‘Doomsday clock’: 90 seconds to midnight

Thursday, 26 January 2023 11:08 AM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 26 January 2023 11:17 AM ]

By Pepe Escobar

The Doomsday Clock, set by the US-based magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has been moved to 90 seconds to midnight.  

That’s the closest ever to total nuclear doom, the global catastrophe.

The Clock had been set at 100 seconds since 2020. The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board and a group of sponsors – which includes 10 Nobel laureates – have focused on “Russia’s war on Ukraine” (their terminology) as the main reason.

Yet they did not bother to explain non-stop American rhetoric (the US is the only nation that adopts “first strike” in a nuclear confrontation) and the fact that this is a US proxy war against Russia with Ukraine used as cannon fodder.

The Bulletin also attributes malignant designs to China, Iran and North Korea, while mentioning, only in passing, that “the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States, New START, stands in jeopardy”.

“Unless the two parties resume negotiations and find a basis for further reductions, the treaty will expire in February 2026.”

As it stands, the prospects of a US-Russia negotiation on New START are less than zero.

Now cue to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov making it very clear that war against Russia is not hybrid anymore, it’s “almost” real.

“Almost” in fact means “90 seconds.”

So why is this all happening?

The Mother of All Intel Failures

Former British diplomat Alastair Crooke has concisely explained how Russian resilience – much in the spirit of Iranian resilience past four decades – completely smashed the assumptions of Anglo-American intelligence.

Talk about the Mother of All Intel Failures – in fact even more astonishing than the non-existent Iraqi WMDs (in the run-up to Shock and Awe in 2003, anyone with a brain knew Baghdad had discontinued its weapons program already in the 1990s.) 

Now the collective West “committed the entire weight of its financial resources to crushing Russia (…) in every conceivable way – via financial, cultural and psychological war, and with real military war as the follow-through.”

And yet Russia held its ground. And now reality-based developments prevail over fiction. The Global South “is peeling away into a separate economic model, no longer dependent on the dollar for its trading needs.”

And the accelerated collapse of the US dollar increasingly plunges the Empire into a real existential crisis.

All that hangs over a South Vietnam scenario evolving in Ukraine after a rash government-led political and military purge. The coke comedian – whose only role is to beg non-stop for bags of cash and loads of weapons – is being progressively sidelined by the Americans (beware of traveling CIA directors). 

The game in Kiev, according to Russian sources, seems to be that the Americans are taking over the Brits as handlers of the whole operation.

The coke comedian remains – for now – as a sock puppet while military control over what is left of Ukraine is entirely NATO’s.

Well, it already was – but now, formally, Ukraine is the world’s first de facto NATO member without being an actual member, enjoying less than zero national sovereignty, and complete with NATO-Nazi Storm troopers weaponized with American and German tanks in the name of “democracy”.

The meeting last week of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group – totally controlled by the US – at the US Air Force base in Ramstein solidified a sort of tawdry remix of Operation Barbarossa.

Here we go again, with German Panzers sent to Ukraine to fight Russia.

Yet the tank coalition seems to have tanked even before it starts.  Germany will send 14, Portugal 2, Belgium 0 (sorry, don’t have them). Then there’s Lithuania, whose Defense Minister observed, “Yes, we don’t have tanks, but we have an opinion about tanks.”

No one ever accused German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of being brighter than a light bulb. She finally gave the game away,  at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg:

“The crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe because we are fighting a war against Russia.”

So Baerbock agrees with Lavrov. Just don’t ask her what Doomsday Clock means. Or what happened after Operation Barbarossa failed. 

The NATO-EU “garden”

The EU-NATO combo takes matters to a whole new level. The EU essentially has been reduced to the status of P.R. arm of NATO.

It’s all spelled out in their January 10 joint declaration.

The NATO-EU joint mission consists in using all economic, political and military means to make sure the “jungle” always behaves according to the “rules-based international order” and accepts to be plundered ad infinitum by the “blooming garden”.

Looking at The Big Picture, absolutely nothing changed in the US military/intel apparatus since 9/11: it’s a bipartisan thing, and it means Full Spectrum Dominance of both the US and NATO. No dissent whatsoever is allowed. And no thinking outside the box.

Plan A is subdivided into two sections.

1. Military intervention in a hollowed-out proxy state shell (see Afghanistan and Ukraine).

2. Inevitable, humiliating military defeat (see Afghanistan and soon Ukraine). Variations include building a wasteland and calling it “peace” (Libya) and extended proxy war leading to future humiliating expulsion (Syria).

There’s no Plan B.

Or is there? 90 seconds to midnight?

Obsessed by Mackinder, the Empire fought for control of the Eurasian landmass in World War I and World War II because that represented control of the world.

Later, Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski had warned: “Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition between Russia, China and Iran.”

Jump cut to the Raging Twenties when the US forced the end of Russian natural gas exports to Germany (and the EU) via Nord Stream 1 and 2.

Once again, Mackinderian opposition to a grand alliance on the Eurasian landmass consisting of Germany, Russia and China.

The Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy could even absorb a strategic alliance between Russia and China – as painful as it may be. But never Russia, China and Germany.   

With the collapse of the JCPOA, Iran is now being re-targeted with maximum hostility. Yet were Tehran to play hardball, the US Navy or military could never keep the Strait of Hormuz open – by the admission of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Oil price in this case would rise to possibly thousands of dollars a barrel according to Goldman Sachs oil derivative experts – and that would crash the entire world economy.

This is arguably the foremost NATO Achilles Heel. Almost without firing a shot a Russia-Iran alliance could smash NATO to bits and bring down assorted EU governments as socio-economic chaos runs rampant across the collective West. 

Meanwhile, to quote Dylan, darkness keeps dawning at the break of noon. Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos will keep pushing the Doomsday Clock closer and closer to midnight.   

Pepe Escobar is a Eurasia-wide geopolitical analyst and author. His latest book is Raging Twenties.

(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

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Michael Hudson gives an interview to a German magazine

December 16, 2022

Posted with the author’s permission

Boos German interview Dec 15 2022

Dear Prof Hudson,

Once again: Herzliche Grüße aus Berlin!

Last time we spoke for German print magazine “Four” in June. Right now I also work for MEGA Radio, a radio news station for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We broadcast from Vienna and are located in Berlin, Bavaria and Austria.

Hereby I would like to invite you to another interview via ZOOM to record it for our radio program. It would be an update on our last interview. Maybe around 20-30 Minutes long.

See also our last talk: https://www.vierte.online/2022/06/03/ukraine-a-trojan-for-germanys-us-dependence/

I don’t know if that’s too short notice, but would you have time for such a conversation next week or the week after?

Otherwise, also at the beginning of January.

Here are my questions:

(1.) You made some predictions in our last interview for “Four” magazine which became true.

You talked about crisis for German companies in the production of fertilizer. This just hit the headlines weeks after our interview.

You also said: “What you characterize as “blocking Nord Stream 2” is really a Buy-American policy.” This now also became more than clear after the destroyed Nord Stream pipelines.

Could you comment that?

MH: U.S. foreign policy has long concentrated on control of the international oil trade. This trade is a leading contributor to the U.S. balance of payments, and its control gives U.S. diplomats the ability to impose a chokehold on other countries.

Oil is the key supplier of energy, and the rise in labor productivity and GDP for the leading economies tends to reflect the rise in energy use per worker. Oil and gas are not only for burning for energy, but are also a basic chemical input for fertilizers, and hence for agricultural productivity, as well as for much plastic and other chemical production.

So U.S. strategists recognize that cutting countries off from oil and its derivatives will stifle their industry and agriculture. The ability to impose such sanctions enables the U.S. to make countries dependent on compliance with U.S. policy so as not to be “excommunicated” from the oil trade.

U.S. diplomats have been telling Europe for many years not to rely on Russian oil and gas. The aim is twofold: to deprive Russia of its major trade surplus, and to capture the vast European market for U.S. oil producers. U.S. diplomats convinced German leaders not to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and finally used the excuse of the NATO war with Russia in Ukraine to act unilaterally to arrange the destruction of both Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.

(2.) For our audience, our listeners: In your new book “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, or Socialism”

You state that the world economy is now fracturing between two parts, the United States and Europe is the dollarized part.

And this Western neoliberal unit is driving Eurasia and most of the Global South into a separate group. You just stated this in an interview from November.

Could you explain this for our outlet?

MH: The split is not only geographic but above all reflects the conflict between Western neoliberalism and the traditional logic of industrial capitalism. The West has deindustrialized its economies by replacing industrial capitalism with finance capitalism, initially in an attempt to keep its wages down by moving abroad to employ foreign labor, and then to try and establish monopoly privileges and captive markets or arms (and now oil) and high-technology essentials, becoming rentier economies.

A century ago, industrial capitalism was expected to evolve into industrial socialism, with governments providing subsidized basic infrastructure services (such as health care, education, communication, research and development) to minimize their cost of living and doing business. That is how the United States, Germany and other countries built up their industrial power, and it also is how China and other Eurasian countries have done so more recently.

But the West’s choice to privatize and financialize its basic infrastructure, dismantling the role of government and shifting planning to Wall Street, London and other financial centers, has left it with little to offer other countries – except or the promise not to bomb them or treat them as enemies if they seek to keep their wealth in their own hands instead of transferring it to U.S. investors and corporations.

The result is that when China and other countries build up their economies in the same way that the United States did from the end of its Civil War to World War II, they are treated as enemies. It is as if U.S. diplomats see that the game is lost, and that their economy has become so debt-ridden, privatized and high-cost that it cannot compete, that it simply hopes to keep making other countries dependent tributaries for as long as it can until the game finally is over.

If the U.S. succeeds in imposing financial neoliberalism on the world, then other countries will end up with the same problems that the United States is experiencing.

(3.) Now the first terminals for LNG from the US are opened in Germany. How will this effect trade and interdependence / dependency between Germany and United States?

MH: The U.S. sanctions and destruction of Nord Stream 1 and 2 have made Europe dependent on U.S. supplies, at so high a cost of LNG gas (about six times what Americans and Asians have to pay) that Germany and other countries have lost their ability to compete in steel making, glass making, aluminum and many other sectors. This creates a vacuum which U.S. affiliates home to fill from their investments in other countries or even from the U.S. itself.

The expectation is that German and other European heavy industry, chemical and other manufacturing will have to move to the United States to obtain oil and other essentials that they are told not to buy from Russia, Iran or other alternatives. The assumption is that they can be blocked from relocating in Russia or Asia by imposing sanctions, fines and political meddling European politics by U.S. NGOs and National Endowment for Democracy satellites in, as has been the case since 1945. We can expect a new Operation Gladio to promote politicians willing to sustain this Global Fracture and the shift of European industry to the United States.

One question is whether Germany’s skilled labor will follow. That typically is what occurs in such situations. This kind of demographic shrinkage is what the Baltic states have experienced. It is a byproduct of neoliberal policies.

(4.) What is your view on the current military situation in the Russian/Ukrainian war?

MH: It looks like Russia will easily win in February or March. It probably will create a Demiliarized Zone to protect the Russian-speaking areas (probably incorporated into Russia) from the pro-NATO West in order to prevent sabotage and terrorism.

Europe will be told to continue to boycott Russia and its allies instead of seeking mutual gains by reciprocal trade and investment. The U.S. may urge Poland and other countries to “fight to the last Pole” or Lithuanian, emulating Ukraine. It will put pressure on Hungary. But most of all, it will insist that Europe spend an immense sum to re-arm, mainly with U.S. arms. This expense will crowd out social spending to help Europe cope with its spreading industrial depression or subsidies to revive its industry. So a militarized economy will become a rising overhead – while consumer and industrial debt increase, along with government debt.

As this occurs, Russia may demand that NATO roll back its borders to pre-1991 boundaries. That is the most likely flash point of conflict.

(5.) What is your view on the current financial situation in this war. The G7 and EU governments talk already about rebuilding and reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. What does this mean for Western businesses and finance capitalism?

MH: Ukraine hardly can be rebuilt. First of all, much of its population has left, and is unlikely to return, given the destruction of housing and infrastructure – and husbands.

Second, Ukraine is owned mainly by a narrow group of kleptocrats – who are trying to sell out to Western agricultural investors and other vultures. (I think you know who they are.)

Ukraine is already debt-ridden, and has become a fiefdom of the IMF (meaning in practice, of NATO). Europe will be asked to “contribute,” and the foreign reserves seized from Russia may be spent on hiring U.S. companies to make a financial killing rebuilding a pretense of an economy in Ukraine – leaving the country even more debt ridden.

A new Democratic Party secretary of state will echo Madeline Albright and say that the killing of Ukraine’s economy, children and soldiers “was all worth it” as the cost of spreading democracy U.S.-style.

(6.) I’ve read lots of background reports on the sanctions against Russia. It seems more and more the sanctions hit Russia hard, because they cannot produce all products, esp. technology, by themselves. On the other hand Russia have now more stable business and buyers with and in China, India.

What real effect do the sanctions have according to your analysis?

MH: The U.S. sanctions have turned out to be an unanticipated godsend for Russia. In agriculture, for instance, sanctions against Lithuanian and other Baltic dairy exports has led to a flowering of a domestic Russian cheese and dairy sector. Russia is now the world’s largest grain exporter, thanks to the Western sanctions that have had much the same effect as protective tariffs and import quotas of the sort that the United States used in the 1930s to modernize its agricultural sector.

If President Biden were a secret Russian agent, he hardly could have helped Russia more. Russia needed the economic isolation of protectionism, but was still too entranced by neoliberal free-trade policy to do this by itself. So the U.S. did it for it.

Sanctions oblige countries to become more self-reliant, at least in basic needs such as food and energy. This self-reliance is the best defense against U.S. economic destabilization to force regime change and similar compliance.

One effect is that Russia will need to buy much less from Europe even after the fighting in Ukraine ends. So there will be less need for Russia to export raw materials to Europe. It can work these up themselves. The industrial core that was Europe may end up more in Russia and its Asian allies than in the United States.

That is the ironic result of NATO’s new Iron Curtain.

(7.) How would you describe China, Russia and India: Do you see Industrial Capitalism or Socialism there?

MH: RIC was the original core of the BRICS, now greatly extended to include Iran and much of Central Asia and the roads involved with China’s Belt and Road initiative. The goal is for Eurasia no longer to have to rely on Europe or North America.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld often referred to “Old Europe” as a shrinking dead zone. It failed to follow its plans a century ago to evolve into an increasingly socialized economy with government subsidy of rising living standards and labor productivity, science and industry. Europe rejected not only Marxism but the basis of Marxist analysis in the classical economics of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and their contemporaries. That path has been followed in Eurasia, while the right-wing anti-government liberalism of the Austrian and Chicago Schools has destroyed the NATO economies from within.

As the locus of industrial and technological leadership moves eastward, European investment and labor probably will follow.

The Eurasian countries will still visit Europe as tourists, as Americans like to visit England as a kind of theme park of post-feudal gentry, the posting of the palace guards and other quaint memories of the days of knights and dragons. European countries will look more like that of Jamaica and the Caribbean, with hotels and hospitality becoming the main growth sectors, with Frenchmen and German waiters dressed in their quaint quasi-Hollywood costumes. Museums will do a thriving business as Europe itself turns into a kind of museum of post-industrialism.

(8.) Currently we saw the collapse and bankruptcy of the crypto exchange FXT. The management of this company seems to be highly criminal. How do you judge that?

MH: Crime is what made crypto a growth sector for the past few years. Investors bought crypto because it is a vehicle for the fortunes being made in international drug dealing, the arms trade, other crime and tax evasion. These are the great post-industrial growth sectors in Western economies.

Ponzi schemes often are good investment vehicles in their take-off stage – the pump-and-dump stage. It was inevitable that criminals would not only use crypto to transfer funds, but actually set up their own currencies “free of oppressive government regulation.” Criminals are the ultimate Chicago School free market libertarians.

Anyone can create their own currency, much as U.S. wild-west banks did in the mid-19th century, printing currency at will. When one went shopping in the early 20th century, the stores still had lists of the shifting valuations of various bank notes. The best designed ones tended to be the most successful.

(9.) Do you have any knowledge about business relations between FTX and Ukraine, the government in Kyiv? There were some rumours and press articles in the alternative media about it?

MH: The IMF and Congress have paid large amounts of money to the Ukraine government and its kleptocrats in charge. Newspapers report that much of this money has been turned over to FTX – which has become the second largest funder of the Democratic Party (behind George Soros, who also is said to be trying to buy up Ukrainian assets). So a circular flow seems to be at work: U.S. Congress votes for funding for Ukraine, which puts some of this money in FTX crypto to pay or the political campaign of pro-Ukrainian politicians.

(10.) Some months ago there were articles in the US press about plans by the FED: They are planning to establish a digital Dollar, a Central Bank Digitcal Currency (CBDC). Also in Europe ECB president Madame Lagarde and the German minister for finance, Lindner, talk about an introduction of the digital Euro.

Here in Germany some critical experts are warning this will only push the total surveillance of the population and customers.

What is your take on digital currencies?

MH: It’s not my department. All banking is electronic, so what does “digital” mean? To libertarians, it means no government oversight, but in government hands, the government will have a record of everything that anyone spends.

(11.) What is your view on the current weakness or strength of the US dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, Gold and Silver?

MH: The dollar will remain in demand, thanks to its success in making the Eurozone dependent on it. The British pound has little means of support, and little reason for foreigners to invest in it. The euro is a junior satellite currency to the dollar.

Without a dollar or other currency to hold their monetary reserves in, governments will continue to increase the proportion held in gold, because it doesn’t have government liabilities attached to it – so U.S. officials can’t simply grab it, as they did with Russia’s foreign reserves. Eurozone countries cannot be trusted not to follow U.S. orders to grab foreign countries’ reserves, so it will be shunned.

As the euro’s exchange rate declines against the dollar, foreign investment will decline, because investors will not want to invest in (1) a shrinking market, and (2) companies that earn domestic euros that are worth fewer and fewer dollars or other hard currency for head offices.

Of course, gold will have to be kept at home, so that it can’t simply be grabbed, as the Bank of England grabbed Venezuela’s gold and gave it to the right-wing U.S. proxy. Germany would be wise to accelerate its airlift of its own gold supply from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank vaults in New York City.

(12.) What is your current analysis of the energy and financial crises in the world?

MH: No real crisis as much as a slow crash. Rising prices paid for what America exports: oil, food and IT monopoly goods, with living costs for consumers rising faster than wages. So there will be a tightening squeeze or most families. The middle class will discover that it really is the wage-earning class after all, and will go deeper into debt – especially if it tries to protect itself by taking out a mortgage to buy a home.

I’ve been studying the 11th and 12th centuries for my history of debt, and I came across a story that may have relevance to the questions that you’ve asked. NATO keeps claiming that it is a defensive alliance. But Russia has no desire to invade Europe. The reason is obvious: No army can invade a major country. More important, Russia does not even have a motive to destroy Europe as a U.S.-puppet adversary. Europe already is self-destructing.

I am reminded of the battle of Manzikert in 1071, when the Byzantine Empire lost to the Seljuk Turks (largely because its general on whom the emperor had depended, Andronikos Doukas, defected, and then overthrew the Emperor. Crusade of Kings, a game supplement, covers the battle extensively, and claims the following conversation took place between Alp Arslan and Romanos:[52]

Alp Arslan: “What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?”

Romanos: “Perhaps I’d kill you, or exhibit you in the streets of Constantinople.”

Alp Arslan: “My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free.”

That is the punishment that Europe will receive from Eurasia. Its leaders have made their choice: to be a U.S. satellite.

How bright are EUropeans ?

November 05, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

no contract

Several indications lead to the conclusion that EUropeans at large — exceptions aside — should not be very bright. Or at least not brighter than anyone else as they claim to be. The fact is that – despite their undeniably copious amounts of individual and collective achievements – they have not yet been able to articulate a peacefull co-existence strategy amongst themselves and with third parties. Having failed at that implies that EUropeans are not really that bright, how could they be ? True enough, EUrope´s macro-economic and consumer society development has been ´successful´… but still under a highly unstable political co-existence. IMNSHO the main reason for such disqualifying historical flaw is that – contrary to their own self-image frequently preached sanctimoniously onto others – in political EUrope a “deal” is never a dealIt´s rather an expression of possible temporary abidance always subject to their own interpretation and circumstances yet un-defined. Basically, there is no valid contract, social or political or otherwise in EUrope. Humpty Dumptyness at its best. And the EU governance experiment made things worse with all the key decisions imposed by un-elected officials very clearly in the case of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Poland, and Hungary. The argument could possibly be made that other societies today also struggle along equivalent lines, but then again this would swiftly confirm that EUropeans cannot be considered to be brighter than others… as they bloody insist they are.

EUropean ´superiority´ (not)

Dr. Josep Borrell is the EU´s topmost senior diplomat as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Recently joined by another un-elected official namely the EU Commission President Ursula von den Leyen both now roughly insist that EUrope´s problems stem from its addictiveness to excellent and cheap Russian energy and resources, to China´s humongous export markets and high productivity dependency, and to the military ´security´ that the US today supposedly renders to them. So, accordingly their solution for EUrope would be to (a) get itself up in arms yet again and (b) to double-down on the ‘battle of narratives´ which should be interpreted to be just some more effective EU propaganda. So from this perspective rather than being bright EUropeans would just appear to be aggressive, manipulative, and conceited… and not superior to anyone else. So why be so proud about it all ?.

the EU thorny garden

Objectively searching into the EUropean political soul it´s easy to find EUrope´s self-EUthanization vis-á-vis its sheer lack of any ´affectio societatis´. This makes EUrope an un-viable business associate to and for anyone, even amongst themselves in view of the current widespread infighting. But JB´s ´brightness´ does not stop there, now proclaiming that “the world needs Europe” and that EUrope is a “garden” and the rest a mere ”jungle” ready to encroach upon it… So at this rate it would be wise to copernically acknowledge that EUrope is not any “global super-power” and that God Almighty has not appointed the un-elected European Commission as the rule-maker for the rest of the world to follow. Furthermore, the “international community”(sic) is not headquartered at Davos or Brussels and 85% of planet Earth does not even wake up in the West every morning. Making that clear would focus EU politics better than complaining about “too many abstentions” in the UN votes regarding this conflict which EU officials fail to understand and accept.

