Will The Ukraine De-Militarise Itself?

September 26, 2022

Source

by James Tweedie

Back in August 2022 I wrote that NATO was ‘demilitarising’ itself, sending such huge amounts of arms to the Ukraine before and during the Russian special military operation (SMO) that its armies had nothing left to fight with.

That process has continued, with Slovenia, the northernmost of the former federal republics of Yugoslavia, sending its entire armoured vehicle fleet to Kiev. The last scrapings of the barrel, just announced, are 28 M-55S tanks. These are modernised Soviet-designed T-55s with some Israeli explosive-reactive armour (ERA) blocks added. But underneath that they’re still a 1950s design, four generations behind the latest Russian tanks.

The question now is: can those arms sustain the Ukrainian military effort? And if the Ukraine, the buffed-up proxy for all NATO and the Five Eyes countries too, is losing the war, when will Russia and its Donbass republican allies achieve victory?

I was born in the mid-1970s, during the Cold War, and I grew up under he shadow of the mushroom cloud. So I must confess to being one of those who were anxious for this conflict to be over quickly, before the nuclear powers came to blows. But one can’t hurry history.

War of Attrition

In his bombshell speech on the morning of 21st September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that the apparent slow progress of the SMO by the need to unpick the Gordian Knot of hardened defences the Ukrainian Nazi battalions built up on the front line over eight years.

“A head-on attack against them would have led to heavy losses,” Putin said, “which is why our units, as well as the forces of the Donbass republics, are acting competently and systematically, using military equipment and saving lives, moving step by step to liberate Donbass.”

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu gave a televised interview the same morning. He gave extremely specific figures for both Russian and Ukrainian military casualties. “Our losses to date are 5,937 dead,” he said, but added that 90 per cent of the wounded had recovered and returned to duty.

According to Shoigu, Ukraine has lost 61,207 killed and 49,368 wounded (a total of 110,575 casualties) from an initial military strength of 201-202 thousand. The caveat to that that the Ukraine has conscripted hundreds of thousands of men into territorial defence units since the start of the conflict. That’s greater than a ten-to-one ratio of Ukrainian to Russian casualties

Shoigu also said that over the previous three weeks — since the launch of Kiev’s counter-offensives in Kherson and Kharkov — the Ukrainians had lost more than 7,000 men and 970 pieces of heavy equipment, including 208 tanks, 245 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), 186 other armoured vehicles, 15 aircraft and four helicopters.

That amounts to about 60 per cent of the roughly 350 tanks, and three-quarters of the 328 IFVs, supplied by Western countries since February 24. If one lumps armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in with IFVs, Shoigu is still talking about 30 per cent losses of NATO-supplied heavy armour.

Kiev is preparing for or has already begun more counter-offensives towards Lisichansk in the LPR, Donetsk city, from Ugledar to the south to Mariupol and towards Berdyansk or Melitopol in Zaporozhye oblast. Russian aircraft, missiles and artillery are already hitting the groups of forces concentrated for that. If those offensives go the same way as the others, surely the Ukrainians will soon run out of both men and machines, right?

Blogger and YouTuber Andrei Martyanov, a Russian who served in the Soviet armed forces, is not worried about about how long it takes to get the SMO over and done with. He has argued that his countrymen can win simply by waiting for the Ukrainians to throw themselves onto their bayonets, until they run out of bodies.

With all due respect, allow me to sound a note of scepticism: that assumes that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his Western backers care how many die, or that the Ukrainian people (more than 8 million of whom are now scattered across Europe and even further afield) have the inclination and the opportunity to rise up against the fascist death-squad state.

The daily Russian Ministry of Defence body-count of hundreds of the miserable ‘territorial defence’ conscripts along the Donbass line — untrained and barely-armed middle-aged men press-ganged in the street — is not much of an indicator of progress.

It’s the territorial gains, no matter how slow, that matter. Russia cannot just count on the Ukrainians to suicidally ‘demilitarise’ themselves.

Putin’s announcement of a “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 army reservists was warmly welcomed by pro-Russian social media commentators. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this, coupled with the referenda in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson on reunification with Russia.

But there are caveats. State Duma Defence Committee chairman Andrey Kartapolov clarified that those troops would be deployed to defend the country’s borders and to create “operational depth” — in other words as a second defensive echelon. Martyanov argues that will free up regular front-line troops to conquer more territory. But it remains unclear how many of them were deployed to begin with.

Eyes on the Prize

So what is Russia trying to achieve in the Ukraine? Putin said in his Wednesday morning speech that the main task was to defend the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass. That implies capturing the whole of the oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk.

But some ‘stretch goals’ may be added, including forging a land corridor to the Crimea and maybe even Transnistria, the Russian protectorate in Moldova.

Russia’s other main aim was to stop the Ukraine from joining NATO. That would allow the US to base nuclear weapons just 300 miles from Moscow in a position to launch a first strike attack.

US President Joe Biden’s response to Putin at the UN General Assembly later that day included the comment that “a nuclear war cannot be won — and must never be fought.” While true, that observation was shamelessly hypocritical. It was likely only made out of fear after Putin’s warning that Russia takes national defence and nuclear deterrence seriously.

Securing the Ukraine’s neutrality is not just part of “demilitarisation”: it could also be called “de-Nazification”, since NATO and its shadow the European Union (EU) were behind the 2014 coup by the Azov battalion and their ilk.

But Russia needs a legitimately-elected head of state to sign up to that, and right now that man is Zelensky. A peace deal struck with any military junta which might depose the comedian-turned-president would only be denounced by the next elected leader.

Even if a new civilian government was elected on a pro-peace, non-alignment platform (as Zelensky was), it would only last as long as it took the US, UK and EU to organise a repeat of the 2004-05 ‘Orange Revolution’ and the 2014 ‘Euromaidan’ coups d’etat.

The crazy Ukro-Nazis and their enablers have to ‘own’ the peace and the agreement to cede the Donbass and Crimea — and thereby lose all credibility.

But the Ukraine had already lost the Crimea and effective control over the Donbass before the SMO even kicked off. Kiev won’t sign any peace deal unless it has something else to lose. If Moscow is also serious about readmitting Zaporozhye and Kherson to the Russian motherland following a ‘Yes’ vote in the coming referenda, then there’s nothing to bargain with there either. Russia may need to capture other territories to use as bargaining chips.

To do so, it would have to inflict a defeat on the Ukrainian armed forces that would force them to retreat — not only from Donetsk and Lugansk but from other areas, maybe all the way back to the Dnieper river that divides the country in two.

Such a victory can’t be won unless Russia regains the initiative and actively starts pushing the Ukrainian armed forces back.

The Great M.I.C. Cash-In

The Kiev regime’s aims are clearly to keep grifting off its Western sponsors as long as possible, before fleeing to the sunny tax havens where they have billions stashed. But what does the West really want out of this war?

The stated aims of Washington and friends are to defend Ukraine’s territory and sovereignty (code for invading the Donbass and Crimea and ethnically cleansing them), along with its non-existent “right” to become a NATO launchpad, to “weaken” Russia militarily (by causing as many casualties as possible) and to put “international pressure” on Putin (economic warfare with the goal of regime change).

One should avoid making predictions, but let’s say the US and its satellites fail in all of that (since they have done so far). What will they try to win as a consolation prize?

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an unelected bureaucrat who made a huge mess of her previous job as German defence minister, has vowed that sanctions on Russia will continue for years to come. That the sanctions are crippling the economies of EU member states, especially her home country, doesn’t seem to bother UVDL. And seeing the EU and its appointed commissioners are increasingly imposing their foreign policy diktats on the 27 governments, she might get her way.

More importantly, NATO desperately needs to save face — now that it has exposed by Russia as a paper tiger. Hence the triumphant crowing over moves, far from complete, to grant existing de-facto allies Sweden and Finland formal membership.

The West may try to claim a kind of moral victory on the basis that it may take Russia more than a year to defeat ‘brave little Ukraine’, or be forced to wipe out most of its military-age male population to win. But whose idea was that? Zelensky, Biden and all other Western leaders have made that bed.

But NATO is really just a pyramid scheme to sell overpriced Western, especially US, arms to its vassals. And therein lies a contradiction, because the US military-industrial complex (MIC) has competition from those of the UK, Germany, France and even Sweden — a country with a smaller population than the city of Moscow.

The Ukraine has used the referenda on unification with Russia as the latest pretext to demand Germany donate its newest models of Leopard 2 tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles. But why doesn’t Kiev ask the US for some of its M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys instead? The Pentagon has many more to spare.

The truth is that neither Germany nor the US can afford to have its supposedly-invincible wunderwaffen shown up, and blown up, in battle with Russian forces. Despite weighing only two-thirds as much as the US and German behemoths, the Russian tanks have about the same effective armour protection — thanks to state-of-the-art ERA technology — and guns of equal destructive power. And there are a lot more Russian tanks, anti-tank missiles, attack jets and helicopters on the battlefield in the Ukraine.

