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May 26, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Paul, May 25, 2015 at 11:49 pmThe premise that the West must be losing is a bit simplistic. If you made a list of perhaps ten goals that powerful Western groups may have had in this Ukrainian project, how many have been achieved?karl1haushofer, May 26, 2015 at 2:02 am
- For example, one goal was to destroy businesses (and the military-industrial complex) that were oriented towards Russia. That has surely been largely achieved.
- Another goal was to radicalize the Ukrainian population against Russia. That has largely happened, as the TV says Russia stole the Crimea and is sending terrorists and bandits into the country. Look at all the banditry in the LPR.
- Another goal was to stress the Russian military with having to respond to too many problems in a short period of time, which may be relevant if and when the West hits on several fronts at once.
- Finally, the bankruptcy and transfer of the country from Ukrainian oligarchs to Western corporations is about to begin. Doubt Russia can stop that.
Not denying that Putin and his circle have survived, and that the Russian economy is in better shape than most expected, but we should try to think long and hard about the pros and cons of the Kremlin's approaches.
They surely screwed things up in the Ukraine over the last ten years. Approximately zero soft power in a place that it should have been straightforward to create.
People have been writing novels and articles for a long time about how the West could gin up a war in the Ukraine to start an attack on Russia or otherwise break the establishment in Moscow. It was fairly obvious.I'm afraid the West would like to start wars in multiple fronts at the same time making it very hard for Russia to respond.Pavlo Svolochenko, May 26, 2015 at 2:17 am
- Kiev would start a major offensive against Donetsk and Lugansk.
- Transdnistria is currently blockaded by Moldova and Ukraine with no food supplies allowed to pass. Moldovan military operation might follow and Russia would be mostly unable to respond by other means than missile strikes against Moldova which Russia under extremely cautious Putin would never do.
- Azerbaijan would launch an offensive against Armenia in Nagarno-Karabakh. Russia lacks common border with Armenia so Russia's options would again be limited.
- Albanian proxies, supported and trained by the West, would start military and terrorist attacks against Macedonian authorities.
- NATO would start to bomb Syrian military and capital to oust and kill Assad.
- Georgia might start another military operation against South Ossetia in parallel with others if it thinks Russia is too preoccupied to respond.
- NATO-funded and -trained Islamic militants would attack authorities in Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
If the West could pull all this through at the same time Russia would be forced to either capitulate on most fronts or start a major war. Russia could not answer to these threats with conventional ways so the options for Russia would be to use nuclear weapons or accept a major geopolitical defeat.Yes, 'If'.et Al , May 26, 2015 at 6:12 am
- Georgia and Azerbaijan are not likely to cooperate, Ukraine's offensive capability is minimal, the Americans are not any more eager to attack Syria than they were two years ago, and the Islamist threat to Central Asia is presently contained.
- The Moldovan army is not capable of defeating Transdnistria by itself, so victory would require NATO troops to join in the attack. And if it comes to the point where NATO is willing to directly assault Russian forces, then there's no reason to hold back anyway.Here's my take for what it is worth:Paul, May 26, 2015 at 8:37 am
The West plays the short game, so initially it may look like they have achieved much, much like their foreign policy successes at first, which then turn out to be disasters with the West reduced to firefighting.
1: ..destroy businesses (and the military-industrial complex) that were oriented towards Russia. This has not succeeded. It has without doubt caused problems and will affect some Russian military effectiveness in the short term, but no. For example, though some products were actually made in the Ukraine, many of those businesses contracted out the production of components to Russia.
2: ..radicalize the Ukrainian population against Russia. True, but again a very short term achievement. Food on plates and jobs don't grow on trees. What we do have is the ones in the middle who gravitated to the traditional Russophobes, aka swing voters, but things are only going to get worse in the Ukraine and the Nazi junta cannot deliver. Those swing voter will swing the other way, not a Russia love in, but a pragmatic middle ground. That is where they started.
3: Another goal was to stress the Russian military..What evidence is there of this? Apart from quite a number of massive snap military exercises that Russia has pulled off and impressed even the Russo-skeptic military crowd at RUSI and other MIX fronts, it is quite efficient to fly 50 year old Tu-95 bombers around Europe wearing out expensive western military equipment that will need to be replaced much sooner now than later. All those austerity plans that call for holding off on major defense spending in Europe are messed up. Money going in to weapons is money going away from jobs and the economy. Ukraine's rocket cooperation with Brazil is dead (now switched to Russia) and also with other partners. So far the US has not actively banned commercial satellites from being launched from Russian rockets, but the US cannot get its billion dollar spy sats in to space without Russian rocket engines. No-one has yet pulled the plug
NATO is not going to do anything apart from make as much noise and fearmaking as possible. It's one thing to scream and shout, its another to drop their trousers. It is quite the paper tiger. The USAF is set to rapidly shrink according to their own admission. The F-35 is designed to replace 5 aircraft hubris or what? The F-15, F16, AV-8B, A-10 & the F-18. It's a pig of an aircraft that will perform those missions worse, in most cases, than those designed in the late 1960s early 1970s. The American military industrial complex has screwed itself in a bid to make more money! Their space programs are not exactly brilliant either.
4: the bankruptcy and transfer of the country from Ukrainian oligarchs to Western corporations is about to begin. [The transfer of property to Western corporations is] Almost inevitable, but there are several factors at play here. Western investors will have to deliver rather than just asset strip and run; domestic political repercussions will be huge at least in the medium to long term.
This is exactly what almost happened to Russia and then look how things turned out. Ukraine is of course a different case and the West will certainly try and manage it to their advantage, but it won't work if it is not for sustained profit. Either way it is the West to whom the Ukrainian citizen will pay tribute, for a long long long time. This is long before we throw any legal questions in to the mix. Whoever is in power now will pay the political price in future sooner or later. All Russia needs to do is be fair and reasonable and step in at the right moment.
As to Moscow screwing up the Ukraine over the last ten years, I think that may be a bit harsh. Sometimes the best option is to keep your hand out of the viper's nest and do nothing as much as possible, only intervening when critical.
Part of the problem with western politics and the Pork Pie News Networks of the last 25 years is the we must do something now mentality. Let's put it this way, you go in to hospital for a non-critical undiagnosed condition. Would you a) want to have the tests done and the best course of action chosen with your consent, or b) panic & be rushed to the operating theater so that they can just have a look around?
To be honest, Western foreign policy has rarely been panicked, but is always exploitative. If the opportunity arises, it will jump in having prepared the PPNN to scream that something must be done.
In short, as it is written on the cover of the good book, DON'T PANIC!No panic here. Just my opinion that the Kremlin needs to study how the ex-Soviet sphere has played out and deal with things like NGOs and educational, cultural, and media matters. The science of mind manipulation has made great progress over the last century. It is a big mistake to just deal on an oligarchic level. Ukrainians have a legitimate gripe that their country is insanely corrupt and they can easily blame Moscow. That being the case, measures needed to be taken. And not creating any semblance of a pro-Russian political or intellectual class was similarly stupid.et Al, May 26, 2015 at 9:35 am
As for my view that NATO wants to stress Russia, well, I suppose it comes down to your Weltanschauung. I think the US has to take Russia down to some degree, even if it is just smashing Syria. You aren't a superpower if someone can get away with things like grabbing the Crimea without paying a cost. Plus, Russia provides China with protection till China can develop a decent military. So the US has a limited amount of time before locking things up. Call it the Wolfowitz Doctrine if that is your preferred way of looking at it.
