About Partial Mobilization (Andrei Martyanov)

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China

The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

September 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

Iran: it’s showtime

Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

Strenghtening multipolarity

Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

The Kazakh puzzle 

There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node.

The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president.

Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal.

The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]).

There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration.

That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar.

A cohesion of goals

Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast.

Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too.

The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed.

In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables.

Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific.

China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind.

The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project.

Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles.    

Welcome to Great Game 2.0

Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders).

And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia.

So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle.

On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization.

These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors.

It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment.

Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’

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

A Turning-Point Once Every 500 Years

September 14, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Introduction: The Old Queen

I recall some forty years ago meeting an elderly English lady, a farmer’s wife called Mrs Dove, who had been present as a schoolgirl at the funeral of Queen Victoria. ‘When the old Queen died all those years ago’, she reminisced nostalgically, ‘everything was draped in black and everyone was dressed in black’. Now Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, the new ‘old Queen’, is dead, the news announced beneath a rainbow over Windsor Castle. This is the town whose name the Queen’s grandfather, George V, had adopted as the family name, instead of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Windsor name was officially adopted on 17 July 1917, just after the British-orchestrated Russian ‘Revolution’ of 1917, one year to the day before the Tsar and his Family were murdered in Ekaterinburg, on the very frontiers of Europe and Asia. The Russian Tsar had been betrayed by his look-alike cousin, King George V.

Whatever you say about Queen Elizabeth II, she personally had modesty, she had dignity, she had presence, she actually believed in something, she had all that her descendants seem utterly to lack. Perhaps her end was hastened by the behaviour of her son Prince Andrew, her grandson Prince Harry and the imbeciles who inhabit 10 Downing Street, the latest of whom she had to appoint Prime Minister only two days before she died. Why live any longer? She must have been fed up with it all. This is the final, final end of the Protestant Empire of Great Britain (1522-2022) (1), whose collapse began exactly three generations ago in 1947 in India. Perhaps the decline will go swiftly now under the disliked King Charles III (called in Russian Karl III) (2), who finds himself without Queen Diana, the only one who could have saved him. Expect the break-up of the UK to be rapid.

The 96 year-old Queen Elizabeth II died in Scotland, in Victoria’s castle at Balmoral, a relic of the 19th century and its British Empire. Her curious, clipped Germanic accent – no English people talk like that – betrayed the Queen’s foreign origins as the last of the rulers shaped by German Protestantism, imported by the City of London merchant and financial class just over 300 years before. However, it is not only her, it is the other leaders of the Western world, relics of the 20th century, who are dying out too. They are gerontocrats. In the USA Biden, born in the first half of the 20th century and soon to be 80, should really be in an old folk’s home. It is cruel to keep parading him in front of the media like that and asking him to remember things. As for Pope Francis, aged 85, he can hardly walk and says that he too might go early, like his predecessor, still alive at 95, a relic forced to serve in the Hitler Youth.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front

After the humiliating debacle in Afghanistan in August 2021, when the Americans were kicked out and NATO was routed, the Asian century arrived. While Queen Elizabeth II was dying, senior representatives from sixty-eight countries were gathering at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, a centre of the new multipolar world. They were there to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific after the fall of the obsolete unipolar Western Empire. President Putin declared: ‘The new world order is based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centres are being formed right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process’.

The Russian future is marked by the development of the Russian Arctic and of the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic. On the Northern Sea Route the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern fleet of icebreakers, some nuclear-powered. There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation and a transformation in Arctic navigation and shipbuilding that has been under way for the last few years. A second development for Russia is the International North-South Transportation Corridor with one of its main ports in Chabahar in Iran. Now for the first time India will be directly connected to Central Asia. An Iranian shipping line with 300 vessels which link to Mumbai is taking part in the development of this Transportation Corridor. The creation of such a transport corridor is also leading to the integration of national transit systems in several countries.

In one week’s time the Samarkand Summit of the multipolar Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) will take place. Apart from the current full members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and now Iran – no fewer than eleven more countries wish to join, including Afghanistan and Turkey, making potentially twenty in all. The SCO Summit is to examine economic cooperation with the aim of solving health, energy, food security and poverty reduction issues. India too wants an Asian century, for which close cooperation between India, China and Russia is necessary. For now India is not competitive and needs to diversify to obtain improved access to Eurasia, thanks to logistical help from Russia. Russia will also play a vital role in the Indian Ocean with the need for close co-operation between ‘The Big Three’, Russia, India and China.

We must recall that Asia alone has over 25% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the world’s population. Asia is no longer a series of countries subject to colonisation by Europe and the USA, but the agent for planetary change. The Asian century is here. There is also a global movement to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Argentina. It all means that the Global Majority is no longer the US/CA/UK/EU/AUS/NZ and a few US colonies like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. It is Afro-Eurasia-Latin America, 87.5% of the world. Someone is going to have to find a snappy new name for this alphabet soup, EEF, SCO, BRICS, perhaps something like G2022 or simply ‘The Alliance’? All trade in it will be in bilateral currencies, not in the dollar. The centre has passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Atlantic is becoming a backwater. This is a New Age.

Meanwhile, on the Western Front

The Eastern Economic Forum showed how most Asian nations are ‘friendly’ or ‘neutral’ towards the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) in the Ukraine. They know that the Russian Armed Forces and the Russian State had been seeking peace and protection for those of Russian speech and culture in the Ukraine for eight years. The Operation was imposed on them by the incredible belligerence and arrogance of the West. Recently the US-backed and mercenary-led Kiev Armed Forces launched a counter-offensive to the south and east of the Ukraine towards Kherson and took many casualties for minor success. Kiev has been trying to compensate for that counter-offensive, where they lost two motorised brigades and over 300 tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery, with strikes to the north-west of Kharkov. But here too Kiev has been suffering such heavy losses that they have had to send reserves. The Allied forces have trapped the Kiev Army and its mercenaries in the open. Do not believe the absurd propaganda that Russia is losing.

According to a document signed by the Commander of the Armed Forces of the Ukraine, General Zaluzhny, by the beginning of July 2022, 76,640 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed (ten weeks on, it must be nearly 100,000). With the seriously wounded generally at a ratio of 1 to 1, this means that up to 200,000 Kiev troops may have been put out of action permanently. And that does not include deserters, captured and missing in action, which could make another 50,000. This confirms earlier reports that total Kiev casualties, those permanently out of the fighting, are a horrendous 250,000. In any case Ukrainian hospitals are overflowing, as friends from the Ukraine on Telegram and Whatsapp tell me every day. Indeed, a great many wounded have had to be sent to hospitals in Poland, which are also crowded, at least in Eastern Poland.

On the other hand, in all the Allies appear to have lost about 10,000 killed, most of them from the Donbass militias. This could mean up to 25,000 out of the fight permanently on their side. That is one tenth of Kiev’s casualties. With such huge Kiev losses, many are suggesting that Zelensky and his puppeteers in Washington and London are in fact guilty of war crimes. Nobody in his right mind sends his troops to the slaughter like this. Hitler proved that. Most analysts and observers consider that the conflict could end towards the end of next year or it could be slowed down till early 2024. By then the Allied Armed Forces could have liberated the nine provinces of Eastern Ukraine and demilitarised the nine provinces of Central Ukraine. This would leave the seven provinces of Western Ukraine, the real ‘borderlands’ (the meaning of the word ‘Ukraine’), 20% of the whole, to be returned to other countries, with five provinces going to Poland, one (Chernovtsy) to Romania and one (Zakarpat’e) to Hungary.

The New Ukraine, or whatever it may be called, may well become a Russian Protectorate, as may Belarus after Lukashenko (it already is in effect just that), and also Kazakhstan, which needs Russia, if only for military and economic reasons. We believe that the three collapsing and heavily depopulated Baltic States will also end up the same way, once their American puppet elites have gone. We would expect that Serbia, Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia, though remaining fully independent, will also loosely ally themselves with the Russian Federation, if only for energy reasons. And we would say the same of Orthodox Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Cyprus, and perhaps also of Catholic Hungary. Such an alliance in a very loose Confederation is what Stalin failed to do in 1945. In such a context we foresee the collapse of EU tyranny.

Conclusion: The Eurasian Future

Time is running out for the Combined West as a United World Power. It is formed from a parasitical elite and the peoples, zombified, hoodwinked and betrayed by that elite’s lying propaganda (remember that Goebbels too was a Westerner). All its front organisations, the UN, the EU, the G7, the G20, NATO, the WEF, the IMF, the World Bank etc, have failed. Today, the USA is bitterly divided, some would say, it is on the brink of a Civil War. Australia has become China’s mine. Most of the bankrupt EU and UK look like failed states. Japan is also bankrupt. Taiwan is inevitably returning to China. Korea will be reunified.

The only future for Western Europe is in an alliance with its natural partner, Asia, or rather Eurasia, which means Europe eating humble pie and going through Russia and accepting its leadership and respecting its culture. After reintegrating with Asia, from which it had artificially cut itself off in history, and coming out of its arrogant, navel-gazing isolation, Europe will next have to integrate Afro-Eurasia. This is the sense of the three generations of immigration to Western Europe from Asia and Africa. For Europe it is all about reintegrating the world and realising that it is now on an equal footing with it.

What a time to be alive! I remember so very well the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and all that followed in Romania, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union soon after. That was a turning point, 50 years after 1939 such a one as happens every 50 years. However, that was just the first part of a much greater change, that which is happening now. For what we are living through now via the Ukraine is a turning-point that happens once every 500 years. And the death of Queen Elizabeth II is the very symbol of this huge sea-change as we move with hope away from the Western mistakes of the past towards the next 500 years.

14 September 2022

Notes:

1. It is true that if we are to give a date to the English Reformation, then 1533 would be more exact. That was when the Pope of Rome excommunicated Henry VIII, who had made himself ‘Head of the Church’. However, we use the date 1522, because that was when Anne Boleyn arrived at the English court as a maid-in-waiting to the sonless Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon. That was the start of it all. By 1533 Henry, who had been infatuated with Anne for years, was secretly married to her and she gave birth to a daughter in that same year.

Meanwhile, the London Parliament had passed an Imperial Act, which outlawed appeals to Rome on Church matters and proclaimed that: ‘This realm of England is an Empire (our emphasis), and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience’.

2. In Russian tradition, Karl, the German form of the name Charles, is used. The name Karl is taken from Charlemagne, in German, Karl der Grosse, who gave rise to the Slavic word for king (kral, kral’, kráľ, król, korol’).

The Kharkov game-changer

September 14, 2022

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

Wars are not won by psyops. Ask Nazi Germany. Still, it’s been a howler to watch NATOstan media on Kharkov, gloating in unison about “the hammer blow that knocks out Putin”, “the Russians are in trouble”, and assorted inanities.

Facts: Russian forces withdrew from the territory of Kharkov to the left bank of the Oskol river, where they are now entrenched. A Kharkov-Donetsk-Luhansk line seems to be stable. Krasny Liman is threatened, besieged by superior Ukrainian forces, but not lethally.

No one – not even Maria Zakharova, the contemporary female equivalent of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods – knows what the Russian General Staff (RGS) plans, in this case and all others. If they say they do, they are lying.

As it stands, what may be inferred with a reasonable degree of certainty is that a line – Svyatogorsk-Krasny Liman-Yampol-Belogorovka – can hold out long enough with their current garrisons until fresh Russian forces are able to swoop in and force the Ukrainians back beyond the Seversky Donets line.

All hell broke loose – virtually – on why Kharkov happened. The people’s republics and Russia never had enough men to defend a 1,000 km-long frontline. NATO’s entire intel capabilities noticed – and profited from it.

There were no Russian Armed Forces in those settlements: only Rosgvardia, and these are not trained to fight military forces. Kiev attacked with an advantage of around 5 to 1. The allied forces retreated to avoid encirclement. There are no Russian troop losses because there were no Russian troops in the region.

Arguably this may have been a one-off. The NATO-run Kiev forces simply can’t do a replay anywhere in Donbass, or in Kherson, or in Mariupol. These are all protected by strong, regular Russian Army units.

It’s practically a given that if the Ukrainians remain around Kharkov and Izyum they will be pulverized by massive Russian artillery. Military analyst Konstantin Sivkov maintains that, “most combat-ready formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now being grounded (…) we managed to lure them into the open and are now systematically destroying them.”

The NATO-run Ukrainian forces, crammed with NATO mercenaries, had spent 6 months hoarding equipment and reserving trained assets exactly for this Kharkov moment – while dispatching disposables into a massive meat grinder. It will be very hard to sustain an assembly line of substantial prime assets to pull off something similar again.

The next days will show whether Kharkov and Izyum are connected to a much larger NATO push. The mood in NATO-controlled EU is approaching Desperation Row. There’s a strong possibility this counter-offensive signifies NATO entering the war for good, while displaying quite tenuous plausible deniability: their veil of – fake – secrecy cannot disguise the presence of “advisers” and mercenaries all across the spectrum.

Decommunization as de-energization

The Special Military Operation (SMO), conceptually, is not about conquering territory per se: it is, or it was, so far, about protection of Russophone citizens in occupied territories, thus demilitarization cum denazification.

That concept may be about to be tweaked. And that’s where the tortuous, tricky debate on Russia mobilization fits in. Yet even a partial mobilization may not be necessary: what’s needed are reserves to properly allow allied forces to cover rear/defensive lines. Hardcore fighters of the Kadyrov contingent kind would continue to play offense.

It’s undeniable that Russian troops lost a strategically important node in Izyum. Without it, the complete liberation of Donbass becomes significantly harder.

Yet for the collective West, whose carcass slouches inside a vast simulacra bubble, it’s the pysops that matters much more than a minor military advance: thus all that gloating on Ukraine being able to drive the Russians out of the whole of Kharkov in only four days – while they had 6 months to liberate Donbass, and didn’t.

So, across the West, the reigning perception – frantically fomented by psyops experts – is that the Russian military were hit by that “hammer blow” and will hardly recover.

Kharkov was preciously timed – as General Winter is around the corner; the Ukraine issue was already suffering from public opinion fatigue; and the propaganda machine needed a boost to turbo-lubricate the multi-billion dollar weaponizing rat line.

Yet Kharkov may have forced Moscow’s hand to increase the pain dial. That came via a few well-placed Mr. Khinzals leaving the Black Sea and the Caspian to present their business cards to the largest thermal power plants in northeast and central Ukraine (most of the energy infrastructure is in the southeast).

Half of Ukraine suddenly lost power and water. Trains came to a halt. If Moscow decides to take out all major Ukraine substations at once, all it takes is a few missiles to totally smash the Ukrainian energy grid – adding a new meaning to “decommunization”: de-energization.

According to an expert analysis, “if transformers of 110-330 kV are damaged, then it will almost never be possible to put it into operation (…) And if this happens at least at 5 substations at the same time, then everything is kaput. Stone age forever.”

Russian government official Marat Bashirov was way more colorful: “Ukraine is being plunged into the 19th century. If there is no energy system, there will be no Ukrainian army. The matter of fact is that General Volt came to the war, followed by General Moroz (“frost”).

And that’s how we might be finally entering “real war” territory – as in Putin’s notorious quip that “we haven’t even started anything yet.”

A definitive response will come from the RSG in the next few days.

Once again, a fiery debate rages on what Russia will do next (the RGS, after all, is inscrutable, except for Yoda Patrushev).

The RGS may opt for a serious strategic strike of the decapitating kind elsewhere – as in changing the subject for the worse (for NATO).

It may opt for sending more troops to protect the front line (without partial mobilization).

And most of all it may enlarge the SMO mandate – going to total destruction of Ukrainian transport/energy infrastructure, from gas fields to thermal power plants, substations, and shutting down nuclear power plants.

Well, it could always be a mix of all of the above: a Russian version of Shock and Awe – generating an unprecedented socio-economic catastrophe. That has already been telegraphed by Moscow: we can revert you to the Stone Age at any time and in a matter of hours (italics mine). Your cities will greet General Winter with zero heating, freezing water, power outages and no connectivity.

A counter-terrorist operation

All eyes are on whether “centers of decision” – as in Kiev – may soon get a Khinzal visit. This would signify Moscow has had enough. The siloviki certainly did. But we’re not there – yet. Because for an eminently diplomatic Putin the real game revolves around those gas supplies to the EU, that puny plaything of American foreign policy.

Putin is certainly aware that the internal front is under some pressure. He refuses even partial mobilization. A perfect indicator of what may happen in winter is the referenda in liberated territories. The limit date is November 4 – the Day of National Unity, a commemoration introduced in 2004 to replace the celebration of the October revolution (it already existed in imperial times).

With the accession of these territories to Russia, any Ukrainian counter-offensive would qualify as an act of war against regions incorporated into the Russian Federation. Everyone knows what that means.

It may now be painfully obvious that when the collective West is waging war – hybrid and kinetic, with everything from massive intel to satellite data and hordes of mercenaries – against you, and you insist on conducting a hazily-defined Special Military Operation (SMO), you may be up for some nasty surprises.

So the SMO status may be about to change: it’s bound to become a counter-terrorist operation.

This is an existential war. A do or die affair. The American geopolitical /geoeconomic goal, to put it bluntly, is to destroy Russian unity, impose regime change and plunder all those immense natural resources. Ukrainians are nothing but cannon fodder: in a sort of twisted History remake, the modern equivalents of the pyramid of skulls Timur cemented into 120 towers when he razed Baghdad in 1401.

If may take a “hammer blow” for the RSG to wake up. Sooner rather than later, gloves – velvet and otherwise – will be off. Exit SMO. Enter War.

Faina Savenkova about the Ukronazi website “peacemaker

September 08, 2022

Source

Yesterday, a press conference was held in Moscow by Mira Terada’s Foundation to Battle Injustice, attended by Western journalists working in the Donbass. The details of these journalists, like mine, are listed on the website myrotvorets.center (ukr. Peacemaker). I know many of them and they, like me, are in danger. Because they tell the truth about what is happening in our country. When a year ago my data became public and I was called an enemy of Ukraine and a “Kremlin special operation”, I reacted to it in the media in the best possible way. Many thought my actions were useless, nonsense.

But be that as it may, I tried to do everything I could to make this story known to the world. I know it’s a long and difficult road, but the fact that the UN has heard about it, that human rights activists have looked into it, that journalists have talked about it – that’s a small success. Yes, I’m just a teenager who doesn’t know anything about politics or public relations, and I don’t think children should do that, but if adults aren’t being heard, children should try to tell the world the truth. I don’t know if much has been achieved yet, but in Germany, Europe and America people are starting to talk about it.

Oliver Stone’s producer, Yuri Lopotenok, whose details are also on this website, is talking about it in his programmes. And that’s great. I don’t know how the war with the “peacemaker” (myrotvorets.centre) will end, but the most important thing is that I am no longer alone and the quiet voice of a child is heard by adults. So it was not all in vain. I really wish that the people whose details are on this website would speak up so that parents whose children are at risk can protect their children. After all, something can only change if people do not remain silent but speak openly about injustice.

Asia’s future takes shape in Vladivostok, the Russian Pacific

September 08, 2022

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

Sixty-eight countries gathered on Russia’s far eastern coast to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok is one of the indispensable annual milestones for keeping up not only with the complex development process of the Russian Far East but major plays for Eurasia integration.