Ref #1 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/foreign-affairs-council-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-upon-arrival-1_en

Ref #2 http://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/10/19/josep-borrell-apologises-for-controversial-garden-vs-jungle-metaphor-but-stands-his-ground

Ref #3 https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-10-12/Josep-Borrell-looks-backwards-on-China-Russia-and-U-S–1e3XRtUKOJy/index.html

Ref #4 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/european-diplomatic-academy-opening-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-inauguration_en

7 historical catastrophes 7

During the past one hundred years (approx.) aided or not by its supposed “superiority” collective Europe fostered 7 major historical vintage TM® failures, namely (1) enthusiastically fostered World War I – the Great War – “the war to end all wars” amongst themselves + (2) cradled and fully developed Nazism + (3) instigated and deployed World War II + (4) allowed for the firm establishment of ruinous “King Dollar” by calmly and willingly accepting the 1971 US unilateral default on the Bretton Woods Agreement thus perpetuating until today a highly detrimental “exhorbitant privilege” for a thus fiat US dollar + (5) established the currently ticking Euro currency time bomb + (6) fully accepted and even participated with impunity in many dozens of US military unsolicited interventions worldwide as the sole un-elected “world cop” thru its 800+ military bases in 80 countries (7) in 2022 unilaterally provoked an unnecessary and stupid self-harming divorce from Russia which has led the world closer than ever to a nuclear war. Readers may have different opinion regarding the individual interpretation of related events but still all of the above are categorically accepted historical facts. And a society that lies so much – onto itself and third parties — cannot be too bright, can it ?

Ref #5 http://www.theepochtimes.com/on-the-path-to-hyperinflation_4782143.html

Ref #6 http://www.zerohedge.com/markets/path-hyperinflation

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index 6.jpg

no ´Greater Europe´

Forget any and all dreams about forging a Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Russia tried it, worked very hard at it, and invested tons in such century-milestone project, to no avail. Fact #1: Russia focused on Greater Europe for 30 years. Fact #2: Russia failed miserably in such endeavor. Under deep ´political hypnosis´ — for want of a better term — EUropean leaders supported by complicit constituents ended up deploying their self-harming strategy. For starters, no Referendum on the NATO-imposed, suicidal “let´s divorce Russia” initiative was ever proposed even though many dozens referenda have been held in the EU´s recent past. It´s simple: there is no valid contract in the EU

Russophia was also firmly established as a national cross-border regional sport of sorts spear-headed by complicit Western MSM and loudly outspoken and highly payed for EU officials. Of course, if challenged, Russians have the advantage of becoming quite stubborn when circumstances so require it, so they insisted in the Greater Europe project success and strictly followed the required EUropean Market & Financial Rules. But, yet again, there was no contract compliance. So led by the G-7 leadership, the collective West just plain took effective advantage of Russia in every way it possibly could provoke … and so the Minsk Accords were conveniently extended, postponed… and duly forgotten despite being squarely – and deceitfully — brokered by both Germany and France. The EU´s supposed Ostpolitik was betrayed with every trace of ´affectio societatis´ absent thus DE-stabilising the area and using third parties as pawns. Because, of course, EUropean flagrant unilateralism dictates that there is no room for anything close to having willingness and interest to engage and relate constructively with high-quality business partners beyond the EU´s – and NATO´s — full control. So Russia finally got fed up sick and tired of the West´s lack of “agreement capability” and will thus fully pivot to thriving Eurasia. Meanwhile Europe will immolate itself thru its NATO-induced suicide with shamefull colonialistic sins hovering its soul for the last 500 years until today. Is any of this “bright” ?

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index 5.jpg

NATO´s ´hypnotic´ spell

British Gral. Hastings Ismay — the first Secretary General of NATO — defined that the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was “to keep Russians out, Americans in, and Germans down” which has since become the common way to describe its dynamics and goals. Ismay also proposed that NATO “must grow until the whole free world gets under one umbrella.” So EUrope today and per its own fault, in more than one way and through not-publicized non-sanctum mechanisms, is actually ruled and governed directly by the US. Accordingly, the inclusion of Russia in the Greater Europe project was to be boycotted to death – most specially its association with Germany — and it certainly was. The European leadership thus offered and deployed highly pro-active support to provoke the Ukraine conflict, be it “militarily, financially or politically” thus confirming yet again its direct and unequivocal commitment and participation. During 8 years the Ukraine Armed Forces were trained by NATO to meet NATO combat standards while the Eastern Russian-speaking areas were systematically intimidated and bombed . NATO members proudly admitted to constantly supply the UAF with heavy modern weapons, military advisers and intel.

Ref #7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastings_Ismay,_1st_Baron_Ismay

Ref #8 https://www.azerbaycan24.com/en/eu-again-urged-to-open-wallet-for-kiev/

The Lord Ismay.jpg

To weaken Germany and simultaneously strengthen the US required pitting Russia against Germany in a mutually destructive conflict so that the two countries could not re-establish normal relations for decades to come. The collapse of the EUropean economy would come about by denying cheap Russian energy to Germany. Thus, trillions of dollars of European resources would supposedly relocate to the US jointly with their best and brightest. According to the Rand Report, the main obstacle to Europe´s plundering on a scale which rivaled the Jewish looting of Russia in the 1990s was “the growing independence of Germany” which followed Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) which gave “Germany greater independence and decreased the US influence upon European governments.”

the EU ´bright´ new oil & gas markets

No matter how diced or sliced, under the planned nat-gas EU ´capped-price´ purchase policy Western markets would be missing access to some 50% (approx.) of the 2021 effectively traded and consumed natural gas volumes. Besides, serious doubts remain on (a) the technical quality of such new possible “capped” price nat-gas (b) its delivery terms and conditions and (c) the reliability of such type of possible nat-gas suppliers. But at any rate when EUrope soon necessarily runs out of all possible nat-gas vendors willing to comply with its new capped-price policy — which would never fulfill its physical needs — then Russia and others will be able to charge whatever they want for the remaining nat-gas which EUrope will require in order to function ASWKI. Unless, of course, the deliberate ruinous EUropean plan were exactly THAT …which is an ever larger possibility. High quality nat-gas is high quality nat-gas, markets are markets, and business is business. An equivalent “absurd” sourcing conundrum would also be triggered by the soon-coming EU ban on Russian sea-borne oil with serious refinability problems (diesel !!!) vis-á-vis the different quality and quantity of the replacements yet to be found and the un-vetted reliability of the yet non-existent suppliers. Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis says “Without new inventory, by the end of November the wolf will be at the door. And it will look like a big ugly wolf if it’s a cold winter” Ref #9 http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/11/the-u-s-diesel-shortage-is-worsening.html

not-so-bright useful green idiots ?

The reference below describes the green parties in Europe “as being particularly easy to manipulate into running the errands of American imperialism. The prerequisite for Germany to fall into this trap is the dominant role of Green Parties and European ideologies. The German environmental movement is a highly dogmatic, if not fanatical, movement, which makes it quite easy to get them to ignore economic argument.”

Ref #10 https://fair.org/home/us-medias-intellectual-no-fly-zone-on-us-culpability-in-nord-stream-attack/

Ref #11 https://www.veteranstoday.com/2022/10/08/the-attack-on-the-pipeline-and-the-resurrection-of-the-morgenthau-plan-as-the-long-arm-of-jewish-vengeance/ Ref #12 https://nyadagbladet.se/utrikes/shocking-document-how-the-us-planned-the-war-and-energy-crisis-in-europe/

Eurasian pivot

On their part, the Russians — many still astonished by suicidal EUrope – seem to basically be thinking (approx.) …

EUropeans, you didn´t have to love us or even be friends you know… but why hate us ? Always, systematically, by default. Why are you Russophobic ? We only wanted to continue being your vetted trade partners as repeatedly proven with flying colors for 30 years. So just what is wrong with you ? Why do you allow your leaders to lie to you, cheat and mislead you so much ? If you actually wished to scare us away consider it done, good job and good bye EUrope. Now, despite your fully un-necessary EUthanization of our relationship, we still welcome you to set up your investments as our business associates here in Russia. Just consider that your only gateway to the world´s next all-time winner anyway you dice it or slice it — namely Mackinder´s Eurasia — is by relocating to Russia with all our known advantages. Otherwise – per WEF logic — you will not have any worthwhile fuels or natural resources left ( just hyperinflation…and no markets ) and you will not be happy”. So the remaining bright Germans – and other bright minds still in EUrope — would finally understand that 85% of the world´s population is not Western let alone part of today´s non-sensical NATO, fully “brain dead” per French President Emmanuel Macron. And once that the NS1 & NS2 sabotage perpetrators are proven and known, EUropean public opinion – most specially Germans – will see things very differently from today understanding how they have been mis-led into an entirely un-justified Russophobia.

EUropean RE-location

Development requires cheap and excellent all-around energy and natural resources which Germany and others do not have and that Russia has plenty of. It also requires markets with which to trade. So the alternatives are (a) “NATO out” which does not seem feasible right now, meaning “to revolt en masse against the NATO-imposed trade/financial sanctions against Russia, and force Berlin to repair NS1 and commission Nord Stream 2”…or… (b) relocate to the US, meaning total vassalization of the EUropean industrial burgeoisie a-la Werner von Braun…or… (c) relocate to Russia and be part of Eurasia´s new bright future, jointly with China & BRICS & SCO & Global South. Of course, sooner or later some of (b) will surely take place but chances are that (c) — per the assumed Russian offering proposed — will at least be the German predominant choice. Obviously, this would probably mean the sudden demise of the EUro and, soon after, of the US dollar ASWKI. The smarter part of the remaining EUrope would also follow the relocation of bright Germans to Russia. Unexpectedly, along these lines events may pick up unusual speed and EUrope as we know it today would cease to exist. And this would be the final evidence proving that EUropeans at large are not as bright as they think they are. They would all act differently if they were, with no room for cannibalism.

the Overton window

Bright Europeans do exist, but in EUropean politics they are very few and far between. So most today focus on (1) ruining Russia per NATO mandate to supposedly uphold ´democracy everywhere´ even corrupt kleptocracies… and while they are at it…(2) also saving planet Earth. Still, a handfull are finally understanding that this is too high a price to pay as EUropeans would not be willing to accept the MAGNITUDE and DEPTH of the hardships soon to come in what up until today was a flourishing consumer society with an enviable standard of living. Hypothetically, what some few political leaders were waiting and jockeying for was an Overton window large enough to get their heads in, their bets made, and their feet wet. The Overton window defines what is politically possible per the existing public opinion at a given point in time. So it is a very convenient tool to apply in view of the EU Commissariat Master Plan.

Ref #13 https://thesaker.is/natos-green-masochistic-euthanasia/

Ref #14 https://thesaker.is/europe-hypnotized-into-war-economy/

Ref #15 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Europes-Energy-Crisis-Will-Not-Be-A-One-Winter-Story.html

the German oath

All members of the elected government of the German Federal Republic have necessarily taken an oath of office details of which are explicit below. That is the basis for the social and political contract between German leadership and their constituents. But apparently many / all have decided to conveniently dismiss such sworn obligations until the Overton window – Main Street´s hidden weapon — forces them to act accordingly, not before.

“ I swear that I will devote my energies to the well-being of the German people, increase their benefit, protect them from harm, uphold and defend the Basic Law and the laws of the Federation, perform my duties conscientiously and do justice to everyone. So help me God.” Not a single word is ever mentioned relating directly or indirectly to the EU, its governance impact, its interests and/or its goals.

the “most stupid” government in EUrope

Recently Sahra Wagenknecht has defined Germany’s government as the “most stupid” in EUrope for managing to embroil itself in a full-blown economic war with its top – and thus un-replaceable — energy supplier, namely Russia. Speaking at the Bundestag, the former co-chair of the party Die Linke (“The Left”) urged for an immediate end to the anti-Russian sanctions and also for the resignation of German Vice Chancellor and Minister of the Economy, the now infamous ´Herr Green´ Robert Habeck. While still describing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as a “crime” Wagenknecht insisted that the anti-Russian sanctions are “fatal” for Germany itself. She told her fellow Bundestag leaders in-their-face that “The biggest problem is your grandiose idea of launching an unprecedented economic war against our most important energy supplier. The idea that we are punishing Putin by impoverishing millions of families in Germany and destroying our industry while Gazprom is making record profits – how stupid is that?” she wondered out loud. So, an important German at an important German venue publically told many other important Germans how stupid they were. Not me, she did. “The promise of NATO membership did not help any. Militarily, this war cannot be won”. Of course, this has meant that some Left Party members now demand the expulsion of Sahra Wagenknecht for good.

Ref #16 https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/09/19/qunz-s19.html

Ref #17 https://www.rt.com/business/563382-high-energy-costs-eu-companies/

Ref #18 https://www.rt.com/business/563490-thousands-firms-italy-closure/

Ref #19 https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-eu-energy-smes-idAFL8N30E4WV

Ref #20 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Europe-Faces-An-Exodus-Of-Energy-Intensive-Industries.html

´the grandiose idea´ …

Firms in the metal and chemical industries, among others, are trying to relocate to the US, The Wall Street Journal reports: “High energy costs drive companies away from EU”. This means obvious consequences only fools would not foresee: DEpression & UN-employment. German producers warn of food shortages. Die Welt now reports that “There are significant supply gaps in the daily food supply for people in Germany. The situation is “more than serious” an open letter from the industry said. “Companies now fear that production lines will soon come to a standstill and that refrigerated logistics centers for food distribution will be closed. Some are even preparing for possible insolvency.”

Manufacturers of both frozen and fresh products say they cannot cope with soaring energy costs. “The food industry is currently experiencing the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War… It’s a minute to twelve. Act now – otherwise the refrigerators and freezers of the German population will soon be empty” the letter urges. Germany, along with the broader EU, is facing a sharp rise in energy prices and a record inflation surge amid the intensifying anti-Russian sanctions and a policy of abandoning all possible Russian fuels. The situation could also soon lead to energy rationing and shortages, also meaning NO energy, NO fuels at ANY price, period. And forget LNG from whomever or wherever. Too little, too late, too cumbersome, too risky, way dirtier, and way too expensive. Germany needs Russian pipelined nat-gas for many good reasons that they cannot ignore and will necessarily live by soon.

The frozen food industry is particularly susceptible to energy supply problems, due to its strong reliance on electricity for freezers. The EU risks a ‘Wild West’ scenario says IEA head Fatih Birol warning that member states could possibly abandon solidarity to secure their own gas supplies. Many dozens of thousands of small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) in Italy can’t cope with soaring energy bills, ´Corriere della Sera´ reports. Italy is badly dependant on Russian pipelined nat-gas, no substitutes are possible in practice. Supposed “stored” reserves cannot be extracted from sub-surface unless Russian pipelines are also flowing thus allowing to add-on such stored reserves to the main flow. By themselves, underground nat-gas reserves can hardly be produced on surface and still with lots of negative impact.

Ref #21 https://thesaker.is/germanys-failing-stored-nat-gas-lng-experiment/

Larger companies will also add to the un-employed. According to a recent survey, over 70% of Italians are having difficulty or are simply unable to pay their energy bills. SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the 27-nation EU. SMEs employ around 100 million people, or two thirds of all employed and account for 53% of Europe’s GDP.

Nearly one in six people over 65 in Germany is at risk of poverty, meaning they have less than 60% of the median income at their disposal according to the Federal Statistical Office and published by the German media group Funke. Europe maybe could have articulated a far better and softer transition and slower pathway into “some” renewables under excellent quality and already available + pipeline delivered, cheap Russian nat-gas. But they chose otherwise and now Europe must pay the piper. And with only a fraction of the EU imploding generalized chaos will prevail.

True enough, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán led the pack weeks ago by saying “the approach has clearly failed — sanctions have backfired — and our car now has 4 four flat tires”. Just as a reminder, vehicles carry only one spare tire (maybe two) but never four and more to come… Now, also Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki proposes to lift sanctions on Russia by December at the latest. But the questions remains: beyond some optics, the audio and the visual… just where precisely is the ACTION ? Are these two Heads of State bright enough per the circumstances ? Or are they just better sounding than the overwhelming EUropean political mediocrity ? Oh, you say they aren´t allowed to do any more than that ? If that´s the established system then EUropeans were not very bright…

Ref #22 https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/orban-urges-new-eu-strategy-on-ukraine-says-sanctions-have-failed/

Michael Kretschmer

Germany needs Russian gas” – says Michael Kretschmer, Saxony’s Minister-President. Okay, that´s a good starting point to acknowledge don´t you think ? A valid diagnosis is necessarily behind any reasonable therapy and at least in this case – besides being bloody obvious – it´s still reconforting to see that a spanking new “common denominator” is being put together by some in Germany. Herr Kretschmer added that the current exorbitant prices for the fuel are “ruining Germany’s industry”. Okay, sorry to hear that. So that means that Russian energy matters lots, correct ?

Russian gas supplies are critical for Germany, and will remain so in the foreseeable future”. In an interview with Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe Michael Kretschmer also added: “We are already witnessing that we can’t do without Russian gas.” Hmmm….. But then Kretschmer went on to say that now Berlin should try to make sure that it keeps receiving Russian gas after the armed conflict is over. But would that be soon, please tell us ? Because saying that implies ignoring that the end of the armed conflict will most probably not be decided in the battlefield and just come about by a NATO-EU surrender. Why so you may ask ? Well precisely because NATO & the EU leadership provoked and sustained Russian gas to be cut off, so that can be reverted only by them, not the other way around. So whatever happens militarily in the battlefield does not actually matter that much any more unless it were 101% decisive. But many months have elapsed and it does not seem to be anywhere close to that, does it ? So finally EU politicians on their own will have to end this unnecessary war that they started simply because the Overton window for European public opinion will not stand it and they will have to admit they were dead wrong and plain go home, if not to jail.

Ref #23 https://www.rt.com/news/563458-saxony-governor-germany-needs-russian-gas/

Clare Daly (Irish MEP)

Clare Daly is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and from the very beginning in March 2022 she has voted against its Resolutions on this matter basically considering them to be “a recipe for prolonging war with escalation”. She believes that “ignoring the role played by the US and NATO in destabilising the area for the past decade,using Ukraine as a pawn in its battles with Russia, only serves to prevent an understanding of the measures necessary to secure peace”. Per Clare Daly, the EP Resolutions “accelerate the provision of military equipment and weapons to Ukraine, strengthen NATO’s forward presence, increase defence spending…and strengthen the European pillar within NATO” while also ”opportunistically call for opening the European energy market to fracked American liquefied natural gas (LNG)…which is far more polluting and terribly far more expensive”. Clare Daly believes that ”there is no military solution to this crisis as the policy of flooding Ukraine with weapons will, at worst, lead to a permanent condition of conflict, as has happened in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, at best, a greater loss of life and destruction in Ukraine”. Furthermore, Clare Daly believes that the EP Resolutions on this topic do not sufficiently “take into account the impact of the war on workers,their working conditions, and the recognition of the hardship that this entails”.

Ref #24 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/197731/CLARE_DALY/other-activities/written-explanations

Ref #25 https://rmx.news/article/shock-eu-commission-president-threatens-italy-on-eve-of-election-says-brussels-has-tools-if-wrong-parties-win/ Ref #26 https://tomluongo.me/2022/09/23/as-democracy-dies-eu-its-sins-are-revealed/

Ref #27 https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/London-Banks-Prepare-For-Possible-Blackouts.html

Saint Greta of Thunberg

Days ago Greta Thunberg at the London’s Royal Festival Hall left on record that there is no going “back to normal” as it would mean returning to the Global North climate crisis “system” i.e. “colonialism, imperialism, oppression, genocide and racist, oppressive extractionism”. So only the overthrow of “the whole capitalistic system” will suffice, says Greta. No explanation was given — or even a mild attempt made — to describe how the required transition could possibly be made to get from our current evil point A to future greatly-improved point B. Apparently, there’s no GDP growth — especially of the capitalist sort — without increasing carbon emissions. Supposedly the only solution to this state of emergency is “for rich countries to immediately abandon economic expansion as a social goal.” Full interview credit to Nicholas Harris at Ref #28 https://unherd.com/thepost/greta-thunberg-throws-her-lot-in-with-the-anti-capitalist-left/

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index.jpg

entitlements & cakeism vs. the chicken and the egg DE-globalization economics: FIRE vs real STUFF

If really interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions mankind worldwide would need to drastically change its way of life in many important ways already very firmly considered by the collective mind-set as genuinely valid entitlements So, politically speaking such proposal is a non-starter waaaay outside any current Overton window we may come up with. In turn, we also can´t have our own cake and eat it too. So which will it be ? On top of it, let´s add that “All service industries (– including FIRE finances –) remain completely dependent on the raw materials and manufactured goods sectors to function… So DE-globalization will increasingly favor those who produce and control the STUFF which underpins everything else…(of course necessarily) leading to devastating closures of (almost all ?) energy and/or resource-intensive industrial operations in Europe due to high energy prices that make their products uncompetitive.” Ref #29 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/East-vs-West-Stuff-vs-Finance.html . Full credit to Kurt Cobb via OilPrice.com.

Reasons behind the German Crisis!

1 Nov 2022 16:31 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

William Wilkes 

Over six months, since the beginning of the Russian-Ukraine war, the impact of higher resource prices has become apparent. Europe’s energy crisis has affected every aspect of life. In a worsening energy crisis in Europe, Germany is right at the center of a perfect storm.

Simmering tensions beneath the surface threaten to undermine the German system’s stability in the years to come.

In May 2022, Germany recorded a monthly trade deficit of US$1 billion for the first time in 30 years amid soaring inflation and supply chain disruption weighing on the country’s industrial base. A trade deficit means that the German economy has lost momentum rapidly.

In the first half of 2022, no German companies were among the 100 companies with the highest stock market value. This shows that German companies have lost market recognition. Germany specializes in exporting capital goods based on traditional industrial companies, but since October 2018, German industrial output has been continuously negative.

The German automobile sector is not only suffering from a loss of reputation, but also a lack of vision. Moreover, Germany’s competitors abroad have long been more reactive to megatrends, such as e-mobility, digitalization, or autonomous driving. German carmakers no longer seem to act as technology leaders. In terms of fully electric vehicles, Tesla is beating German automakers. In addition, German companies have still not shown any significant success in the IT sector. Future development does not look much rosier.

The energy crisis is increasingly turning into an economic and social crisis.