The US has only managed to sell the M1 to eight other countries, compared to 18 for the Leopard 2. The export model of the Abrams is ‘Nerfed’ by removing the depleted uranium rods from its composite armour, so countries like Australia and Saudi Arabia get sub-par tanks. The only overseas customer for the British Challenger 2 is Oman, while the French Leclerc tank has been exported to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

By contrast, the Russian T-72 is currently in service in 40 countries, including both Russia and the Ukraine. Like the Russian intervention in Syria, the war in the Ukraine could prove to be a serious marketing tool for the Russian arms industry — eating the US MIC’s lunch.

Medvedev Warns West That Russia’s Nuclear Threat ’Is Not A Bluff’

September 27, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that Moscow has the right to defend itself with nuclear weapons if it is pushed beyond its limits and that this is “certainly not a bluff.”

Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, also warned that Moscow has the right to respond “without much consultation,” as tensions rise with the West over referendums held in large swathes of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

“We will make efforts to prevent the emergence of nuclear weapons with our hostile neighbors such as the NATO-controlled Ukraine,” Medvedev underlined, adding that “The security of Washington, London, and Brussels is way important for NATO than the fate of the diminishing Ukraine which nobody wants.”

Medvedev has regularly issued warning statements to the West and Ukraine in recent months, underlining his transformation from an apparently Western-minded liberalizer as president from 2008-2012 to strident geopolitical hawk.

Russia dmitry medvedev

About Partial Mobilization (Andrei Martyanov)

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People – Book Review

September 22, 2022 

The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People, by  Walter Russell Mead. (Photo: Book Cover)

By Jim Miles

(The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.  Walter Russell Mead.  Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2022.)

In today’s world, a clear understanding of the relationship between the US and Israel is important – this is not the work to clear it up. Walter Mead’s hypothesis is that Israel does not control US governance, but that many other forces have shaped the relationship. With that, he is correct and in an overly long convoluted manner he is able to make that sort of clear. “The Arc of the Covenant,” for the arguments presented could have been well worked in half of its almost six hundred pages.

Instead, the book is a mix of theology, sociology, geopolitics, domestic politics, history, and biographical analysis of – mostly – various presidents of the US It really succeeds with none of them. It contains far too much theorizing and conjecture, discusses at length beliefs and morals, and has far too many unanswered rhetorical questions (okay, rhetorical questions really seek no answer, but there are far too many of them). The reader will not come away with a good understanding of Israel as the vast majority of the discussion is centered on US political maneuvering.

To his credit Mead is quite critical of many US failures around the world but mostly in the Middle East. Unfortunately that comes from a perspective, unstated but implied, that the US is the indispensable nation and acts with good intentions because of its moral strength and liberal beliefs. He does use “exceptionalism” frequently, implied or directly, giving support to the thought that Mead, without stating it directly, is a firm believer in the US being the world’s global policeman, “by the courageous use of necessary force.”

Omissions

There are far too many problems with the arguments presented in this work to counter them here, but it is what is missing that makes the arguments so weak.

While he discusses “national interests” and the ability of the US to use force to maintain peace (a lot of an oxymoron) he never discusses the US as an empire. Certainly the evil Russians and Chinese, and before World War I the Germans, Russian, and Ottomans were all the cause of that war as contending empires. British, French, Dutch, and other European empires are mentioned in passing, but he does not accept, or will not articulate, that the US is the largest empire the world has seen – militarily and economically, the two going hand in glove.

The massive 750 military bases around the world, mostly surrounding Russia and China, and that ability to use the global reserve currency, the petro-dollar (never mentioned in the book although oil is continually mentioned as a strategic value) and its associated institutions (WTO, BIS, World Bank, SWIFT et al) to impose destructive sanctions on countries that do not abide by its wishes is the modern form of imperialism.

He reiterates several times the US role in decolonization without recognition that it was the US that denied Vietnam its fair and democratic elections, denied Korea the right to vote for its post war government, created the CIA with its initial successes overthrowing governments in Iran and Guatemala in 1953. He admits US errors in Iraq, Libya, and – well not quite Syria, it was the “brutal” Russians that destroyed Syria, even while US forces remain in large parts of the country to this day. There is no mention of Operation Gladio, the occupation of Japan and Germany that continues today, nor the seemingly endless list of interventions to overthrow unfriendly regimes either through economic or military power.

Israel

When it comes to discussing Israel there are equally large omissions. A reasonable essay on Herzl’s machinations is given, but after that, he generally uses only passing mention of Israel’s settlements and the wall as the main components of Palestinian strife. He accepts that some people think of Israel as a “colonial-settler” enterprise but dismisses that thought as being on the radical left and of little importance.

He dismisses the idea that Israel is a racist (actually he never mentions that with Israel) and an apartheid state. The book is recent enough that the author is surely aware of the major institutional labels of Israel as apartheid, including Israel’s own B’etselem.

Nor does he get into the details of the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people as an ongoing process. The many discriminatory laws and policies, house destructions, the imprisonment, and the torture as an everyday occurrence of Palestinian life are never considered.

At the same time, Mead does not create a coherent history of Israel. In his concluding remarks Mead states, “….for both Israelis and Palestinians, two peoples whose fates have become intertwined in ways that neither side wanted or foresaw.” This is absolutely not true, as Jabotinsky, Herzl, Weismann, Ben Gurion and others – including most of the British political establishment – knew that depositing Jewish immigrants on land owned by Palestinians was a source of major problems as obviously the Palestinians recognized it as well.

He continues with “their private quarrel must be fought out in the glare of global publicity.” That at least is good news, as the balance of power, out of sight of global publicity, hugely puts Israel in a dominating position.

Finally he concludes “I have tried to shine a useful light on the relationship between the ways Americans think about the world and the approaches they develop to act in it.” Mission not accomplished as per the errors and omissions mentioned above among many others.

Current Events

“The Arc of a Covenant” was published shortly before the Russian invasion in Ukraine to prevent the ongoing shelling of the Donbas people by Ukrainian forces. Since then, it is clearly demonstrated that the “prime directive” (p. 13) of the US empire is the destruction of the Russian state and the containment of the power of China.

We are entering a new era where “the ways American think about the world and the approaches they develop to act in it” are clearly global dominance through financial and military means. All the purported values and morals are worthless when the true history of US imperial adventures are understood.

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

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Putin’s Address: West’s Anti-Russia Policies, Partial Mobilization & Referendums in Ukraine

Putin’s Address: West’s Anti-Russia Policies, Partial Mobilization & Referendums in Ukraine

September 21, 2022

By Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio

by Oleg Burunov – originally published by Sputnik News – All Links to Gospa News articles have been added after

In an address to the nation on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on a number of pressing issues related to the West’s stance on Russia and Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.

‘The West Wants to Destroy Russia’

Putin pointed out that the West’s current goal is to destroy Russia, as they say openly that they managed to make the USSR collapse and now it’s time for Russia.

“The purpose of this West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country. They are already directly saying that in 1991 they were able to split the Soviet Union, and now the time has come for Russia itself, and that it should disintegrate into many mortally warring regions and regions,” the Russian president stressed.

According to him, such plans have been hatched in the West for a long time, as they encouraged gangs of international terrorists in the Caucasus, promoted the installation of NATO’s offensive infrastructure close to Russia’s borders and made total Russophobia their weapon.

Putin said that the Western elites are targeting Russia with their aggressive policy in order to maintain their dominance.

“[We talk] about the aggressive policy of a number of the Western elites, who are striving with all their might to maintain their dominance, and for this purpose they are trying to block or suppress any sovereign independent centers of development in order to further brutally impose their will on other countries and nations, to plant their fake values,” according to the Russian president.

West ‘Crossed Every Line’ in Its Anti-Russian Policy

Putin also said that the West “has crossed every line in its aggressive anti-Russian policy,” adding that “we constantly hear threats against our country and our people.”

“Some irresponsible politicians in the West talk about plans to organize the supply of long-range offensive weapons to Ukraine, systems that are capable of launching strikes against Crimea and other regions of Russia”.

According to the Russian president, such terrorist strikes, including those using Western weapons, are already being carried out on settlements in Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions.

“In real time, NATO conducts reconnaissance throughout Russia’s southern areas, using modern systems, aircraft, ships, satellites, and strategic drones,” Putin said.

Partial Mobilization in Russia

Putin announced that in light of the latest developments in Donbass, he had signed a decree on partial mobilization in Russia.

“In this situation, I consider it necessary to take the following decisions, they are fully adequate to the threats we face. Namely: to protect our Motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff on conducting partial mobilization in Russia,” the Russian president said.

He added that mobilization will begin on Wednesday, noting that only reservists will be subject to conscription, first of all those who have relevant experience and military professions.

Russia to Help Maintain Security at Referendums in Donbass

The Russian president also said that Russia will do everything to ensure security at the upcoming self-determination referendums in Donbass and other Ukrainian regions which have appealed to Moscow, seeking its support.

