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28 August 2008


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Here we go, the trade war is rolling...

Russia doesn't even have to do anything beyond "spreading rumor". Speculators take care of the rest.


Reports have begun to circulate in Moscow that Russian oil companies are under orders from the Kremlin to prepare for a supply cut to Germany and Poland through the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline. It is believed that executives from lead-producer LUKoil have been put on weekend alert.


Sector Snap: Meat makers continue slide on Russia


Shares of the nation's top meat producers continued to fall Thursday on worries of potential cuts by Russia to chicken and pork import quotas.

Shares of Smithfield Foods Inc. (nyse: SFD - news - people ), the nation's largest hog producer and pork processor, fell 48 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $21.08 in morning trading Thursday, while chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc. (nasdaq: SAFM - news - people )'s shares fell $1.24, or 3.5 percent, to $34.


This is not a real trade war yet. Sooner or later Russia will start hitting things that count. Titanium supply, steel price war, Uranium, wheat, soy ...

(That boeing much delayed 787 depends on Russian Titanium supply. If russia decides to make 787 late for a year. Boeing will be in a lot of pain. But Russia needs the tech transfer, I doubt they are into screwing Boeing.)

at least they tone down the nuke shouting match now.


What I don't understand is why the Presidential candidates don't take the high road on Georgia. Biden could have said, "just another blunder in a long line of blunders by the Bush team (regime)". They act as if we don't know who did the initial slaughtering of innocents.

Posted by: Bill W, NH, USA | 28 August 2008 at 12:28 PM

It's a neocon project. Can't dis the aipac gang, they own DC politicians.

Sensibly speaking, georgia issue should be resolved a week ago.

talk with Russia, make agreement (basically, they keep the break away, but make it look Georgia is still united.

remove shakasvilli, we stay out of Georgia except economic matter, Russia settle the whole thing quickly.

New Regime in Georgia come in, clean up the rest.

Everybody happy. Everybody saves face (except shakasvilli and neocon gang). Nobody gets killed, everybody gets to keep their investment and oil supply.)

But now the whole thing has escalated to full blow trade war. Europe will fall into recession.

Next G8 meeting where Bush supposedly beg G8 to prop dollar won't happen as a result. (Nobody has money)... and Russia will make sure the prop won't happen.

Russia can announce short targeting (they can make tons of money doing this too) London stock market is ripe for a short attack.

They can also bring down GSE by dumping US bonds. This alone will cost US budget $20-30B. Which btw, japanese private holders are already dumping for fear this exact scenario.

If Russia being very nasty, next step they can start an oil war. (combined with Chavez, Iran and Iraq, they will control 20-30% of global daily oil supply ... Even the Saudi won't be able to cover the deficit ...)

Next of course... start supplying weapons to everybody... even more lucrative scenario.


walrus said:

"The comments by "b" underscore the narcissistic, militaristic, jingoism that is common in America today, and that ultimately is going to lead to your doom, unless it is immediately stopped."

b is a German and about as pacifist as they come.

I tried to look at the issue with the eyes of a mildly paranoid Russian.

Russians indeed fear NATO and the U.S. and that may well be the reason why they now act the way they do.

The Colonel thinks the Russians act this way because they feel strong.

I believe the Russians act this way because they feel weak.

One must consider both when trying to decipher their messages.

David Habakkuk


I suspect you are absolutely right on the reasons for the Russian recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- that they fear a renewed attempt by Georgia, backed by the U.S., to reconquer these areas, that their calculations are based upon fear of U.S. military strength far more than confidence in their own, but that the conclusion they draw is that they cannot afford to look weak.

In his defence of the recognition decision, Medvedev claimed that it derived directly from the fact that statements by Georgia and its allies gave them reason to believe that a fresh attempt would be made to subjugate the areas by force:

'We restored peace, but we could not extinguish fears and hopes of the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a situation when Saakashvili continued (with participation of and encouraged by the US and a number of other NATO members) to speak of re-arming his military and re-establishing control over 'the Georgian territory.' The presidents of the two republics applied to Russia, asking to recognize their sovereignty.'''

(See http://www.regnum.ru/english/1047550.html

Contrary to what is often asserted, Russia did not set a 'trap' for Georgia. As Anatol Lieven noted recently in the Times, Moscow had made it 'absolutely, publicly and repeatedly clear that if Georgia attacked South Ossetia, Russia would fight.'

(See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article4607471.ece?openComment=true.)