Mirroring an immensely turbulent 2022, the current theme in Vladivostok is ‘On the Path to a Multipolar World.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, in a short message to business and government participants from 68 nations, set the stage:

“The obsolete unipolar model is being replaced by a new world order based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centers are taking shape right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process.”

In his speech to the EEF plenary session, Ukraine was barely mentioned. Putin’s response when asked about it: “Is this country part of Asia-Pacific?”

The speech was largely structured as a serious message to the collective west, as well as to what top analyst Sergey Karaganov calls the “global majority.” Among several takeaways, these may be the most relevant:

  • Russia as a sovereign state will defend its interests.
  • Western sanctions ‘fever’ is threatening the world – and economic crises are not going away after the pandemic.
  • The entire system of international relations has changed. There is an attempt to maintain world order by changing the rules.
  • Sanctions on Russia are closing down businesses in Europe. Russia is coping with economic and tech aggression from the west.
  • Inflation is breaking records in developed countries. Russia is looking at around 12 percent.
  • Russia has played its part in grain exports leaving Ukraine, but most shipments went to EU nations and not developing countries.
  • The “welfare of the ‘Golden Billion’ is being ignored.”
  • The west is in no position to dictate energy prices to Russia.
  • Ruble and yuan will be used for gas payments.
  • The role of Asia-Pacific has significantly increased.

In a nutshell: Asia is the new epicenter of technological progress and productivity.

No more an ‘object of colonization’ 

Taking place only two weeks before another essential annual gathering – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand – it is no wonder some of the top discussions at the EEF revolve around the increasing economic interpolation between the SCO and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This theme is as crucial as the development of the Russian Arctic: at 41 percent of total territory, that’s the largest resource base in the federation, spread out over nine regions, and encompassing the largest Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the planet, linked to the free port of Vladivostok. The Arctic is being developed via several strategically important projects processing mineral, energy, water and biological natural resources.

So it’s perfectly fitting that Austria’s former foreign minister Karin Kneissel, self-described as “a passionate historian,” quipped about her fascination at how Russia and its Asian partners are tackling the development of the Northern Sea Route: “One of my favorite expressions is that airlines and pipelines are moving east. And I keep saying this for twenty years.”

Amidst a wealth of roundtables exploring everything from the power of territory, supply chains and global education to “the three whales” (science, nature, human), arguably the top discussion this Tuesday at the forum was centered on the role of the SCO.

Apart from the current full members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, four Central Asians (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan), plus the recent accession of Iran – no less than 11 further nations want to join, from observer Afghanistan to dialogue partner Turkey.

Grigory Logvinov, the SCO’s deputy secretary general, stressed how the economic, political and scientific potential of players comprising “the center of gravity” for Asia – over a quarter of the world’s GDP, 50 percent of the world’s population – has not been fully harvested yet.

Kirill Barsky, from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, explained how the SCO is actually the model of multipolarity, according to its charter, compared to the backdrop of “destructive processes” launched by the west.

And that leads to the economic agenda in the Eurasian integration progress, with the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) configured as the SCO’s most important partner.

Barsky identifies the SCO as “the core Eurasian structure, forming the agenda of Greater Eurasia within a network of partnership organizations.” That’s where the importance of the cooperation with ASEAN comes in.

Barsky could not but evoke Mackinder, Spykman and Brzezinski – who regarded Eurasia “as an object to be acted upon the wishes of western states, confined within the continent, away from the ocean shores, so the western world could dominate in a global confrontation of land and sea. The SCO as it developed can triumph over these negative concepts.”

And here we hit a notion widely shared from Tehran to Vladivostok:

Eurasia no longer as “an object of colonization by ‘civilized Europe’ but again an agent of global policy.”

‘India wants a 21st Asian century’

Sun Zuangnzhi from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) elaborated on China’s interest in the SCO. He focused on achievements: In the 21 years since its founding, a mechanism to establish security between China, Russia and Central Asian states evolved into “multi-tiered, multi-sector cooperation mechanisms.”

Instead of “turning into a political instrument,” the SCO should capitalize on its role of dialogue forum for states with a difficult history of conflicts – “interactions are sometimes difficult” – and focus on economic cooperation “on health, energy, food security, reduction of poverty.”

Rashid Alimov, a former SCO secretary general, now a professor at the Taihe Institute, stressed the “high expectations” from Central Asian nations, the core of the organization. The original idea remains – based on the indivisibility of security on a trans-regional level in Eurasia.

Well, we all know how the US and NATO reacted when Russia late last year proposed a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security.”

As Central Asia does not have an outlet to the sea, it is inevitable, as Alimov stressed, that Uzbekistan’s foreign policy privileges involvement in accelerated intra-SCO trade. Russia and China may be the leading investors, and now “Iran also plays an important role. Over 1,200 Iranian companies are working in Central Asia.”

Connectivity, once again, must increase: “The World Bank rates Central Asia as one of the least connected economies in the world.”

Sergey Storchak of Russian bank VEB explained the workings of the “SCO interbank consortium.” Partners have used “a credit line from the Bank of China” and want to sign a deal with Uzbekistan. The SCO interbank consortium will be led by the Indians on a rotation basis – and they want to step up its game. At the upcoming summit in Samarkand, Storchak expects a road map for the transition towards the use of national currencies in regional trade.

Kumar Rajan from the School of International Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University articulated the Indian position. He went straight to the point: “India wants a 21st Asian century. Close cooperation between India and China is necessary. They can make the Asian century happen.”

Rajan remarked how India does not see the SCO as an alliance, but committed to the development and political stability of Eurasia.

He made the crucial point about connectivity revolving around India “working with Russia and Central Asia with the INSTC” – the International North South Transportation Corridor, and one of its key hubs, the Chabahar port in Iran: “India does not have direct physical connectivity with Central Asia. The INSTC has the participation of an Iranian shipping line with 300 vessels, connecting to Mumbai. President Putin, in the [recent] Caspian meeting, referred directly to the INSTC.”

Crucially, India not only supports the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership but is engaged in setting up a free trade agreement with the EAEU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, incidentally, came to the Vladivostok forum last year.

In all of the above nuanced interventions, some themes are constant. After the Afghanistan disaster and the end of the US occupation there, the stabilizing role of the SCO cannot be overstated enough. An ambitious road map for cooperation is a must – probably to be approved at the Samarkand summit. All players will be gradually changing to trade in bilateral currencies. And creation of transit corridors is leading to the progressive integration of national transit systems.

Let there be light

A key roundtable on the ‘Gateway to a Multipolar World’ expanded on the SCO role, outlining how most Asian nations are “friendly” or “benevolently neutral” when it comes to Russia after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine.

So the possibilities for expanding cooperation across Eurasia remain practically unlimited. Complementarity of economies is the main factor. That would lead, among other developments, to the Russian Far East, as a multipolar hub, turning into “Russia’s gateway to Asia” by the 2030s.

Wang Wen from the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies stressed the need for Russia to rediscover China – finding “mutual trust in the middle level and elites level”. At the same time, there’s a sort of global rush to join BRICS, from Saudi Arabia and Iran to Afghanistan and Argentina:

“That means a new civilization model for emerging economies like China and Argentina because they want to rise up peacefully (…) I think we are in the new civilization age.”

B. K. Sharma from the United Service Institution of India got back to Spykman pigeonholing the nation as a rimland state. Not anymore: India now has multiple strategies, from connecting to Central Asia to the ‘Act East’ policy. Overall, it’s an outreach to Eurasia, as India “is not competitive and needs to diversify to get better access to Eurasia, with logistical help from Russia.“

Sharma stresses how India takes SCO, BRICS and RICs very seriously while seeing Russia playing “an important role in the Indian Ocean.” He nuances the Indo-Pacific outlook: India does not want Quad as a military alliance, privileging instead “interdependence and complementarity between India, Russia and China.”

All of these discussions interconnect with the two overarching themes in several Vladivostok roundtables: energy and the development of the Arctic’s natural resources.

Pavel Sorokin, Russian First Deputy Minister of Energy, dismissed the notion of a storm or typhoon in the energy markets: “It’s a far cry from a natural process. It’s a man-made situation.” The Russian economy, in contrast, is seen by most analysts as slowly but surely designing its Arctic/Asian cooperation future – including, for instance, the creation of a sophisticated trans-shipment infrastructure for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov made sure that Russia will actually increase its gas production, considering the rise of LNG deliveries and the construction of Power of Siberia-2 to China: “We will not merely scale up the pipeline capacity but we will also expand LNG production: it has mobility and excellent purchases on the global market.”

On the Northern Sea Route, the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern icebreaker fleet – including nuclear. Gadzhimagomed Guseynov, First Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, is adamant: “What Russia has to do is to make the Northern Sea Route a sustainable and important transit route.”

There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation, following an ‘Arctic best practices’ of learning step by step. NOVATEK, according to its deputy chairman Evgeniy Ambrosov, has been conducting no less than a revolution in terms of Arctic navigation and shipbuilding in the last few years.

Kniessel, the former Austrian minister, recalled that she always missed the larger geopolitical picture in her discussions when she was active in European politics (she now lives in Lebanon): “I wrote about the passing of the torch from Atlanticism to the Pacific. Airlines, pipelines and waterways are moving East. The Far East is actually Pacific Russia.”

Whatever Atlanticists may think of it, the last word for the moment might belong to Vitaly Markelov, from the board of directors of Gazprom: Russia is ready for winter. There will be warmth and light everywhere.”

Interview with Yuri Podolyaka

September 08, 2022

Source

by Batko Milacic

Recently, the Ukrainian army launched a counter-offensive on the southern and eastern front.

The Ukrainian leadership seems to have started to sober up and it has become clear to them that they have no use for false praises about successes on the southern front because in the end the people will find out the real truth.

For this reason, the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Anna Molyar, criticized those bloggers and journalists who speak prematurely about the victories of the Ukrainian army, while the former Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Alliance, General Serhiy Krivonos, harshly criticizes the military and state leadership for the large number of victims.

– We have the right to ask the authorities why we have hundreds of thousands of wounded and dead? What did you do to save their lives, General Krivonos said on his YouTube channel. That general believes that more and more citizens will ask the country’s leadership why so many soldiers are dying.

Also, the American Institute for the Study of War admitted that the Ukrainian counterattack in the south of the country cannot lead to significant successes.

At the end of August, a document signed by the commander of the armed forces of Ukraine, General Valerii Zaluzhny, reached social networks. According to that document, at the beginning of July 2022, – 76,640 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and 42,704 were wounded. At that time, 7,244 Ukrainian soldiers were captured, and 2,816 of them were missing.

Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east it’s also going slow with a lot of casualties.

Kiev has been trying to compensate for the fiasco of their counteroffensive on the southern (Kherson) front – where they lost two motorized brigades and over 300 tanks, other armored fighting vehicles and heavy artillery – with strikes northwest of Kharkiv for the second day. They are suffering heavy losses, as evidenced by the fact that they have been sending reserve forces into the fighting.

Because of all of the above, my interview which I did with the respected Russian analyst Mr. Yuri Podolyaka, who has 2.2 million followers on Telegram, regarding Ukraine (but not just Ukraine) has great importance. The conversation was long, because two Italian journalists took part in it also, but here I will outline Mr. Podolyaka views in short. What is important to emphasize is that Mr. Podolyaka is under the protection of the Russian special services, because his security is threatened by the Ukrainian intelligence services. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian intelligence services use terrorist methods, all with the aim of neutralizing critics who use arguments to expose the lies of the regime in Kiev.

First of all, I was interested when, the special operation in Ukraine will end?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: Next year if we’re lucky. Otherwise, in 2024.

Me: Will the Russian army liberate all of Ukraine up to the Vinitsa-Zhytomyr line or will they agree to the division of Ukraine?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: In my opinion, most likely the entire Ukraine will be liberated up to the line Vinitsa-Zhytomyr.

Me: Will there be a mobilization in Russia, bearing in mind that the ratio of the number of soldiers is 1:3 in favor of Ukraine?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: I think there will be no need for mobilization in Russia, because the situation at the front does not require it.

Me: And if Russia decided for mobilization, how would the Russian people react?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: The people would accept it, the majority of Russians are patriots.

Me: We saw that the liberation of Mariupol was difficult, with many victims. Do you expect it to be the same with other major cities in Ukraine?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: No. Ukraine no longer has the resources it used to have. And the longer the conflict lasts, the weaker Ukrainian resources will be.

Me: How many soldiers does Russia lose monthly in Ukraine?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: About 1,500, which is small number for such a demanding special operation from the perspective of the military doctrine. On the other hand, Ukrainians have huge losses.

Me: In your opinion, was the Russian army prepared for the special military operation? Was there a need to provide combat drones and a larger number of soldiers?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: Above all, the Russian army and the Russian state wanted peace. This operation in Ukraine was imposed on them by the West. As for readiness, no army is ever fully prepared. Problems always arise. However, the Russian army successfully solves everything as it goes.

Me: Have combat drones from Iran arrived in Russia? Since the flights of transport planes on the route Iran – Russia have been recorded.

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: Yes, they arrived. Cooperation was established for mutual benefit. Iran, on the other hand, will receive sophisticated Russian weapons.

Me: In your opinion, did the Russian army make a mistake when it immediately started liberating Kiev? Should Odesa and Kharkiv be liberated first and only then Kiev?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: Absolutely, a big mistake was made there, people were lost. The larger pro-Russian cities had to be liberated first, and only then Kiev.

Me: Bearing in mind the bad position of the Russians in Kazakhstan, could the issue of the position of the Russians and the decentralization of Kazakhstan be opened there in the future?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: No. Cooperation between official Moscow and Nur-Sultan is good, so all misunderstandings will be resolved by the agreement of the leaders of the countries. Also, Kazakhstan and Kazakhs need Russia, primarily for economic reasons. On the other hand, Kazakhstan is a soft underbelly for Russia.

Me: In your opinion, what is the future of Belarus?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: After the departure of Lukashenko from power and the settlement of the situation in today’s Ukraine, Belarus will become part of Russia.

Me: If a conflict broke out in the Balkans (Kosovo and Bosnia) in the near future, would Russia have the resources to help the Serbs?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: Now there will certainly be no conflict in the Balkans, for one simple reason. The West cannot lead a conflict on two fronts. The West knows that in that case, Russia would solve the situation in Ukraine very quickly.

Me: However, if Russia were to suddenly begin to forcefully win in Ukraine. And if the West then wrote off Ukraine and started a fire in the Balkans, would Russia be able to help the Serbs?

Mr. Yuri Podolyaka: Certainly, Russia has enough resources for a conflict on two fronts. Serbs would get help.

Author: Batko Milacic

This is a map of the air alerts in the Ukraine tonight (IMPORTANT!)

September 07, 2022

As you can see for yourself, as of tonight THE ENTIRE UKRAINE (all regions) is under air attack alert.  This is especially for those “alternatively gifted” folks who do not believe that Russia has air superiority over the entire Ukraine.

What to Expect at the Arab League Summit in Algiers

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°  

Amin Qammouria

Algeria’s strong anti-colonial stance and ties to Russia, Syria and Iran ensures that the upcoming Arab League Summit in Algiers will be anything but business-as-usual

Algeria will be taking the political centre stage in the Arab world when it hosts the 31st Arab League Summit on 2 November, the first after a three-year pandemic hiatus.

As a former revolutionary state – once at the forefront of resistance against the western settler-colonialism of the twentieth century, and still today a champion of Arab resistance – it is no surprise that majority-Sunni Algeria continues to take positions that are at odds with those of western-backed Sunni Arab governments of West Asia and North Africa.

Algeria’s principles that irk the region’s pro-west monarchies include its vehement opposition to Zionism, support of the Palestinian cause, insistence on maintaining relations with Iran, and engagement with Syria, with Algiers adamantly demanding that the Syrian state be readmitted to the Arab League.

Diplomacy or distraction?

The host country is pinning great hopes on the success of this summit for several reasons, the most important of which is its desire for a major event that restores vitality to Algerian diplomacy.

The state’s regional clout had receded during the years of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s prolonged illness and death, which inhibited his ability to exercise his duties. During this period, widespread street protests thwarted Bouteflika’s plans to extend his presidential term, ultimately bringing down his administration.

By hosting the summit, Algiers seeks an opportunity to shine regionally and highlight its diplomatic reach, distracting Algerians from the daily grind they’ve endured for years. It is a formula Iraq’s prime minister has used to some degree of success.

In this context, Algeria’s leaders have ensured the summit coincides with the 68th anniversary of the launch of their revolution against colonial France, and have planned an elaborate series of political, cultural, youth and artistic activities to burnish Algeria’s image as a regional powerhouse.

These are intended to project the North African state as the new ‘Mecca of Arab diplomacy,’ just as it remains a hub for liberation movements across the Global South and the ‘Mecca for revolutionaries’ since the 1960s.

It’s not such a wild idea. Algeria has come into play in recent years, not just for championing popular Arab worldviews, but for its geopolitical choices that are now in ascent. Like Syria, Algeria’s military is heavily invested with Russian equipment, training, and know-how. The energy-producing state is also receiving windfall profits from skyrocketing fuel and gas prices globally. And the increasing Russian, Iranian and Chinese (RIC) influence in West Asia – concurrent with the receding US presence – places Arab Algiers in a strong starting position.

Energy and food security

Recent global and regional developments, however, may make this Arab League meeting one of its most complex summits. The reverberations of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine just as the world began to emerge from the repercussions of the pandemic, have added a slate of pressing issues to Algiers’ table in November.

The impact of these two events have reshuffled geopolitical cards everywhere, and caused a global energy crisis that has placed several nations on the brink of severe economic and food crises.

In the unlikely scenario that the war in Ukraine ends before this year’s Arab Summit, its impact will remain on the top of the agenda. On the economic level, oil and gas prices will be a priority for both energy-producing and energy-consuming Arab countries, with expectations that the price of a barrel of oil will exceed $160 if the situation continues as is.

Another important agenda item is food security – especially vital crops such wheat and maize. It is expected that the summit will study the possibility of inter-cooperation to develop agriculture within regional states, with the hope that the studies will not remain as ink on paper as is the usual outcome of these gatherings.

Algeria calls for Syria’s return

Syria’s return to the Arab League after its highly politicized and unprecedented suspension in 2011 is another important challenge facing the summit. Algeria, which has maintained good relations with Damascus, has been adamant that Syria should be re-admitted to the League.

Algiers’ position is supported by several Arab countries such as Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, the UAE and Bahrain. But Syria’s return depends on buy-in from the remaining members too – with Qatar playing spoiler to Damascus’ regional rehabilitation. This too may change in time, as even Doha’s close Turkish allies are working toward normalizing relations with the Syrian government.

Syria’s membership was suspended at a highly-irregular emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo in November 2011. The move came after the Syrian government failed to implement the terms of the “Arab initiative” that gave President Bashar Al-Assad an unrealistic two weeks to conduct a political dialogue with the opposition, form a “national unity government” within two months, and conduct early presidential and parliamentary elections.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has said Syria’s participation in the upcoming Arab summit “is still subject to an Arab consensus,” which has not yet been achieved.