“The parliaments of the people’s republics in Donbass as well as civil-military administrations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have decided to hold the referendums on the destiny of these territories and appealed to Russia, asking to support this step. I stress that we will do everything to ensure security at the referendums for people to express their will,” Putin underscored.

Putin also referred to “the policy of intimidation, terror, and violence” pursued by Kiev with respect to Donbass residents, a policy that Putin said becomes “more massive, terrible and barbaric.”He noted that Kiev’s regime of repressions against its own citizens established shortly after the 2014 armed coup had been strengthened across Ukraine.Putin emphasized that he knows that “the majority of people living in the territories liberated from neo-Nazis, including first of all the historical lands of Novorossiya, do not want to be under the yoke of the neo-Nazi regime.”

“In Zaporozhye, the Kherson region, as well as Lugansk and Donetsk, people have seen and are seeing the atrocities that neo-Nazis conduct in the occupied areas of the Kharkov region. The heirs of Bandera and Nazi punishers kill people, torture, throw them in prison, settle scores, crack down, abuse civilians”, the Russian president said.

He added that up to 7.5 million people lived in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR) and (LPR) as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions before the outbreak of hostilities.

“Many of them were forced to become refugees and leave their homes. Those who remained – about 5 million people – today are subjected to constant artillery and rocket fire from neo-Nazi militants, who hit hospitals and schools and organize terrorist attacks against civilians. We have no moral right to hand over people close to us to be torn to pieces by executioners, and we cannot but respond to their sincere desire to determine their own fate,” Putin underlined.

Russian Forces Act ‘Competently’ in Ukraine

Touching upon Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, Putin said that Russian forces are acting competently, liberating the territory step by step.He noted that the Lugansk People’s Republic had already been almost completely cleared of neo-Nazis, and that fighting in in the Donetsk People’s Republic is underway.

“The Kiev occupation regime has created a deeply echeloned line of long-term fortifications. Directly assaulting them would have resulted in heavy losses, which is why our units, as well as those of the Donbass republics, act competently and use the military in order to protect personnel. They, step by step, are liberating Donetsk land, clearing cities and towns from neo-Nazis, and helping people whom the Kiev regime has turned into hostages and a human shield,” Putin said.

He stressed that the main goal of the Russian special operation in Ukraine remains liberation of Donbass.

Putin announced the special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine on February 24 following the Donbass republics’ requests to protect them from Kiev attacks.

by Oleg Burunov

originally published by Sputnik News



Disclosure:  Sputnik is a Russian state-owned news agency, news website platform, and radio broadcast service. It was established by the Russian government-owned news agency Rossiya Segodnya on 10 November 2014.

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Gonzalo Lira: Notes On Being Unpersoned

September 19, 2022

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.

REVEALED: HOW THE US AND UK STOPPED PEACE DEAL IN UKRAINE

SEPTEMBER 14TH, 2022

Source

By Lee Camp

new report shows that Russia and Ukraine had negotiated a peace deal back in April, but the U.S. and U.K. intervened to stop it. So Russia and Ukraine wanted to end the war four months ago. They were going to end the horror and death traumatizing the Ukrainian people but NATO refused because they wanted their proxy war to continue.

Let’s take a step back and think about this.

Let’s forget the fact that the U.S. and NATO helped create the war in Ukraine by breaking their promise to Russia not to expand NATO.

Let’s forget that the U.S. perpetrated the 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Let’s forget the fact that many top US officials, including former CIA head Leon Panetta, have admitted that this is a proxy war between the U.S., NATO, and Russia.

Let’s forget the fact that Biden and Congress have sent tens of billions of dollars of weapons and aid to an army that is at least partially Nazis who don’t do a very good job of hiding that they’re Nazis.

And let’s forget the fact that even U.S. propaganda mouthpieces CBS and CNN have admitted that only about 30% of the billions of dollars of weapons have made it to the frontlines in Ukraine. The rest has been stolen and sold on the black market to terrorists and people who like using grenade launchers as coasters.

Let’s forget the fact that the U.S. government has admitted that they’re lying about what’s going on in Ukraine because they say it’s justified when in an information war.

Let’s forget the fact that a U.S.-funded committee in the Ukrainian government has called anyone reporting the truth about the war an “information terrorist” who should be prosecuted for war crimes. This includes U.S. Congressman Rand Paul and Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.

Let’s forget th

e fact that the sanctions against Russia have backfired and are destroying the lives of average Americans.

Let’s forget that documents have already revealed that the U.S. and the West have been planning to plunder Ukraine for years.

Let’s forget all of that – and that’s a lot of forgetting. That’s Joe Biden on his worst day.

Even with all of that forgetting. Even if you’re still just waving your Ukrainian flag and refusing to hear any of those facts that I’ve just listed, would it matter to you that a new report shows the U.S. and its allies actually tore up a peace deal, stopping it from going forward, way back in April?

That’s right. Way back in April, Russia and Ukraine had tentatively agreed to a peace deal. A deal that could’ve ended all this senseless killing.

David DeCamp reports, “Russian and Ukrainian officials tentatively agreed on a potential peace deal during negotiations back in April 2022, according to a Foreign Affairs article. … The terms of that settlement would have been for Russia to withdraw to the positions it held before launching the invasion on February 24. In exchange, Ukraine would ‘promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.’”

That sounds incredible. It sounds like it could’ve ended an immense amount of suffering.

Roger Waters’ open letter to “Ze”‘s wife

September 09, 2022

“Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”
An Open letter to Mrs. Olena Zelenska from Roger Waters
Sunday 4th September 2022

Dear Mrs. Zelenska,

My heart bleeds for you and all the Ukrainian and Russian families, devastated by the terrible war in Ukraine. I’m in Kansas City, USA. I have just read a piece on BBC.com apparently taken from an interview you have already recorded for a program called ‘Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg’ which is to be broadcast on the BBC today, September 4th. BBC.com quotes you as saying that “If support for Ukraine is strong, the crisis will be shorter.” Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by “support for Ukraine”? If by “support for Ukraine” you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a fire fight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now, particularly because, in this case, most of the fuel is (a) being thrown into the fire from Washington DC, which is at a relatively safe distance from the conflagration, and (b) because the ‘fuel throwers’ have already declared an interest in the war going on for as long as possible. I fear that we, and by we I mean people like you and me who actually want peace in Ukraine, who don’t want the outcome to be that you have to fight to the last Ukrainian life, and possibly even, if the worst comes to the worst, to the last human life. If we, instead, wish to achieve a different outcome we may have to seek a different route and that route may lie in your husband’s previously stated good intentions.

Yes, I mean the platform upon which he so laudably ran for the office of President of Ukraine, the platform upon which he won his historic landslide victory in the democratic election in 2019. He stood on the election platform of the following promises.

1. To end the civil war in the East and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk.
2. And to ratify and implement the rest of the body of the Minsk 2 agreements.

One can only assume that your husband’s electoral policies didn’t sit well with certain political factions in Kiev and that those factions persuaded your husband to diametrically change course ignoring the peoples mandate. Sadly, your old man agreed to those totalitarian, anti-democratic dismissals of the will of the Ukrainian people, and the forces of extreme nationalism that had lurked, malevolent, in the shadows, have, since then, ruled the Ukraine. They have, also since then, crossed any number of red lines that had been set out quite clearly over a number of years by your neighbors the Russian Federation and in consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war.

I won’t go on.

If I’m wrong, please help me to understand how?

If I’m not wrong, please help me in my honest endeavors to persuade our leaders to stop the slaughter, the slaughter which serves only the interests of the ruling classes and extreme nationalists both here in the West, and in your beautiful country, at the expense of the rest of us ordinary people both here in the West, and in the Ukraine, and in fact ordinary people everywhere all over the world.

Might it not be better to demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war?

Love
Roger Waters

source

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

Which crime syndicate murdered Darya Dugina?

September 01, 2022

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

The vile assassination of Darya Dugina, or terror at the gates of Moscow, is not really solved – as much as the FSB seems to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours.

It’s now established that the main perpetrator, Azov batallion asset Natalia Vovk, did not act alone but had an Ukrainian sidekick, one Bogdan Tsyganenko, who provided false license plates for the Mini Cooper she was driving and helped to assemble a crude car bomb inside a rented garage in the southwest of Moscow.

According to the FSB, Vovk followed the Dugin family to the Tradition festival, and detonated the car bomb by remote control. The only missing pieces seem to be when the bomb was placed under Dugin’s SUV, and by whom; and whether such a sophisticated cross-border targeted assassination was aimed at both father and daughter.

As recalled by geopolitical analyst Manlio Dinucci, even the Los Angeles Times had made it public that “since 2015, the CIA has been training Ukrainian intelligence agents in a secret facility in the United States”.

Russian intel was more than aware of it. In fact, in an interview to Italian media in December 2021, Darya Dugina herself, based on FSB information, revealed, “they had identified 106 Ukrainian agents who were preparing attacks and massacres in 37 regions of Russia.”

