Ariana, Atropia, Donovia, Gorgas and Limaria – for nations near the Caucasus mountains along the borders of Russia and Iran.

In earlier war games, the U.S. used both fictitious names and colors in place of actual countries. For instance, in 1981, the Reagan administration conducted "Ocean Venture" with that war-game scenario focused on a group of islands called "Amber and the Amberdines," obvious stand-ins for Grenada and the Grenadines, with "Orange" used to represent Cuba.

In those cases, the maneuvers by the powerful U.S. military were clearly intended to intimidate far weaker countries. Yet, the U.S. mainstream media did not treat those war rehearsals for what they were, implicit aggression, but rather mocked protests from the obvious targets as paranoia since we all know the U.S. would never violate international law and invade some weak country -- (As it turned out, Ocean Venture '81 was a dress rehearsal for the actual U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983.)

Yet, as far as the Times and its many imitators in the major media are concerned, there's one standard for "us" and another for Russia and other countries that "we" don't like.

Yellow Journalism

But the Times' behavior over the past several years suggests something even more sinister than biased reporting. The "newspaper of record" has slid into yellow journalism, the practice of two earlier New York newspapers – William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World – that in the 1890s manipulated facts about the crisis in Cuba to push the United States into war with Spain, a conflict that many historians say marked the beginning of America's global empire.

Except in today's instance, The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America's Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you'll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that.

At this stage, the Times doesn't even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion." The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media.

Even as neo-Nazi and ultranationalist protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police, Yanukovych signaled a willingness to compromise and ordered his police to avoid worsening violence. But compromise wasn't good enough for U.S. neocons – such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; Sen. John McCain; and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman. They had invested too much in moving Ukraine away from Russia.

Nuland put the U.S. spending at $5 billion and was caught discussing with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who should be in the new government and how to "glue" or "midwife this thing"; McCain appeared on stage urging on far-right militants; and Gershman was overseeing scores of NED projects inside Ukraine, which he had deemed the "biggest prize" and an important step in achieving an even bigger regime change in Russia, or as he put it: "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

The Putsch

So, on Feb. 20, 2014, instead of seeking peace , a sniper firing from a building controlled by anti-Yanukovych forces killed both police and protesters, touching off a day of carnage. Immediately, the Western media blamed Yanukovych. Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

Shaken by the violence, Yanukovych again tried to pacify matters by reaching a compromise -- guaranteed by France, Germany and Poland -- to relinquish some of his powers and move up an election so he could be voted out of office peacefully. He also pulled back the police.

At that juncture, the neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists spearheaded a violent putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, forcing Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives. Ignoring the agreement guaranteed by the three European nations, Nuland and the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the coup regime "legitimate."

However, ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which represented Yanukovych's electoral base, resisted the coup and turned to Russia for protection. Contrary to the Times' narrative, there was no "Russian invasion" of Crimea because Russian troops were already there as part of an agreement for its Sevastopol naval base. That's why you've never seen photos of Russian troops crashing across Ukraine's borders in tanks or splashing ashore in Crimea with an amphibious landing or descending by parachute. They were already inside Crimea.

The Crimean autonomous government also voted to undertake a referendum on whether to leave the failed Ukrainian state and to rejoin Russia, which had governed Crimea since the Eighteenth Century. In that referendum, Crimean citizens voted by some 96 percent to exit Ukraine and seek reunion with Russia, a democratic and voluntary process that the Times always calls "annexation."

The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a "Kremlin stooge" in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq's WMD in 2002-03 were called "Saddam apologists."

But what is particularly remarkable about the endless Russia-bashing is that – because it started under President Obama – it sucked in many American liberals and even some progressives. That process grew even worse when the contempt for Russia merged with the Left's revulsion over Donald Trump's election.

Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate.

The Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire U.S. news media joined the "resistance" to Trump's presidency and embraced the neocon "regime change" goal for Putin's Russia. Very few people care about the enormous risks that this "strategy" entails.

For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia.

The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn't seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism.

The Times and rest of the mainstream media are just having too much fun hating Russia and Putin to worry about the possible extermination of life on planet Earth.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

jo6pac , September 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Amerikas way of bring the big D to your nation. Death

http://www.globalresearch.ca/unknown-snipers-and-western-backed-regime-change/27904

Thanks RP for reading the times so I don't have to not that would.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for the link, I knew about the use of snipers in Venezuela '02, did not realize there were so many more.

BayouCoyote , September 18, 2017 at 11:13 am

Kinda reminds me of what our only "Ally in the ME" did to our Marines in Iraq.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIiGfUjZnbU

JWalters , September 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Bingo -- In a surely related story, the mainstream press is equally relentless in AVOIDING telling Americans the facts about Israel, and especially about its control over the American press.
"Israel lobby is never a story (for media that is in bed with the lobby)"
http://mondoweiss.net/2017/09/israel-lobby-never/

Virtually everything average Americans have been told about Israel has been, amazingly, an absolute lie. Israel was NOT victimized by powerful Arab armies. Israel overpowered and victimized a defenseless, civilian Arab population. Military analysts knew the Arab armies were in poor shape and would be unable to resist the zionist army. Muslim "citizens" of Israel do NOT have all the same rights as Jews. Israelis are NOT under threat from the indigineous Palestinians, but Palestinians are under constant threats of theft and death from the Israelis. Israel does NOT share America's most fundamental values, which rest on the principle of equal human rights for all.

How has this gigantic package of outright lies has been foisted upon the American public for so long? And how long can it continue? It turns out they did not foresee the internet, and the facts are leaking out everywhere. So it appears they're desperately coercing facebook and google to rig their rankings, trying to hide the facts. But one day soon there will be a 'snap' in the collective mind, and everybody will know that everybody knows.