Germany’s energy companies were bearing the brunt of the Russia-Ukraine war. Domestic energy prices continue to soar, and the annual inflation rate was confirmed at 10% in September 2022, reaching a new high unseen since the 1990’s reunification. Natural gas consumption by residential consumers has also increased, occupying a large share of household consumption. As a result, most families were incapable of adding to their savings or investments.

A substantial number of hospitals in Germany may face closures amid rising energy costs and hiking inflation. The country’s Health Ministry is now set to meet Finance Minister Christian Lindner to discuss potential forms of assistance the government could provide to the crumbling healthcare sector, but there will be no specialized federal fund.

Germany is currently experiencing a severe energy crisis that is increasingly turning into an economic and social crisis.

Berlin is the driving engine of the European Union. If something goes wrong with the German economy, Europe is certain to enter a recession. Nomura Holdings said it expected the European economy to start contracting over the course of the second half of 2022 and for the recession to continue until the summer of 2023, with a total decline of 1.7% of GDP. The UK, which has already left the EU, will not be spared, and its GDP will fall by 1.5%.

Is the US a reliable ally?

The United States always regarded Nord stream as a thorn. It is not only related to the EU-US energy trade, but also the status of the dollar. After Europe tasted the sweetness of Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 was put on the agenda, and it would effectively double German gas imports from Russia. Nord Stream was becoming the key energy artery of the internal circulation in the energy system, which would exclude the United States. It is not only an important part of Eurasia but also an important link in the world’s energy system.

At the same time, Russia accelerated its de-dollarization plans, moving toward using the euro as the main unit of currency used in energy trading, which was certainly a challenge for the dollar. The U.S. could play a crucial role in Europe’s gas supply only if Nord steam was inoperational. Thus, the US called for the complete stop of Nord Stream, citing economic harm to Kiev. Then, the United States said that Nord Stream poses a grave threat to US and European national security because it creates a situation in which Russia could strategically withhold energy from European countries. The United States used the pipeline’s explosion to achieve its own goals, but for the whole of Europe, especially Germany, it was significantly worse.

The communist Polish government had previously waived all further claims to compensation for WWII from Germany in 1953. But Poland’s Foreign Minister recently signed an official note to Germany requesting some EUR 1.3 trillion. The sudden reversal was definitely not a spur-of-the-moment decision. If Germany paid off WWII debt, it would be badly weakened. Poland knows full well that its demands for German reparations can never be enforced. But why did he make an unnecessary move?

Recently, Germany softened its stance on the Russia-Ukraine crisis: Germans strongly opposed the government supplying weapons to Ukraine. Politicians have also called for an end to military assistance to Ukraine. Meanwhile, the German parliament also passed a resolution to suspend additional support to Kiev. Of course, The US is not satisfied with this, but it is reluctant to straight up saying no. 

In September, the media published a leaked US secret plan to allegedly destroy the German economy. While the authenticity of the RAND document is disputed, the extent to which the US is an “ally” needs to be thought over.

Washington is forcing European countries to make a choice, choose or abandon a strategic alliance with the US. Germany has delivered weapons to Ukraine under pressure from the United States. But what did Germany get in the end?

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

From the Surreal to the Real to the Meta-Real

October 31, 2022

By Batiushka

The Surreal

For one brief moment we thought that Monty Python had made a comeback, starring Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. Surreal because of both characters, the former who returned post-haste from the Caribbean dreaming of a victorious return, the latter who appears to have been responsible for the terrorist attacks on the Nordstream pipelines (so said Truss’ mobile phone) and the Crimea-Kerch Bridge. No surprises here, as she represents the same ruthless British Establishment, which carried out the Litvinenko murder (carried out under ‘white man speak with forked tongue Bliar’) and the bungled Skripal murders (carried out under the son of millionaire slave-traders Cameron), making a clumsy mess of trying to frame Russia for them. Only zombies would believe that Russia was responsible for either mishap. Russia may not be populated with geniuses, but, unlike MI6, it is not populated with morons either.

Then we learned that the latest episode of the Great British Comedy Show was over – though only until the next one – with the utterly incompetent Truss backstabbed and sacked by her own. But the surreal was not over: A multimillionaire Hindu took over the UK Premiership and he has already hinted at cancelling Truss’ intention to increase the ‘defence’ budget of the bankrupt UK by 50% by 2030. This same Hindu banker is now responsible for appointing all bishops of the State-run ‘Church of England’! Yes, it is Monty Python again. The most important thing, however, is that Truss’ crazed fingers have been taken away from the nuclear button. Perhaps her American masters ordered it.

As for ‘Richy’ Sunak, his PR people are presenting him as another nice brown Obama (1). (Remember – the one who refused to close down Guantanamo Bay and murdered people by drone, for which the CIA kindly funded and then awarded him one of their Nobel Peace Prizes?). But already, on Sunak’s watch, the not-so-secret UK secret services have co-ordinated a pathetic drone attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Of course, just as James Bond was the one who simply did the US’s dirty jobs for them, it was all okayed in Washington first. Hopefully, friends in India might tell Sunak to start behaving like a morally upright Indian, not like a British moral pygmy. Hopefully.

However, the surreal continued when, on 23 October, with the Russian Defence Minister’s phone calls to his US, UK, French and Turkish counterparts about the Russian discovery of a Kiev/MI6 plot to use a ‘dirty’ bomb and blame it on Russia. Having outed the plot, Sergei Shoigu had alerted the US Establishment to the extremism of the now desperate Kiev elite (and their British MI6 operatives). The US put the Kiev crazies in their place, since, after all, the US are the string-pullers and puppets are not allowed to do anything without their express permission. The US duly stated that it has seen no evidence that Russia intends to use nuclear weaponry and President Putin stated that Russia has no plans to use nuclear weapons. The panic and hysteria of the Western media and of others was unfounded; though the mass media did not report the US admission. Panic and hysteria sell.

The third cause of surreal panic was the news that units from a US Airborne Division had been deployed to Romania. In fact, it was only a partial deployment, a rotation prepared months before, not a US threat to take over Odessa using parachute troops. The concept that the US wants to see its own troops being slaughtered in the Ukraine is also surreal. Even they do not want to trigger World War III against a nuclear power for the sake of Monsanto, Cargill and Hunter Biden. Forget it, Gonzalo, the US are cowards. They are not going to die for a piece of Eastern Europe. That is what they pay the Kiev cannon fodder and mercenaries for. To die on their behalf, ‘for a fistful of dollars’.

The Real

Let us now come back to reality. The 87,5% of the world which either supports the Russian campaign to liberate the Ukraine, or else remains neutral towards it, shows the increasing isolation of the Nazi West. And it is now also crystal clear that ‘the West’ is in fact only the USA, just as NATO is only the USA, the Wicked Witch of the West. The rest is just camouflage, a mirage. In Italy, Germany, France, Moldova, the Czech Lands, Romania (the former Defence Minister), Bulgaria, Serbia, even in the UK, dissident voices are protesting. For God’s sake, negotiate with Russia! The Ukraine is their business, not ours, they’re all basically Russkies anyhow. We want gas and food! Who cares about the Nazi puppets in Kiev? More and more all European governments, apart only from the Hungarian, are being seen as what they are – simply US puppet elites, who do not represent their peoples. EU or Non-EU Europe, there is no difference, apart from Hungary, which alone has, in every sense, a popular government. If Nobel Prizes were given non-politically, surely Victor Orban should have won one of them by now.

Here the hypochondriac French are going crazy because China is sanctioning them by depriving them of paracetamol. Perhaps as many as 20% of Western Europeans have now realised that the whole Ukraine affair is a put-up job, arranged by the US, with its British poodle yapping at its feet. Same as Iraq, same as Afghanistan. Same old, same old. The poodle is more papist than the Pope. Over the last two months it is notable that most Ukrainian flags have been taken down in Europe. It is rare to see one now. The working class were never interested, they always knew it was just another operation by the arms industry, but now even the conformist middle-class is taking down its Ukrainian flags. The mirage is over. This Hell-begotten war must end.

More in Europe are beginning to think that maybe President Putin is right. We do indeed need a common economic home, from Reykjavik/Dublin/Lisbon to Vladivostok. This would not be US-led like the EU. The EU is just the political and economic arm of the US in Europe, just as NATO is its military arm. The USE (United States of Europe) has been USED. It is over. All we need now is for Europe to recover its independence from the US invasion and occupation of the 1940s. Then there will be a new EU, Eurasian Union, or EC, Eurasian Confederation. This would be governed not by unelected Eurocrats, but by the elected governments of the sovereign countries of multipolar Eurasia co-operating together.

The terrorist attack on the Kerch/Crimea Bridge prompted Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid, putting at least 40% of it out of action and some of it for a very long time. Those strikes are taking place every day. Today 80% of Kiev is without water. A lot of people have no light and no heat and outside at night it is -2. Wait till it is -2 during the day. Don’t poke the bear, Zelensky.

On 20 October we had an indication of what was going to happen once Russia’s partial mobilization of 300,000 was complete – as it is now. In Kherson, near which large Ukrainian forces appear to be massed, the governor Kirill Stremousov declared that: ‘After defeating the planned Kiev regime attacks on Kherson we plan to launch a counter-offensive towards Nikolaev, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk’.

https://news.mail.ru/incident/53550333/?frommail=1

And on 30 October, the same man stated that they were expecting the mass Kiev attack on Kherson by 40,000-60,000 troops, a third of whom are mercenaries. It is said that mercenary pay is $4,000 dollars a week. But what use is that when you are dead?

https://news.mail.ru/politics/53680125/?frommail=1

Many minor attacks by Kiev troops towards Kherson have been defeated in October. Kiev’s offensive capability is constantly being degraded by attrition. Some say that since February 60,000 Kiev troops have died. Others put the dreadful figure at 400,000, but that may well mean 400,000 dead, seriously wounded or captured. Some say that 1,000 Kiev troops are being put out of action every day. Now 82,000 Russian reservists have already been deployed in the Donbass in order to liberate the frontline troops.

If I were a Western leader, I would be thinking: How can I get out of this mess without losing face? Perhaps I could say: ‘Russia has not dared move against any NATO country. NATO has stood firm against Russian aggression. This is another great victory for us’. Having run away and presented the Western Dunkirk in the Ukraine as a victory, next I would sit down and quietly remove all the sanctions. After all, almost exactly sixty years ago, the crushed US removed all its missiles from the Soviet-Turkish border in order to get the USSR to remove all its missiles from off the coast of Cuba ago and everyone knows that was also a great US victory. There is only one way to deal with bullies: Stand up to them. And then you will see that all bullies are cowards and they can run very fast, as from Afghanistan.

The Meta-Real

According to words attributed to President Putin:

‘Before God I have vowed that I will do all I can for the salvation of Russia. It turns out that the world has to be saved, because the demons who have seized control of the West are trying to destroy everything spiritual on the planet. I believe that I will succeed because I have the power and support of the Lord and that is all I need’.

There are very many and very unanimous Orthodox Christian prophecies, like those of the very well-known and quite recent St Laurence of Chernigov, St Kuksha of Odessa, Elder Zosima of Donetsk, Elder Nikolai (Guryanov) and also Elder Jonah (Ignatenko) of Odessa (+ 2012). The latter, who said that Odessa will be liberated last, said: ‘After President Putin there will come a Tsar and there will be peace for a time’.

Listening yet again to Vladimir Putin’s planet-changing talk in Valdai, I am ready to believe it. Listen carefully. He is a genius. President Putin showed tolerance to all, whereas so many of the careerists who figure in the elite of the Russian Orthodox Church, ignoring the clergy and people, show pharisaical intolerance. Sadly, the upper echelons of the Russian Orthodox Church are still stuffed with those corrupted by the corrupt Western money of 1990s Russia. As the Russian proverb says: ‘A fish rots from the head’. But I am quite confident about the body of the fish. And by the way, the same prophets say that the new Tsar will then cleanse the Church of its corrupt and unprincipled careerist-bishops. It is time.

November is the month when it gets cold, the mud freezes, so tanks and transports can move forward and the leaves disappear from the trees, meaning there is no cover for Nazis. As for Western Europe, after an incredibly warm October, with hardly any need for heating, November will definitely bring cold weather. Something is afoot. The great battle?

Tomorrow is November.

31 October 2022

Note:

1. Remember the so subtle Berlusconi’s so subtle remark on first seeing Obama: ‘Nice sun-tan you have there’.

Related Videos

Vladimir Putin Addresses Russian Security Council – October 26, 2022 – ENG Subtitles

October 26, 2022

The ‘War of Terror’ may be about to hit Europe

Monday, 24 October 2022 1:40 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 24 October 2022 1:43 PM ]

By Pepe Escobar

Never underestimate a wounded and decaying Empire collapsing in real time.

Imperial functionaries, even in a “diplomatic” capacity, continue to brazenly declare that their exceptionalist control over the world is mandatory.

If that’s not the case, competitors may emerge and steal the limelight – monopolized by US oligarchies. That, of course, is absolute anathema.   

The imperial modus operandi against geopolitical and geoeconomic competitors remains the same: avalanche of sanctions, embargos, economic blockades, protectionist measures, cancel culture, military uptick in neighboring nations, and assorted threats. But most of all, warmongering rhetoric – currently elevated to fever pitch.

The hegemon may be “transparent” at least in this domain because it still controls a massive international network of institutions, financial bodies, politicos, CEOs, propaganda agencies and the pop culture industry. Hence this supposed invulnerability breeding insolence. 

Panic in the “garden”

The blowing up of Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) – everybody knows who did it, but the suspect cannot be named – took to the next level the two-pronged imperial project of cutting off cheap Russian energy from Europe and destroying the German economy.

From the imperial perspective, the ideal subplot is the emergence of a US-controlled Intermarium – from the Baltic and the Adriatic to the Black Sea – led by Poland, exercising some sort of new hegemony in Europe, on the heels of the Three Seas Initiative.

But as it stands, that remains a wet dream.  

On the dodgy “investigation” of what really happened to NS and NS2, Sweden was cast as The Cleaner, as if this was a sequel of Quentin Tarantino’s crime thriller Pulp Fiction.

That’s why the results of the “investigation” cannot be shared with Russia. The Cleaner was there to erase any incriminating evidence.

As for the Germans, they willingly accepted the role of patsies. Berlin claimed it was sabotage, but would not dare to say by whom. 

This is actually as sinister as it gets, because Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and the whole EU, know that if you really confront the Empire, in public, the Empire will strike back, manufacturing a war on European soil. This is about fear – and not fear of Russia.

The Empire simply cannot afford to lose the “garden.” And the “garden” elites with an IQ over room temperature know they are dealing with a psychopathic serial killer entity which simply cannot be appeased. 

Meanwhile, the arrival of General Winter in Europe portends a socio-economic descent into a maelstrom of darkness – unimaginable only a few months ago in the supposedly “garden” of humanity, so far away from the rumbles across the “jungle.”

Well, from now on barbarism begins at home. And Europeans should thank the American “ally” for it, skillfully manipulating fearful, vassalized EU elites.

Way more dangerous though is a specter that very few are able to identify: the imminent Syrianization of Europe. That will be a direct consequence of the NATO debacle in Ukraine.

From an imperial perspective, the prospects in the Ukrainian battlefield are gloomy. Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) has seamlessly morphed into a Counter-Terror Operation (CTO): Moscow now openly characterizes Kiev as a terrorist regime.

The pain dial is incrementally going up, with surgical strikes against Ukrainian power/electricity infrastructure about to totally cripple Kiev’s economy and its military. And by December, there’s the arrival on the front lines and in the rear of a properly trained and highly motivated partial mobilization contingent.

The only question concerns the timetable. Moscow is now in the process of slowly but surely decapitating the Kiev proxy, and ultimately smashing NATO “unity.”

The process of torturing the EU economy is relentless. And the real world outside of the collective West – the Global South – is with Russia, from Africa and Latin America to West Asia and even sections of the EU.

It is Moscow – and significantly not Beijing – that is tearing apart the hegemon-coined “rules-based international order,” supported by its natural resources, the provision of food and reliable security.

And in coordination with China, Iran and major Eurasian players, Russia is working to eventually decommission all those US-controlled international organizations – as the Global South becomes virtually immune to the spread of NATO psyops.

The Syrianization of Europe

In the Ukrainian battlefield, NATO’s crusade against Russia is doomed – even as in several nodes as much as 80 percent of the fighting forces feature NATO personnel. Wunderwaffen such as HIMARS are few and far between. And depending on the result of the US mid-term elections, weaponization will dry out in 2023. 

Ukraine, by the spring of 2023, may be reduced to no more than an impoverished, rump black hole. The imperial Plan A remains  Afghanization: to operate an army of mercenaries capable of targeted destabilization and or/terrorist incursions into the Russian Federation.  

In parallel, Europe is peppered with American military bases.

All those bases may play the role of major terror bases – very much like in Syria, in al-Tanf and the Eastern Euphrates. The US lost the long proxy war in Syria – where it instrumentalized jihadis – but still has not been expelled.   

In this process of Syrianization of Europe, US military bases may become ideal centers to regiment and/or “train” squads of Eastern Europe émigrés, whose only job opportunity, apart from the drug business and organ trafficking, will be as – what else – imperial mercenaries, fighting whatever focus of civil disobedience emerges across an impoverished EU.

It goes without saying that this New Model Army will be fully sanctioned by the Brussels EUrocracy – which is merely the public relations arm of NATO.

A de-industrialized EU enmeshed into several layers of toxic intra-war, where NATO plays its time-tested role of Robocop, is the perfect Mad Max scenario juxtaposed to what would be, at least in the reveries of American Straussians/neo-cons, an island of prosperity: the US economy, the ideal destination for Global Capital, including European Capital.

The Empire will “lose” its pet project, Ukraine. But it will never accept losing the European “garden.”

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

Nord Stream, currencies & credibility go bust for EU liberalism

October 20, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri

There’s no more obvious failure of Europe’s politicians to protect their own citizens than the drop in the euro and the pound to below parity and near-parity, respectively, with the United States dollar.

However, this article was planned before the brazen sabotage of the Russian-German Nord Stream gas pipelines which – almost impossibly – outranks the currencies’ collapse!

The two seismic events actually dovetail perfectly: both illustrate the absolute failure of Western Liberal Democracy for everyone but the Western 1%.

Why would anyone interested in the theory of governance treat the above as hot news? Western leadership may have infinite personal faults and a bottomless appetite for blood and treasure, but their instability is so endemic so as to be clearly structural.

If we accept the Hobbesian insistence that government is here to prevent disorder, then what can we say about the record of the pan-European project, which we can define as the combined efforts of the European Union, the euro and the Eurogroup, the hidden but legal and accountable banker cabal which rules the euro and thus a score of European nations? Their record is one of shameless pride in unabashed failure for Europe’s working-poor class, which used to be called the “middle class”.

On January 1, 2008,1 euro was worth $1.47 and 1 pound was worth $1.98. How very far the strength of the pan-European project has fallen!

Allowing the drop to parity with the dollar must be combined with the reminder that Europe’s leaders were the only major macroeconomic area which refused to implement a recovery plan after the Great Financial Crisis. They chose, over the will of voters, the Age of Austerity, which can be described as the Americanization of the European social safety net; or the end of the era of European Social Democracy, for which so many millions died on their battlefields of World War I and II; or the creation of the current, incredibly unequal Western Gilded Age II.

There is still no recognition of failure by Europe’s leadership: the UK actually tried to re-embark on economic Thatcherism, while France is about to pass its annual budget via the incredibly anti-democratic 49-3 executive decree. Just as I predicted: Macron’s legislative victory was just enough that he will never lose a no-confidence vote over any issue of right-wing economic importance.

The currency collapses, which are like huge pay cuts for the average European, were enough to make this point: the pan-European project continues to only fail to bring about the promised prosperity and stability. The cause of Europe’s economic collapse isn’t bad luck, or due to foreign aggression or sanctions, or the result of neoliberal “reforms” just not getting enough time to play out – it’s due to the failure of the ideology of Western Liberal Democracy itself.

Nord Stream: Germans can no longer have any illusions

It was hard to imagine a more naked escalation of the 8-year Ukraine conflict than the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines.

It’s long been said that the only actual winner from the conflict has been the United States. Because the arrival of peace would be a change to the current status quo the US has the most to lose from a victory of diplomacy. The destruction of Nord Stream virtually ended chances of a diplomatic solution to the conflict during the expected lull in fighting over the next 3 or 4 months, and maybe beyond.

There was no Western outrage over Nord Stream, which may be the biggest proof that they were behind the sabotage. The lack of outrage of The New York Times speaks volumes, as does its repeated terming of explosions as mere “breaks” or “leaks”. Bloomberg labeled the sabotage merely “Putin’s Pettiness”, although for Europeans the price of energy is hardly a petty concern.

What happened to Nord Stream seems clear, and that’s going beyond the now-viral clips from this year of both Joe Biden and Victoria “F*** the EU” Nuland promising the end of the Nord Stream project by any means necessary, which are the definitions of rhetorical smoking guns. We can fairly assume that for many years the United States has been colluding with Poland to destroy the Nord Stream project, and they finally succeeded.

Poland’s ex-Foreign Minister from 2007 to 2014 – no short tenure – couldn’t restrain his joy at the culmination of plotting he was probably present at from the very beginning (Nord Stream first broke ground in 2011), tweeting a picture of the gas leak and the words “Thank you USA”.

The problem, at least for those in Europe who believe that Washington is a true ally, is that Poland and the US have likely colluded to hurt Poland’s ostensible partner, Germany, as well as the largest economic force in the pan-European project. Thus, the US is manipulating individual states within the pan-European project to ensure that the pan-European project itself cannot rise above it’s ordered station, which is: policy subservience to Washington’s needs. The US is using the classic imperialist strategy of dividing and conquering peoples and tribes, this time within the EU.

Is Berlin merely a vassal to Washington?

However emotionally satisfying as the nationalist component is for some people, it is not logically satisfying – only the class angle explains it: Liberal Democracies are the product of international collusion among the 1% class, which is a class that puts maintaining their elite status far above concepts of patriotism. Western Liberal Democracy – as Marx proved way back in 1848 (and he was merely reporting what the recently-freed European serfs were all saying) – is the collusion of the 1% against the rest of the country/continent/world/galaxy. Monarchy and aristocrats are not actually dead!

The complete transcription of Nuland’s comments make this clear. She said, “We continue to have very clear and strong conversations with our German allies, and I want to be clear with you today. If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2, will not move forward.”