As people took no notice then, and seem disinclined to back off now, the Russians are attempting to make it absolutely plain that a fresh attempt by Georgia forcibly incorporate South Ossetia and Abkhazia means a serious war -- and that the time when they will take encroachments on their interests lying down is over.

And indeed, there are signs that in some quarters the message is getting through.

So for example the Daily Telegraph's Con Coughlin -- a leading British neocon, and a key figure in British and U.S. disinformation networks -- is getting decidedly leery about indications that Yushchenko may imitate the recklessness of Saakashvili:

'Not content with tearing up the lease agreement on Sevastopol, Mr Yushchenko is seeking to place restrictions on the movements of Russian naval ships.

'In its current belligerent mood, the Kremlin is not going to take such provocation lying down, and Russian soldiers have already been busy handing out passports to Crimeans to bolster the numbers of Russian "citizens" who might conveniently require Moscow's protection should Russia genuinely fear for the future of its Sevastopol base.

'The Ukrainian government's action is foolhardy, to say the least. And before Mr Yushchenko provokes Moscow any further, he would do well to remember that the last thing the West needs right now is a new Crimean war.'

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/08/29/do2904.xml.)

David Habakkuk


'The reduced capability of the Russian army means nuclear deterrence takes a greater importance, and of course, this administration refuses to state that it would not use a preventive nuclear first strike to prevent nuclear war.'

Deterrence theory, as we are familiar with it, is a Western academic construct. Much of it is simply another perverse manifestation of an exaggerated faith in the utility of axiomatic reasoning in political analysis which corrupts a good deal of 'political science'. Among many other difficulties, much of it makes sense if and only if one thinks that the likely cause of a possible war is a conviction on the part of an adversary that the potential gains from territorial expansion outweigh likely costs and risks.

From the late Fifties on, the primary Soviet concern was not deliberate Western aggression, but a chain of events becoming uncontrollable, Sarajevo-style. Such a conception does not lend itself to a belief in the virtues of 'deterrence'.

(On the evolution of Soviet thinking see Michael MccGwire's 1987 Brookings Institution study 'Military Objective in Soviet Foreign Policy' -- in particular the references in the index to 'Sarajevo factor'.)

As I noted on an earlier thread, when the Yeltsin Administration abandoned the Soviet-era commitment to no-first-use, it did so against the better judgement of one of the leading Russian military intellectuals, General Mahmut Akhmetovich Gareev.

I discussed the background to Gareev's reluctant acceptance that Russia would have to rely upon nuclear threats in the first of this series of threads on Georgia.

(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/08/5th-generation/comments/page/2/.)

Here, I will simply repeat the apocalyptic vision he presented to the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, of which he is president, in in January last year.

'The keynote speaker, General (ret.) Mahmoud Gareev, offered a somewhat different perspective on future threats. He predicted that “in the next 10-15 years, ecological and the energy factors will become the main cause of political and military conflicts.” Apparently referring to the U.S. presence in Iraq, he stated that some states will seek to control energy resources, while others will have little choice except to perish or resist. In Gareev’s assessment, competition for energy sources will pit Russia first and foremost against the United States and other developed countries, but will also spur nuclear proliferation, as other energy-rich countries seek nuclear weapons to defend their resources from the United States. This could lead to a “war of everyone against everyone.”

'Given these conditions, Gareev asserted that nuclear weapons will remain the “central, most reliable means for the strategic deterrence of external aggression.” He predicted that although future wars will primarily be conventional, the threat of nuclear use will always be present. Thus, Russia needs to rely on its nuclear arsenal given the unfavorable balance of conventional forces in all theaters. The role of nuclear weapons will be all the more important, Gareev asserted, because the nuclear armaments of almost all other nuclear weapons states are aimed at Russia; therefore, he concluded, Russia must maintain a credible and robust strategic nuclear deterrent. He noted, however, that due to the deterioration of Russia’s space-based observation capabilities, ground-based early warning systems, and offensive weapons, Russia’s “ability to launch a strike on warning, much less a second strike is becoming problematic.”

(See http://www.wmdinsights.com/I13/I13_R2_RussianAcademy.htm.)

Obviously, what assumptions are being made by the political leadership is a separate question. But as anyone who bothered to look could find out, these were the kind of assumptions on which leading Russian military thinkers have been basing their calculations for some time.

Are these calculations paranoid? I would like to think so, but am getting less and less sure.

Nancy K

Hopefully the next administration will not confuse diplomacy with a pissing contest. However if that administration is headed by bomb bomb bomb Iran Mcain I think we might be in trouble.