For readers who haven't seen it yet,
"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror"
http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

Common Tater , September 17, 2017 at 3:48 am

JWalters
I can tell you are angry. I too was angry when I figured it out.
Long before I figured it out, I was a soldier. Our unit was prepared for an exercise and we were all sleeping at the regiment compound, the buses would arrive at zero-dark thirty. I was reading a book about the ME(this was shortly after 9-11). A friend, came up and asked what I was reading. I told him I was reading about the Balfour paper and how that had a significant effect on the ME. He began explaining to me how the zionist movement had used the idea that no one lived on that land, to force the people from that land, out of that land.
I quickly responded that Israel had defended that land against 5 Arab armies and managed to hold on to that land. I informed him he was mistaken.
He agreed to disagree, and walked away.
This happened way back in 2002 if only I could pick his mind now. How did he know about this, way back before the internet was in any shape to wake people up?
There is hope still that guys who are young as i was, will say "Fuck You I defend this line and no further."
Without their compliance, there can be no wars.

Bernard Fisher , September 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

CommonTater your story parallels mine -- I was in the military, went to Vietnam to 'defend our nation against communism', felt horror at the Zionist stories of how Palestinians rocketed them, was told by senior officer about what Zionism is really about and I, like you, disbelieved him. That was in 1974 -- -- Now, with all the troubles in the world I won't read the MSP but look towards the alternative news sources. They make more sense. But as I try to educate others on what I have learned I am as disappointed as my senior officer must have been back them. Articles such as this one reproduced by ICH are gems: I save and print them in a compendium detailing ongoing war crimes.

Common Tater , September 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Bernard Fisher
Thanks for your response.
Good Idea to save and print these "gems" on consortiumnews.
Hopefully they wake more Americans.
Cheers

michael fish , September 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Thanks Mr. Parry,
You are a voice in the hurricane of hatred and lies propagated by the richest people on the planet.
Eventually some moron who believes this new York Times garbage will actually unleash the bomb and we will all be smoke.
That has always been the result of such successful propaganda. And it is very successful. It has almost occluded any truth for the vast majority of westerners .
Michael Fish

Yomamama , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 am

Agreed. I wish this clear and comprehensive article could be stapled on every American voter's door (wanted to say forehead but violence is bad). Many would toss it in the trash. Many would not agree even with full comprehension because of their own horrid beliefs. But maybe a few would read it and have an epiphany. It's very hard work to find an avenue to change the minds of millions of people who've been inculcated by nationalist propaganda since birth. Since 4 years old seeing the wonderful National Anthem and jets fly over the stadium of their favorite sports team. Since required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school.

I refused to stand for or recite the Pledge when I was seven or eight years old. I was sent to detention. My awesome mom though intervened and afterwards I could remain seated while most or all other kids stood up to do the ritual. I refuse to stand up and place hand-on-heart and remove cap during any sporting contests when the Anthem is played. I've been threatened with physical violence by many strangers around me.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/exclusive-documents-expose-direct-us-military-intelligence-influence-on-1-800-movies-and-tv-shows-36433107c307

Thanks Mr. Parry, your voice is appreciated, your articles and logic are top-notch. Very valuable stuff, available for the curious, the skeptical. Well, until Google monopolizes search algorithms and calls this a Russian fake news site, perhaps or Congress the same

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Excellent link, Yomamama.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

My hat is off to you sir, I have not been to any sporting events since I woke up, but I imagine it would be very difficult to remain seated and hatted during the opening affirmation of nationalism. My waking up coincides with a drastic drop in sports viewing. I used to be an NFL fan, rooted for the Niners (started watching NFL in the late eighties), the last full season I followed was the 2013-14 season.

It was the Ukraine coup that woke me up. It started when watching videos on youtube of guys stomping on riot cops, using a fire hose on them like a reverse water cannon. Then I realized these guys were the peaceful protesters being talked about on t.v. It was like a thread hanging in front of me, I began pulling and pulling until the veil in front of my eyes came apart. It was during this time I discovered consortiumnews.com.

Thomas Dickinson , September 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Mr Common Tater–just appreciating reading that someone else "woke up". That is the way it has felt to me. For me it was Oct 2002 and Bush's speech that was clearly heading us to war in Iraq. The "election" (appointment) of Bush in 2000 though was the first alarm clock that I started to hear. Most recent wake up is connected to Mr Parry's relentless (I hope) and necessary debunking of the myth of Russian nastiness and corresponding myth of US rectitude. Been watching The Untold History of the United States and have been dealing with the real bedrock truth that my government invented and invents enemies as a tactic in a game–ie. it's a bunch of boys thinking foreign relationship building is first and foremost a game. It has been hard to wash away all this greasy insidious smut from my life.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Thomas Dickinson

It sucks to wake up, in a way. Once one gets past the denial, Tom Clancy novel type movies lose some of it's fun, although still entertaining. One secretly knows the audience in the cinema is just eating it all up and loving it. The American hero yells "yippie kayay mother f -- -r" as he defeats the post-Soviet Russian villain in Russia blowing up buildings, and destroying s–t as he saves the world for democracy. The Russian authorities amount to some guy in Soviet peaked hat, and long coat, begging for a bribe.

Oliver Stone's series is really good, it turns history on his head and shakes all the pennies out his pockets. Another good reporter is John Pilger, he has a long list of docs he has done over several decades.

Cheers

Homer Jay , September 16, 2017 at 5:44 pm

I have been watching that same series, about 3 episodes in. The most mind blowing part to think about is how the establishment consipired to block the nomination of the progressive Henry Wallace as a repeat VP for Roosevelt, leading instead to Harry Truman's nomination as VP, and then you know the rest of the story.

Funny how history repeated itself with the nomination of Clinton instead of Sanders. Btw, after Sanders mistakenly jumped on the Russia bashing bandwagon he was one of the few who voted against the recent sanctions being imposed against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. So yeah, I'd feel alot better with a Sanders president at this point.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Apart from the obvious Exceptionalist and Zionazi imperative to destroy Russia and China in order that God's Kingdom of 'Full Spectrum Dominance' be established across His world by his various 'Chosen People', the USA always needs an enemy. Now, more than ever, as the country crumbles into disrepair and unprecedented inequality, poverty and elite arrogance, the proles must be led to blame their plight on some Evil foreign daemon.