It does not seem that the countries that demanded the suspension of Syria’s membership will agree to its return as long as the conditions of suspension still exist. In turn, Damascus is unenthusiastic about returning to the League before certain Arab countries apologize for their material support of the Syrian armed opposition.

In fact, on 4 September, in a phone call with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra, Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad appeared to unilaterally bow out from the November summit, saying he “prefers not to raise” Syrian’s readmission to the League at this time.

Mikdad said his decision was made to keep the Arab focus on more urgent issues facing the region: “[To] contribute to uniting the Arab world and ranks in facing the challenges posed by the current situation at the regional and international levels.”

Israel’s presence at Algeria’s border

The most pressing diplomatic issue for Algiers though has been its fallout with neighboring Rabat, particularly following the latter’s decision to resume relations and sign defense agreements with Tel Aviv, which has heightened security concerns in Algeria.

It remains to be seen whether Morocco will participate in the summit after Algiers severed diplomatic relations with Rabat in August 2021.

At the heart of the neighbors’ spat is a territorial dispute in the Western Sahara. Both states have long been at odds over this sparsely-populated desert terrain where the Algiers-backed Polisario Front is seeking independence from Rabat’s rule. Morocco, in turn, is believed to have secured Washington’s recognition of its ‘sovereign claim’ to the Western Sahara in exchange for normalizing relations with Tel Aviv.

Morocco fears that, as the summit’s host, Algeria will be able to advance the momentum on this contentious issue and win over other Arab states to its side.

With the escalation in tension between the two countries, Algerian political writer Ahmed Boudaoud expects Morocco to be absent from this summit or reduce its level of representation: “especially with the assurances of Algerian officials that their country’s position will not change as long as the reasons that led to the diplomatic rupture between the two countries persist.”

In order to legitimize the diplomatic and economic estrangement with Rabat, Algeria may insist at the summit on issuing a statement condemning the wave of Arab normalization with Israel.

But such a statement will not be unanimously approved as long as there are influential countries, in addition to Morocco, with which Israel has peace treaties, such as Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Sudan and Bahrain.

Unwavering Palestinian solidarity

As is customary in all Arab summits, the Palestinian issue is given priority on the agenda – though typically without any practical measures that actually support Palestinians and their oft-neglected cause.

But Algerian President Abdel Majid Tebboune made a special gesture toward Palestinians in an attempt to reconcile key factions at the summit, particularly Fatah and Hamas.

On 6 July, Tebboune brought together Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of the Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, during their attendance at the 60th anniversary celebrations of Algeria’s independence.

Despite the meeting being praised as “historic” after years of estrangement, the gloomy looks on the faces of those present, and the statements issued thereafter, indicated that reconciliation is far from being achieved.

The limits of Algerian diplomacy

The situation in neighboring Libya, around which both regional and European schisms are intensifying, will be another important issue expected to be discussed in Algiers.

Algeria seeks to consolidate Arab consensus around the  adoption of a “Libyan-Libyan solution” which rejects any external interference that might hinder the unification of the Libyan parties and disrupt the course of upcoming presidential elections.

Some Arab countries such as Morocco, however, have accused Algeria of interference in Libya with the intention to dominate its neighbor’s political discourse – taking particular aim at Algiers’ own diplomatic shortcomings in Libya and its failed mediation attempt in the Egyptian-Ethiopian dispute over the Renaissance Dam.

Cracks in Arab “unity” will also appear in discussions on the growing Iranian and Turkish influence in a number of Arab countries.

Given the significant Arab differences over basic regional and global issues, and the preoccupation of each of states with their internal problems and priorities, the Algeria summit will likely be similar to the summits that preceded it: Luxurious receptions, resonant speeches, projects, plans, and decisions that expire the moment participants return to their respective countries.

Although swimming against a powerful tide of Arab states still servile to western diktats, an Algeria noted for its revolutionary struggle toward genuine independence will not entirely be faulted for sticking to its principles. Instead, Algiers will be able to collect its ‘summit success’ from the popular sentiment of the Arab street, which still shares its worldview stances.

US economic decline and global instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS

September 01, 2022

Source

by Phillyguy

Summary

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s preeminent military and economic power. All of the pillars supporting US power are now threatened by decades of neoliberal economic policies, spending vast sums of taxpayer money propping up financial markets, the military and attainment of economic/military parity by the Russia-China-Iran axis. In this essay, I link the continuing economic and social decline in the US/EU (collectively referred to as the ‘west) to an increasingly reckless US foreign policy, the role corporate media serves in promoting these policies to the American/EU public and the rise of Russia, China and other countries in the global south.

Introduction

This is a continuation or my previous article, linking US economic decline and global instability [1]. Briefly, the US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading economic and military power. Since that time, US global power has rested on: 1) unrivaled military and economic power, 2) control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and 3) maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Following the conclusion of WWII in 1945, the US had the world’s largest economy and was the major ‘growth engine’ for western capitalism for the next 3 decades. In the mid-1970s, this began to change as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, a direct consequence of spending large amounts of taxpayer money on wars on the Korean Peninsula (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1955-1975) and increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe, primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) and Asia- Japan, South Korea (Korean and Vietnam wars) and more recently China. Starting in the early 1980s, the US financial elite began pressuring policy makers to pursue neoliberal economic policies, including multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, financial deregulation, austerity, attacks on the poor and labor and outsourcing manufacturing jobs to Mexico, China and other low-wage platforms. The Soviet Union officially dissolved on Dec 26, 1991. This was viewed by the US ruling elite as the removal of the major rival to US global power and would allow unrestrained actions of the American military to invade and occupy countries which are rich in natural resources and/or occupy geo-strategic locations and expand NATO into Eastern Europe up to the Russian border. Since 1991, US/NATO have been involved in conflicts in Yugoslavia, Persian Gulf/Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine [2].

Role of Corporate Media

First Amendment of the US constitution-

‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’

It is commonly stated that the press (aka the proverbial ‘4th estate’) in the US is ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and ‘essential for the functioning of a free society’, serving as a ‘watchdog’ on government actions and policies and vital to protect the ‘liberty’ of American citizens. As is often the case, things are not always as they seem.

In a recent interview with Brian Berletic, Mark Sleboda commented that “Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush” [3]. While there is no doubt that Western (read corporate) media is indeed promoting US foreign policy, it is not the US government that formulates these polices, rather they are formulated and developed by the ruling elite, using corporate-funded foundations and ‘think tanks’, academic institutions and prominent politicians. These include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Rand Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, American Heritage Foundation, Atlantic Council, Brookings, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Academic institutions such as The Kennedy School (Harvard), Hoover Institution (Stanford), Walsh School of Foreign Service (Georgetown) and School of Advanced International Studies (Johns Hopkins) not only provide ‘experts’ and government officials, such as Wendy Sherman (Kennedy School) current US Deputy Secretary of State in the Biden Administration, they serve as training grounds for government officials and corporate management, some of whom are employed by above listed universities and foundations.

Once formulated, these policies are ‘sold’ to the American public by a compliant and well-disciplined media. Approximately 90% of US media is controlled by six large corporations- Comcast, Walt Disney, AT&T, Paramount Global, Sony, and Fox, with a combined market cap of circa $500 billion [4] [5]. Like other large corporations, media conglomerates have the same class interests as the financial elite, i.e., promoting policies which increase corporate power and profits and maintain US global hegemony. So called ‘public’ media, such as National Public Radio (NPR) and the BBC, in the UK, function in a similar manner. Corporate media is closely integrated with large financial interests and serves as a ‘cheerleader’ for the Pentagon and US foreign policy.

Not surprisingly, major broadcasters, the paper of record (NYT), Wall St. Journal (WSJ), Washington Post, etc. are little more than a sounding board for the US ruling elite and thus, function primarily as the ‘ministry of propaganda’ for large financial interests. Any reporter, military analyst, aka ‘TV General’, etc. who ‘steps out of line’, such as telling the truth about the military debacle facing Ukraine will either be severely reprimanded or find themselves out of a job. Some examples-

1) CBS recently ran a documentary claiming that only 30% of ‘military aid’ sent to Ukraine actually arrived. The video was removed following complaints from the Ukrainian government. [6] [7].

2) David Sanger (Harvard graduate) is chief Washington correspondent for the NYT and also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) [8], whose members include corporate executives, bankers, and other representatives of the ruling elite.

3) David Ignatius (Harvard graduate) is a foreign affairs columnist for the WaPo and has close ties to the intelligence community- CIA and Pentagon.

Sanger and Ignatius serve as pundits for US global power, promoting the use of military force to promote American interests.

When you do not toe the corporate line…………

4) Gary Webb was a journalist working for the San Jose Mercury News. In 1996, Webb published a series of articles, “Dark Alliance”, describing how Nicaraguan Contra rebels, working closely with the CIA, supplied crack cocaine to the Black community in Los Angeles and used proceeds from these sales to purchase weapons to overthrow the government of Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front. Following publication of the Dark Alliance series, corporate media became hysterical, denouncing Webb, effectively ruining his career; he committed suicide in 2004 [9]

5) Julian Assange- In 2010, Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, published a series of leaks obtained from Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, documenting US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following publication of these leaks, the American government began a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks. In 2010, Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual misconduct. To avoid extradition, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2019, Assange was arrested by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy and transferred to Belmarsh, a Category-A men’s prison in London. Up to this point, Julian Assange had not been formally charged. However, on May 23, 2019, the United States government charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and is currently awaiting potential extradition to the US [10].

The US has been almost continuously involved in overt and covert military conflicts since 1940 and as a result, war and associated violence has been normalized and institutionalized by corporate media to the point, where these policies are readily accepted by a relatively docile and ignorant American public. When foreign governments deemed hostile to US corporate interests limit press ‘freedom’, they are immediately labeled as repressive/terrorist regimes and potential candidates for direct attack and ‘regime’ change by the US State Department. Apparently, what is ‘good for the goose’ is ‘not good for the gander’. As pointed out above, any journalist that threatens the American empire risks losing their job, imprisonment and/or death.

Accelerating Decline of late-stage American Capitalism

Multiple factors have contributed to the decline of American economic power. These include economic policies, spending astronomical amounts of taxpayer money on the military and war, social instability and rise of China-Russia-Iran axis.

Economic policies

Since the mid-1970s, US policy makers have pursued neoliberal economic policies- financial deregulation, austerity, tax cuts for the wealthy, attacks on labor and job-outsourcing, which has resulted in the massive growth of the FIRE sector of the economy composed of finance, insurance, and real estate. These polices precipitated the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) 2007-2008, the largest financial shock since the Great Depression. Rather than resolve the severe structural problems confronting American capitalism which created this crisis, the FED used the Treasury as a de facto taxpayer-supported ‘piggy bank’ (the FED cannot print money) to prop up equity markets, bonds, over-priced real estate and [still] insolvent banks. To put this in perspective, since 2009, the FED has injected over $40 trillion into financial markets, increasing the wealth of the financial elite, the proverbial ‘1%’. Not surprisingly, over the last 5 years, US government deficits have increased circa $2 trillion annually, currently exceeding $30 trillion (Fig. 1); this figure does not include municipal, corporate or consumer debt. This begs the obvious question of how long can the FED continue this orgy or money printing and debt? Note- for comprehensive background information on the FED’s financial activities, see Wall Street on Parade [11].

Military Spending and War

Since its inception, the US has been built on theft and violence, justified by ‘Christian’ religion and ‘White man’s burden’. The first permanent British settlement in North America was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. A decade later, African slaves were introduced by Dutch slave traders. Over the next 250 years, the US government would continue stealing land and displace/murder circa 90% of the indigenous population. In the mid-19th century, the US had the world’s leading economy, largely built on cotton produced by Black slaves [12]. Fast forward 150 years, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940. 911 was a godsend for the military- US taxpayers have spent circa $21 trillion ($7.2 trillion going to military contractors) on post-911 militarization [13] [14]. The military appropriation for 2023 exceeds $760 billion. Despite this taxpayer largess, the Pentagon has not ‘won’ a war since 1945, was forced out of Afghanistan after spending $2 trillion, and confronts looming strategic debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine. This has vividly shown the rest of the world the limits of American military power. Unfortunately, after expending so much financial and human capital, the Pentagon appears incapable of extricating itself from these conflicts as doing so is an admission of failure and by extension military weakness. This was clearly seen following Joe Biden’s decision to remove US troops from Afghanistan in 2021 and the push-back he received from corporate media and people in Congress.

Political Chaos and Social Instability

We frequently hear that US society has progressed to the point, where the country appears to be increasingly ungovernable. Indeed, American society is plagued by economic inequality, racism and ubiquitous violence. The American working class has watched their standard of living plummet- a result of decades of neoliberal economic policies, including job outsourcing, austerity, stagnant income growth and since the Covid 19 pandemic, high inflation, reflected by increasing costs for rent, transportation, energy, groceries, medical care and other necessities. To put this in perspective, 60% of Americans do not have $500 in savings and thus are one expensive car repair, medical emergency or job loss away from financial ruin. At the same time the wealth of American billionaires has increased circa $1 trillion during the Covid19 pandemic. Not surprisingly in 2016, Donald Trump skillfully exploited the justifiable anger and frustration of working people, stating that he would ‘Make American Great Again’, blaming American economic problems on immigrants from Mexico and Latin America and China’s economic rise.

Rise of BRICS/SCO and US/NATO debacle in Ukraine

We are seeing the continued rise in the global power and influence of Russia, China and allied nations, on multiple fronts, including organizational, economic and militarily. The BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are expanding. Original BRICS members included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Iran and Argentina have applied for admission, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey and Egypt are applying for entry next year. SCO is the largest regional economic institution in the world, covering 60% of Eurasia with a population > 3.2 billion and combined GDP of member states circa 25% of global total. Trade between BRICS and SCO member states is increasingly being carried out using local currencies.

The Mir payment system operated by the Russian National Card Payment System [15] is a direct competitor to Visa and Mastercard and now accepted throughout the Russian Federation and in 13 countries including India, Turkey and South Korea and will soon be used in Iran. BRICS nations are developing a global currency for international trade that will directly compete with the dollar [16]. Russia is developing a new international trading platform for precious metals: the Moscow World Standard (MWS) [17]. The Russian Finance Ministry believes this new independent international structure will ‘normalize the functioning of the precious metals industry” and serve as an alternative to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA; https://www.lbma.org.uk), [18] which for years has been accused of systematically manipulating the price of precious metals markets to depress prices [19]. Collectively, these policies have been designed to significantly reduce the dependence of economies in Russia, China, India and other countries in the Global South on the US/EU and eliminate dependence on the US dollar and Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system [20] for international trade. No doubt this is being done in close collaboration with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose goal is to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth [21] [22]. This trajectory has been accelerated following enactment of US/EU sanctions on Russia, Iran and China.

Over the last decade, the military power of Russia, China and Iran has greatly strengthened. The Russian military is a global leader in air-defense systems and hypersonic weapons, which are impermeable to any air-defense systems currently deployed by the US/NATO [23]. Over the last 25 years, China has modernized its military, focusing on People’s Liberation Navy and Army Air Force [24] [25]. China has developed a robust missile arsenal including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) [26]. The Pentagon now considers China a ‘formidable military force’ and a ‘major challenge’ to the US Navy in the Western Pacific. The Islamic Republic of Iran has also developed a formidable defensive military capability, which has positioned Iran as a major power broker in the region. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has concluded- ‘Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe.’ [27]. Iran has repeatedly warned the US/NATO that it can target US military bases in the region, including Al Udeid base in Qatar, the largest US base in the Middle East. We are seeing increased assertiveness from the Russia-China-Iran axis in Syria, Ukraine and Western Pacific. This was clearly articulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, declaring an end of “the era of the unipolar world” [28]. The Pentagon is being increasingly challenged by the Russia-China-Iran axis in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Western Pacific.

Ukraine- another US/NATO debacle

For background and historical information covering Ukraine and her relationship with Russia, see [29]. Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia and occupies a strategic location in Eastern Europe, sharing a circa 2300 km (1227 mi) border with Russia [30] (Fig. 2). As of 2021, Ukraine had the second largest military (circa 200,000 military personnel), after the Russian Armed Forces, in Europe and has the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world [31]. Historically, the predominantly Russian speaking population in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has maintained close ties with Russia.

In February 2014, the US- instigated Maidan coup took place, replacing the democratically-elected President Victor Yanukovych with a Russia-phobic and far-right politician/economist/lawyer, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Not surprisingly, the Ukrainian government was soon dominated by an alliance of far-right/fascistic organizations including the Right Sector and Svoboda and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. This was predictable, as these groups were the most virulently anti-Russian factions in Ukraine [32] and are still very active in the government and military [33] [34]. Soon after the coup took place, the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics declared their independence, initiating the war in the Donbas. Over the next 8 years, the US/NATO would train circa 100,000 Ukrainian troops and channel $ billions in military aid [35], which was used to equip Ukrainian army and fortify positions adjacent to the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics [30] (Fig. 3). This buildup was accompanied by increased shelling of residential areas in the Donbas region by the Ukrainian military [36] [37], setting up a potential invasion of this region [38]. In response to the escalating attacks by Ukrainian forces. Russia recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics as sovereign states on Feb 21, 2022, just prior to the Russian invasion on Feb 24, 2022, describing this campaign as a Special Military Operation (SMO) [39]. For an excellent overview of why Russia made the decision to invade Ukraine, see [40].

Going up against a well-trained, well equipped and an entrenched Ukrainian army, Russian forces have managed to take control of circa 20% (~47,000 square miles) of southern Ukraine and are incrementally removing Ukrainian forces from this region [38] (Fig. 3). Significantly, this territory contains prime agricultural and resource-rich land. It appears that Russia is planning on annexing littoral territory extending from the Donetsk/Luhansk region to Odesa [41]. Once this happen, any future Ukrainian state will not only be land-locked and lack direct access to the Black Sea, it will also lose valuable land as well. Military analyst Andrei Martyanov [42] has pointed out the ‘combined West doesn’t have material and technological means of fighting Russia in Eastern Europe without losing catastrophically. Western weapons turned out to be nothing more than commercial items not designed to fight the modern war, plus–no Western economy, including the United States has the capability to produce them in needed quantities anyway.’

The collective west has responded to the Russian invasion by blocking the opening of the Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline, which would directly supply Russian natural gas to Germany, imposed sanctions on Russian energy exports and disconnected Russian banks from the SWIFT system. To the dismay of the US/NATO, these actions have led to large increases in EU energy costs while strengthening the Russian economy [43]. Indeed, the paper of record (NYT) published a recent OpEd bemoaning the fact that despite western sanctions, Russia is making more money than ever on energy exports to China, India and other countries [44]. Despite nonstop condemnation from the US and EU of Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, many nations have not criticized the war [45]; only 1/3 of UN members supported a new anti-Russia resolution this August [46]. Thus, dwindling international support for Ukraine, coupled with success of the Russian SMO indicates that the country will not exist in its current form.