If I am right that the US has to tie Russia up, the logical way is to create as many problems on the periphery as possible. Could be Georgia; could be Central Asia; could be Transnistria. What would be your advice to those in US think tanks who are trying to keep domination of the world? What would be a good strategy? And, for what it is worth, I wouldn't take the problems with certain fighters to mean the US hasn't got great technology in its black projects. That is where all the money and technology have gone for the last 30 years. Do you really think the US would struggle to get to the Moon now and did it in 1969? Be serious all technology is tremendously better today.
As for Ukrainians losing their anti-Russian religion, well, perhaps. But as long as Russia occupies the Crimea, that could take a long time. My bet is the anti-Russian sentiment will last a lot longer than the Ukraine does.Regardless of the think tanks, one thing the US can no longer ignore is their pocket. That's where to hit them. Even Osama Bin Laden understood this and was his primary goal to cause the US to over-extend itself politically & financially.marknesop, May 26, 2015 at 7:38 am
The US want to do more but it can't do it the old expensive way it has less means but it wants to achieve more. Something has to give. The US has barely started addressing the problem. That's even before we consider the move of some oil trading out of the US dollar.
And what of the growing number of home grown jihadists that all NATO's wars have created? For all their support by western foreign policy to undermine Russia, it's a monster that will bite anyone and is increasingly looking at the West. As others have written before me, does the West want a reliable partner in Russia whilst it is under threat of jihadism or another big problem on their plate they can't quite manage?
I have no doubt that the US has been trying to tie up Russia, but it is just more frenetic than before, the main planks of NATO enlargement (and weakening) resolved, but the rest has gone a bit wrong. The West is growing increasingly desperate and is trying all sorts of things to undermine Russia, but it could be much, much worse from a sanctions point of view. Level heads in the West understand that trying to pull the rug out completely from under Russia is a massive risk and one they are very careful in making.
As for their wonder-weapons, the US cannot afford enough of them or make them cheap enough for their allies to buy in sufficient numbers. It is much easier and cheaper to upgrade the sensors and missiles on a SAM system than to design and bring to production standard a brand new wonder-weapon. The old days of easily blinding air-defenses are almost over when you can have a lot of cheap distributed sensors providing the information, passively & actively. The countermeasure is a lot cheaper.
In al, Money Money Money and every passing day the US has less to leverage and has to spread it far and wide:
Western corporations will only plunder the country if they can get a return on their investment, and except in the case of what they can strip from it like the black earth and take away, that does not seem very likely to me. However, I would agree, and have done since some time ago, that the west's biggest success was turning Ukraine and Russia into enemies.Paul, May 26, 2015 at 8:20 am
NATO has not quite given up trying to turn Ukraine into a prosperous western democracy within its own orbit, but the enormity of the task and the hidden factors that make it so is beginning to dawn and enthusiasm in Europe is well on the wane, remaining strong only in Washington which does not have to do much of anything but manage.
I think it is clear to Brussels and Washington that Moscow will see Ukraine destroyed and a failed state before it will allow it to be a NATO satellite snuggled up against its southwestern borders. The part that NATO is having trouble with is getting Russia to destroy it, so that it will be in the minds of Ukrainians for generations who did this to them.
NATO is running a steady propaganda campaign about Russian aggression, but I don't know how well that is actually selling outside Galicia, while it must be clear to a lot of Ukrainians what a failure the promise of western largesse was.That's all reasonable, though it is hard to believe that there isn't a lot more than just some black earth to expropriate.marknesop, May 26, 2015 at 10:17 am
My limited knowledge of the situation inside the Ukraine is that a lot of Ukrainians do blame Russia. Why not? That is what the TV says. It is very hard to get someone to admit he made a mistake.That's true enough, and it appears there has always been a certain amount of hostility to Russia west of the Dneipr, so they perhaps did not need too much coaxing. My main point in rubbing the west's nose around in it is not that they have conclusively lost, because it is indeed early days to make such a judgement, but that it has not won easily as it bragged it would do.Pavlo Svolochenko, May 26, 2015 at 1:57 am
The country it said it would confidently bat aside in its confident stroll to victory has not only weathered western attempts to crush its economy and put in place safeguards which will hurt western business opportunities in future, it has strengthened a powerful alliance with Asia and garnered considerable international sympathy, which implies increased hostility toward the west. Meanwhile, the country the west bragged it would snatch from Russia's orbit and make a model of a prosperous western democracy is miserable, poor and angry.
The west does a poor job of managing expectations generally, and it has done abysmally this time around. It has no intention of curbing oligarchs in Ukraine and little interest beyond lip service in genuine reform in Ukraine. For their part, Europe should proceed cautiously with plans to integrate Ukraine more closely, because it is plain that the interest of Ukraine's oligarchs in such a course is to broaden their opportunities for stealing and increasing their wealth.
There are plenty of opportunities for the west to steal Ukraine blind, but few that involve a product or entity that the west can buy, remove and sell somewhere else. Many such opportunities rely on western interests taking over Ukrainian businesses and asset-stripping them like crazy; however, the main buyer in many cases would be Russia, which has no interest in making western businesses rich, or other western buyers who would have to take over and run a Ukrainian business in a very uncertain environment in which its biggest market is Russia.karl1haushofer, May 26, 2015 at 2:07 am
A copypaste from Auslander (formelry of MPnet), originally from Saker's blog:
"This is not the first time such atrocities [the mutilated rebel prisoner] have happened in this conflict and it will not be the last.
The Trade Union Building on maidan square was found to be full of the burned remains of Berkut prisoners chained to the batteries and pipes after right sector set the building on fire. The Berkut were burned alive, left to their fate in the very two floors that right sector called their own during the maidan debacle.
The Trade Union Building in Odessa also had people burned alive, the total death toll there was almost 300. The sub basement was a charnel house of corpses including women and children. I know the official death toll and I know the real death toll. We also lost a friend in that atrocity, not in the building but at the far end of the square, beaten to death because he was walking home from work at the wrong place and the wrong time. Why was he beaten to death? He had a speech impediment and when he got nervous he literally could not talk. Since he could not say 'salo yucrane' 5 right sector boys beat him to death in broad daylight.
Over 200 citizens were killed in Mariupol the following weekend, shot down or burned to death in Militsiya HQ. In this incident at least a few of the perpetrators were destroyed in an ambush by Opolchensya as Opelchensya were leaving the city, ordered out as they were too few to defend the berg.
The killings of innocents and not so innocents have been ongoing since the beginning and well before the beginning of the conflict that let to what is now Novorossiya. One can not morally justify killing all the UAF because of the acts of a relative few, but you can rest assured that documentations are being kept for all who can be identified as committing either individual or mass atrocities.
To expand on the documentations a tiny bit, do you think all those artillerists who when captured to a man scream that they did not know they were bombarding and killing thousands of our civilians are believed? Not hardly. They knowingly committed crimes and they will pay for their crimes. Do you think all those 'people' who commit atrocities and then post photos of the atrocities and openly brag about them on social media will walk away unscathed? Again, no hardly. Do you think we don't know who was and is abducting young women and even
girl children for their use and then killed and discarded them like less than animals? They are known.
I can go on for reams but you get the idea. These are crimes being committed by a relative few of UAF, and for the record anyone fighting for Ukraine against Novorossiya is a member of UAF, their military unit does not matter. In the end justice will be done, by the law and with due legal process where possible. Where not possible, justice will still be done. Justice, like revenge, is a dish best served cold.