Yet now a high-ranking member of Russian intel – who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous – has shed some information that, in his words, “will add the whole picture to this incident.”

It goes without saying that this is as much as he’s been allowed to reveal by his superiors. According to his analysis, “the tragedy was in the evening. In the next two days the FSB shared the whole data about SBU people who were involved with the incident. The majority of people think that it was a political kill. There are a lot of political kills in Ukraine but this tragedy has no political root. It is actually connected to organized crime money flow.”

The source asserts, “Darya was inside the patriotic movement and had connections in Moscow and Donetsk area. As you know there is a large money flow to the Donbas to restore the economy. This huge money flow provides an extreme incentive for criminal activity. Donetsk crime organizations are more dangerous than others because they operate in the war territory. Thus, someone was afraid that Darya was going to compromise money flow schemes by making this public.”

The source makes the important point that “Boris Nemtsov [a key actor in the liberal reforms imposed on post-Soviet Russia] was also killed by an organized crime group who was afraid that he might compromise some money flow schemes by making them public despite the fact that he was a quite powerful politician. Also [journalist] Anna Politkovkaya. She was given $900,000.00 in cash at Chubais election office during the election days for a political purpose. But some other guys knew it and grabbed the bag. She was slain.”

Cui bono?

Disclosure: I prize my friendship with Alexander Dugin – we met in person in Iran, Lebanon and Russia: a towering intellectual and extremely sensitive spirit, eons away from the crude stereotype of “Putin’s brain” or worse, “Putin’s Rasputin” slapped on him by Western media sub-zoology specimens. His vision of Eurasianism should be granted the merit of an ample intellectual discussion, a real dialogue of civilizations. But obviously the current woke incarnation of the collective West lacks the sophistication to engage in real debate. So he’s been demonized to Kingdom Come.

Darya, who I had the honor to meet in Moscow, was a young, shining star with an ebullient personality who graduated in History of Philosophy at Moscow University: her main research was on the political philosophy of late Neoplatonism. Obviously that had nothing to do with the profile of a ruthless operative capable of “compromising” money flows. She did not seem to understand finance, much less “dark” financial ops.  What she did understand is how the Ukrainian battlefield mirrored a larger than life clash of civilizations: globalism against Eurasianism.

Back to the assertions by the Russian intel agent, they cannot be simply dismissed. For instance, at the time he came up with the definitive version of the hit on the Moskva – the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

As he emailed to a select audience, “the destruction of the flagship of the fleet was planned as a strategic task. Therefore, the operation of delivering the PKR [anti-ship missile] to Odessa took place in strict secrecy and under the cover of electronic warfare. As the ‘killer’ of the cruiser, they chose the PKR, but not the Neptune, as spread by Ukrainian propaganda, but the fifth-generation NSM PKR (Naval Strike Missile, range of destruction 185 km, developed by Norway-USA). The NSM is able to reach the target along a programmed route thanks to the GPS-adjusted INS, independently find the target by flying up to it at an altitude of 3-5 meters. When reaching the target, the NSM maneuvers and puts electronic interference. A highly sensitive thermal imager is used as a homing system, which independently determines the most vulnerable places of the target ship. A stationary container installation secretly delivered to Ukraine was used as a launcher. Thus, after the damage to the cruiser Moskva, which led to its flooding (…) the Black Sea Fleet, unfortunately, no longer has a single ship with a long-range anti-aircraft missile system. But not everything is so bad. A three-band radar ‘Sky-M’ is located in Crimea, which is capable of tracking all air targets at a range of up to 600 km.”

So there you go. The hit on the Moskva was a NATO operation, ordered by the US. The Russian Ministry of Defense knows – and the Americans know they know. Retaliation will come – in the time and place of Moscow’s choosing.

The same will apply to the response for Darya Dugina’s assassination. As it stands, we may have 3 hypotheses.

1. The FSB official story, pointing to the SBU in Kiev. The FSB is obviously revealing only a fraction of what they know.

2. The high-level Russian intel agent pointing towards organized crime.

3. The usual Zionist suspects – who loathe Dugin for his fierce anti-globalism: and that would point to a Mossad operation, who in many aspects enjoys way more qualified local intel in Russia than the CIA and MI6.

A fourth hypothesis would point to a perfect storm: a confluence of interests of all the above organized crime syndicates. Once again, resorting to hegemonic American pop culture, and to borrow from Twin Peaks; “The owls are not what they seem”. Black ops can also reveal themselves as much darker than what they seem.

Western Propaganda and its Aftermath

August 31, 2022

Source

by Asia Teacher

As President Zelensky attains celebrity media status, revered by western political leaders and Hollywood’s glitterati all jostling for a photo shoot, let’s not forget the propaganda behind it and the consequences now beginning to emerge.

The western propaganda we’re currently experiencing is nothing new. Today’s President Putin joins yesterday’s Middle East “monsters” as current Ukrainian Nazi militias become “freedom fighters” and the Russians become “Nazis.” Likewise, the previous Middle Eastern terrorist groups became “moderate Islamist’s” but only if they were fighting for a US led NATO in Iraq and Syria. Yet such is the power of belief on an already stupefied majority western population that it’s become factual.

In our upside down world, reality has long vanished to 15% of our western leaders who regard themselves as the “international community.” On August 24th, only 54 countries out of 193 supported a UN resolution which condemned Russia for not stopping its intervention in the Ukraine, which begs the question of why, if the majority population loathe today’s western politicians, do they passionately and often even fanatically believe their every word?

Supplying weapons and financial aid to the Ukraine which enables Russia to get bogged down in an endless war with mounting casualties, coupled with sanctions to bring down Russian middle-class living standards is just another attempt at regime change. Moreover, having failed to control the Middle East oil producers, it has not gone unnoticed that Russia is itself a major gas and oil producer.

Bathsheba Crocker, US Ambassador to the UN warned in the New York Times on February 21st before the incursion occurred that Russia had a ‘hit list’ of people destined for arrest, detention and torture including “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons.” How she knew that is not explained, but the inclusion of homosexuals as a vulnerable group now appears mandatory in any media story.

From allegations presented as facts by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova and picked up by The British Daily Mail and the US New York Times in May, of multiple repeated child rapes and murders near Kiev. Meanwhile, Newsweek also in May ran the headline “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team”; what kind of sick minds dream this up?! Although written in a news format, both headlines carried disclaimers that the content remained unverified. In which case, why report it as news? One assumes that in time these stories will join Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and the Ghost of Kyiv hoaxes.

The problem with current western propaganda is that it relies on sensationalism and each manufactured story must outdo the last to retain its WOW effect. In today’s world, neighbors Poland and Slovakia propose building an oil “peace pipeline” as opposed to what Polish President Morawiecki refers to as the German Nordstream “war pipeline.” Meanwhile, debate continues to rage over why Russia is shelling itself in the Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant with American made missiles and fragments of US HIMARS missiles found in Yelenovka, where 57 Azov prisoners died and 130 were wounded whilst giving testimony for the upcoming War Crimes trials. Getting rid of the evidence?

Who will western politicians blame if the weapons they’re sending to the Ukraine are responsible for another Chernobyl type incident as inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrive at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and before entering suggest the facility be handed back to the Ukrainian authorities. Am I the only one aghast at the thought of a nuclear plant in the hands of the Ukraine armed forces which number Neo-Nazi militia battalions in their ranks?

That the Ukraine is not about freedom and democracy but Russian regime change isn’t a well-kept secret. A year before the 2014 overthrow of Yanukovych, Carl Gershman, Director of US NGO National Endowment for Democracy (NED) had already stated: “Ukraine is the biggest prize … If it could be pulled away from Russia and into the West, Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” More recently, on the first of March 1st 2022, a spokesman for the British Prime Minister said, “but the measures [sanctions] we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime.” Or as Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance stated, “We are going to wage a total economic and financial war on Russia.”

Conversely, the opposite has happened. At the beginning of the intervention the ruble stood at 85 to the dollar. Yet today it’s 61.35; in other words, the ruble is actually strengthening against the dollar. No matter the amount or severity of sanctions, major oil producers, despite what any other calamities befall them, do not go bankrupt.

Yet six months into the incursion, the adverse effects of sanctions on energy and industrial fertilizers are becoming all too visible in the west. Soaring inflation and food prices, record bankruptcies and huge energy price increases as millions of Ukrainian immigrants flood into an already weakened and recession hit Western Europe. Who will blink first?

Although the west is currently in dire social and economic straits, removing President Putin and replacing him with another 1990’s Yeltsin type puppet would be a major boost for the west and Wall Street of course.

In our highly technologically advanced western societies, cheap energy and lots of it is why we exist as first-world societies. The alternative and sustainable green energy myth hasn’t happened as it doesn’t exist. If we take away our lifeblood support, what we’re beginning to experience is a terminal collapse. Despite the political pessimism and hype, when the present situation comes to an end our economies are not going to bounce back, the lost jobs aren’t going to return and inflation will not magically return to near zero. This is it, the final battle of civilizations and personally, I can do without identity politics, the homosexuality agenda, drug and crime epidemics and open borders.