Concluding Remarks

The decline of late-stage American capitalism has been ongoing since the mid-1970s, but has been accelerated by the GFC, Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and Russian SMO in Ukraine. Not surprisingly, the ruling elite and their representatives in Washington have responded by shifting the costs of this decline onto the public, who have watched their living standard plummet, homelessness increase [47], imposed reactionary legislation such as the criminalization of pregnancy by the US Supreme Court, ratcheted up state violence against working people and people of color, while engaging in an astronomically expensive and reckless foreign policy. It appears the ruling elite view the Russia-China-Iran axis as an intolerable obstacle to US global power, reflected in the ongoing war in Ukraine, which is a de facto proxy war between the US and Russia. US-imposed sanctions on Russian energy have driven global energy prices higher; natural gas prices in the EU are 14-fold higher than the 10-year average. As a result, the UK/EU are at risk of not having sufficient quantities of natural gas for the winter, while EU industry will not be competitive with their rivals in Asia, who are being supplied with cheaper Russian energy. This is going to lead to increasing unemployment and social instability in the Eurozone.

The continued presence of US troops in Iraq and Syria is a desperate attempt to maintain control over Middle East energy reserves. The continued recklessness of this occupation can be seen from the constant Israeli attacks on Syrian and Iranian-allied forces by Israel/US, increasing the chances of a war with Iran, which can rapidly escalate, potentially incinerating the entire Persian Gulf region. It appears the US is abandoning the ‘one-China’ policy’ that has guided relations between the two countries for nearly 5 decades and is preparing to recognize Taiwan as an ‘independent’ state, a redline for the Peoples Republic of China. No doubt, this was one motivation for sending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, from ‘’liberal’ San Francisco, with a net worth exceeding $100 million, to visit Taiwan. The Pentagon is actively encouraging Japan, which is little more than a US stooge/vassal and still occupied by circa 50K US troops, to join in this effort [48]. This begs the obvious question- did Japan learn anything from their defeat in WWII? As Glen Ford has pointed out, hegemons do not have ‘allies’ they only have subordinates [49].

The decline of late-stage American capitalism has progressed to the point where the very survival of the American empire is now contingent upon endless money printing to prop up financial markets and the military. This is becoming increasingly tenuous as this orgy of money printing and debt has created gigantic bubbles in every asset class- ‘everything bubble’, increasing inflation and threatening to derail the dollar’s role as world reserve currency and viability of western capitalism. Considering the weak state of US/EU economies, what economic incentives does the US have to encourage countries in the Indo-Pacific to reduce trade with China? Obviously, this is a nonstarter [50]. The ruling oligarchy are well aware of US economic decline and in desperation, are attempting to directly confront the Russia-China-Iran axis, which has attained economic and military parity (superiority?) with US/NATO. Perilous times ahead.

Notes

1. US economic decline and global instability. The Saker Jan 19, 2021; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability/

2. American Involvement in Wars from Colonial Times to the Present- Wars From 1675 to the Present Day By Martin Kelly Nov 4, 2020; https://www.thoughtco.com/american-involvement-wars-colonial-times-present-4059761

3. Ukraine’s Growing Dependency on Terrorism w/Mark Sleboda The New Atlas Aug 25, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgiRKbTYbZQ&t=1997s

4. The Big 6 Media Companies By Adam Levy Jun 10, 2022; https://www.fool.com/investing/stock-market/market-sectors/communication/media-stocks/big-6/

5. The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media; https://www.webfx.com/blog/internet/the-6-companies-that-own-almost-all-media-infographic

6. Why military aid in Ukraine may not always get to the front lines. By Adam Yamaguchi and Alex Pena CBS News Aug 7, 2022; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-military-aid-weapons-front-lines/

7. CBS censors its own report on Ukraine weapons corruption Multipolarista Aug 14, 2022; https://soundcloud.com/multipolarista/cbs-ukraine-weapons-corruption

8. Council on Foreign Relations; https://www.cfr.org/

9. How Gary Webb Linked the CIA to the Crack Epidemic — and Paid the Ultimate Price by Marco Margaritoff Feb 18, 2022; https://allthatsinteresting.com/gary-webb

10. Julian Assange, Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#Seth_Rich

11. Wall Street on Parade Pam Martens and Russ Martens; https://wallstreetonparade.com/

12. Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist 2016 (Book)

13. State of Insecurity- The Cost of Militarization Since 9/11 by Lindsay Koshgarian, Ashik Siddique and Lorah Steichen Institute for Policy Studies; Link: https://ips-dc.org/report-state-of-insecurity-cost-militarization-since-9-11/

14. Costs of war; https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/

15. The exponential rise of Russia’s Mir payment system by James King The Banker

July 20, 2021; https://www.thebanker.com/Transactions-Technology/FX-Payments/The-exponential-rise-of-Russia-s-Mir-payment-system?ct=true

16. Russia and China are brewing up a challenge to dollar dominance by creating a new reserve currency by George Glover Markets Indiser Jun 24, 2022; https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/dollar-dominance-russia-china-rouble-yuan-brics-reserve-currency-imf-2022-6

17. Precious Metals: Russia Proposes New Standard to Compete with LBMA Goldbroker Aug 17, 2022; https://goldbroker.com/news/precious-metals-russia-proposes-new-standard-to-compete-with-lbma-2826

18. London Bullion Market Association (LBMA); https://www.lbma.org.uk

19. Rigged Gold Price Distorts Perception of Economic Reality by Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler Sept 22, 2014; https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/22/rigged-gold-price-distorts-perception-economic-reality-paul-craig-roberts-dave-kranzler/

20. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system; https://www.swift.com/

21. China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the global trade, investment and finance landscape 2018;

22. Belt and Road Initiative; https://www.beltroad-initiative.com/belt-and-road/

23. Trends in Russia’s Armed Forces- An Overview of Budgets and Capabilities by Keith Crane, Olga Oliker and Brian Nichiporuk Rand Corporation 2019; https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2573.html

24. China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service Mar 8, 2022; https://sgp.fas.org/crs/row/RL33153.pdf

25. An Interactive Look at the U.S.-China Military Scorecard Rand https://www.rand.org/paf/projects/us-china-scorecard.html

26. China is building more than 100 new missile silos in its western desert, analysts say

Image without a caption By Joby Warrick Washington Post June 30, 2021; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/china-nuclear-missile-silos/2021/06/30/0fa8debc-d9c2-11eb-bb9e-70fda8c37057_story.html

27. Missile Defense Project, “Missiles of Iran,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies; https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/iran

28. President Putin’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Speech, June 17, 2022. Defense Info; https://defense.info/global-dynamics/2022/06/president-putins-st-petersburg-international-economic-forum-speech-june-17-2022

29. Ray McGovern: Historical Context for Conflicts in Ukraine Consortium News Jul 10, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gLzsQA3UGY

30. Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine By Bruno Venditti, Graphics/Design: Nick Routley Feb 23, 2022; https://www.visualcapitalist.com/map-explainer-ukraine/

31. Welcome to Ukraine, the most corrupt nation in Europe by Oliver Bullough The Guardian Feb 6, 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/04/welcome-to-the-most-corrupt-nation-in-europe-ukraine

32. How and why the U.S. Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine by Eric Zuesse Modern Diplomacy June 4, 2018; https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/04/how-and-why-the-u-s-government-perpetrated-the-2014-coup-in-ukraine/

33. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine- Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant.

By Lev Golinkin The Nation Feb 22, 2019;

34. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies Fair Observer Mar 11, 2022; https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/medea-benjamin-nicolas-js-davies-ukraine-war-russia-ukranian-neo-nazi-fascists-azov-battalion-89292/

35. Ukraine- World Socialist Website; https://www.wsws.org/en/topics/country/ukraine

36. Ukrainian Army terror bombings By Laurent Brayard Jun 6, 2022; https://mronline.org/2022/06/06/ukrainian-army-terror-bombings/

37. Donbass Update: Ukraine Continues to Shell Residential Areas Telesur Feb 24, 2022; https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Donbass-Update-Ukraine-Continues-to-Shell-Residential-Areas-20220224-0004.html

38. Important — A Message for Americans Gonzalo Lira June 18, 2022; https://www.strategic-culture.org/video/2022/06/20/2022-06-18-important-a-message-for-americans/

39. Putin Announces Start to ‘Military Operation’ Against Ukraine by Anton Troianovski and Neil MacFarquhar NYT Feb. 23, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/world/europe/ukraine-russia-invasion.html

40. Why Russia Invaded Ukraine by Eric Zuesse The Duran Sept 1, 2022; https://theduran.com/why-russia-invaded-ukraine/

41. All the way to Odessa by Pepe Escobar The Unz Review Aug 26, 2022; https://www.unz.com/pescobar/all-the-way-to-odessa/

42. Reminiscence of the Future (Andrei Martyanov); http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

43. Europe’s Markets and Energy Security Disrupted by Russia Sanctions by Kenneth Rapoza Forbes Aug 23, 2022; https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2022/08/23/europes-markets-and-energy-security-disrupted-by-russia-sanctions/?sh=6d2312b45097

44. Russia Is Making Heaps of Money from Oil, but There is a Way to Stop That

July 29, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/29/opinion/russia-oil-sanctions-biden.html

45. Why have many nations not condemned the war in Ukraine? by Bernd Debusmann News Decoder Apr 4, 2022; https://news-decoder.com/why-have-many-nations-not-condemned-the-war-in-ukraine/

46. Only one in three UN members back new anti-Russia resolution- International support for Ukraine has dropped dramatically since March RT Aug 26, 2022; https://www.rt.com/russia/561627-un-ukraine-resolution-support/

47. Census Bureau: 3.8 million renters will likely be evicted in the next two months — why the rental crisis keeps getting worse by Brian J. O’Connor Yahoo Sun, Aug 28, 2022; https://www.yahoo.com/video/census-bureau-3-8-million-100000978.html

48. U.S. presses Japan to cancel Constitution’s peace-clause. China and Japan must thus finally agree now, to avoid a war by Eric Zuesse The Duran Aug 25, 2022; https://theduran.com/why-a-deal-is-needed-now-between-china-and-japan/

49. Glen Ford’s Ukrainian Crystal Ball Black Agenda Report Jul 27, 2022; https://www.blackagendareport.com/glen-fords-ukrainian-crystal-ball

50. A New World Order is Looming and the West Doesn’t Like it by James ONeill Aug 24, 2022; https://journal-neo.org/2022/08/24/a-new-world-order-is-looming-and-the-west-doesn-t-like-it/

3 Figures

Figure 1: Total US Public Debt

Figure 2. Map of Ukraine

Figure 3. Military situation in Ukraine Aug 31, 2022

Figure 1. Total US public debt. Note that debt in Q1 2020 was $ 23.2 trillion while in Q2 2022 was $ 30.5 trillion, an increase of $7 trillion.

FRED Graph

Source: Total Public Debt; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEBTN

Figure 2. Map of Ukraine

Ukraine Map

Source: US Department of Defense

Figure 3. Military Situation in Ukraine for Aug 31, 2022. Areas in Red are controlled by the allied forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Militia and Russian military.

Source: Ukraine interactive map; https://liveuamap.com

Tons of thanks, a SMO update and some beautiful week-end music!

August 31, 2022

First, my deepest gratitude to you all!

I want to being today’s report by thanking all those of you who have reached out to help me and the blog.  In spite of the hard economic times, many of you have sent donations, offered to volunteer and, last but not least, said prayers for me.  Of course, your donations will help financially, but it is your moral support which most deeply touched me and which give me the courage and determination to keep on fighting this fight, in spite of the apparent futility of taking on an entire obscenely rich and powerful ruling classes which waging merciless warfare on all of mankind.  I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally, but I simply don’t have the material time to do so, so all I can do is thank you all here for your unwavering and kind support!  You are truly the best community any person can hope to have!

Now let’s turn to the latest news next.

The Ukrainian so-called “counter-offensive” in the south:

The biggest news out of the Ukraine is the failure if the much announced Ukrainian “counter-offensive”.  Here are the latest reports from the Russian MoD: (emphasis added)

The enemy suffered losses and was pushed back from Olginka, Thorn Ponds and Arkhangelsk.
A battalion of the 57th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was defeated near the settlement of Sukhoi Stavki. Currently, the destruction of its remains is being completed.
To unblock the AFU units, 12 tanks supplied to the Kiev regime by Poland were transported across the Ingulets River. Some of the tanks were destroyed by the powerful fire action of the Russian troops. Several tanks were blown up in their minefield during a disorderly withdrawal. Only five Ukrainian tanks were able to break back, deep into the territory controlled by the AFU. During two days of unsuccessful attacks on Mykolaiv-Krivoy Rog and other directions, Ukrainian troops lost four combat aircraft: two Su-25, one Su-24 and one MiG-29. Three Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters were shot down in the air. Russian troops also destroyed 63 Ukrainian tanks, 59 infantry fighting vehicles, 48 other armored combat vehicles, 14 pickups with heavy machine guns and more than 1,700 Ukrainian servicemen.

But this does not tell the full story.  1’700 KIAs might not sound like much, but in reality this is a huge deal for the following reasons:

  • These 1’700 soldiers were supported by armor, artillery and even some aviation and the USA/UK had huge hopes that this much announced “counter-offensive” would yield some good PR.  The Brandon administration is absolutely desperate to show at least something vaguely successful, yet this so-called “counter-offensive” resulted in only a few tactical attacks which brought no tangible results whatsoever.
  • The size of this force shows that this operation was mostly about PR (and not a real counter-offensive!).  The Ukrainians never had a chance, not on the tactical level and, even less so, to develop tactical attack into an operational counter-offensive.  Considering that it took them months to prepare this rather modest operation, this shows how much the Ukrainian armed forces have been degraded over the past months.
  • Even worse for the Nazis and their US patrons is the fact that now the entire southern front just lost a lot of its best soldiers and hardware.  Considering that the Russians are reinforcing their southern forces (see below), this is an especially dangerous development for the regime in Kiev.

Also, 1’700 KIA in one single maneuver is the biggest defeat for the Nazis since 2014, even bigger than the Ilovaisk “cauldron”!

I noticed with absolute dismay that, apparently, the Ukrainians tried one more time.  The result? Another  350 personnel, 31 tanks, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, 18 of other types of armored vehicles, eight armed pickup trucks, and 17 of other types of military vehicles destroyed by Russian artillery and airpower.

This is what is left of the Ukrainian “assault barge”

And today (Thursday) there are report that the Ukrainians tried to seize control of the ZNP.  First they fired over 100 artillery shells.  Then 2 diversionary groups totaling 60 soldiers on two crafts landed near the ZNP.  They were detected and destroyed by the Russian aviation.  Two hours later, the Ukrainians used two barges carrying an entire battalion (200-300 soldiers).  They were detected and sunk.

All that while the IAEA inspectors were already at the nuclear power plant!  (I wonder if they will have the courage to report what they must have seen).

Crucially, it showed, yet again, that all that nonsense coming out of Kiev and the other Nazi capitals in the West is just total, utter and terminal nonsense with no connection to the real world.  None whatsoever.  Hence the mass freakout of the western ruling classes.

And then there is this: CNN confirms that the USA helped the Ukrainians prepare this “counter-offensive”!  Oh wow! Who would have thought 😉  But then, what else could we expect from a US military busy with “increasing its lethality” by “embracing, promoting and unleashing the potential of diversity and inclusion“?

Now, just to clarify: did the Ukrainians take a few villages and positions?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Why?  Because the Russians had absolutely NO reason in the world to do what the Nazis do and “stand immobile to their last breath” in a static defensive line.  So they did the following:

  • Where the Ukrainian attack was weak, they used their infantry and armor to beat them back.
  • Where the Ukrainian attack was strong, they simply moved back, let the Ukrainians advance, and then wiped them off in what can only be called a “turkey shoot” (not to mention a useless butchery).

This is nothing new.  The Russians have done that since the beginning of the SMO.  In every case, the villages or positions the Ukrainians took (and triumphantly presented as a huge “peremoгa” or victory) saw the Ukrainian forces destroyed by Russian artillery, follow by a withdrawal (or total annihilation).

So next time when you hear that the Ukrainians took control of village/location X, always make sure to follow what happens in the next 48 hours and see for yourself if this Ukrainian “victory” then developed into anything meaningful.  As soon as you do that, everything becomes quite obvious.

Western weapon deliveries to the Ukraine

This is one of the biggest canards in this war.  Today, I will deal only with one aspect: the planned delivery of ex-Soviet aircraft to the Ukraine.  Basically, this is utter nonsense.  Like with ANY advanced weapons system, combat aircraft need all of the following things to be effective:

  • They need to be fully integrated into a combined arms operation.
  • They need to be operated by a highly trained crews.
  • They need to be used in sufficient numbers to achieve any meaningful effect, which in the case of the Ukraine means real military airfields, not dirt roads, highways or field refueling stations.
  • They need to be maintained/supported by a complex and advanced supply chain and qualified specialists.

Since none of that can happen, the deliveries of MiG-29s (or any other aircraft, really) to the Ukraine will make for semi-decent PR and that’s about it.  There are even rumors that the US is now training Afghan pilots to train them on ex-Soviet fighters…  Let’s see how many pilots the US and NATO actually can convince to fly these one way missions.

In reality, it takes MANY YEARS to form a capable military pilot, and there is no substitute for this.  So no, even if the US finds enough suicidal pilots to try to fly MiG-29s (or other aircraft) against Russian Su-35S, this will achieve exactly nothing other than marginally slowing down the Russians (who will have to deal with this new threat just like they dealt with all the others Wunderwaffen: HIMARS, M777, CAESARs, etc. etc. etc.).  Even the (so far hypothetical) delivery of, say, F-16s, will make very little difference.  There is no Wunderwaffe, least of all old Soviet kit (even when somewhat upgraded with NATO equipment).

Rumors of a major Russian offensive

Okay, as of right now, this is a rumor, but there is strong evidence of two things happening:

  • The Russians appear to have assembled one (some rumors say two) Army Corps composed of volunteers and equipped with modern weapons.
  • These forces seem to be deployed through and near the city of Rostov-on-the-Don.

Whether these forces were deployed as reserve force in case of a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive (however unlikely) or whether these forces will be used to attack the southern front is anyone’s guess.  In fact, it could be that these forces had and still might have both tasks.  And now that the Ukrainian counter-attack was defeated, they might well be used to move towards Nikolaev along the coast (supported by the BSF) which would put immense pressure on the over-extended and weakened Ukrainian forces.

In this context, I was recently sent a pretty interesting document:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17RsQ2GgAJVrJ0JqCHTeMOZyMCKHHh2iB/preview

This is a letter from the Mayor of the Siberian City of Omsk who announces that at three battalions of volunteers have been formed in this city alone.  It is reasonable to assume that similar things are happening in most other Russian cities.

Speaking of which, there is another canard which I have to debunk:

Will Russia declare a full mobilization?

The short answer is no.  Unless NATO moves forces into the Ukraine, then all bets are off (but even in that case I doubt that a full mobilization would be needed and, not to mention, rather hard to execute) Furthermore, this question is based on a flawed assumption: that Russia’s so-called “slow progress” is due to lack of manpower (about the “slow progress” see here).  That assumption, in turn,  is based on two major mistakes: the first it conflates overall manpower with manpower available at any specific moment in time on a specific sector of the line of contact.  What matters is not overall numerical superiority, but local superiority, superiority on your main axes of attack/defense.  This is how Ze’s MILLION solider army ended up being defeated with only 1700 KIAs: there never was a million soldiers army anywhere near Zaporozhie in the first place.