As for those few of you who are still aghast at the total and deafening silence from USEU over these ongoing atrocities and crimes, I urge you to forget any chance of anything being said about we untermenschen being slaughtered by those civilized denizens of USEU. It is not going to happen so stop complaining about it. Never forget, never forgive, always remember, but don't complain, it's useless."Auslander is living in a denial. The perps of these crimes will never face any punishment because there is nobody to carry out such punishments. Novorossiya is a tiny portion of Ukraine and the rest is ruled by the Kiev thugs. Novorossiya can never reach the criminals there.Pavlo Svolochenko, May 26, 2015 at 2:11 amNever is a strong word.karl1haushofer , May 26, 2015 at 2:22 amWell, in their lifetime anyway. Russia will not invade and Novorossiya is currently limited to defending their land against Kiev attacks unable to even liberate Sloviasnk and Mariupol. And it would be against the nature of Russia (or NAF) to send partizans to kill the perps in Kiev or Lvov. Russians simply do not behave that way nowadays.kat kan, May 26, 2015 at 4:54 amHe says "In the end justice will be done, by the law and with due legal process where possible. Where not possible, justice will still be done. Justice, like revenge, is a dish best served cold."marknesop , May 26, 2015 at 7:45 am
I do believe various people involved in Odessa have disappeared or turned up. Dead. Some have had to go to ground. Some have "died" under unbelievable circumstances, but their new name will probably still have the same face. The biggest obstacle will be all this wearing of masks, but with more recent atrocities, where they are garrisoned in the cities for months, they'd be known anyway..
The spirit of Novorossiya will be expanding (not yet). Things may slowly go back towards normal. But fully normal it can never be, while murderers and torturers walk free by the hundreds. It is going to be a very long headache for Ukraine.I wonder if he has any substantiation for those numbers. Some sources have always said that hundreds more died in the Trade Unions building in Odessa than were ever officially acknowledged, but I don't recall hearing about anyone dying in the Trade Unions building on Maidan, and I thought the death toll in Mariupol was just a few police (not to make it sound like that's nothing) rather than hundreds. And I follow the situation in Ukraine fairly closely this would not even register on those who get all their news from CNN.Moscow Exile, May 26, 2015 at 6:02 amFrom the Brain-Dead Centre of the International Community:Lyttenburgh, May 26, 2015 at 12:27 pm
- russians are very friendly people this story is all fake
- Yeah! And we'll kill anyone who disagrees!
- Russians ARE the blacks of europe. (no offense to russians, blacks, or eurpeans ofc)
- The scariest white people are Americans who make fictional Russian accentsActually it was my net-acquaintances from Serbia and Bulgaria who were arguing with each other who is more deserving the title of "niggers of Europe". Serbian guy was winning, using the ultimate proof that Tupak is alive in SerbiaTim Owen, May 26, 2015 at 2:03 pmYeah that's laughable. On the other handPavlo Svolochenko, May 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm
The election of Poland's new president spells big problems for Ukraine. The issue is "de-heroization" of OUN-UPA militants whom Ukraine just recently granted the status of the liberators of Europe from fascism. But unlike Komorowski, who forgave the Ukrainian heroes the Volhyn Massacre in which the Banderites slaughtered over 200 thousand Poles, the conservative Duda does not intend to sacrifice his principles.
Of course J Hawk's take is probably on the money. J.Hawk's Comment:
Not so fast. I'm not so sure that Duda wants to do any of the things described above. One of the major reasons Duda won is the defection of the rural voters, whose average income declined by 14% in 2014 in large measure due to Russian food embargo. Since Duda knows on which side his bread is buttered (no pun intended), deep down he also realizes the importance of that embargo lifting. His UPA criticism may well be only an excuse, a pretext to allow himself to maneuver out of his election campaign pro-Ukraine position while saving face. Because, ultimately, what is the likelihood that the Rada will actually pass a law that "de-heroizes" UPA to a sufficient degree? And even if it does, will Bandera monuments start disappearing from Lvov and other parts of Western Ukraine?This is so. A state must have myth and Ukraine has already rejected the Soviet myth. Junk the Bandera myth as well, and what is left? 'Slava Ukraini' hasn't been brilliantly effective in motivating Ukrainians to fight, but would they have done better with a slogan like 'for the preservation of ill-gotten capital!'?
Mar 31, 2015 | The National Interest
The OSCE reported that the main railway station in the city was shelled on March 25, and a visit to it the day after showed that to be so. Rebel tanks could be seen participating in exercises on the rural outskirts of Donetsk on the 26th. The sound of sporadic artillery fire could be heard in the city's centrally located Leninsky District well into the early hours of the 27th.
The mood among many in Donetsk-noncombatants as well as rebel fighters who comprise what is known as the Army of Novorossiya-indicates little interest in a rapprochement with Kiev. This is, given the conditions of the city after nearly a full year of war, rather understandable. Many bitterly complain of Kiev's chosen moniker for the military campaign it is waging against the separatist fighters, the "Anti-Terrorist Operation." Ordinary citizens and combatants alike view it as an attempt to dehumanize them as a whole by grouping the entire population of the region in with likes of ISIS.
Interactions with several rebel rank-and-files and a briefing from two rebel officers reveal even less of an appetite for a way back into the Ukrainian fold. As one senior officer put it: "Ukraine is dead. It was killed on May 2 in Odessa." Questions regarding Russian involvement were met with scoffs-though one did admit that "[their] Russian brothers" did provide food supplies to the area.
... ... ...
Interestingly, the rebels seem to have a similar mindset to those U.S. Congressmen who overwhelmingly voted to supply Kiev with lethal military aid last week: that the remilitarization of the conflict is simply inevitable. One rebel commander said that he expects Kiev to launch a new major offensive "within a week" and added, matter-of-factly: "We are ready." And ready, he claims, for the long haul.
... ... ...
Yet it seems that the Washington establishment's (though, interestingly, it seems not the president's) preferred policy choice is to send lethal aid to Kiev because it is believed, no doubt sincerely, that a supply of javelin anti-tank missiles will somehow increase the number of Russian fatalities to such an extent that public opinion would turn against Putin-thereby forcing him to back down.
This is nothing more than a fantasy dressed up as a strategy because it attributes little to no agency on the part of the rebel fighters or, for that matter, the area's noncombatants. The simple, undeniable fact is that even if Russia was to be persuaded-via sanctions or via a significant uptick in military casualties - to wash its hands of the region, there is almost no chance that the indigenous military forces in the region would simply melt away. What is continuing to unfold in the Donbass - despite repeated protestations from Kiev's representatives in Washington - is a civil war between two groups with diametrically opposed visions for the future of their country. It is a civil war that also-given that each side has enormously powerful supporters-poses a genuinely grave risk to global security.
James Carden is a contributing editor for The National Interest.
Wow! Who is allowed to publish this article in the Western free press? Who allowed the journalist of National Interest go to Moscow and to Donetsk!? And what about the story about invisible Russian army? :-))) James Carden is real hero! :-))) Western press need 1 year for understanding of simple things...
Imba > Igor
Psst, don't scare them with your sarcasm. I'm sure author feels like a pioneer on Wild West, while writing such articles. You can scare him away and we will have to read again dull and boring articles about invasions, annexation, tattered economy, moscovites eating hedgehogs and so on.
Please respect him ;)
Dima Lauri > Imba
I am sure authors who does not accept the version of Washington will be soon labeled by "Putin troll", "Payed KGB agent", "Drunk/Stupid" or whatever verbal distortion.
a good article for a change. the Ukraine coup engineered by Washington was the worst event of Obama's administration, and may perhaps turn out to be worse that Bush jr's invasion of Iraq. Washington simply wants a war, cold or hot, to disconnect Europe from Russia. hopefully Europe, especially Germany and france, will rebel against Washington policy like they did the Chinese bank, averting a war among nuclear powers. but the issue is currently in doubt.