Asia Teacher is a UK citizen, retired teacher of English plus Social and Political Science.

The Futility of Dialogue with Idiots and Liars

August 26, 2022

Source

The entire crisis could have been avoided with much less loss of life if the NATO powers had responded to Russia’s long-held security concerns.

Two weeks ago, the Strategic Culture Foundation proposed an urgent, simple test: stop the artillery shelling on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. The ZNPP – Europe’s largest nuclear power station – continues to come under military attack thereby risking a nuclear catastrophe.

It is an incredible siege situation. And one that illustrates – for anyone willing to see it, that is – the profound criminality of the NATO-backed war in Ukraine against Russia. There is nothing that the NATO powers and their lying media will stoop to. In a related illustration, the British would-be next Prime Minister Liz Truss this week said she was willing to use nuclear weapons even if it caused global annihilation. This is the same psychopathic mentality that the world has to endure from such Western regimes.

This week, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations presented photographic evidence to the Security Council that showed irrefutably that the ZNPP is being shelled by the NATO-backed Kiev regime. The trajectory of fire is from the territory held by the Ukrainian military and the weaponry includes M777 howitzers supplied by the United States.

The Kiev regime’s claims are patently absurd. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claims that Russian forces are attacking the ZNPP despite the obvious fact that the Russian military took over the station in early March, days after it launched its security operation on February 24 to neutralize mounting NATO threats from Ukraine. The Western governments and news media continue to indulge Zelensky’s blatant lie by amplifying the perverse accusations of “self-sabotage” by Russia. The United Nations’ chief António Guterres has also shamefully indulged the nonsense by pretending to “not know the truth” about “conflicting claims”.

There are no “conflicting claims”. It is starkly evident that the NATO-backed Kiev regime is engaging in nuclear terrorism by willfully attacking the ZNPP. NATO and its Ukrainian proxy are using the threat of nuclear catastrophe to demand that Russian forces withdraw from the ZNPP. It is entirely fortunate that Russia’s military secured the ZNPP at an early stage. Otherwise, the Kiev regime and its NATO handlers would have had a free hand to use nuclear blackmail.

Not for the first time, this week the Western powers abused the Security Council by allowing the Ukrainian leader to address the forum. The Council’s rules stipulate that addresses can only be made by in-person attendees. Yet, for the second time, Zelensky was permitted to speak to the Council via video link. His speech was a travesty of lies, accusing Russia of nuclear terrorism among other hysterical claims of causing world hunger and global inflation.

When Russia’s ambassador Vassily Nebenzia took his turn to set the record straight at the Security Council hearing, the Ukrainian leader refused to listen, his video link conveniently cut off.

Nevertheless, the Russian envoy presented the evidence of NATO-backed military strikes on the ZNPP and went on to cogently state that the crisis in Ukraine has been systematically instigated by the NATO powers and its Kiev proxy over the past eight years since the CIA-backed coup in 2014. Nebenzia remarked on how Western powers and the Kiev regime are living in a “parallel reality”.

It is common to hear these days how the world is subjected to a post-truth condition. In plainer language that means a world of lies, falsehoods, distortions, misinformation and disinformation. The crisis in Ukraine, the NATO powers and the Kiev regime are an embodiment of this fiendish reality.

Western regimes accuse Russia of unprovoked aggression in Ukraine. (The same regimes that have slaughtered their way through Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and continue to illegally bomb Syria, to name but a few victim nations.) They declare they are defending sovereignty and democracy. This is a preposterous charade that flies in the face of facts that the Western powers weaponized a Nazi regime in Ukraine to destabilize Russia. (An echo of how they weaponized Hitler’s Third Reich for the same purpose more than eight decades ago.) The Kiev regime has been killing its own people for eight years and committed countless war crimes. The relentless attacks on the ZNPP are totally consistent with the depraved conduct. Elsewhere, the NATO-backed regime has shelled chemical and oil plants in the Donbass territory. The Western media decline to report on these violations because that would reveal the criminal mentality and practice of the Kiev regime and its NATO sponsors.

Russia’s military operation to neutralize the growing NATO threat in Ukraine has been effective. The poisonous boil has been lanced and NATO’s decades-long aggressive expansionism against Russia has been checked. Yet Western media – the propaganda ministry that it is – claim that Russia’s intervention has been a failure. The United States and its NATO allies continue to flood Ukraine with offensive weapons even while the Kiev regime is using nuclear terrorism with these weapons and while Russian forces are destroying the Ukrainian military. That’s not a contradiction; it is a green light for more war and profits for the American military-industrial complex that underpins U.S. capitalism.

The entire crisis could have been avoided with much less loss of life if the NATO powers had responded to Russia’s long-held security concerns. But that assumes the NATO powers would have been interested in avoiding war. The damning conclusion is that the United States and its imperialist allies have always wanted the present war in order to pursue a geopolitical ambition of confronting Russia. In the same way that the U.S.-led axis wants to precipitate a war with China over Taiwan and other bogus issues.

American-led Western capitalism is addicted to war for its own ghoulish survival. A world of peaceful relations is fundamentally anathema to Washington and its vassals. But the ruling regimes can’t very well admit that pernicious motive, so they have to cover up their criminal agenda with deceptions about democracy, rules-based order, human rights and other laughable pretensions. Western media provide the necessary cosmetics for the ghoulish reality. The fact is wars and destruction are the oxygen for U.S. global power and its imperial lackeys. Dozens of wars since World War II waged by the U.S. and its international crime syndicate of NATO accomplices, especially its British henchman, attest to that naked, ugly truth.

The Ukrainian comedian-turned-president Zelensky is a liar and idiot. But he is only a bit-player in a bigger circus of imperial kabuki. His regime has used human shields and civilian centers as cover for its despicable ends. It has committed false-flag massacres in a vile attempt to blame Russia. It has diverted Russian gas from European markets while refusing to pay its energy debts. And it continues to extort Western taxpayers to foot the bill for its depredations – all too willingly obliged by Western regimes. To pay for the global-scale extortion racket, the Western public is being told to take cold showers and get used to “the end of abundance”, as France’s President (and former bankster) Emmanuel Macron haughtily advised this week.

The farce this week at the UN Security Council in which Western powers brazenly snubbed the evidence of their own criminality while giving a platform to Zelensky to peddle his ridiculous lies demonstrates a profound dilemma. Any attempt to engage idiots and liars through reasoned dialogue is doomed to fail. When dialogue and diplomacy are made futile then conflict is made all but inevitable. That dilemma has been a constant hallmark of relations with Western powers for many years. The present crisis in Ukraine is the tragic outcome. Lamentably, more such crises can be expected because the idiots and liars never stop.

Western regimes are collapsing from their own inherent loss of legitimacy. That loss is entirely due to their lies becoming more manifest despite their servile media facade. Collapse can be good. It is incontestably good in the case of ending endemic corruption. The ineffable danger, however, is what Western elites will do to avoid historic collapse. As the NATO-backed Kiev regime is demonstrating through its nuclear terrorism and as Britain’s idiotic politician Liz Truss revealed by her demonic embrace of global annihilation.

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.

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.

Liberation of Peski. Where to go next?

August 15, 2022

Освобождение Пески. Куда дальше? // Liberation of Peski. Where to go?

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.

EU Admits: Yes, Double Standards Applied in Ukraine, Palestine!

August 12, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The EU’s foreign-policy chief Josep Borrel has admitted that double standards permeate international relations, after being asked in an interview why Brussels was far more willing to support the people of Ukraine than the people of Gaza. The Middle East conflict is not in the EU’s hands, he said, pointing the finger at the US.

“We are often criticized for double standards. But international politics is to a large degree about applying double standards. We do not use the same criteria for all problems,” he told El Pais newspaper, as cited on Thursday.

Earlier in the interview, Borrell had said that supporting Kiev against Moscow was a “moral imperative” for Western nations.

“Resolving the situation with those people trapped in an open-air prison, which Gaza is, is not in the hands of the EU,” the diplomat said. He called the squalid living conditions in Gaza “scandalous” and “a shame,” but would not be drawn on the origins of the humanitarian crisis.

Gaza is under a blockade by the apartheid “Israeli” entity.

Borrell explained that “there is no solution to the Middle East conflict without a very strong commitment on the part of the US.” Many attempts were made in the past, but at the moment there appears to be no path forwards, he concluded.

Debunking The Conspiracy Theory That The US Assassinated The Al Qaeda Chief From A Kyrgyz Base

Aug 6, 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

This interpretation of events speculating that COAS Bajwa approved of an American drone flying through Pakistani airspace to assassinate the Al Qaeda chief in neighboring Afghanistan as part of his efforts to secure the Biden Administration’s support for an IMF loan is arguably much more believable that the one speculating that Russia approved the deployment of at least one US attack drone on the territory of its Kyrgyz mutual defense ally despite its rival presently waging an unprecedented proxy war against it in Ukraine.