The key phrase is not the threat but “clear and strong conversation with our German allies”: the US elite is colluding with the German elite, and the non-elite Germans can only go triple up on sweaters, ration their meat and hope they don’t join the jobless.

What on earth can the Germans be feeling about their own leaders?

It must be total contempt, no? Berlin either helped destroy, or allowed the destruction of, their sovereign energy program, and amid the most economic uncertainty in almost 15 years.

The Western “Great Game” moves to the West itself

The currency collapses are bad, but Nord Stream explodes the Western corona slogan of, “We are all in this together”. Europe’s elites are not in it together with their own voters, and France’s Yellow Vests knew this in 2019. They knew that they were being permanently declassed into the hopeless working-poor, and so they resisted so bravely and intelligently.

Will Germans soon realise that they are on the same road? Will they have the courage to give voice to their contempt for their own government, as the French did? If so, how far the smug, Greece-shaming, falsely-pious Germans have to fall, indeed!

It can now be said that the successful resistance of places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – as well as Iran and Hezbollah – have so bankrupted Western imperialists that America’s detonation of Germany’s prime energy source proves that the 19th century Western and Russian “Great Game” has moved from Persia, Central Asia and India to inside the West in the 21st century.

This is another proof that the pan-European project is “neo-imperialist” – they are colluding in the colonisation of their own people: imperialism is not only for non-Whites anymore.

If the German people rise up as the French did recently then we will likely see a total Balkanisation of the perpetually-failing pan-European project. This is why the Nord Stream sabotage was so shocking – what a risk the West has taken! They are apparently relying on Germans to maintain their smug, complacent illusion of self-supremacy even despite the obvious fact that the pan-European project is against them as much as it is against Greece.

What on earth are Europe’s leaders doing to themselves, or rather, to their own citizens?!

This is the question Iran has been asking for years, with Europe’s failure to implement the JCPOA agreement on Iran’s nuclear energy program. Russia has recently joined this chorus.

The pan-European project wasn’t designed merely to ensure American hegemony over Europe, but to ensure that the international, liberalist 1% has hegemony over the world. My new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values, gives a daily, hard-news summation of the failure of the pan-European project since 2009. It also shows that the autocratic legacy of monarchism/elitism lives on via the anti-democratic ideology known as Western Liberal Democracy – all of Europe’s noblest values since 1789 continue to be subverted by the Western 1%.

If you can, get paid in dollars.

But perhaps Germans, and other Europhiles, truly are willing to go cold, hungry and jobless – not for Ukraine, but to ensure the wealth of Western elites?

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His latest book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’.

Cui bono? The Big Picture

October 18, 2022

Source

by Eric Arthur Blair

(note: the author is not Russian, knows no Russians and has never been to Russia)

Further to my last “Motive, Means and Opportunity” summary regarding who blew up the Nordstream pipelines (the USA), let us stand back and look at the bigger global picture today. Let us ask “Cui bono?” with regard to the entire Ukrainian debacle.

First of all, we need to be absolutely clear that this insane FUBAR Ukraine situation was 100% concocted, fabricated and engineered by the USA, certainly since the droolin’ Nuland / lamebrained McCain / CIA Maidan coup of 2014, but even dating back before that. There are few situations in life where one party can be found to be 100% guilty and evil and morally bankrupt, and where the other party is 100% acting in self defence and self preservation. However history will show that with respect to this Ukraine situation, the USA was 100% the evil aggressor and Russia was 100% acting in self preservation and in defense of civilian Russian speakers in Ukraine. This is truly a war of good against evil and in case you still haven’t got the message yet, let me repeat: the USA Deep State is EVIL. This reality is indisputably obvious to any semi-comatose person remotely interested in historical, documented FACTS. For those with any remaining doubts, they need to listen to this comprehensively researched three part podcast summary by a journalist and a military historian (both Anglophones). They actually obtained their information from Western mainstream media sources before those reports and articles mysteriously vanished from the Google search algorithms (or were relegated to 500th priority on the search list) after 24 Feb 2022:

It is unfortunate that the stupid sheeple of the West, probably 99% of the “golden billion”, believe the exact opposite of the Truth, which is testimony to the incredible effectiveness of the relentless lying propaganda pooped out from the AngloEuroZionist mainstream media sewer outlets ever since 24 Feb 2022.

Until the two recent terrorist bombings (Nordstream pipelines and Kerch bridge), Russia had been reacting in a highly restrained manner to the US and US proxy aggravations. The US started provocations many years ago and contemptuously rebuffed multiple opportunities for peaceful settlements. Russia will soon end it. How? With the humiliating defeat of Ukraine for sure, but more widely we will see the economic devastation of Europe (apart from those who buy energy in Rubles – eg Hungary and Turkey) and eventually the destabilization of the USA: perhaps with civil war and revolution in the USA, resulting from its own inevitable economic collapse. The latter two eventualities were never Russia’s intended goal, but will be unintended consequences of the malicious actions of the US and EU themselves, blowback or karma if you like.

So what motivated the USA to provoke Russia to invade Ukraine? What parties hoped to benefit from it (hint: definitely not the US public) and what were the short, medium and long term goals of the US Deep State? Context is everything and we need to view the big picture, which can be found in Andrei Martyanov’s excellent book which was nicely summarized in this review:

In short: US industrial, economic and social decay, all entirely self inflicted over the past several decades, have led to the decline of the USA as a functional society and hence to the impending loss of its unipolar global hegemony. This is a situation that the megalomaniacal “indispensable nation, shining beacon on a hill” ideologues simply cannot accept.

It is vital to understand exactly how this hollowed out mockery of a former empire continues to limp along in a moribund fashion right now, just prior to its complete self-inflicted collapse:

  • Most important is to understand how the US fraudulent “economy” works. The best commentator regarding this is the brilliant Real World Economist* Professor Michael Hudson whose works are too numerous for me to mention https://michael-hudson.com/ In brief, the US economy largely operates as a global blood sucking parasite, by extracting wealth from the rest of the world and by keeping weaker countries under the its jackboot (AKA economic Neocolonialism). The major mechanism for this is the exuberant privilege of the US dollar as the International Reserve Currency, a privilege no other country has.
  • This scam operates in tandem with other mechanisms that were contrived and designed and tweaked and refined to suit the US “rules based order” ever since Bretton-Woods in 1944 (which established the precursors to the World Bank, WTO and IMF, with the simultaneous designation of the USD as IRC), the abandonment of the gold standard in 1971 by Nixon and especially the US creation of the Petrodollar. This was a Godfather type “offer you can’t refuse” that the USA presented to the Middle Eastern Oil producers. It was a protection racket that the Gulf States sequentially signed up to and was completed by 1974. Oil, an essential commodity, could only be bought from the Gulf States in USD, all other currencies were refused. Where could a country get USD from? Why from the USA of course, in exchange for real world products. The Petrodollar enabled the USA to obtain limitless high quality imported products for free by simply electronically “printing” US dollars, quite apart from getting free oil. It was the first class ticket on a gravy train of unimaginable wealth far exceeding the wildest fantasies of the most avaricious, rapacious, greedy robber barons. If the US could get imported goods for free, why bother to fund US domestic industries? Why not offshore their industrial production? So that is exactly what the US did.
  • Petrodollar recycling involved the investment of excess oil profits from the Middle Eastern States in US debt securities / treasury bonds, which further propped up the fiat US dollar, even though the USD had no intrinsic value in itself. The value of the dollar was based entirely on the confidence of those who invested in those US “assets”. It was a confidence trick based on a protection racket. This is what enabled the US to rack up trillions of dollars in debt, backed up by the savings from foreign countries, to fund 800+ US military bases around the world. This is a debt that will never be repaid when this whole Ponzi scheme collapses.
  • All this is coming to an end. The Neocons believe that the only way such US global parasitism can continue to operate is to subjugate the “World Island” ie. Eurasia. To “regime change” Putin and Xi and to ultimately Balkanise the whole of Eurasia, each banana republic to be “led” by a US puppet dictator. This wet dream “strategy” is derived entirely from the well worn CIA playbook. Such actions had been repeatedly inflicted by the US on practically every state of Latin America (the “Monroe doctrine”) and on Global South countries over many decades. The US Neocons believe that the subjugation of Eurasia is the only way to resurrect the dead corpse of Bretton-Woods and the Petrodollar and to force the rest of the world to continue funneling their Real World valuable commodities and products to the USA for free.

Much has been written about the Mackinder declaration that “who controls the World Island controls the world“, a sentiment echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book ‘The Grand Chessboard’ and certainly adhered to by the US Neocons who run the Deep State. This is why the sock puppet Biden, or more specifically his handlers, have been provoking dangerous confrontations in Ukraine and in the East China Sea ever since Biden’s “election”. The US has gone back to its “gunboat diplomacy” historical roots, thuggish bastardry which worked in the past to bully other countries into compliance, but which cannot work today against nations that now possess hypersonic missiles. Such US behavior is a “hail Mary” pass, the last desperate act of a failing unipolar hegemon.

The above account describes the USA’s long term Grand View, better termed a Grand Delusion. Given the advanced state of decay of the US and the unstoppable rise of China and Russia militarily, industrially, economically and socially, there is zero prospect of the USA prevailing. There are only two possible outcomes: either the USA backs down or there will be global nuclear Armageddon. There is nothing in between.

Morally and ethically speaking alone, the only correct and proper and decent action is for “Exceptionalistan” to back down. They should count themselves lucky that the rest of the world has no appetite for revenge against the US after centuries of it perpetrating genocide, slavery, racism, foreign skulduggery and exploitation of the rest of the world. However the Global South is more preoccupied with their own well being, they will simply ignore the putrefying carcass of the USA, they are only interested in “win-win” interactions with partners who actually play fair, who abide by actual UN International Law and not by the US rigged “rules based order”.

What about short and medium term more limited perspectives? What specific parties hoped to gain from a war in Ukraine? The usual suspects: the Military-Industrial-Complex, the US fossil fuel industry and possibly the US banking/financial sector.

The MIC: How does the US MIC profit from perpetual war? By all rational accounts the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was a miserable failure. However the US persisted at it for 20 years, the longest war in US history. Why? Because was a massive financial windfall for the MIC, it was the gift that kept on giving. It funded numerous McMansions and luxury yachts for the MIC executives and MIC Washington lobbyists. Please refer to appendix two at the end of this document for the explanation of exactly how the Afghan debacle, and indeed all of the USA’s endless invasions and interventions, worked in financial favor of the MIC:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nio185d72vkqkpc/ChannellingTrout_full_compressed.pdf?dl=0

Today, sending “billions of dollars” worth of US ordnance to Ukraine (much of it outdated and obsolete) represents a massive financial windfall for the US MIC. It is the only way they could profitably dispose of stuff they could never legally sell. It does not matter if 30% of it goes missing (eg Javelin missiles to be sold by terrorists from car boots) nor if the rest gets blown up by the Russians. Of course, such obsolete ordnance will need to replaced with overpriced new versions to replenish the US inventory, which will be funded by ever larger sums of taxpayers’ money, to the detriment of US publicly funded roads, rail, schools, healthcare, libraries, etc, etc.

The US fossil fuel industry: In my previous “Whodunnit” article I mentioned that blowing up the Nordstream pipelines was the only way that super expensive US LNG could ever be exported to Europe. US fracked LNG is far more expensive** than piped Russian conventional gas and far more environmentally destructive, with far higher carbon emissions. In order to understand why different energy sources incur vastly different expenses in their production and distribution, it is essential to understand the concept of EROI (energy returned over invested) as well as the full life cycles of the different energy sources: from extraction to processing to transportation to end user. Such explanation is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that high EROI energy sources are cheap to harvest and deliver, however low EROI energy sources are expensive to harvest and deliver and indeed may represent a financial net loss. Such has been true for fracked US shale oil, another Ponzi scam which was never profitable at ANY oil price (even >$100 per barrel). It was a misbegotten project that was bulldozed through using market hubris, blatant fraud, low interest bank loans and inappropriate government subsidies. Such economic stupidity and fraud is also true for the overseas export of fracked US shale gas, even before considering the expensive energy requirements to liquefy it (cooling down to around minus 163 deg C), with continued energy needed to refrigerate it during transportation in specialist highly insulated tankers (now in short supply around the world) and the multi billion dollar investments required for specialist handling at purpose designed export and import terminals (not yet built).

The USA has depleted all its economically viable sources of oil and gas, all its remaining sources have woefully low EROI and hence are super costly (energy wise and hence price wise) to extract, process and transport. Fracked shale oil is nothing like crude oil, it has the API index and volatility of paint thinner, which is why the trains used to transport it are called “bomb” trains. You cannot make diesel, the indispensable workhorse fuel, from fracked shale oil.

Russia, along with the Caspian area, has in aggregate gone past the peak of oil production, with declining EROI (with only a few fields pre-Peak eg Kashagan). However compared with the USA, the Eurasian oil and gas sources have a far higher EROI, which is IMPOSSIBLE for the US to economically compete with. The fact the the USA is now depleted of easy, cheap oil is the reason they are now stealing oil from Syria and also why they hijacked several Iranian oil tankers. Pipeline terrorism was the only way the US could sell uneconomic LNG to Europe, just as provoking a war was the only way the US could “sell” their obsolete old ordnance to Europe. Dirty tricks and devious skulduggery is how the US “free market” and “rule based order” operates, indeed how it has always operated.

The US financial sector: It was the drug crazed dream of the USA that sanctioning Russia would cause Russia to economically collapse which would then spur a coup d’etat against Putin. This goal backfired spectacularly after Russia demanded energy payments in Rubles, which caused the Ruble to appreciate beyond all expectations. Sanctioning Russia’s fossil fuel exports only caused the European and global price of oil and especially natural gas to skyrocket, leading to a huge financial windfall for Russia, which by now has largely compensated for the US theft of $300 billion of Russia’s foreign reserves. In times of global uncertainty, many nations move their financial assets into US treasury bonds / securities as a default “safe haven” which has kept the US dollar value afloat so far. However those nations now also realize that their savings could be arbitrarily stolen at any time by the US “rules based order”, hence they are figuring out ways to shift their reserves. At present the European currencies have fallen against the USD, primarily as a result of their own energy sanctions against Russia which has caused the recession of their own economies. The European industrial sectors are poised to collapse from energy starvation. Once the BRICS+ currency arrangements and financial systems, which bypass the USD, get up and running, there will be massive flight of away from US bonds and securities and the massive international repatriation of US dollars back to the US, which will result in hyperinflation and devaluation of the US dollar, resulting in their inability to afford any imports. Along with the deindustrialised condition of the USA, resulting in no significant domestic manufacturing, that all spells extreme poverty for “Exceptionalistan”.

In summary: any initial hopes by the US banking/financial sector that they might benefit from the Ukrainian war have at best resulted in the USD remaining neutral so far, but will inevitably lead to the accelerated collapse of the USD.

CONCLUSION: The USA is screwed. Get over it.

Footnotes:

*as opposed to fraudulent economic neoliberal, neoclassical “trickle down” FIRE sector ideologues, those of the Leo Strauss, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek ilk.

**original contracted price for Russian piped gas to Germany was $280 per 1000 cubic meters vs current market price of around $2000 (and the EU is now expected to buy US LNG at “only” 6 to 7 times the cost of domestic natural gas in the US)

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/a-war-russia-set-to-win-441926

EAB

Germany´s failing ´stored´ nat-gas & LNG experiment

October 15, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

the LNG click-bait

The sitting US Secretary of State very recently declared in an official press conference that the NS1 and NS2 pipeline sabotage will have “no impact on European energy resilience”…

We should assume that Secretary Antony Blinken was referring to the timely supply of US LNG substitute equivalent to pipeline nat-gas now theoretically available (not) which would save the European day. With a clear smile, Blinken considered it to be a “tremendous opportunity” for the US to help Europe wean off of Russian energy… with the USA ready to be “the leading supplier (of dirty fracked seaborne LNG) to Europe”. And all of it despite the great ripoff “mondepreise” moon-high prices charged by US vendors according to the German Minister of Economics Robert Habeck who is now sorrowfully surprised by the very market dynamics that he actively contributed to establish.

the oh-lá-lá connection

The French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industrial Sovereignty – namely Bruno Le Maire, well known as President´s Emmanuel Macron 4×4 all-terrain strong-man — went a bit further by warning that the US should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market while the EU just suffers from the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. “The conflict in Ukraine must not end in American economic domination and a weakening of the EU” said the French Minister at the National Assembly. Le Maire hastened to add that it’s unacceptable for Washington “to sell us its liquefied natural gas at four times the price that it sets for itself” also explaining that “the economic weakening of Europe is not in anyone’s interest”. Frequently donning a dark-colored turtle neck, his tone and attitude corresponded to an ecclesiastical authority announcing a yet unknown truth taken from the Book of Revelations ready to be applied to the “Industrial Sovereignty” agenda of his Ministry.

Bruno Le Maire par Claude Truong-Ngoc novembre 2014.jpg
Bruno Le Maire par Claude Truong-Ngoc

´Oktoberfreeze einfrosten´

Be that as it may, and as per the US State Dept. the NS1 and NS2 pipeline sabotage would supposedly have “no impact on European energy resilience”… then we should guess that Germans should just enjoy their Oktoberfest and — why not ? — also prepare to celebrate Christmas 2022 as if nothing negative had happened. On the contrary,

if technical brain-power (currently AWOL) prevailed, then career strategists both sides of the Atlantic would now be spending all day and night trying to brush up hard on nat-gas management 101, better yet with a touch of sophomoric physics if all possible. And thus no-nonsense contingency plans would already be prepared and under deployment.

The reason is, as explained below, by EU and German design and commitment this is a failing EXPERIMENT. The planned ´stored´ nat-gas & LNG supply strategies have never ever been applied in equivalent circumstances with this strange methodology and humongous scale. Thusly, the 2022 German Oktoberfest will probably turn into a very acid sauerkraut with solid-beer icicles bizarrely hanging from the spouts. The Main Event would still be the December 2022 ´Jinglemerkel Santakaputt´ with nowhere to hide as all of Europe would be undergoing a thorough DE-industrialization process with sharp lowering of standards of living, and in many areas most probably with food issues, darkness & cold, deep frustration and un-heard-of unemployment with massive migrants wishing they had stayed back home (yes)

Ref #1 https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-and-canadian-foreign-minister-melanie-joly-at-a-joint-press-availability/

Ref #2 https://twitter.com/reuters/status/1574853885382037505

Ref #3 https://www.thelocal.de/20221005/german-minister-accuses-gas-supplying-countries-of-ripoff-prices/

Ref #4 https://www.rt.com/business/564457-us-seeks-economic-domination-eu/

´molecules of illusion´

Be it from Qatar, Norway, or the US… or Russia…Liquefied Natural Gas cannot and will not save the day for Europe. First of all, LNG is and will be for a huge long time to come very scarce worldwide. Furthermore, there are very few loading and unloading terminals available at either end. For example, Germany has 0 (zero) LNG terminals. None. And even some loading terminals at source docks that are already built have serious operational problems or simply do not meet EU standards. Besides, there are not anywhere near enough LNG tankers available and very few are under construction. Who needed ugly dirty fracked LNG only 6 months ago ? And these infrastructure beasts take very long time to be conceived, approved, designed, funded, built, commissioned, certified, and offered to the market.

But it gets worse because many wrongly imagine that fracked sea-borne Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is a substitute of nat-gas (not). First, it´s terribly more expensive, most explosive & dangerous to handle, and definetly way too scarce to meet European needs. Environmentally, LNG is “fracking” dirty and very cumbersome to liquefy, load and re-gassify with yet non-existant infrastructure at both ends… and is far more difficult to store and many times more costly to freight (Suez could be a limitation) from ackward overseas sources yet unknown (in tankers that do not yet exist) and only in risky seaborne batches onto many dozens of delivery terminals not yet built nor adequately planned for…

Let´s delve further in depth regarding the LNG illusion while sharing the always knowledgeable and helpful comments from the SKovacs summarized posts (in italics below) based on 30-years of first-hand operational experience.

the LNG cryogenic conundrum

  1. There is an extreme shortage of LNG tankers, so who would build them, per what specs and costs, by when?
  2. There are is an extreme shortage of LNG terminals at both ends. Europe is extremely bureaucratic, so it will require many years to have a single LNG terminal ready and running if not vetoed by the local council. Meanwhile, a pipeline must be connected from the terminal to the existing grid… with further complications at every level which take TIME. What capacity should these terminals have vis-á-vis the related new distribution pipelines? Nobody can know that today thus adding even more load to timing and technical demands.
  3. Transit times on the tankers change and existing EU southern pipelines are probably at full capacity already.
  4. Tankers are far more costly to operate as liquefied gas has to be kept liquefied re power-hungry refrigeration.
  5. Tankers have a more costly service life than all other bulk tankers, due to the regulation/inspection/cryogenic requirements which also take TIME. So therefore they are a higher risk with higher cost per cubic meter of gas transported vs. cheap, reliable, safe, environmentally friendlier pipelines to which Europe is used to.
  6. Europe needs dozens of new LNG terminals.The pre-feasibility and feasibility studies have not yet been planned for, let alone detailed engineering, plans & specs, manpower, contracting of engineering expertise,etc
  7. LNG terminal sites have to be carefully chosen, their expensive and cumbersome environmental impact assessments completed (which can take years) with engineering design that by itself can also take years with no room for direct carbon copy of other designs, plus ground preparation construction which would take 1-2 years + manufacturing of plant and modules (usually in Korea and China, but would they now agree ? ) all of which need contracts, schedules, materials, etc, lots of TIME and shipping + certification & commissioning.
  8. Funding: all LNG terminals are owned/built/operated by consortiums of gigantic multinational companies, not governments. They cost 10’s of billions to design and build, which need to be borrowed from banks. The borrower must prove that it has a solid plan with guarantees in place to repay the loan with interest. The owner/operator of the terminal has all sorts of other very important liabilities. This is a no nonsense business.

