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28 March 2014

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Fred

Our leaders (and their media mouthpieces) are drum-beating us into a war in a distant land for the freedom of some country we never had obligations to in the entire history of the Republic. Just why again do we need to fight and die for Ukraine? Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee could tell us, be like a rat leaving a sinking ship he’s going to be busy with other priorities:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/28/rep-rogers-michigan-wont-seek-re-election-plans-to-start-radio-program/

turcopolier

Hank

- you say that nuclear weapons of whatever size cannot be ignored but you seem to imply a willingness to fight Russia for Ukraine. What is your position? pl

Hank Foresman

What I did not clearly articulate, my bad, is that we need to be thinking about what our reaction would be if Putin decides to invade Ukraine ever mindful that he does have nuclear weapons.

WP

--All Will we soon see the Black Swan?

We have all seen such as this in the world and in our personal experiences, speakers, speaking across one another, never to meet except in conflict. " We can hope that heads as cool as those that ruled then will prevail now but we do not know that this will be." pl

BHO: "We've emphasized that Russia still has a different path available— one that de-escalates the situation, and one that involves Russia pursuing a diplomatic solution with the government in Kyiv, with the support of the international community. The Russian people need to know and Mr. Putin needs to understand that the Ukrainians shouldn't have to choose between the West and Russia. We want the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny, and to have good relations with the United States, with Russia, with Europe, with anyone that they choose. And that can only happen if Russia also recognized the rights of all the Ukrainian people to determine their future as free individuals, and as a sovereign nation— rights that people and nations around the world understand and support." March 20, 2014 http://news.yahoo.com/text-obamas-statement-ukraine-172533546.html

BHO: "None of us can know for certain what the coming days will bring in Ukraine, but I am confident that eventually, those voices for human dignity and opportunity, for individual rights and the rule of law, will triumph. I believe that over the long haul, as free nations and free people, the future is ours. I believe this not because of the strength of our arms or even the size of our economies, but rather because these ideals are true, and these ideals are universal.

Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair; independent judiciaries and opposition parties; civil society and uncensored information, so that individuals can make their own choices. We believe in open economies based on free markets and innovation; individual initiative and entrepreneurship; trade and investment that creates a broader prosperity. And we believe in human dignity – that every person is created equal, no matter who you are, or what you look like, or who you love, or where you come from. That's what we believe. That's what makes us strong.

Our enduring strength is also reflected in our respect for an international system that protects the rights of both nations and people –

...Just because Russia has a deep history with Ukraine does not mean it should be able to dictate Ukraine's future. No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong."

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/obamas-cold-war-speech-russia-ukraine-full-text-181948604.html#HylSUEt


S. Glazyev: "In all seriousness, we cannot accept the singing of an illegitimate agreement with an illegitimate regime, which for Ukraine would mean a loss of sovereignty in a lot of spheres, from trade to foreign policy for the benefit of the EU. This is in essence aggression; an annexation of the entire Ukraine, and the move of the country under European Union jurisdiction in violation of all legal norms. ... But unfortunately, the EU, instead of following through on these intentions, is now forcing on Ukraine an agreement which we can never accept as legitimate, particularly considering there is no legitimate Ukrainian government to sign it." http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/interview-sergey-glazyev-10106

As a lawyer, I have been witness too many disputes where each side failed to find a common idea sufficiently powerful to sustain a settlement prior to suing, only to find the litigation disastrous for all and of benefit to none. It seems as if human interactions often follow some inevitable and seemingly uncontrollable, automatic path towards strife neither side can avoid, afford, or win. More and more this has that feel--mirror images of erroneously perceived self-righteousness, smug vanity, and overconfidence. Putin has the troops he needs, ready. Obama says there is no military solution. Clausewitz would observe that resistance against invasion is weak. Someone will soon decide to move or to stand down. It is now a question of the will of the potentates.

The huge danger now is that a Black Swan, independent of both Russia and the West, may appear to disturb the water with disastrous consequences as in 1914 in Sarejevo. Unless some new idea emerges to save us first, the landing may well be nigh. Lone individuals acting on their own behalf have repeatedly turned the course of history.

