Poland is HIDING the truth from the world and it’s getting bad – Redacted with Clayton Morris

January 21, 2023

The Mozart Group: Ukraine’s Mercenaries

January 25, 2023

Designed by Abir Qanso

The Mozart Group is a private military company operating in Ukraine. It is a US-funded group that provides military training.

أوروبا في مهبّ الرياح الأوكرانية وتململ فرنسي ألماني من التفرّد الأميركي

الإثنين 23 كانون الثاني 2023

محمد صادق الحسيني

بعد مرور نحو عام على اندلاع الحرب الأطلسية على روسيا، يمكننا القول بأنّ أوروبا سقطت بمثابة أول ضحايا هذه الحرب.

فأوروبا كما تظهر على المسرح الدولي اليوم لم تعُد أوروبا جاك شيراك (فضلاً عن غيرهارد شرودر) الذي ذهب يوماً الى روسيا واصطحبه بوتين آنذاك معه الى المركز الاستراتيجي للقيادة والسيطرة للرحلات الفضائية تيتوف، في رسالة يومها لواشنطن، بانّ روسيا يمكن أن تكون صديقة، بل وحتى مظلة نووية للدفاع عن القرار الأوروبي المستقلّ، وعضواً مستقبلياً في الاتحاد الأوروبي، كما صرّح بوتين نفسه يومها.

فأوروبا، ما بعد أوكرانيا لم تعُد أوروبا شيراك، ولا حتى ميركل، بل هي مجموعة تتخبّط، وتفتقر لاستراتيجية واضحة ناهيك عن رؤية مستقلة ومتوازنة في كلّ الملفات الحيوية العالمية.

وهي تخسر مع كلّ يوم يمرّ في الساحة الدولية من وزنها المعنوي الكثير، إضافة الى خسائرها المادية التي لا تعدّ ولا تحصى، من بينها فقط وعلى سبيل المثال لا الحصر عشرات الآلاف من الشركات الكبيرة والمتوسطة والصغيرة التي كانت تعمل في روسيا.

وعلى وقع هذا السقوط أمام العاصفة الأوكرانية اجتمع كلٌّ من المستشار الألماني والرئيس الفرنسي في الأليزيه في باريس، بمناسبة مرور ستين عاماً على توقيع اتفاقية الصداقة بين ألمانيا وفرنسا لإظهار تماسك قوتهما الأوروبية…

الاتفاق الذي نص يومها على إنهاء العداء المتوارث بين ألمانيا وفرنسا وبدء مرحلة بناء أوروبا الجديدة، وهو ما كان قد تعزز بالتجديد عليه بتاريخ ٢٢/١/٢٠١٩ بين الرئيس ماكرون والمستشارة ميركل، وصودق عليه من قبل برلماني البلدين آنذاك.
وقد علقت المستشارة ميركل يومها على ذلك التوقيع بالقول: «نريد إعطاء الوحده الأوروبية دفعاً جديداً .»
وقد سُمّي يومها باتفاق آخن نسبة الى المدينة الألمانية الواقعة على الحدود الهولندية التي وُقّع فيها.

بينما ركز الاجتماع الذي عقد يوم أول أمس، بين ماكرون وشولتس، على ضرورة تقوية أوروبا أيضاً:
«إنّ أوروبا ذات السياده القوية تؤمّن السلام والازدهار والحرية لسكان أوروبا» (هذا ما قالوه) .
ومن أجل أوروبا القوية غداً، يجب علينا اليوم أن نقوّي جيوشنا ونستثمر المزيد في صناعاتنا العسكرية.
اذ انّ هذا (تقوية الصناعة العسكرية والجيوش) يجعل أوروبا شريكاً أكثر (أقوى) للولايات المتحدة .»

لم يصدر هذا الكلام في بيان رسمي وإنما على شكل مقتطفات خصّ بها الرئيسان، صحيفة «فرانكفورتر الغماينه تسايتونغ» ونشرتها على موقعها الإلكتروني.

أوروبا هذه، الحالمة بالقوة، فقدت قبل أيام، حتى موقفها الوسيط مع دول صاعدة يفترض أنها ليست عدوة لها، لا بل قد تكون وسيلة لها لتقوية استقلالها بوجه واشنطن، لكنها سقطت مرة أخرى في الامتحان من خلال اتخاذها لمواقف متطرفة لا لزوم لها تجاه طهران كرمى عيون واشنطن، وثكنتها العسكرية المقامة على اليابسة الفلسطينية المسمّاة «إسرائيل».

فكان السقوط المدوّي بقرار البرلمان الأوروبي بتصنيف الحرس الثوري الإيراني منظمة ارهابية!

مصادر وثيقة الصلة بمطبخ صناعة القرار الأوروبي تؤكد، بأنّ القرار وانْ كان غير فعّال أصلاً ولن يلزم دول الاتحاد وهو لا يعدو عن كونه دعاية معادية لإيران، تماهياً مع سياسات واشنطن، المتعلقة بالحرب النفسية ضدّ طهران .

إلا أنه يشكل في الواقع، سقوطاً مدوياً للهيبة الأوروبية، والقوامة على قرارها المستقلّ في المعادلة الدولية، وهو ما تسعى إليه واشنطن بشدة، في كلّ الملفات المشتركة بين الطرفين، لا سيما بعد قرارها الأحمق في إعلان الحرب ضدّ روسيا.

بالفعل القرار البرلماني الأوروبي لا أفق له بالطبع على أرض الواقع… سوى كونه قرار ترضية للسيد الأميركي كما تؤكد المصادر المطلعة، مقابل امتناع الأوروبيين عن تزويد زيلينسكي بدبابات ليوبارد الألمانية ودبابات لوكلير الفرنسية …

ومن المعلوم انّ البرلمان الأوروبي في ستراسبورغ في الواقع ليس سوى واجهة فرنسية ألمانية، تعبّر عن رغبة مشتركة مكبوتة لدى باريس وبرلين، بأن تظهرا عالمياً بأنهما لاعبان مستقلان دولياً، وهي ما بدأت تترنح أمام الضربات الأميركية.

الخارجية الإيرانية في هذه الأثناء هدّدت بالانسحاب من معاهدة الحدّ من انتشار الأسلحة النووية إذا لم يصحّح الاتحاد الأوروبي موقفه.
فيما هدّد مجلس الشورى الإسلامي باستصدار قرار يعتبر الجيوش الأوروبية «منظمات إرهابية» ـ كما جاء على لسان رئيس مجلس الشورى الإسلامي، محمد باقر قاليباف.

والتصريحات الإيرانية هذه، حسب المصادر المطلعة، تصريحات فعّالة وقوية وواضحة جداً. فيما المصالح الأوروبية في منطقة غرب آسيا كبيرة ومتشعّبة ومن الصعب التضحية بها.

المصالح الاقتصادية وقبل كلّ شيء تمركز قوات مسلحة / وأفراد عسكريين / لكلّ الدول الأوروبية في الكثير من دول الإقليم، هذه القوات ستكون هدفاً لجميع الجهات الحليفة لإيران في المنطقة.

وهذا أمر لا تستطيع الدول الأوروبية تحمّله ولا مواجهته عسكرياً.

صحيح أنّ قرار ستراسبورغ، غير ملزم للدول الأعضاء البتة لكنه لو حصل فهو بمثابة إعلان حرب، سيطيح بما تبقى من مكانة وقوة أوروبا على يد الإيرانيين.

تقدير الموقف لدى المصادر يقول بأنّ دول الاتحاد لن تذهب الى تفعيل قرار برلمان ستراسبورغ، وإنها ستحاول التملص مما صدر في مقر البرلمان.
وهو البرلمان المعروف بأنه واقع تحت تأثير القوى الماسونيّة والصهيونية العالمية، لا سيما أنّ رئيسته المالطية متورّطة في فضائح قد تؤدّي الى محاكمتها وطردها من وظيفتها، ما قد يكون ساهم في اندفاعتها لصالح السيد الأميركي الصهيوني.

ختاماً يمكن القول بانّ أوروبا سقطت عملياً وأصبحت هشة كثيراً وأنها ستظلّ أسيرة تململ غير مجدٍ ما دامت عاجزة عن اتخاذ موقف مستقّل عن واشنطن، كما أنها ستتراجع أيضاً عن عنترياتها، تجاه إيران، ما يجعلها أشبه ما تكون بأعجاز نخل خاوية.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

ماذا بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا…؟

 السبت 21 كانون الثاني 2023

زياد حافظ

في هذه المحاولة الاستشرافية في مطلع 2023 قراءة وتساؤلات لمرحلة ما بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا. ننطلق في هذه القراءة من فرضية نناقشها في ما بعد أنّ روسيا ستحسم المعركة العسكرية في أوكرانيا ما قبل نهاية ربيع 2023. لكن هذا لا يعني انّ الصراع مع الحلف الأطلسي بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص قد ينتهي. فالسؤال يصبح كيف سيتعامل الحلف الأطلسي وخاصة الولايات المتحدة مع الحقائق الميدانية التي تكون قد تحقّقت في الميدان؟

هناك عدة حالات ممكنة ولكن باحتمالات متباينة مبنية على قراءة في ذهنية القيادات الغربية والإمكانيات المتوفرة ضمن ميزان قوّة مختلّ لصالح روسيا بشكل عام وخاصة لصالح المحور العالمي الرافض للهيمنة الأميركية و/ أو الأطلسية. وما يُعقّد المشهد هو اعتبار الطرفين المتخاصمين أيّ روسيا والحلف الأطلسي أنّ الحرب في أوكرانيا حرب وجودية وبالتالي لا يمكن لأيّ طرف أن يتصوّر مخرجاً إلاّ النصر القاطع. وبما أنّ فرضية هذه القراءة تتبنّى حتمية النصر الروسي ما يبقى علينا هو تصوّر ما يمكن أن يقدِم عليه الأطلسي. وعندما نتكلّم عن الأطلسي نقصد بالدرجة الأولى الولايات المتحدة، ثم الاتحاد الأوروبي كمؤسسة، ثم الدول الأوروبية التي تماهت مع سياسات الولايات المتحدة وأخيراً بيروقراطية الحلف الأطلسي كمؤسسة قائمة بحدّ ذاتها. غير أنّ الحلقة الأساسية هي الولايات المتحدة لأنّ ما يمكن أن تقدم عليه سينجرّ بشكل أو بآخر على مؤسسة الحلف الأطلسي والاتحاد الأوروبي.

أما الحلقة الأضعف فهي الدول الأوروبية التي ستتعرّض إلى اضطرابات اجتماعية وسياسية بسبب التراجع الاقتصادي الناتج عن سياسة العقوبات المفروضة على روسيا وخاصة في قطاع الطاقة التي كانت تستوردها بشكل رخيص من روسيا دون أن تجد البديل الاقتصادي الذي يحرّرها من الاتكال على روسيا. والنتائج البنيوية على الاقتصاد الأوروبي هي تفكيك البنية الصناعية التي كانت ركيزة الطبقة الوسطى والاستقرار الاجتماعي. ليس هناك من آفاق إيجابية للاقتصاد الأوروبي في ظلّ ذلك التحوّل البنيوي خاصة مع صعود دول الجنوب الإجمالي وفي مقدّمته الصين والهند والبرازيل الذين سيتقاسمون الناتج الصناعي العالمي. دول أوروبا قد تكون دول متاحف التاريخ وللسياحة والترفيه وليس أكثر. فتصبح دولاً لا وزن لها في إدارة شؤون العالم. وهذا الهبوط لن يكون سهلاً بل ترافقه توترات اجتماعية وانتفاضات سياسية تعيد النظر في البنى السياسة والاقتصادية والاجتماعية لهذه الدول. وما سيساهم في ذلك الانحدار الكارثي هو الرداءة غير المسبوقة للقيادات السياسية سواء كانت في الحكم أو في المعارضة. المشهد البريطاني يتلاقى مع المشهد الألماني والمشهد الفرنسي، تلك الدول التي كانت تتصدّر المشهد الأوروبي. فأما دول الأطراف في أوروبا فقد تغرق أيضاً في حروب عرقية ودينية دون أن تكون لها ركيزة تستند إليها. فعلى سبيل المثال وليس الحصر اسبانيا تواجه حركة انفصالية في منطقة كتالونيا، وإيرلندا الشمالية قد تنفصل عن المملكة المتحدة لتلتحق بالجمهورية الإيرلندية، واسكتلندا قد تستقلّ عن المملكة المتحدة، وكورسيكا عن فرنسا، وبلجيكا تنقسم إلى قسم فرنسي وقسم فلمنكي. وما تبقّى من أوكرانيا خارج القبضة الروسية قد يذهب قسم منه إلى بولندا، والقسم الآخر إلى رومانيا ومولدوفيا. خارطة أوروبا مُعرّضة لتغيير جذري أسوة بما نتج في الحروب الأوروبية في القرون الماضية. كما هناك كلام عن انشطار إيطاليا بين جنوب فقير وشمال ثري. أما النعرات الطائفية في منطقة البلقان فمن السهل إشعالها مجدّداً مع سقوط الحكومات المركزية في حقبة الضيق الاقتصادي.
تصدّعات أوروبا

أما الاتحاد الأوروبي كمؤسسة فيشهد تصدّعات داخلية عززتها الإجراءات العبثية بحق روسيا وارتداداتها على الاقتصادات الأوروبية. فالزمرة الحاكمة في مؤسسة الاتحاد الأوروبي ملتزمة عقائدياً بمقرّرات دافوس لإعادة التعيين للاقتصادات القائمة نحو اقتصادات أكثر «لطفاً بالبيئة» على حدّ زعمهم. وهذا التوجه إلى مصادر طاقة نظيفة ومتجدّدة بشكل قسري وسريع سيؤدّي حتماً إلى تفكيك البنية الصناعية القائمة ما يوقع دول الاتحاد في حالة فقر وتراجع حضاري شبيه بالقرون الوسطى. فالطاقة هي مصدر الحضارة والعبث فيها له ارتدادات خطيرة على سكّان هذه الدول. لكن عدداً من حكومات دول الاتحاد يتململ من طغيان الزمرة المسيطرة على الاتحاد خاصة أنها لا تخضع لمساءلة ومحاسبة. وحكومة فيكتور اروبان المجرية تقود حملة التمرّد ضدّ الاتحاد قد تتبعها حكومة صربيا. من جهة أخرى أبدت بعض الدول الأوروبية كألمانيا وفرنسا امتعاضها من استغلال الولايات المتحدة للشحّ في قطاع الطاقة لفرض أسعار اضعاف ما كانت تدفعه لروسيا. ونعتت هذه الدول الولايات المتحدة بالتصرّف «غير الصديق» مع الحليف!

أما الدول الأوروبية فالتصدّعات التي أحدثتها الحرب الأوكرانية تتفاقم خاصة أنّ النموذج الاقتصادي النيوليبرالي المسيطر بعد سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي وصل إلى طريق مسدود. كما أنّ النظام النيوليبرالي حوّل السلطة الفعلية للشركات الكبرى وخاصة بيوت المال التي لا تكترث لحال المواطنين. وهذه القوى المسيطرة على القرار السياسي والاقتصادي والثقافي في تلك الدول تستولد نخباً وقيادات من المستوى الرديء على صعيد العلم، والفهم، والأخلاق. وبالتالي ليس في الأفق المنظور إمكانية بروز قيادات أوروبية تضع مصلحة دولها فوق أيّ اعتبار وخاصة تلك الاعتبارات التي تريد إعادة الهندسة الاجتماعية وفقاً لمقرّرات منتدى دافوس. لذلك لا يمكن أن نتوقع خلال السنة الجديدة أيّ تغيير جذري في المشهد الأوروبي إلاّ ربما المزيد من التوترات والفوضى الأمنية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية ما يجعل أوروبا تفقد دوراً كانت تقوم به على الصعيد العالمي. فكيف يمكن وصف سلوك القيادات الأوروبية التي حوّلت أوروبا من ثاني كتلة اقتصادية في العالم، وربما في بعض الأحيان الأولى، إلى مجموعة دول مترهّلة. هذا انتحار جماعي أقدمت عليه قيادات حمقاء بكلّ معنى الكلمة.

تبقى الولايات المتحدة العنصر الأساسي في الحلف الأطلسي. والمشهد الأميركي معقّد حيث الخطاب السياسي السائد لدى المؤسسة الحاكمة وخاصة عند المحافظين الجدد الذين قبضوا على القرار السياسة الخارجية لا يسمح بأيّ تراجع أمام روسيا. لقد أصبحت الطبقة الحاكمة والمحافظون الجدد أسرى الخطاب السياسي حيث الانتصار على روسيا بات شرط ضرورة للبقاء. فلا يتصوّر المحافظون الجدد عالماً وروسيا موجودة على الأقلّ بشكلها الحالي. فلا بدّ من قلب النظام القائم في روسيا والإتيان بنخب سياسية تساهم في تقسيم روسيا إلى عدّة ولايات أو دول ضعيفة تحول دون إمكانية نهوض لدولة لها وزن على الصعيد الدولي. والمحافظون الجدد يحرصون على إجهاض أيّ محاولة للتفاهم مع روسيا تفادياً لحرب قد تخسرها حتماً الولايات المتحدة مهما كانت الكلفة عالية على روسيا. فعلى سبيل المثال وليس الحصر تسبّب المحافظون الجدود تسريب خبر لقاء بين مدير وكالة المخابرات المركزية وليم بيرنز ونظيره الروسي في أنقرة لإجهاض أيّ محاولة لمنع التصعيد في أوكرانيا الذي إذا ما استمرّ سيضع الجيش الروسي في مواجهة مباشرة مع الجيش الأميركي. وهذا الأمر لا يريده الطرفان سواء كان الرئيس الروسي بوتين أو الأميركي بايدن. لكن المحافظين الجدد لهم أجندة مختلفة ولا يكترثون لنتائج حتمية عن مواجهة عسكرية مباشرة بين الدولتين.