Second, the Russians have been fighting this entire SMO with less than 10% of the Russian military and with a 3:1 advantage for the Nazi forces almost everywhere.  You could say that the Ukrainians are fighting a positional war while the Russians are fighting a mobile war, counting on their qualitative superiority (in most fields, with a few exceptions – such as counter-battery radars and squad level need for commercial quad-copters similar to the famous DJI Mavic series, see below – and these limited disadvantages are now being quickly addressed).

Yes, I know, there are some LDNR officials who constantly whine about the fact that Russia is not fighting this war the way they would.  But with all due respect, it is one thing to be a deputy commander of an LDNR battalion and quite another a specialist in the Russian General Staff with several academies and years of command experience under your belt.  Furthermore, the LDNR forces, for all their undisputed heroism, courage and skills do not fight the same war as the Russians.  The LDNR forces are fighting to liberate the Donbass, and they have just recently acquired the kind of capabilities needed to even contemplate an operational level offensive.  In sharp contrast, the Russians are fighting a strategic war against NATO and the US, so it is no wonder that their notions of what ought to be done differ.  Here is just one example:

What about the supposed lack of UAV/drones/quadcopter?  Did/will Russia by UAV from Iran?

The problem here is that UAV/drones/quads come in all sort of sizes, from truly tiny one which you can fit in the palm of your hand, to large, strategic ones with advanced electronics/optoelectronics/EW/etc. and even weapons of various types.  So let’s separate the two.

Example one: a reconnaissance unit from the LDNR forces is tasked with finding out what is happening, or not, behind a small forest.  You can use a relatively cheap and simple, off the shelf, DJI Mavic (even a mini model!), which you can send a kilometer or two over the forest and to take a peek what might be hiding inside/behind the trees.  If you do not have that Mavic, you have to sent a reconnaissance patrol.  Going on such a mission is very dangerous, because not only can the Nazis plant all sorts of mines in the forest and under the leaves/grass, they can also set up an ambush (the Ukrainians are pretty good at that).  So if you are the commander of this reconnaissance unit, you are going to be absolutely furious that the lack of Mavics forces you to send you soldiers into a very dangerous situation, day after day after day.  And if you are young and inexperienced, you are going to blame the Russian military’s procurement system for not sending boxes of Mavics to the LDNR.

So to the question “did the LDNR forces have enough Mavic-type quads before the SMO began?” the answer is “no they did not”.  Once the LDNR officials and their supporters raised a big enough stink over that, volunteers from all over Russia began sending quads to the LDNR and things slowly (especially for those who had to risk their lives every day!) began to improve.  But this never was the “fault” or “lack of care” from the Russian armed forces whose job is very different.

Now the Russian military has exactly *zero* need for Mavic-type quads.  Not only that, but Russia has large stores of all sorts of advanced UAVs (see here for details).  As for the Russian military, it is not in the business of supplying LDNR forces with whatever they might need, it is in the business of fighting a war against the consolidated West, this requires a totally different kind of kit and training than the LDNR forces.

Example two: Russia needs long range UAVs to detect Ukrainian columns on the move, force concentrations, assembly position, battle formations, etc.  The good news is that Russia has plenty of those more advanced UAVs.  These advanced UAVs do not fly 1-8km in distance, but for hundreds of kilometers and their flight time is not counted in minutes, but in tens of hours.  In this kind of warfare, Mavics are totally useless.

Is it possible that Russia might buy some Iranian UAV?

I would say that it is not very likely, but quite possible.  Why?  First, Russia and Iran are (informal but strong) allies and the Iranians would probably love to test their gear in real, modern, warfare conditions (Syria, Iraq or Yemen do not qualify).  Second, the Iranians have superb UAVs, not necessarily better than Russian ones (it really depends on the mission and what the rest of the forces are doing), but very good ones indeed.  Since Russia is flush with cash thanks to the western sanctions, Russia could do worse than purchase an X number of Iranian UAV and use them (or even give them to the LDNR).  Again, I don’t think that this will happen because of a simple problem: the more primitive a UAV is, the more you can use commercial, off the shelf, equipment (this is what the (in)famous Bayraktars are – assembled off the shelf commercial hardware).  But the more advanced a UAV is, the more it needs to be able to “talk” to a lot of highly specialized networks and equipment, most of which are secret to begin with.

[Sidbar: I happen to personally fly both cinematic quads – a DJI Mavic mini – and first-person-view (FPV) acrobatic/freestyle quads and, as a result, even a private civilian like myself can have equipment which could used in a reconnaissance situation like the one I describe above.  This is not different than LDNR forces using family and consumer radios (FRS and GMRS) to communicate, or the purchase of commercial laser rangefinders, GPS/GLONASS/GNSS navigation equipment and the like.  Nowadays recreational and commercial microelectronics are so capable, that you can buy most of what a reconnaissance unit might need online and for relatively cheap.  And if your pockets are deep enough, you even purchase get all sorts of very good thermal imaging systems.  So what the LDNR forces needed the most, is simply money to get all that good stuff.  Some of this is already being built in Russia but, if needed, Russia can get it all from China directly or through Kazakhstan.  For the LDNR the issue was always money, and this is why the Mayor of Omsk is asking for donations at the end of this open letter above]

In sharp contrast to the LDNR forces, the Russian military has plenty of money and capabilities which the LDNR can only dream about, including a high tech military industrial base which dwarfs anything Iran might have.

Conclusion:

Initially, the Russians got absolutely destroyed in the propaganda war, at least that was true during the early months of the SMO.  Now this entire narrative is tanking (as evidenced, for example, this interview of Jeffrey Sachs on Democracy Now! or this video by Tucker Carlson).  Of course, the Neocons and the “extreme center” of the Uniparty (call them Republicrats or Demolicans – same difference) are still in deep denial and they are going through all the usual stages of grief (how is that headline: “German minister vows to back Ukraine ‘no matter what voters think’”?).  My biggest fear is that this hate-saturated narcissistic imbeciles will do something really dumb and trigger a much larger conflict.  The Kremlin is acutely aware of this riks, and this is why the Russians are only using about 10% of their current capabilities (that is before even a mobilization).

Most of the nonsense we now hear about the Ukraine (all the plain silly theories) is now quickly falling apart.  All the hysterics of the Russian 6th columnists (à la Girkin-Strelkov & Co.) have failed to force the Russian General Staff to fight the war like the 6th column would have preferred.  Instead of listening to these “allislosters”, Putin decided to listen to his generals.  What a surprise!

Furthermore, as Putin and others have repeated innumerable times, the SMO is going pretty much according to plan (besides the undeniable mistakes made in specific locations, like moving Russian forces in columns towards the Gostomel airfield without first suppressing the Ukrainian artillery and diversionary forces along the road; but the Kiev faint itself, however, was a total success and it achieved all its goals).  All the recent developments further show that Russia will methodically achieve all of her objectives in the coming months (though the denazification of Europe will, of course, take longer, not to mention the need to denazify the USA itself).

***

Finally, since this will be a long week-end, I leave you again with some beautiful music I love.

First, I want to introduce you to an Argentinian singer and guitarist whom I consider to be the most brilliant musician of traditional Argentinian (gaucho) music: Eduardo Falu.  Listen to this track, the song, entitled “Zamba de la Candelaria“, is absolutely beautiful (as are the lyrics for those who understand Spanish) and his guitar playing is nothing short of stellar (the other two songs in this video are also quite beautiful, I think)

Next, I want to introduce you to one of my absolutely favorite US Jazz/Improvised music group, named Oregon.  In this tune, entitled “Hand in Hand“, you will hear one of their most beautiful, yet understated, compositions.  The way the harmony “moves” here is so poignantly beautiful!  Also, listen to Ralph Towner‘s guitar solo and try to sing the melody over his improvisations, and you will discover a very beautiful “improvised contrapunctus”.   I had the privilege to once see Oregon at the Blues Alley in Washington DC and it was for sure one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen.

Next, a beautiful composition by Larry Coryell which he interprets here with the (always brilliant) Joe Beck and Joe Scofield entitled “Thurman Munson“.  This is also a very understated composition, but it gives ample opportunities for some truly beautiful and poignant improvisations (including some beautifully weaved through polytonalities).

Next, I want to introduce you to a French guitarist named Pierre Bensusan.  The guy is an absolute genius both as a composer and as in interpreter.  Today I want to share one of my favorite compositions by Bensusan entitled simply “4am“.  I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Lastly, I want to introduce you to a ridiculously talented group from, I think, New York: they are called the “Nation of Five“.  Here they play one of my favorite tunes, called “The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers” aka “Poem For No. 15.” composed by the Jazz pianist Steve Kuhn.  It is a most interesting Jazz waltz built around distinct keys (this is modal music at its best!) and which includes a very original use of something called a “hemiola“, that is “the articulation of two bars in triple time as if they were three bars in duple time” or, to quote Wikipedia’s fuller definition “a hemiola is the ratio 3:2. In pitch, hemiola refers to the interval of a perfect fifth. In rhythm, hemiola refers to three beats of equal value in the time normally occupied by two beats.  This makes the improvisation over this melody both very interesting and somewhat challenging.  I just love to explore all the possibilities this 1972 composition offers for improvisation and this is a fantastic performance by all these musicians!

MTV and and so-called “conservatories” have tried their best to stamp out real, improvised, music, and they failed.  What a joy for the rest of us, no?

Enjoy and have a wonderful week-end!

Ukraine: Somewhere between Afghanization and Syrianization

Ukraine is finished as a nation – neither side will rest in this war. The only question is whether it will be an Afghan or Syrian style finale.

August 30 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

One year after the astounding US humiliation in Kabul – and on the verge of another serious comeuppance in Donbass – there is reason to believe Moscow is wary of Washington seeking vengeance: in the form of the ‘Afghanization’ of Ukraine.

With no end in sight to western weapons and finance flowing into Kiev, it must be recognized that the Ukrainian battle is likely to disintegrate into yet another endless war. Like the Afghan jihad in the 1980s which employed US-armed and funded guerrillas to drag Russia into its depths, Ukraine’s backers will employ those war-tested methods to run a protracted battle that can spill into bordering Russian lands.

Yet this US attempt at crypto-Afghanization will at best accelerate the completion of what Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu describes as the “tasks” of its Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. For Moscow right now, that road leads all the way to Odessa.

It didn’t have to be this way. Until the recent assassination of Darya Dugina at Moscow’s gates, the battlefield in Ukraine was in fact under a ‘Syrianization’ process.

Like the foreign proxy war in Syria this past decade, frontlines around significant Ukrainian cities had roughly stabilized. Losing on the larger battlefields, Kiev had increasingly moved to employ terrorist tactics. Neither side could completely master the immense war theater at hand. So the Russian military opted to keep minimal forces in battle – contrary to the strategy it employed in 1980s Afghanistan.

Let’s remind ourselves of a few Syrian facts: Palmyra was liberated in March 2016, then lost and retaken in 2017. Aleppo was liberated only in December 2016. Deir Ezzor in September 2017. A slice of northern Hama in December and January 2018. The outskirts of Damascus in the Spring of 2018. Idlib – and significantly, over 25 percent of Syrian territory – are still not liberated. That tells a lot about rhythm in a war theater.

The Russian military never made a conscious decision to interrupt the multi-channel flow of western weapons to Kiev. Methodically destroying those weapons once they’re in Ukrainian territory – with plenty of success – is another matter. The same applies to smashing mercenary networks.

Moscow is well aware that any negotiation with those pulling the strings in Washington – and dictating all terms to puppets in Brussels and Kiev – is futile. The fight in Donbass and beyond is a do or die affair.

So the battle will go on, destroying what’s left of Ukraine, just as it destroyed much of Syria. The difference is that economically, much more than in Syria, what’s left of Ukraine will plunge into a black void. Only territory under Russian control will be rebuilt, and that includes, significantly, the bulk of Ukraine’s industrial infrastructure.

What’s left – rump Ukraine – has already been plundered anyway, as Monsanto, Cargill and Dupont have already bagged 17 million hectares of prime, fertile arable land – over half of what Ukraine still possesses. That translates de facto as BlackRock, Blackstone and Vanguard, top agro-business shareholders, owning whatever lands that really matter in non-sovereign Ukraine.

Going forward, by next year the Russians will be applying themselves to cutting off Kiev from NATO weapons supplies. As that unfolds, the Anglo-Americans will eventually move whatever puppet regime remains to Lviv. And Kiev terrorism – conducted by Bandera worshippers – will continue to be the new normal in the capital.

The Kazakh double game

By now it’s abundantly clear this is not a mere war of territorial conquest. It’s certainly part of a War of Economic Corridors – as the US spares no effort to sabotage and smash the multiple connectivity channels of Eurasia’s integration projects, be they Chinese-led (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) or Russian-led (Eurasian Economic Union, EAEU).

Just like the proxy war in Syria remade large swathes of West Asia (witness, for instance, Erdogan about to meet Assad), the fight in Ukraine, in a microcosm, is a war for the reconfiguration of the current world order, where Europe is a mere self-inflicted victim in a minor subplot. The Big Picture is the emergence of multipolarity.

The proxy war in Syria lasted a decade, and it’s not over yet. The same may happen to the proxy war in Ukraine. As it stands, Russia has taken an area that is roughly equivalent to Hungary and Slovakia combined. That’s still far from “task” fulfillment – and it’s bound to go on until Russia has taken all the land right up to the Dnieper as well as Odessa, connecting it to the breakaway Republic of Transnistria.

It’s enlightening to see how important Eurasian actors are reacting to such geopolitical turbulence. And that brings us to the cases of Kazakhstan and Turkey.

The Telegram channel Rybar (with over 640k followers) and hacker group Beregini revealed in an investigation that Kazakhstan was selling weapons to Ukraine, which translates as de facto treason against their own Russian allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Consider too that Kazakhstan is also part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the EAEU, the two hubs of the Eurasian-led multipolar order.

As a consequence of the scandal, Kazakhstan was forced to officially announce the suspension of all weapons exports until the end of 2023.

It began with hackers unveiling how Technoexport – a Kazakh company – was selling armed personnel carriers, anti-tank systems and munitions to Kiev via Jordanian intermediaries, under the orders of the United Kingdom. The deal itself was supervised by the British military attaché in Nur-Sultan, the Kazakh capital.

Nur-Sultan predictably tried to dismiss the allegations, arguing that Technoexport had not asked for export licenses. That was essentially false: the Rybar team discovered that Technoexport instead used Blue Water Supplies, a Jordanian firm, for those. And the story gets even juicier. All the contract documents ended up being found in the computers of Ukrainian intel.

Moreover, the hackers found out about another deal involving Kazspetsexport, via a Bulgarian buyer, for the sale of Kazakh Su-27s, airplane turbines and Mi-24 helicopters. These would have been delivered to the US, but their final destination was Ukraine.

The icing on this Central Asian cake is that Kazakhstan also sells significant amounts of Russian – not Kazakh – oil to Kiev.

So it seems that Nur-Sultan, perhaps unofficially, somehow contributes to the ‘Afghanization’ in the war in Ukraine. No diplomatic leaks confirm it, of course, but bets can be made Putin had a few things to say about that to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in their recent – cordial – meeting.

The Sultan’s balancing act

Turkey is a way more complex case. Ankara is not a member of the SCO, the CSTO or the EAEU. It is still hedging its bets, calculating on which terms it will join the high-speed rail of Eurasian integration. And yet, via several schemes, Ankara allows Moscow to evade the avalanche of western sanctions and embargoes.

Turkish businesses – literally all of them with close connections to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) – are making a killing, and relishing their new role as crossroads warehouse between Russia and the west. It’s an open boast in Istanbul that what Russia cannot buy from Germany or France they buy “from us.” And in fact several EU companies are in on it.

Ankara’s balancing act is as sweet as a good baklava. It gathers    economic support from a very important partner right in the middle of the endless, very serious Turkish economic debacle. They agree on nearly everything: Russian gas, S-400 missile systems, the building of the Russian nuclear power plant, tourism – Istanbul is crammed with Russians – Turkish fruits and vegetables.

Ankara-Moscow employ sound textbook geopolitics. They play it openly, in full transparence. That does not mean they are allies. It’s just pragmatic business between states. For instance, an economic response may alleviate a geopolitical problem, and vice-versa.

Obviously the collective west has completely forgotten how that normal state-to-state behavior works. It’s pathetic. Turkey gets “denounced” by the west as traitorous – as much as China.

Of course Erdogan also needs to play to the galleries, so every once in a while he says that Crimea should be retaken by Kiev. After all, his companies also do business with Ukraine – Bayraktar drones and otherwise.

And then there’s proselytizing: Crimea remains theoretically ripe for Turkish influence, where Ankara may exploit the notions of pan-Islamism and mostly pan-Turkism, capitalizing on the historical relations between the peninsula and the Ottoman Empire.

Is Moscow worried? Not really. As for those Bayraktar TB2s sold to Kiev, they will continue to be relentlessly reduced to ashes. Nothing personal. Just business.

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

Biden Regime Behind Phony Charges Against Pakistan’s Imran Khan

08-22-2022

 Stephen Lendman

Last April, Biden regime dirty hands were behind a parliamentary no-confidence vote to oust Imran Khan as Pakistan’s PM.

What happened was all about his commitment to serve Pakistan’s interests over US ones, to stay neutral on Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, and maintain Islamabad’s independence over vassalage to a higher power in Washington.

US puppet, Shehbaz Sharif, was illegitimately installed as PM to replace Khan.

That’s where things now stand, his regime’s agenda shaped by hegemon USA.

It includes prevention of legitimate attempts by Khan to regain the office from which hegemon USA orchestrated his ouster — by whatever it takes to achieve this diabolical aim.

On Sunday, the puppet Sharif regime falsely charged Khan with violating Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism (Act) — for allegedly “threatening” a female judge and senior police officers at a public rally.

So-called Pakistani interior minister, Rana Sanaullah, also called for Khan to be prosecuted for allegedly making “derogatory” remarks about Pakistani military Shuhada (martyrs).

Khan said the following at a Sunday rally:

“On May 25, when police used violence against us, I was told by insiders that (what happened was) ordered from above.”

This “means that neutrals pressured them to give…workers (of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party — PTI — he foundered and heads as chairman) a thrashing.” 

Referring to the country’s military, he questioned whether its “neutrals were really neutral” — that in cahoots with the Biden regime, they’re involved in cracking down on him and his PTI party, adding:

“I know what their plan is.”

It’s all about removing him from the political scene by prosecuting and imprisoning him on false charges, along with sidelining his PTI party, rendering it powerless.

Until targeted by Biden regime dark forces, likely CIA ones, the PTI was Pakistan’s “biggest party at the federal level,” Khan explained, adding:

His chief of staff, Shahbaz Gill, was kidnapped, abused and heavily pressured to give false testimony against him.

According to Dawn.com, Khan’s public addresses are now banned on television — on the phony pretext of making controversial remarks (sic) about judges and police officials.

Google’s YouTube acted in similar fashion to silence his truth-telling.