My feeling is things are no longer in human control. The competing myths are acting independently of any leader. The rules of chaos will likely decide what happens next.

b

If Russia goes into Ukraine, which I seriously doubt, it would stick to the eastern and southern regions probably south-west up to Transnistria to have a land bridge to that sorry place. Russia would certainly avoid center/west-Ukraine and the Polish border area but Ukraine would lose its coastline.

1. There is nothing NATO could do in Ukraine except to support a guerrilla war by western Ukraine fanatics which would not have much support in the eastern and southern areas. Any conventional NATO force in Ukraine would be threatened with (tactical) nukes and would be hard to justify as necessary in western Europe or the U.S.
As counter move to guerrillas Russia would build up volunteer corps from the Russian friendly areas to hold and defend them.

2. Russia does not have the troops and equipment to go any further. It would need to mobilize for a wider war which would bring economic devastation to Russia. The time of big occupation armies is gone. The few brigades Russia can put westward are simply not enough to hold large cities (Kiev) with a half-hostile population (see Iraq).

3. All NATO could do in Poland is to add a symbolic brigade or two but for how long? The three small Baltic countries are pretty much indefensible with very aging populations and lack of young men. Russia could take these but why should it bother?

Fred

b,

The Baltic nations not only can't defend themselves they are being beaten by the IMF. Ukraine is next:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/currency/10544298/Latvia-reluctantly-joins-euro-after-shock-therapy-but-controversy-rages-on.html

David Habakkuk

Colonel Foresman,

I do not know what grounds your intelligence agencies think they have for concluding that Putin wants to invade Eastern Ukraine.

What happened in Crimea was the result not of a long worked out plan by Putin but of a coming together of developments. Among these were:

1. the disruption on 20 February of the agreement brokered by the E.U. by what seems to have been yet another in what is becoming a succession of actual or projected ‘false flag’ operations;

2. the fact that the E.U. and U.S. made no attempt to salvage the agreement;

3. the way that the ‘rump parliament’ immediately proceeded to attempt to rescind the law allowing all those regions which so wished to have Russian as a second official language.

In the speech he gave following the Crimean referendum, Putin attempted to make clear what he might, and might not do. Comments by the former long-serving Canadian government analyst of Soviet and Russian affairs, Dr Patrick Armstrong, seem to the point:

‘Putin said he has no intention of absorbing other parts of Ukraine but this must be considered conditional. The warning is here: “But it should be above all in Ukraine’s own interest to ensure that these people’s [ie Russophones] rights and interests are fully protected. This is the guarantee of Ukraine’s state stability and territorial integrity.” If it gets bad, he will. Yatsenyuk has said he will disarm the extremists. Let’s hope that he does but I think he’s the von Papen of this revolution and I doubt he’ll be around in six months.’

(See http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2014/03/ru.html )

That the Russian Army may intervene in the South and East of the Ukraine, if and only if degeneration towards chaos, and the attempt to suppress Russian language and culture, continues, is also the thrust of an article by Andranik Migranyan which appeared yesterday in ‘The National Interest’.

At the end of the article, Migranyan is described as ‘director of the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation in New York, which works closely with the Russian presidential administration.’ So it is quite likely, although not certain, that what he says corresponds with what Putin is thinking.

(See http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/way-out-the-ukraine-crisis-10135 )

The article is a blunt warning about the possibilities for catastrophic disintegration in the Ukraine, a plea for cooperation between the U.S., E.U. and Russia to avert these, and an indication of the basis on which such cooperation might, in the Russian view, be possible.

It would in my view be helpful if people in the U.S. and E.U. actually listened to what Putin was saying, rather than taking refuge in the higher sanctimoniousness.

As to the notion that Putin takes personally what a posturing bloviator like Obama says about him, I would recommend you look at Putin’s ‘confession’ about the ‘polite armed men in green’. Quite clearly, he was rather gently taking the piss, as we say in England – but attempting to do so without causing Obama to take offence.

(See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/putins-confession-about-polite-armed.html?showComment=1395881845844 )

The difficulty that Putin faces is in dealing with figures in the U.S. and E.U. who persist in seeing the shambles in the Ukraine through ideological spectacles almost as distorting as those once imposed on Russians by Marxist-Leninist ideology.

If however, as a result of these ideological spectacles, people in the West persist in grotesquely over-interpreting Putin’s intentions, then we may indeed lapse back into a confrontation which, probably not now, but quite conceivably later, ends up generating a nuclear war.