أجندة المحافظين الجدد!

السؤال المطروح هو هل يستطيع المحافظون الجدد تجاوز التحفّظات داخل الإدارة الأميركية التي لا تريد المواجهة المباشرة مع روسيا؟ ليس من السهل الإجابة خاصة أنّ المرحلة السابقة شهدت نصر المحافظين الجدد في توريط الولايات المتحدة في الصراع الذي كان بالإمكان تجنّبه مع روسيا. فهم من رفضوا التعامل مع العروض الروسية لحلّ الأزمة في أوكرانيا، وهم بالأساس من قام بالانقلاب على الحكومة المنتخبة شرعيا في أوكرانيا في 2014 وفي مقدمتهم فيكتوريا نيولند زوجة روبرت كاغان كبير المنظرين للمحافظين الجدد. وهم من استعمل اتفاقات منسك في 2015 للمراوغة لتمكين القوّات الأوكرانية لمواجهة روسيا. وهم من أجهضوا الاتفاق الذي تمّ الوصول إليه في أنقرة بين روسيا وحكومة زيلينسكي في نيسان/ ابريل 2022 بعد 3 أشهر من بدء العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا. وهم من يدفعون إلى تفريغ ترسانات الدول التي كانت في كنف حلف وارسو وإرسال السلاح والذخائر لأوكرانيا. وهم من يدفعون البنتاغون لتفريع ترسانة الولايات المتحدة من الأسلحة المتطوّرة وإرسالها إلى أوكرانيا. النتيجة لكلّ ذلك هو تدمير كلّ السلاح المتوفر لأوكرانيا وقتل الجنود ودون تحقيق أيّ تقدّم على الأرض. فسجل المحافظين الجدد هو تراكم هائل من الفشل ولكن لا يوجد من يُسائل ويحاسب. ولذلك ستستمرّ إدارة بايدن في ارتكاب الحماقات تلو الحماقات دون تحقيق أي نتيجة لصالح الولايات المتحدة حتى يصبح تحطّم أوكرانيا أمراً واقعا لا يمكن الهروب منه.

المحافظون الجدد لهم أجندة من بند واحد وهي فرض هيمنة الولايات المتحدة على العالم وإنْ أدّى ذلك إلى تدمير الحلفاء وتهديد العالم بحرب نووية لن ينج منها أحد. فهم لا يكترثون لآثار سياساتهم طالما كانوا متمسكين بمفاصل صنع القرار في الولايات المتحدة سواء في الإدارة أو مراكز الأبحاث أو الجامعات أو الإعلام المرئي والمكتوب. وشبكة علاقات المحافظين الجدد لا تقتصر على الولايات المتحدة بل امتدّت إلى دوائر القرار في مكوّنات الحلف الأطلسي وإنْ كانت سياساتهم تدمّر تلك المكوّنات.

استطاع المحافظون الجدد أن يفرضوا سردية بين النخب الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة والدول الأوروبية المتحالفة معها مفادها أنّ الصراع مع روسيا هو صراع بقاء بينما في الحقيقة هو صراع لتدمير روسيا والاستيلاء على ثرواتها الهائلة من المواد الخام، والطاقة، والمعادن الثمينة والنادرة. كما أنّ حجم روسيا الجغرافي يهدّد مصالح الولايات المتحدة فلا بدّ من تفكيك الدولة الاتحادية. وتعمّ مراكز الأبحاث في الولايات المتحدة عن خرائط محتملة لروسيا المفككة. وبالنسبة للولايات المتحدة فإنّ الهدف الحقيقي هو الحفاظ على هيمنتها وخاصة هيمنة الدولار الذي يواجه تحدّيات من اقتصادات ترفض تلك الهيمنة. والطابع الوجودي لهذا الصراع مبني على ثقافة الفكر الرأس المالي أن التوسّع هو الوسيلة الوحيدة للبقاء. وتاريخ الولايات المتحدة مبني على التوسّع الجغرافي، في البداية تجاه الغرب حتى الوصول إلى المحيط الهادي ومن ثمّ القفز إلى الجزر في ذلك المحيط وصولاً إلى الفليبين والشاطئ الشرقي للصين.

أما جنوباً، فكانت نظرية مونرو التي منعت الدول المستعمرة في القرن التاسع عشر من التواجد في أميركا اللاتينية وجعلها الحديقة الخلفية للولايات المتحدة. وتحفظ في أدراج الإدارات المتتالية خطط احتلال كندا إذا ما اقتضى الأمر! والآن تعمل الولايات المتحدة على التوسع في القطب الشمالي حيث توجد ثروات نفطية وغازية وشرقاً نحو القارة الآسيوية. وبالتالي لا بدّ من وضع اليد على روسيا.

المشروع الأميركي لوضع اليد على روسيا كان مكتوماً بعد سقوط حائط برلين. لكن سرعان ما تبدّدت الوعود المقطوعة للقيادات الروسية بعدم التوسّع شرقاً للحلف الأطلسي. وحجر الزاوية في مواجهة روسيا هو أوكرانيا وفقاً لنظرية زبغنيو بريجنسكي الذي اعتبر أوكرانيا ضرورة أساسية للقضاء على روسيا. المهمّ هنا أنّ التوسع الشرقي للحلف الأطلسي تجاه روسيا يشكّل خطراً وجودياً على روسيا لا يمكنها تجاهله خاصة إذا ما تمّ نشر الصواريخ البالستية النووية فيها كما يدعو إليه قادة النظام الانقلابي في أوكرانيا. حاولت القيادة الروسية إقناع الإدارات المتتالية بعدم التوسع شرقاً لكن العنجهية الأميركية لم تكترث للهواجس الروسية. لسنا هنا في إطار سرد تطوّر العلاقات الروسية الأطلسية/ الأميركية بل لنؤكّد أنّ صوغ الخطاب السياسي يدعو إلى المواجهة لدرء خطر وجودي يعني الوصول إلى الحرب لحلّ المشكلة. الحرب هنا لن تقتصر على الحرب بالوكالة كما هو الحال الآن في أوكرانيا أو ربما عبر بولندا في ما بعد بل في المواجهة المباشرة العسكرية مع روسيا.

ما يؤكّد عمق الأزمة بين النخب الأميركية مقال صدر يوم السبت في 7 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2023 في صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» والموقع من كوندوليزا رايس وزيرة الخارجية السابقة في ولاية بوش الابن وروبرت غيتس وزير الدفاع السابق في كلّ من ولايات بوش الابن وباراك أوباما. في المقال اعتراف واضح أنّ الوقت هو لصالح روسيا ولا بدّ من زيادة الجهود الأميركية (أيّ زيادة التمويل والإمداد لأنها مربحة للمجمّع العسكري الصناعي) وذلك لمنع النصر الروسي. فهذا الأمر سيكون له تداعيات كارثية بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة (خاصة للمجمّع العسكري الصناعي) وأنّ إمكانية تغيير تلك النتائج ستكون صعبة للغاية إنْ لم تكن مستحيلة. والهيمنة الأميركية على العالم أصبحت مطلباً «وجودياً» بالنسبة لتلك النخب التي لا تكترث لنتائج تلك الطموحات والتي لا تأخذ بعين الاعتبار التحوّلات التي حصلت في موازين القوّة. فمقال رايس وغيتس دعوة صريحة لاستمرار الحرب مهما كانت النتائج.

فما هي إمكانيات مواجهة مباشرة بين الحلف الأطلسي وروسيا، وبالأخصّ بين الولايات المتحدة وروسيا؟ حقيقة، إنّ المواجهة في أوكرانيا لها طابعان: الأول مع الحكومة الأوكرانية والثاني الذي تمّ إعلانه منذ بضعة أيام على لسان وزير الدفاع الاوكراني أنّ المواجهة هي بين روسيا والحلف الأطلسي. هدف العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا هو تدمير الجيش الأوكراني وخلع النازيين من الحكم في أوكرانيا ومنع الحكومة من الالتحاق بالأطلسي. التطوّرات الميدانية أبرزت تدفق السلاح والذخيرة من مجمل دول الحلف الأطلسي دون أن يغيّر في ميزان القوّة في المعركة الذي كان ولا يزال لصالح روسيا. واليوم تعلن هذه الدول عن نفاذ سلاحها وذخيرتها لتزويد القوّات الأوكرانية بما كانت تملك من بقايا سلاح حلف وارسو. أما السلاح الغربي الذي يسيطر على معظم دول أوروبا الغربية فإنّ معرفة القوّات الأوكرانية بذلك السلاح ما زالت محدودة وتحتاج لوقت طويل للتتأقلم معها.

لكن هل تستطيع الولايات المتحدة الاستمرار بسياسة حرب رغم ضعف الجهوزية. ولا نقصد هنا الجهوزية العسكرية فحسب بل الجهوزية الاقتصادية. يشير الستير كروك وهو دبلوماسي سابق ومن أهمّ العقول السياسية المحلّلة للمشهد السياسي في آخر مقال له بتاريخ 13 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2023 على موقع «ستراتيجك كلتشار فوندشن» إلى أنّ الغرب يتجه تدريجياً لتحويل اقتصاداته لاقتصادات حرب وخاصة في ما يتعلّق بسلسلة التوريد في الإنتاج الصناعي. لكن في رأينا هذه عملية طويلة المدى خاصة بعد تفكيك البنية التحتية الصناعية في الولايات المتحدة والمملكة المتحدة وبالتالي القدرة على تحويل الطاقة الصناعية إلى طاقة إنتاجية حربية كما حصل في الحرب العالمية الثانية أمر مشكوك به في المدى المنظور. فاستبدال سلسلة التوريد التي اعتمدت خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية لتوطين مفاصل عديدة من القطاعات الصناعية في عالم الجنوب الإجمالي لا يمكن إنجازه بفترة قصيرة. فروسيا، ومعها الصين وسائر دول الجنوب الإجمالي لن يتركوا المجال لذلك التحويل.

لذلك نعتقد أنّ المعركة العسكرية الاستراتيجية بين روسيا وأوكرانيا قد حسمت في رأينا لصالح روسيا وأنّ ما تبقّى هو ترجمة الحسم الاستراتيجي إلى معالم مادية سواء في التقدّم الجغرافي أو في التغيير النظام السياسي في أوكرانيا وإنْ اقتضى الأمر دخول كييف لفرض نظام جديد. وقد يحصل ذلك خلال سنة 2023.

المواجهة مع الأطلسي طويلة

أما المواجهة مع الأطلسي فقد تطول خاصة أنّ الغرب يراهن على إطالة الحرب دون تدخّل مباشر للولايات المتحدة وسائر دول الحلف الأطلسي. ويعتمد المحافظون الجدد على سيطرتهم على الإعلام والسردية التي تقول بأنّ أوكرانيا «تنتصر» والقضية مسألة إمدادات فقط لا غير. لكن بدأت النخب الحاكمة تواجه معضلة تفسير انهيار خطوط الدفاع الأوكرانية وخاصة في منطقة سوليدار وباخوت. فهل ستتخذ الخطوة التالية بدخول جيوش الأطلسي بشكل مباشر في أوكرانيا؟

المزاج السياسي المعادي لروسيا في دول أوروبا غير مؤيّد للدخول في حرب مع روسيا. استطلاعات الرأي العام واضحة بهذا الشأن. فالمواطن الأوروبي بغضّ النظر عن رأيه في روسيا وحكّامها لا يريد ولا يتحمّل ثمن المواجهة. ولقد بدأت تظهر معالم «التعب» من أوكرانيا. ولكن المنحى الذي نشهده هو عدم اكتراث الحكومات الغربية للرأي العام الداخلي كما جاء على لسان وزيرة الخارجية الألمانية أنّ المانيا مستمرّة بدعم الجهود الحربية في أوكرانيا وأنها لا تكترث لآراء المواطنين وهذا بكلّ وضوح. لكن العديد من المؤشرات تفيد بأنّ الدول الأوروبية غير جاهزة وغير راغبة للدخول في حرب. أما الولايات المتحدة فهناك من يدفع إلى الدخول المباشر إلى أوكرانيا وإنْ كان الوجود العسكري الأميركي كـ «خبراء» و «مدرّبين» و «مستشارين» أصبح من المسلّمات. والمحافظون الجدد يدفعون إلى المواجهة المباشرة بعد استنفاذ الوكلاء علماً أنّ الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية غير متوفّرة كما جاء على لسان رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة مارك ميلي في جلسة استجوابه في لجنة الدفاع في الكونغرس عند استلام مهامه. قال آنذاك في 2018 إنّ الجهوزية الأميركية لا تتجاوز 40 بالمائة وإنّ هدفه هو إيصال الجهوزية الأميركية إلى 60 بالمائة بحلول 2024.

وتأكيداً على ذلك يصدر معهد «أميركان هريتاج فونداشن» تقريراً سنوياً عن الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية. وعلى مدى السنوات الخمس الماضية لم يتجاوز تقييم تلك الجهوزية مرحلة «الهامشية» أيّ لا تستطيع الحسم في أيّ مواجهة. وإذا أضفنا المحاكاة النظرية للمواجهة العسكرية مع أيّ من روسيا أو الصين أو إيران فكانت النتائج دائماً لصالح خصوم الولايات المتحدة. صحيح أنّ الولايات المتحدة تنفق أكثر من أيّ دولة في العالم لكن هذا الانفاق لا يعني تفوّقاً في الجودة كما تظهر التقارير حول فعّالية ركائز السلاح الجوّي أو البرّي الأميركي. وإذا أدخلنا في المعادلة السلاح المتفوّق الروسي خاصة في الصواريخ الفائقة لسرعة الصوت وغياب وسائل دفاع مضادة له فإنّ التفوّق التكتيكي والاستراتيجي للسلاح الروسي أصبح كاسراً.

وهناك خبراء عسكريون كـ اندري مرتيانوف يشكّكون بالقدرات البشرية لقيادة الأعمال العسكرية حيث خبرة القادة العسكريين الأميركيين في خوض حروب حقيقية ضدّ خصوم لديهم الحزم والعزم لا يُشجّع على إمكانية نصر عسكري. فتجربة الحرب الكورية والفيتنامية والعراقية والأفغانية تدلّ بوضوح إلى أنّ التفوّق الناري لا يعني بالضرورة النصر. لكن بعيداً عن هذه الاعتبارات ما نريد أن نقوله إنّ الولايات المتحدة غير جاهزة على الصعيد العسكري لخوض حرب طويلة مع دولة من طراز روسيا أو الصين على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور. لدى الولايات المتحدة قدرة نارية تدميرية هائلة تستطيع تدمير المعمورة آلاف المرّات ولكن ليس لديها كيف تترجمها في السياسة.

هناك عقول باردة خارج البنتاغون كدوغلاس مكغريغور او لاري جونسون أو فيليب جيرالدي أو راي مكغوفرن أو لاري ويلكرسون على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر تعي هذه الحقائق وتحاول ضبط إيقاع مسار السلطة السياسية. لكن المحافظين الجدد يتربّصون بها ويمنعون أن تصل تلك الآراء إلى مركز القرار. لذلك سيحتدم الصراع داخل الدولة العميقة بين من يؤيّد توجّهات المحافظين الجدد ومن يخشى من الوقوع في الهاوية. ولا نستبعد تكرار مشهد إنشاء لجنة بيكر ـ هاملتون جديدة التي كفّت يد المحافظين الجدد في إدارة بوش بعد الفشل في العراق. البديل عن كفّ يد المحافظين الجدد هو الحرب التي ستكون مدمّرة للولايات المتحدة وللعالم.

وهنا يكمن العامل الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة الذي قد يغيّر المعادلات بين الدولة العميقة والبيت الأبيض. مسلسل الفضائح التي تطال الرئيس الأميركي يتنامى ما يعني أنّ الدولة العميقة تريد التخلّص من إمكانية ترشّحه مجدّداً في 2024. فتعيين محقق خاص جمهوري الانتماء السياسي للكشف عن تفاصيل «الفضائح» يؤكّد أنّ المؤسسة الحاكمة بما فيها قيادة الحزب الديمقراطي تريد التخلّص من جوزيف بايدن والآتيان بـ كمالا هاريس في حال تنحّى بايدن عن منصبه، أو فتح الطريق لترشيح ميشال أوباما في 2024. في مطلق الأحوال فإنّ التطوّرات الداخلية قد تحوّل الأنظار عن الإخفاق في أوكرانيا ويتيح الفرصة لصوغ خطاب جديد يتجاهل الإخفاق في أوكرانيا. التغيير في السياسة التي تفرضه الوقائع يحتم تغيير في الأشخاص وهذا ما يمكن توقّعه في الأشهر المقبلة لمنع التدهور الذي الكارثي الذي يهدّد الجميع.