Only this time its no Saddam or Gaddaffi or Assad that can be easily bombed back to that Stone Age that all the non-Chosen must inhabit. This time the bullying thugs will get a, thermo-nuclear, bloody nose if they do not back off. Regretably, their egos refuse to withdraw, even in the interest of self-survival.

Paranam Kid , September 16, 2017 at 6:13 am

" It has almost occluded any truth for the vast majority of westerners."

You are so right about that, I notice it every day on other forums on which I discuss current affairs with others: the US views are the accepted ones, and I get a lot of stick for stating different views. It is actually frightening to see how few people can think for themselves.

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The American people are being systematically lied to, and they don't have a clue that it is happening. There is no awake and intelligent public to prevent what is unfolding. The worst kind of criminals are in charge of our government, media, and military. The sleeping masses are making their way down the dark mountain to the hellish outcome that awaits them.

"These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur
of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it
seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and
kissing.
I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future I should do foolishly. The beauty
of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain."

Robinson Jeffers

HopeLB , September 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Great, Dark and Accurate poem -- Thank You -- Think I'll send it to Rachel Maddow, Wapo and the NYTimes.Might do them some good. Wouldn't that be lovely.

Patrick Lucius , September 16, 2017 at 12:42 am

Which poem is that? Not Shine, perishing Republic, is it?

Thomas Dickinson , September 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Rearmament by Robinson Jeffers. I liked that a lot, too, so looked it up. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/rearmament/

Jeff Davis , September 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

Fabulous reply. Back atcha:

Dulce et Decorum Est
BY WILFRED OWEN

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas -- GAS -- Quick, boys -- -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

******************************

And this, from Bob Dylan's "Jokerman" .

Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

******************************

I love life and am by nature a cockeyed optimist, but I find myself intermittently gloomy, my optimism overwhelmed by cynicism, when I see the abundance of moronic belligerence so passionately snarled out in the comments sections across the internet. Clearly, humans are cursed with an addiction to violence For my part, I am old and will die soon and have no children, plus I live in a quiet backwater far away from the nuclear blast zone. Humanity seems on course for a major "culling". Insane and sad.

Mike Morrison , September 15, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Over three years now the war in Donbass, Ukraine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BoKj39HKls

Dr. Ando Arike , September 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm

I'd like to see more investigative reporting on the NYT's and other major media outlets' links to the CIA and other Deep State info-war bureaus. What the Times is doing now is reminiscent of the Michael Gordon-Judith Miller propaganda in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Operation Mockingbird, uncovered during the mid-70s Church Hearings, is an ongoing effort, it would seem. Revealing hard links to CIA information ops would be a great service to humanity.

SteveK9 , September 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm

After 'Michael Gordon-Judith Miller' I stopped reading the Times.

Beard681 , September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

I am amazed at how many conspiracy types there are who want to see some sort of oligarch, capitalist, zionist or deep state cabal behind it all. (That is a REALLY optimistic view of the human propensity for violent conflict.) It is just a bunch of corporate shills pushing for war (hopefully cold) because war sells newspapers.

Rich Rubenstein , September 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Robert Parry has gotten this exactly right -- I'm a regular NYTimes subscriber /-have been for years -- and I have NEVER read anything about Russia that has not been written by professional Russia-haters like Higgins. Frankly, I don't get it. What accounts for this weird and dangerous bias?

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Have you looked into who owns the NYT?

Paranam Kid , September 16, 2017 at 6:32 am

Why do you keep reading the NYT? Not only the Russia stories are heavily biased, but all their stories are. Most op-ed's about Israel/Palestine are written by zealous pro-Israel/pro-Zionists, against very few pro-Palestine people.

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:07 am

The Trans-Atlantic Empire of banking cartels rest upon enmity with the only other Great Powers in the World: Russia and China, while keeping USA thoroughly within their orbit, relying on our Great Power as the engine that powers this Western Bankers' Empire (the steering room lies in City-of-London, who has LONG maneuvered, via their Wall Street assets, to bring us into Empire). Should peaceful, cooperative and productive relations break out between USA, Russia, and China, this would undermine everything the Western Empire has worked to build.

THIS is why the phony Russiagate issue is flogged to get rid of Trump (who seeks cooperation with Russia and China), AND keeping Russia as "The Enemy", keeping the MIC, Intel community, various police-state ops, in high demand for "National Security" reasons (also positioned to foil any democratic uprisings, should they see past the progs daily curtain and see their plight).

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Progs=propaganda stupid iPad.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Here in Aust-failure I read the papers for many years until they became TOO repulsive, particularly the Murdoch hate and fear-mongering rags. I also, and still do, masochistically listen to the Government ABC and SBS. In all those years I really cannot recall any articles or programs that reported on Russia or China in a positive manner, save when Yeltsin, a true hero to all our fakestream media, was in charge. That sort of uniformity of opinion, over generations, is almost admirable. And the necessity to ALWAYS follow the Imperial US ('Our great and powerful friend') line leads to some deficiencies in the quality of the personnel employed, as I one again reflected upon the other day when one hackette referred to (The Evil, of course)Kim Jong-un as 'President Un', several times.

Jeff Davis , September 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm

"What accounts for this weird and dangerous bias?"

Several points:

The Russian -- formerly Commie -- -- boogieman is a profit center for the military, their industrial suppliers, and the political class. That's the major factor. But also, the Zionist project requires a bulked up US military "tasked" with "full spectrum" military dominance -- the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the American jackboot on the world's throat forever -- to insure the eternal protection of Israel. Largely unseen in this Israeli/Zionist factor is the thousand-year-old blood feud between the Jews and Russians. They are ancient enemies since the founding of Czarist Russia. No amount of time or modernity can diminish the passion of that animus. (I suspect that the Zionist aim to "destroy" Russia will eventually backfire and lead instead to the destruction of Israel, but really, we shouldn't talk about that.)