A reluctance on the part of the Russians to see Sevastopol turned into a NATO base really does not mean that they are dreaming of retaking Warsaw.

toto

Also, if Russia invades Eastern Ukraine, the EU will go for broke and cut off economic relations with Russia. They will suffer for it, but Russia will also suffer a great deal - much more than under the current, symbolic "sanctions". It will be difficult to "bleed dry the US economy" when a large source of income vanishes overnight.

I can't see the benefit/cost ratio being there. But maybe other commenters are right and we are already well past the realm of rational evaluation.

Military invasion of the Baltic countries? I don't know what will happen but I doubt it will be enjoyable.

David Habakkuk

WP,

‘We have all seen such as this in the world and in our personal experiences, speakers, speaking across one another, never to meet except in conflict.’

Certainly, at times, conflict is inevitable. But the circumstances in which this happens can be unpredictable.

Let me quote to you some paragraphs from remarks made by Putin on 30 December 1999, on the subject of the lessons that Russia needed to learn from the experience of the twentieth century – and juxtapose them with remarks made by Tony Blair to the Labour Party conference on 28 September of the same year.

First Putin:

‘1. For almost three-fourths of the outgoing century Russia lived under the sign of the implementation of the communist doctrine. It would be a mistake not to see and, even more so, to deny the unquestionable achievements of those times. But it would be an even bigger mistake not to realize the outrageous price our country and its people had to pay for that Bolshevist experiment. What is more, [it would be a mistake] not to understand its historic futility. Communism and the power of Soviets did not make Russia a prosperous country with a dynamically developing society and free people. Communism vividly demonstrated its inaptitude for sound self-development, dooming our country to a steady lag behind economically advanced countries. It was a road to a blind alley, which is far away from the mainstream of civilization.

‘2. Russia has used up its limit for political and socio-economic upheavals, cataclysms and radical reforms. Only fanatics or political forces which are absolutely apathetic and indifferent to Russia and its people can make calls to a new revolution. Be it under communist, national-patriotic or radical-liberal slogans, our country, our people will not withstand a new radical break-up. The nation's tolerance and ability both to survive and to continue creative endeavor has reached the limit: society will simply collapse economically, politically, psychologically and morally.’

(See http://pages.uoregon.edu/kimball/Putin.htm )

Then Blair:

‘Today at the frontier of the new Millennium I set out for you how, as a nation, we renew British strength and confidence for the 21st century; and how, as a Party reborn, we make it a century of progressive politics after one dominated by Conservatives.

‘A New Britain where the extraordinary talent of the British people is liberated from the forces of conservatism that so long have held them back, to create a model 21st century nation, based not on privilege, class or background, but on the equal worth of all.

‘And New Labour, confident at having modernised itself, now the new progressive force in British politics which can modernise the nation, sweep away those forces of conservatism to set the people free.’

(See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/460009.stm )

It would seem obvious, would it not, that for a conservative British liberal like myself, dialogue is possible with Putin – while with Blair, and Obama, I can never really meet ‘except in conflict.’

rjj

Putin Grozny?

Compared to our hothouse flowers and innocents (in G. Greene sense) playing at punk statecraft, anybody who uses the subjunctive plays a long game.

Babak Makkinejad

I have reached analogous conclusions.

Even today, Russia can take over Ukraine and the force to stop that does not exist.

But why do so?

There are 3 million Ukrainians working as day laborers in Russia.

It reminds me of US and Mexico.

US could take over Mexico and the force to prevent that does not exist.

But why?

Unless the security of Russian Federation is threatened or there be attacks against Russians in Eastern Ukraine, Putin will stay put.


rjj

I don't know how to read Foresman's assertions.

different clue

Since a Black Swan is something no one could have predicted, perhaps I can predict something in order to prevent it from being that Black Swan.
The Nazi Banderistas will try killing as many Russian speakers and especially high sensitivity-high profile ones as it can in order to provoke a Russian invasion under the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. The Banderistas hope that NATO will counter-invade to protect Banderista power in return. Perhaps I have prevented it by predicting it?
If not, Putin may have been long-since thinking about a coordinated Banderista pogrom campaign against all targets in reach. He may already have some "non-invasion" responses planned.

blowback

I largely agree but I would add that certain Americans, particularly in Washington, suffer from a severe case of psychological projection - they accuse others of what they do themselves - and I think this is the case with Putin. He's shown a good understanding of history and almost certainly understands what the main causes of the downfall of the Soviet Union were and has little interest in going down the same route again. So the idea that he wishes to recreate the Warsaw Pact is a load of BS generated by the morons in Washington to justify their aggression towards Russia. As for the European poodles...................