في الخلاصة نرى ما بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا الانتصار الكاسح لروسيا وتصدّع الاتحاد الأوروبي. كما سنرى تصاعد النقاش حول الدخول الأطلسي بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص في حرب نووية محدودة بالنسبة للمحافظين الجدد. لكن في المقابل لا يستطيعون ضبط إيقاعها لأنّ روسيا لن تستجيب لرغبات المحافظين الجدد. فليس هناك من مواجهة نووية «محدودة»! لذلك لا نتوقع الوصول إلى تلك المرحلة بل ربما بداية تفكيك الحلف الأطلسي الذي فقد جدواه ومصداقيته. أما على صعيد الوضع الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة فتراكم الفشل في السياسة الخارجية سيظهر الحاجة للتغيير. من سيقود التغيير وكيف فهذا حديث ليوم آخر. الرهان هو على ما تبقّى من عقول باردة خاصة في أجواء التردّي لمستوى النخب السياسية في الغرب

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي وعضو منتدى سيف القدس

Biden ‘sleepwalking into disaster’: Experts

January 21, 2023 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

US President Joe Biden could go down in history for allowing his failed policies to trigger a world war, experts say.

US President Joe Biden, January 19, 2022 (Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden’s policies toward Russia, China, and Iran, among other countries, have the US on the verge of disaster as he begins the second half of his first term, experts told Sputnik.
 
Biden reached the midpoint of his presidency earlier today, a period in which the White House has claimed economic successes while critics have slammed him for record-high inflation, the border crisis, and a foreign policy that has escalated tensions with both Russia and China.
 
“I think he’s done better than some of us expected, but he’s still sleepwalking into disaster,” political commentator and US constitutional historian Dan Lazare told Sputnik
 
Like all US presidents, Biden was the victim of forces beyond his control, Lazare cautioned. He said that Biden entered the White House promising to be a big-spending FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] and thus succeeded in pushing through his $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan less than two months after taking office. However, it backfired due to mounting inflationary pressures, which it undoubtedly helped aggravate.
 
Lazare acknowledged that the “rapid and humiliating Taliban conquest of Afghanistan” in July 2021, during Biden’s first year in office, was a disaster that nearly everyone in Washington contributed to over the previous 40 years.
 
“Instead of fiddling while Rome burned, he flipped burgers while Kabul collapsed. The result was the worst foreign-policy setback since Vietnam from an imperial point of view,” he said. 
 
The Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed in November 2022, put new strains on the Atlantic Alliance, according to Lazare. “[The act] has left Europeans unnerved due to its outrageously protectionist industrial policies,” he added.

Dangers of Ukraine

The Biden administration announced on Thursday another $2.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine, bringing the total to around $27.5 billion since Biden took office. According to Lazare, the United States is on the verge of a world war.
 
He stressed that Biden looks pretty good “shepherding one military aid package after another through Congress,” warning that the longer the conflict goes on the more apparent it becomes that NATO’s “aggressively expansionist policies are leading to another 1914.”
 
Lazare predicted that Biden’s failure to pursue any serious means of resolving the conflict would exacerbate it, adding that “just as the Entente more or less maneuvered Austro-Hungary into going to war against crazy little Serbia, the Atlantic Alliance maneuvered Russia into going to war against Ukraine by engaging in actions that were increasingly provocative and confrontational,” he said. 
 
Biden risks going down in history alongside disastrous UK leader Herbert Henry Asquith, who led his country into a disastrous world war with Germany in 1914, according to Lazare.

Read next: Poll: Biden receives ‘failing grade’ in leadership and management

“I think history will, thus, end up looking at Biden the same way it looks at Asquith, the UK prime minister who thought he could get away with playing with fire in the Balkans. Once again, short-sighted imperial ambitions are plunging the world into catastrophe,” he said. 
 
Lazare believed that despite all this, the US media had covered Biden sympathetically so far in contrast to their unrelenting attacks on his predecessor. He added that Joe Biden may be a “B- president so far, but I’m sure his report card will be bristling with F’s before too long.”

Feckless mediocrity 

Retired Ambassador Chas Freeman, who served as the Democratic Clinton administration’s assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, noted that the Foreign Policy had assembled 20 analysts who had nothing but praise for Biden’s diplomatic performance.
 
Freeman told Sputnik that no oriental potentate employing praise singers could ask for more, but the Biden administration didn’t produce a ‘foreign policy for the middle class’, only one for what he described as feckless mediocrity.”
 
He added that Biden has also recklessly sparked conflict and crises with major superpowers
 
“Biden and his team have catalyzed and subsequently escalated a dangerous proxy war between the United States, Western Europe, and Russia in Ukraine [and] escalated tensions with China amidst rising concern about the possibility of a war over the status of Taiwan,” Freeman said. 
 
He also abandoned diplomatic efforts to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons development, which has brought Russia, China, and Iran together, according to Freeman.
 
Furthermore, Biden has increased protectionism and rejected the World Trade Organization’s “rules-based order,” causing friction with US allies in both Europe and Asia, he claims.
 
According to Freeman, Biden’s erratic policies had also resulted in a visible reduction in US influence in the Middle East, including a rift with Saudi Arabia and a failure to counter the replacement of apartheid in “Israel” with renewed ethnic cleansing.

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    NATO Ministers Gather for War Summits… Russia Should Call Their Bluff

    January 20, 2023

    Source

    The United States and its imperial surrogates think they are putting a gun to Russia’s head. But non other than the NATO powers are the ones who are playing Russian Roulette.

    NATO is at war against Russia. There can be no more pretense or illusions about NATO “not being a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, as Western leaders have been absurdly asserting for the past year. NATO missiles, drones and logistics have already been used to strike Russia. And by Russia, we don’t just mean the disputed territories of Crimea and Donbass, but the pre-war territory of the Russian Federation.

    This week saw the NATO mania for war against Russia reach a fever pitch. NATO military leaders met in a series of well-publicized meetings in Europe that can only be described as war summits to plan the further escalation of conflict with Russia. The culmination was the gathering at the US Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany, on Friday, at which pressure is mounting on Berlin to give the go-ahead for the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The meeting was opened by Ukrainian leaders alongside American military commanders demanding tanks and more heavy weaponry.

    Laughably, the Americans are prevaricating about sending their M1 Abrams tanks, preferring instead for Germany, Britain, France, Poland, Finland and others to send theirs. The farcical wrangling encapsulates the U.S. colonialist attitude towards European allies who are too supine or stupid to complain. “Go ahead punks, make my day,” as Clint Eastwood’s character Dirty Harry might say.

    The U.S. is quite content for Europe to be turned into ashes and rebuild the continental wreck for the purpose of reviving redundant American capitalism, as in the aftermath of previous world wars.

    Earlier in the week, the U.S. top military commander General Mark Milley met with Ukrainian counterpart Valery Zaluzhny to oversee the setting up of new training grounds for troops in Poland and Germany. Zaluzhny is an acolyte of the Ukrainian World War Two Nazi collaborator and mass murderer Stepan Bandera. The pairing between Milley and Zaluzhny can hardly be a better illustration of the nefarious nature of the U.S.-led axis pushing war against Russia. Western media don’t report this because its function is to hoodwink the Western public into cheerleading for war.

    The relentless mobilization of the NATO bloc under U.S. leadership has finally reached a historic war footing against Russia. We can trace this ideology all the way back to the beginning of the Cold War following the defeat of Nazi Germany, but it certainly has accelerated since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, followed by 9/11 and the U.S. imperial notion of full-spectrum dominance, and especially after the ignominious withdrawal of the NATO war machine from Afghanistan in August 2021.

    All members of the 30-nation bloc are rushing weapons to the conflict in Ukraine. It is even reported that the United States is drawing down military stockpiles held in Israel and South Korea to augment firepower against Russia. Furthermore, Washington is now considering supporting strikes on Crimea which Moscow warned would be an extremely dangerous escalation towards all-out general war. Virtually all taboos have been shelved it seems, as the New York Times remarked this week.

    The Western states appear to be driven by madmen who are willfully pushing the world to the brink of catastrophe. There are now open calls for the defeat of Russia and illogical demands for more weapons to Ukraine as a way of achieving peace. “Weapons are the way to peace,” declared Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s titular leader during the World Economic Forum for assorted global elites in Davos this week. “We have to prevent a stalemate,” intoned Washington’s top diplomat Antony Blinken and his British counterpart James Cleverly (how misnamed is the latter!).

    Meanwhile, American, European and NATO leaders are calling for war crimes prosecutions against Russia.

    There seems to be no room for any diplomacy or rationality. The NATO powers are doubling down on reckless demands that Russia is expelled from Crimea and the Donbass. What the NATO powers are really seeking is the defeat and conquest of Russia.

    Russia was forced to intervene in Ukraine last February after all diplomatic efforts by Moscow were rejected. The NATO-backed covert war on the Russian people within the artificially created areas of Ukraine – a war that had been raging for eight years following the NATO-orchestrated coup in Kiev in 2014 – had to be put to an end by force. Hence Russia’s military intervention on February 24, 2022.

    There is no way that Russia is going to cede the territories that have now become part of the Russian Federation following legally constituted referenda. But the war has been dragged out by NATO’s demonic weaponization and callous exploitation of Ukraine as a bridgehead against Russia. NATO leaders talk about “preventing a stalemate” by sending more weapons to prop up the NeoNazi Kiev regime. It is the United States and European states along with other allies who have striven to create a bloody quagmire in Ukraine in which lives are callously being destroyed.

    The stakes are being made incredibly high by the United States and its imperialist minions. Make no mistake. Washington and its NATO stooges have embarked on a war of choice. Russia has every right to take military action against NATO members. Train tracks in Poland delivering Leopard tanks to Ukraine to kill Russian soldiers are legitimate targets. As are British servicemen maintaining Challenger tanks or British ships transporting them. Up to now, NATO has aggressed Russia with impunity. It is time to end the impunity and give Western warmongers pause for thought about their criminal conduct as one of our commentators noted this week.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin this week said that Russia will eventually win the war in Ukraine to vanquish the NATO-backed NeoNazi regime. He was speaking, appropriately, on the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the Nazi siege on Leningrad (St Petersburg).

    Other independent international military analysts, including Colonel Douglas Macgregor and Scott Ritter, agree that Russia will prevail in its objectives to render Ukraine demilitarized and remove the NATO-NeoNazi surrogate posing as a national security threat to Russia. The Western media in lockstep with imperialist ideologues have created a propaganda illusion that the Kiev regime can win if only it is supplied with more tanks and missiles. This is fomenting a disaster for Ukraine and potentially for world peace. Russia will not be defeated but the madcap warmongers are raising the stakes to the level of an existential crisis by demanding that Ukraine be made into a “defense line for freedom”.

    Moscow again this week warned that if the Western powers insist on pursuing a general war with Russia, then the world is being pushed to the brink of nuclear destruction. This is not a threat. It is simply a statement of fact. Western leaders have become so deranged in their imperial arrogance, self-righteousness and Russophobia, they are beyond heeding sensible warnings. When they declare that war is being waged for the sake of peace and freedom and when diplomacy is vilified as a weakness then there is little hope for an imminent political solution.

    The United States and its imperial surrogates have made war all but inevitable from their intransigence. They think they are putting a gun to Russia’s head.

    Moscow needs to end this war in Ukraine decisively by eliminating the NATO-Kiev regime. The NATO powers are the ones who are playing Russian Roulette.

    U.S. to train Ukraine troops on Patriots in Oklahoma (Colonel Macgregor)

    January 19, 2023

    Try to ignore the moron with his “Putin the Killer” “value signaling”, but do listen to Macgregor instead.

    Going, Going, Gone: Fiddling While the West Burns

    January 19, 2023

    Source

    By Batiushka

    So when is the Russian winter offensive going to begin? Some thought it would be in December, when the ground had frozen. Now we are nearing February.

    However, just remember that the so-called Russian winter offensive was thought up by armchair generals. Of course, it may well exist as one of a number of scenarios among the Russian General Staff and may still happen and soon, but a winter offensive could also turn into a spring offensive, or even into a summer offensive. Planning needs to be flexible, given ever new ingredients in the mix. As long as the Kiev forces, unexpectedly, keep destroying themselves by throwing themselves into the artillery, missile and drone meat-grinder in the south-east of the Ukraine, between Soledar and Artemovsk, with minimal Russian losses, why hurry? There is no hurry. The only ones in a hurry are in the West. They need this conflict to finish and soon, because the West is on the verge of social, economic and political chaos.

    Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

    So a delay has occurred. Why take risks when Kiev wants to commit suicide? Just let them do it. Moreover, the latest events suggest more reasons for delay – internal splits.

    First of all, on 17 January there was the resignation of Arestovich as advisor to the President’s Office, ostensibly because he told the truth, that the shattered apartment block in Dnipro was directly or indirectly destroyed by a badly-aimed Ukrainian missile (not for the first time…).

    Then, the very next day, on 18 January, came the crash of the French Super Puma helicopter in Brovary (not Kiev). This killed several important figures, not least the Interior Minister and his deputy, as well as innocent children in a nursery school. A friend who lives nearby was able to provide me with facts and pictures soon later. Putting aside the suggestion that the Eurocopter was brought down by another misaimed Ukrainian missile, the crash seems to have occurred because the pilot was flying low in fog and hit a 14-storey apartment building. My friend says the skies above them are full of State helicopters every day, it is how the Zelensky regime travels. Too frightened to do it any other way. Sooner or later an accident was inevitable. Whatever the reason for the crash, it does mean that there are now convenient vacancies at the top. A power struggle is probably under way. And this is to be expected, because the Kiev forces have been chased out of the strategic town of Soledar, Artemovsk (Bakhmut) is about to fall and with it the rest of the Donbass. It is a rout because Ukrainian losses there are monumental, not to say suicidal.

    As a result, the Kiev regime is pleading with certain countries in the West for more tanks. At best it may receive about 200 (in reality, probably fewer than 100) assorted obsolete tanks and armoured vehicles from various Western countries, and probably only in a few months’ time. Whereas it needs 2,000 tanks and armoured vehicles yesterday. But for the moment the divided West is reluctant to give the Ukraine anything, apart from sweet words. Promises, promises…they are so cheap, especially when you are so short of cash and you know the Russians will probably destroy most of your donated equipment before it even gets to the front. Moreover, all this comes against the background of a Ukrainian economy on short-term (no-one will give it anything long-term), monthly Western life support (otherwise no salaries or pensions can be paid). And this is from a West which is on the verge of social, economic and political chaos and against the background of a Ukrainian energy system which, for the moment, has been 50% destroyed and a military logistics system which has been severely disrupted, by Russian missiles.

    Little wonder that the Kiev regime distrusts the West. The latter does not have bottomless pockets. Zelensky is probably coming to an end. He already got the cold shoulder in Washington before Christmas. Now he appears to be opposed by the Kiev Armed Forces commander, Zaluzhny, who seems to have had conversations with his US counterpart in Poland behind Zelensky’s back. Generally, speaking, military men hate wars; they are the work only of politicians. After all, politicians do not face the risk of freezing, getting maimed or dying in agony. Maybe we are coming to a reshuffle in Kiev. Whatever the American puppeteers order. But the problem here is do the American puppeteers know what they want to order? They seem to be divided among themselves.

    While Washington and its NATO allies have no strategy to win the war in the Ukraine, let alone an exit strategy, the Russians do. In the four months since Russia ordered partial mobilisation, 300,000 additional reservists have joined their units in the east or along Ukraine’s northern border. Meanwhile in the south the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrols. So far Russian infantry have not really taken part in this war. So far most of the work has been done by local anti-Kiev Ukrainian (Donbass) freedom-fighters and the Wagner contract group. The stage is set for a ground war, either from the east, or from the north, or from the south, or maybe all together. Washington’s nightmare. For nobody in Washington, used to fighting ill-trained, suicidal fanatics armed only with kalashnikovs, ever foresaw this. 500,000 + armed Russians are waiting on the borders of Kiev-held territory to liberate their Ukrainian brothers and sisters from the US puppet regime in Kiev. And the only ill-trained, suicidal fanatics here are the Kiev forces.

    Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

    Let us not forget that the conflict in the Ukraine is about the struggle of the United States to maintain its dinosaur’s status as the world’s last superpower. More exactly, it is about America’s attempt to destroy China as a rival. For since China, allied with Russia, is unbeatable, China has to be attacked through Eurasian Russia. In this crazed neocon video-game fantasy, the USA has overlooked Western Europe. In one sense that is understandable, since its leaders are just a pack of mindless Pavlovian dogs, intent on copying their master in Washington – and a pile of dollars greatly helps their salivating capacity for imitation. However, the US mistake is as usual to look only at its puppets. This was the same mistake as in Baghdad and Kabul, or for that matter in Tehran and Saigon, not to mention in Manila and a host of capitals in Latin America. Appoint an English-speaking yes-man, give him a Swiss bank account full of dollars and a US passport, ensure he has control over the capital and its TV and radio station and then you will control the whole country. Only Hamid Karzai didn’t and you won’t either.

    Western Europe, the EU and the UK, with a few other bits and pieces, is also inhabited by 500 million people (the other 50 odd million belong to the elite). Some, especially from the elites, live in the capitals. The vast majority do not live there and generally despise those who do live in the capitals. Ask a Frenchman what he thinks of ‘les sales parisiens’ (filthy Parisians), ask a Romanian what he thinks of the elite in Bucharest, a Pole what he thinks of those in Warsaw or an Englishman what he thinks of Londoners. If you don’t believe me, ask Macron in France. Alternatively, ask any Frenchman what he thinks of France’s real rulers – the grossly overpaid super-elite in Brussels. The English hated them so much, they had Brexit. A lot of Germans, who by a huge majority never wanted to give up the Deutschmark, got quite jealous of that, even though the incompetent and perfidious British elite totally mishandled the Brexit negotiation process.