So it seems that European leadership is unexplainably calm after both NS1 & NS2 have been blown up and now relying on timely LNG supplies (not) and /or European nat-gas “stored reserves”…(double not)

use-LESS European supposedly stored nat-gas ´reserves´ (not)

Europeans know bloody well a rough winter is coming, but no one has warned them that the supposed 90% “reserves” that would sorta get them through okay will not be available as announced. There are 2 main reasons for this which were already explained to boring death and intricate depth at Ref #5 https://thesaker.is/the-euthanized-european-nat-gas-reserves/

The first reason #1 is the impossibility of constant RE-pressurization of such “stored” nat-gas reserves in order to maintain the required sub-surface driving force push to produce it onto surface. Now, along broad areas of Germany and Northern Europe the lack of pipeline nat-gas flow will not allow to comply this requirement. Without pipeline nat-gas, at the very best only 25% to 30% of the “supposed” 90% reserves could possibly ever be timely recovered and only very slowly through a period of time stretched out in months. The culprit is the mandatory DE-pressurization whenever such underground reserves are produced onto surface (plus sub-surface losses) with the consequent geometrical drawdown of pressure. With a decreasing sub-surface pressure as driving force, ever smaller and slower nat-gas volumes can be produced onto surface or even none at all per circumstances and operational requirements.

The second reason #2 is the current impossibility in many areas of now having the much required constant massive King Kong pipeline surface flow to adequately push along and warm up the underground reserves that could be produced onto surface by pressure differential when RE-pressurized enough and if all the other requirements are met. This has never ever been tried out by anyone before anywhere near at this scale and without prior notice as later explained. Now suffice to say that the impact will be enormously negative and that Europeans are not anywhere close to being aware of this. All they get to hear is that “our 90% stored nat-gas reserves will get us through this winter if we just save up consumption a bit ”. No they won´t and below it is proven with hard figures. Read my lips ugly “methane hydrates” nightmares will be the new name of the game and it will not be fun, trust me. More later, just bear with me.

high school physics

The problem starts when bureaucratic ignoramuses (politicians et al) dream up the stupid idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks such as thru surface pipelines. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – never a substitute of (NOT) – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during the low consumption season (summer) could be added to the main pipeline flow by 10% approx. This would help to satisfy the higher winter demand and also to lower the average yearly cost. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of surface flowing feedstocks. No matter how hard they try or how frequently they model their brand new dark colored turtle necks, politicians both sides of the Atlantic will not change that, I promise. Nat-gas sub-surface reserves can never ever be adequately produced onto surface by themselves and can only be ´lightly´ and slowly ADDED onto pre-existing actively flowing surface feedstocks such as pipeline flows nothing more. Anything else is a dream ready to become a very ugly nightmare.

misnomer

Something certainly widespread and that may be misleading — for which I am not responsible of — is using the term “storage” for such ´reserves´ as “storage” in a warehouse or closet. It is not anywhere near that. A better term would be “lung” but then we get the ambiguity derived from the organ that living beings breathe with. But at any rate such nat-gas reserves are not kept like you and I — and our wives — would keep dishes in a cupboard shelf. It´s not easy to explain it just with words, but still allow me to try. Water plays a role of course and that is why before injecting down to underground storage caverns the nat-gas MUST be thoroughly and intensively dehydrated as much as technically possible which is difficult to do and very expensive. Furthermore, during underground storage such nat-gas picks up even additional water content from subsurface structures which could be coped with (maybe, yet again it depends) if they had readily available a surface super King Kong flow — as later explained — to thermically cushion it and incorporate it into its MASSIVE mass. But then, by not having such driving force No. 2, means being able to produce such undergound stored nat-gas onto surface only with driving force No.1, namely pressure differential.

Then, with only No.1 driving force available to extract such underground nat-gas reserves… well (a) the consequent pressure drop taking place as the first nat-gas sub-surface “reserves” get to surface will mean that the process has to be very slow and (b) lots of nat-gas will be left behind underground because of gradual pressure drawdown will reduce and weaken the upward push required and (c) you better be VERY carefull with veeeery sloooow production (meaning not enough when most needed) because a sudden methane DE-compression will FREEZE up everything and also producing methane hydrates a well-known nightmare of operational engineers which would clog the pipeworks forever

Furthermore this has never ever been attempted (what for ?) and the variations of the different animals in the storage facilities “zoo” I describe below do not allow for any standardized procedure for simultaneous input from different sources also managed differently with no training, no coordination, nor awareness of the nature of the problem.

But it gets to be MUCH worse…

not yours

Any underground stored nat-gas that may possibly be recovered — not much, as we shall see right below — will be sold not to the local community of nearby consumers but rather to the wholesale market through the pipeworks grid described later in greater detail. So that if Germans living in, say, Frankfurt for whatever reason feel they´ll sorta be okay by having such and such large volume nat-gas storage facility close-by, well… they are freezing wrong because the nat-gas to be potentially produced from such large size Frankfurt storage will be very democratically distributed thru the grid (at market prices) and not thru a direct connection to nearby Frankfurt homes.

Jinglemerkel Santakaputt

In 2021 Germany spent 100 bcm of nat-gas (approx.) with a maximum storage volume capacity of 24 bcm which German officials now say is filled up to 90% meaning that they have 22 bcm of nat-gas available throughout Germany. BTW, no specific distribution breakdown is ever given just total values for all of Germany which could eventually mean a very UN-even problematic distribution. Furthermore, saying and repeating that is fully misleading as you could have your car´s gas tank 90% filled but you would still require MANY gas tanks for you to get to destination. Be that as it may, total 2021 consumption from October to February in Germany was 52 bcm with an estimated breakdown of 26 bcm for the October, November and December period and an additional 13 bcm during January plus yet another 13 bcm for February. Total = 52 bcm. Now then, out of the 22 bcm supposedly already ´stored´ approximately a minimum 30% cannot ever be recovered (probably even more) so that means that only 15 bcm maximum are available to cover consumption only for the months of October and November… as by mid-December (Christmas comes to mind) even in the best scenario under current circumstances Germany would run out of available nat-gas, stop. Sorry it´s math.

Some EU countries such as Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Slovenia have ZERO nat-gas storage capacity of their own and basically depend upon solidarity from other EU countries…

Ref #5 https://youtu.be/gplfrKT627k Ref #6 https://www.reuters.com/article/europe-gas-kemp-idAFL1N2Z81RA

Yet more on the use-LESS European nat-gas “reserves” (not)

In practice — per Yogi Berra – today´s underground European “stored” nat-gas reserves cannot be conveniently extracted from sub-surface. The reason is, that in order to achieve it, these ´reserves´ would need to

(1) be constantly RE-pressurized as briefly explained before, which now without NS1 and NS2 cannot ever be done through large parts of Germany and throughout Northern Europe with the consequent enormous impact this implies

and

(2) have abundant Russian pipeline nat-gas constantly flowing thus allowing to add-on such pressurized stored underground reserves to a comparatively far larger surface flow. This is the only possible practical way to extract underground nat-gas and also to distribute such buried reserves through the surface distribution system pipeworks.

By themselves, without the help of flowing pipeline nat-gas, such stored nat-gas reserves can hardly be produced onto surface and still with lots of negative impact. To attempt it would be an experiment never ever tried out before in the history of physics — or politics for that matter. “A bloody unnecessary experiment” Sir Isaac Newton would have mumbled in a low-tone whisper. Without a surface pipeline full of massively abundant flowing nat-gas (now absent) the supposed European “reserves” will mostly just end up sitting pretty underground as they are today, period.

API-SPE-ASTM-NACE-ASME-AAPG

Please also accept that trying to explain highly technical issues of what´s really going on to a very broad audience (politicians included) is not simple. It is most important, mind you, but not simple… Boredom is a constant risk which by the way I am running right now. Losing the audience altogether is a very real possibility. And that´s the reason why many times I repeat the same ideas with slightly different language (and angle of perspective) as best I can … and as technical considerations allow it. And that´s why I also try to make these articles naturally lively and colorfull so as to get your attention. Now if the audience were the API-SPE-ASTM-NACE-ASME-AAPG types I would of course explain stuff differently. But no Western technical venue would ever allow me to submit the thesis you all already know about as all of them (and I do mean ALL) just kow-tow the official line to move on with “nothing to see here”.

constant RE-pressurization

Constant RE-pressurization of subsurface stored nat-gas is required to maintain enough (large) volume and enough underground pressure as No.1 driving force to produce it onto surface. This is needed to compensate for the unavoidable and also constant DE-pressurization due to underground losses (thermal, friction, permeation, dissipation, fissures, cracks, porosity, etc.) and pressure drawdown (loss) produced every time that sub-surface reserves are brought onto surface. Without RE-pressurization, future required pressure would not be available and possible surface soil collapse or subsidence could lead to seismographic activity nobody wants such as with fracking. But furthermore this driving force No.1 also needs an active and fully operational surface pipeline to bring in nat-gas for re-injection of underground nat-gas reserves, namely driving force No.2. Besides, whenever the traditional surface pipeline inflow is interrupted or non-existant (such as today in Northern Germany and Northern Europe) storage nat-gas will also be depleted way earlier because it was not ever supposed to constitute the only winter load by itself… and as explained later no surface King Kong express bull-dozing effect would exist for surface pipeworks distribution.

Catherine´s comments

So without nat-gas flowing through the NS1 and NS2 pipelines the extraction of the nat-gas supposedly “stored” (not) in European underground caverns or sub-surface deposits would be highly problematic or even impossible. The Saker commenter Catherine worded it out short & sweet…“ Germany says it has enough gas in storage to get through winter. Thanks for demolishing that statement – I had no idea an inflow was needed to make it a viable solution” Congratulations Catherine gal, I always look out for your valid down-to-earth comments such as “inflow is needed”.

Please conceive the NS nat-gas pipelines as huge 8-lane x 18-wheeler freight truck King Kong autobahns. Yes, differential pressure from the pressurized underground nat-gas does actually play a role, but better be very careful or you will end up freezing everything around you including the young field engineers and their sisters. So, per Catherine, additionally a King Kong pipeline “is needed” with a far larger nat-gas mass to also offer a required thermal stability cushion for the underground ´reserves´. So King Kong “pushes along” or displaces anything in its way incorporating the possible nat-gas that would be very slowly released-produced-extracted-bubbled up from underground European storage caverns as slightly aided by the pressure differential between stored depth and surface.

Accordingly… highly pressurized subsurface caverns by themselves will not work as expected unless a constant flow – even at low flow rates and pressures — is always maintained from the NS pipelines sources… thus pushing the stored nat-gas “out there” as required for distribution through surface grid pipeworks for this mix between (a) Siberian pipeline nat-gas plus (b) possible European underground stored nat-gas. So the latter (b) can only be added-on to a much larger flow-rate of the former (a) probably with a ratio below 10% as we shall later see. But the point is we do NEED the surface pipeline flow to incorporate, drag along and thermically stabilize the expanding sub-surface nat-gas.

the bulldozing King Kong Express (AWOL)

At any rate, the Russian pipeline is the “monster” which carries an overwhelming amount of nat-gas with sustained internal flow-rate thus performing as our “King Kong” bulldozer express. Accordingly, it rules with the overpowering momentum (or inertia Newton would say) of the massive amount – which also performs as a thermally stabilizing cushion — of nat-gas it naturally carries by design and always “pushing along” and incorporating everything it finds in its way…including the possible well-managed, small, non-freezing inflow from sub-surface storage deposits.

Now here comes an additional concept relating to comparative amounts of nat-gas from both the pipeline and the possible sub-surface storage deposits quantity, type, and capabilities of which we fully ignore but must assume are highly variable and heterogenous animals. Of course, the volume and mass of nat-gas that the surface pipeline brings along always has to be much larger than the possible inflow received from underground storages so as to “bull-doze” it along as King Kong would and thus thermally absorb it also. That is why the very first paragraph entitled “high school physics” stated that

“ The problem starts when ignorant fools dream up the idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – not a substitute of – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during low consumption season (summer) could be added to help satisfying winter´s high demand. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of flowing feedstocks”.

stored nat-gas %

You may now ask exactly what ratio should that proportion be ? Well we can´t know precisely although it surely varies but it does not really matter because (1) it´ll be set for whatever is needed (2) what matters is the very existence of this King Kong express having a massive bull-dozing and thermally stabilizing nat-gas cushion flow which would forcefully push along whatever it finds in its way thus adequately incorporating / adding the nat-gas inflow received from underground storage thru very very carefull pressure differential management to be explained later. Historically, European nat-gas storage percentages vary between 80% at the end of summer and 30% at the end of winter(approx) So we can infer that 50% of the stored volume spent during such 6-month period would require to – in average – to spend 8% per month x 6 months = 50% of the stored nat-gas (approx.). So that´d mean an average of 8% per month inflow of whatever volume each facility may have stored (unknown in absolute figures) during a 6-month period of far cheaper gas purchased and stored during low-demand season (summer). But by no means is ´stored´ nat-gas able to substitute for massive King Kong surface inflows without such it cannot be adequately surfaced in enough quantities just producing a generalized freeze-out to be explained later. Because underground stored nat-gas cannot suddenly and massively be surfaced onto an empty pipeline because the high differential pressure would expand the methane and freeze up rapidly plus it would be spent-up in a hurry with the consequent pressure drop, a very bad idea.

Europe, we have a problem

And the problem now for Europe is precisely that such pipelines NS1 and NS2 are not operational thus not allowing for anything of what has been described herein so far. For without such active King Kong pipelines almost unsolvable problems appear as later described. So once the Russian pipeline nat-gas flow stops dead,such European stored gas would not be conveniently displaced or “moved along” to elsewhere it may be needed, be it for home heating or power generation, or anything else. And if the push pressure applied to the sub-surface nat-gas were substituted by pressure exerted by any other gas or mixtures thereof (air or otherwise) the Russian pure nat-gas already stored would soon inter-mix and dilute beyond possible practical use as European installations, equipment and devices are contractually fine-tuned to be fed by pure Russian nat-gas, not anything else. Furthermore, mixing with air (oxygen) would be very risky and no one in his right mind would try that, trust me. Any other gas or mix thereof is impossible.

driving forces No.1 + No. 2

So two (2) driving forces are required to extract / produce the EU underground ´stored´ nat-gas. Both are needed. Driving force No.1 is sub-surface pressure so that the stored nat-gas is barely allowed to emerge to surface veeeeery slowly just timidly bubbling on to surface where it would meet and ride along with the King Kong express absorbed onto its thermally stable mass. This is known as pressure differential between the under-ground nat-gas and the King Kong flow on surface. If operators were careless enough to allow for a larger than required pressure differential all hell would break lose and we would have a very short-lived disaster with everything frozen. The reason is that nat-gas sudden and abundant expansion because of large pressure differentials means temperature drop – let alone in European mid-winter — to the point of forming one of the most feared problems in the business known as “methane hydrates” which would mean that everything breaks down seized bloody frozen. More on that later, including “solutions” found for Alaskan and Arctic reservoirs but NOT applicable to these European underground stored nat-gas facilities which are many different funny animals just put together, like in a zoo. There is no need to explain the danger of methane hydrates, just google it.

Now driving force No.2 is precisely the King Kong pipeline bull-dozing flow as already explained. What driving force No. 1 does is to get the nat-gas bubbling barely on to surface under the lowest possible pressure differential so as not to freeze everything up just “presenting” the nat-gas on surface for it to be “blown away” or “moved along” or “pushed along” or “displaced ” thru the surface pipeworks to final destination… or whichever wording suits everyone´s fancy (mission impossible, trust me). The soccer equivalent would be Neymar passing the ball on to Messi – at full speed and on the run of course — for the Argentine genius to score just by shoving the ball past the goalposts with his chest.

Alaska & Siberia & the Artic and beyond…

I can already hear the howling of experienced “experts” letting us all know that the freezing-up problems of a strong differential pressure between nat-gas stored underground and surface pipeline (even empty, as it would now come to be) are today perfectly solvable. If such were possible (not) then a strong Delta P — as engineers call it — would all by itself be enough of a driving force No.1 to solve such problem without King Kong and get the sub-surface nat-gas all along the surface pipeworks… Oh, yes, I agree such “freezing-up” problems are pretty much “solved” yes of course … but only in Alaska and Siberia or wherever you happen to have a small ocean of sub-surface nat-gas reservoirs which justifies the design, construction, investment, equipment and huge operational expenses and expertise for the injection of methanol, pipe heating, etc. etc. all of which are very expensive and difficult solutions to operate with.. But not repeat not in a comparatively very small size and highly atomized zoo of European underground nat-gas ´storage´ facilities all pretty much different (no carbon copy solution possible) from each other requiring specific variations and modifications as widely distributed throughout different environments which are already installed and running… which certainly do not allow for such expensive ´solution´. It´s impossible now to up-end and retro-fit each individual sub-surface storage facility everywhere in Europe whatever its size, location and type so that it may have the means to deal with the impact of such suddenly de-pressurized nat-gas and further evenly distribute it on surface pipeworks at precise and agreed constant and homogenous pressure and flow-rate without planned coordination amongst the different cross-border stakeholders. Not. Sourcing, logistics, just-in-time distribution and injection of humongous volumes of methanol without prior notice is an unfathomable project.

Furthermore, as if the above not were enough, a high differential pressure between undergound nat-gas and the surface would mean that the stored volume would be consumed / depleted / drawed down way too fast thus defeating the purpose of the whole concept and process. The experiment proposed was never ever foreseen by anyone decades ago including the original geologists, designers and engineering contractors… or current operators for that matter. Overabundant nat-gas inflow from Russia was always a “given” taken for granted.

the nat-gas zoo failing EXPERIMENT

So let´s summarize the nat-gas zoo experiment that has never-ever been needlessly thought of in the history of physics and nat-gas extraction and/or surface distribution management. Let alone as designed and proposed by EU politicians that obviously know jack about basic physics & chemistry and could not care less about its consequences.

But you will, trust me. Oh, BTW these are NOT naturally flowing wells nor sucker-rod pumped wells with surface mechanical “grasshoppers” sucking oil & gas out, nor bottom hole producing wells with Electro Submersible Pumps (ESP)… These also are not water-swept wells such as in secondary recovery with water injected from near-by wells pushing the oil & gas to the producing wells, etc etc etc. These are sub-surface artificially pressurized nat-gas storage deposits, completely different animals altogether.

tools and resources absent

+ NO Russian nat-gas pipeline inflow (zero) – NO King Kong express – plain EMPTY shut-down of Russian pipeline

+ ZERO possibility of the “move along” King Kong express effect. None. AWOL.

+ ZERO possibility of RE-pressurizing any/all sub-surface nat-gas deposits throughout Europe meaning that they will all DE-pressurize at unknown different variable rates both amongst different underground storage caverns and within such due to their enormous heterogeneity regarding type, size, and specific location within the surface network, etc.

exclusive driving force

+ Only current sub-surface pressures (whatever it happens to be, all different) as exclusive driving force to extract underground ´stored´ nat-gas from highly variable deposits (the zoo) meaning variable pressure differentials and flow rates requiring yet an additional layer of overall nat-gas production plus distribution & timing / scheduling management

available tools

+ highly heterogenous and variable cross-borders sub-surface deposits / caverns & reservoirs of different sizes, types and requirements hereinafter to be called “the unpredictable zoo” current and future pressures of which are fully unknown and can´t possible ever be known because of the heterogeneity variations amongst the zoo animals.

They are all different zoo animals in so many ways that no standardized solution is possible. All the zoo animals were commissioned at different times with different criteria and different designs, not ever inspected as surface structures would be, all of them found in different underground and soil conditions, no internal known lining, all with varying degrees of fissures, cracks, porosities and permebilities, etc etc.etc

All requiring different sub-surface pressure tests re fill-up, shut-in, and pressure drawdown values to control the possibility of a fracture or large enough crack which would seriously endanger everyone in a 10-mile radius (or more)

unknowns

+ No specific breakdown available regarding what “supposed” % of nat-gas reserves held exactly by which sub-surface “animal“ and at what current and future sub-surface pressure which will necessarily decrease through time

+ temperature, flow-rate and pressure subsurface inflow variations all along the surface pipeworks grid depending upon the cooling effect allowed for each individual underground nat-gas deposit by each individual un-regulated cross-border operator

+ 85% average nat-gas storage fill-up throughout Europe at unknown pressure and variation profile until March 2023.

+ Not ever equivalent to an oil & gas well provided by wise Mother Earth under completely different conditions

no vacuum nor gas replacement

If nat-gas were substituted by any other gas or mixtures thereof (air or otherwise) the Russian pure nat-gas already stored would soon inter-mix and dilute beyond possible practical use as European installations and equipment are contractually fine-tuned for pure Russian nat-gas, not anything else. Pulling an extraction vacuum would not help or change anything as it would mean the same impact as the sub-surface pressure differential and would freeze up everything just the same and/or FUBAR the surface pipeworks distribution grid. Adding or “pushing” nat-gas with air or an air mix would be explosive.

conclusions

The sub-surface storage and delivery of methane in enormously large quantities without having the traditional and foreseen huge Russian pipeline inflow is a spanking new and most probably unsuccessfull and dangerous experiment.

Question #1: Are all stakeholders AWARE of the above and have planned accordingly ? I don´t think so, do you ?

The abundant “iffy” explanations received ring many alarms for contingency planning. There is no crystal ball regarding what could happen, but for sure it will NOT be “normal” service everywhere for everybody all the time.

Today absolutely everybody throughout Europe is used to, requires and fully expects what we shall call “normal” everyday nat-gas supply service. BTW, there are other nat-gas sources for certain parts of Europe besides Russian pipelines which should function normally although at much higher prices than in the recent past. At least such exist today and are operated at 125% of capacity and may suffer from such abuse, of course. So here we referred only to the NS1 & NS2 pipeline nat-gas non-supply, an absolute requirement most specially for Germany & Northern Europe.

Question #2 : assuming that was explained herein is 100% wrong and everything just works out hunky-dory ? Once that the nat-gas storage is fully depleted throughout Northern Europe ( at best March 2023 ) what would happen then exactly ?

So whenever we hear about supposed European 90% nat-gas storage “reserves” please recall that such were conceived and recoverable by design, construction and operation only in addition to… and if and when… Russian pipeline nat-gas inflow were constantly maintained (not anymore) with at least a minimum inflow rate and pressure.

more questions

(3) have any of the experimental procedures described herein ever been followed before throughout Europe? (4) What positive experience is there available in facilities this large and so heterogenous and widespread with so much at stake and no time to plan and prepare ? (5) why would all of these procedures under the new unforeseen conditions not be considered to be truly experimental ? (6) would absolutely everybody in charge of European nat-gas storage facilities know about these problems in advance and proceed exactly as required by a PLAN without risking any experimentation and/or improvisation ?

sub-surface pressure management

Chances are that hurriedly over-pressurized sub-surface caverns and nat-gas reservoirs will crack or fracture.