Not even a trade war, just the war of words.

UN Security Council. Russia Vs. Georgia, Round 6: FIGHT!

Churkin: "If here in our chamber today for the first time we had had aliens from outer space [emphasis mine: ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE?!], I'm sure that having listened to our discussion he would have been filled with pride for the member of the Security Council, how consistently they champion the principles of international law. I must say I in particular liked the statement of the permanent representative of the United States, reminding the members of the Security Council that states in their activity must refrain from the use or the threat of the use of force. And I would like to ask the distinguished rep of the United States, weapons of mass destruction, have you found them yet in Iraq? [emphasis mine: pause given so all the journalists in the house can yell "OOOH DAMN!" at the same time] I would like to ask the distinguished rep of the US as to whether there are threats coming out of Washington against another member of the UN to use force against that other member and even wipe it off the face of the earth. Now, several other members of the Council have referred to the importance of complying with resolutions of the Security Council, complying with the principle of territorial integrity. And where, dear colleagues, were you when we were discussing Kosovo?"


b wrote:

"b is a German and about as pacifist as they come.... One must consider both when trying to decipher their messages."

Good for you, b. Not only has the ratio of the polemical to the analytical seemingly gotten kinda stifling in the comment section here, but combined with the tone and tenor of the former one suspects that those who might want to make an analytical statement or even one simply disagreeing with the zeitgeist here are being dissuaded from doing so for fear of being misconstrued, attacked or etc.

One can get polemical ranting anywhere. For those with some intellectual modesty interested in finding somewhere to talk and "decipher" out complex things as you put it is a harder proposition. Glad you tried here with your provocative suggestion.



There goes the cheap russian uranium...

(I guess Russia start dumping all lousy contract they have signed in the past. )

Next up, cooper, nickle.

(They can also win price war in steel, aluminum)

Once they control Congo and south africa, they will have global output of rare metal for electronic processes. Both will be more than happy buying Russian military gears after being bad US relationship.

Basically, Condi and crew eff up yet again. Mouth goes first before looking at the map.


The imminent collapse of the nuclear deal, once a top Bush priority, represents the most tangible casualty so far of the deteriorating relations with Russia following its brief war with neighboring Georgia. With Vice President Dick Cheney heading to Georgia next week, Mr. Bush is also poised to announce about $1 billion in economic aid to the country, the officials said.


One of the fascinating aspects of this conflict is that its propably the first time that the neocon spinsters have recieved opposition both on the net and in Media. Also, its the first conflict that has employed the internet as a battlefield, both with propaganda and actual cyberwar.

The Georgians are currently trying to spin a story that it was the Russians that attacked S. Ossetia first, and that the Georgians were merely reacting. For the newest historical revision, see http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/08/the-truth-about-1.php


My schadenfreud will only be complete when I hear Putin make a speech on the deck of the Moskva, docked in a Georgian Port, saying "You are either with us or against us" and peppered with other Bushovik one liners with a banner backdrop saying "Mission Accomplished" in Cyrillic.

Ever since the beginning of the Bush Presidency, I had the conviction that the wild words of Bush, Cheney, Bolton and the other acolytes would come back to haunt all of us.

b, my concerns about relative strength and weakness centre on the assumption, implicit in the thinking of almost all so called military strategists (and I don't claim to be one) that the United States can militarily defeat anyone on the planet any time it likes.

I don't buy it. I accept Col. Langs argument that in times of trouble Americans are not shallow, weak, self absorbed, but I remind you of Kissingers dictum "America has no friends, only interests".

Bush, McCain and Putin are deeply flawed weak men. I am not sure America is prepared to trade the destruction of American cities for Kiev.

To put it another way, I don't think NATO is much of an insurance policy these days. America is "emmerde" in Iraq and Afghanistan and heading towards an election. I am concerned that Putin might calculate that the Ukrainians can be brought to heel without an over committed America making any effective military response. I am also concerned that there are those in Washington who believe their interests may be well served if Putin were to try.


"There are strategic non-nuke U.S. air assets to consider(B2).

The Georgian army, with U.S. and Israeli trainers, is still 27,000 men strong. The RF has 10,000 men in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. If those hundreds of tons the U.S. unloaded over the last 14 days were Javelines, Stingers, etc how well could those troops fight?"

Well, ATGMs and MANPADS are good if you are defending. But if you are attacking you need armor and artillery more than anything else. And I doubt that twenty planes based half of the world away can deliver an effective CAS round the clock. And for the georgian army, well they did not even try to disable their vehicles as they abandoned them, with the result that many of them are now fully functional in russian hands. That is not the sort of army I would use to dislodge 10000 entrenched russians.