May 09, 2015 | NYTimes.com
Reprinted from May 07, 2015 article at Salon.comAs of mid-April, when a Pentagon flack announced it in Kiev, and as barely reported in American media, U.S. troops are now operating openly in Ukraine.
Now there is a lead I have long dreaded writing but suspected from the first that one day I would. Do not take a moment to think about this. Take many moments. We all need to. We find ourselves in grave circumstances this spring.
At first I thought I had written what newspaper people call a double-barreled lead: American soldiers in Ukraine, American media not saying much about it. Two facts.
Wrong. There is one fact now, and it is this: Americans are being led blindfolded very near the brink of war with Russia.
One cannot predict there will be one. And, of course, right-thinking people hope things will never come to one. In March, President Obama dismissed any such idea as if to suggest it was silly. "They're not interested in a military confrontation with us," Obama said of the Russians-wisely. Then he added, unwisely: "We don't need a war."
Don't need a war to get what done, Mr. President? This is our question. Then this one: Washington is going to stop at exactly what as it manipulates its latest set of puppets in disadvantaged countries, this time pretending there is absolutely nothing thoughtless or miscalculated about doing so on Russia's historically sensitive western border?
The pose of American innocence, tatty and tiresome in the best of times, is getting dangerous once again.
The source of worry now is that we do not have an answer to the second question. The project is plain: Advance NATO the rest of the way through Eastern Europe, probably with the intent of eventually destabilizing Moscow. The stooges now installed in Kiev are getting everything ready for the corporations eager to exploit Ukrainian resources and labor.
And our policy cliques are willing to go all the way to war for this? As of mid-April, when the 173rd Airborne Brigade started arriving in Ukraine, it looks as if we are on notice in this respect.
In the past there were a few vague mentions of an American military presence in Ukraine that was to be in place by this spring, if I recall correctly. These would have been last autumn. By then, there were also reports, unconfirmed, that some troops and a lot of spooks were already there as advisers but not acknowledged.Then in mid-March President Poroshenko introduced a bill authorizing-as required by law-foreign troops to operate on Ukrainian soil. There was revealing detail, according to Russia Insider, a free-standing website in Moscow founded and run by Charles Bausman, an American with an uncanny ability to gather and publish pertinent information.
"According to the draft law, Ukraine plans three Ukrainian-American command post exercises, Fearless Guardian 2015, Sea Breeze 2015 and Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015," the publication reported, "and two Ukrainian-Polish exercises, Secure Skies 2015, and Law and Order 2015, for this year."
This is a lot of dry-run maneuvering, if you ask me. Poroshenko's law allows for up to 1,000 American troops to participate in each of these exercises, alongside an equal number of Ukrainian "National Guardsmen," and we will insist on the quotation marks when referring to this gruesome lot, about whom more in a minute.
Take a deep breath and consider that 1,000 American folks, as Obama will surely get around to calling them, are conducting military drills with troops drawn partly from Nazi and crypto-Nazi paramilitary groups . Sorry, I cannot add anything more to this paragraph. Speechless.
It was a month to the day after Poroshenko's bill went to parliament that the Pentagon spokesman in Kiev announced-to a room empty of American correspondents, we are to assume-that troops from the 173rd Airborne were just then arriving to train none other than "National Guardsmen." This training includes "classes in war-fighting functions," as the operations officer, Maj. Jose Mendez, blandly put it at the time.
The spokesman's number was "about 300," and I never like "about" when these people are describing deployments. This is how it always begins, we will all recall. The American presence in Vietnam began with a handful of advisers who arrived in September 1950. (Remember MAAG, the Military Assistance Advisory Group?)
Part of me still thinks war with Russia seems a far-fetched proposition. But here's the thing: It is even more far-fetched to deny the gravity of this moment for all its horrific, playing-with-fire potential.
I am getting on to apoplectic as to the American media's abject irresponsibility in not covering this stuff adequately. To leave these events unreported is outright lying by omission. Nobody's news judgment can be so bad as to argue this is not a story.
Last December, John Pilger, the noted Australian journalist now in London, said in a speech that the Ukraine crisis had become the most extreme news blackout he had seen his entire career. I agree and now need no more proof as to whether it is a matter of intent or ineptitude. (Now that I think of it, it is both in many cases.)
To cross the "i"s and dot the "t"s, as I prefer to do, the Times did make two mentions of the American troops. One was the day of the announcement, a brief piece on an inside page, datelined Washington. Here we get our code word for this caper: It will be "modest" in every mention.
The second was in an April 23 story by Michael Gordon, the State Department correspondent. The head was, "Putin Bolsters His Forces Near Ukraine, U.S. Says." Read the thing here.
The story line is a doozy: Putin-not "the Russians" or "Moscow," of course-is again behaving aggressively by amassing troops-how many, exactly where and how we know is never explained-along his border with Ukraine. Inside his border, that is. This is the story. This is what we mean by aggression these days.
In the sixth paragraph we get this: "Last week, Russia charged that a modest program to train Ukraine's national guard that 300 American troops are carrying out in western Ukraine could 'destabilize the situation.'" Apoplectically speaking: Goddamn it, there is nothing modest about U.S. troops operating on Ukrainian soil, and it is self-evidently destabilizing. It is an obvious provocation, a point the policy cliques in Washington cannot have missed.
At this point, I do not see how anyone can stand against the argument-mine for some time-that Putin has shown exemplary restraint in this crisis. In a reversal of roles and hemispheres, Washington would have a lot more than air defense systems and troops of whatever number on the border in question.
The Times coverage of Ukraine, to continue briefly in this line, starts to remind me of something I.F. Stone once said about the Washington Post: The fun of reading it, the honored man observed, is that you never know where you'll find a page one story.
In the Times' case, you never know if you will find it at all.
Have you read much about the wave of political assassinations that erupted in Kiev in mid-April? Worry not. No one else has either-not in American media. Not a word in the Times.
The number my sources give me, and I cannot confirm it, is a dozen so far-12 to 13 to be precise. On the record, we have 10 who can be named and identified as political allies of Viktor Yanukovych, the president ousted last year, opponents of a drastic rupture in Ukraine's historic relations to Russia, people who favored marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of the Nazis-death-deserving idea, this-and critics of the new regime's corruptions and dependence on violent far-right extremists.
These were all highly visible politicians, parliamentarians and journalists. They have been murdered by small groups of these extremists, according to reports readily available in non-American media. In my read, the killers may have the same semi-official ties to government that the paramilitary death squads in 1970s Argentina-famously recognizable in their Ford Falcons-had with Videla and the colonels.
The Poroshenko government contrives to assign Russia the blame, but one can safely ignore this. Extreme right members of parliament have been more to the point. After a prominent editor named Oles Buzyna was fatally shot outside his home several weeks ago, a lawmaker named Boris Filatov told colleagues, "One more piece of shit has been eliminated." From another named Irina Farion, this: Death will neutralize the dirt this shit has spilled. Such people go to history's sewers."
Kindly place, Kiev's parliament under this new crowd. Washington must be proud, having backed yet another right-wing, anti-democratic, rights-trampling regime that does what it says.
And our media must be silent, of course. It can be no other way. Gutless hacks: You bet I am angry.
* * *
I end this week's column with a tribute.
A moment of observance, any kind, for William Pfaff, who died at 86 in Paris late last week. The appreciative obituary by the Times' Marlise Simons is here.
Pfaff was the most sophisticated foreign affairs commentator of the 20th century's second half and the first 15 years of this one. He was a great influence among colleagues (myself included) and put countless readers in a lot of places in the picture over many decades. He was a vigorous opponent of American adventurism abroad, consistent and reasoned even as resistance to both grew in his later years. By the time he was finished he was published and read far more outside America than in it.