    If in Western Europe, the vast majority don’t like their leaders, they will eventually – even the passive British – get rid of them and they will appoint leaders whom Washington does not like, Le Pen, Farage etc. Remember Orban? He is already in power, as is Erdogan (though he is in Turkey). The Ukrainian conflict is already reshaping Europe’s totally outdated (1945) security architecture and forcing a reconfiguration. The realignment will not be in Washington’s favour. Demonstrations against NATO are already starting in various European countries. But what is more likely to topple the US puppet elite is strikes and protests. Europeans hate their elites. The spoilt elites may tell their peoples: ‘Let them eat cake’. But they have forgotten that what the people want is bread.

    Once Western Europe, including even the UK, has gone, the end of the short unipolar era will be here. The domino effect, from Kiev to Dublin, is surely only a matter of time. Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989? Within twenty-five months the whole of the Soviet Eastern European Empire fell, one country after another, until in December 1991, the Soviet Union itself fell. Berlin to Vladivostok. Well, the time is now up for the American Empire in its turn. It will also fall, and for the same reasons. The SU (Soviet Union) went. So will its reverse, the US (United States). Red stars, white stars, they have both had their time. Keep your eyes on Western Europe.

    Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

    19 January 2023

    ‘Fragmented world’ sleepwalks into World War III

    Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:31 AM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 21 January 2023 4:22 PM ]

    By Pepe Escobar

    The self-appointed Davos “elites” are afraid. So afraid. At this week’s World Economic Forum meetings, mastermind Klaus Schwab – displaying his trademark Bond villain act – carped over and over again about a categorical imperative: we need “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.”

    While his diagnosis of “the most critical fragmentation” the world is now mired in is predictably somber, Herr Schwab maintains that “the spirit of Davos is positive” and in the end we may all live happily in a “green sustainable economy.”

    What Davos has been good at this week is showering public opinion with new mantras. There’s “The New System” which, considering the abject failure of the much ballyhooed Great Reset, now looks like a matter of hastily updating the current – rattled – operating system.

    Davos needs new hardware, new programming skills, even a new virus. Yet for the moment all that’s available is a “polycrisis”: or, in Davos speak, a “cluster of related global risks with compounding effects.”

    In plain English: a perfect storm.

    Insufferable bores from that Divide and Rule island in northern Europe have just found out that “geopolitics”, alas, never really entered the tawdry “end of history” tunnel: much to their amazement it’s now centered – again – across the Heartland, as it’s been for most of recorded history.

    They complain about “threatening” geopolitics, which is code for Russia-China, with Iran attached.

    But the icing on the Alpine cake is arrogance/stupidity actually giving away the game: the City of London and its vassals are  livid because the “world Davos made” is fast collapsing.

    Davos did not “make” any world apart from its own simulacrum.

    Davos never got anything right, because these “elites” were always busy eulogizing the Empire of Chaos and its lethal “adventures” across the Global South.

    Davos not only failed to foresee all recent, major economic crises but most of all the current “perfect storm,” linked to the neoliberalism-spawned deindustrialization of the Collective West.

    And, of course, Davos is clueless about the real Reset taking place towards multipolarity.

    Self-described opinion leaders are busy “re-discovering” that Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain was set in Davos – “against the backdrop of a deadly disease and an impending world war” – nearly a century ago.

    Well, nowadays the “disease” – fully bioweaponized – is not exactly deadly per se. And the “impending World War” is in fact being actively encouraged by a cabal of US Straussian neo-cons and neoliberal-cons: an unelected, unaccountable, bipartisan Deep State not even subject to ideology. Centennary war criminal Henry Kissinger still does not get it.

    A Davos panel on de-globalization was rife on non-sequiturs, but at least a dose of reality was provided by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

    As for China’s vice-premier Liu He, with his vast knowledge of finance, science and technology, at least he was very helpful to lay down Beijing’s five top guidelines for the foreseeable future – beyond the customary imperial Sinophobia.

    China will focus on expanding domestic demand; keeping industrial and supply chains “smooth”; go for the “healthy development of the private sector”; deepen state enterprise reform; and aim for “attractive foreign investment.”

    Russian resistance, American precipice

    Emmanuel Todd was not at Davos. But it was the French anthropologist, historian, demographer and geopolitical analyst who ended up ruffling all the appropriate feathers across the collective West these past few days with a fascinating anthropological object: a reality-based interview.

    Todd spoke to Le Figaro – the newspaper of choice of the French establishment and haute bourgeoisie. The interview was published last Friday on page 22, sandwiched between proverbial Russophobic screeds and with an extremely brief mention on the bottom of the front page. So people really had to work hard to find it.   

    Todd joked that he has the – absurd – reputation of a “rebel destroy” in France, while in Japan he’s respected, featured in mainstream media, and his books are published with great success, including the latest (over 100,000 copies sold): “The Third World War Has Already Started.”

    Significantly, this Japanese best seller does not exist in French, considering the whole Paris-based publishing industry toes the EU/NATO line on Ukraine.

    The fact that Todd gets several things right is a minor miracle in the current, abysmally myopic European intellectual landscape (there are other analysts especially in Italy and Germany, but they carry much less weight than Todd).

    So here’s Todd’s concise Greatest Hits.

    – A new World War is on: By “switching from a limited territorial war to a global economic clash, between the collective West on one side and Russia linked to China on the other side, this became a World War”.

    – The Kremlin, says Todd, made a mistake, calculating that a decomposed Ukraine society would collapse right away. Of course he does not get into detail on how Ukraine had been weaponized to the hilt by the NATO military alliance.

    – Todd is spot on when he stresses how Germany and France had become minor partners at NATO and were not aware of what was being plotted in Ukraine militarily: “They did not know that the Americans, British and Poles could allow Ukraine to fight an extended  war. NATO’s fundamental axis now is Washington-London-Warsaw-Kiev.”

    – Todd’s major give away is a killer: “The resistance of Russia’s economy is leading the imperial American system to the precipice. Nobody had foreseen that the Russian economy would hold facing NATO’s ‘economic power’”.

    – Consequently, “monetary and financial American controls over the world may collapse, and with them the possibility for the US of financing for nothing their enormous trade deficit”.

    – And that’s why “we are in an endless war, in a clash where the conclusion is the collapse of one or the other.”

    – On China, Todd might sound like a more pugnacious version of Liu He at Davos: “That’s the fundamental dilemma of the American economy: it cannot face Chinese competition without importing qualified Chinese work force.”

    – As for the Russian economy, “it does accept market rules, but with an important role for the state, and it keeps the flexibility of forming engineers that allow adaptations, industrial and military.”

    – And that bring us, once again, to globalization, in a manner that Davos roundtables were incapable of understanding: “We have delocalized so much of our industrial activity that we don’t know whether our war production may be sustained”.

    – On a more erudite interpretation of that “clash of civilizations” fallacy, Todd goes for soft power and comes up with a startling conclusion: “On 75 percent of the planet, the organization of parenthood  was patrilineal, and that’s why we may identify a strong understanding of the Russian position. For the collective non-West, Russia affirms a reassuring moral conservatism.”

    – So what Moscow has been able to pull off is to “reposition itself as the archetype of a big power, not only “anti-colonialist” but also patrilineal and conservative in terms of traditional mores.”

    Based on all of the above, Todd smashes the myth sold by EU/NATO “elites” – Davos included – that Russia is “isolated,” stressing how votes in the UN and the overall sentiment across the Global South characterizes the war, “described by mainstream media as a conflict over political values, in fact, on a deeper level, as a conflict of anthropological values.”

    Between light and darkness

    Could it be that Russia – alongside the real Quad, as I defined them (with China, India and Iran) – are prevailing in the anthropological stakes?

    The real Quad has all it takes to blossom into a new cross-cultural focus of hope in a “fragmented world.”

    Mix Confucian China (non-dualistic, no transcendental deity, but with the Tao flowing through everything) with Russia (Orthodox Christian, reverencing the divine Sophia); polytheistic India (wheel of rebirth, law of karma); and Shi’ite Iran (Islam preceded by Zoroastrianism, the eternal cosmic battle between Light and Darkness).

    This unity in diversity is certainly more appealing, and uplifting, than the Forever War axis.

    Will the world learn from it? Or, to quote Hegel – “what we learn from history is that nobody learns from history” – are we hopelessly doomed?

    Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

    www.presstv.ir

    www.presstv.co.uk

    Germany: No Leopard tanks to Kiev unless US agrees to send its Abrams

    January 18, 2023

    Source: Wall Street Journal

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    WSJ reports that Berlin will not allow sending German-made tanks from allied countries to Ukraine until Washington approves sending US-made Abrams main battle tanks.

    German army soldiers load a Leopard 2 tank onto a truck at the Sestokai railway station some 175 km west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 (AP/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    Berlin will not allow allies to send German-made tanks to Kiev unless Washington agrees to ship to Ukraine US-made tanks, a German senior official stated on Wednesday according to The Wall Street Journal.

    The International Institute for Strategic Studies reported that NATO countries have more than 2,000 German-made Leopard tanks, which are considered to be one of the most advanced battle tanks currently in the world.

    Earlier, several European countries announced readiness to provide Ukraine with German-made battle tanks if Berlin approves it.

    Among these countries are Finland, Denmark, and Poland, while the UK said it would ship some 14 Challenger 2 battle tanks and an older version of the advanced Leopard.

    Read more: Western armored vehicles to Ukraine: breakthrough or stepback?

    The UK became the first country to announce plans for the delivery of heavy battle tanks to Kiev. The supply of the Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems are intended to assist Ukrainian forces “push back the Russian troops,” said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

    “One can’t differentiate between direct exports (of German-made tanks) and exports by third countries,” a German official said on Wednesday, the media outlet reported.

    Sending advanced, complex military equipment to Ukraine would be considered as a major escalation by the West in its arming of Kiev, which Germany has repeatedly warned against due to the increased risk of causing a direct clash between NATO and Russia, noted the news site.

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced earlier today that Berlin is “strategically interlocked” with its allies and partners regarding the decisions on how to provide support to Ukraine, which also includes tanks.

    Read more: Poll shows half of Germans against sending tanks to Ukraine

    According to the WSJ, a meeting between representatives of 50 countries supporting Ukraine, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, is planned to take place on Friday at the American Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where they will discuss a new batch of military aid to Ukraine.

    According to informed diplomats from several NATO states, the approval to send German-made Leopard tanks from third countries will be one of the main topics of the meeting.

    Despite all public discussions regarding sending German tanks to Ukraine, officials from Berlin said no official requests have been submitted so far, noting that when such requests come through, the government would respond quickly, adding that the approval period might span between a few days and a few weeks.

    A senior European official, however, stated that it is unlikely that Germany will make a decision in the upcoming meeting on Friday to allow sending the Leopard tanks to Kiev.

    US refusal to send its own main battle tanks making Scholz reluctant

    Berlin’s government is currently divided on the matter, the news site added.

    Parties in the Chancellor’s coalition, including the Free Democrats and the Green Party, are in favor of sending the tanks to Kiev, while his left-leaning party, the Social Democrats, have been hesitant on the decision, especially since Washington is rejecting to send its Abrams main battle tanks.

    In April last year, Scholz suggested that sending any Western tanks to Ukraine would increase the risk of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia.

    Read more: MWM: Why won’t Germany, US send Leopard 2, Abrams tanks to Ukraine?

    However, according to two of his aides, as per the WSJ, his concerns have calmed as a group of global powers, including close allies to Moscow, such as China’s President Xi Jinping, have denounced threats of using nuclear arms in Ukraine.

    Yet, the German Chancellor remains wary, the news site added.

    Scholz responded to a question addressed to him during the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier today regarding his reluctance to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, stressing that he was worried that the war in Ukraine could become a global conflict.

    Read more: Scholz’s popularity down 24% in a year: Poll

    “The Ukrainians can rely on our support in their courageous fight but it is also clear that we want to avoid this becoming a war between Russia and NATO,” he said.

    Earlier today, citing industry sources, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that there is a possibility that Germany may ship 10-15 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine this year.

    This comes after the chief executive of German defense group Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag that even though his firm houses 22 Leopard 2 tanks, and 88 Leopard 1 tanks, it would still take about a year to ship them to Ukraine.

    The German army has already given up most of its Leopard tanks of older designs and exported them to Turkey, Greece, and Denmark, among other clients. The army still possesses around 300 modern versions, but they have no plans of selling them. The army reportedly refused to provide additional details on the strengths, and equipment of associations, or units.

    Related Stories

    Ukrainian Interior Minister Among 18 Killed in Helicopter Crash near Kiev

    January 18, 2023

    An aerial view of the helicopter crash in Ukraine’s Brovary (Wednesday, January 18, 2023).

    Ukrainian interior minister and at least seventeen other people were killed in a helicopter crash near Kiev on Wednesday.

    At least 29 people were injured in the incident on Wednesday in a residential area in the city of Brovary, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, according to Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration.

    Kuleba wrote on Telegram that three children were among the victims. The helicopter crashed near a kindergarten and an apartment block in Brovary, a town of around 110,000 people, located about eight kilometers northeast of Kiev.

    The remains of the helicopter were visible outside a residential building in Brovary.

    After the crash a fire broke out close to the kindergarten and children and staff were moved from the building. Wreckage from the helicopter was visible outside a burning building.

    Highest Profile Ukrainian Casualty

    Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, First Deputy Minister Yevheniy Yenin and Secretary of State Yuriy Lubkovychis died in the crash, Anton Geraschenko, an adviser to the ministry, confirmed on social media.

    Nine of those killed were aboard the helicopter, according to the head of Ukraine’s National Police Igor Klimenko. The ill-fated aircraft belonged to the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry, he added.

    The Interior Ministry said it’s looking into several possible reasons for the crash, including malfunction of equipment, violation of security rules and sabotage.

    Monastyrsky, the 42-year-old interior minister, was a prominent member of President Volodymy Zelensky’s cabinet and played a key role in updating the public on casualties caused by Russian missile strikes since Ukraine was invaded in February 2022.

    Monastyrsky is the highest profile Ukrainian casualty since Russia’s operation began, although there is no indication that the crash was anything more than an accident.

    The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said the minister had been en route to a war “hot spot” when his helicopter went down.

    Source: Agencies and Websites

    The liquidation of the Ukrainian Interior Minister and Israel betray Russia

    Revisiting Russian objectives in the Ukraine

    January 17, 2023

    Check out this list of headlines, all from one source only, RT and all from the past week or so:

    Some are only “more of the same” (like the Ukronazis making the Aussies ban Russian flags at the Open), some are rather disgusting (like the Ukronazi blogger who wants to exterminate the Russian people), some are revolting (like the French warning 5000 Russian graves that “their concession is expiring”!), some are hilarious (like the idea of bust of “Ze” at the Capitol building), some are outright crazy (like the idea of a “Ukraine peace summit” without Russian participation).  Some are weird but encouraging (like the Kentucky gubernatorial candidate, a Democrat, calling for an impeachment of Biden for war crimes).  But some are very, very serious indeed (like the increase of the size of the Russian military to 1.5M or the fact that both the General Milley and Defense Minister Shoigu visiting their troops at the same time.

    One could certainly say that these headlines are “signs of the time” (“but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Matt 16:2-3), but what does this all mean?

    First, these headlines are like a snapshot of the West’s collective insanity.  Please keep in mind that the past week was no more and no less rich in crazy ideas and statements than previous weeks.  This snapshot is what one could call the “West’s homeostasis” or, in other words, that is the norm, the stable mental condition in which the West operates.  Future historians, assuming the AngloZionists freaks in power allow us to have a future other than a nuclear apocalypse, will marvel at the collective insanity which overcame an entire continent.

    Second, both the rabid #CancelRussia mass phenomenon and the discussions about sending NATO weapons, including MBTs, fighter aircraft, SAMs and the like are an expression of the same impotent rage felt by the leaders of the West.  And headlines like this one “Russian economy doing much better than expected (…)” The financial results for 2022 have exceeded many forecasts, the president [Putin] says” certainly do not help.

    The obvious danger here is that frustrated, hate-filled people are typically not capable of rational decision-making.  Let’s, for example, take the “clever” idea of sending the Ukronazis (well, NATO, really) more tanks or aircraft.  If you look at the numbers discussed, they are so small as to make no difference.  But once you sent them to the Ukraine and they get destroyed by Russian missiles, what do you do next?  Send more?

    It took the Russians about one month to basically destroy the (original) Ukrainian armed forces.

    Then it has taken Russia about 9 months to destroy most of the hardware former Warsaw Treaty Organization (no, it is *not* called a “Pact” – that is pure propaganda and why not call NATO the Atlantic Pact by the same logic?).  The sad part here is that in the process of destroying all that WTO kit, Russia had not choice but to inflict horrendous casualties with Ukrainian KIA/MIA going well into the several hundred of thousands.  “Ze” sent wave after wave after wave of mobilized men straight into the Russian meat-grinder with no chance of prevail and very little chance of survival.

    It might take Russia a year or more to fully destroy all the hardware (and “volunteers”) sent by NATO.  Russia is certainly making plans for a long and major war, hence the re-creation of the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts (you can think of them as “fronts” once a war starts) or the massive increase in weapons procurement up to and including strategic deterrence forces (nuclear and conventional).