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 6:26 pm

The richest man in the world has the controlling interest in the NYT. Draw your own conclusions.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/mexican-billionaire-carlos-slim-becomes-top-owner-of-new-york-times/

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:36 am

Mexico, ground zero for the world fascist movement in the 20s and 30s (going by name Synarchy Internationale still does) throuout Ibero-America, centered in PAN. The Spanish-speaking World had to contend with Franco, and Salazar being in power so long in the respective "Mother Countries" of the Iberian Peninsula. This was the main trail for the ratlines to travel.

I saw a dead coyote on the side of the road the other day. I know you know what that means to me, Mike. Omens are a lost art in these modern times, and I have no expertise in these matters, but it struck my attention hard. It was on the right side of the road: trouble for Trump coming from The Right? They are more potent than the ineffective Left, so this might be the way Trump is pulled down.

Sfomarco , September 16, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Carlos Slim (f/k/a Salim)

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Yes, but who bankrolls Slim?

Stiv , September 15, 2017 at 6:51 pm

I wouldn't even need to read this to know what's going to be said. After the last article from Parry, which was very good and interesting .plowing new ground for him he's back to rehashing the same old shit. Not that it's necessarily wrong, only been said about a hundred times. Yawn

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:46 am

After months of so many people pointing out how and why the "Russia stole the election" claim is false, it came roaring back (in liberal media) in recent days. It demands a response.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:26 am

No one is required to read anything on CN.

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

RP brought lots of new things into play in his article and showed how they mesh together and support one another "against Trump." I almost skipped it because so familiar with the topic, but RP brought new light to the subject, in my humble opinion.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I do not need to read or watch established "news" media to know what's going to be said. After the last b.s. story from the usual talking heads which was low brow and insulting to the intelligence of the audience, they are back at it again same ol'shit by the same talking heads. It is most definitely wrong, and it needs to be countered as much as possible not yawning.

Gregory Herr , September 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm

That's what struck me just how absurdly insulting will the Times get?

And I think the point that trying to destabilize the Russian Federation may very well bring about a more militant hardline Russia is important to stress.

anon , September 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

"Stiv" is a troll who makes this junk comment every time. Better to ignore him.

Colin , September 18, 2017 at 11:54 am

Were you planning to contribute anything useful to the discussion?

SteveK9 , September 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I always wonder what motivation the accusers believe you have when they call you a 'Putin stooge'. Why would you be one? Are you getting paid? Of course not, so this is just a judgment on your part. They could call you a fool, but accuse you of 'carrying water for the Kremlin' as I heard that execrable creature, Adam Schiff say to Tucker Carlson? That just makes no sense. Of course, none of it is rational.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:38 pm

They're insane. A crumbling Empire which was supposed to rule the world forever, 'Under God' through Full Spectrum Dominance, but which, in fact, is disintegrating under its own moral, intellectual and spiritual rottenness, is bound to produce hate-crazed zealots looking for foreign scape-goats. Add the rage of the Clintonbots whose propaganda had told then for months that the She-Devil would crush the carnival-huckster, and her vicious post-defeat campaign to drive for war with Russia (what a truly Evil creature she is)and you get this hysteria. Interestingly, 'hysteria' is the word used to describe Bibi Nutty-yahoo, the USA's de facto 'capo di tutti capi', in Sochi recently when Putin refused to follow orders.

David Grace , September 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm

I have another theory I'd like to get reviewed. These are corporate wars, and not aimed at the stability of nations. It is claimed that in 1991, at the fall of the Soviet Union, the oligarchs were created by the massive purchasing of the assets of the collapsing nation. The CIA was said to have put together a 'bond issue' worth some $480 Billion, and it was used to buy farms, factories, mineral rights and other formerly common holdings of the USSR. This 'bond issue' was never repaid to the US taxpayers, and the deeds are in the hands of various oligarchs. Not all of the oligarchs are tied to the CIA, as there were other wells of purchasers of the country, but the ties to Trump are actually ties to dirty CIA or other organized crime entities.

The NY Times may be trying to capture certain assets for certain clients, and their editorial policy reflects this.

I'd appreciate feedback on this.

Thanks,
David

David Grace , September 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

There are many on-line videos on this theme. Searching 'Black Eagle Trust' is one form. Here is one link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhBZJEqoe0A

stephen sivonda , September 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm

David Grace . what have we here, a thinking man? I like your premise, and I haven't even watched the link you supplied. That being said, I'll sign off and investigate that link.

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:39 am

Conspiracy theories upon conspiracy theories, ensuring that the public will never be able to root out the facts. People still argue about the Kennedy assassination 54 years later.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm

There is no rational 'argument' about what really happened to JFK.

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Most conspiracy theories are fantasy fiction. If you have real evidence, based on verifiable facts, then it's not a theory any more. But most of the conspiracy theories popular in the USA just serve popular vanity. We never have to accept our mistakes, our crimes against humanity, etc. It's always THEIR fault.

We Americans over all are like small children, always making excuses.

mark , September 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Some of the material on the Black Eagle Trust are suspect. It gives figures for stolen Japanese war loot, for example, that are simply ludicrous. Figures of so many thousand tons of gold, for example, when the references should probably be to OUNCES of gold.

RBHoughton , September 15, 2017 at 8:03 pm

One sniper in Ukraine overthrew the democratic government. Previously one sniper in Dallas overthrew another democratic government. Are there any other examples?

Is our infatuation with democracy just a propaganda thing – to fool citizens into supposing they have value beyond their labour?

AshenLight , September 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm

> Is our infatuation with democracy just a propaganda thing – to fool citizens into supposing they have value beyond their labour?

It's about control -- those who know they are slaves will resist and fight, but those who mistakenly believe they are free will not (and if you give them even just a little comfort, they'll tenaciously defend their own enslavement). It turns out this "inverted totalitarianism" thing works a lot better than the old-fashioned kind.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:19 am

Indeed. Gurdjieff told the tale of a farmer whose sheep were always wandering off due to his being unable to afford fences to keep them in. Then he had an idea, and called them all together. He told some of them they were eagles, and others lions etc. They were now so proud of their new identities that it never occurred to them anymore to escape from their master's small domain.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

MLK is another example, as is Robert Kennedy.