No doubt the usual foam at the mouth jingos are salivating about using the georgian "tough warriors" to crush the russians but that is just mental masturbation, not a practical course of action.



One can get polemical ranting anywhere.

True, but only here at SST can one gain the pleasant surprise of a courteous-yet-firm "behave or else!" personal missive from Colonel Lang.

I've framed mine. It looks nice up on the mantle.


Once again, Col. Lang has dared to speak the unspeakable, and has identified the true madness of the unfolding events in the Caucasus. I must emphasize that the Western media as a whole has failed to deal honestly with the flight forward nature of the Saakashvili government in Georgia, which set off this chain of actions and reactions that could lead us to the brink of thermonuclear confrontation. Saakashvili deserves the description of carpetbagger. His movement, his so-called "Rose Revolution" was bankrolled by George Soros' Open Society Institute, in league with Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, who then headed the UN Development Program and is now Secretary General of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was a Soros partner, actually managing Soros' major hedge fund for years, and it was a combination of Soros money, Israeli backing, that put Saakashvili in the position to launch this wreckless action of early August.

Top Russian officials, from the Foreign Minister Lavrov to the deputy chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, Gen. Nagavytsin, have warned that this threatens a new "Cuban Missile Crisis" or a replay of Sarajevo 1914. I know that some of the cooler heads in the Pentagon are keeping the military-to-military lines of communication open, but with Cheney going to the Caucasus next week, beware!


I'm surprised that I have not seen mentioned what should be obvious to old hands like Col. Lang. "Got a Watch" noted the grand incomptence of US/UK policy. That policy is Bernard Lewis's "Arc of Crisis" policy from the 1970's that was implemented by the Carter and Reagan adminisrations when the Soviets invated Afghanistan. That is, encourage and use Islamic fundamnetalism as a weapon against the Soviet southern periphery. That policy was never abandoned after the Red Army withdrew from Afghanistan and the Soviet Union went into the dustbiun of history. All of the troubles that have afflicted the Caucasus region ever since, the wars in Chechnya, Dagestan, Armenia-Azerbaijan and so forth, and now Georgia, are the product of that policy. It can lead to no good, especially when the looming global banking crisis requirs international cooperation of the world's major powers, that is, the US, Russia, China and India, to start with, in order to address. the US/UK policy towards Russia is worse than incompetent. It's a dark ages policy.

Patrick Lang


I would have thought it was obvious that American foreign policy has been idiotic in the last eight years, but if it makes you better to say so, we are all grateful for the your input. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

""Despite the apparent strength, the NATO naval group in the Black Sea is not battle-worthy," Admiral Eduard Baltin said. "If necessary, a single missile salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group."

"Within 20 minutes the waters would be clear," he said, stressing that despite major reductions, the Black Sea Fleet (Image gallery) still has a formidable missile arsenal.

However, Baltin said the chances of a military confrontation between NATO and Russia in the Black Sea are negligible.

"We will not strike first, and they do not look like people with suicidal tendencies," he said." http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080829/116377956.html


Col. Lang:

You've again hit the nail on the head, but this may involve more than just Georgia but places like Estonia, and presumably other Baltic states. I hear from an Estonian acquaintance that Russia sponsored riots in Talinn when a statue of a Russian soldier was taken down. This person claims that they sent people in to riot, and that more such actions will occur. To what extent this will become a concerted and active policy to reclaim thier spere of influence cannot be known now, but the combination of dangerous adventurism and foolish bluster and the current ground force overextension it makes too much sense not to start moving these nationalist pawns to counter the unconstrainedly expansionistic neocons and their proxies.


The Georgian is confident after Cheney visit. Something is up.

It seems Georgia is going to end up in Korean peninsula scenario. massive build up on the border.

Next Russian move, unplugging Georgia from the banking and electricity grid. Then start arming guerilla war. It'll be car bomb galore, baghdad style.


Georgia quits Moscow 1994 ceasefire agreement

Georgia's reintegration minister said on Saturday that Tbilisi was formally pulling out of a 1994 UN-approved agreement signed in Moscow by Abkhazia and Georgia following a bloody conflict.

"The Secretariat of Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili has declared the Moscow agreement on a ceasefire and separation of forces of May 14, 1994 as void," a statement said on Saturday.