    Right now, Russia seems to be focusing on destroying the (comparatively) better trained units of the mixed NATO-Ukronazi forces in the eastern Ukraine.  The Russian strategy is very simple: Russia can kill NATO soldiers and hardware faster than NATO can provide reinforcements.  Obviously, this is only a temporary situation, and there are three groupings of Russian forces (North, East, South) all along the frontlines which can intervene at any time and give Russia something she never had since the initiation of the SMO: a full combined arms offensive and a numerical superiority over the other side.

    Most knowledgeable observers, such as Col Maggregor, believe that a Russian offensive is all but certain.  Wars can be very unpredictable, and Putin does have a genius ability to act in unpredictable ways, so I would not say that this offensive is absolutely certain, but I agree that it is highly likely.  However, such an offensive is not risk free.

    In purely military terms, there is no force on the European continent which could take on the Russian forces currently aligned along the Ukrainian border.  In political terms, there is a major issue for Russia: any terrain that she liberates will have to be protected.

    During the first phase of the SMO, the Russians sent in a comparatively small force, which did great in combat against the Ukronazis, but which did not hold ground (which you never do in economy of force and maneuver warfare), resulting into absolutely awful optics including:

    • The perception that Russia promises to come and protect the people she liberated only to then abandon them.
    • The perception that the Russian retreated because of Ukronazi military successes.

    The fact that neither of these statements is quite true does not help as they are “close enough” to the truth to sound convincing.  As a result, the Russian side completely lost control of the narrative, for a while even inside Russia!  It took the appointment of Surovikin to reassure the Russian public that while mistakes were made (including in the early phase of the war or during the mobilization), those mistakes would be addressed and corrected.  Now with the Russian Chief of General Staff in final and personal control of the war, nobody doubts that the Kremlin does mean business.

    There is also a small, but noticeable change, in the western propaganda with more and more voices dissenting from the official AngloZionist party line.  Of course,  the economic disaster facing the EU is most helpful in sobering up the Europeans: now that more and more EU citizens have to say “bye bye” to the comforts and jobs they used to enjoy (including first and foremost, dirt cheap energy costs), we can count on an increasingly loud rumble of protests.  Maybe not “pro-Russian” ones, no – most Europeans, especially northern Europeans, *do* hate Russia – but at least anti-Establishment ones.  Having silenced your conscience does not keep you warm or, for that matter, employed.  The EU will now discover the very real costs of rabid russophobia.  And sending tanks to the Ukraine obviously won’t help.  Hence the current strikes and protests in several EU countries.

    So when the promised offensive materializes, there will be only two options left: ditch the Ukronazi regime “Kabul style” or full commit NATO (or a subset of NATO states) to invade the western Ukraine.  My money is on the latter option.

    Actually, this is not one option, but two very different ones.

    • In the first case, NATO (or a subset) will move in unilaterally hoping that Russia will not strike the occupation force.
    • In the second case, the US and Russia could strike a deal and jointly agree to partition the rump-Ukraine.

    Obviously, the second solution in infinitely safer and preferable, but just like Hitler and his goons did not want to negotiate with Russian subhumans, neither do the AngloZionists.

    Still, here is a truism which must be always kept in mind:

    ==>>There is nothing in the Ukraine Russia wants or needs<<==

    This was true of the Ukraine before the SMO, and it is even more true today.  Country 404 is basically deindustrialized and a prototypical failed state, while the population has been so brainwashed that it will take years to deprogram them.  Russia only wants two things:

    • Protect the Russian speaking population from genocide
    • Deny NATO the use the Ukraine territory to attack Russia

    Notice that neither of these options necessarily requires making major territorial gains.  I would even argue that, with one exception (see below), it would be ideal for Russia to achieve these objectives by liberating as little as possible of the currently Nazi occupied land.  As I have said it many times, the Ukrainians need to clear their own house and not expect Russia to do it for them.  Alas, it will take another generation of Ukrainians to do that, assuming they ever will.  But as long as country 404 is sufficiently demilitarized, Russia can wait for the denazification to seep into the minds of millions of brainwashed Ukrainians.

    The first consequence of this, is that the Russians are more than happy not to move forward and have the US push NATO forces into the Russian meat grinder.  True, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to demilitarize and denazify the Ukraine without a major offensive to finish up the Nazi forces.  However, the seizure of land is not the Russian goal, only the means to achieve it.

    Then there is the issue of the Nikolaev-Odessa-PMR (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic).

    While the Kremlin might have other plans, I personally don’t see any other option than to open a land corridor to PMR.  This would also have the immense benefit of cutting the rump-Banderastan from the Black Sea.  For NATO, however, the loss of Odessa and the Black Sea Coast would be a major setback, both politically and militarily.  There were some really dumb ideas circulated about this in the West,including sending in the 101st as a “tripwire” force.  Why is that dumb?  Simply because *IF* the Russians have concluded that the liberation of the entire Ukrainian coast is vital to the security of Russia, then no “tripwire” force will stop them.  And what will the US do if that tripwire force is attacked?  Launch a fullscale nuclear attack on Russia?

    Are the US Neocons willing to lose Washington DC, New York, Miami or Los Angeles over Odessa?  I don’t know, but if they are the typical self-worshiping Nazis (which they are), then a nuclear holocaust might seem preferable to these hate-filled freaks.  Can somebody sane stop them?  I don’t know that either.

    The headlines above suggest to me that no real decision has been made and that right now there is a tug of war inside the western ruling elites about what to do when the (almost certainly) inevitable Russian offensive happens.  By the way, this fact by itself might be a good reason for the Russians not to move in too soon.  Yes, it is unlikely that saner voices will prevail, but being a nuclear superpower Russian must act with utmost caution and not listen to the Russian turbopatriots and the western “friends of Russia” would have been advocating for total war for months, if not years.

    Maybe the “Georgian model” is what might save the day?

    Remember how during the three day war in 08.08.08 Russian forces were closing on Tbilissi with nobody left to defend the Georgian capital?  The Russians decided to call back their forces (no, Russia has no need for either the land or the people of Georgia.  Sounds familiar?) but Saakashvili reinterpreted this withdrawal as “our heroic and invincible forces stopped the Russians”.  And two years before that, Dubya who declared with a straight face that Israel defeated Hezbollah the “Divine Victory” war.  So maybe the AngloZionist can save face by declaring that they “prevented Russian from seizing Lvov or Ivano-Frankovsk”?  And if the Russians decide not to try to liberate Kiev, then NATO will be able to declared that “we stopped Russia from seizing Kiev”.  Yes, that would be a rather transparent lie, at least for those few still capable of critical thought, but I personally much prefer a lie, however, silly, to a fullscale war.

    So maybe Russia needs to have a third, unspoken, objective: give the crazies in the West a face-saving “out”, no matter how thin or ridiculous.  In fact, I am pretty confident that there are folks in Russia working on this right now.

    Andrei

    Game-Changing Russia

    January 17, 2023

    Source

    By Batiushka

    Meanwhile, Circuses

    While America is prepared to pay for the last Ukrainian to die for America – the Western world is talking about something else: Harry Windsor has revealed the family secret. The family secret was that Harry is an idiot, whose strings are pulled by an American actress. Now the secret is out. Harry has himself told the whole world he is an idiot whose strings are pulled by an American actress.

    And Game-Changing Tanks?

    While Western Europe is prepared to pay for the last Ukrainian to die for Western Europe – Germany, France, Finland, the UK and some other countries are prepared to get rid of some more of their old armoured vehicles and even tanks, palming them off on the Neo-Nazi Kiev regime. Thus, the UK is thinking of sending 14 of its 25-year old Challenger 2 tanks. How the UK will train Ukrainians to operate them, how it will supply enough ammunition for them to fire, how they will supply the mechanics and spare parts to repair them, how – and when – they will deliver them to Poland and then get them to the Kiev front, over 1,000 kilometres further away, nobody can tell us. Meanwhile, the British Army Chief of General Staff, Sir Patrick Sanders, is complaining. ‘Giving Kiev tanks means we won’t have enough for ourselves’. After all they do cost £8 million each and there are only 227 of them in the much-underfunded British Army anyway.

    Nobody has told the British Army that after one Russian missile all 14 of these obsolescent ‘wonder-weapons’ will go up in smoke before they ever get to the front. £112 million gone. No wonder Ukrainian refugees are returning to Kiev to get proper medical treatment that the grossly underfunded and strikebound British Health System cannot provide them with. Nobody has told the British Army or any EU Army that Russia is fighting a war of attrition. Given Russian air superiority, far superior artillery, drones, missiles and its 15,000 tanks, the Kiev forces, their mercenaries and all their equipment are being wiped out. Worse still, none of the Western hack-journalists, presstitutes to the core, has yet explained why ‘the victorious Kiev forces’ need ever more Western armoured vehicles and tanks. You read it here first: It is because all the other ‘game-changing’ armoured vehicles, tanks and equipment have already been destroyed. Now at least astronomers know what a black hole looks like. It looks like the Kiev regime. Yes, black holes really are game-changing because you can get sucked into one.

    The Score: Russia 27: Poland, Romania, Hungary 0

    In the face of NATO (= US) aggression, surely there is only one choice left for Russia – to liberate all 27 Ukrainian regions (and maybe even elsewhere too). I have to confess that I was never in favour of Russia taking the far-west Galicia. ‘They can go to Poland’. I was thinking of the old Russian curse: ‘Go to hell – and take Galicia with you’. But, actually, I am now thinking that Russia should take the lot, Crimea and the four partially liberated ones nearly done, 22 to go. The fact is that as long as a single piece of the Ukraine is under Nazi control, it will be a threat to the Russian Federation.

    A very reasonable but minimalist map of Russian options in the Ukraine I found on Big Serge thoughts on Substack. it shows all the regions which Batiushka suggests Russian might have to liberate.

    A very reasonable but minimalist map of Russian options in the Ukraine I found on Big Serge thoughts on Substack. it shows all the regions which Batiushka suggests Russian might have to liberate.

    On top of that a lot of the Nazi nasties have left anyway. Moreover, if Russia does liberate Galicia, the remaining Nazis will run away to Poland, so there will be none left and Russian forces can occupy the lot. It is a self-liberating process. Russia threatens and they go, all by themselves. In any case, why should Poland get anything out of it? What have they done to deserve it? Just like the Germans, we too have never believed in Greater Poland. Currently, the Poles are planning to build a wall along the border with the Russian Kaliningrad enclave. The Russians there are only too pleased and a local Russian company has offered to sell Poland the cement. Keeping the US-run ‘New Europe’ (as Rumsfeld called it) Poles out seems like an excellent idea. Especially if the Poles are going to do the job for us at their own expense.

    Frankly, the same applies to Romania. Why should they get anything out of it? They allowed the Americans in. They claim North Bukovina, Chernovtsy, but that is mainly Ukrainian. Let it remain so. We do not believe in Greater Romania either. And why not liberate Moldova (minus Transdniestria) as well and make it an Autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation? Apart from the 15% in Moldova who are Russian and the 5% who are Gagauz and very pro-Russian, there are plenty of Moldovans who do not want to have anything to do with corrupt Romania and the corrupt EU and regret the old USSR. An Autonomous Republic of Moldova within the Russian Federation with cheap gas and oil sounds a lot more attractive than being a minor province of corrupt US-run Romania.

    Then there is the case of ‘Zakarpatie’ – Transcarpathia, that extreme south-western province with its ridiculous Kievan imperialist name. There is only one place which is trans/across the Carpathians, and that is Kiev itself. Now the real name of Transcarpathia is Carpatho-Rus, though it has also been called Subcarpathian Rus and, in the West, Ruthenia, which is a corruption of ‘Rusinia’, the land of the Rusins (Ukrainians transliterate it as Rusyns), that is, the land of the Carpatho-Russians. The Rusins speak their own distinctive language, of which, arguably Slovak and Ukrainian are dialects. It is the historic cradle of Russian Orthodoxy, baptised a century before 988 and before Kiev. I have been to Carpatho-Rus, but on the Slovak side (the Polish side around Sanok was genocided or scattered by Fascist Poles in 1947), and there I have very good friends.

    True, Hungary has been handing out Hungarian/EU passports there for some years (just as Romania sold virtually everyone in Moldova a Romanian/EU passport – cost $10 (1)). True, today’s Transcarpathia is basically run by the Balogh brothers and they are pro-Hungarian. Some say that Transcarpathia should return to Czechoslovakia, to which Woodrow Wilson attached it in 1919. However, the patronising and disliked Czechs ran it as a colony until 1938, when Hungary started running it again, as they had under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Czechoslovakia no longer exists anyway. As for Slovakia next-door, it appears to have no interest whatsoever in Carpatho-Russia, even though there is a Carpatho-Russian minority in Eastern Slovakia (2). Well, there are also quite a few people, like Fr Dmitry Sidor in Uzhgorod, who believe that Carpatho-Russia should be part of Russia, just as St Aleksij (Kabaljuk) pleaded it to be with Stalin in 1945.

    However, apart from all this, there is another reason why the Russian Federation should take all the Ukraine. If it were to invade the Ukraine from the south-west, along the Black Sea coast west of Odessa, and from the north-western corner of the Belarussian border, Union forces could effectively cut the Ukraine off from the NATO/Nazi West permanently. Roll out the barbed wire along the border with Poland, Hungary and Romania. Letting the Nazis cross first, and then no Western armoured vehicles and tanks would have to be destroyed by the Russians. They would not even be able to get into the Ukraine and would remain stuck in Poland. Save your missiles! A strategic move like this would isolate Kiev from its Western puppeteers and all Russia would have to do is sit back until the cities of the Ukraine, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Kherson, Nikolaev, Vinnitsa, Poltava and the rest, voluntarily surrendered one by one, without any street fighting or bombardments required.

    But what do I know? Rumours abound that the Russian Black Sea Fleet is preparing an amphibious landing in the south-west near Odessa in order to liberate and protect Russian Transdniestria. Rumours abound that a joint Russian-Belarussian Union force is set to liberate the Ukraine from the north-west. A pincer movement, cutting all the Ukraine off from the Nazi West, making the whole of the Ukraine into a giant cauldron? Tempting, surely. But they are only speculations. Who knows outside the President and the General Staff? Of course, if Russia were now minded to take all of the Ukraine as a result of Western aggressiveness, perhaps it ought to liberate Moldova and the three Neo-Nazi Baltic statelets as well? But again, who knows? I may well be wrong.

    The Future of Russia

    Let us leave Nazi fantasists to their virtual world, the video-game in which they take over the universe, in which Kiev rules Russia and Taiwan rules China, and Iran, Afghanistan and Syria voluntarily surrender to US neocons, whom they worship as cargo-cult saviours. Let us rather turn our attention to reality.

    The fact is that after over 300 years of fawning Russian obsessions with the West, to the point of creating its own inferiority complex, Russia is now totally disillusioned with the lieing, thieving, backstabbing, slanderous, devious and treacherous West. This is an amazing turnaround. It means that the USA and its vassal-states in Western Europe and chimpanzee-imitators elsewhere are going to be forced to eat humble-pie and accept the new reality, that they are not exceptional at all, that they are completely outcivilised, outclassed, outpeopled, outgunned and outresourced by the Global East, South and North. In the dedollarised world the West is isolated. The West’s defeat in the Ukraine is simply the last nail in the coffin of the arrogant, ignorant, ethnocentric, colonialist, triumphalist and thoroughly corrupted West of the last 500 years and more.

    The contours of the future Russia are still not clear. The Westernised Russia of Peter I, where the aristocrats spoke French or latterly English by preference, and the Sovietised Russia of Lenin and Stalin, who spoke with the language of the grandson of a German Jewish rabbi by preference, and of the old Western Putin, who spoke of joining the concert of the Western Nations and even NATO, is finished. The Illusions that we must be like the West, that the West is our model, are gone. The West contemptuously turned up its nose at primitive and barbaric Russia, so Russia embraced China and the rest of the Non-Western world, and liked it.

    What is clear, however, is that Russians want some things to remain from the past. The first thing is that they do not want any treacherous oligarchs/ aristocrats, but want a meritocratic elite that patriotically serves the nation rather than itself. They also want a fair social contract, greater equality between rich and poor, with a political system that is accountable and not corrupt, they want social justice, free education and healthcare, decent pensions, a working infrastructure and reasonable housing.

    And they want protection for Russians outside Russia, Belarus and Malorossija (the New Ukraine). The New Russia is the only country that is leading the struggle for liberation from the Western Yoke, its foreign policy is leading the global majority of Non-Western countries. Eventually, it will lead Western Europe too, though that must first liberate itself from US tyranny and all its perversions and come to adopt a realistic view of itself and its limitations in the real world of today. Then there will be a Common European Home, but one run from Moscow and Berlin, which is also an integral part of Eurasia, not Euramerica. Russian prophecies say that after Putin comes a new Tsar. We shall see.

    17 January 2023

    Notes:

    1. A few years ago for a bet a Moldovan parishioner of mine paid the Romanians $10 for a passport in the name of Mickey Mouse. He duly got his passport and won his bet. So desperate were the Romanians to lay claim to Moldova.

    2. From which Andy Warhol was descended.

    Tanks for Nothing: NATO Keeps On Demilitarising Itself in Ukraine

    January 17, 2023

    Source

    by James Tweedie

    It has been said often over the past year, most recently by Emmanuel Todd, that the conflict in Ukraine is “existential” for Russia.

    Certainly, the Great Bear cannot abide a NATO ballistic missile launchpad just 300 miles from Moscow in a country run my rabidly-Russophobic Nazis — not neo-Nazi skinhead cosplayers but the literal descendants of the real deal.