Anna , September 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The American patriots are coming out: "CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHbrOg092G That would be the end of the Lobby, mega oilmen and the FedReserve criminals

mark , September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Yes, snipers on rooftops in Deraa, southern Syria, in 2011. These mysterious figures fired into crowds, deliberately targeting women and young children to inflame the crowd. At the same time the same snipers killed 7 police officers. Unarmed police had been sent in to deal with unrest without bloodshed. These police officers were armed only with batons.

This is a standard page from the CIA playbook. The mysterious snipers in Maidan Square in 2014 are believed to have been Yugoslavian mercenaries hired by the CIA

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

The US has had oligarchy since 1789.

BobH , September 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

We all have some kind of a bias but fortunately most of us here know the difference between bias and propaganda. Bias based on facts and our own values is often constructive but the N.Y. Times(like most msm) has descended into disseminating insidious propaganda. Unfortunately the search for truth requires a bit more research and time than most people are willing to invest. Thankfully, Robert Parry continues his quest but the dragons are not easy to slay. My own quest for truth once led to a philosophical essay. The cartoon at the bottom(SH Chambers) sums it up.
https://crivellistreetchronicle.blogspot.com/2016/07/truth-elusive-concept.html

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:13 am

I put a comment on your blog.

BobH , September 16, 2017 at 11:15 am

Mike, thanks so much, I'll look forward to reading it(so far, I don't see it Moderation?)

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

If we have a bias towards honesty, that helps. It keeps one's mind more open and provides a willingness to entertain various points of view. It's not naivete, however, but thoughtful consideration coupled with awareness and that protects one from being easily manipulated. But then, oppositely, there's a human tendency to want to be popular which inclines one towards groupthink. But why that so entrenches itself, making people impervious to truth, is a conundrum -- Maybe if the "why" can be answered, the "how" will become apparent -- how to reach individuals with the truth as so oft told, though hard on the ears, at CN.

Jacob Leyva , September 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm

So what do you think of the Russia-Facebook dealings? When will we get an article on that?

Fuzzy , September 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

Really? You think this is important?

http://davidswanson.org/warlist/?link_id=3&can_id=ed31bf4cbc8f991980718b21b49ca26d&source=email-how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928-2&email_referrer=email_232560&email_subject=how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928

John , September 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm

The Russian /Iranian vs the Ashkenazi has been going on for many, many years ..The USA is to a large extent controlled by the Ashkenazi / Zionist agenda which literally owns most of the MSM outlets .Agendas must be announced through propaganda to sway the sleeping public toward conformity .The only baffling question that remains is why do Americans allow Zionist to control such a large part of their great republic ?

Art , September 16, 2017 at 1:43 am

Robert, you come from intelligence. Why don't you look at Russia-gate from all possible angles?
I suggest the following. Putin is an American spy. Russia-gate is created to make him a winner, a hero.
And the specious confrontation is a good cover for Putin.
This is in a nutshell.
I can obviously say mu-uch more.

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Throughout 2017, we've seen a surge of efforts by both parties -- via the media that serve them -- to build support for a final nuclear war. The focus jumps from rattling war sabers at China (via Korea, at the moment) to rattling them at Russia, two nuclear-armed world powers. This has been working to bring Russia and China together, resolving their years of conflict in view of a potential world threat -- the US. Whatever their delusions, and regardless of their ideology, our political leaders are setting the stage for the deaths of millions of us, and the utter destruction of the US.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:59 am

Our political leaders have betrayed us.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Thermo-nuclear war would cause human extinction, not just billions of casualties.

Jim Glover , September 16, 2017 at 3:15 am

It is the same now with North Korea and China. So what would happen if those nations were destabilized by Sanctions or worse Russia, China Iran and more would support Kim. How to make peace?

Dennis Rodman has the guts to suggest call and talk with Kim or "Try it you might like it better than total mutual destruction". Think Love and Peace it can't hurt like all the war, hate and fear the media keeps pushing for advertising profits. War and Fear is the biggest racket on the planet. What can I do? Fighting a losing battle but it is fun tryin' to win.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

We may be losing now, but who knows? It ain't over till it's over. Hang in there.

GMC , September 16, 2017 at 3:20 am

Great article- again . I used to live in the US, I used to live in Alaska, I used to live in Crimea, Ukraine but now I live in Crimea, Russia and Smolensk, Ru. I watched this all go down but it took awhile to see the entire picture. I seldom get any more emails from the states – even my brother doesn't get it. They think I'm now a " commie" , I guess. I see it as the last big gasp of hot, dangerous air from an Empire -- Exposed. Unfortunately, its not over yet and maybe we/you will have more bad times ahead. Crimea this summer is doing well with much work going on – from the badly needed new infrastructure to the new bridge, the people are much better off than in Ukraine. They made the right choice in returning to Mother Russia even though it was a no-brainer for them. The world is lucky to have free writers like, Parry, Roberts, Vltchek, Pepe', the Saker and the intelligent commenters are as important as the writers in spreading the Pravda. Spacibo Mr. Parry

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

Thanks for sharing with us GMC. And good luck to you.

ranney , September 16, 2017 at 4:22 am

YES -- -- -- -- -- Yes to all that you wrote Robert -- Thank you again for writing clearly and saying what obviously needs to be said, but no one else will. We've been down this road before -i.e. the media pulling us into wars of Empire – first the Spanish- American one, then a bunch of others working up to Viet Nam, and then Iraq. Each one gets worse and now we're reaching for a nuclear one. Keep writing; your voice gives some of us hope that just maybe others will join in and stop the media from their constant "messages of hate" and the urging of the public to a suicidal conflagration.

Joe Tedesky , September 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

The funny thing about living through the 'fake news' era, is that now everyone thinks that their news source is the correct news source. Many believe that outside of the individual everyone else reads or listens too 'fake news'. It's like all of a sudden no one has credibility, yet everyone may have it, depending on what news source you subscribe to. I mean there's almost no way of knowing what the truth is, because everyone is claiming that they are getting their news from reputable news outlets, but some or many aren't, and who are the reputable news sources, if you don't mind my asking you this just for the record?