Thomas

"It would seem that our Intelligence Agencies believe that Russia will invaded Eastern Ukraine."

It would seem Jacobin moles in the Intelligence Community are leaking their warped theories to prep the PR ground.

North

Mr Foresman, if I wasn't acutely aware of the massive campaign of manipulation currently in progress both in the states and in Europe, I would say that your post is a pure insult over Mr Putin's intellectual capabilities.

Let me be frank:

As a means to prevent further prospects of rapprochement between Europe, Russia and China the advised by Brzezinski&Co hit in Ukraine failed miserably. Not many in Europe are so intellectually incapable to accept the warmongering of the propaganda apparatus as a valid and reliable information about the events. Same with the so called elected representatives. Some mediocre exemplars here and there.. Yes, yes, I am aware of the big smiles and handshakings of Barroso and the likes, but they are professional hypocrites. The empty promises for energy supplies by use of fake and destructive technology are even less of consideration. Let's not forget who started the whole mess by overthrowing the government in Kiev and replacing it with bunch of clowns..

So any worries about military adventures of the russians towards their neighbors is result from the manipulation exercise I have mentioned above. Now, what the russians in east and south Ukraine are going to do about the Nazis your government unkindly installed in Kiev is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

It is so repulsive when a some mediocre wanker (excuse me Colonel for the language), comes in front of you and starts blaming the man who twice wiped his ass for the stinking content in his own pants.

Thomas

The Banderistas better get busy because NATO is going to have a full plate soon assisting Turkey in Syria.

David Habakkuk

different clue,

I strongly suspect you are right, insofar as the 'name of the game' for the Ukrainian nationalists has all along been to manipulate the U.S. in particular, and the West more generally.

Moreover, the leaked tape of Tymoshenko’s conversation with Shufrych – which may or may not have been edited – suggests that even among the more supposedly ‘moderate’ the mood among the nationalists is becoming apocalyptic. This may – but again may not – reflect a growing sense among people who actually have some sense of the situation on the ground in Ukraine that the whole place may be on the verge of disintegrating.

If so, this would make the kind of refusal to engage with dirty realities one sees in the U.S. and the E.U. that much more dangerous. As the stakes get higher, the need to exploit Western stupidity and narcissism becomes more acute.

It would be a happier world, however, if simply by exploring the possibilities, and pointing them out, one could be ensure that people like Obama, and also his European fellow-travellers, could be prevented from falling into traps which are likely to be set by people whom to whom they are used to condescending but who are often much more adept in Machiavellian intrigue than they are.

WP

My thought is that BHO is flummoxed. Largely, he has not invented a way out of his self-created problem. His fundamental flaw is his past error of letting the Nulands have free hand and not then understanding the most likely consequences. He cannot act now except by preaching. My view of Obama's recent body language and voice senses fear more than will. I do now believe he believes what he is preaching, but he has no other language tools to use.

While Obama may wish to talk with Putin, Obama is now a prisoner of those around him who are the progeny of the PNAC and see the subjugation of the Ukraine as some sort of holy quest. We will know if he escapes from their clutches if his myth-tool box changes.

Furthermore, it appears that Western subversion has so destroyed any moderate center in the country that there is no one in Ukraine to which the West can turn to create some sort of interim authority that could effectively Findlandize the area.

Andranik Migranyan's article cited in David Habbakuk's comment below seems to indicate the Russians are trying hard to find some middle ground short of invasion. However, the threat is real and so is Putin's will. It seems unlikely that some wise person exists in Ukraine who could be installed by consensus to tread the narrow path suggested by Migranyan. Even if such person exists, there is a strong likelihood that the true believers in Obama's stable would torpedo the process.

As I said several days ago, I think Russia will move to occupy at least South and Eastern Ukraine It seems soon Russia will view the South and East as a bird in the bush best taken while it can be. It appears that they view any additional sanctions would cause little marginal harm beyond that they are already facing.