On Sunday, senior PTI leader, Shireen Mazari, tweeted the following:

“Regime change conspirators so scared of Imran Khan that today in middle of IK speech they blocked YouTube thru PTA. Shameful!””This will not silence us.”

“Fascism at its peak as fear overwhelms the cabal of crooks & their string pullers!”

“THE WORD IS CERTAINLY MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD.”

Separately, she explained that police ceased providing security for Khan and his residence.

In his Saturday evening address, he threatened legal action against  Islamabad’s police inspector general and deputy inspector general, adding:

Greatly biased against him for contrived reasons, the judiciary and judge Zeba Chaudhry will face consequences for their actions.  

Late Sunday, Pakistani police erected barricades outside Khan’s Banigala residence to isolate him from supporters.

After his Sunday address, he was reportedly at an undisclosed Rawalpindi location — while thousands of supporters were outside his residence to express support.

Phony charges against Khan in a so-called First Investigation Report (FIR) said the following:

His public remarks “spread fear and uncertainty among the police, judges and the nation.”

It calls for “exemplary punishment.”

At this time, Khan faces arrest, a kangaroo show trial, rubber-stamp conviction and imprisonment for truth-telling on phony terrorism-related charges.

Earlier, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner said there are over 17,000 pending cases under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, adding:

It’s “broad definition…coupled with failure to introduce clear guidelines or administrative policies to prevent its arbitrary application, contributed to the overuse, misuse and abuse of this legislation.”

Since his made-in-the-USA no-confidence vote removal from office as Pakistan’s PM, Khan organized and addressed well-attended rallies to set the record straight on what’s going on in the country.

It’s why the empire of lies and puppet Pakistani regime it empowered wants him silenced — most likely the old-fashioned way if what’s going on now fails or falls short.

The Stephen Lendman Blog

Biden Regime Behind Phony Charges Against Pakistan’s Imran Khan?

by Stephen Lendman

Last April, Biden regime dirty hands were behind a parliamentary no-confidence vote — a coup by other means — to oust Imran Khan as Pakistan’s PM.

What happened was all about his commitment to serve Pakistan’s interests over US ones, to stay neutral on Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, and maintain Islamabad’s independence over vassalage to a higher power in Washington.

US puppet, Shehbaz Sharif, was illegitimately installed as PM to replace Khan.

That’s where things now stand, his regime’s agenda shaped by hegemon USA.

It includes prevention of legitimate attempts by Khan to regain the office from which hegemon USA orchestrated his ouster — by whatever it takes to achieve this diabolical aim.

On Sunday, the puppet Sharif regime falsely charged Khan with violating Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism (Act) — for allegedly “threatening” a female judge and senior police officers…

View original post 530 more words

All the way to Odessa

August 27, 2022

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

Dmitry Medvedev, relishing his unplugged self, has laid down the law on the Special Military Operation (SMO). Bluntly, he affirmed there is a “one and a half” scenario: either to go all the way, or a military coup d’Etat in Ukraine followed by admitting the inevitable. No tertium applies.

That’s as stark as it gets: the leadership in Moscow is making it very clear, to internal and international audiences, the new deal consists in slow cooking the Kiev racket inside a massive cauldron while polishing its status of financial black hole for the collective West. Until we reach boiling point – which will be a revolution or a putsch.

In parallel, The Lords of (Proxy) War will continue with their own strategy, which is to pillage an enfeebled, fearful, Europe, then dressing it up as a perfumed colony to be ruthlessly exploited ad nauseam by the imperial oligarchy.

Europe is now a runaway TGV – minus the requisite Hollywood production values. Assuming it does not veer off track – a dicey proposition – it may eventually arrive at a railway station called Agenda 2030, The Great Narrative, or some other NATO/Davos denomination du jour.

As it stands, what’s remarkable is how the “marginal” Russian economy hardly broke a sweat to “end the abundance” of the wealthiest region on the planet.

Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away, but inevitably the average Italian, German or Frenchman will connect the dots and realize it is their own “leaders” – national nullities and mostly unelected Eurocrats – who are paving their road to poverty.

You will be poor. And you will like it. Because we are all supporting freedom for Ukrainian neo-nazis. That brings the concept of “multicultural Europe” to a whole new level.

The runaway train, of course, may veer off track and plunge into an Alpine abyss. In this case something might be saved from the wreckage – and “reconstruction” might be on the cards. But reconstruct what?

Europe could always reconstruct a new Reich (collapsed with a bang in 1945); a soft Reich (erected at the end of WWII); or break with its past failures, sing “I’m Free” – and connect with Eurasia. Don’t bet on it.

Get back those Taurian lands

The SMO may be about to radically change – something that will drive the already clueless denizens of US Think Tankland and their Euro vassals even more berserk.

President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu have been giving serious hints the only way for the pain dial is up – considering the mounting evidence of terrorism inside Russian territory; the vile assassination of Darya Dugina; non-stop shelling of civilians in border regions; attacks on Crimea; the use of chemical weapons; and the shelling of Zaporizhzhya power plant raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

This past Tuesday, one day before the SMO completing six months, Crimea’s permanent representative to the Kremlin, Georgy Muradov, all but spelled it out.

He stressed the necessity to “reintegrate all the Taurian lands” – Crimea, the Northern Black Sea and the Azov Sea – into a single entity as soon as “in the next few months”. He defined this process as “objective and demanded by the population of these regions.”

Muradov added, “given not only the strikes on Crimea, but also the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the dam of the Kakhovka reservoir, peaceful facilities on the territory of Russia, the DNR and LNR, there are all preconditions to qualify the actions of the Banderite regime as terrorist.”

The conclusion is inevitable: “the political issue of changing the format of the special military operation” enters the agenda. After all, Washington and Brussels “have already prepared new anti-Crimean provocations of the NATO-Bandera alliance”.

So when we examine what the “restoration of the Taurian lands” implies, we see not only the contours of Novorossiya but most of all that there won’t be any security for Crimea – and thus Russia – in the Black Sea without Odessa becoming Russian again. And that, on top of it, will solve the Transnistria dilemma.

Add to it Kharkov – the capital and top industrial center of Greater Donbass. And of course Dnipropetrovsk. They are all SMO objectives, the whole combo to be later protected by buffer zones in Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

Only then the “tasks” – as Shoigu calls them – of the SMO would be declared fulfilled. The timeline could be eight to ten months – after a lull under General Winter.

As the turbo-charged SMO rolls on, it’s a given the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will continue to prop up and weaponize the Kiev racket till Kingdom Come – and that will apply especially after the Return of Odessa. What’s unclear is who and what gang will be left in Kiev posing as the ruling party and doing specials for Vogue while duly fulfilling the mass of imperial diktats.

It’s also a given the CIA/MI6 combo will be refining non-stop the contours of a massive guerrilla war against Russia in multiple fronts – crammed with terror attacks and all sorts of provocations.

Yet in the Bigger Picture it’s the inevitable Russian military victory in Donbass and then “all the Taurian lands” that will hit the collective West like a lethal asteroid. The geopolitical humiliation will be unbearable; not to mention the geoeconomic humiliation for vassalized Europe.

As Eurasian integration will become an even stronger vector, Russian diplomacy will be solidifying the new normal. Never forget that Moscow had no trouble normalizing relations, for instance, with China, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. All these actors, in different ways, directly contributed to the fall of the USSR. Now – with one exception – they are all focused on The Dawn of the Eurasian Century.

Six months into Ukraine’s collapse, the world has changed forever

The inevitable transfer of power away from the west is leading to a surge in state-sponsored terrorism, but this will do little to reverse the trend

August 24 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand.

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

The cold-blooded assassination of Darya Dugina – terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but will do nothing to change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress, historical shift.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) appeared to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) – itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo that de facto rules Kiev.

The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders, and how they will be dealt with.

One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

What is manifestly serious, however, is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Alexander Dugin, the Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

These organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have both the motive and the local know-how to mount such a coup.

If that’s the case, it potentially spells out a Mossad-linked operation – especially given the serious schism in Moscow’s recent relations with Tel Aviv. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia’s psyche that could impact the dynamics of its operations in Ukraine, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry killers who have exhausted their options.

An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay, Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the US-led collective west – is a war of ideas. An existential war.

Dugin correctly defines the US as a “thalassocracy,” heir to “Britannia rules the waves.” Yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. China’s Xi Jinping put it into action by launching the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked by coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

Moscow took no time to assess that a dangerous US-led trifecta was instead in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media talking heads and shock troops of the collective west are directed by the rulers of Finance Capitalism.

As a direct consequence, they also realize how western public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, totally captive to the ruling financial class, who cannot tolerate any alternative narrative.

So Putin, Patrushev, and their peers will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything.

As the US rules global pop culture, it is fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner bad, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business.” And the Empire business is to exercise raw power, maintained with ruthlessness, by all means necessary.

Russia broke that spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic weapons, something that could have been done at any moment, starting six months ago.

Instead, what Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the entire Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85 percent of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the finance capitalists from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

The facts on the ground

On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic weapons launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors  will continue to be employed.

Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the gates of hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached. Terrorism by local SBU cells will eventually be smashed.

Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex Donbass, very valuable in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals, whose market value today is almost double that.

A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles scheme.

The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation about the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. Russian advances along the enormous 1,800-mile battle front are relentless, highly systematic, and deeply invested in a Greater Strategic Picture.

A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the west. That will never happen inside NATO’s realm – even as success after success is unfolding across the Global South.

As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated in his latest book, Russophobia, the collective west is viscerally impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

They have already catapulted themselves into the irrationality stratosphere: the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

But the Global South should never lose sight of the ‘Empire business.’ That industry excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of local elites, and assassinations on the cheap. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book should be expected at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated, declining Empire.

Fasten your seat belts for more of this tense dynamic for the remainder of the decade.

But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, whose riders are fast approaching. When the winds begin to howl, Europe will be freezing in the dead of dark nights, lit up occasionally by its finance capitalists puffing on fat cigars.

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

Geopolitical tectonic plates shifting, six months on

August 24, 2022

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

Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

The vile assassination of Darya Dugina – de facto terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but that won’t change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress historical drive.

The FSB may have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the SBU, itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo de facto ruling Kiev.

The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders – and how they will be dealt with.

One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

What’s manifestly serious is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Dugin as a Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

But most of all, these organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have the motive and the local base/intel to mount such a coup.

If that’s the case that spells out a Mossad operation – in many aspects a more solid proposition than CIA/MI6. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia in relation to the dynamics of the SMO, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry operatives of a Moronic Murder Inc.

An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the collective West led by the United States – is a war of ideas. And an existential war.

Dugin – correctly – defines the US as a “thalassocracy”, heir to “Britannia rules the waves”; yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. Xi Jinping started to make it happen when he launched the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

Moscow took no time to confirm a trifecta was in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the New Silk Road camel’s back.

A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media goons and shock troops of the collective West are dictated by the rulers of what Michael Hudson defines as the FIRE system (financialization, insurance, real estate), a de facto banking Mafia.

As a direct consequence, they also realize how collective West public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, of their total captivity by the FIRE rulers, who cannot possibly tolerate any alternative narrative.

So Putin, Patrushev, Medvedev will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything. The sinister Great Reset impersonator of a Bond villain, Klaus “Davos” Schwab, and his psychotic historian sidekick Yuval Harari at least spell out their “program”: global depopulation, with those that remain drugged to oblivion.

As the US rules global pop culture, it’s fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner Scarface, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business”. And the Empire business is to exercise raw power – then maintained with ruthlessness by all means necessary.

Russia broke the spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic business cards, something that could have been done at any moment starting six months ago, in a flash.

What Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the whole Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as BRI, SCO, EAEU, BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85% of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the FIRE Mafia from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

The facts on the ground

On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic business cards – launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors – will continue to be distributed.

Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the Gates of Hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached: terrorism by local SBU cells, which will be eventually smashed.

Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex the full, very valuable Donbass, in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals.

A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles.

The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation on the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. The advances along the enormous 1,800-mile front are relentless, highly systematic and inserted in a Greater Strategic Picture.

A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the collective West. That will never happen inside NATOstan – even as success after success is ramping up across the Global South.

As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated, in detail, in his latest book, Russophobia , the collective West is viscerally, almost genetically impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

And that will extrapolate to the irrationality stratosphere, as the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

The Global South though should never lose sight of the “Empire business”. The Empire of Lies excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of comprador elites, assassinations, and all that supervised by the humongous FIRE financial might. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book – and especially outside of the book – should be expected, at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated Declining Empire.

So fasten your seat belts: that will be the tense dynamic all the way to the 2030s. But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, as his riders are fast approaching, the wind will begin to howl, and Europe will be freezing in the dead of a dark night as the FIRE Mafia puff their cigars.

Fly like an eagle, Darya Dugina

August 22, 2022

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

Darya Dugina, 30, daughter of Alexander Dugin, a smart, strong, ebullient, enterprising young woman, whom I met in Moscow and had the honor to cherish as a friend, has been brutally murdered.

As a young journalist and analyst, one could see she would carve for herself a glowing path towards wide recognition and respect (here she is on feminism).

Not so long ago, the FSB was directly engaged in smashing assassination attempts, organized by the SBU, against Russian journalists, as in the case of Olga Skabaeyeva and Vladimir Soloviev. It’s mind-boggling that Dugin and his family were not protected by the Russian intelligence/security apparatus.

The key facts of the tragedy have already been established. A Land Cruiser Prado SUV, owned by Dugin and with Darya at the wheel, exploded in a highway near the village of Bolchie Vyazemy, a little over 20km away from Moscow.

They were both coming from a family festival, where Dugin had delivered a talk. At the last minute, Darya took the SUV and Dugin followed her in another car. According to eyewitnesses, there was an explosion under the SUV, which was immediately engulfed in flames and hit a roadside building. Darya’s body was burned beyond recognition.

The Russian Investigative Committee soon established that the IED – approximately 400g of TNT, unencapsulated – was planted under the bottom of the SUV, on the driver’s side.

The investigators consider that was a premeditated car bombing.

What is not already known is whether the IED was on a timer or if some goon nearby pressed the button.

What is already known is that Alexander Dugin was a target on the Myrotvorets list. Myrotvorets stands for a Center for Research of Signs of Crimes against the National Security of Ukraine. It works side by side with NATO collecting info on “pro-Russian terrorists and separatists”.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the DPR, took no time to accuse “the terrorists of the Ukrainian regime” for Darya’s assassination. The inestimable Maria Zakharova was more, well, diplomatic: she said that if the Ukrainian lead is confirmed, that will configure a policy of state terrorism deployed by Kiev.

An existential war

In several essays – this one being arguably the most essential – Dugin had made extensively clear the enormity of the stakes. This is a war of ideas. And an existential war: Russia against the collective West led by the United States.

The SBU, NATO, or quite probably the combo – considering the SBU is ordered by the CIA and MI6 – did not choose to attack Putin, Lavrov, Patrushev or Shoigu. They targeted a philosopher and ended up murdering his daughter – making it even more painful. They attacked an intellectual who formulates ideas. Proving once again that Western Cancel Culture seamlessly metastasizes into Cancel Person.

It’s fine and dandy that the Russian Ministry of Defense is about to start the production of the hypersonic Mr. Zircon as it continues to churn out plenty of Mr. Khinzals. Or that three Mig-31 supersonic interceptors have been deployed to Kaliningrad equipped with Khinzals and placed on combat duty 24/7.

The problem is the rules have changed – and the SBU/NATO combo, facing an indescribable debacle in Donbass, is upping the sabotage, counter-intel and counter-diversionary dial.

They started by shelling Russian territory; spread out around Donbass – as in the attempt to kill the mayor of Mariupol, Konstantin Ivachtchenko; even launched drones against the HQ of the Black Sea Fleet in Sebastopol; and now – with the Darya Dugina tragedy – are on the gates of Moscow.

The point is not that all of the above is irrelevant in terms of changing the facts on the ground imposed by the Special Military Operation. The point is that an upcoming series of bloody psyops designed for pure PR effect can become extremely painful for Russian public opinion – which will demand devastating punishment.

It’s clear that Moscow and St. Petersburg are now prime targets. The Ukrainian ISIS is a go. Of course, their handlers have vast experience on the matter, across the Global North/South. All red lines are gone.

The coming of the Ukrainian ISIS

The cokehead comedian has duly pre-empted any Russian reaction, according to the NATO script he’s fed on a daily basis: Russia may try to do something “particularly disgusting” this coming week.

That’s irrelevant. The real – burning – question is to what extent the Kremlin and Russian intel will react when it’s fully established SBU/NATO concocted the Dugin plot. That’s Kiev terrorism at the gates of Moscow. That screams “red line” in bloody red, and a response tied to the reiterated promise, by Putin himself, of hitting “decision centers”.

It will be a fateful decision. Moscow is not at war with the Kiev puppets, essentially – but with NATO. And vice-versa. All bets are off on how the tragedy of Darya Dugina may eventually accelerate the Russian timetable, in terms of a radical revision of their so far long-term strategy.

Moscow can decapitate the Kiev racket with a few hypersonic business cards. Yet that’s too easy; afterwards, who to negotiate the future of rump Ukraine with?

In contrast, doing essentially nothing means accepting an imminent, de facto terrorist invasion of the Russian Federation: the Darya Dugina tragedy on steroids.

In his next before last post on Telegram, Dugin once again framed the stakes. These are the key takeaways.

He calls for “structural, ideological, personnel, institutional, strategic” transformations by the Russian leadership.

Drawing from the evidence – from the increased attacks on Crimea to the attempts to provoke a nuclear catastrophe in Zaporozhye – he correctly concludes that the NATO sphere has “decided to stand on the other end to the end. They can be understood: Russia actually (and this is not propaganda) challenged the West as a civilization.”

The conclusion is stark: “So we have to go all the way”. That ties in with what Putin himself asserted: “We haven’t really started anything yet.” Dugin: “Now we have to start.”

Dugin proposes that the current status quo around Operation Z cannot last for more than six months. There’s no question “the tectonic plates have shifted”. Darya Dugina will be flying like an eagle in an otherworldly sky. The question is whether her tragedy will become the catalyst to propel Putin’s strategic ambiguity to a whole new level.

Sabotage, terrorist and other diversionary attacks are a real risk for Russia (+addendum)

August 18, 2022

Source

Interesting news two days in a row.  First, the Russian MoD did conclude that the explosions at the Russian airfield in Crimea where the result of a diversionary operation (I use the term “diversionary” in the Russian sense of “diversiia” meaning sabotage/wrecking).  And today, the Russians have announced that they have arrested two employees of the Zaporozhiie nuclear plant (one guard and one engineer!) who were providing the Ukrainians with targeting coordinates and strike correction.  Now Russia is warning that a major strike on this nuclear plant would have catastrophic consequences.

My purpose today is not to discuss the situation around the ZNP, but to treat this as a tip of a much bigger iceberg.

So far, only my friend Andrei Martyanov has mentioned the very real risks of sabotage and/or terrorist attacks by Ukrainian diversionary groups, including the possible sabotage of the Moskva cruiser and the attack on the airfield in Crimea.  As usual, Andrei Martyanov is spot on.  What I want to do next is to expand a little on this topic in my favorite bullet-style format.