Come to think of it, the 'fake news' theme is brilliant considering that now we have no bench mark for what the truth is, and by not having that bench mark for the truth we all go our separate ways believing what we believe, because certainly my news source is the only truthful one, and your news source is beyond questionable of how the news should be reported.

People read headlines, but hardly do they ever read the article. Many hear news sound bites, but never do they do the research required, in order to verify the stories accuracy. Hear say works even more to rain in the clouds of mass deception. Then there are those who sort of buy whatever it is the established news outlets are selling based on their belief that it doesn't much matter anyway, because 'the establishment' lies to us all the time as a rule, so what's the big deal to keep up on the news, because it's all obviously one big lie isn't it? So not only do we have irresponsible news journalist, we also have a very large number of a monopolized unqualified news gatherers who must accept what the various news agencies report, regardless of what the truth may be. It's better the Establishment keep it this way, because then the Establishment has better control over the 'mob grabbing the pitchforks and sickles' and crying out justice for somebody's head. It's kind of like job security for the Establishment, but in their case it's more like a 'keeping your elitist head' security, if you know what I mean.

To learn how to deal with this 'fake news', I would suggest you start studying the JFK assassination, or any other ill defined tragic event, and then you might learn how to decipher the 'fake news' matrix of confusion to learn what you so desire to learn. I chose this route, because when was the last time the Establishment brokered the truth in regard to a happening such as the JFK assassination? Upon learning of what a few well written books has to say, you will then need to rely on your own brain to at least give you enough satisfaction to allow you to believe that you pretty well got it right, and there go you. In other words, the truth is out there, hiding in plain sight, and if you are persistent enough you just might find it. Good luck.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 11:29 am

The truth has never been that easy to find Joe. Actually all the beyond obvious propaganda on the MSM might wake some people up to do the searching necessary to get closer to what is really happening in their world. Maybe the liars have finally overplayed their hand? Or are we the people really that dumb? (I am scared to hear the answer to that one -- )

Joe Tedesky , September 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I could be a wise guy, and say to you 'or so you say' in reply to your kind comment, but then that would make me a troll.

All I'm saying mike is that in this era of 'fake news' we are all running about on different levels, and never shall the two of us meet. That is unless you and I get our news from the same source, but what are the odds of all of us getting the same news? It's impossible, and I'm not quite that sure that that would be what we want either. Still without an objective, and honest large media to set the correct narrative we end up in this place, where you might find yourself doing a spread sheet study to come to some conclusion of what is true, and what isn't.

Case in point, read about Russia-Gate here on consortiumnews, and then go listen to Rachel Maddow report on the same thing. Two different sets of stories. Just try and reconcile what you read on sites like this one concerning Ukraine, then go watch MSNBC or CNN. Never a match. So you mike read consortiumnews, and your in laws read the NYT and watch CNN, and there you go, a controversy arises between you and the in laws and with that life goes on, but where is the correct news to be found to settle the score?

Once upon a time the established news agencies such as CNN, and the NYT, were the hallmark of the news, and sites such as this one were the ones on the edge, now I'm convinced this conviction has reversed itself.

Thanks mike for the reply. Joe

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 9:07 am

Wouldn't it be hilarious mike, if the dumbed down people attacked the Bastille under false pretense? Especially if the lie had been concocted by the blinded by their own hubris sitting powers to be. Talk about poetic justice, and well placed irony. Priceless --

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Joe, Apparently people take the easy way out. And that's just it -- "the way out." Extinction -- Maybe they haven't learned there's something worth learning about and living for. I'm gonna concentrate on that. Open eyes that they might see

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 8:08 am

You are right Virginia, it is probably 'a way out', and God bless them for it. My late Mother was like that, but I'll tell you why. When my Mother was growing up in a family of eleven children, her father would rent out their street level basement to the voting polls. A block away my uncle who was quite older than my Mother owned a corner saloon. Now on Election Day my Mother said how the men in suits would pull up in their big expensive cars, and they would descend upon my uncles corner bar. Soon after one by one drunks would come out of the tavern wearing Republican buttons then they would go into grandpap's basement voting booth, and vote. Not long after my Mom said, the same drunks would come pouring out of my uncles tavern and this time they were wearing Democratic buttons, and they would go vote once or as many times as it would take to thank the big guys in the suits for the free drinks. My Mom said this went on all day. She said a lot dead people voted whether they knew it or not, and that's the truth. She would follow up by saying, 'yeah a lot of politicians won on the drunk vote'.

So Virginia some can't take the decept and lying, and with that they give up. I myself don't feel this way, but then there are the times I can't help but think of how my dear sweet Mother probably did have it right for the sake of living your life in the most upright and honest way. Sadly, there is no virtue in politics, or so it seems.

Oh yeah, that uncle who owned the corner saloon, he did go into politics holding nominee appointed positions, until he got wise and got a honest job, as he would jokingly say.

For the record my Mother did vote, but she was the lady standing in line who looked reluctant and pissed off to be there, but never the less my Mum was a voter. Oh, the candidate my Mother loved the most was JFK. John F Kennedy's was the only presidential picture my Mother ever hung in our humble home.

My message here, was only meant to give some cover, and an explanation for those who shy away from politics, and not an excuse to stay uninvolved. For even my non political Mum did at least in the end break down, and do the right thing. We should all at least try, and keep up on the events of our time, and vote with the best intentions we can muster up.

Okay, I'm sorry for the length of my reply, but you are always worth taking time for me to give a reasonable answer to. I also hope I'm entertaining with these stories I seem to tell from time to time. Take care Virginia. Joe

Tannenhouser , September 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Humans are approximately 90% water, give or take depending on evaporation (Age). Water always takes the path of least resistance. Oh I wish and hope for the day when most realize they are much more than 'just' water:)

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The fakestream media lies incessantly, and has for generations. Chomsky and Herman's 'Manufacturing Consent' outlines the propaganda role of the 'mass media', and is twenty-five years old, in which period things have gotten MUCH worse (just look at the fate of the UK 'Guardian' for an example). Yet the fakestream presstitutes STILL have the unmitigated gall to call others 'fake' and demand that we believe their unbelievable narratives. That's real chutzpah.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

You know Mulga you are correct, many generations have listened to many, many, lies upon their way to the voting booths. It goes without saying, how the aristocrats when they find it necessary, as they often do find it necessary, they lie to their flock for a whole host of reasons. Why we could pick anytime in history, and find out where lies have paved the way to a leaders greater conquest, or a leaders said greater conquest if not met with defeat, but never the less the public was used to propel some leaders wishes onward and upward whether for the good or the bad.