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was assassinated last weekend by America in a drone strike that reportedly targeted his safehouse in the Afghan capital of Kabul, prompting speculation about how exactly it carried out this attack when it doesn’t have any regional bases on record. Dawn, the largest and oldest English-language newspaper in Pakistan, published a piece that referred to uncited American reports to claim that “Drone that hit Ayman al Zawahiri flew from Kyrgyzstan”. This aligns with what a Pakistani government source familiar with the development told the Express Tribune, another one of their country’s reputable outlets, with respect to Islamabad supposedly having “no role of any sort”.

That interpretation of events lacks credibility, though. Kyrgyzstan is a Russian mutual defense ally through the CSTO and hasn’t hosted US forces since 2014. Furthermore, the official Kremlin website reported on 20 December 2011 during the bloc’s Collective Security Council meeting between its heads of state that “The leaders agreed by consensus that the deployment of military infrastructure on the territory of CSTO member states by non-members of the CSTO is possible only with the obligatory coordination of this issue with all CSTO members.” Moscow, meanwhile, has opposed the Pentagon’s reported plans to deploy forces in its regional allies’ territory since its evacuation from Afghanistan.

It’s therefore literally a conspiracy theory to claim that the American drone attack that assassinated Zawahiri in Afghanistan came from CSTO member Kyrgyzstan’s territory since this would have had to be approved by Russia in advance yet all reports on the topic prove that Moscow has consistently been against its proxy war rival deploying any military forces on the territory of its allies. With this in mind, it’s much more likely that the drone flew through Pakistani airspace from an American base in the Gulf exactly as many had speculated for obvious reasons despite Islamabad indirectly denying this through the government source that reportedly spoke to the Express Tribune as was earlier cited.

Should that have been the case, then it would suggest that the Pakistani military once again did a favor for its American allies by approving overflight through their country’s airspace, perhaps in exchange for some shadowy quid pro quo that hasn’t yet been revealed but might be connected to Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Bajwa’s reported efforts to gin up economic support after everything crashed following the extremely unpopular post-modern coup against former Prime Minister Khan. The man who many believe to be the country’s de facto leader nowadays reportedly just sought help from the US for an IMF loan and also reportedly just approached Pakistan’s Emirati and Saudi allies for assistance too.

This interpretation of events speculating that COAS Bajwa approved of an American drone flying through Pakistani airspace to assassinate the Al Qaeda chief in neighboring Afghanistan as part of his efforts to secure the Biden Administration’s support for an IMF loan is arguably much more believable that the one speculating that Russia approved the deployment of at least one US attack drone on the territory of its Kyrgyz mutual defense ally despite its rival presently waging an unprecedented proxy war against it in Ukraine. It’s of course everyone’s right to believe whatever they want, but the first-mentioned interpretation is credible while the second is indisputably a conspiracy theory.

American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama

July 29, 2022

By Michael Hudson and posted with the author’s permission

As in a Greek tragedy whose protagonist brings about precisely the fate that he has sought to avoid, the US/NATO confrontation with Russia in Ukraine is achieving just the opposite of America’s aim of preventing China, Russia and their allies from acting independently of U.S. control over their trade and investment policy. Naming China as America’s main long-term adversary, the Biden Administration’s plan was to split Russia away from China and then cripple China’s own military and economic viability. But the effect of American diplomacy has been to drive Russia and China together, joining with Iran, India and other allies. For the first time since the Bandung Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in 1955, a critical mass is able to be mutually self-sufficient to start the process of achieving independence from Dollar Diplomacy.

Confronted with China’s industrial prosperity based on self-financed public investment in socialized markets, U.S. officials acknowledge that resolving this fight will take a number of decades to play out. Arming a proxy Ukrainian regime is merely an opening move in turning Cold War 2 (and potentially/or indeed World War III) into a fight to divide the world into allies and enemies with regard to whether governments or the financial sector will plan the world economy and society.

What is euphemized as U.S.-style democracy is a financial oligarchy privatizing basic infrastructure, health and education. The alternative is what President Biden calls autocracy, a hostile label for governments strong enough to block a global rent-seeking oligarchy from taking control. China is deemed autocratic for providing basic needs at subsidized prices instead of charging whatever the market can bear. Making its mixed economy lower-cost is called “market manipulation,” as if that is a bad thing that was not done by the United States, Germany and every other industrial nation during their economic takeoff in the 19th and early 20th century.

Clausewitz popularized the axiom that war is an extension of national interests – mainly economic. The United States views its economic interest to lie in seeking to spread its neoliberal ideology globally. The evangelistic aim is to financialize and privatize economies by shifting planning away from national governments to a cosmopolitan financial sector. There would be little need for politics in such a world. Economic planning would shift from political capitals to financial centers, from Washington to Wall Street, with satellites in the City of London, the Paris Bourse, Frankfurt and Tokyo. Board meetings for the new oligarchy would be held at Davos’s World Economic Forum. Hitherto public infrastructure services would be privatized and priced high enough to include profits (and indeed, monopoly rents), debt financing and management fees rather than being publicly subsidized. Debt service and rent would become the major overhead costs for families, industry and governments.

The U.S. drive to retain its unipolar power to impose “America First” financial, trade and military policies on the world involves an inherent hostility toward all countries seeking to follow their own national interests. Having less and less to offer in the form of mutual economic gains, U.S. policy makes threats of sanctions and covert meddling in foreign politics. The U.S. dream envisions a Chinese version of Boris Yeltsin replacing the nation’s Communist Party leadership and selling off its public domain to the highest bidder – presumably after a monetary crisis wipes out domestic purchasing power much as occurred in post-Soviet Russia, leaving the international financial community as buyers.

Russia and President Putin cannot be forgiven for having fought back against the Harvard Boys’ “reforms.” That is why U.S. officials planned how to create Russian economic disruption to (they hope) orchestrate a “color revolution” to recapture Russia for the world’s neoliberal camp. That is the character of the “democracy” and “free markets” being juxtaposed to the “autocracy” of state-subsidized growth. As Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov explained in a press conference on July 20, 2022 regarding Ukraine’s violent coup in 2014, U.S. and other Western officials define military coups as democratic if they are sponsored by the United States in the hope of promoting neoliberal policies.

Do you remember how events developed after the coup? The putschists spat in the face of Germany, France and Poland that were the guarantors of the agreement with Viktor Yanukovych. It was trampled underfoot the next morning. These European countries didn’t make a peep – they reconciled themselves to this. A couple of years ago I asked the Germans and French what they thought about the coup. What was it all about if they didn’t demand that the putschists fulfil the agreements? They replied: “This is the cost of the democratic process.” I am not kidding. Amazing – these were adults holding the post of foreign ministers.[1]

This Doublethink vocabulary reflects how far mainstream ideology has evolved from Rosa Luxemburg’s description a century ago of the civilizational choice being posed: barbarism or socialism.

The contradictory U.S. and European interests and burdens of the war in Ukraine

To return to Clausewitz’s view of war as an extension of national policy, U.S. national interests are diverging sharply from those of its NATO satellites. America’s military-industrial complex, oil and agriculture sectors are benefiting, while European industrial interests are suffering. That is especially the case in Germany and Italy as a result of their governments blocking North Stream 2 gas imports and other Russian raw materials.

The interruption of world energy, food and minerals supply chains and the resulting price inflation (providing an umbrella for monopoly rents by non-Russian suppliers) has imposed enormous economic strains on U.S. allies in Europe and the Global South. Yet the U.S. economy is benefiting from this, or at least specific sectors of the U.S. economy are benefiting. As Sergey Lavrov, pointed out in his above-cited press conference: “The European economy is impacted more than anything else. The stats show that 40 percent of the damage caused by sanctions is borne by the EU whereas the damage to the United States is less than 1 percent.” The dollar’s exchange rate has soared against the euro, which has plunged to parity with the dollar and looks set to fall further down toward the $0.80 that it was a generation ago. U.S. dominance over Europe is further strengthened by the trade sanctions against Russian oil and gas. The U.S. is an LNG exporter, U.S. companies control the world oil trade, and U.S. firms are the world’s major grain marketers and exporters now that Russia is excluded from many foreign markets.

A revival of European military spending – for offense, not defense

U.S. arms-makers are looking forward to making profits off arms sales to Western Europe, which has almost literally disarmed itself by sending its tanks and howitzers, ammunition and missiles to Ukraine. U.S. politicians support a bellicose foreign policy to promote arms factories that employ labor in their voting districts. And the neocons who dominate the State Department and CIA see the war as a means of asserting American dominance over the world economy, starting with its own NATO partners.