There are serious sub-surface cavern pressure limitations to avoid the risk of fracturing… with bad consequences.

Not well-studied and inadequate soil mechanics on possibly un-consolidated formations were already discussed in the original article of Reference #5. Accidents will happen. So it´s a very tricky and potentially dangerous game to be played out with extreme care. Initially these sub-surface storage facilities may possibly be pressurized enough. But as winter comes on, the sub-surface pressures will decline and accordingly their production rate will also decline. So, by mid-winter, even if the quantity of gas remaining were apparently enough (50% ? ) the rate of production to surface would not meet the traditional demand. Storing and later extracting nat-gas in sub-surface deposits under very high pressure requires tons of specialized operation, maintenance expertise, and funding. Extraction and delivery is very slow. Higher speed delivery to satisfy peak demand can only be sustained momentarily and necessarily running serious systemic risks as explained hereinbefore.

The thin red line: NATO can’t afford to lose Kabul and Kiev

October 13, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Let’s start with Pipelineistan. Nearly seven years ago, I showed how Syria was the ultimate Pipelineistan war.

Damascus had rejected the – American – plan for a Qatar-Turkey gas pipeline, to the benefit of Iran-Iraq-Syria (for which a memorandum of understanding was signed).

What followed was a vicious, concerted “Assad must go” campaign: proxy war as the road to regime change. The toxic dial went exponentially up with the instrumentalization of ISIS – yet another chapter of the war of terror (italics mine). Russia blocked ISIS, thus preventing regime change in Damascus. The Empire of Chaos-favored pipeline bit the dust.

Now the Empire finally exacted payback, blowing up existing pipelines – Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Steam 2 (NS2) – carrying or about to carry Russian gas to a key imperial economic competitor: the EU.

We all know by now that Line B of NS2 has not been bombed, or even punctured, and it’s ready to go. Repairing the other three – punctured – lines would not be a problem: a matter of two months, according to naval engineers. Steel on the Nord Streams is thicker than on modern ships. Gazprom has offered to repair them – as long as Europeans behave like grown-ups and accept strict security conditions.

We all know that’s not going to happen. None of the above is discussed across NATOsan media. That means that Plan A by the usual suspects remains in place: creating a contrived natural gas shortage, leading to the de-industrialization of Europe, all part of the Great Reset, rebranded “The Great Narrative”.

Meanwhile, the EU Muppet Show is discussing the ninth sanction package against Russia. Sweden refuses to share with Russia the results of the dodgy intra-NATO “investigation” of itself on who blew up the Nord Streams.

At Russian Energy Week, President Putin summarized the stark facts.

Europe blames Russia for the reliability of its energy supplies even though it was receiving the entire volume it bought under fixed contracts.

The “orchestrators of the Nord Stream terrorist attacks are those who profit from them”.

Repairing Nord Stream strings “would only make sense in the event of continued operation and security”.

Buying gas on the spot market will cause a €300 billion loss for Europe.

The rise in energy prices is not due to the Special Military Operation (SMO), but to the West’s own policies.

Yet the Dead Can Dance show must go on. As the EU forbids itself to buy Russian energy, the Brussels Eurocracy skyrockets their debt to the financial casino. The imperial masters laugh all the way to the bank with this form of collectivism – as they continue to profit from using financial markets to pillage and plunder whole nations.

Which bring us to the clincher: the Straussian/neo-con psychos controlling Washington’s foreign policy eventually might – and the operative word is “might” – stop weaponizing Kiev and start negotiations with Moscow only after their main industrial competitors in Europe go bankrupt.

But even that would not be enough – because one of NATO’s key “invisible” mandates is to capitalize, whatever means necessary, on food resources across the Pontic-Caspian steppe: we’re talking about 1 million km2 of food production from Bulgaria all the way to Russia.

Judo in Kharkov

The SMO has swiftly transitioned into a “soft” CTO (Counter-Terrorist Operation) even without an official announcement. The no-nonsense approach of the new overall commander with full carte blanche from the Kremlin, General Surovikin, a.k.a. “Armageddon”, speaks for itself.

There are absolutely no indicators whatsoever pointing to a Russian defeat anywhere along the over 1,000 km-long frontline. The spun-to-death withdrawal from Kharkov may have been a masterstroke: the first stage of a judo move that, cloaked in legality, fully developed after the terrorist bombing of Krymskiy Most – the Crimea Bridge.

Let’s look at the retreat from Kharkov as a trap – as in Moscow graphically demonstrating “weakness”. That led the Kiev forces – actually their NATO handlers – to gloat about Russia “fleeing”, abandon all caution, and go for broke, even embarking on a terror spiral, from the assassination of Darya Dugina to the attempted destruction of Krymskiy Most.

In terms of Global South public opinion, it’s already established that General Armageddon’s Daily Morning Missile Show is a legal (italics mine) response to a terrorist state. Putin may have sacrificed, for a while, a piece on the chessboard – Kharkov: after all, the SMO mandate is not to hold terrain, but to demilitarize Ukraine.

Moscow even won post-Kharkov: all the Ukrainian military equipment accumulated in the area was thrown into offensives, just for the Russian Army to merrily engage in non-stop target practice.

And then there’s the real clincher: Kharkov set in motion a series of moves that allowed Putin to eventually go for checkmate, via the missile-heavy “soft” CTO, reducing the collective West to a bunch of headless chickens.

In parallel, the usual suspects continue to relentlessly spin their new nuclear “narrative”. Foreign Minister Lavrov has been forced to repeat ad nauseam that according to Russian nuclear doctrine, a strike may only happen in response to an attack “which endangers the entire existence of the Russian Federation.”

The aim of the D.C. psycho killers – in their wild wet dreams – is to provoke Moscow into using tactical nuclear weapons in the battlefield. That was another vector in rushing the timing of the Crimea Bridge terror attack: after all British intel plans had been swirling for months. That all came to nought.

The hysterical Straussian/neocon propaganda machine is frantically, pre-emptively, blaming Putin: he’s “cornered”, he’s “losing”, he’s “getting desperate” so he’ll launch a nuclear strike.

It’s no wonder the Doomsday Clock set up by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947 is now placed at only 100 seconds from midnight. Right on “Doom’s doorstep”.

This is where a bunch of American psychos is leading us.

Life at Doom’s doorstep

As the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder is petrified by the startling Double Fail of a massive economic/military attack, Moscow is systematically preparing for the next military offensive. As it stands, it’s clear that the Anglo-American axis will not negotiate. It has not even tried for the past 8 years, and it’s not about to change course, even incited by an angelic chorus ranging from Elon Musk to Pope Francis.

Instead of going Full Timur, accumulating a pyramid of Ukrainian skulls, Putin has summoned eons of Taoist patience to avoid military solutions. Terror on the Crimea Bridge may have been a game-changer. But the velvet gloves are not totally off: General Armageddon’s daily aerial routine may still be seen as a – relatively polite – warning. Even in his latest landmark speech, which contained a savage indictment of the West, Putin made clear he’s always open for negotiations.

Yet by now, Putin and the Security Council know why the Americans simply can’t negotiate. Ukraine may be just a pawn in their game, but it’s still one of Eurasia’s key geopolitical nodes: whoever controls it, enjoys extra strategic depth.

The Russians are very much aware that the usual suspects are obsessed with blowing up the complex process of Eurasia integration – starting with China’s BRI. No wonder important instances of power in Beijing are “uneasy” with the war. Because that’s very bad for business between China and Europe via several trans-Eurasian corridors.

Putin and the Russian Security Council also know that NATO abandoned Afghanistan – an absolutely miserable failure – to place all their chips on Ukraine. So losing both Kabul and Kiev will be the ultimate mortal blow: that means abandoning the 21st Eurasian Century to the Russia-China-Iran strategic partnership.

Sabotage – from the Nord Streams to Krymskiy Most – gives away the desperation game. NATO’s arsenals are virtually empty. What’s left is a war of terror: the Syrianization, actually ISIS-zation of the battlefield. Managed by braindead NATO, acted on the terrain by a cannon fodder horde sprinkled with mercenaries from at least 34 nations.

So Moscow may be forced to go all the way – as the Totally Unplugged Dmitry Medvedev revealed: now this is about eliminating a terrorist regime, totally dismantle its politico-security apparatus and then facilitate the emergence of a different entity. And if NATO still blocks it, direct clash will be inevitable.

NATO’s thin red line is they can’t afford to lose both Kabul and Kiev. Yet it took two acts of terror – on Pipelineistan and on Crimea – to imprint a much starker, burning red line: Russia will not allow the Empire to control Ukraine, whatever it takes. That’s intrinsically linked to the future of the Greater Eurasia Partnership. Welcome to life at Doom’s doorstep.

Russia courts Muslim countries as strategic Eurasian partners

Thursday, 13 October 2022 7:10 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 14 October 2022 9:14 AM ]

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) attend the CICA summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 13, 2022.

By Pepe Escobar

Everything that matters in the complex process of Eurasia integration was once again at play in Astana, as the – renamed – Kazakh capital hosted the 6th Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The roll call was a Eurasian thing of beauty – featuring the leaders of Russia and Belarus (EAEU), West Asia (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Palestine) and Central Asia (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan).

China and Vietnam (East and Southeast Asia) attended at the level of vice presidents.

CICA is a multinational forum focused on cooperation toward peace, security, and stability across Asia.,Kazakh President Tokayev revealed that CICA has just adopted a declaration to turn the forum into an international organization.  

CICA has already established a partnership with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). So in practice, it will soon be working together side-by-side with the SCO, the EAEU and certainly BRICS+.

The Russia-Iran strategic partnership was prominently featured at CICA, especially after Iran being welcomed to the SCO as a full member.

President Raeisi, addressing the forum, stressed the crucial notion of an emerging  “new Asia”, where “convergence and security” are “not compatible with the interests of hegemonic countries and any attempt to destabilize independent nations has goals and consequences beyond national geographies, and in fact, aims to target the stability and prosperity of regional countries.”

For Tehran, being a partner in the integration of CICA, within a maze of pan-Asia institutions, is essential after all these decades of”maximum pressure” unleashed by the Hegemon.

Moreover, it opens an opportunity, as Raeisi noted, for Iran to profit from “Asia’s economic infrastructure.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, predictably, was the star of the show in Astana. It’s essential to note that Putin is supported by “all”nations represented at CICA.

High-level bilaterals with Putin included the Emir of Qatar: everyone that matters in West Asia wants to talk to “isolated” Russia.      

Putin called for “compensation for the damage caused to the Afghans during the years of occupation” (we all know the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will refuse it), and emphasized the key role of the SCO to develop Afghanistan.

He stated that Asia, “where new centers of power are growing stronger, plays a big role in the transition to a multipolar world order”.

He warned, “there is a real threat of famine and large-scale shocks against the backdrop of volatility in energy and food prices in the world.”

Hefurther called for the end of a financial system that benefits the “Golden billion” – who “live at the expense of others” (there’s nothing “golden” about this “billion”: at best such definition of wealth applies to 10 million.)

And he stressed that Russia is doing everything to “form a system of equal and indivisible security”. Exactly what drives the hegemonic imperial elites completely berserk.

“Offer you can’t refuse” bites the dust

The imminent juxtaposition between CICA and the SCO and EAEU is yet another instance of how the pieces of the complex Eurasia jigsaw puzzle are coming together.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia – in theory, staunch imperial military allies – are itching to join the SCO, which has recently welcomed Iran as a full member. 

That spells out Ankara and Riyadh’s geopolitical choice of forcefully eschewing the imperial Russophobia cum Sinophobia offensive.  

Erdogan, as an observer at the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, sent out exactly this message. The SCO is fast reaching the point where we may have, sitting at the same table, and taking important consensual decisions, not only the “RICs” (Russia, India, China) in BRICS (soon to be expanded to BRICS+) but arguably the top players inMuslim countries: Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.

This evolving process, not without its serious challenges, testifies to the concerted Russia-China drive to incorporate the lands of Islam as essential strategic partners in forging the post-Western multipolar world. Call it a soft Islamization of multipolarity.  

No wonder the Anglo-American axis is absolutely petrified.

Now cut to a graphic illustration of all of the above – the way it’s being played in the energy markets: the already legendary Opec+ meeting in Vienna a week ago.

A tectonic geopolitical shift was inbuilt in the – collective – decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a very diplomatic note with a stunning piece of information for those equipped to read between the lines.

For all practical purposes, the combo behind the teleprompter reader in Washington had issued a trademark Mafia threat to stop “protection” to Riyadh if the decision on the oil cuts was taken before the US mid-term elections. 

Only this time the “offer you can’t refuse” didn’t bite. OPEC+ made a collective decision, led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

Following Putin and MBS famously getting along, it was up to Putin to host UAE President Sheikh Zayed – or MBZ, MBS’s mentor – at the stunning Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg, which datesback to Peter the Great.

That was a sort of informal celebration of how OPEC+ had provoked, with a single move, a superpower strategic debacle when it comes to the geopolitics of oil, which the Empire had controlled for a century. 

Everyone remembers, after the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, how US neo-cons bragged, “we are the new OPEC”.

Well, not anymore. And the move had to come from the Russians and US Persian Gulf “allies” when everyone expected that would happen the day a Chinese delegation lands in Riyadh and asks for payment of all the energy they need in yuan.

OPEC+ called the American bluff and left the superpower high’n dry. So what are they going to do to “punish” Riyadh and Abu Dhabi? Call CENTCOM in Qatar and Bahrain to mobilize their aircraft carriers and unleash regime change?

What’s certain is that the Straussian/neocon psychos in charge in Washington will double down on hybrid war.

The art of “spreading instability”

In St. Petersburg, as he addressed MBZ, Putin made it clear that it’s OPEC+ – led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – that is now setting the pace to “stabilize global energy markets” so consumers and suppliers would “feel calm, stable and confident” and supply and demand “would be balanced”.

On the gas front, at Russian Energy Week, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller made it clear that Russia may still “save” Europe from an energy black hole.

Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) may become operational: but all political roadblocks must be removed before any repairing work starts on the pipelines.

And on West Asia, Miller said additions to Turk Stream have already been planned, much to the delight of Ankara, keen to become a key energy hub. 

In a parallel track, it’s absolutely clear that the G7’s desperate gambit of imposing an oil price cap – which translates as the weaponization of sanctions extended to the global energy market – is a losing proposition.

Slightly over a month before hosting the G20 in Bali, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati could not make it clearer: “When the United States is imposing sanctions using economic instruments, that creates a precedent for everything”, spreading instability “not only for Indonesia but for all other countries.”

Meanwhile, allMuslim-majority countries are paying very close attention to Russia. The Russia-Iran strategic partnership is now advancing in parallel to the Russia-Saudi-UAE entente as crucial vectors of multipolarity.

In the near future, all these vectors are bound to unite in what ideally should be a supra-organization capable of managing the top story of the 21st century: Eurasia integration.    

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

Will they ever learn? (answer: probably not)

October 11, 2022

Source

Following the attack on the Crimea bridge, the entire Ukronazi Internet plus assorted supporters exploded in a supernova of joy and Schadenfreude: the much hated “Putin bridge” was finally down!  Hurray!!!

How the Ukronazis see their future (not a fake, its 100% real!)

It was also funny to see that once the Ukronazis realized how stupid (and dangerous!) their proud claims that they were the ones who blew up the truck on the bridge, they decided to blame Putin.  So, as per our Ukronazi pals, Putin blew up the “Putin bridge” for some as of yet unnamed purpose, but most definitely an evil one.

Even more hilarious were the hardcore Banderistas à la Aristovich who were celebrating each Russian strike because “now the Russians have one less missile to use”.  Clearly, a war-winning mindset 🙂

In fact, the Russians are so evil that the Europeans have decided to exclude Russia from the investigation about what really happened with NS1 and NS2.  Which makes sense: the EU cannot let Putin know that he blew up his own pipelines. right?  And the fact that Russia is one of the main proprietors of NS1/NS2 does not matter one bit: as always (MH17, Skripal, Navalnyi, etc.) the Russian Snow Niggers need to be treated with the utmost contempt by the European Master Race.  That will convince the Russians to take the Eurolemmings seriously.

“Eurologic” at its best…

But, seriously, away from the la-la land of various Nazi supporters and Russian 6th columnists, most of the traffic on the Crimean bridge was restored in less than 24 hours.  Then came the Russian response: in a quick series of strikes, Russia switched off the electricity over the entire Ukraine, Lvov (the real capital of Banderastan) included.

Compare the two actions and tell me who is winning and who is losing this war 🙂

Of course, the usual gang of “alternatively gifted” Putin critics will scream that this is all too little too late.  As for the Ukronazis, they are already chanting their favorite mantra about “Russia is running out of missiles!  Russia is running out of missiles!“.  A brilliant war-winning strategy for sure!

Those still capable of critical/rational thought will realize that the sheer magnitude and devastating consequences of the Russian strikes is just a signal that Putin is doing what he has been doing since February:

  • Acting unilaterally without any efforts to negotiate (but without rejecting any negotiations should somebody in the West come to his/her senses).
  • Slowly and gradually increase the pain dial not only for the rump Ukraine but also for the entire EU

One more thing: assuming that Russia fired somewhere in the range of 200 missiles (out of stocks having many thousands more) against power stations, communications nodes, railway infrastructure, command posts, field headquarters, transformers, etc. and that this was more than enough to “pull the plug” on a huge country like the Ukraine tells you all you need to know about both the Russian capabilities and the lack of capabilities of Ukronazi air defenses (including old Soviet-era S-300 slamming into the ground the same way US Patriot missiles did during the Gulf War).

By the way – where was the “winning” Ukrainian Air Force?  I am sure that they shot down no less than several hundred missiles and aircraft, right?

Lastly, the Russian strikes have continued for a second day, but the SBU has now banned filming any outcomes from Russian strikes, so there is a lot less footage today.  Still, a lot at the latest map of strikes, it is clear that the entire country was hit hard for a second time.

So will those poor souls who accuse Putin of “indecision” or “weakness” ever learn their lesson and understand WHY and HOW Putin is dialing up the pain dial?

No, of course not.

They are now so personally involved in trashing Putin at all costs that they simply cannot look at reality without losing face.  So they too will double down on their own certitudes even if that means deliberately and systematically ignoring the facts on the ground.  As I have said many times, these folks would rather see Russia and Putin lose than Russia and Putin win.  You could say that they hate Putin more than they love Russia.

Some of these putatively “pro-Russian” folks are sincere, especially in the West, but utterly incompetent and mislead by Russian 6th columnists: what Lenin would have called useful idiots.

Others are clearly plants of the western letter soup.  And, of course, the former have no idea that they are working hand in hand with the latter.

So what comes next?  More of the same, of course: unilateral initiatives on the international scene combined with a further, but gradual, increase of the pain dial.

Which leaves one more actor I want to comment upon: the brainwashed people of the Ukraine who think that celebrating terrorist attacks and constantly threatening and even attacking Russia will bring them a happy future in an ethnically pure Nazi homeland of milk and honey.

I am very sad and sorry to have to say that, but the brains of these people also need to be demilitarized and denazified.  By acting this way they make themselves into legitimate targets.

In many ways, these strikes also serve an educational purpose: to convince the Ukrainian people that the war is not something which will only happen in the faraway Donbass.

This is what this winter will be all about: bringing the reality of war to the rump-Banderastan and to the EU.

Andrei

West has now set a course on total terrorist warfare

October 09, 2022

First, I want to post a video I found on Twitter (original here) which shows what kind of explosion took place on the Crimean bridge.

From what I have read, a truck filled with explosives blew up, killing three people in a car nearby, and then the flames took over a train also crossing the bridge.  That train was full of fuel.  It is only thanks to the amazing speed at which the bridge crews reacted that the damage was limited to only 9 wagons and, therefore, to a much shorter segment of the rail tracks.

Looking at the video, one would imagine that the bridge is in ruins.  In fact, traffic was reestablished on both rail tracks and the road in less than 24 hours (with the exception of heavy trucks).  In other words, this is yet another case of “it is humiliating, but not dangerous” (обидно но не опасно).

But that is an increasingly mistaken notion: this time is also VERY dangerous.

  • It is self-evident that the Kiev regime would never have had the means, technical and political, to execute such an attack without being told to do so by its masters in the West.
  • Such an attack, right on the heels of the attacks on of NS1/NS2 shows beyond any doubt that West has now set a course on total terrorist warfare.
  • This makes sense, since for all the so-called “victories” of the NATO forces in the Ukraine, the reality is that they reconquered a few villages and towns while Russia liberated and then incorporated entire regions.
  • And Russia did that while always being at a numerical disadvantage
  • And while inflicting 10:1 KIA ratios.
  • In other words the West’s “redirection” towards terrorism is an admission of military, economic and political defeat.

While this is hardly a surprise, the West *always* uses terrorism against sovereign governments, this is still a very negative development for Russia.

Simply put, there are always more targets than cops/guards.

Furthermore, terrorists can always chose the time and location of their attacks.

So far, the Ukronazi efforts in Russia yielded very little tangible benefits: the murder of Dugina made her into a martyr, the attack on NS1/NS2 really only hurt Germany and the EU, while the explosion on Crimean Bridge has proven that this is a very hard target which will be extremely hard to destroy short of using a tactical nuke.

Here we all need to remember terrorist attacks on the school in Beslan, the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow, the Budennovsk hospital, the Domodedovo International Airport or the Saint Petersburg subway.  All of them were the result of actions by so-called “terrorist groups” all of which were (and still are) run by western special services.

There are basically only two ways to defeat such state-sponsored terrorist attacks:

  1. Infiltrate the so-called terrorist groups and infiltrate the western “parent agencies” which run them.
  2. Convince the general public to go into a “high vigilance” mode.

Basically, the entire Russian society needs to go on a “mental war footing” and remain calm and very vigilant at the same time: not only is Russia under attack by Banderite Nazis, but also by the folks who did 9/11, MH17 (and many other!) and these are the folks who unleashed an entire terrorist campaign against Iran which included bombing, assassinations, sabotage, etc.

Then there is the problem of escalation.  The attack on the Crimean Bridge was a clear act of war.

Of course, since no US passports were found conveniently floating in the water, Russia’s response should not be an overt military retaliatory attack.  However, I do expect that something will happen soon, most likely in the Ukraine, but probably involving western personnel/assets/facilities.