But here we are Mulga, you and the rest of us here, straddling on the fence over what might be right to what possibly could be wrong. Without a responsible press you and us Mulga need to learn from each other. Like when comment posters leave links, that's always been something good for me to follow through on.

We live in a unique time, but a time not that unique, as much as it is our time. Our great, great, grandparents were straddling the same fence, and I'm guessing they too relied on each other to navigate there way through the twisting maze of politics, and basically what they all wanted, was a little peace on earth. So Mulga I also guess that you and we the people are just carrying on a tradition that us common folk have been assigned too continue.

Like reading your comments Mulga, good to see you here. Joe

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Fake news has always been common. Critical thinking has never been popular because Occam's Razor might slice your favorite story to shreds. Personally, I give full credence to few things in life, but suspect many more, to some degree. I trust my own experiences more than what I read in the media and try to reject conventional wisdom as much as possible.

Herman , September 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

Observing Putin's behavior, you have to be impressed with his continue willingness to extend the olive branch and to seek a reasonable settlement of differences. His language always leaves open the possibility of détente with the understanding that Russia is not going to lay down to be run over. On the contrary, the language of Obama and Trump, and their representatives is consistently take it or leave and engaging in school yard insults of Russia, Putin, Lavrov and others. We have consistently played the bully in the school yard encouraging others to join in the bullying. We talk about the corrosive discourse at home, but observe the discourse in foreign affairs. Trump and his associates are guilty, but slick talking Obama and his subordinates was often worse. .As has so often been said, we have only two arrows in our foreign affairs quiver, war and sanctions. We lack the imagination and will to actually engage in civil discussions with those on our enemies' list.

Parry is of course correct in his opinion of the New York Times but it doesn't stop there, only that the New York Times undeservedly is the "newspaper of record." His citing of Orwell is on the mark. Just turn your TV on for the news and see for yourself.

Dave P. , September 16, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Very well said, Herman. Very true.

Patricia Victour , September 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

I don't subscribe to the NYT for this reason, and it is galling to me that our local rag, "The Santa Fe New Mexican," while featuring excellent local coverage for the most part, gets all it's "national" news from the likes of the NYT, WaPo, and AP. These stories, much of it "fake news" in my opinion, are offered as gospel by the "New Mexican", with no journalistic effort to print opposing views. People I know seem so proud of themselves that they subscribe to "The Times," and I don't even dare try to point out to them that they are being duped and propagandized into believing the most outrageous (and dangerous) crap.

To add another dimension, these sources are so jealous of their position as the ultimate word on what Americans are to believe, and also so worried about their waning influence, that now RT and Sputnik, both Russia-sponsored news outlets, may be forced to register as "foreign agents" in the U.S. I am not familiar with Sputnik, but I have been watching RT on TV for several years and find it to be an excellent source of national and foreign news. Stories I see first on RT are usually confirmed soon after by other reliable sources, such as this excellent site – Consortiumnews. At no point did I feel I was being coerced by Russia during the 2016 election – I needed no confirmation that both Trump and Clinton were probably the worst candidates ever to run for President.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

You know what I find interesting is how a reporter such as Robert Parry will pinpoint his details to a critique of say the NYT, but when or if a NYTer is to write a likewise article of the Alternative Internet Press the NYTer will just simply critique their internet rival as a 'conspiracy theorist' or as now as in 2017 they refer to them as 'fake news artist'. I mean no rebuttal back referencing certain details such as what Parry mentioned, but just rhetorical words written over tabloid written headlines finalized under the heading of 'fake news'. This must be being taught in journalism school these days, because it's popular in the MSM.

Just like you have never heard or read from the MSM a detailed answered rebuttal to the pointed questions of say the '911 Truthers' or a 'JFK Assassination Researcher' a valid bona fide answer. No, but you do hear the masters and mistresses of the corporate media world call writers such as Parry, Roberts, and St Clair, 'fake newscasters', 'Putin Puppets', and or a whole host of other nasty names, as they feel fit to write, but never a honest too goodness rebuttal. Then they talk about Trump not sounding or acting presidential hmm the nerve of these wordsmiths.

BTW, I don't care much for Trump, and I even care less for our MSM. Just wanted to get that straight.

Nice comment Patricia. Joe

hatedbyu , September 16, 2017 at 10:57 am

let's not forget about the nytimes grossly negligent reporting on syria and libya. judith miller? russian doping scandal. lying about the holdomor . man i could do this all day ..

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 10:12 am

You mean the on air hours of punditry explaining away their professions mistakes, or the honest rebuttal? It's at those particular times and occurrences of ignored self reflection our honorable (not) MSM falls back on Orwell's 1984. Like it never happened. The dog didn't eat no home work, because there never was a dog, nor was there any homework .stupid us. Life goes on uninterrupted and non commercial time can be filled with an update on Bill Cosby's past alleged sexual predator attacks, and this is our professional news casting doing its best to entertain us, not inform us god forbid, but entertain us the ignorant masses of their workless society.

One day hatedbyu the ignorant masses may just show the corporate infotainment duchess and dudes that they 'the people' ain't so ignorant, and things must change. Well at least that's the dream, but it's still a work in progress, and then there's the historical seesaw.

I think it's the power of empire to expand, just like a balloon, until it reaches it's bursting point. But just what that bursting point is, is without a doubt the most disputable of arguments to be made. I am coming to the belief we are, as always, continually getting to that point, and we may of course be very close to igniting that spark in the not so far off future. I would prefer the spark to be completely financial, and dealt with accordingly, but I'm a dreamer purest and a conspiracy theorist, so that means when the crap starts going down, I'll be the old man on the hill lighting up a big fat doobie cue soundtrack 'Fool On the Hill'.