  • First, it is simply undeniable that the Ukronazi SBU/GUR have proven that they can, and have, conducted very effective diversionary attacks, including the murder of plenty of LDNR leaders.  Sometimes the Ukronazis used special SBU/GUR units, other times they have successfully recruited locals (be it in the LDNR or Crimea) to conduct acts of sabotage and terrorism.
  • Second, it is important to understand that while the SMO is not a real civil war, it has definite civil war ASPECTS, beginning with the undeniable reality that there are pro-Russian segments of the population in the Nazi occupied Ukraine but also that there are pro-Urkonazi segments of the LDNR/Russian population.  Thus both sides have people capable and willing to help the other side, including anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian elements in LDNR/Russian controlled areas (including Crimea)
  • Third, besides ideological motives and simple corruption, you have to understand that both the SBU/GUR and the Russian SVR/G(R)U have access to databases which allows them to blackmail a person on the other side into collaboration.  They can use compromising information of any activity (past or present) which can, if made public, get a person in a lot of trouble, but they also can pressure family members, they can even directly threaten and cajole someone into collaboration.  Finally, there are a lot of poor and destitute people on both sides, and they need money badly, maybe not to purchase a multi-million dollar yacht but to, for example, get medical treatment for a family member.  Western special services are very good at spotting and using such people.
  • Fourth, as with any other conflict, when a war occurs, there is going to be some people who will benefit from it, but there is always going to be those who will lose a lot and who might be really unhappy about that.  Resentful people make for great recruits for special services (most Soviet defectors betrayed their country not for money, though some did, but because they fell unfairly treated by their superiors or the Soviet state).
  • Five, special services are very skilled at 1) spotting vulnerabilities and 2) making use of them.  Since, by definition, humans being humans, there will be such vulnerable people on both sides of the conflict.
  • So far, the Ukrainians have already made extensive use of such diversionary tactics, while the Russians have not (at least as far as we know, and there is a lot we don’t know).  The point is not to call one side “good” and the other “bad”, but to realize that both sides can, and will, use such special operations to disrupt the operations, and morale, of the other side.

Now one thing which will have a HUGE impact on this is the Russian decision to basically hand out Russian passports to any Ukrainian wanting one.  No, I am NOT critical of this decision, which was made on both moral and pragmatic grounds, but I will point out that this decision will come at a very real cost: a sharp increase in the numbers of Russians citizens whose true loyalties lie not with Russia, but with the Euromaidan or even Ukronazi ideology.  There are even such people in Russia proper!

The fact that such people are only a tiny fraction of the Russian population is irrelevant: all the SBU/GUR needs is a few, maybe a few tens, of such people.

And yes, of course, this is a direct challenge to the Russian intelligence and security agencies (SVR, FSB, GUSB/MVD, FSO, G(R)U and others).  But the reality is this: no matter how good the Russian intelligence and security services are, you cannot catch absolutely everybody, and neither can you place all potentially suspicious people under 24/7 surveillance (even if you knew who these people are).  The truth is that there will always be “leakers” who will successfully elude detection and interception.  You can catch many hundred of such people, but a few will always seep through the net and they will be used by the other side.

By the way, for the West and the Nazis in Kiev to declare that all the explosions in the LDNR/Russia (including Crimea) are the result of missile attacks makes perfectly good sense!  Not only does it boost the morale of the Ukronazis (Wunderwaffe and all that), it shows the western curators of the Nazi regime in Kiev how “effective” and “combat capable” the Ukrainian military still is.  Last, but not least, giving the credit to missiles is a very logical way to try to move the spotlight away from saboteurs and terrorists.  The Russians perfectly understand that, but the folks in the West apparently not, hence the systematic dismissal of the diversionary operation by so many commentators who prefer to daydream about some super-dooper missiles and other assorted Wunderwaffen and dismiss less “sexy” acts of simple sabotage.

Bottom line is this: if the SBU/GUR managed to recruit 2 employees of the ZNP, whom else do you think they might recruit in the future (or have already recruited)?  Think about folks involved in technical maintenance, transportation, logistics, prisons and POW facilities. etc. etc. etc.  Heck, the Ukies even tried to corrupt a Su-34 pilot and have him fly his Su-34 to the Ukrainian side in exchange for a EU passport and money.  This SBU/GUR plot pathetically failed, and the Russians even managed to get some classified info about the Ukrainian air defenses, which were promptly demilitarized.  However, the main reasons here are probably double: first, Su-34 pilots are definitely a highly motivated elite type, and they are also very closely monitored by Russian counter-intelligence services.  So, maybe next time, the SBU/GUR needs to “aim” for a more modest and less protected target.

And who is to say that the next time around the SBU/GUR will fail?

Some will wonder why the Russians could not do in the Ukraine what they did in Chechnia.  There are many key differences here, including:

  • Chechnia is a tiny piece of land compared to the Ukraine and it is comparatively easy to “lock”
  • Chechnia’s population is dwarfed by the Ukrainian population (even after millions left)
  • There is no equivalent of Ahmad Hadji Kadyrov or his son Ramzan in the Ukraine
  • Chechens Takfiris never had the kind of firepower or weapons the Ukronazis do

So no, the precedent of Chechnia does not in any way imply that the Nazis in the Ukraine will be as comparatively quickly defeated as the Takfiris were.

This is a major problem for Russia and, worse, this is a problem which will not go away anytime soon.

The only thing Russians can do is to 1) prepare for a very long counter-intelligence and counter-diversionary operations lasting many years and 2) accept the reality of war for what it is and not freak out the next time the Ukronazis blow up something, be it a ship, a train, an aircraft, a bridge or any other target in the LDNR or Russia.

The one good news the Russians also need to keep in mind is that most of such diversionary/terrorist attacks are still fundamentally part of PSYOPs and are mostly designed for PR effect.  In terms of their actual impact on Russian military capabilities, it is close to zero,  just like the Israeli strikes in Syria have made exactly *zero* difference on the ground in Syria.  To really affect military operations you need to have a large, viable and sophisticated partisan/”stay behind” force, which the Ukrainians do not have, not by a long margin.  Also, to really affect military operations, such diversionary tactics need to be carefully coordinated with “regular” friendly military forces (like the Soviet partisans during WWII who closely worked with the Soviet armed forces).

So yes, this is a problem, a very unpleasant one, one which will be hard to deal with, but not one which will affect Russian military operations.  Even if the Ukronazis blow up both the Chernobyl AND Zaporozhiie NPs, this will not significantly affect the SMO or even the war between Russia and the united West.  The entire Russian military is trained, and well trained, to operate in a hostile nuclear, chemical or bacteriological environment.  As for Russian logistics, they are extremely sophisticated and highly redundant, so even if the Ukronazis blow up one node of the resupply network, it will be quickly fixed and/or easily replaced or bypassed.

That being said, I would personally recommend that we all mentally prepare for what is almost certainly about to happen in the not too distant future.  If we understand what such operation can and cannot achieve we will see them in a sober, pragmatic way, and not cave in to the hysterics (by many sides, including the Russian 6th column) which will inevitable follow any such attack.

Andrei

Addendum: with so many commentators freaking out about a potential meltdown of all the nuclear reactors at the ZNP, I would say this: the reactors themselves are far tougher to strike that the used nuclear fuel storage facilities which are not nearly as well protected.  Again, the real danger is not the one we instinctively think of first.

Welcoming speech of the Russian Minister of Defence at the opening of 10th Moscow Conference on International Security

August 17, 2022

The opening of the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security took place at Avangard Centre for Military and Patriotic Education of Youth within the framework of ARMY 2022 IMTF. The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, addressed the participants of the event:

Ladies and gentlemen!

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security.

This conference comes at a time of radical change in global and regional security. The unconditional dominance of the US and its allies is a thing of the past. On February 24, 2022, the start of the special military operation in Ukraine marked the end of the unipolar world.

Multipolarity has become a reality. The poles of this world are clearly defined. The main difference between them is that some respect the interests of sovereign states and take into account the cultural and historical particularities of countries and peoples, while others disregard them. There have been numerous discussions on this topic during previous sessions of the Moscow conference.

In Europe, the security situation is worse than at the peak of the Cold War. The alliance’s military activities have become as aggressive and anti-Russian as possible. Significant US forces have been redeployed to the continent, and the number of coalition troops in Eastern and Central Europe has increased manifold.

It is important to note that the deployment of additional NATO Joint Force formations on the bloc’s “eastern flank” had already started before the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.

NATO has dropped its masks. The aggressive nature of the bloc was no longer concealed by the wording of the coalition’s purely defensive orientation. Today, the alliance’s strategic planning documents enshrine claims to global dominance. Alliance’s interests include Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim.

In the West’s view, the established system of international relations should be replaced by a so-called rules-based world order. The logic here is simple and ultimatumatic. Either the alliance’s “democratic partner” candidate loses sovereignty and becomes supposedly on the “right side of history”. Or it is relegated to the category of so-called authoritarian regimes, against which all kinds of measures, up to and including coercive pressure, can be used.

Given that the Conference is attended by heads of defence agencies and security experts from different regions of the world, I would like to highlight some aspects of the special military operation in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the Russian military is being confronted by combined Western forces that run the leadership of that country in a hybrid war against Russia.

The supply of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine is being stepped up, and training of the Ukrainian army is being carried out. Huge financial resources are transferred to maintain the viability of the nationalist regime.

The actions of Ukraine’s armed forces are planned and coordinated by foreign military advisers. Reconnaissance data is supplied from all available NATO sources. The use of armaments is supervised by Western specialists.

NATO’s efforts are aimed at prolonging the agony of the Kiev regime. However, we know for a fact that no one in NATO has any doubt that the goals of the Russian leadership’s special military operation will be achieved, and that plans to strategically and economically weaken Russia are failing. The dollar has not reached the ceiling of 200 roubles, as predicted by the US president, the Russian economy has stood firm.

The special military operation has dispelled the myth of “super-weapons” supplied to Ukraine by the West, which are capable of fundamentally changing the situation on the front. Initially, they were talking about deliveries of Javelin anti-tank systems, some kind of “unique” drones. Lately, the Westerners have been promoting the role of super-weapons with HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and long-range howitzers. However, these weapons also grind to a halt in battle. They did not make a significant impact. The Russian weapons, for their part, have proved their best qualities in combat.

We are taking a close look at trophy weapons from the West. The features and their specific qualities are taken into account in order to improve the way combat operations are conducted and the effectiveness of Russian armaments.

The supply of NATO weapons to Kiev means that Western countries are responsible for their inhumane use and for the deaths of civilians in Donbass and in the liberated territories. Ukrainian armed forces operations are planned in Washington and London. Not only are the coordinates of the targets to be attacked provided by Western intelligence, but the input of this data into weapons systems is conducted under the full control of Western specialists.

Kiev’s role in the West’s combat approach has been reduced to supplying manpower, which is seen as expendable. This explains the huge loss of personnel in Ukraine’s armed forces and territorial defence formations.

So far, the real figures of dead soldiers and mobilised so-called territorial defence forces have been concealed by the Kiev leadership.

In time, however, this information will become public. The testimonies of POWs of AFU allow us to form a realistic picture of what is happening on the other side of the front. The dismissive attitude towards the loss of foreign soldiers reinforces the thesis that NATO has purely selfish interests in Ukraine. Clearly, Britain’s colonial experience as the main sponsor of the Kiev regime has come in very handy for London in dealing with the current leadership in Kiev.

Against this background, speculation is spreading in the media about the alleged use of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in the special military operation or the readiness to use chemical weapons. All of these information gibberish are lies.

From a military point of view, there is no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve its goals. The main purpose of Russian nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack. Its use is limited to extraordinary circumstances as defined in the Russian guideline documents, which are open to public inspection.

The allegations about the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine are also absurd. Let me remind you that, unlike the US, such weapons were completely destroyed in our country back in 2017 as part of our international obligations. Meanwhile, poisoning provocations have become the hallmark of Western-sponsored so-called civil society organisations such as the White Helmets in Syria.

The information provocations are aimed at distracting attention from the facts discovered in Ukraine that US experts have conducted banned military and biological research.

Currently, a significant amount of data has been accumulated and is regularly made available to the general public. Work will continue in this direction.

US military-biological activities in Ukraine are not exceptional. Pentagon-controlled laboratories have been established and operate in many post-Soviet, Asian, African and Latin American countries. Local authorities generally have no control over research carried out on their premises that poses a lethal threat to the local population. The consequences of epidemics, I believe, were felt by all during the period of the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

I would like to focus separately on the humanitarian aspects of the special military operation. Compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war has always been and remains the focus of commanders at all levels. Since the beginning of the operation, orders have been issued stipulating the procedures to be followed by soldiers in dealing with civilians and enemy prisoners of war.

In the territories liberated from nationalists, the troops are actively involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid, the restoration of infrastructure and the maintenance of law and order. This was the case in Syria, in Nagorno-Karabakh, and it is also the case in Donbass.

On humanitarian issues, there has been fruitful cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We are grateful for the constructive, depoliticised cooperation of the leaders and staff of these organisations who interact with us. In particular, under the auspices of the UN and with Turkey’s active role, the difficult problem of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports was resolved. The Red Cross specialists carry out an important mediation mission in relation to captured soldiers.

NATO has recently initiated a new phase of alliance enlargement, with Sweden and Finland joining the military bloc. The claim that the reason for this was the Russian special operation is untrue.

The practical rapprochement between these countries and the alliance has been ongoing for many years. In fact, the regional association NORDEFCO (Committee for Nordic Defence Cooperation) is a northern affiliate of NATO and serves as a cover for these countries’ participation in joint military training activities.

Of course, the official involvement of Helsinki and Stockholm in NATO’s strategic planning and the possible allocation of territory to these states for deployment of strike weapons will change the security environment in the Baltic region and the Arctic and will require a reconsideration of approaches to defence of Russian territory.

Certain conclusions have already been reached and are enshrined in the updated Maritime Doctrine approved by the President of the Russian Federation on July 31. Work will continue in this area.

The reinforcement of the NATO military grouping on the “eastern flank” completes the degradation of the trust and arms control mechanisms that emerged in Europe during the Cold War. A few years ago, experts proposed that the European experience should be used to build confidence-building measures, in particular in the Pacific Rim. Now, of all the “baggage” of the Euro-dialogue, only the idea of bloc confrontation is exported to Asia, which has not brought anything positive to security in Europe.

Today, no one remembers the US destruction of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Limitation Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty. Although previously these agreements were crucial for disarmament and confidence-building.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which was conceived as a platform for dialogue and consideration of different views, has become a generator of anti-Russian narratives.

Vienna Document 2011 remains formally in force, but there are no prospects for practical implementation. In the absence of trust between the parties, the verification mechanism effectively becomes a source of intelligence, which is not in the spirit of this agreement.

The situation with regard to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty is also complicated. The agreement remains in force until 2026. On the Russian side the commitments are fulfilled, the declared levels of carriers and warheads are maintained within the established limits.

U.S. claims that Russia must earn the right to continue dialogue with the U.S. do not resist criticism. Arms control is a two-way street.

The result is only achievable if the interests and commitment of all participants are balanced. I believe that the Russian experience of interaction with the West in the field of disarmament shows that the so-called rules-based peace it promotes does not involve the implementation of treaty obligations in the traditional sense. This fact needs to be taken into account when entering into agreements, especially in the field of security and arms control.

Western opposition to the consolidation of a multipolar world, along with Europe, is most active in the Asia-Pacific region, where the US has begun to dismantle the existing ASEAN-based system of regional cooperation. This started with the announcement of the AUKUS initiative by the US, Australia and the UK. Plans to expand this partnership to include new regional partners have not been concealed. AUKUS is merging with NATO, which in turn claimed a dominant role in the Asia-Pacific region at the June summit. This is despite the fact that all NATO countries are thousands of miles away from the region.

On 2 August, the Russian Federation marked the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s entry into the war with Japan, the occasion for which was Tokyo’s militarist policy. The defeat of Japanese forces in the Far East effectively sealed the end of World War II and provided the start for the liberation of the peoples of Asia from colonial oppression. The assistance of the USSR was of key importance. We remember and are proud of the legacy of our ancestors, including those who laid the foundation for military cooperation between Russia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

Another dangerous regional trend is the AUKUS focus on developing a nuclear submarine fleet in Australia. The implementation of this plan would have a complex negative impact on global and regional security, creating the conditions for undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The US claims that nuclear-powered submarines are needed in Australia ostensibly to offset China’s growing naval capabilities. This logic in fact replicates the actions of the US in justifying its exit from the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missile Treaty. The collapse of this agreement was also motivated by the need to offset Russian and Chinese efforts to develop missiles with a range allegedly prohibited by the treaty.

In the global context, the appearance of a nuclear-powered fleet in Australia will provide an excuse for other states to begin developing similar armaments. Pandora’s box will be opened, the global nuclear arms race will resume.

AUKUS has the potential to develop into a politico-military alliance. It cannot be excluded that NATO’s experience with joint nuclear planning and joint “allied” nuclear exercises will also be transferred to the region. The technical basis for this is already being laid by the active promotion of US-made aircraft. The participation of nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states in joint exercises on the use of nuclear weapons is contrary to obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Transferring nuclear training from Europe will blow up the region.

Although it can be assumed that this is precisely the purpose of the US. The provocative landing in Taiwan of a third person of the US bureaucratic hierarchy is another move to destabilise the situation.

Block-less, equal interaction in the region is an achievement that should not be lost due to externally imposed phobias and attempts to counter a multipolar world.

Mechanisms for interaction and dialogue with extra-regional partners are created and are proving their relevance and effectiveness. First and foremost is the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ and Partners’ Meeting, the so-called “ADMM-Plus” format. Its diverse activities focus on security issues of relevance to the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition, there is positive experience of cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of implementing mutually beneficial projects on a bilateral basis.

As before, we are ready to share our experience of combat training, in particular during the Vostok-2022 strategic exercise to be held in the near future.

Despite significant successes in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, the threat of international terrorist groups taking over the initiative remains. The Syrian military, in cooperation with allies and partners and with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, continues to suppress spikes in terrorist activity. We see a particular danger in using the Kurdish factor to unsettle the situation in Syria.

The engagement of the guarantor countries in the Astana format remains virtually the only legal and effective mechanism to address security concerns in Syria. We welcome the increased engagement between the Syrian leadership and the Arab world. Overcoming contradictions created by outside forces is possible and necessary.

The role of the military in building trust between countries is an important element in the search for political solutions. We expect that the Moscow conference will be one of the rallying points for the stabilisation of the situation in the Near East.

After the rapid withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, the situation in the Central Asian region remains extremely tense. Afghanistan’s new leadership faces serious military and economic challenges. The legacy of two decades of alliance troop presence is a disappointing one. As a result, there remains a high level of terrorist danger in the region.

The security problems of Central Asia can only be solved by coordinated action by all the countries and international organisations concerned. For our part, we will continue to support our Collective Security Treaty Organisation allies in enhancing the capabilities of national armed forces.

It is important to keep the topic of Afghanistan on the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation discussions. Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan together could make a significant contribution not only to stabilising the region, but also to preventing the threat from spreading beyond its borders.