In conclusion, I expect things to get even worse right up and until the elections in the USA.  Not that I have much of a hope that sanity would prevail should the GOP win, but “a tiny little” is better than “none at all”.

In the meantime, it is simply shocking for me to observe the collective orgasm felt by the leaders of the West each time some horror befalls Russia.  Truth be told, the fact that they hate us does not surprise me.  What surprises me much more is how unapologetically hate-filled and “in your face” these cries of joy are.   And I wonder

Do they see that hateful glee in their own eyes when they look in the mirror?  When they see a photo of Daria Dugina, do they feel like the “yeah! scored one against Putin!”?  When the kangaroo court in the Netherlands declares that it was Russia (or the LDNR) blew up MH17, will they feel that justice has been served and the guilty punished?

I am afraid that asking what they see or do not see is the wrong question which, by the way, Putin answered in his recent speech when he said “these European elites understand everything – they do, but they prefer to serve the interests of others“.

It’s not that they don’t see, instead they don’t care.  At all.  They never have.

I will end with a question: is the above only true of the European ruling classes or is that true for most people who live in the EU?

What will the well-intentioned and noble Europeans do when the next bloodbath happens in Russia (because sooner or later it will, such is the nature of the terrorist threat)?  Will they rejoice and wave their Ukie flags a little stronger or will they just not give a damn?

The answer is obvious, especially to Russians.

Andrei

US accuses Opec+ of aligning with Russia, Gulf states deny politics at play

UAE says production cut was ‘technical and not political’, but Washington says it is exploring ways to reduce Opec’s control over energy prices

By MEE staff  in New York City

Published date: 5 October 2022 16:02 UTC   Last update: 9 hours 44 mins ago

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) and Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail, arrive at the 29th annual Middle East Petroleum and Gas conference in the Bahraini capital Manama on May 16, 2022 (AFP)

Ministers from a group of oil exporting countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed on Wednesday to slash output by two million barrels a day, prompting pushback from the US and igniting fears that it could propel global inflation higher. 

The decision came despite heavy lobbying by Washington in Gulf capitals against the move. 

“It’s clear that Opec+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said aboard Air Force One.

“The president is disappointed by the shortsighted decision of Opec+,” national security advisor Jake Sullivan and top economic advisor Brian Deese said in a statement.

‘Tell me where is the act of belligerence’

 – Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi energy minister

The cut, equivalent to two percent of daily global supply, was proposed by the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia at Wednesday’s Opec+ meeting in Vienna. It is substantially higher than the one million barrels analysts had expected, and the biggest cut since April 2020.

Saudi Arabia and Russia aim to support prices amid signs that the global economy is slowing, with the possibility of a recession on the horizon. Oil prices usually drop when global economic growth slows.

The decision to cut production is likely to put pressure on relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, with Wednesday’s move seen as a win for Russia, particularly as it has faced battlefield losses in Ukraine, and reduced revenue from falling oil prices in recent weeks.

‘Technical and not political?’

US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July, in a bid to repair strained ties with Saudi Arabia. Shortly after meeting with Saudi rulers, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Biden said he expected Riyadh to take “further steps” to boost oil supply.

The backlash against Wednesday’s production cut has already appeared in some quarters of Washington. 

US Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a noted critic of Saudi Arabia, said the Opec+ decision should lead to “a wholesale re-evaluation of the US alliance with Saudi Arabia”.

Read More »
Gulf states are pushing back against that narrative.

Saudi Arabia set to support Russia’s role in Opec+ despite looming sanctions

“Tell me where is the act of belligerence,” Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said during a news conference at Opec’s headquarters in Vienna, when asked if the cut would strain ties with the US.

“We shall act and react to what is happening to the global economy in the most responsible and responsive way.”

The energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail al-Mazrouei, said the cut in production was “technical and not political”.

OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais, from Kuwait said the cartel was trying to ensure “security [and] stability to the energy markets.”

“Everything has a price,” Ghais said. “Energy security has a price as well.”

Recession headwinds

Oil prices skyrocketed above $100 a barrel earlier this year after Russia invaded Ukraine.

While they have fallen about 32 percent from their highs over the past four months, the drop has been due mainly to fears of slowing economic growth – particularly in China – as opposed to increased production.

Some say Riyadh needs little motivation outside of economics to back the production cut.

“Saudi Arabia sees a recession coming next year and they don’t want to be stuck with millions of barrels of cheap oil. They see now as the time to get the best price,” a former senior US official told Middle East Eye, on condition of anonymity. 

Egypt and Qatar find ‘synergies’ in post-Ukraine Middle East Read More »

Read More »

The kingdom’s coffers have been buoyed by high crude prices. Earlier this year, Saudi Aramco overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

Saudi Arabia is expected to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year, and is using its oil wealth to push ahead with pro-business reforms and mega-projects such as Neom, designed to wean the country off its reliance on petrodollars.

And with an inflation rate of 2.8 percent, the oil-rich kingdom has also been more insulated from the price rises that are sweeping the globe – a hot-button political issue for Biden’s party in the November midterm elections. 

‘Reduce Opec’s control’

In response to Wednesday’s decision, Biden called on his administration and US Congress to explore ways to “boost US energy production and reduce Opec’s control over energy prices,” the White House said.

The statement said Biden was ordering another dip into the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with 10 million barrels set to be put on the market next month, in an attempt to dampen price rises.

However, those reserves are fast emptying after record withdrawals were ordered by the administration, starting back in March. The reserves are now at their lowest level since July 1984, and it is not clear when the administration plans to purchase a refill.

Turkey doubles Russian oil imports amid western sanctions Read More »

Oil prices had risen about five percent since Friday, in anticipation of Wednesday’s meeting. International benchmark Brent was up 1.86 percent, at $93.47 a barrel Wednesday morning.

Analysts say the cut was likely to hinder western countries’ efforts to cut Russia’s profits on oil sales. The European Union has moved towards agreeing a G-7 plan to cap the price paid for Russian oil.

Also on Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for EU countries to make deeper cuts to gas demand, while proposing a raft of price cap measures designed to protect consumers and businesses.   

In September, Russia cut gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in response to Western sanctions. Soaring energy prices have prompted Europe to look to alternative suppliers of gas, including Israel, Egypt, Algeria and Qatar to fill the void left by Russia. 

Recommended

Ukraine’s revenge on the West 

October 05 2022

As the balance of power shifts again in Ukraine, its reverberations will impact the very unity of the EU project

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By MK Bhadrakumar

Vector politics in Ukraine has added new dimensions to the 222 day-old conflict.

Typically, any conflict behavior should end when a new balance of powers has been determined. But the ‘balancing of powers’ will not end until a balance is actually achieved – and evidence abounds that Ukraine is about to enter yet another ‘re-balancing.’ 

Russian Duma’s ratification of the annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions), and the adoption of the relevant laws thereof, creates a new dynamic and will take some time to create a new balance of forces on the ground within Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, the external environment is also phenomenally transforming. The deepening energy crisis in Europe following the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines becomes a serious contradiction. There is no knowing how it can be reconciled. 

Thus, a complex situation presents itself, as all this is also happening against the backdrop of a massive Russian military build-up around Ukraine in the Kharkov region and in the southern Black Sea region, with long convoys of armor reportedly heading toward Crimea from Russia.

Russia’s new borders

The Duma’s unanimous ratification of the accession of four regions to Russia on Monday was to be expected, the relevant legislation was duly ratified on Tuesday by the Federation Council (the upper house of the parliament), and possibly, President Putin too will sign off on the documents today, following which it will come into force. That is to say, as of October 5, the annexed Ukrainian regions will have become part of Russia. 

Importantly, the Duma has approved the government’s proposals on the establishment of the new regions’ borders, based on the delimitation of territories which “existed on the day of their establishment and accession to Russia.”

The relevant treaties outline that the borders adjacent to the territory of a foreign country will be Russia’s new state border. Plainly put, the old boundaries of the Soviet era are being restored in those regions. 

The determination of the Russian state boundaries has security implications. In the Donbass and Zaporozhye Regions, there are vast areas that still remain under the control of the Ukrainian forces. Liman city in Donetsk Republic was captured by the Ukrainian forces only three days ago. The Ukrainian incursions into Kherson continue. Heavy fighting is reported.  

Evidently, much unfinished business remains for Moscow to bring under control the “occupied” territories that previously formed part of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Zaporozhye Region (which also happens to be an important littoral region on the Azov Sea and forms a part of what Russians historically call “Novorossiya”), is another priority where the capital city of the oblast itself is not yet under Russian control. 

‘Nyet’ from NATO

In the emergent situation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky formally applied for Ukraine’s NATO membership on an expeditious basis, but within hours, the alliance poured cold water on that request, explaining that any decision will require support from all 30 member states.

It signals that there isn’t going to be any NATO intervention in Ukraine. Moscow will take note. The recent “loud thinking” about the use of nuclear weapons seems to have served its purpose. 

The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s meeting with the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak in Istanbul on Sunday was a low-key affair. The White House said Sullivan pledged Washington’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and discussed with Yermak the situation at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and Ukraine’s continued work with the United Nations to export food to the world.

The White House readout on President Joe Biden’s call with Zelensky on Monday mentioned a new $625 million security assistance package by Washington that includes additional weapons and equipment, including HIMARS, artillery systems and ammunition, and armored vehicles. Biden “pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes.” 

Later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the recent aid delivery would bring the overall cost of US military aid to Ukraine to more than $17.5 billion. “Recent developments… only strengthens our resolve,” Blinken said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine.”

“The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s hand at the negotiating table when the time is right,” he added. 

Revamping Russia’s strategy

On the other hand, the Russian military command will probably have to reset the parameters of the special military operations, since its forces will henceforth be safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. What form its takes remains to be seen.

So far, the actual Russian deployment has been less than 100,000 troops. Most of the fighting was done by the militia groups such as fighters from Donbass and Chechnya and the Wagner Group of ex-special services personnel and other volunteers from Russia. 

Certainly, the induction of 300,000 troops with previous military experience will impact the overall military balance to Russia’s advantage. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said that another 70,000 men have also volunteered, which will put the total strength of the additional forces at around 370,000.

Now, that is a huge increase. To get a sense of proportions, at the peak of the Vietnam War, the US deployment stood at around half a million troops. For the first time, Russia will have vast numerical superiority over Ukrainian forces. Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that the old pattern of “grinding” the Ukrainian forces may change and the objective will be to end the war quickly and decisively. 

The US decision to set up a command centre outside Ukraine (in Germany) seems to anticipate Russian attacks on command centres in Kiev and elsewhere with much bigger use of airpower, as in Syria. In fact, the new commander of the Western Military District Lt. Gen. Roman Berdnikov previously led the Russian intervention in Syria. 

Military experts anticipate that once autumn rains give way to the winter and the ground hardens, the Russian operations will intensify. Voices of dissent are heard lately within Russia that the war is meandering with no timeline as such. This may change. 

Plainly put, the point of no return is fast approaching from where Russia will have no alternative but to push for a regime change in Kiev and pave the way for an altogether new Ukrainian leadership that shakes off the vice-like Anglo-American grip, and is willing to settle with Russia. 

A Kafkaesque moment   

Unsurprisingly though, the attention in Europe is turning more and more towards the economic crisis with looming double-digit inflation and recession, which can lead to social unrest and political turmoil all across the continent. The growing public discontent is turning into protests in many European countries already. The crisis can only deepen once winter sets in. 

Conceivably, the shift in the popular mood may prompt the European governments to concentrate on their domestic issues rather than dabble in the Ukraine war. The most ardent votary of open-ended war with Russia is Britain, but even London is caught up in massive economic (and political) crises of its own. Prime Minister Liz Truss is fighting for political survival. The Conservatives have practically forfeited their mandate to rule. 

Germany’s predicament

Again, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union opposition bloc in the German Bundestag stalled a motion urging the government to “immediately” allow the export of German battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Politico reported that “A vote on weapons deliveries in the Bundestag would have risked revealing fatal cracks in the government unity and could even have led to a defeat of (Chancellor Olaf) Scholz in parliament.”

On the other hand, the German government also faces mounting pressure from the Eastern European allies in recent weeks to drastically increase the scale and type of Berlin’s military support to Ukraine. 

The influential Foreign Policy magazine in Washington wrote last week, “In the eyes of Berlin’s NATO allies in Eastern Europe, particularly the countries that border Russia, Germany, the economic and political power centre of Europe, isn’t doing nearly enough. And the longer it delays, the more it risks a long-term diplomatic fracture with those allies in the East.” 

But despite this pressure tactic, polls show that while some 70 percent of Germans are supportive of Ukraine generally, only 35 percent endorse stronger military support. 

In this situation, the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline dovetails into the energy crisis in Europe and threatens European countries with “de-industrialization.”

For Germany, in particular, the country’s economic model is riveted on the availability of abundant gas supplies from Russia, per long-term contracts, at cheap prices, through pipelines. Clearly, the sabotage of the Nord Stream has monumental implications. 

To be sure, whoever perpetrated that terrorist attack calculated shrewdly that Russian gas should not flow to Europe for the foreseeable future. The perennial fear in Washington is that a German-Russian proximity may develop if energy ties are restored. Besides, today, US oil companies are having a huge windfall of profits in the European energy market, replacing Russia, by selling LNG at five to six times the US domestic price. 

Preventing Russian-German reconciliation

What complicates matters is that Europe needs energy security in the short and medium term without also wrecking climate targets. It means heightened geopolitical sensitivity. The point is, Europe’s orderly energy transition away from fossil fuels critically needs Russian gas and was built on the earlier assumption that there would be cheap and plentiful natural gas. 

Arguably, Moscow kept hoping that Nord Stream would eventually be a catalyst to heal the rupture in German-Russian energy ties. Interestingly, on Monday, Russian energy giant Gazprom proposed to European gas customers that part of the damaged Nord Stream network could still transport fuel — but only on the newly constructed Nord Stream 2. Nord Stream 1 is virtually destroyed.  

A Gazprom statement in its Telegram account said that one of the three lines of the Nord Stream 2 remains unaffected and the gas giant has lowered the pressure to inspect the link for damage and potential leaks. Nord Stream 2 has a shipment capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, which means its line B could deliver as much as 27.5 billion cubic meters per year to Germany across the Baltic Sea.

However, the Nord Stream 2 requires EU approval, which is problematic given the tensions between Brussels and Moscow. These tensions may only increase if the EU approves the US-led decision by the G7 countries to impose a price cap on Russian oil. 

Most certainly, that is also Washington’s calculus — pin down Germany and keep Russia out. The spectre that haunts Washington is that Berlin may lose interest in the Ukraine war. The ascendancy of the Atlanticists in the echelons of power in Berlin in the most recent years – and their nexus with the virulently Russophobic EU bureaucrats in Brussels – has so far worked splendidly in Washington’s favor.

The EU is effectively over

But the ground beneath the feet is shifting, as the dramatic turn in Sweden and Italy’s politics has shown. 

Do not underestimate the “Meloni effect.” The heart of the matter is that the far-right forces invariably have more to offer to the electorate in times of insecurity and economic hardship.

In France too, President Macron is immobilized, lacking a parliamentary majority to legislate, and is being worn down by serial crises. As for Britain, the financial crisis triggered by the Chancellor of Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s budget highlights fundamentally the scarcity of feasible alternative economic models. Sterling is in free fall. Two consecutive Tory administrations failed to come up with a post-Brexit model, while Labour never wanted Brexit. The Truss government is the last chance to get Brexit really done, but no-one is holding their breath. And then, the Deluge — events will intrude. 

What all this means is that the three main power centers within the Eurozone and Britain are finding it hard to escape the old, dying industrial world of the 20th century and this is not the best of time to take on the half-million strong Russian allied forces in Ukraine, the Biden Administration’s bravado notwithstanding. 

Do not lend credence to the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC) in Prague on Wednesday bringing together the leaders of 27 EU member states and up to 17 non-EU countries – namely, the UK, Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Israel. 

The plain truth is that the European integration project is over and done with. Any attempt to impose it will produce severe backlash. Looking back, therefore, the rupture with Russia has ushered in a new geopolitical landscape in Europe where Brussels’ conundrum regarding EU expansion stands exposed. The EPC is nothing but a disguised French ploy to slow down actual EU membership for countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. 

The EPC summit at the Prague Castle only serves to highlight that this is a Kafkaesque moment in European politics. This must be Ukraine’s revenge on Europe for staging such a cynical, violent coup in 2014 to cut its umbilical cord with Russia. 

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

”Biden” Fulfilled a Promise on Nord Stream 2

October 01, 2022

For those who haven’t seen this footage being reposted the past few days, ”Biden” promised to put an end to Nord Stream 2 on February 7, 2022.

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Quick notes from Andrei + open thread

September 27, 2022

Dear friends

Hurricane Ian approaches the Florida Peninsula

Looks like Hurricane Ian will be even dangerous for the Florida East coast.  So I don’t know how soon we will lose power.  I also am too preoccupied with preparations to write much today.

But the few headlines below are, I think, quite amazing.

The thing which I find absolutely hilarious is that the Europeans DO speak of sabotage but DO NOT even mention who the obvious culprit is.  So, especially for the braindead Europeans, I have this: a video from President Brandon himself promising to stop NS2 if Russia “invades” the Ukraine.

Needless to say, I totally agree with Lira – the Anglos are willing to completely destroy Europe to maintain their dominion over the EU.

And to my great sadness, I have to say that the people of Europe RICHLY deserve what is coming their way.  Simply put: if you have no self-respect, why would anybody have any respect for you?

Okay, singing off for the time being.

Conditions permitting, I will try to drop by as often as I can.  But the next 3 days will be very tough.

Kind regards

Andrei

Who profits from Pipeline Terror?

Secret talks between Russia and Germany to resolve their Nord Stream 1 and 2 issues had to be averted at any cost

September 29 2022

By Pepe Escobar

The War of Economic Corridors has entered incandescent, uncharted territory: Pipeline Terror.

A sophisticated military operation – that required exhaustive planning, possibly involving several actors – blew up four separate sections of the Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipelines this week in the shallow waters of the Danish straits, in the Baltic Sea, near the island of Bornholm.

Swedish seismologists estimated that the power of the explosions may have reached the equivalent of up to 700 kg of TNT. Both NS and NS2, near the strong currents around Borholm, are placed at the bottom of the sea at a depth of 60 meters.

The pipes are built with steel reinforced concrete, able to withstand impact from aircraft carrier anchors, and are basically indestructible without serious explosive charges. The operation – causing two leaks near Sweden and two near Denmark – would have to be carried out by modified underwater drones.

Every crime implies motive. The Russian government wanted – at least up to the sabotage – to sell oil and natural gas to the EU. The notion that Russian intel would destroy Gazprom pipelines is beyond ludicrous. All they had to do was to turn off the valves. NS2 was not even operational, based on a political decision from Berlin. The gas flow in NS was hampered by western sanctions. Moreover, such an act would imply Moscow losing key strategic leverage over the EU.

Diplomatic sources confirm that Berlin and Moscow were involved in a secret negotiation to solve both the NS and NS2 issues. So they had to be stopped – no holds barred. Geopolitically, the entity that had the motive to halt a deal holds anathema a possible alliance in the horizon between Germany, Russia, and China.

Whodunnit?

The possibility of an “impartial” investigation of such a monumental act of sabotage – coordinated by NATO, no less – is negligible. Fragments of the explosives/underwater drones used for the operation will certainly be found, but the evidence may be tampered with. Atlanticist fingers are already blaming Russia. That leaves us with plausible working hypotheses.

This hypothesis is eminently sound and looks to be based on information from Russian intelligence sources. Of course, Moscow already has a pretty good idea of what happened (satellites and electronic monitoring working 24/7), but they won’t make it public.

The hypothesis focuses on the Polish Navy and Special Forces as the physical perpetrators (quite plausible; the report offers very good internal details), American planning and technical support (extra plausible), and aid by the Danish and Swedish militaries (inevitable, considering this was very close to their territorial waters, even if it took place in international waters).

The hypothesis perfectly ties in with a conversation with a top German intelligence source, who told The Cradle that the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND or German intelligence) was “furious” because “they were not in the loop.” 

Of course not. If the hypothesis is correct, this was a glaringly anti-German operation, carrying the potential of metastasizing into an intra-NATO war.

The much-quoted NATO Article 5 – ‘an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us’ – obviously does not say anything about a NATO-on-NATO attack. After the pipeline punctures, NATO issued a meek statement “believing” what happened was sabotage and will “respond” to any deliberate attack on its critical infrastructure. NS and NS2, incidentally, are not part of NATO’s infrastructure.

The whole operation had to be approved by Americans, and deployed under their Divide and Rule trademark. “Americans” in this case means the Neo-conservatives and Neo-liberals running the government machinery in Washington, behind the senile teleprompter reader.

This is a declaration of war against Germany and against businesses and citizens of the EU – not against the Kafkaesque Eurocrat machine in Brussels. Don’t be mistaken: NATO runs Brussels, not European Commission (EC) head and rabid Russophobe Ursula von der Leyen, who’s just a lowly handmaiden for finance capitalism.

It’s no wonder the Germans are absolutely mum; no one from the German government, so far, has said anything substantial.

The Polish corridor

By now, assorted chattering classes are aware of former Polish Defense Minister and current MEP Radek Sirkorski’s tweet: “Thank you, USA.” But why would puny Poland be on the forefront? There’s atavic Russophobia, a number of very convoluted internal political reasons, but most of all, a concerted plan to attack Germany built on pent up resentment – including new demands for WWII reparations.

The Poles, moreover, are terrified that with Russia’s partial mobilization, and the new phase of the Special Military Operation (SMO) – soon to be transformed into a Counter-Terrorism Operation (CTO) – the Ukrainian battlefield will move westward. Ukrainian electric light and heating will most certainly be smashed. Millions of new refugees in western Ukraine will attempt to cross to Poland.

At the same time there’s a sense of “victory” represented by the partial opening of the Baltic Pipe in northwest Poland – almost simultaneously with the sabotage.

Talk about timing. Baltic Pipe will carry gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark. The maximum capacity is only 10 billion cubic meters, which happens to be ten times less than the volume supplied by NS and NS2. So Baltic Pipe may be enough for Poland, but carries no value for other EU customers.