Sorry just had to get carried away, but it's Sunday morning hatedbyu and I'm home alone and nobody's trying to break in .. Good comment hatedbyu. Joe

Stephen J. , September 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

A Compilation Not seen in Corporate Media: See Link Below:
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US Wars and Hostile Actions: A List
By David Swanson

http://davidswanson.org/warlist/?link_id=3&can_id=ed31bf4cbc8f991980718b21b49ca26d&source=email-how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928-2&email_referrer=email_232560&email_subject=how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928

Bob Van Noy , September 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Stephen J. Thank you for introducing me to David Swanson. Great link.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 11:29 am

Im with you on that Bob, Stephen J providing the Swanson link should be a must read, to keep things fair and balanced. I also do wonder if Swanson's message isn't getting out there, and we all don't already know it? I'm a glass half full kind of guy, but what do we really know about each other, other than what the corporate media instills on us? I wish cable news would air a program made up of Swanson, Pilger, and Parry, for that at least could put some well needed balance finality back, if it ever was there in the first place, back into the public narrative .but there go I.

Good to see you Bob. Joe

Hank , September 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

The deep state sticks with what works: controlling the media keeps the masses ignorant and malleable. "Remember the Maine"
Germans are bayoneting Belgium babies and "remember the Lusitania" , some evidence shows higher ups knew the Japanese fleet was 400 miles from Hawaii, recall "Tonkin Gulf" episode, Iran Contra , invasion of Granada, Panama, and of course 911 and war on terror, patriot act, weapons of mass destruction, and Russia hacking the election. The masses "believe" these to be true and react and respond accordingly.

"
"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."

–Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Thanks Hank. Same ole same ole, eh? When will we ever learn?

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

"Trump might well go down in history of the President who screwed-up a historical opportunity to really change our entire planet for the better and who, instead, by his abject lack of courage and honor, his total lack of political and diplomatic education and by his groveling subservience to the "swamp" he had promised to drain ended up being as pathetically clueless as Obama was." (The Saker)

My sentiments exactly.

Voytenko , September 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

What a glaring lie this article is, its' author being either "useful idiot" played by Kremlin, or maybe not so much of an idiot. What are you talking about here in comments, those who applaud this article, this bunch of lies? You live in Ukraine, you know anything about that so-called "putch"? How dare you to insult the whole nation – Ukrainian nation? Shame on you, people. You don't know (author of the article including) anything about Russia, Ukraine and that bloody Putin, but you have problems with the US and its' politics. US are your business, Ukraine definitely not. Find some other examples of NYT and USA malfeasance, some you know something about. Stop insulting other nations.

anon , September 17, 2017 at 9:53 am

You are not from Ukraine, and you care not for Ukraine, or you would seek unity not dominance of East over West Ukraine. Tell us about your life in Ukraine, and show us the evidence of "that bloody Putin."

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Yellow journalism now employs "open source and social media investigation" scams foisted by Eliot Higgins and the Bellingcat disinformation site.

Bellingcat is allied with the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two principal mainstream media organs for "regime change" propaganda, via the First Draft Coalition "partner network".

In a triumph of Orwellian Newspeak, this Google-sponsored "post-Truth" Propaganda 3.0 coalition declares that member organizations will "work together to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process".

The New York Times routinely hacks up Bellingcat "reports" and pretends they're "verification"

Malachy Browne, "Senior Story Producer" at the New York Times, cited Bellingcat to embellish the media "story" about the Khan Shaykhun chemical incident in Idlib Syria.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/insider/the-times-uses-forensic-mapping-to-verify-a-syrian-chemical-attack.html

Before joining the Times, Browne was an editor at "social news and marketing agency" Storyful and at Reported. ly, the "social reporting" arm of Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media.

Browne generously "supplemented" his "reporting" on the Khan Shaykun incident with "videos gathered by the journalist Eliot Higgins and the social media news agency Storyful".

Browne encouraged Times readers to participate in the Bellingcat-style "verification" charade: "Find a computer, get on Google Earth and match what you see in the video to the streets and buildings"

Browne of Storyful and Higgins of Bellingcat are founding members of the Google-funded "First Draft" coalition.

Browne demonstrates how the NYT and other "First Draft" coalition media outlets use video to "strengthen" their "storytelling".

In 2016, the NYT video department hired Browne and Andrew Glazer. a senior producer on the team that launched VICE News, to help "enhance" the "reporting" at the Times.

Browne represents the Times' effort to package its dubious "reporting" using the Storyful marketing strategy of "building trust, loyalty, and revenue with insight and emotionally driven content" wedded with Bellingcat style "digital forensics" scams.

In other words, we should expect the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, UK Guardian, and all the other "First Draft" coalition media "partners" to barrage us more Bellingcat / Atlantic Council-style Facebook and YouTube video mashups, crazy fun with Google Earth, and Twitter campaigns.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Thanks Abe. Sounds like these guys all read 1984, and decided it was just the thing for 2017 Amerika.

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

"Our investigation debunks the claims"

Browne keeps the April 2017 NYT video positioned at the top of his Twitter feed
https://twitter.com/malachybrowne/status/857290743068721152

Obviously Browne is proud of the "investigation" even though merely shared a "story" fed to him by Higgins' Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council .

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Higgins and Bellingcat receives direct funding from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) founded by business magnate George Soros, and from Google's Digital News Initiatives (DNI).

Google's 2017 DNI Fund Annual Report describes Higgins as "a world–leading expert in news verification".

Higgins claims the DNI funding "allowed us to push this to the next level".
https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/news/case-study-codifying-social-conflict-data/

In their zeal to propagate the story of Higgins as a courageous former "unemployed man" now busy independently "Codifying social conflict data", Google neglects to mention Higgins' role as a "research fellow" for the NATO-funded Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank.

Despite their claims of "independent journalism", Eliot Higgins and the team of disinformation operatives at Bellingcat depend on the Atlantic Council to promote their "online investigatio