Pfaff was a conservative man in some respects, which is not uncommon among America's American critics. In this I put him in the file with Henry Steele Commager, C. Vann Woodward, William Appleman Williams, and among those writing now, Andrew Bacevich. He was not a scholar, as these writers were or are, supporting a point I have long made: Not all intellectuals are scholars, and not all scholars are intellectuals.
Pfaff's books will live on and I commend them: "Barbarian Sentiments," "The Wrath of Nations," "The Bullet's Song," and his last, "The Irony of Manifest Destiny," are the ones on my shelf.
Farewell from a friend, Bill.
Patrick Smith is the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century." He was the International Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote "Letter from Tokyo" for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist. More Patrick L. Smith.
May 09, 2015 | antiwar.comPresident Barack Obama's decision to join other Western leaders in snubbing Russia's weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe looks more like pouting than statesmanship, especially in the context of the U.S. mainstream media's recent anti-historical effort to downplay Russia's crucial role in defeating Nazism.
Though designed to isolate Russia because it had the audacity to object to the Western-engineered coup d'ιtat in Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014, this snub of Russia's President Vladimir Putin like the economic sanctions against Russia is likely to backfire on the U.S. and its European allies by strengthening ties between Russia and the emerging Asian giants of China and India.
Notably, the dignitaries who will show up at this important commemoration include the presidents of China and India, representing a huge chunk of humanity, who came to show respect for the time seven decades ago when the inhumanity of the Nazi regime was defeated largely by Russia's stanching the advance of Hitler's armies, at a cost of 20 to 30 million lives.
Obama's boycott is part of a crass attempt to belittle Russia and to cram history itself into an anti-Putin, anti-Russian alternative narrative. It is difficult to see how Obama and his friends could have come up with a pettier and more gratuitous insult to the Russian people.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel caught between Washington's demand to "isolate" Russia over the Ukraine crisis and her country's historic guilt in the slaughter of so many Russians plans to show up a day late to place a wreath at a memorial for the war dead.
But Obama, in his childish display of temper, will look rather small to those who know the history of the Allied victory in World War II. If it were not for the Red Army's costly victories against the German invaders, particularly the tide-turning battle at Stalingrad in 1943-1944, the prospects for the later D-Day victory in Normandy in June 1944 and the subsequent defeat of Adolf Hitler would have been much more difficult if not impossible.
Yet, the current Russia-bashing in Washington and the mainstream U.S. media overrides these historical truths. For instance, a New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar on Friday begins: "The Russian version of Hitler's defeat emphasizes the enormous, unrivaled sacrifices made by the Soviet people to end World War II " But that's not the "Russian version"; that's the history.
For its part, the Washington Post chose to run an Associated Press story out of Moscow reporting: "A state-of-the-art Russian tank on Thursday ground to a halt during the final Victory Day rehearsal. After an attempt to tow it failed, the T-14 rolled away under its own steam 15 minutes later." (Subtext: Ha, ha! Russia's newest tank gets stuck on Red Square! Ha, ha!).
This juvenile approach to pretty much everything that's important - not just U.S.-Russia relations - has now become the rule. From the U.S. government to the major U.S. media, it's as if the "cool kids" line up in matching fashions creating a gauntlet to demean and ridicule whoever the outcast of the day is. And anyone who doesn't go along becomes an additional target of abuse.
That has been the storyline for the Ukraine crisis throughout 2014 and into 2015. Everyone must agree that Putin provoked all the trouble as part of some Hitler-like ambition to conquer much of eastern Europe and rebuild a Russian empire. If you don't make the obligatory denunciations of "Russian aggression," you are called a "Putin apologist" or "Putin bootlicker."
Distorting the History
So, the evidence-based history of the Western-sponsored coup in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, must be forgotten or covered up. Indeed, about a year after the events, the New York Times published a major "investigative" article that ignored all the facts of a U.S.-backed coup in declaring there was no coup.
The Times didn't even mention the notorious, intercepted phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in early February 2014 in which Nuland was handpicking the future leaders, including her remark "Yats is the guy," a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who after the coup quickly became prime minister. [See Consortiumnews.com's "NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine."]
Even George Friedman, the president of the Washington-Establishment-friendly think-tank STRATFOR, has said publicly in late 2014: "Russia calls the events that took place at the beginning of this year a coup d'ιtat organized by the United States. And it truly was the most blatant coup in history."
Beyond simply ignoring facts, the U.S. mainstream media has juggled the time line to make Putin's reaction to the coup and the threat it posed to the Russian naval base in Crimea appear to be, instead, evidence of his instigation of the already unfolding conflict.
For example, in a "we-told-you-so" headline on March 9, the Washington Post declared: "Putin had early plan to annex Crimea." Then, quoting AP, the Post reported that Putin himself had just disclosed "a secret meeting with officials in February 2014 Putin said that after the meeting he told the security chiefs that they would be 'obliged to start working to return Crimea to Russia.' He said the meeting was held Feb. 23, 2014, almost a month before a referendum in Crimea that Moscow has said was the basis for annexing the region."
So there! Gotcha! Russian aggression! But what the Post neglected to remind readers was that the U.S.-backed coup had occurred on Feb. 22 and that Putin has consistently said that a key factor in his actions toward Crimea came from Russian fears that NATO would claim the historic naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, representing a strategic threat to his country.
Putin also knew from opinion polls that most of the people of Crimea favored reunification with Russia, a reality that was underscored by the March referendum in which some 96 percent voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia.
But there was not one scintilla of reliable evidence that Putin intended to annex Crimea before he felt his hand forced by the putsch in Kiev. The political reality was that no Russian leader could afford to take the risk that Russia's only warm-water naval base might switch to new NATO management. If top U.S. officials did not realize that when they were pushing the coup in early 2014, they know little about Russian strategic concerns or simply didn't care.
Last fall, John Mearsheimer, a pre-eminent political science professor at the University of Chicago, stunned those who had been misled by the anti-Russian propaganda when he placed an article in the Very-Establishment journal Foreign Affairs entitled "Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault."
You did not know that such an article was published? Chalk that up to the fact that the mainstream media pretty much ignored it. Mearsheimer said this was the first time he encountered such widespread media silence on an article of such importance.
The Sole Indispensable Country
Much of this American tendency to disdain other nations' concerns, fears and points of pride go back to the Washington Establishment's dogma that special rules or (perhaps more accurately) no rules govern U.S. behavior abroad American exceptionalism. This arrogant concept, which puts the United States above all other nations like some Olympic god looking down on mere mortals, is often invoked by Obama and other leading U.S. politicians.
That off-putting point has not been missed by Putin even as he has sought to cooperate with Obama and the United States. On Sept. 11, 2013, a week after Putin bailed Obama out, enabling him to avoid a new war on Syria by persuading Syria to surrender its chemical weapons, Putin wrote in an op-ed published by the New York Times that he appreciated the fact that "My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust."
Putin added, though, "I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism," adding: "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
More recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov drove home this point in the context of World War II. This week, addressing a meeting to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe, Lavrov included a pointed warning: "Today as never before it is important not to forget the lessons of that catastrophe and the terrible consequences that spring from faith in one's own exceptionalism."
The irony is that as the cameras pan the various world leaders in the Red Square reviewing stand on Saturday, Obama's absence will send a message that the United States has little appreciation for the sacrifice of the Russian people in bearing the brunt and breaking the back of Hitler's conquering armies. It is as if Obama is saying that the "exceptional" United States didn't need anyone's help to win World War II.