The problem with this view is that although America’s military-industrial, oil and agricultural monopolies are benefitting, the rest of the U.S. economy is being squeezed by the inflationary pressures resulting from boycotting Russian gas, grain and other raw-materials exports, and the enormous rise in the military budget will be used as an excuse to cut back social spending programs. That also is a problem for Eurozone members. They have promised NATO to raise their military spending to the stipulated 2 percent of their GDP, and the Americans are urging much higher levels to upgrade to the most recent array of weaponry. All but forgotten is the Peace Dividend that was promised in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved the Warsaw Pact alliance, expecting that NATO likewise would have little reason to exist.

Russia has no discernable economic interest in mounting a new occupation of Central Europe. That would offer no gain to Russia, as its leaders realized when they dissolved the old Soviet Union. In fact, no industrial country in today’s world can afford to field an infantry to occupy an enemy. All that NATO can do is bomb from a distance. It can destroy, but not occupy. The United States found that out in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. And just as the assassination Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) triggered World War I in 1914, NATO’s bombing of adjoining Serbia may be viewed as throwing down the gauntlet to turn Cold War 2 into a veritable World War III. That marked the point at which NATO became an offensive alliance, not a defensive one.

How does this reflect European interests? Why should Europe re-arm, if the only effect is to make it a target of retaliation in the event of further attacks on Russia? What does Europe have to gain in becoming a larger customer for America’s military-industrial complex? Diverting spending to rebuild an offensive army – that can never be used without triggering an atomic response that would wipe out Europe – will limit the social spending needed to cope with today’s Covid problems and economic recession.

The only lasting leverage a nation can offer in today’s world is trade and technology transfer. Europe has more of this to offer than the United States. Yet the only opposition to renewed military spending is coming from right-wing parties and the German Linke party. Europe’s Social Democratic, Socialist and Labour parties share American neoliberal ideology.

Sanctions against Russian gas makes coal “the fuel of the future”

The carbon footprint of bombing, arms manufacturing and military bases is strikingly absent from today’s discussion about global warming and the need to cut back on carbon emissions. The German party that calls itself Green is leading the campaign for sanctions against importing Russian oil and gas, which electric utilities are replacing with Polish coal and even German lignite. Coal is becoming the “fuel of the future.” Its price also is soaring in the United States, benefitting American coal companies.

In contrast to the Paris Club agreements to reduce carbon emissions, the United States has neither the political capability nor the intention to join the conservation effort. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Executive Branch has no authority to issue nation-wide energy rules; only individual states can do that, unless Congress passes a national law to cut back on fossil fuels.

That seems unlikely in view of the fact that becoming head of a Democratic Senate and Congressional committee requires being a leader in raising campaign contributions for the party. Joe Manchin, a coal-company billionaire, leads all senators in campaign support from the oil and coal industries, enabling him to win his party’s auction for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee chairmanship and block any seriously restrictive environmental legislation.

Next to oil, agriculture is a major contributor to the U.S. balance of payments. Blocking Russian grain and fertilizer shipping threatens to create a Global South food crisis as well as a European crisis as gas is unavailable to make domestic fertilizer. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of grain and also of fertilizer, and its exports of these products have been exempted from NATO sanctions. But Russian shipping was blocked by Ukraine placing mines in the sea lanes through the Black Sea to close off access to Odessa’s harbor, hoping that the world would blame the world’s imminent grain and energy crisis on Russia instead of the US/NATO trade sanctions imposed on Russia.[2] At his July 20, 2022 press conference Sergey Lavrov showed the hypocrisy of the public relations attempt to distort matters:

For many months, they told us that Russia was to blame for the food crisis because the sanctions don’t cover food and fertiliser. Therefore, Russia doesn’t need to find ways to avoid the sanctions and so it should trade because nobody stands in its way. It took us a lot of time to explain to them that, although food and fertiliser are not subject to sanctions, the first and second packages of Western restrictions affected freight costs, insurance premiums, permissions for Russian ships carrying these goods to dock at foreign ports and those for foreign ships taking on the same consignments at Russian harbours. They are openly lying to us that this is not true, and that it is up to Russia alone. This is foul play.

Black Sea grain transport has begun to resume, but NATO countries have blocked payments to Russia in dollars, euros or currencies of other countries in the U.S. orbit. Food-deficit countries that cannot afford to pay distress-level food prices face drastic shortages, which will be exacerbated when they are compelled to pay their foreign debts denominated in the appreciating U.S. dollar. The looming fuel and food crisis promises to drive a new wave of immigrants to Europe seeking survival. Europe already has been flooded with refugees from NATO’s bombing and backing of jihadist attacks on Libya and Near Eastern oil-producing countries. This year’s proxy war in Ukraine and imposition of anti-Russian sanctions is a perfect illustration of Henry Kissinger’s quip: “It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

Blowback from the US/NATO miscalculations

America’s international diplomacy aims to dictate financial, trade and military policies that will lock other countries into dollar debt and trade dependency by preventing them from developing alternatives. If this fails, America seeks to isolate the recalcitrants from the U.S.-centered Western sphere.

America’s foreign diplomacy no longer is based on offering mutual gain. Such could be claimed in the aftermath of World War II when the United States was in a position to offer loans, foreign-aid and military protection against occupation – as well as manufactures to rebuild war-torn economies – to governments in exchange for their accepting trade and monetary policies favorable to American exporters and investors. But today there is only the belligerent diplomacy of threatening to hurt nations whose socialist governments reject America’s neoliberal drive to privatize and sell off their natural resources and public infrastructure.

The first aim is to prevent Russia and China from helping each other. This is the old imperial divide-and-conquer strategy. Minimizing Russia’s ability to support China would pave the way for the United States and NATO Europe to impose new trade sanctions on China, and to send jihadists to its western Xinjiang Uighur region. The aim is to bleed Russia’s armaments inventory, kill enough of its soldiers, and create enough Russian shortages and suffering to not only weaken its ability to help China, but to spur its population to support a regime change, an American-sponsored “color revolution.” The dream is to promote a Yeltsin-like leader friendly to the neoliberal “therapy” that dismantled Russia’s economy in the 1990s.

Amazing as it may seem, U.S. strategists did not anticipate the obvious response by countries finding themselves together in the crosshairs of US/NATO military and economic threats. On July 19, 2022, the presidents of Russia and Iran met to announce their cooperation in the face of the sanctions war against them. That followed Russia’s earlier meeting with India’s Prime Minister Modi. In what has been characterized as “shooting itself in its own foot,” U.S. diplomacy is driving Russia, China, India and Iran together, and indeed to reach out to Argentina and other countries to join the BRICS-plus bank to protect themselves.

The U.S. itself is ending the Dollar Standard of international finance

The Trump Administration took a major step to drive countries out of the dollar orbit in November 2018, by confiscating nearly $2 billion of Venezuela’s official gold stock held in London. The Bank of England put these reserves at the disposal of Juan Guaidó, the marginal right-wing politician selected by the United States to replace Venezuela’s elected president as head of state. This was defined as being democratic, because the regime change promised to introduce the neoliberal “free market” that is deemed to be the essence of America’s definition of democracy for today’s world.

This gold theft actually was not the first such confiscation. On November 14, 1979, the Carter Administration paralyzed Iran’s bank deposits in New York after the Shah was overthrown. This act blocked Iran from paying its scheduled foreign debt service, forcing it into default. That was viewed as an exceptional one-time action as far as all other financial markets were concerned. But now that the United States is the self-proclaimed “exceptional nation,” such confiscations are becoming a new norm in U.S. diplomacy. Nobody yet knows what happened to Libya’s gold reserves that Muammar Gadafi had intended to be used to back an African alternative to the dollar. And Afghanistan’s gold and other reserves were simply taken by Washington as payment for the cost of “freeing” that country from Russian control by backing the Taliban. But when the Biden Administration and its NATO allies made a much larger asset grab of some $300 billion of Russia’s foreign bank reserves and currency holdings in March 2022, it made official a radical new epoch in Dollar Diplomacy. Any nation that follows policies not deemed to be in the interests of the U.S. Government runs the risk of U.S. authorities confiscating its holdings of foreign reserves in U.S. banks or securities.

This was a red flag leading countries to fear denominating their trade, savings and foreign debt in dollars, and to avoid using dollar or euro bank deposits and securities as a means of payment. By prompting other countries to think about how to free themselves from the U.S.-centered world trade and monetary system that was established in 1945 with the IMF, World Bank and subsequently the World Trade Organization, the U.S. confiscations have accelerated the end of the U.S. Treasury-bill standard that has governed world finance since the United States went off gold in 1971.[3]

Since dollar convertibility into gold ended in August 1971, dollarization of the world’s trade and investment has created a need for other countries to hold most of their new international monetary reserves in U.S. Treasury securities and bank deposits. As already noted, that enables the United States to seize foreign bank deposits and bonds denominated in U.S. dollars.

Most important, the United States can create and spend dollar IOUs into the world economy at will, without limit. It doesn’t have to earn international spending power by running a trade surplus, as other countries have to do. The U.S. Treasury can simply print dollars electronically to finance its foreign military spending and purchases of foreign resources and companies. And being the “exceptional country,” it doesn’t have to pay these debts – which are recognized as being far too large to be paid. Foreign dollar holdings are free U.S. credit to the Unites States, not requiring repayment any more than the paper dollars in our wallets are expected to be paid off (by retiring them from circulation). What seems to be so self-destructive about America’s economic sanctions and confiscations of Russian and other foreign reserves is that they are accelerating the demise of this free ride.