Unless some unifying person can be found very soon to lead the Finlandization process, I doubt that Russia will see it in its interest to delay the annexation of the South and East for very long at all. My sense right now is that the Finlandization process is stillborn. I hope I am wrong.

Russia will not take all of the Ukraine. Babak Makkinejad, below, is probably correct that there is little need for Russia to do so. As a practical matter, leaving a good buffer between what Russia takes and Poland will just be a huge economic burden on the West as it festers in chaos. Leaving a good buffer may lessen the abject terror of the former Soviet states sufficiently to allow some room for reapproachment.

However, a Black Swan event may arrive to upset all.

David Habakkuk

blowback,

You have hit the nail on the head. A fundamental point about Putin is that he is determined not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors. Among other things, he is all along been well aware of the fundamental weaknesses of the Russian position.

What people in the U.S. and E.U. are too stupid to realise is that if you try to exploit the weaknesses of an adversary beyond a certain point, they must necessarily stonewall, whatever the costs. They will calculate that to give in to pressure will simply mean that pressure is applied again and again, so that they are forced into indefinite retreat.

We have made this mistake with Iran, and now seem determined to repeat it with Russia.

Someone needs to provide American policymakers with remedial education in the basic principles of successful blackmail.

VietnamVet

Colonels,

Apparently humans can only communicate if they speak the same language and share the same myths. This does not bode well for our future.

Western Ukrainian Catholics has been put upon for so long that revolution is never far away; similar to the Afghans, but without the mountains. All they need is some entrepreneur seed money or an invading army to revolt. Russians motives for annexing Crimea were clear once they lost influence in Kiev; keep their strategic port on the Black Sea. USA and EU motives for annexing Ukraine are not so clear.

Democracy is a strange goal when it brings neo-nazis or Islamic fundamentalists into power which inevitably ends with a counter revolution by the military or an invasion by peace keeping forces. Much like Charter schools make money for entrepreneurs and bust teaching unions with no benefit for the students; expanding NATO and destabilizing Russia, at best, will result in exploitation of additional resources by western corporations or, at worst, keep the war profits flowing. Since the new wealth is based on human exploitation and gambling, the neo-liberal/neo-conservative myths behind the nouveau riche are never discussed.

But, the future of Ukraine is fairly clear if it is not finlandized. Radicals will seize more power in Kiev. Tensions between Orthodox Eastern and Catholic Western Ukrainians will rise. After extensive rioting, Russia will invade to protect the majority Russian provinces. Poland will send troops into western Ukraine to save the Catholics. NATO will provide air support. In the carnage, tactical nuclear weapons will be ignited; and then, Armageddon.

Ryan

"I largely agree but I would add that certain Americans, particularly in Washington, suffer from a severe case of psychological projection - they accuse others of what they do themselves - and I think this is the case with Putin."

You got that right. I've noticed the same thing I believe the neocons are the worst at this. Ideological fanaticism can make you stupid by giving you a false world view.

Ryan

I believe you are correct. Last night, I caught a few minute of the lovely Megyn Kelly's show. She told the tale about how Russia had 80,000 troops along the border according to "intelligence sources". This was followed by some film footage showing a Russian tank column and one of a logistical column. To her credit she did say they couldn't verify where the films came from. Today, CNN claimed the troop figure was 50,000. Wow, a drop. CNN also claimed that field hospitals had been deployed. Well, they need training too.

This stinks to me and reminds me of all the claims made about the forces Saddam had in Kuwait. The media at the time each week would give a figure showing that Saddam was engaged in a massive reinforcement. I recall the total figure finally stopped around 850,000 men. Years later I found that the real figure of troops in Kuwait never went over 250,000.

When the figure finally hits 500,000 to 800,000 troops I might get concerned then.

Norbert M Salamon


#4 credible intelligence that ""rebels"" trained in Turkey were to arrive soon to imitate the action in Kiev. Interestingly a large Turkish plane turned around as it became known that the airport was controlled by unknown heavily forces wearing green uniforms.

zanzibar

Mr. Foresman

What is our national interest in Ukraine? And if extended further how does what happens in Poland, Romania and the Baltics, our new NATO "allies" impact our fellow American citizens? Why should we care if Putin risks his soldiers lives and his meager treasury at home on adventures in those lands?

To admit a bias, I would be considered an "isolationist" when it comes to interventions in places that half our citizens can't pronounce correctly.

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