President Franklin Roosevelt was much wiser, understanding that it took extraordinary teamwork to defeat Nazism in the 1940s, which is why he considered the Soviet Union a most important military ally. President Obama is sending a very different message, a haughty disdain for the kind of global cooperation which succeeded in ridding the world of Adolf Hitler.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA's main directorates.
kirill, April 3, 2015 at 6:11 amUkraine will be a consolidated fascist state without an economy. Right. It was mentioned elsewhere that the only thing keeping the regime in power is the war. It sure isn't the economy. But eventually the economic decline will break the bubble.et Al, April 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm
The vast majority of the Maidan supporters were expecting some sort of welfare bonanza "when they joined the EU" after signing the association agreement. Instead they are experiencing impoverishment.
So this ridiculous delusion is going to break down. But delusions are very resilient things.I think there is a fair chance it will be the equivalent of an european Afghanistan. In a sense it already is with various oligarchs controlling bits of territory and sort of cooperating in Kiev. Elections are not much more than a Afghan Jirga.marknesop, April 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm
Still, it is interesting to see Russia play the long game, the latest being a $285 three month gas contract with Kiev. When the Ukraine finally implodes, Russia can clearly point out how it could have pulled the plug at any time it wanted but it didn't because it has the best interests of its closest neighbor in mind. It also sets a benchmark for all the promises from the EU and US to be compared to, the latter far more likely to creatively reinterpret supposedly solid agreements than Russia especially if Kiev doesn't sing from the same hymnbook 200%. It is also a warning to Berlin and the EU we pull the plug and it's all yours baby!Yes, the people of Ukraine will never stand for this ridiculous substitution a goose-stepping Nazi police state in place of the cushy streets-paved-with-gold paradise they were led to expect in exchange for their support for Maidan and the coup. They would probably put up with anything if it meant widespread prosperity, but they are indisputably much worse off now than they were prior to The Great Ukrainian Leap Forward and the trend is remorselessly downward for at least another year even the IMF forecasts a considerably worse contraction of a further 10% rather than the 6% it forecast earlier. And that's with the most lipstick The New Atlanticist a relentlessly pro-western publication whose current headlines include Wesley Clark's prediction of a Russian Spring offensive, the manifestly ridiculous contention that "Putin's war against Ukraine" has had the effect of uniting Ukrainians, and Russia's paranoid fantasies about the west representing a threat are all in its head can put on it. Moreover, there is likely to be zero growth in 2016 as well. That assessment probably assumes certain realities that do not now exist, such as Kiev bringing the east back under its thumb, rather than it slipping further from its control and perhaps even expanding its territory.
Apr 03, 2015 | offguardian
Life News reports:
About two and a half thousand Ukrainians surrounded the US embassy in Kiev on the first of April. People who disagree with the appointment of foreigners to the Ukrainian government, as well as the intervention of the Americans and Europeans in the public administration of the country, holding banners saying "We are not cattle!" And they made sounds imitating animals.
Besides the protesters braying and bleating, they were eating cabbage, which was distributed by the organizers of the protest.
They also kept two-meter carrots with the symbols of the European Union. By the end of the demonstration of dissent Kiev residents pelted the US embassy with manure.
It is noteworthy that the video from the protest was removed from all the Ukrainian sites and users were blocked. Local journalists hardly covered the event.
Mar 01, 2015 | moonofalabama.org
The U.S. is circumventing its own proclaimed policy of not delivering weapons to Ukraine and is thereby, despite urgent misgivings from its European allies, increasing the chance of a wider catastrophic war in Europe.
The Ukrainian coup president Poroshenko went to an international arms exhibition in Dubai. There he met the U.S. chief military weapon salesman.ABU DHABI Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to meet with U.S. defense companies Tuesday during a major arms exhibition here even though the American government has not cleared the firms to sell Kiev lethal weapons.
Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's acquisition executive is scheduled to meet with a Ukrainian delegation Monday evening, however Poroshenko is not expected to be there. Kendall, in an interview, said he will be bringing a message of support from the United States.
"I expect the conversation will be about their needs," Kendall told Defense One a few hours before the meeting. "We're limited at this point in time in terms of what we're able to provide them, but where we can be supportive, we want to be."
Poroshenko, urged on by his neocon U.S. sponsors, wants total war with Russia. Porosheko's deputy foreign minister, currently on a visit in Canada, relayed the message:Ukraine's deputy foreign minister says he is preparing for "full-scale war" against Russia and wants Canada to help by supplying lethal weapons and the training to use them.
Vadym Prystaiko, who until last fall was Ukraine's ambassador to Canada, says the world must not be afraid of joining Ukraine in the fight against a nuclear power.
In the mind of these folks waging a "full-scale war" against a nuclear superpower like Russia is nothing to be afraid of. These are truly lunatics.
Russia says that U.S. weapons delivered to Ukraine would create real trouble. They mean it. To hint how Russia would counter such a move it just offered a spiced up S-300 missile defense system to Iran:Sergei Chemezov, chief executive of the Russian defense corporation Rostec, said Tehran is considering its offer to sell an Antey-2500 anti-ballistic air defense system,
The Antey-2500 is a mobile surface-to-air missile system that offers enhanced combat capabilities, including the destruction of aircraft and ballistic missiles at a range of about 1,500 miles, according to its manufacturer, Almaz-Antey.
The system was developed from a less advanced version -- the 1980s-generation S-300V system -- which has a 125-mile range. A 2007 contract to supply the S-300 system to Iran was canceled in 2010, after the U.S. and Israel lobbied against it, ...
Such a system in Iran would, in case of a conflict, endanger every U.S. airplane in the Middle East.
But that threat did not deter the U.S. As the U.S. arms dealer in Abu Dhabi said: "where we can be supportive, we want to be". The U.S. will now disguise its arms-to-Kiev program by laundering it through its sponsored Middle East dictatorships:Christopher Miller @ChristopherJM
Poroshenko, UAE agree on "delivery of certain types of armaments and military hardware to #Ukraine."
The United Arab Emirates is not known as arms producer. But it buys lots of U.S. weapons. It will now forward those to Ukraine while the U.S. will claim that it does not arm Ukraine. Who do they think will believe them?
This is again a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Ukraine by U.S. machinations. It comes at the same moment that Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine meet in Paris to push for faster implementation of the Minsk 2 accord for a ceasefire and for a political solution of the civil war in Ukraine:On Monday spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Yevhen Perebyinis said that during their Paris meeting, the foursome of foreign ministers will focus on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and withdrawal of heavy artillery in Donbas.
The Ukrainian government has said that it will not withdraw its artillery as long as there are still skirmishes around a few flashpoints along the ceasefire line. In Shirokyne east of Mariupol the government aligned neo-nazi battalion Azov continues to attack the federalists. The Ukrainian propaganda claims that the federalists plan an immediate attack on Mariupol. That is nonsense and the federalist have denied any plans for further fighting. Unlike the Ukrainian government the federalist started to pull back their artillery and will continue to do so.
The Ukrainian government is breaking the Minsk 2 agreement by not pulling back its heavy artillery from the ceasefire line. The U.S. is arming the Ukrainian army and will soon train its volunteer neo-nazi "national guard" forces.
The major European powers, Germany, France and Russia, try to tame the conflict down. The U.S. and its poodles in Kiev continue to poor oil into the fire. If the Europeans do not succeed in pushing back against Washington the Ukraine with burn and Europe with it.
In Further Escalation U.S. Delivery Of Weapons To Kiev Will Be Laundered Through Abu Dhabi
Posted by b at 10:20 AM | Comments (53)Lone Wolf | Feb 24, 2015 11:20:39 AM | 1gersen | Feb 24, 2015 12:24:12 PM | 3
Thanks for a very good summary of the whole guacamole.