    But others have argued that the Special Military Operation (SMO) is also a make-or-break roll of the dice for NATO and the US which dominates it. How else can we explain the latest mania for arming the regime in Kiev just as its ‘Siegfried Line’ in the Donbass starts to crumble?

    How else can one explain cry-bully US National Security Spokesman John Kirby’s response to news that Russian Wagner ‘private military company’ had liberated the town of Soledar, a keystone of the Ukrainian defences? He simultaneously tried to cast doubt on the facts while claiming the town’s capture was strategically insignificant.

    “We don’t know his it’s gonna go, so I’m not going to predict failure or success here,” Kirby said as Wagner were mopping up stranded Ukrainian conscripts. “But even if both Bakhmut and Soledar fall to the Russians, it’s not going to have a strategic impact on the war itself, and it certainly isn’t going to stop the Ukrainians or slow them down in terms of their efforts to regain their territory.”

    To the contrary, reports indicate that several Ukrainian brigades being concentrated for a southward push on Melitopol, near the narrow isthmus to the Crimea, were redeployed to Donbass in a vain attempt to hold Soledar and Bakhmut, where they suffered huge casualties. Taking Bakhmut could allow the Russian forces to ‘roll up’ the Ukrainian line to the north and south and advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the last two major cities Ukraine holds in Donetsk.

    Moscow has repeatedly said there can be no peace while the West keeps pumping arms into Ukraine. The most obvious interpretation of those statements is that NATO is only prolonging the suffering of the Ukrainian and Donbass peoples with its cornucopia of death. But another is, as blogger Andrei Martyanov said recently, that the ultimate end of the SMO is not just to de-militarise (and de-Nazify) the Ukraine, but all of NATO too.

    Indeed, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a January 6 TV interview that his country was already a “de facto” member of NATO, and that he had been thanked by unnamed Western politicians for fighting Russia on their behalf to defend their imperialist idea of exclusive “civilisation”.

    I wrote last August that only NATO could de-militarise itself, and then asked in September if the Ukraine was doing the same. Now seems a good time to take stock of that.

    A Farewell to (NATO) Arms

    Western aid to the Ukraine since the start of the SMO — arms supplies and payments for fighting the war on NATO’s behalf — has long since exceeded Russia’s 2022 defence budget of around $75 billion, and even its projected 2023 spend of $84 billion. It’s widely recognised that the Russian arms industry gives you more ‘bang for your buck’, but the disparity has become stark.

    On December 22, 2022, Russian Chief of the General Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov said: “Since the beginning of the special military operation, the West has delivered to Kiev a total of four aircraft, more than 30 helicopters, over 350 tanks, about 1,000 armoured combat vehicles, at least 800 armoured vehicles, up to 700 artillery systems, 100 MLRS [multiple-launch rocket systems], 130,000 anti-tank weapons, more than 5,300 MANPADs, and at least 5,000 UAVs for various purposes.”

    Russia’s initial estimate of Ukrainian military strength included 2,416 armoured fighting vehicles — probably about 800 main battle tanks (MBTs) along with 1,600 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) — 152 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 149 helicopters, 180 medium- and long-rang surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, 1,509 artillery guns and 535 MLRS.

    Various Western ‘military analysis’ sources say Ukraine had a lot more tanks and artillery to begin with, although those figures includes mothballed vehicles and guns that would have to be overhauled — while Russia continues to hit repair workshops with its long-range missiles.

    In mid-June 2022, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Denys Sharapov admitted that his army had lost around half its heavy equipment: 400 tanks, 1,300 IFVs and 700 artillery.

    At the end of August, the Ukrainian army launched its counter-offensive in the Kherson region. Just three weeks in, on September 21, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said his forces on that front had destroyed “208 tanks and 245 infantry fighting vehicles, 186 other armoured vehicles, 15 aircraft and 4 helicopters.” Those losses continued to mount until Russia pulled back across the Dnieper river from the city of Kherson in November 2022. The final tally was around 1,200 armoured vehicles of all types, 40 artillery pieces, 38 aeroplanes and a dozen helicopters.

    As of January 14 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) claims to have destroyed more than 7,500 armoured fighting vehicles of all types, 372 planes and 200 helicopters, 400 SAM systems, 982 MLRS, more than 3,800 self-propelled and towed artillery and 8,000 soft-skinned military vehicles, which include civilian-model trucks and cars.

    More specifically, Russia says it has hit at least 31 of the 38 M142 HIMARS MLRS launchers pledged by the US, plus six of the 13 M270 tracked MLRS, of the same nine-inch calibre, donated by the UK, Norway, Germany and France. Also on the clobber list are 122 of the 152 US-made M777 howitzers supplied — 80 per cent of them.

    The MoD claims may be exaggerated. But, as The Saker blog points out, even if you halve those numbers then the Ukrainian armed forces are still on the verge of being completely ‘de-militarised’.

    The arsenals of NATO’s eastern and southern European members have been scoured for Soviet-made arms and vehicles that the Ukrainian forces already operate and for which they have ammunition and spare parts.

    As it turns out, Poland has one of the biggest armies in Europe. It has already supplied, among other things, at least 230 MBTs to Kiev, all variants of the T-72. Warsaw has also sent about 40 IFVs, 72 self-propelled 155mm howitzers, 20 122mm SP howitzers and 20 MLRS.

    If, as some suspect, the defence ministry in Warsaw actively encouraged the thousands of serving soldiers to have gone to fight in the Ukrainian ‘Foreign Legion’, Poland has lent its very flesh and blood to the Kiev government.

    But the cherry on the cake, announced by Polish President Andrzej Duda on a visit to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky in Lvov, the western Ukrainian city Warsaw still covets, was “a company of Leopard tanks” — 10 to 14 in layman’s terms — which he hoped would be just the start of a new wave of largesse from the “international coalition.”

    British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed on Monday January 16 that the UK was adding a squadron (company) of 14 Challenger 2 MBTs, 24 AS90 155mm SP guns plus an unspecified number of Bulldog APCs and “proected” (i.e. not really armoured) vehicles to the pile of chips on the Ukraine-shaped card table. Rumours of four AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships to follow had been swiftly denied over the weekend.

    These tanks have been out of production since 2002 and the British army has just 227 of them. 148 of those are earmarked to be upgraded to the proposed ‘Challenger 3’ standard, although Wallace said that number could be increased — with the implication that there would be fewer to spare. The UK only had 117 AS90s in service as of 2015 and its replacement is still in development, so that pledge represents a fifth of the army’s tracked artillery.

    In a leaked internal memo, British Chief of General Staff Sir Patrick Sanders admitted that “giving away these capabilities will leave us temporarily weaker as an army, there is no denying it.”

    France has volunteered an unclear number (reportedly 30) of its AMX 10 RC wheeled, turreted vehicles. These have been variously described as “light tanks”, “tank destroyers” or “armoured recce vehicles”, he last reflecting how the French army actually use them. They’re certainly no match for a real MBT.

    Marder, She Wrote

    The Polish, British and French pledges of token numbers of tanks are explicitly a political move to pressure other countries, especially Germany, to hand over some — or many — of their own. US President Joe Biden already managed to twist German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ arm in the first week of January to give up 40 Marder IFVs by pledging 50 US M2 Bradley IFVs as well.

    The ultimate humiliation for Berlin was that the White House announced the move before the German government did. Meanwhile, the new Puma IFV (named after a WWII Nazi armoured car) that is meant to replace the Marder has turned out to be a complete disaster that constantly breaks down. The German defence minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on January 16 — ostensibly for failing to fix the equipment shortage, but also, paradoxically, amid criticism that she has not handed over enough arms to Kiev.

    Germany is the biggest European importer of Russian gas and has been reticent to antagonise Moscow too much. It is not lost on the Germans that the last time their tanks were in Ukraine was when the Wehrmacht was perpetrating the genocide of 21 million Soviets.

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was in Berlin on Monday in a bid to unlock that Pandora’s box, arguing NATO should not let tanks “rust away in the warehouses.” Of course, Russia’s approach since WWII of stockpiling old equipment, rather than scrapping or selling it, has been key to its ability to sustain high-intensity combat operations this long.

    London also pressed Berlin to grant other countries permission to re-export the tanks it has sold them in the past.

    “It is hoped that the example set by the French and us will allow those countries holding Leopard tanks to donate as well. I would urge my German colleagues to do that,” Wallace said, then claimed: “These tanks are not offensive when they are used for defensive methods.”

    The Leopard 2 also massively out-sells the much-vaunted US M1 Abrams and the Challenger 2 on the export market. 21 countries have bought the German tank, compared to just eight for the Abrams and only one, Oman, for the Challenger 2. Social media videos of burnt-out and turret-less Leopards strewn across the Ukrainian steppes will really mess up German heavy industry’s bottom line. After the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage and the US ‘Inflation Reduction Act’, this would be the third time Berlin has been screwed by its so-called allies.

    German tank-maker Rheinmetall’s CEO Armin Papperger tried to head off that outcome on Sunday. He told reporters that Germany could only spare 22 Leopard 2s for Ukraine, and no earlier than 2024. “The vehicles must be completely dismantled and rebuilt,” Papperger stated. The fighting could very well be over by the time they’re fixed.

    Scholtz tried to put the ball back in Washington’s court on January 17. “We are never going alone, because this is necessary in a very difficult situation like this,” he said, reiterating that he was anxious to avoid “escalating” the conflict to “a war between Russia and NATO.” Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck more explicit, telling a journalist at the World Economic Forum in Davos the same day: “If America will decide that they will bring battle tanks to Ukraine, that will make it easier for Germany.”

    The Pentagon’s excuse for not giving some of its stock of more than 6,000 M1 tanks (compared to Germany’s 300-odd Leopards) to the Ukraine is that they are high-maintenance, voracious gas-guzzlers, even by tank standards, and are fitted with technology that they can’t afford to let fall into Russian hands. But the US has previously exported ‘Nerfed’ versions of the Abrams to several Middle-Eastern countries without the depleted uranium armour inserts and other top-tier systems. The problem is that they turned out to be quite vulnerable.

    Many announcements of arms deliveries to the Kiev regime so far have been short on specific numbers. One might speculate that is either because they are embarrassingly small, or because they mean disarming the donor country. Both can be true at once.

    For example, Italy’s latest mooted donation is a SAMP-T surface-to-air missile (SAM) battery. Given that the Ukraine started the conflict with 250 long-range S-300 SAMs systems and hundreds of other types, one more is not going to make any difference to the outcome — nor the two Patriot SAM batteries prmised by the US and Germany. But the Italian army only has five SAMP-T systems, and two of those have already been deployed abroad in Kuwait and Slovakia.

    Sweden and Finland are not even in NATO yet, and may never be while they both continue to harbour hundreds of Kurdish separatist terrorists wanted in Turkey, which as an existing member has a veto on their entry. But Stockholm may send up to 12 of its 48 Archer self-propelled howitzers to the Ukraine, while Helsinki has already supplied ‘classified’ numbers of APCs, heavy mortars and anti-aircraft guns.

    Little Slovakia made headlines last summer when promised Kiev 11 MiG-29 fighters, its entire combat jet fleet. It turns out they still haven’t been delivered, however, and in the meantime Russia has claimed far more aircraft shot down leaving the Ukrainian Air Force at a net loss.

    Slovakia’s neighbour the Czech Republic has supplied up to 40 T-72 tanks, 60 IFVs, 50 to 70 SP guns, 20 to 30 MLRS and at least 10 Mi-24 attack helicopters — which have been replaced by either gifts or sales of old AH-1 Cobra choppers from the US.

    Latvia donated four helicopters — half its fleet — and six M109 155mm tracked howitzers, which was one in nine of its stocks. Lithuania sent 52 M113 APCs, which is a quarter of its armoured infantry transports, and 10 of its 32 120mm self-propelled mortars based in the same vehicle. Estonia gave nine of its 42 122mm howitzers and what appears to be all seven of its Alvis Mamba light armoured cars. It is these three Baltic micro-states, along with their neighbour Poland, who shout the loudest about the threat of ‘Russian aggression’, yet they are disarming themselves for the sake of the lost cause in the Ukraine.

    Logistics? Fiddlesticks!

    Mark F. Cancian of the Centre for Strategic and international Studies (a Washington think-tank) has been warning those who will listen about the US military’s logistics problems almost since the start of the SMO.

    His latest article, published on January 9, contains a helpful infographic of how many years it will take to replace the arms sent to Ukraine.

    Even at the “surge rate” of accelerated production, it will take five years for the US to replenish its stocks of 155mm artillery shells after sending more than 1 million to the Maidan regime. Replacing the 38 HIMARS MLRS launchers sent will take two-and-a-half to three years, while for the Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger shoulder-launched SAMs the time frame could be as long as eight and 18 years respectively.

    US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro appears to agree. Asked this week if the US Navy had reached the point of having to choose between arming itself and Ukraine, he said it was not their yet, but “if the conflict does go on for another six months, for another year, it certainly continues to stress the supply chain in ways that are challenging.”

    This betrays a criminally-negligent lack of planning by NATO military staff. Why did the collective west start a fight it couldn’t finish? Did they really think they could bluff Russia into backing down with a few M777s and HIMARS launchers?

    Too Little, Too Late

    Retired German brigadier general Erich Vad warned last week that the latest round of arms was a “military escalation” even if the 40-plus-year-old Marders were “not a silver bullet.”

    “We’re going down a slide. This could develop a momentum of its own that we can no longer control,” Vad said, questioning whether the NATO had a strategy at all. “Do you want to achieve a willingness to negotiate with the deliveries of the tanks? Do you want to reconquer Donbass or Crimea? Or do you want to defeat Russia completely? There is no realistic end state definition. And without an overall political and strategic concept, arms deliveries are pure militarism.”

    Brian Berletic of The New Atlas has broken down the latest headline-grabbing pledges of heavy armour to Ukraine. He has explained cogently that nothing is indestructible, and most of the immensely-heavy Western MBTs have proven vulnerable in recent years by man-portable weapons.

    Islamic State/DAESH wiped out about 10 Turkish army Leopard 2s when Ankara sent troops into northern Syrian four years ago, and destroyed or captured around Iraqi army 100 M1 Abrams during its sudden seizure of northern Iraq in 2014.

    The US Bradley and German Marder IFVs are far more vulnerable. Both are about a third taller and half as heavy again as the Russian equivalent BMP series of vehicles, making them fat targets with the bonus of huge propaganda value when they are destroyed. Armour-wise, the Bradley is only fully protected against Russian 14.5mm heavy machine guns and the Marder against 20mm and 25 mm automatic cannon. The Russian BMPs and the newer wheeled BTRs carry a 30mm cannon, but more importantly anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), both quite capable of destroying any other IFV in service.

    Berletic also puts the numbers to be supplied in context. Along with the 90 refurbished Czech T-72 tanks paid for by the US and Netherlands in the autumn, the new deliveries will only be enough to equip one armoured brigade with its attached mechanised infantry battalions.

    Ukraine is now claiming that it will form up three whole new army corps of troops this year, each numbering 75,000 men, for a total of 225,000. That’s as large as the standing army Kiev commanded on February 24 last year. What will they be armed with and transported on, slingshots and bicycles?

    Martyanov simply points to the commonly-used algebraic equations for force requirements and battle outcomes as proof that the latest ‘packages’ will make no difference.

    General Lord Richard Dannatt agrees with Martyanov and Berletic that a dozen or so tanks is not going to be enough. While still claiming the Challenger is a wonder-weapon, he wrote for the Daily Mail that 50 would be needed to make a difference.

    Kiev’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, combines NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s killer android stare with Zelensky’s shameless passive-aggressive panhandling.

    He took the whole argument to its logical conclusion by demanding “hundreds” of tanks in an interview with LBC radio, then upped the stakes to “thousands” when he went on Sky News — in the process admitting that Russia was able to field that many itself despite Western claims it is running out of everything.

    Prystaiko probably realises that he is talking about the entire arsenals of the European NATO members, and probably a large part of US military stocks.

    Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said simply: “These tanks will burn like the rest. The goals of the special operation will be achieved.”

    The whole world has been on tenterhooks for almost a year now, wondering whether the conflict between NATO’s proxy Ukraine and Russia will escalate into full-blown World War Three or just end up as World War Two-and-a-Half: the sequel only the psycho fans wanted.

    But instead of weakening Russia militarily and economically, as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has stated is Washington’s goal, the conflict is destroying NATO’s ability to fight and only making Russia richer and stronger. Moscow may in no hurry to finish it.

    In the mean time, let’s hope the West doesn’t throw a tantrum when Russia breaks its best war toys and drop the big one.

    Europe’s gas emergency: A continent hostage to seller prices

    January 16 2023

    Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports has been upended by sanctions against Moscow. With few options for practical alternatives, the continent will remain energy-dependent and financially-vulnerable regardless of who it imports from.

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Mohamad Hasan Sweidan

    The 2022 outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine revealed the importance of energy security in bolstering Moscow’s geopolitical power in Europe. The continent, which imported about 46 percent of its gas needs from Russia in 2021, found itself in a vulnerable position as it sought alternative sources.https://thecradle.co/Article/Analysis/20403

    This presented an opportunity for the US to replace Russia and become the primary supplier of natural gas to Europe at significantly higher prices, resulting in large profits at the expense of its European allies. According France-based data and analytics firm, Kpler, in 2022 the EU imported 140 billion cubic meters (BCM) of liquefied natural gas (LNG), an increase of 55 BCM from the previous year.