Blowback resulting from US/NATO isolating their economic and monetary systems

It is hard to see how driving countries out of the U.S. economic orbit serves long-term U.S. national interests. Dividing the world into two monetary blocs will limit Dollar Diplomacy to its NATO allies and satellites.

The blowback now unfolding in the wake of U.S. diplomacy begins with its anti-Russia policy. Imposing trade and monetary sanctions was expected to block Russian consumers and businesses from buying the US/NATO imports to which they had become accustomed. Confiscating Russia’s foreign currency reserves was supposed to crash the ruble, “turning it into rubble,” as President Biden promised. Imposing sanctions against importing Russian oil and gas to Europe was supposed to deprive Russia of export earnings, causing the ruble to collapse and raising import prices (and hence, living costs) for the Russian public. Instead, blocking Russian exports has created a worldwide price inflation for oil and gas, sharply increasing Russian export earnings. It exported less gas but earned more – and with dollars and euros blocked, Russia demanded payment for its exports in rubles. Its exchange rate soared instead of collapsing, enabling Russia to reduce its interest rates.

Goading Russia to send its soldiers to eastern Ukraine to defend Russian speakers under attack in Luhansk and Donetsk, along with the expected impact of the ensuing Western sanctions, was supposed to make Russian voters press for regime change. But as almost always happens when a country or ethnicity is attacked, Russians were appalled at the Ukrainian hatred of Russian-language speakers and Russian culture, and at the Russophobia of the West. The effect of Western countries banning music by Russian composers and Russian novels from libraries – capped by England banning Russian tennis players from the Wimbledon tournament – was to make Russians feel under attack simply for being Russian. They rallied around President Putin.

NATO’s trade sanctions have catalyzed helped Russian agriculture and industry to become more self-sufficient by obliging Russia to invest in import substitution. One well-publicized farming success was to develop its own cheese production to replace that of Lithuania and other European suppliers. Its automotive and other industrial production is being forced to shift away from German and other European brands to its own and Chinese producers. The result is a loss of markets for Western exporters.

In the field of financial services, NATO’s exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT bank-clearing system failed to create the anticipated payments chaos. The threat had been so loudly for so long that Russia and China had plenty of time to develop their own payments system. This provided them with one of the preconditions for their plans to split their economies away from those of the US/NATO West.

As matters have turned out, the trade and monetary sanctions against Russia are imposing the heaviest costs on Western Europe, and are likely to spread to the Global South, driving them to think about whether their economic interests lie in joining U.S. confrontational Dollar Diplomacy. The disruption is being felt most seriously in Germany, causing many companies to close down as a result of gas and other raw-materials shortages. Germany’s refusal to authorize the North Stream 2 pipeline has pushed its energy crisis to a head. This has raised the question of how long Germany’s political parties can remain subordinate to NATO’s Cold War policies at the cost of German industry and households facing sharp rises in heating and electricity costs.

The longer it takes to restore trade with Russia, the more European economies will suffer, along with the citizenry at large, and the further the euro’s exchange rate will fall, spurring inflation throughout its member countries. European NATO countries are losing not only their export markets but their investment opportunities to gain from the much more rapid growth of Eurasian countries whose government planning and resistance to financialization has proved much more productive than the US/NATO neoliberal model.

It is difficult to see how any diplomatic strategy can do more than play for time. That involves living in the short run, not the long run. Time seems to be on the side of Russia, China and the trade and investment alliances that they are negotiating to replace the neoliberal Western economic order.

America’s ultimate problem is its neoliberal post-industrial economy

The failure and blowbacks of U.S. diplomacy are the result of problems that go beyond diplomacy itself. The underlying problem is the West’s commitment to neoliberalism, financialization and privatization. Instead of government subsidy of basic living costs needed by labor, all social life is being made part of “the market” – a uniquely Thatcherite deregulated “Chicago Boys” market in which industry, agriculture, housing and financing are deregulated and increasingly predatory, while heavily subsidizing the valuation of financial and rent-seeking assets – mainly the wealth of the richest One Percent. Income is obtained increasingly by financial and monopoly rent-seeking, and fortunes are made by debt-leveraged “capital” gains for stocks, bonds and real estate.

U.S. industrial companies have aimed more at “creating wealth” by increasing the price of their stocks by using over 90 percent of their profits for stock buybacks and dividend payouts instead of investing in new production facilities and hiring more labor. The result of slower capital investment is to dismantle and financially cannibalize corporate industry in order to produce financial gains. And to the extent that companies do employ labor and set up new production, it is done abroad where labor is cheaper.

Most Asian labor can afford to work for lower wages because it has much lower housing costs and does not have to pay education debt. Health care is a public right, not a financialized market transaction, and pensions are not paid for in advance by wage-earners and employers but are public. The aim in China in particular is to prevent the rentier Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector from becoming a burdensome overhead whose economic interests differ from those of a socialist government.

China treats money and banking as a public utility, to be created, spent and lent for purposes that help increase productivity and living standards (and increasingly to preserve the environment). It rejects the U.S.-sponsored neoliberal model imposed by the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization.

The global economic fracturing goes far beyond NATO’s conflict with Russia in Ukraine. By the time the Biden administration took office at the start of 2021, Russia and China already had been discussing the need to de-dollarize their foreign trade and investment, using their own currencies.[4] That involves the quantum leap of organizing a new payments-clearing institution. Planning had not progressed beyond broad outlines of how such a system would work, but the U.S. confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves made such planning urgent, starting with a BRICS-plus bank. A Eurasian alternative to the IMF will remove its ability to impose neoliberal austerity “conditionalities” to force countries to lower payments to labor and give priority to paying their foreign creditors above feeding themselves and developing their own economies. Instead of new international credit being extended mainly to pay dollar debts, it will be part of a process of new mutual investment in basic infrastructure designed to accelerate economic growth and living standards. Other institutions are being designed as China, Russia, Iran, India and their prospective allies represent a large enough critical mass to “go it alone,” based on their own mineral wealth and manufacturing power.

The basic U.S. policy has been to threaten to destabilize countries and perhaps bomb them until they agree to adopt neoliberal policies and privatize their public domain. But taking on Russia, China and Iran is a much higher order of magnitude. NATO has disarmed itself of the ability to wage conventional warfare by handing over its supply of weaponry – admittedly largely outdated – to be devoured in Ukraine. In any case, no democracy in today’s world can impose a military draft to wage a conventional land warfare against a significant/major adversary. The protests against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s ended the U.S. military draft, and the only way to really conquer a country is to occupy it in land warfare. This logic also implies that Russia is no more in a position to invade Western Europe than NATO countries are to send conscripts to fight Russia.

That leaves Western democracies with the ability to fight only one kind of war: atomic war – or at least, bombing at a distance, as was done in Afghanistan and the Near East, without requiring Western manpower. This is not diplomacy at all. It is merely acting the role of wrecker. But that is the only tactic that remains available to the United States and NATO Europe. It is strikingly like the dynamic of Greek tragedy, where power leads to hubris that is injurious to others and therefore ultimately anti-social – and self-destructive in the end.

How then can the United States maintain its world dominance? It has deindustrialized and run up foreign official debt far beyond any foreseeable way to be paid. Meanwhile, its banks and bondholders are demanding that the Global South and other countries pay foreign dollar bondholders in the face of their own trade crisis resulting from the soaring energy and food prices caused by America’s anti-Russian and anti-China belligerence. This double standard is a basic internal contradiction that goes to the core of today’s neoliberal Western worldview.

I have described the possible scenarios to resolve this conflict in my recent book The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism. It has now also been issued in e-book form by Counterpunch Books.

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  1. “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT television, Sputnik agency and Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Moscow, July 20, 2022,” Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, July 20, 2022. https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1822901/. From Johnson’s Russia List, July 21, 2022, #5. 
  2. International Maritime Organization, “Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov,” https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/MaritimeSecurityandSafetyintheBlackSeaandSeaofAzov.aspx. See Yves Smith, Some Implications of the UN’s Ukraine Grain and Russia Fertilizer/Food Agreements,” Naked Capitalism, July 25, 2022, and Lavrov’s July 24 speech to the Arab League. 
  3. My Super ImperialismThe Economic Strategy of American Empire (3rd ed., 2021) describes how the Treasury-bill standard has provided America with a free ride and enabled it to run balance-of-payments deficits without constraint, including the costs of its overseas military spending. 
  4. Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson (2021), “Beyond Dollar Creditocracy: A Geopolitical Economy,” Valdai Club Paper No. 116. Moscow: Valdai Club, 7 July, reprinted in Real World Economic Review (97), https://rwer.wordpress.com/2021/09/23. 
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