Meanwhile, the fog of war gets thicker by the minute. It has already been documented that US helicopters were overflying the sabotage nodes only a few days ago; that a UK “research” vessel was loitering in Danish waters since mid-September; that NATO tweeted about the testing of “new unmanned systems at sea” on the same day of the sabotage. Not to mention that Der Spiegel published a startling report headlined “CIA warned German government against attacks on Baltic Sea pipelines,” possibly a clever play for plausible deniability.

The Russian Foreign Ministry was sharp as a razor: “The incident took place in an area controlled by American intelligence.” The White House was forced to “clarify” that President Joe Biden – in a February video that has gone viral – did not promise to destroy NS2; he promised to “not allow” it to work. The US State Department declared that the idea the US was involved is “preposterous.”

It was up to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to offer a good dose of reality: the damage to the pipelines posed a “big problem” for Russia, essentially losing its gas supply routes to Europe. Both NS2 lines had been pumped full of gas and – crucially – were prepared to deliver it to Europe; this is Peskov cryptically admitting negotiations with Germany were ongoing.

Peskov added, “this gas is very expensive and now it is all going up in the air.” He stressed again that neither Russia nor Europe had anything to gain from the sabotage, especially Germany. This Friday, there will be a special UN Security Council session on the sabotage, called by Russia.

The attack of the Straussians

Now for the Big Picture. Pipeline Terror is part of a Straussian offensive, taking the splitting up of Russia and Germany to the ultimate level (as they see it). Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, by Paul E. Gottfried (Cambridge University Press, 2011) is required reading to understand this phenomenon.

Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish philosopher who taught at the University of Chicago, is at the root of what later, in a very twisted way, became the Wolfowitz Doctrine, written in 1992 as the Defense Planning Guidance, which defined “America’s mission in the post-Cold War era.”

The Wolfowitz Doctrine goes straight to the point: any potential competitor to US hegemony, especially “advanced industrial nations” such as Germany and Japan, must be smashed. Europe should never exercise sovereignty: “We must be careful to prevent the emergence of a purely European security system that would undermine NATO, and particularly its integrated military command structure.”

Fast-forward to the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, adopted only five months ago. It establishes that Kiev has a free lunch when it comes to all arms control mechanisms. All these expensive weapons are leased by the US to the EU to be sent to Ukraine. The problem is that whatever happens in the battlefield, in the end, it is the EU that will have to pay the bills.

US Secretary of State Blinken and his underling, Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, are Straussians, now totally unleashed, having taken advantage of the black void in the White House. As it stands, there are at least three different “silos” of power in a fractured Washington. For all Straussians, a tight bipartisan op, uniting several high-profile usual suspects, destroying Germany is paramount.

One serious working hypothesis places them behind the orders to conduct Pipeline Terror. The Pentagon forcefully denied any involvement in the sabotage. There are secret back channels between Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

And dissident Beltway sources swear that the CIA is also not part of this game; Langley’s agenda would be to force the Straussians to back off on Russia reincorporating Novorossiya and allow Poland and Hungary to gobble up whatever they want in Western Ukraine before the entire US government falls into a black void.

Come see me in the Citadel

On the Grand Chessboard, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan two weeks ago dictated the framework of the multipolar world ahead. Couple it with the independence referendums in DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye, which Russian President Vladimir Putin will formally incorporate into Russia, possibly as early as Friday.

With the window of opportunity closing fast for a Kiev breakthrough before the first stirrings of a cold winter, and Russia’s partial mobilization soon to enter the revamped SMO and add to generalized western panic, Pipeline Terror at least would carry the “merit” of solidifying a Straussian tactical victory: Germany and Russia fatally separated.

Yet blowback will be inevitable – in unexpected ways – even as Europe becomes increasingly Ukrainized and even Polandized: an intrinsically neo-fascist, unabashed puppet of the US as predator, not partner. Vey few across the EU are not brainwashed enough to understand how Europe is being set up for the ultimate fall.

The war, by those Straussians ensconced in the Deep State – neocons and neoliberals alike – won’t relent. It is a war against Russia, China, Germany and assorted Eurasian powers. Germany has just been felled. China is currently observing, carefully. And Russia – nuclear and hypersonic – won’t be bullied.

Poetry grandmaster C.P. Cavafy, in Waiting for the Barbarians, wrote “And now what will become of us, without any barbarians? Those people were some kind of a solution.” The barbarians are not at the gates, not anymore. They are inside their golden Citadel.

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

Keywords

A possible strategy for peace

September 28, 2022

Source

by Gav Don

We now await the results of the referenda in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhiya and Kherson to request membership of the Russian Federation. In the first three regions the result is a foregone conclusion. In Kherson the vote is also likely to be for membership, in spite of the fact that Kherson’s pre-war population was a majority ethnic Ukrainian one, but the margin may be closer. Many, indeed probably most, of Kherson’s pre-war Ukrainians have, though, left the region as refugees, and will not vote in the referendum by virtue of their absence. President Putin stated in a recent speech that Russia will immediately accept the applications for membership of the Federation that follow.

In parallel Moscow announced this week that Russia will call up army reservists for service. Russian army reserves include men in a wide range of preparedness, from people who had completed conscripted service long ago to a much smaller number of “active” reserve formations similar to western reserve formations – i.e. ones which meet regularly for paid training with regular forces. These latter are a relatively new addition to Russia’s ground forces.

RAND reported in 2019 that “active” reserves totalled only 5,000 men. In 2021 Moscow announced a plan to increase the active reserve under the headline BARS-2021 to 100,000, but no information has reached the public domain since then on how well (or not) that strategy performed. Subsequent clarification stated that reserves called up will undergo months of refresher and update training. Interpolating the limited data suggests that this reserve call-up might bring 20,000-40,000 men with material fighting power to Russia’s Orbat in the short term.

Mr Putin made no reference to the number of men (and women, presumably) to be called up, but within minutes of his speech being broadcast the number of 300,000 appeared throughout western media coverage. The most likely source for that very large number is the media briefers retained by Kyiv.

Prior to this week’s reserve call-up Moscow was already in the process of creating a new unit, the 3rd Army Corps (Luhansk and Donestk militias form the 1st and 2nd Army Corps), comprising some 40 Battalion Tactical Groups. When fully formed the 3rd Army Corps would therefore contain some 35,000 – 40,000 men, but at present is probably less than half that complement, and in an early state of formation and training which will limit its combat power to low-intensity and defensive operations only for several months to come.

Reserves are not the only news: a third insight to Moscow’s objectives has come to light, in one of Mr Putin’s replies in a Q and A at Samarkand, and again in his “reserves” speech. In both he referred for the first time to the Russia’s “main objective” in Ukraine as the full occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. This is the first time since February that Moscow has made an unequivocal statement about its objectives.

It is tempting to extrapolate that Russia’s lesser objectives must be smaller than its main objective. That extrapolation would rule out the taking of much more ground than Russia already occupies, including Odesa (or even Mikolayev), Kharkiv or the ground between the western border of Donetsk and the Dnepr River.

Building on that tentative conclusion leads to another conclusion, that Moscow’s strategic objective now is to conclude the remnants of the peace deal agreed to (and then reneged on) by President Zelensky in Istanbul in March. Much of the rest of Mr Putin’s “reserves” speech was expressing Russia’s defensive rights and plans – the protection of Russian territory and Russian people from Ukraine and the greater west. There was no talk of extending Russian occupation of Ukraine beyond Donetsk and Luhansk.

Last week, the day after the reserves announcement, President Zelensky made a recorded address to the United Nations which Moscow is likely to find discouraging for a peace deal. Mr Zelensky’s first words were a demand for “just punishment” for Russia’s aggression: “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.  Mr Zelensky stated four preconditions for peace:

·         Punishment (of Russia) for the crime of aggression, to continue (a) until the borders are returned to 2013 line and (b) full financial compensation has been paid for all physical damage. The punishments, to be administered by a special tribunal, specifically include a trade embargo, suspension of Russia from the UN and of its veto, a travel ban on all Russians, and a system to obtain financial compensation from Russia.

·         “The protection of life by all available means”. It was not made clear what this term means in detail.

·         “The restoring of security and territorial integrity” – which must mean a return to 2013 borders.

·         Security guarantees for Ukraine enacted in a suite of bilateral and multilateral treaties, to supplement existing treaties (so, probably not membership of NATO per se). The new guarantees will be written to provide pre-emptive action rather than reactive action (like that in the Atlantic Charter).

To these Mr Zelensky added a fifth precondition, which had no actual provisions or form but appeared to be a call for firm adherence to the four explicit conditions to punish aggression.

Mr Zelensky finished with “I rule out the possibility a settlement can happen on a different basis than the [this] Ukrainian peace formula”.

Ukraine’s position depends entirely on continued materiel and financial support from Washington, London and Brussels. Since it will be immediately clear to even the most Russophobic members of those administrations that the only practically obtainable component of President Zelensky’s formula will be financial compensation from Russia’s frozen foreign reserves, there is probably a different peace deal, which might be imposed on Kyiv by the West. What might those preconditions be?

They would probably include:

·         A clear demonstration by the people living in the four Oblasts that they no longer wish to be part of Ukraine;

·         Clear evidence that the Kharkiv offensive is a one-off, and that it has no practical chance of being repeated elsewhere;

·         Acceptance by the voters of Europe and the United Kingdom that a bad peace is more attractive than a continued war (the voters of the United States are almost completely indifferent to the war and have already lost interest);

·         Acceptance by Prime Minister Truss and Commission President von der Leyen that the economic price of continued conflict with Russia is higher than they will, or even can, pay;

·         Acceptance by the US State Department that the EU Commission and Downing Street are no longer willing to send money and weapons to Ukraine (Mr Biden’s cognitive decline more or less rules him out of the decision process, and the Pentagon has been against the war since February);

It is possible to map last week’s Russian events and announcements against this list of preconditions.

The popular will in the occupied territories

Three of the four referenda are guaranteed to return a strong desire for a transfer from Ukraine to Russia. The fourth, Kherson, may return a less equivocal desire, though a majority for Russia is likely. Moscow may be setting up the surrender of west-bank Kherson to Ukraine as the price of peace.

The western popular consciousness (in so far as it exists as a single “thing”) readily accepts the principle of self-determination where clearly and fairly expressed. Indeed, rather more than half of the people of Europe are independent or unified by virtue of that principle (this would include all Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks, Italians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Slovenes, Croats, Montenegrans, Dutch, Danes, Maltese, Kosovans, Macedonians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Irish, and, outside the EU, Norwegians, and in future perhaps Scots and Catalans, and of course Ukrainians themselves). Why, then, spend large amounts of money and incur acute economic pain to resist the clearly expressed desire for self-determination by ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine?

In the debate which might follow this line Moscow will undoubtedly call in aid the referendum in Kosovo, supported by the western alliance against Russian ally Serbia, as a precedent for the moral right to choose one’s parent state. It will find support from the 2010 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case, that “…international law contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence” (the caveats and specific circumstances of the Advisory Opinion are unlikely to gain much traction with public opinion).

So, it is possible at least that bringing the referenda forward to now is a step towards undermining popular support for the war in greater Europe.

Clear evidence that the Kharkiv success is a one-off

I covered the Kharkiv offensive here, concluding that a successful attack by some 20,000 men against a space held by 4,000 low-grade troops says little about future military prospects for Ukraine. Most of the rest of the Line of Contact is held in substantially greater force by Russian and allied troops of substantially higher fighting power. Moscow’s announcement of reserves mobilisation will shortly add to that fighting power and deepen the thinly-held Contact Line that runs west from Donetsk to Zaporizhiya.

Moscow’s change of strategy by attacking Ukrainian civil power assets for the first time simultaneously restricts Kyiv’s ability to concentrate force and demonstrates Russia’s willingness to use more violence if and when required.

Kyiv is still capitalising on the glow of the Kharkiv offensive, hoping to use it to persuade an international audience that its goal of returning to its 2013 borders is a realistic one. Indeed, the Kharkiv offensive forms a key foundation stone for President Zelensky’s plan for a peace deal articulated to the United Nations last week.

If the Kharkiv offensive is indeed a one-off and not repeatable it will take time for that truth to prevail in the strategic calculus of Washington, London and Brussels.

The economic price of resistance

The European Commission’s sanctions on Russian gas supplies (shuttering Nordstream 2, forbidding EU states from paying for gas in Roubles, obstructing Nordstream 1 by sanctioning its turbines and supporting Kyiv in its shuttering of pipelines for reasons with little engineering validity) have increased gas prices in Europe and the UK by a factor of roughly ten times, and consequently increased power prices by factor of around five times.

Spiking energy prices undercut popular support for the war while at the same time threatening almost all parts of greater Europe’s industrial and commercial sector, rendering large parts of commerce and industry unprofitable overnight (and catastrophically loss-making in the case of low-margin energy intensive primary industries).

Brussels and London have been forced to respond with a combination of massive subsidies, price controls and windfall profit taxes. In the case of the UK Ms Truss’s emergency plan has an initial (6-month) budget of some £65 bn – 2.5% of GDP to be borrowed and spent in half a year alone. While the Commission’s plan for windfall taxes and targeted subsidies is considerably more sensible, both the EU and the UK are looking at sharp GDP contractions as a result of the energy price spike alongside large adverse swings in international payments balances. The value of Sterling has crashed to its lowest level against the dollar since American independence. The Euro has also dropped by some 20% against the dollar.

Europe will weather the price spike better than the UK, which is facing another economic disaster generated by the inflation-linked coupons on some £500 bn of its government debt. With inflation running at 10-12% per year (depending on which measure is chosen), UK debt interest will leap this year from approximately £48 bn in 2019 to a likely £110 bn in 2022.

UK government debt interest will be yet higher in 2023, when, if the war and EU sanctions on Russian gas continue, the United Kingdom will need to borrow a net £200 bn (plus half as much again to roll over existing maturing debts), with a weak currency, high inflation and a shrinking economy. This toxic combination will further weaken the pound, import more inflation through rising import prices, further increase the cost of index-linked government debt, and drive the government’s budget deficit to around 10% of GDP. Unable to raise taxes (because she has promised not to) and unable to cut government spending (because an election looms in 2024) Ms Truss will be at risk of sinking under a tide of debt.

The question is how long will Downing Street accept the costs of its unequivocal support for Ukraine?

The European Commission’s plans for handling the energy price spike are more sensible than London’s, and it starts from a position of having zero debt (though European members all owe large amounts). There is a possibility of a split emerging between the strategic desires of London and the Commission, with the latter welcoming acute economic pain for the UK as part of the “punishment regime” for the UK’s departure from the European Union. Moscow may try to use that divided agenda to detach the UK from Ukraine’s life support system.

Popular rejection of support for the war

Throughout the war European and UK popular support for Ukraine has been solid. Indeed it is almost impossible to find any voice in either mainstream or niche media that is anything other than entirely on the side of Kyiv (not completely impossible – a small community of dissident thinkers and analysts does exist, led by this website, but with a repeating audience that barely breaks half a million people it has little real-world impact).

Popular support has flowed in roughly equal parts from a latent fear of and dislike for Russia born of the Cold War, from a collective view that states should not invade each other, from perhaps the most successful information war ever waged (by Kyiv) and in part from the reality that so far support has cost Europeans personally nothing in either blood or treasure.

The coming price in treasure is discussed above. It is likely that Mr Putin’s remarks this week on the circumstances in which Russia would be prepared to use nuclear weapons were deliberately intended to alarm European and British citizens with the concept that the distant war might become a very non-distant reality if it is allowed to continue.

Moscow can rely on Europe’s media and politicians to misrepresent and exaggerate its statements (conflating tactical with strategic weapons, eliding the question of use against armed forces or civilians, ignoring the fact the Mr Putin’s remarks were expressly preceded by a reference to Ms Truss’s bellicose statement of her willingness to use nuclear weapons during her election campaign, and neatly ignoring the subtlety of whether Russian weapons might be used in Ukraine, Russia or Europe) to cultivate panic among peoples who had more or less forgotten that nuclear weapons still exist and have no clear idea of what they do or how they work.

If that is what Moscow’s talk of nuclear weapons was intended to spark then it has quickly succeeded – the nuclear threat is now top and centre of mass media discussion, and may be creating the space within which Brussels and London can press Kyiv to a negotiated peace, however uncomfortable.

American guns and money

The final piece of the puzzle is how to persuade the US that it should stop sending weapons and cash to Kyiv.

American support for Ukraine does not require popular consent since the price is small by comparison with total US government spending, and its budgets are readily approved by Congress.

American popular consciousness is also much less responsive to the rattling of nuclear sabres, by virtue of distance, by familiarity with life in the front-line of nuclear brinkmanship and because of innate popular confidence in the size and power of US retaliative capabilities. There is no media panic about possible use of nuclear weapons in the US.

Indeed, Ukraine barely breaks into the national mainstream media consciousness, which is preoccupied with inflation, racial tensions expressed by police killings, and the “threat” posed by to US hegemonic power by China, and specifically to Taiwan.

Meanwhile the methane price spike will generate extraordinarily high profits for US LNG producers.

That combination of US circumstances presents Moscow with a wicked problem. There may be one solution to how US opinion should be persuaded to abandon Ukraine.

US popular consciousness firmly believes that Europe (including the UK) has freeloaded on US defence spending for two generations. There are few things the average American dislikes more than a freeloader.

The charge contains an element of truth. Total defence spending by the EU plus UK and Turkey was about Euros 220 bn in 2021. Total US defence spending in the same year was approximately Euros 600 bn. Even allowing for those parts of the budget allocated to strategic nuclear weapons (about 15%), Carrier Strike Groups and amphibious warfare capabilities (10%), and US power projection in Asia and the Middle East (probably another 20%), US defence spending still exceeds Europe’s by about half.

If Moscow can manipulate either or both of the Commission and Downing Street into abandoning support for Ukraine that would leave Washington paying the bill alone. It is not the size of that bill which might undercut support for guns and money, but the fact that it has been forwarded on by decadent and cynical Europeans, which could make US support for Ukraine unacceptably unpopular.

Whatever the American voter thinks, the American neocon will not be persuaded to accept a peace deal with Russia. Indeed, the US is escalating. Last night the pressures in Nordstream 1 and Nordstream more or less simultaneously fell to 7 Atmospheres, and a large gas leak was observed off the Danish Island of Bornholm. 7 Atmospheres is the ambient pressure of the seabed off Bornholm under which both pipelines pass – at 70 metres of water depth. There is only one possible explanation for this event – an attack on both pipelines by an unidentified submarine.

The reliable rule of Cui Bono applies here. A US (or UK, on request from the US) attack on the pipelines secures the EU LNG market for US exporters against possible future competition from Russia after a peace deal, renders Europe dependent on US LNG supplies (in the short term at least), and serves to remove a major possible Russian contribution to peace in the form of cheap gas. It is staggering to see how far US policy-makers will go to promote a continued war.

A possible strategy for peace

Notwithstanding the Nordstream attacks it is possible to see, inside the announcements and moves that have emerged this week, the skeleton of a Russian strategy towards a negotiated peace with Kyiv. An uncomfortable one, to be sure, but peace nevertheless.

If a negotiated peace is not available Moscow can still opt for an imposed one, in which it would complete the occupation of Donetsk Oblast and call a unilateral halt to offensive operations.

Presented with that fait accompli Kyiv is likely to continue its present policy of shelling civilians in Russian-occupied territory wherever its guns can reach – a policy in blatant breach of the Law of Armed Conflict but one which has been consistently and thoroughly ignored by the major media channels in both Europe and the USA, and even by Turkish and Iraq media. An enforced peace would therefore require Russia to create and police an effective artillery “no fire” zone for some 20 kms west of its new imposed border with Ukraine, and a “no-rocket” zone for another 50 kms on top.

Russia’s present artillery and rocket forces cannot do that, since Ukrainian artillery can evade counterbattery fire by the tactic of “shoot and scoot”. Russian air forces are also unable to enforce a no-fire zone because at high altitude they are vulnerable to a SAM shoot-down, and at low altitude to the widespread presence of Man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

To create an effective no-fire zone Russia needs a force of unmanned drones capable of delivering 20-40 kgs of high explosive within 2 metres of their targets, both stationary and evading counterfire in “scoot” mode. These drones would have to be sufficiently numerous to give saturation coverage day and night, working in pairs (so that one of the pair can engage MANPADS and SAM launchers which target the other member of the pair), and cheap enough to be disposable.

At the start of the war Russia did not have a drone with those specifications, but now it does. The 1,000 or so Shahed 136 drones ordered this month are beginning to arrive (the first examples of 136 wreckage with their distinctive wingtips have now appeared in Ukraine). Russia has renamed the model the Geranium.

The 136 is an ideal candidate for enforcing a deep no-fire zone. Its 36 kg warhead can completely destroy a heavy artillery piece, a mortar or a Multiple Launch Rocket launch truck. The 136 can loiter for some 20 hours at heights well above the reach of MANPADs, before being dived onto the target by its operator. It can also carry out a chase of a moving target (it was a 136 which hit the bridge of the merchant ship Mercer Street while under way off Oman last year), and can break away and re-attack repeatedly if the target evades successfully.

One limitation is that control systems are line-of-sight, so require the drone controller to use a very high aerial to operate the drone successfully deep behind the Line of Contact, but the 136’s operating depth is likely in most circumstances to be greater than the effective range of most of its targets.

Moscow’s drone purchase also reportedly includes an estimated forty Shahed 129 drones. The 129 is a 400 kg aircraft theoretically capable of carrying guided ground attack munitions but more likely to be used for its electro-optical reconnaissance capability to identify targets for the 136s. The 129 too has a line-of-sight control link, which also limits its operational depth capability.

With sufficient numbers of these two drones, backed up by conventional artillery and MLRS systems, Russia should be able to enforce an effective artillery no-fire zone in defence of the occupied territories.

Amidst the uncertainty one thing is certain – there is a zero probability that Moscow will entertain President Zelensky’s UN peace proposals. It may not even respond to them, on the basis that they rest on a strategic fantasy. Equally likely is that President Zelensky will not respond to peace proposals which include the detachment of the four Oblasts. At least, not until pressured to do so by at least two of his three western backers.

The most likely outcome therefore looks to this author to be a frozen conflict, once the balance of Donetsk Oblast has been taken (slowly) by Russian forces. At the current rate of progress – a few hundred metres per day – that may not happen until the spring or even summer of 2023.

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