Another reason not to withdraw the artillery, being also used by Kerry to crank up the "let's-give-weapons-to-Ukraine" line, is the mopping of the Debaltsevo pocket, which Ukraine & Co. decided to ignore from the beginning, to use it now as a justification not to fulfill Minsk 2.0. The false-flag attack in Kharkov was a prelude of the up and coming internal repression, which will drown in torture, suffering and blood the little resistance there is to the continuation of the war and the IV Mobilization.
Whoever said that foreign policy is only an extension of domestic policy?
RE: Lone Wolf | Feb 24, 2015 11:20:39 AM | 1
I commented about a week ago that the ceasefire might hold if both sides in Ukraine pulled back their artillery - unless Obama acted to sabotage it. Now he has done so - not withstanding the withdrawal of federalist ordinance - by offering to rearm the gun-crazy fascists of the Ukrainian gov't, with not even a fig leaf of "plausible deniability" to cover his assets.
Not a peep from Merkel - her only disagreements with the Nobel Peace Prize winner about Ukraine are purely tactical.
As for Poroshenko, he doubtless has a helicopter gassed and ready, and a nice little hidey hole in Switzerland all prepared, and conveniently close to his billions. That's why he sent his family out of the country, because when he has to get out - he has to get out fast.
shargash | Feb 24, 2015 12:29:18 PM | 4
Re: (2) IhaveLittleToAdd
Like most criminal organizations, the US tries to take very good care of its agents that do what they're told and to be very brutal to those who don't. For examples of the former, check out all the South American criminals living in Miami as well as the perhaps more relevant example of Mikheil Saakashvili, who is strutting around Ukraine rather than being on trial in Georgia. For examples of the latter, check out Noriega, Saddam, or Bin Ladin.
While I suspect Porky is wondering how he got himself into this mess, I don't think he has much choice but to stick it out to the end. At least his family will be well taken care of.
sleepy | Feb 24, 2015 2:08:47 PM | 10
Re: IHaveLittleToAdd no. 2
Re: shargash no. 4
I have read recently in an article on another blog that in 2012 Poroshenko was being politically groomed for his future role by Germany's Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung institute, a think-tank wing of Merkel's Christian Democrats, as was Vitali Klitschko the present mayor of Kiev in 2011.
Basically, Germany was to spearhead the EU's expansion to Ukraine, while the US role was to facilitate Ukraine's inclusion in Nato.
Lone Wolf | Feb 24, 2015 3:19:08 PM | 14
"Ukraine will go to war in late March"--Zakharchenko
..."We are beginning the withdrawal of heavy equipment, while Ukraine is bringing it up from Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk. Seems to be there will be a provocation. Ukraine will go to war in late March or Early April. Ukraine needs war," Zakharchenko said during a Monday briefing.
J.Hawk's Comment: ...Because, to my mind, there seems to be a pattern of Ukrainian conflict activity: it is most likely to escalate when it just received foreign financial aid, and is the most likely to seek peace just as it needs another tranche...
sid_finster | Feb 24, 2015 8:42:45 PM | 22
$350m is not going to buy you many US weapons, especially as Parashka's contract is for $2.4 billion, less delivery, middlemen, financing, etc..
The IMF is another source, but that money hasn't arrived yet, and there are a lot of conditions attached. That's why the Fund is the lender of last resort.
Since arms are invariably sold subject to strict limits on resales, I suspect that either:
1. The sale is for domestic Ukrainian consumption, i.e Parashka's attempt to look like he is doing something;
2.The US is secretly financing the sale, directly or indirectly. Such financing may be in the form of "we promise to aid your ISIS friends, or look the other way, if you 'sell' Ukraine these weapons and take a lenient attitude regarding repayment."
Lone Wolf | Feb 24, 2015 9:20:09 PM | 23
This is not because they disagree with his politics, but because Saakashvili is wanted on a multitude of criminal charges.
"Criminal charges?" Bingo! He fits the credentials for the job as Porky's "adviser." In reality, Saakashvili, a CIA crooked rat, is the CIA man in Ukraine, overseeing the entire anti-Russian effort, weapons needs, false-flag operations, internal repression, Ukinazi death squads, intel gathering and coordination, etc. Georgia's complaint to Ukraine was more of a wink to Saakashvili's newly found job, a show for domestic consumption, otherwise, Interpol would be looking for him, wouldn't it?
ProsperousPeace | Feb 24, 2015 9:37:53 PM | 24
Re: Isaakashvili sudden involvement with the "Ukrainian government": Kiev Snipers: Mystery Solved
It was reported several weeks ago in Interpress News that four of the snipers in Kiev were in fact Georgian nationals. The source for this story was Georgian General Tristan Tsitelashvili (Titelashvili), who later confirmed this in an interview with Rossiya TV.
Tsitelashvili claimed that at least four of the snipers shooting at people in Maidan Square were under the command of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is doing his best to destabilize his own country, and others if necessary, to find a way back into power.
Piotr Berman | Feb 24, 2015 11:28:51 PM | 25
How long did Saakashvili's war with Russia last? 48 hours? 72 hours? Good advisor to have.
Posted by: Crest | Feb 24, 2015 8:34:15 PM | 20
According to Wikipedia, the war started on Aug 8, minutes after midnight, and it definitely lasted at least 4 days. On fifth day, Georgians left a key city, Gori, and Russians entered on sixth day. On the other hand, the war was lost within 24 hours. The only chance of victory for heavily outnumbered Georgia was to surprise the Russians and Ossetians and take control of the only tunnel between South Ossetia and the Russian Federation (North Ossetia), which they did not. Thus Russian could retake all territory gained by Georgia on day one within two days, rather than a week. Georgia concentrated almost all forces against Ossetian, leaving the second border with good roads, with Abkhasia, practically undefended. Thus the only way to score a victory lasting more than one day was to risk loosing big majority of Georgian military in a cauldron -- Georgian forces in Ossetian mountain valleys would have Russian forces behind them, as only police checkpoints were delaying Russian advance from Abkhasia, (posting detours, issuing tickets for parking violations, violation of weight limits on bridges for tanks etc.???).
As a history buff, I have hard time finding a strategic plan of equal stupidity. To give the creator of that plan a key advising position seems suicidal. An anti-Russian Georgian owns a large (??? impressive web site) newspaper in Kiev.
Demian | Feb 25, 2015 3:02:07 AM | 28
Foreign Affairs poll of experts about whether the US should arm Ukraine:
4 strongly agree
0 are neutral [they're experts, after all]
10 strongly disagree
brian | Feb 26, 2015 4:59:48 AM | 52
You can read the whole article for free if you register. You get two free articles per month. FA should be of interest to MoA readers.
By George Galloway. a great discussion about the Russian_Western struggle; its history and recent development.;
guest77 | Feb 26, 2015 1:47:24 PM | 53
@52 Thanks for the Galloway show. His al Mayadeen show has always been difficult for me to find - and it is considerably better, I feel, than both Sputnik and Comment (which are fine shows themselves).
February 1, 2015 | atimes.com
It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it "the long war," an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent. It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation of that disaster as well.
Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a "Groundhog Day" kind of repetition. Just when you thought it was over (Iraq, Afghanistan), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again.
Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition. Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can't stop making war.
More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here's a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America. In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I'm planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).
1. The privatization of war: The U.S. military's recourse to private contractors has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well. Unlike the citizen-soldiers of past eras, the mobilized warrior corporations of America's new mercenary moment -- the Halliburton/KBRs (nearly $40 billion in contracts for the Iraq War alone), the DynCorps ($4.1 billion to train 150,000 Iraqi police), and the Blackwater/Xe/Academis ($1.3 billion in Iraq, along with boatloads of controversy) -- have no incentive to demobilize. Like most corporations, their business model is based on profit through growth, and growth is most rapid when wars and preparations for more of them are the favored options in Washington.