    Around 57.4 BCM of this amount (41 percent) now comes from the US, an increase of 31.8 BCM, 29 BCM from Africa (20.7 percent) – mainly from Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Angola – 22.3 BCM from Russia (16 percent), 19.8 BCM from Qatar (14 percent), 4.1 BCM from Latin America (2.92 percent) – mainly from Trinidad and Tobago – and 3.37 BCM from Norway (2.4 percent).

    European gas imports 2022

    In 2022, France was the leading importer of LNG in Europe, accounting for 26.23 percent of total imports. Other significant importers included Spain (22.3 percent), the Netherlands (12.65 percent), Italy (11 percent), and Belgium (10.42 percent).

    These countries, along with Poland (4.7 percent), Greece (2.9 percent), and Lithuania (2.31 percent), imported over 90 percent of LNG exported to Europe at prices higher than Russian pipeline gas. It is worth noting that upon arrival, LNG is converted back to its gaseous state at receiving stations in Europe before being distributed to countries without such infrastructure, such as Germany.

    Graph: 2020-2022 European gas imports, by month 

    Switching dependencies

    Europe was able to reduce its reliance on Russian pipeline gas from 46 percent to 10 percent last year. This decrease, however, came at a high cost to the economy, as the price of gas rose to $70 per million British thermal units (Btu), up from $27 before the Ukraine war. By the end of the year, the price had fallen to $36, compared to $7.03 in the US.

    This price disparity has been hard to stomach. French President Emmanuel Macron went public with his annoyance: “American gas is 3-4 times cheaper on the domestic market than the price at which they offer it to Europeans,” criticizing what he called “American double standards.”

    High gas prices have made Europe an appealing destination for gas exporters from around the world, with increased interest from countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Iran, Libya, Algeria, and those bordering the Mediterranean basin, as they either export gas, or possess gas but lack infrastructure.

    To replace the cheaper Russian pipeline gas, European countries are being forced to seek out the more expensive LNG. The EU and Britain are working to increase LNG import capacity by 5.3 billion cubic feet (BCF) per day by the end of 2023, and by 34 percent, or 6.8 BCF per day, by 2024.

    Can West Asia, North Africa meet Europe’s gas needs?

    The West Asia and North Africa region has the potential to partially meet Europe’s gas needs due to its geographic proximity and the presence of countries with large gas reserves and export infrastructure, such as Palestine/Israel, Algeria, and Egypt. However, there are several obstacles that must be considered.

    Map of natural gas pipelines to Europe

    For example, Egypt’s high production costs and increasing domestic consumption limit its export capacity. Additionally, Europe would need to be willing to pay a higher price than the Asian market for Egyptian gas.

    Israel, on the other hand, has seen an increase in gas exports to Europe in the first half of 2022 after the pipeline to Egypt via Jordan was restored in March, but it is unlikely to significantly increase exports in 2023 due to factors such as limited export capacity and high domestic consumption. Experts predict that Israel may export around 10 BCM of gas to Europe this year, similar to the amount exported in 2022.

    Qatar is the only Persian Gulf emirate that has increased its gas exports to Europe for 2022. This is largely because Persian Gulf countries prefer to sell their gas to Asian markets, where they can garner higher profits due to lower shipping costs and longer-term contracts.

    Last year, Qatar took advantage of the significant increase in gas prices to sell part of its shipments on the European spot market. According to the Qatari Minister of Energy, between 10 percent and 15 percent of Qatar’s production can be diverted to this market.

    However, it may be difficult for Europe to attract Qatari gas away from the Asian market, especially as China is expected to recover its demand for gas in 2023. In a policy home-goal, western sanctions on Iran, which has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, impede the investment needed to increase Iranian production.

    No real alternatives

    Iran’s lack of infrastructure connecting it to Europe and high domestic consumption also affect its export capacity. According to a report by BP, Iran produced 257 BCM of gas in 2021, of which 241.1 BCM were consumed domestically.

    With regards to Algeria, the main obstacle in increasing its gas exports to Europe is political tension with Morocco and Spain that led to the suspension of the Moroccan-European gas pipeline project, which can export 10.3 billion cubic meters of Algerian gas.

    In the case of the UAE, despite having the seventh-largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, its production is not sufficient to meet the demands of the local market and it imports a third of its gas consumption from Qatar through an undersea pipeline. European countries are currently in talks with Abu Dhabi to accelerate work on gas projects and increase production.

    As for Saudi Arabia, it consumes all of its gas production domestically and does not export any, with a total production of 117.3 BCM in 2021. There are also expectations for a significant increase in the demand for oil and coal in 2023. The World Bank reports that this is due to an increase in European countries’ reliance on these fossil fuels instead of natural gas. This increase in demand will keep oil prices high, allowing Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members to make large profits.

    The dilemma of growing demand

    The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that global demand for natural gas will increase to 394 BCM this year, driven in part by Europe’s need to diversify its sources of gas away from Russia. And West Asia, with its significant reserves, remains a key region for Europe to tap into for this purpose.

    The challenge remains in finding cost-effective ways to transport the gas from the region to Europe, which will necessitate building a pipeline connecting the Mediterranean Basin to the Old Continent.

    Failure to do so will result in Europe continuing to pay a high premium for its energy security without achieving true independence. The alternative for Europe is to rely on LNG from the US. This gives Europe almost complete independence from Russian gas, but keeps it weak, obedient, and dependent on American energy supplies.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Europe’s gas emergency: A continent hostage to seller prices

    January 16 2023

    Source

    Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports has been upended by sanctions against Moscow. With few options for practical alternatives, the continent will remain energy-dependent and financially-vulnerable regardless of who it imports from.
    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    Mohammad Hasan Sweidan

    The 2022 outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine revealed the importance of energy security in bolstering Moscow’s geopolitical power in Europe. The continent, which imported about 46 percent of its gas needs from Russia in 2021, found itself in a vulnerable position as it sought alternative sources.

    This presented an opportunity for the US to replace Russia and become the primary supplier of natural gas to Europe at significantly higher prices, resulting in large profits at the expense of its European allies. According France-based data and analytics firm, Kpler, in 2022 the EU imported 140 billion cubic meters (BCM) of liquefied natural gas (LNG), an increase of 55 BCM from the previous year.

    Around 57.4 BCM of this amount (41 percent) now comes from the US, an increase of 31.8 BCM, 29 BCM from Africa (20.7 percent) – mainly from Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Angola – 22.3 BCM from Russia (16 percent), 19.8 BCM from Qatar (14 percent), 4.1 BCM from Latin America (2.92 percent) – mainly from Trinidad and Tobago – and 3.37 BCM from Norway (2.4 percent).

    In 2022, France was the leading importer of LNG in Europe, accounting for 26.23 percent of total imports. Other significant importers included Spain (22.3 percent), the Netherlands (12.65 percent), Italy (11 percent), and Belgium (10.42 percent).

    These countries, along with Poland (4.7 percent), Greece (2.9 percent), and Lithuania (2.31 percent), imported over 90 percent of LNG exported to Europe at prices higher than Russian pipeline gas. It is worth noting that upon arrival, LNG is converted back to its gaseous state at receiving stations in Europe before being distributed to countries without such infrastructure, such as Germany.

    Switching dependencies

    Europe was able to reduce its reliance on Russian pipeline gas from 46 percent to 10 percent last year. This decrease, however, came at a high cost to the economy, as the price of gas rose to $70 per million British thermal units (Btu), up from $27 before the Ukraine war. By the end of the year, the price had fallen to $36, compared to $7.03 in the US.

    This price disparity has been hard to stomach. French President Emmanuel Macron went public with his annoyance: “American gas is 3-4 times cheaper on the domestic market than the price at which they offer it to Europeans,” criticizing what he called “American double standards.”

    High gas prices have made Europe an appealing destination for gas exporters from around the world, with increased interest from countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Iran, Libya, Algeria, and those bordering the Mediterranean basin, as they either export gas, or possess gas but lack infrastructure.

    To replace the cheaper Russian pipeline gas, European countries are being forced to seek out the more expensive LNG. The EU and Britain are working to increase LNG import capacity by 5.3 billion cubic feet (BCF) per day by the end of 2023, and by 34 percent, or 6.8 BCF per day, by 2024.

    Can West Asia, North Africa meet Europe’s gas needs?

    The West Asia and North Africa region has the potential to partially meet Europe’s gas needs due to its geographic proximity and the presence of countries with large gas reserves and export infrastructure, such as Palestine/Israel, Algeria, and Egypt. However, there are several obstacles that must be considered.

    For example, Egypt’s high production costs and increasing domestic consumption limit its export capacity. Additionally, Europe would need to be willing to pay a higher price than the Asian market for Egyptian gas.

    Israel, on the other hand, has seen an increase in gas exports to Europe in the first half of 2022 after the pipeline to Egypt via Jordan was restored in March, but it is unlikely to significantly increase exports in 2023 due to factors such as limited export capacity and high domestic consumption. Experts predict that Israel may export around 10 BCM of gas to Europe this year, similar to the amount exported in 2022.

    Qatar is the only Persian Gulf emirate that has increased its gas exports to Europe for 2022. This is largely because Persian Gulf countries prefer to sell their gas to Asian markets, where they can garner higher profits due to lower shipping costs and longer-term contracts.

    Last year, Qatar took advantage of the significant increase in gas prices to sell part of its shipments on the European spot market. According to the Qatari Minister of Energy, between 10 percent and 15 percent of Qatar’s production can be diverted to this market.

    However, it may be difficult for Europe to attract Qatari gas away from the Asian market, especially as China is expected to recover its demand for gas in 2023. In a policy home-goal, western sanctions on Iran, which has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, impede the investment needed to increase Iranian production.

    No real alternatives

    Iran’s lack of infrastructure connecting it to Europe and high domestic consumption also affect its export capacity. According to a report by BP, Iran produced 257 BCM of gas in 2021, of which 241.1 BCM were consumed domestically.

    With regards to Algeria, the main obstacle in increasing its gas exports to Europe is political tension with Morocco and Spain that led to the suspension of the Moroccan-European gas pipeline project, which can export 10.3 billion cubic meters of Algerian gas.

    In the case of the UAE, despite having the seventh-largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, its production is not sufficient to meet the demands of the local market and it imports a third of its gas consumption from Qatar through an undersea pipeline. European countries are currently in talks with Abu Dhabi to accelerate work on gas projects and increase production.

    As for Saudi Arabia, it consumes all of its gas production domestically and does not export any, with a total production of 117.3 BCM in 2021. There are also expectations for a significant increase in the demand for oil and coal in 2023. The World Bank reports that this is due to an increase in European countries’ reliance on these fossil fuels instead of natural gas. This increase in demand will keep oil prices high, allowing Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members to make large profits.

    The dilemma of growing demand

    The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that global demand for natural gas will increase to 394 BCM this year, driven in part by Europe’s need to diversify its sources of gas away from Russia. And West Asia, with its significant reserves, remains a key region for Europe to tap into for this purpose.

    The challenge remains in finding cost-effective ways to transport the gas from the region to Europe, which will necessitate building a pipeline connecting the Mediterranean Basin to the Old Continent.

    Failure to do so will result in Europe continuing to pay a high premium for its energy security without achieving true independence. The alternative for Europe is to rely on LNG from the US. This gives Europe almost complete independence from Russian gas, but keeps it weak, obedient, and dependent on American energy supplies.

    قبل ذوبان الثلوج: أميركا تتجه لتوسيع نطاق الحرب!

    السبت 14 كانون الثاني 2023

    د. عدنان منصور

    لم تكتف الولايات المتحدة بسياساتها الاستفزازية حيال روسيا، منذ أن بدأت بتوسيع النطاق الجغرافي للحلف الأطلسي اعتباراً من عام 1999، الذي كان يضمّ في ذلك الحين 16 دولة، ليتمدّد في ما بعد، ويصل الى حدود روسيا، بعد أن ضمّت واشنطن الى الحلف ثلاث دول أوروبية عام 1999، وسبع دول عام 2004، وثلاث دول عام 2017، وأخيراً مقدونيا الشمالية عام 2020. بذلك يرتفع عدد أعضاء الحلف الأطلسي الى ثلاثين دولة، منها ما يلامس مباشرة روسيا.

    لم تكتف واشنطن بهذا القدر، بل لجأت الى سياساتها الاقتصادية والمالية العدائية ضدّ موسكو، وآثرت على جرّ أوكرانيا الى فلكها وجعلها وقوداً لحرب استنزاف طويلة ضدّ روسيا بغية تحجيم وتعطيل مكانتها الأوروبية، والحدّ من دورها العالمي، ما يتيح لواشنطن عودتها مجدّداً للاستئثار بالقرار الدولي، والتربّع على عرش الأحادية القطبية العالمية.

    بعد أربعين يوماً، ستنهي الحرب الأوكرانية عامها الأول، بعد أن زجّت واشنطن بدول الاتحاد الأوروبي، والحلف الأطلسي، في حرب غير مباشرة، كانت بغنى عنها. إذ كان على هذه الدول اليوم، أن تدفع الثمن الباهظ نتيجة انقيادها الأعمى لواشنطن، والتزامها بسياسات أميركا وقراراتها لعقود طويلة.
    لم يكن مفاجئاً، أو غريباً، أو بعيداً عن الحقيقة الدامغة، حديث السياسي بيار ديغول، حفيد الزعيم الفرنسي شارل ديغول، العليم والخبير بحقيقة السياسة الأميركية أهدافها ومصالحها، وأبعادها، في مقابلة أجرتها معه مؤخراً، جمعية الصداقة الفرنسية الروسية في باريس جاء فيه: «إنّ روسيا تدافع عن نفسها ضدّ آلاف العقوبات والاستفزازات. وأنّ واشنطن ودول الناتو، هي من خطط للحرب باستخدام أوكرانيا لزعزعة أوروبا في محاولة لإنقاذ الهيمنة الأميركية المفقودة.»

    رغم أنّ واشنطن تعلم جيداً، كما دول الحلف الأطلسي، أنّ روسيا لم ولن تتراجع عن قرارها، أو تضحّي بأمنها القومي، ووحدة شعبها وأراضيها، حتى ولو ذهبت بعيداً في استخدام ما لديها من مقومات القوة والردع الكفيل بإحباط المؤامرة الأميركية ـ الأوروبية عليها، والمكشوفة للعالم كله.

    واشنطن تخوض حرباً غير مباشرة ضدّ روسيا، وقودها الاقتصادات الأوروبية، والمتطوّعون، والمقامرون من قادة دول أوروبا، وعلى رأسهم المغفل رئيس أوكرانيا زيلينسكي، الذي كان السبب الأول في دمار بلاده وخرابها، بعد أن كان أداة طيّعة في يد واشنطن، والمنفذ لرغباتها.
    أميركا لا يهمّها دمار أوكرانيا، أو سقوط عشرات آلاف القتلى نتيجة الحرب التي تريدها، او ضرب اقتصادات أوروبا. ما يهمّها أن تكون في زمن السلم والحرب صاحبة القرار الأول، والمستفيد الأول، والموجهة والمهيمنة على العالم.

    واشنطن وضعت في حسابها خوض حرب استنزاف طويلة ضدّ روسيا، تزداد شراستها أكثر فأكثر قبل انتهاء فصل الشتاء في أوروبا وذوبان الثلوج فيها. وهي تستعدّ لتقديم المزيد من الدعم العسكري والمالي المتواصل لكييف، وتوفير الكمّ الكافي من الأسلحة المتطورة، والدبابات وبطاريات الصواريخ لشلّ القدرات العسكرية الروسية، وإحباط مفاعيلها.

    قرار الولايات المتحدة بمواجهة روسيا ودعمها لأوكرانيا، وتطويق خصومها في أنحاء عديدة من العالم، كشفته بصورة واضحة من خلال قانون الموازنة الفدرالية الأميركية لعام 2023. إذ لحظ القانون موازنة دفاع قدرها 858 مليار دولار بزيادة تبلغ 88 مليار دولار عن موازنة عام 2022 البالغة 778 مليار دولار، وهي أكبر ميزانية عسكرية في تاريخ الولايات المتحدة والعالم. إذ انّ الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي وحده يشكل %36 من مجمل الإنفاق العسكري في العالم كله البالغ 2 تريليون و113 مليار دولار عام 2021 وفقاً لبيانات معهد ستوكهولم الدولي لأبحاث السلام SIPRI بموجب الموازنة العسكرية هذه، ستعمد واشنطن إلى تطوير البرامج النووية، وسيتمّ أيضاً تخصيص 45 مليار دولار مساعدات عسكرية، واقتصادية، وإنسانية لأوكرانيا.

    كما لحظت الموازنة إنفاق 6 مليارات دولار من أجل تمويل مبادرة الاحتواء الأوروبية الموجهة ضدّ موسكو، وضرورة تقليل الاعتماد على موارد الطاقة الروسية.

    يبقى ذلك أن ضغطت الولايات المتحدة على دول حلف الناتو لزيادة موازناتها العسكرية، بحيث انّ ثماني دول أعضاء في الحلف، خصصت %2 أو أكثر من الناتج المحلي على الإنفاق العسكري.