Abkhazia, alongside South Ossetia, another Georgian breakaway republic, declared its independence from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the ensuing Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. A ceasefire was signed in Moscow in 1994.

Clifford Kiracofe

Are the Euros going to cool their jets some in the face of facts now coming known through the OSCE process?

"Hamburg - European observers have faulted Georgia in this month's Caucasus conflict, saying it made elaborate plans to seize South Ossetia, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday.

In a report to appear in its Monday edition, it said officials of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had said acts by the Georgian government had contributed to the outbreak of the crisis with Russia.

Spiegel said OSCE military observers in the Caucasus had described preparations by Georgia to move into South Ossetia.

The onslaught had begun before Russian armoured vehicles entered a southbound tunnel under the Caucasus Mountains to South Ossetia.

It said the OSCE report also described suspected war crimes by the Georgians, including the Georgians ordering attacks on sleeping South Ossetian civilians."

It will be interesting to see what the Euros turn up particularly if they raise issues of US and Israeli complicity.


CK beat me to it.

OSCE reports doesn't look good on Georgia (thus neocon crew)...

So now, the entire NATO thing looks very shaky. because Condi basically ask NATO to back up an aggressor (an incompetent one at that too.)

It will be interesting what the european emergency meeting will decide. But I seriously doubt europe is in the mood to keep this conflict going. (plus the Russian and Chinese are toning down, And hurricane is hitting the gulf coast again, gas price)

btw, UK and france economic number are now completely imploding. In a few months people are going to start rioting on the street ... specially in france. (there is no room to maneuver energy cost hike when Russia decide to choke europe gas supply)


OSCE:Georgia started war and committed crimes against civilians in South Ossetia


Interesting bit: Spiegel: OSCE observers fault Georgians in conflict.


"Attack Iran" talk is raising again. It starts bubbling around the net. But the usual place isn't abuzz yet.

(I wonder if this has anything to do with Cheney last caucasian/ME trip)


A British newspaper has reported that the US may be about to launch a blitz against Iran “as the last resort” to block Tehran’s efforts to nuclearise. It says the preparations in the Pentagon are not just war-games but the plan is to actually make the strike. The most likely strategy would involve aerial bombardment by long-distance B-2 bombers, each armed with up to 40,000 pounds of precision weapons, including the latest bunker-busting devices.

Clifford Kiracofe

From the Telegraph with a bit of Neocon-ish hysteria:

"US intelligence fears the Kremlin will supply the sophisticated S-300 system to Tehran if Washington pushes through Nato membership for its pro-Western neighbours Georgia and Ukraine. The proposed deal is causing huge alarm in the US and Israel as the S-300 can track 100 targets at once and fire on planes up to 75 miles away." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/2651516/Russia-threatens-to-supply-Iran-with-top-new-missile-system-as-cold-war-escalates.html

See Wiki for "S-300" entry.

As I noted on an an earlier thread, the S-300s for Iran could well be stabilizing as they fence in Israel. It is well known the US cannot control Israel because of US "domestic politics." The whole world sees this noting Washington can't even prevent more illegal squatters erecting structures on Palestinian land not to mention grabbing more of Jerusalem.

Thus, the defensive S-300 systems in Iran arguably cut against Israel as an uncontrollable "wild card" and imperial marcher state of the US... the "limes" and all that. Perhaps one should hope for timely Russian deliveries and training programs.

Dana Jones

"b, my concerns about relative strength and weakness centre on the assumption, implicit in the thinking of almost all so called military strategists (and I don't claim to be one) that the United States can militarily defeat anyone on the planet any time it likes." Walrus

This is also what worries me. The NeoKlowns might not wait for the missile shield in Poland. The Russian military is in pretty bad shape, even though Putin has been spending more to get it back in shape. The air force is in pretty good shape, but the US probably feels that it could shut just about all Russian airbases down with cruise missiles and cluster bombs, which may be true. The Russian navy is in pretty bad shape, I have no idea at this point if they even have any SLBM subs that are operational.
This of course leaves us with our greatest worry, their ICBMs and nuclear weapons. As they admit, thier orbital detection and threat assessment capabilities are seriously degraded, which leaves them with a launch on warning situation, and the only warning may be cruise missiles detonating over their silos. They may still be able to get a few missiles off. Are the NeoKlowns really willing to sacrifice X number of US cities for this? This is what worries me, they are insane and therefore unpredictable.
We all KNOW that it would be insane to attack Iran or even Russia, and that it will lead to Armageddon, but those that are insane may think it a wonderful idea.

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