"Freedom isn't free," as a popular conservative bumper sticker puts it, and neither is war. My father liked the saying, "He who pays the piper calls the tune," and today's mercenary corporations have been calling for a lot of military marches piping in $138 billion in contracts for Iraq alone, according to the Financial Times. And if you think that the privatization of war must at least reduce government waste, think again: the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated in 2011 that fraud, waste, and abuse accounted for up to $60 billion of the money spent in Iraq alone.
To corral American-style war, the mercenaries must be defanged or deflated. European rulers learned this the hard way during the Thirty Years' War of the seventeenth century. At that time, powerful mercenary captains like Albrecht von Wallenstein ran amok. Only Wallenstein's assassination and the assertion of near absolutist powers by monarchs bent on curbing war before they went bankrupt finally brought the mercenaries to heel, a victory as hard won as it was essential to Europe's survival and eventual expansion. (Europeans then exported their wars to foreign shores, but that's another story.)
2. The embrace of the national security state by both major parties: Jimmy Carter was the last president to attempt to exercise any kind of control over the national security state. A former Navy nuclear engineer who had served under the demanding Admiral Hyman Rickover, Carter cancelled the B-1 bomber and fought for a U.S. foreign policy based on human rights. Widely pilloried for talking about nuclear war with his young daughter Amy, Carter was further attacked for being "weak" on defense. His defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980 inaugurated 12 years of dominance by Republican presidents that opened the financial floodgates for the Department of Defense. That taught Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council a lesson when it came to the wisdom of wrapping the national security state in a welcoming embrace, which they did, however uncomfortably. This expedient turn to the right by the Democrats in the Clinton years served as a temporary booster shot when it came to charges of being "soft" on defense -- until Republicans upped the ante by going "all-in" on military crusades in the aftermath of 9/11.
Since his election in 2008, Barack Obama has done little to alter the course set by his predecessors. He, too, has chosen not to challenge Washington's prevailing catechism of war. Republicans have responded, however, not by muting their criticism, but by upping the ante yet again. How else to explain House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in March? That address promises to be a pep talk for the Republicans, as well as a smack down of the Obama administration and its "appeasenik" policies toward Iran and Islamic radicalism.
Serious oversight, let alone opposition to the national security state by Congress or a mainstream political party, has been missing in action for years and must now, in the wake of the Senate Torture Report fiasco (from which the CIA emerged stronger, not weaker), be presumed dead. The recent midterm election triumph of Republican war hawks and the prospective lineup of candidates for president in 2016 does not bode well when it comes to reining in the national security state in any foreseeable future.
3. "Support Our Troops" as a substitute for thought. You've seen them everywhere: "Support Our Troops" stickers. In fact, the "support" in that slogan generally means acquiescence when it comes to American-style war. The truth is that we've turned the all-volunteer military into something like a foreign legion, deploying it again and again to our distant battle zones and driving it into the ground in wars that amount to strategic folly. Instead of admitting their mistakes, America's leaders have worked to obscure them by endlessly overpraising our "warriors" as so many universal heroes. This may salve our collective national conscience, but it's a form of cheap grace that saves no lives -- and wins no wars.
Instead, this country needs to listen more carefully to its troops, especially the war critics who have risked their lives while fighting overseas. Organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace are good places to start.
4. Fighting a redacted war. War, like the recent Senate torture report, is redacted in America. Its horrors and mistakes are suppressed, its patriotic whistleblowers punished, even as the American people are kept in a demobilized state. The act of going to war no longer represents the will of the people, as represented by formal Congressional declarations of war as the U.S. Constitution demands. Instead, in these years, Americans were told to go to Disney World (as George W. Bush suggested in the wake of 9/11) and keep shopping. They're encouraged not to pay too much attention to war's casualties and costs, especially when those costs involve foreigners with funny-sounding names (after all, they are, as American sniper Chris Kyle so indelicately put it in his book, just "savages").
Redacted war hides the true cost of a permanent state of killing from the American people, if not from foreign observers. Ignorance and apathy reign, even as a national security state that is essentially a shadow government equates its growth with your safety.
5. Threat inflation: There's nothing new about threat inflation. We saw plenty of it during the Cold War (nonexistent missile and bomber gaps, for example). Fear sells and we've had quite a dose of it in the twenty-first century, from ISIS to Ebola. But a more important truth is that fear is a mind-killer, a debate-stifler.
Back in September, for example, Senator Lindsey Graham warned that ISIS and its radical Islamic army was coming to America to kill us all. ISIS, of course, is a regional power with no ability to mount significant operations against the United States. But fear is so commonplace, so effectively stoked in this country that Americans routinely and wildly exaggerate the threat posed by al-Qaeda or ISIS or the bogeyman du jour.
Decades ago, as a young lieutenant in the Air Force, I was hunkered down in Cheyenne Mountain during the Cold War. It was the ultimate citadel-cum-bomb-shelter, and those in it were believed to have a 70% likelihood of surviving a five-megaton nuclear blast. There, not surprisingly, I found myself contemplating the very real possibility of a thermonuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, a war that would have annihilated life as we knew it, indeed much of life on our planet thanks to the phenomenon of nuclear winter. You'll excuse me for not shaking in my boots at the threat of ISIS coming to get me. Or of Sharia Law coming to my local town hall. With respect to such fears, America needs, as Hillary Clinton said in an admittedly different context, to "grow a pair."
6. Defining the world as a global battlefield: In fortress America, all realms have by now become battle spheres. Not only much of the planet, the seas, air, and space, as well as the country's borders and its increasingly up-armored police forces, but the world of thought, the insides of our minds. Think of the 17 intertwined intelligence outfits in "the U.S. Intelligence Community" and their ongoing "surge" for information dominance across every mode of human communication, as well as the surveillance of everything. And don't forget the national security state's leading role in making cyberwar a reality. (Indeed, Washington launched the first cyberwar in history by deploying the Stuxnet computer worm against Iran.)
Think of all this as a global matrix that rests on war, empowering disaster capitalism and the corporate complexes that have formed around the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and that intelligence community. A militarized matrix doesn't blink at $1.45 trillion dollars devoted to the F-35, a single under-performing jet fighter, nor at projections of $355 billion over the next decade for "modernizing" the U.S. nuclear arsenal, weapons that Barack Obama vowed to abolish in 2009.
7. The new "normal" in America is war: The 9/11 attacks happened more than 13 years ago, which means that no teenagers in America can truly remember a time when the country was at peace. "War time" is their normal; peace, a fairy tale.
What's truly "exceptional" in twenty-first-century America is any articulated vision of what a land at peace with itself and other nations might be like. Instead, war, backed by a diet of fear, is the backdrop against which the young have grown to adulthood. It's the background noise of their world, so much a part of their lives that they hardly recognize it for what it is. And that's the most insidious danger of them all.
How do we inoculate our children against such a permanent state of war and the war state itself? I have one simple suggestion: just stop it. All of it. Stop making war a never-ending part of our lives and stop celebrating it, too. War should be the realm of the extreme, of the abnormal. It should be the death of normalcy, not the dreary norm.
It's never too soon, America, to enlist in that good fight!
William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), is a TomDispatch regular. His D.Phil. is in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He's just plain tired of war and would like to see the next politician braying for it be deployed with a rifle to the front lines of battle. He edits the blog The Contrary Perspective.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Copyright 2015 William J. Astore
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