The security of each region, despite the general trends of a multipolar world, has its own peculiarities.

For Africa, the specificity lies in the desire of the countries of the collective West to return to the order and rules of engagement typical of the colonial period. Neo-colonialism is imposed through military pressure on governments of sovereign countries and support for separatist and terrorist movements. A case in point is Libya, where statehood has still not been restored after the NATO invasion. Another example is the situation in West Africa, where European troops have been deployed on the pretext of combating terrorism. For decades, these EU missions had been fighting terrorists, training national security forces, until they recognised the utter failure of their own efforts.

I would like to point out that African governments and leaders are holding their own, as they call it, in the context of a multipolar world, to pursue their own agenda of independence, sovereignty, economic development and defence capabilities.

The Russian Ministry of Defence is seeking to expand cooperation with African countries in the field of military and military-technical cooperation. Interest in the participation of national teams and delegations from Africa in the Army International Games and the “ARMY 2022” IMTF has increased significantly. It is very encouraging that prominent military commanders from our friendly states – Burundi, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of South Africa – are present in this hall today. We appreciate your support and intend to increase cooperation on mutually beneficial projects.

Latin America today faces serious security challenges because of the American desire to maintain influence in the region under the provisions of the so-called Monroe Doctrine. Liberal values, whose adherence is seen by the US as agreeing to live in a world based on their rules, in fact mask the true objective – to build up a military presence by blocking the possibility of sovereign development of states.

U.S. policy focuses on deterring engagement by countries in the region with any other pole of power outside Washington’s control. The purpose of this policy is to involve the region in a confrontation with Russia and the PRC, to destroy traditional ties and to block new forms of cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres.

Anti-Russian information campaigns are launched in Latin America, hiding the truth about the causes and course of the special military operation in Ukraine. Analogies can be drawn to the British actions during the conflict in the Falkland Islands. What is happening in the Western media today with the coverage of the Russian special military operation was also happening when the media was chorally broadcasting only one point of view – that of London.

The question arises: are such policies in the fundamental interest of the countries of the region? The answer is clear – no. We hope that during the discussions at the conference we will hear assessments of the situation in Latin America from our partners from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The Tenth Moscow Conference on International Security has a special importance for the Russian Ministry of Defence as organiser of the forum for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the conference is taking place during the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine. Despite attempts of the US and NATO to isolate Russia once again, your participation in the forum is a visible confirmation that these plans have collapsed. We appreciate your support.

Secondly, a multipolar world is the reality of today. The transition from dominance by a single global leader to several centres of gravity is not an easy one. However, this creates real conditions for the development of sovereign states.

Thirdly, the role of military agencies is changing in the new realities. The military not only guarantees a secure environment for economic development, but through military cooperation it builds predictability and trust between countries.

Finally, this is the tenth anniversary conference, which allows for a kind of review of what has been achieved over the years. It is important to observe how the priorities of the discussions have changed, and which conclusions and recommendations from the forum have been put into practice over the years. A short historical overview, prepared by Russian experts, can be viewed on the monitors between plenary sessions.

I wish you all good health and interesting contacts and discussions during your stay in Moscow.

Thank you for your attention.

source: https://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12433677@egNews (which is blocked by western freedom loving democracies, so you need a VPN to access it!)

Will the Ukraine be partitioned next and, if so, how?

August 16, 2022

Interesting info today.  First, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service has, through the statement of a Colonel General, made the following statement (translated by my friend Andrei Martyanov on his blog): (emphasis added)

Translation: MOSCOW, August 16 – RIA Novosti. Western curators have practically written off the Kyiv regime and are already planning the partition of Ukraine, Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Colonel-General Volodymyr Matveev said at the Moscow Conference on International Security. “Obviously, the West is not concerned about the fate of the Kyiv regime. As can be seen from the information received by the SVR, Western curators have almost written it off and are in full swing developing plans for the division and occupation of at least part of the Ukrainian lands,” he said. However, according to the general, much more is at stake than Ukraine: for Washington and its allies, it is about the fate of the colonial system of world domination.

Just to clarify, the SVR rarely makes public statements and when they do, you can take them to the bank as the SVR is not in the business of “leaks” from “informed sources” and all the rest of the PR nonsense produced by the so-called western “intelligence” agencies (which have now been fully converted to highly politicized propaganda outlets).

The same day I see this article on the RT website: “Western countries waiting for ‘fall of Ukraine’ – Kiev” in which an interesting statement the Ukronazi Foreign Minister is mentioned:

Several countries in the West are waiting for Kiev to surrender and think their problems will immediately solve themselves, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in an interview published on Tuesday.  “I often get asked in interviews and while speaking to other foreign ministers: how long will you last? That’s instead of asking what else could be done to help us defeat Putin in the shortest time possible,” Kuleba said, noting that such questions suggest that everyone “is waiting for us to fall and for their problems to disappear on their own.

Finally, a while ago, Dmitri Medvedev post this “future map of the Ukraine after the war” on his Telegram account.  This maps shows a Ukraine partitioned between her neighbors and a tiny rump Ukraine left in the center.

Now, full disclosure, I have been a proponent of the breakup of the Ukraine into several successor states for a long while now: I gave my reasons for this in my article “The case for the breakup of the Ukraine” written in faraway 2016.

Now, six years later, what are the chances of this happening?

Without making predictions, which is close to impossible right now as there are way too many variables which can dramatically influence the outcome, I want to list a few arguments for and against the likelihood (as opposed to desirability) of such an outcome.

Arguments for the likelihood of this outcome:

  • First, most of the neighbors of the Ukraine would benefit from such an outcome.  Poland would not get the “intermarium” it always dreams about, but it would get back lands which historically belong to Poland and are populated by many Poles.  In this map, Romania would also get a good deal, albeit Moldavia would lose Transnistria, which it had no real chance to ever truly control anyway.  Romania might, therefore, even absorb all of Moldavia.  True, on this map, Hungary gets (almost) nothing, but that is an issue which Hungary must tackle with Poland and Romania, not Russia.
  • Russia might not even oppose such a development, simply because it makes the Ukronazi problem somebody else’s issue.  As long as what is the current Ukraine is fully demilitarized and denazified, Russia will be fine with such an outcome.
  • The rump ex-Banderastan would be so much reduced in size, population and ressources that it would present little to no threat to anybody.  Crucially, the Russians will never allow it to have anything more than a minimal police and internal security force (for at least as long as there remains even *traces* of the Ukronazi Banderista ideology anywhere near Russia).  The actual chances of this rump Banderastan to become a threat to anybody would be close to zero.  Not to mention that even if that rump Banderastan could become some kind of threat, it would be much easier to deal with it than the threat Russia faced in early 2022.
  • Objectively, the European countries would get the best possible “out” for them, as being in a constant state of total war by proxy is absolutely unsustainable for countries of Europe.
  • As for “Biden”, assuming he is still alive and in power (?), it would make it possible for “him” to remove the topic of this latest war lost (again!) by the USA from the headlines and deal with other issues.
  • The Ukraine has been such a waste of money, billions and billions, that it is essentially a black hole with an event horizon which lets nothing come back out and beyond which anything, money, equipment or men, simply disappear.  That is clearly an unsustainable drain on the economies of the West.
  • Yet, in theory, if a deal is made and all parties agree, then the EU could remove maybe not all, but at least the worst, self-damaging, sanctions it so stupidly implemented and which are now destroying the EU’s economy.
  • For the USA the biggest benefit from such an outcome could be, in theory, that it would “close” the “Russian front” and allow the US to focus its hatred and aggression against China.

There are, however, also many arguments against such an outcome.

  • First, the western ruling classes, drunk on total russophobia, would have to accept that Russia won this war (again) and defeated the combined powers of the West (again).  This would mean an immense loss of face and political credibility for all those involved in the political war against Russia.
  • Second, for NATO this would be a disaster.  Remember that NATO’s real goal is to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down“.  In this case, how would an even expanded NATO accept that it could do absolutely nothing to stop the Russians from achieving all their goals?
  • Next, while the people of the EU are suffering from the devastating economic policies of their rulers, the ruling elites (the EU 1%) are doing just fine, thank you, and don’t give a damn about the people they rule over.
  • Such an outcome would also directly challenge the US desire for a unipolar world, run by Uncle Shmuel as the World Hegemon.  The risk here is a political domino effect in which more and more countries would struggle to achieve true sovereignty, which would be a direct threat to the US economic model.
  • Such an outcome is almost certain to be unachievable while the Neocons run the USA.  And since there are NO signs of the weakening of the Neocons’ iron grip on all the levers of political powers in the USA, such an outcome could only happen if the Neocon crazies are sent back to the basement they crawled out from and where they belong.  Not likely in the foreseeable future.
  • This focus on the partition of the Ukraine overlooks the fact that the Ukraine is not the real enemy of Russia.  In fact, the Ukraine lost the war to Russia in the first 7-10 days after the beginning of the SMO.  Ever since, it is not the Ukraine per se which Russia has been fighting, but the consolidated West.  If the real enemy is the consolidated West, the it could be argued that *any* outcome limited to the Ukraine would not fix or solve anything.  At best, it might be an intermediate stage of a much larger and longer war in which Russia will have to demilitarize and denazify not just Banderastan but, at the very least, all of the EU/NATO countries.
  • While for some the Ukrainian war has been an economic disaster, it has been a fantastic windfall for the (terminally corrupt) US MIC.  And I won’t even go into the obvious corruption ties the Biden family has in Kiev.  If this “Medvedev solution” is ever realized, then all that easy money would disappear.
  • Furthermore, while amongst the argument for such an outcome I listed the ability of the USA to “close the Russian front” and focus on China, in reality such an arguments makes a very far-fetched assumption: that it is still possible to separate Russia and China and that Russia would allow the US to strike at China.  Simply put, Russia cannot allow China to be defeated any more than China can allow for a Russian defeat.  Thus the entire notion of “closing the Russian front” is illusory, in reality things have gone way too far for that and neither Russia nor China will allow the US to take them down one by one.
  • The EU is run by a comprador ruling class which is totally subservient to the interests of the US Neocons.  There are, already, many internal tensions inside the EU and such an outcome would be a disaster for those all those EU politicians who painted themselves into the corner of a total war against Russia, and even if, say, the Poles, Romanians or even Hungarians get some benefit from such an outcome, it would be unacceptable to the thugs currently running Germany, the UK or even France.

The arguments for and against such an outcome I listed above are just some examples, in reality there are many more arguments on both sides of this issue.  Besides, what made sense 6 years ago might not make sense today.

For example, this discussion focuses on the “what” but not on the “how”.  Let me explain.

I think that I was the first person in the West who noticed and translated a key Russian expression: “non agreement capable” (недоговороспособны).  This expression has been increasingly used by many Russian decision-makers, politicians, political commentators and others.  Eventually, even the folks in the West picked up on this.  So let’s revisit this issue again, keeping in mind that the Russians are now fully convinced that the West is simply “non agreement capable”.  I would argue that up until the Russian ultimatum to the USA and NATO, the Russians still left open the door to some kind of negotiations.  However, and as I predicted BEFORE the Russian ultimatum, Russia made the only possibly conclusion from the West’s stance: if our “partners” (sarcasm) are not agreement capable, then the time has come for Russian unilateralism.

True, ever since 2013, or even 2008, there were already signs that Russian decision making is gradually moving towards unilateralism.  But the Russian ultimatum and SMO are now the “pure” signs of the adoption by Russia of unilateralism, at least towards the consolidated West.

If that is correct, then I would suggest that most arguments above, on both sides of the issue, are have basically become obsolete and irrelevant.

Furthermore, I would like to add a small reminder here: most of the combat operations in the Ukraine are not even conducted by Russian forces, but by LDNR forces supported by Russian C4ISR and firepower.  But in terms of her real military potential, Russia has used less than 10% of her military and Putin was quite candid about this when he said “we have not even begun to act seriously“.

What do you think this war will look like if Russia decides to really unleash her full military power, that is the 90% of forces which are currently not participating in the SMO?

Here is a simple truth which most folks in the West cannot even imagine: Russia does not fear NATO at all.

If anything, the Russians have already understood that they have the means to impose whatever outcome they chose to unilaterally impose on their enemies.  The notion of a US/NATO attack on Russia is simply laughable.  Yes, the USA has a very powerful submarine force which can fire lots of Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles at Russian targets.  And yes, the US has a still robust nuclear triad.  But neither of these will help the USA win a land war against the Russian armed forces.

And no, sending a few thousands US soldiers to this or that NATO country to “reinforce NATO’s eastern flank” is pure PR, militarily, it is not even irrelevant, it’s laughable.  I won’t even comment on the sending of F-35s which is so utterly ridiculous and useless against the Russian Aerospace Forces and air defenses that I won’t even bother arguing with those who don’t understand how bad both the F-35s (and even the F-22s!) really are.

I won’t dignify the EU’s military capabilities with any comment other than this: countries who now seriously advocate taking less frequent showers to “show Putin!” have sunk to such a level of irrelevance and degeneracy that they cannot be taken seriously, most definitely not in Russia.

So where do we go from here?

As I said, I don’t know, there are too many variables.  But a few things seem clear to me:

  • Russia has decided to full unilateralism in her policies towards the Ukraine and the West.  Oh sure, if and when needed, Russians will still agree to talk to their western “partners”, but that is due to the long standing Russian policy of always talking to everybody and anybody, even Russia’s worst enemies.  Why?  Because neither warfare not political unilateralism are an end by themselves, they are only means to achieve a specific political goal.  Thus, it is always good to sit down with your enemy, especially if you have been gently but steadily increasing the pain dial on them for a few months!  The Europeans being the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” (to quite BoJo) they are might cave in quickly and suddenly or, at the very least, they will try to improve their lot by trying to bypass their own sanctions (Uncle Shmuel permitting, however reluctantly).
  • The only party with any real agency left with which Russia could seriously negotiate is the USA, of course.  However, as long as the USA under the total control of the Neocons, this is a futile exercise.
  • Should there ever be any kind of deal made, it would only be one which would be fully and totally verifiable.  Contrary to popular beliefs, a great many treaties and agreements can be crafted to be fully verifiable, that is not a technical problem by itself.  However, with the current ruling classes of the West, no such deal is likely to be hammered out and agreed by all parties involved.

So what is left?

There is a Russian saying which my grandmother taught me as a kid: “the borders of Russia are found at the end of a Cossack’s spear“.  This saying, born from 1000 years of existential warfare with no natural borders simply expresses a basic reality: the Russian armed forces are the ones who decide where Russia ends.  Or you can flip it this way: “the only natural border of Russia are the capabilities of the Russian armed forces”.  You can think of it has pre-1917 Russian unilateralism 🙂

Still, this begs the question of the moral and ethical foundation for such a stance.  After all, does it not suggest that Russia gives herself the right to invade any country it can just because she can?

Not at all!

While there were imperialist and expansionist wars in Russian history, compared to the West’s 1000 years of wall to wall imperialism, Russia is but a meek and gentle lamb!  Not that this excuses anything, it is simply a fact.  The rest of the Russian wars were, almost all, existential wars, for the survival and freedom of the Russian nation.  I cannot think of a more “just war” than one which 1) was imposed upon you and 2) one in which your sole goal is to survive as a free and sovereign nation, especially a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation as the Russian one has always been, in sharp contrast to the enemies of Russia which were always driven by religious, nationalist and even overtly racist fervor (which is what we can all observe again today, long after the end of WWII).

Is this just propaganda?  If you think so, then you can study Russian history or, better, study the current military doctrine of Russia and you will see that Russia’s force planning is entirely defensive, especially at the strategic level.  The best proof of that is that Russia put up with all the ugly racist and russophobic policies of the Ukraine or the three Baltic statelets for decades without taking any action.  But when the Ukraine became a de facto NATO proxy and directly threatened not only the Donbass, but Russia herself (does anybody still remember that days before the SMO, “Ze” declared that the Ukraine should get nuclear weapons?!), then Russia took action.  You have to be either blind or fantastically dishonest not to admit that self-evident fact.

[Sidebar: by the way, the three Baltic statelets, for which Russia has not use at all, are constantly trying to become a military threat to Russia, not only by hosting NATO forces, but also by truly idiotic plans to “lock” the Baltic with Finland.  Combine this was the Nazi anti-Russian Apartheid policies towards the Russian minorities and you would be forgiven for thinking that the Balts really want to be the next ones to be denazified and demilitarized.  But… but… – you will say  – “since they are members of NATO, they cannot be attacked!”.  Well, if you believe that 1) anybody in NATO will fight Russia over these statelets or 2) that NATO has the military means to protect them, then I have got plenty of great bridges to sell you.  Still, the most effective way to deal with the Balts is to let them commit economic suicide, which they basically have already done, and then promise them a few “economic carrots” for a change to a more civilized attitude.  A Russian saying says that “the refrigerator wins against the TV” (победа холодильника над телевизором) which means that when your refrigerator is empty, the propaganda on TV loses its power.  I think that the future of the 3 Baltic statelets will be defined by that aphorism]

So will the Ukraine be partitioned?

Yes, absolutely, it has already lost huge parts of its territory and it will only lose more.

Might the western neighbors decide to take a bite out off the western Ukraine?  Sure!  That is a real possibility.

But these will all be either unilateral actions or very unofficially coordinated understandings wrapped in plausible deniability (like the deployment Polish “peacekeepers” to “protect” the western Ukraine).  But mostly I predict two things will happen: 1) Russia will achieve all of her goals unilaterally without making any deals with anybody and 2) Russia will only allow the Ukraine’s western neighbors to bite off some chucks of the Ukraine if, and only if, those chunks to not represent any military threat to Russia.

Remember what Putin said about Finland and Sweden and Finland joining NATO?  He said that by itself, this is not a problem for Russia.  But he warned that should these countries host US/NATO forces and weapons systems threatening Russia, than Russia will have to take counter-measures.  I think that this is also the Kremlin’s position about the future of any rump-Banderastan and any moves by NATO countries (including Poland, Romania and Hungary) to reacquire territories which historically belonged to them or which have substantial Polish, Romanian and Hungarian minorities.

Right now, we are only in the second phase of the SMO (which centers of the Donbass) and Russia has not even initiated any operations to move deeper into the Ukraine.  As for the real war, the war between Russia and the combined West, it has been going on for no less than decade, or even more, and this war will last much longer than the SMO in the Ukraine.  Finally, the outcome of this war will see  tectonic and profound changes at least as damatic as the changes resulting from the outcomes of WWI and WWII.

The Russians understand that what they now really must do is to truly finish WWII and that the formal end of WWII in 1945 only marked the transition to a different type of warfare still imposed by a united, consolidated West, but now not by German Nazis but by (mostly) US Neocons (which, of course, are typical racist Nazis, except their racism is Anglo and Judaic/Zionist).

I will conclude with a short quote by Bertold Brecht which, I think, is deeply understood by Russia today:

Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don’t rejoice too soon at your escape –
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.”

― Bertolt Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Russia slaughtered a lot of western apes in her history, now is the time to finally deal with the womb from which they crawled out from.

Andrei

PS: FYI – the Russian investigation has declared that the explosions in the airfield in Crimea was an act of sabotage/diversion.  Which was the most likely explanation to begin with.

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