    سياسة واشنطن والاتحاد الأوروبي، والعقوبات الاقتصادية، والتجارية، والمالية ضدّ روسيا نتيجة لحرب أوكرانيا، أدّت الى ارتفاع تكاليف الطاقة في دول الاتحاد الأوروبي 1.06 تريليون دولار عام 2022، وفقاً لتقرير بلومبورغ الأميركي، وهو تقرير يتوافق مع تقديرات صندوق النقد الدولي في هذا الشأن.
    أميركا بتطلعاتها لعام 2023، ترصد أيضاً منطقة الشرق الأوسط بكلّ قوة، للحفاظ على مواقعها وتعزيز نفوذها. فالموازنة العسكرية الأميركية ركزت على الاهتمام بالمنطقة، والعمل على تشديد المراقبة على البرنامج النووي الإيراني، و»أذرع طهران» المسلحة، التي «تهدّد» حلفاء واشنطن، وعلى رأسهم «إسرائيل»، ومتابعة التطورات والقدرات النووية، والصاروخية، وبلورة استراتيجية فاعلة لتعميق وتقوية التعاون بين الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها في الشرق الأوسط، بغية رفع مستوى الجهوزية الدفاعية للتصدي لأنشطة إيران.

    لم يغب شرق وجنوب شرق آسيا، لا سيما تايوان عن قلق واهتمام واشنطن بها. ففي 8 كانون الأول عام 2022، أقرّ مجلس النواب الأميركي قانوناً، يمنح بموجبه مساعدات عسكرية، ومبيعات أسلحة لتايوان بقيمة 10 مليارات دولار. وقد اعتبر رئيس لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ بوب ميننديز Bob Menendez انّ هذا القانون «سيعزز الى حدّ بعيد شراكة الولايات المتحدة الدفاعية مع تايوان». مع العلم انّ هذا القانون قبل تعديله كان يلحظ منح تايوان وضع «حليف كبير خارج الحلف الأطلسي»، مما كان سيشكل تحدياً كبيراً واستفزازاً مباشراً للصين، التي شهدت علاقاتها مع واشنطن تدهوراً ملحوظاً في السنوات الاخيرة.

    واشنطن في عام 2023، تكشر عن أنيابها من جديد، مندفعة لملء الفراغ الذي تركته في أكثر من مكان في العالم، ولاستعادة دورها الأحادي ونفوذها الواسع والمهيمن على العالم، الذي يشهد تراجعاً عاماً بعد عام، مع بروز قوى دولية كبرى بدأت تشكل لها تحدياً خطيراً لإزاحتها عن زعامتها العالمية التي كانت ولفترة قصيرة دون منازع.

    شهية الولايات المتحدة على الحروب منذ نشوئها، شهية لا حدود لها، ولم تتوقف على مساحة العالم كله. فمن حرب الى حرب تتنقل، ولا ندري ما الذي تخبّئه في جعبتها وهي تستعدّ عام 2023 للمغامرة في أكثر من مكان في العالم، بعد أن سبق لها أن كانت العلة في دمار وخراب العديد من البلدان، وما أوكرانيا إلا آخرها، والباقي على الطريق…

    *وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق.

    Help! The Beatles to Save America?

    January 14, 2023

    I need somebody,
    Not just anybody,
    You know I need someone, help!

    So much younger than today,
    I never needed anybody’s help in any way,
    but now these days are gone,
    I’m not so self-assured.
    And now I find I’ve changed my mind
    And opened up the doors.

    In, oh, so many ways
    My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
    But every now and then
    I feel so insecure.
    I know that I just need you like
    I’ve never done before.

    Help me if you can, I’m feeling down,
    And I do appreciate you being ’round.
    Help me get my feet back on the ground,
    Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me?

    The Beatles

    The West has lost the Battle of Soledar. 25,000 Ukrainian and western mercenaries lie dead. Artemovsk is about to fall with all its fortifications. Where next?

    A limited policing operation all started with the Russian wish to protect its people in two Russian provinces in the far east of the Ukraine. This soon had to be extended to four Russian provinces, two more added from the south-east of the Ukraine, so linking up with the much-persecuted Crimea. That had been Russian until 1954, just as all the east of the Ukraine was Russian until 1922 and the far west Polish, Hungarian and Romanian until 1939 – the Ukraine is a uniquely Communist creation. And then there was the Russian wish to prevent the Ukraine from becoming an American base, specifically for its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, and also to protect the many Russian speakers elsewhere in the Ukraine from hate-filled Nazi persecution of them. The project and the aim were all relatively modest. Then it all changed:

    If the West continues to pump the Ukraine full of weaponry out of impotent rage, or a desire to exacerbate the situation…then that means our geographical tasks will move even further from the current line.

    Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia

    So it all became an operation, forced on Russia by the aggressiveness of Washington, to take back, directly or indirectly, more or less the whole of the Ukraine. This was not because Russia is fighting against the Ukraine, or against the EU, or against NATO, or against ‘the West’, or even against the USA, but against the neocons, who pull the money-strings, in Washington. And so now Russia has to demilitarise all NATO ground forces (cowardly NATO naval and air forces are hiding) and ultimately to denazify the whole Western world. It is actually on its way to doing that. Certain types of NATO equipment are in short supply. And despite strict Western censorship, more and more Western people are realising that the Ukraine, the most corrupt country on earth, is simply not worth a penny of their taxes, let alone billions, let alone living in hunger or cold: ‘Eat or heat’, as they say in the strikebound UK.

    What the Western world, which is ruled over by a bunch of neocons in Washington, has never understood, is that this is an existential war for Russia and therefore Russia will fight to the end, if the neocons force it too. And although the neocon elite likes to consider that this is an existential war for the US, it is not, let alone for the peoples of Western Europe. Find a single ordinary Western person who is voluntarily willing to die for the Ukraine. You will not find a single one. (Western mercenaries die only for money, not for the Ukraine). This Western crusade is existential only for the neocon fantasy ideology, that ‘The West is Best’ and that ‘History Has Ended’ (with our triumph). And here there is a problem.

    This problem is that the only way the Ukraine can survive is through Western (mainly US) subsidies of over $300 million a day (so it has been week in, week out, for the last eleven months so far). The Ukraine is on life support. This is killing the West, or rather the West is killing itself because this money will never be paid back and every day that passes is another $300 million that will never be paid back.

    As we have said, it is only elitist neocon supporters who back the Western war of terror in the Ukraine. They are the sort of wealthier Western people who belong to, or want to belong to out of self-importance, who last March began flying Ukrainian flags. They saw in the neocon operation an anti-Russian crusade to extend Western power, that is, to increase their personal wealth by helping to steal the wealth of the Ukraine and Russia. What some are realising, Geoffrey Sachs and Condoleezza Rice among them, together with Heinrich Kissinger on the fringes, is that you cannot do it. This is a bridge too far. You can only spread the Western mentality among those with a Western mentality.

    Just as Western religion never had any profound or long-lasting success in China, India, the Muslim world, Japan, Russia, the Ukraine, Serbia or a whole bunch of Eastern European countries which have always been Orthodox Christian (see Toynbee or Huntingdon), so today’s neocon religion is not supported by seven-eighths of the world. The seven-eighths, the Global South, East and North, have a different mentality because they have different cultures, indeed, different Civilisations. Even in Latin America and Black Africa, Western religion has been transformed by the local people. Their values no longer resemble the original template, indeed, the original template hardly exists any longer in Western countries, which are today renowned for their atheism. Thus, in Kiev, an atheist Jewish ‘President’, appointed by the USA, no doubt for his ability to play the piano with his penis, has banned Christianity. Expect blowback.

    ‘These days are gone’ for the neocons, they are not so ‘self-assured’, and now they find they’ve ‘changed their minds’, for their ‘independence seems to vanish in the haze’, and ‘they feel so insecure’. We will have to help them ‘get their feet back on the ground’. Once you have realised that the nuclear option is unreal, that you cannot afford to pay out £300 million a day for ever, your only option is retreat. But, practically, how can we help the neocons ‘get their feet back on the ground’, that is, help them to evacuate the Ukraine without their losing face?

    Here there is the option of ‘withdrawal’ to your vassals in Western Europe, building a wall across Eastern Europe on the pretext that you are protecting the ‘free’ ‘civilised’ world from the ‘aggressive Muscovite barbarians’. ‘Not an inch back’, can be your slogan. ‘It was that or nuclear war’, you can (falsely) claim. Of course, you may have to accept the loss of the Baltics and/or Moldova and/or Georgia (but they were never really yours anyway), but such is the price of maintaining your ‘purity’ for another generation. That is, until the whole Western house of cards and its ridiculous fake ‘left-right’ Uniparty system, collapses anyway but you can deny that for the moment – that will be someone else’s problem. (As the short-termist Keynes said: ‘In the long term we are all dead anyway).

    The more radical option, already suggested by Trump, is to retreat back to the US, in renewed isolationism. ‘Make America Great Again’. ‘America First’. This would be very popular with the much-tried American people, who are faced with an avalanche of problems and neocon debt. ‘We are leaving the European parasites’, to paraphrase Victoria Nuland, ‘to build up our great country, from sea to shining sea’. This time all that stuff about ‘draining the swamp’ could become real. Especially since the swamp was never drained the first time round – in fact it was deepened and extended then. As for the neocons, they could be sent away to Israel, where many of them come from anyway, or at the very least, where they all belong anyway. As for the rest of us, we could all live (relatively) happily ever after. Help!

    Orthodox New Year’s Day, 14 January 2023

    Assad demands withdrawal of Turkish forces for continuation of talks

    Lavrentiev stressed the importance of these meeting in order to resolve tensions between Damascus and Ankara

    January 12 2023

    (Photo Credit : SANA)

    ByNews Desk- 

    On 12 January, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with the special envoy of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss Moscow’s proposal to establish bilateral talks between Damascus and Ankara; however, Assad remarked that any talks between the two states would require Ankara to end its presence in northern Syria.

    The Syrian government indicated that the discussions during the meeting revolved around international and regional issues, with Assad noting that media and political battles are at their height in recent years, adding that these disputes require more stability regarding clarity on political positions, referencing Damascus’s position on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

    Russia’s envoy, Alexander Lavrentiev, clarified that Moscow appreciates Damascus’s position throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and despite Washington’s efforts in placing pressure on nations on good and neutral terms with Russia, it failed to isolate Moscow and Damascus.

    Lavrentiev also reiterated that Moscow is seeking a tripartite meeting between Turkiye, Russia, and Syria, stressing the importance of following up with one another to resolve tensions between the neighboring countries.

    Earlier this month, the US Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, expressed grave concern over Turkiye’s recent rapprochement with the Syrian government, adding that the US calls on its allies and international partners to refrain from normalizing ties with Damascus. 

    The Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, has previously affirmed Turkiye’s respect for the sovereignty of Syria and announced their presence in the country is limited to fighting Turkish-designated terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

    Turkiye has been launching indiscriminate artillery attacks across northern Syria and Iraq over recent months, targeting positions held by the People Protection Units (YPG) and the PKK.

    Despite Moscow’s stress on the importance of mending ties between Damascus and Ankara, Akar revealed last month that discussions are being held with Russia to use the airspace above northern Syria for a potential cross-border operation that targets Kurdish militant groups.

    The Ukraine loses Soledar and Artemovsk

    January 10, 2023

    Machine translation of this article: https://m.vz.ru/society/2023/1/9/1194217.html

    Having abandoned the Christmas truce, Kiev received painful breakthroughs in the defense line in the Donbass. The Russian Armed Forces have achieved decisive success in Soledar and Artemovsk-important strategic points that the Ukrainian command is trying to hold at any cost, including for political reasons.

    As of January 9, fighting is already underway in the center of Soledar and in the area of five-story buildings in the north-east of the city. Two railway stations, a number of salt mines, and residential buildings in the south and southeast along Oktyabrskaya Street have come under the control of the Russian Armed Forces. The village of Bakhmutskoye in the south-west of Soledar has also been cleared. Units advancing from the east, from the village of Yakovlevka, went to the area behind the Transfiguration Church, and assault detachments – to Yurchina Gora, cutting the section of the highway to Blagodatnoye, that is, stopping the supply of the group in the strategically important Seversk.

    According to the newspaper VZGLYAD, by midday fierce battles began for the building of the Soledar administration and for the neighboring House of Culture, in other words, for the city center. Satellite images show a large fire near the central square. The defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has become fragmented, it no longer has a single management and is divided into separate groups.

    The day before, the withdrawal of the 128th separate mountain Assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine began, which quickly turned into a flight. The 61st Separate Mechanized Brigade also began to leave its positions, despite attempts to urgently strengthen it with reserve battalions. As a result, it abandoned its positions, which led to the flight of the 10th mountain assault brigade, as well as the 17th tank brigade-it was the last operational reserve that was supposed to hold Soledar and plug holes in the defense.

    However, ideologically motivated units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including the special forces “Karpaty” and separate units of mountain assault brigades, tried to hold observation posts in five-story buildings on Karpinski Street, so it was premature to talk about the occupation of Soledar. But on Monday, Ukrainian units (or rather, their remnants) retreated to the north-west of the city in the area of “Artemsoli” and the railway station “Sol”.

    Theoretically, this can be called the third line of defense, which boils down to an attempt to stay on the outskirts until the reinforcements announced by Zelensky appear (it is assumed that we are talking about newly formed “numbered” brigades from those mobilized in the Chernihiv region, which have been undergoing combat coordination at the Goncharovsky training ground for the last month).

    The second task of the AFU remnants in the city is to prevent Russian troops from quickly reaching the north of Soledar and cutting the road to Seversk. In fact, it has already failed, since the intersection of the road to Seversk (the corner of Oktyabrskaya and Pionerskaya streets) has already been put under fire control by the Russian Armed Forces.

    The situation also changed dramatically near Artemovsk (in the Ukrainian manner – Bakhmut). By the morning of January 9, units of the Russian Armed Forces had dislodged the combined detachments of the 60th and 17th Separate Mechanized brigade from the village of Podgorodne, which opened up the possibility of encircling Artemovsk from the north. In the south and south-east of the city, the destruction of fortified areas in the villages of Opytne and Kleshcheyevka and the cleaning of the territory around the gypsum factory (KNAUF) on Patrice Lumumba Street took place.

    The AFU constantly transferred reinforcements from the reserves of the 60th Separate mechanized brigade, as well as two armored groups of the 28th mechanized brigade, separate special forces companies and teroborona to Artemovsk. Presumably, the nearest reserve of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be the 58th ompbr and 93rd ombr from the same Chernihiv region. A couple of numbered brigades, which are being hastily transferred from the Zaporozhye direction to Bakhmut, will not have time to go there.

    The main form of defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Soledar and Artemovsk was indiscriminate shelling by the artillery division of the 60th Separate Mechanized brigade and the 17th tank Brigade, which are located outside the contact combat zone. Five Su-25s and two MiG-29s were also connected from the Mirgorod airfield.

    The comical fortifications built on the central streets of Soledar in the form of traditional anti-tank shafts made of welded rails turned out to be of no use to anyone.

    According to some data, the active transfer of AFU reserves near Soledar and Artemovsk will be able to begin no earlier than January 20. Consequently, they will hold a new line of defense, west of the broken Artemovsk – Soledar – Seversk system.

    In the middle of the day on January 9, reports began to arrive that assault detachments began clearing Opytne south of Artemovsk and entered the villages of Krasnaya Gora and Paraskoviyevka. The last two are small, even by local standards, settlements along the railway, but they are tactically important positions, as they close the encirclement of Artemovsk from the north, cutting off the local Ukrainian garrison from Soledar. When this success is consolidated, the entire area between Artemovsk and Soledar will come under the control of the Russian Armed Forces.

    The clearing of small villages south and southwest of Artemovsk threatens the supply of the local garrison. The new line of defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be built, as in Soledar, along the western outskirts of the city, and then along the settlement of Chasov Yar, which over the past few months has been turned by the Armed Forces of Ukraine into the main stronghold of the entire Ukrainian group, as well as into a distribution point for incoming reserves.

    Chasov Yar is a good position, historically located in this town are quarries of refractory clay (the factories themselves have not been working for a long time, but they are a convenient “promka”for defense). In addition, the Seversky Donets – Donbass canal flows right in front of Chasoviy Yar, which even in cold weather (on Monday in the Donbass minus 12-15 Celsius) is a defensive position.

    The loss of the entire Artemovsk – Soledar – Seversk defensive line threatens the Ukrainian Armed Forces with far-reaching consequences.

    First, the pressure on Kremennaya and Lysychansk will stop, and the entire flank of the Ukrainian front will sag in this direction.

    Secondly, the creation of a new line of defense (approximately around Chasova Yar) will require special efforts from Kiev. Already, about six numbered brigades that made up the garrisons of Artemovsk and Soledar have been almost destroyed, and they need to be rotated and re-equipped with new recruits.

    In recent weeks, these garrisons have been maintained at the expense of “veteran” units, including mountain assault units, highly motivated “svidomykh” and special forces. The new numbered brigades, made up entirely of ideologized sergeants and veteran officers mobilized with a small participation, show poor effectiveness.

    At the moment, the line of defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is broken, and the Ukrainian command will not be able to return the situation back. However, it is still too early to talk about the full occupation of Artemovsk – Kiev will hold this locality until the last one for ideological reasons.

    Even now, its further defense is meaningless, but there are no signs of withdrawal of the AFU units from the city. Moreover, there is evidence that in the center of Artemovsk, fortified areas are being created on the model of Soledar, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to insist on strengthening the grouping in the city, including at the expense of units from the southern direction.

    On the other hand, there are reports that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are increasing their presence in Ugledar, which may also mean preparations for a counteroffensive in the southern direction. So far, the pace of the Russian Armed Forces ‘ advance in Soledar and around Artemovsk is quite high, but unpleasant surprises are still possible.

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