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01 March 2014

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David Habakkuk

TTG,

With respect, why the hell should they head on to Kiev and the Polish border?

As I used to explain to the daughter of my West Ukrainian sister-in-law, it was one of Stalin's great mistakes to incorporate the areas of Ukraine which had been part of the Hapsburg Empire and then of Poland into the Soviet Union. Had he not done that, the Soviets could probably have completed the Russification of the South and East; while the Ukrainian nationalists could have gone on shooting Polish policemen, as they had before 1939.

Unless Putin really is stupid -- and nothing in his record suggests that he is -- he will be eminently happy to dump the West Ukraine onto the EU.

As to Russian policy towards those regions which were part of the Russian Empire before 1914, the problem for the Russians would seem to be how to assess what to do, in a situation where it is unclear in which direction many people in these areas will want to turn.

This is an immensely difficult problem, particularly because the situation is quite palpably in flux. How the Russian authorities will choose to handle it remains, in my view, very difficult to gauge. But then, Putin and his associates have lived through a revolution, and accordingly know how unstable revolutionary situations are. In my view, they would probably prefer to avoid leading with their chin -- to use an old English phrase.
.

The Twisted Genius

David Habakkuk,

I, at first, hesitated saying the Russians will push on to Kiev and the Polish border for all the valid reasons you mentioned. However, the goal of this invasion is to restore order. That will not be accomplished until the Maidan crowd and their Western co-conspirators are convinced that they lost this one. Anything short of that and order is not restored. Perhaps they will come to this conclusion when the Russian tanks are in Kharkov. I think it will take more than that. Maybe it will be Ukrainian tanks on the Polish border and in Kiev, but I seriously doubt the Russians will stop until all the hooligan leaders are rounded up.

I think a Ukrainian federation with broad regional autonomy would be an ideal solution for the Russians where the western oblasts will seek closer economic integration (aid) from the EU and the US, the eastern oblasts will be closely incorporated into the Russian sphere and the pipelines will continue to function across all of Ukraine.

David Habakkuk

TTG,

I wrote this before reading your response to my earlier comment, but as I am heading out now, it seems to post it as written, as it might stimulate debate.

From ‘Voice of Russia’:

‘US President Barack Obama's warning that Russia would have to pay for a planned military intervention in Crimea is “a direct threat,” a deputy head of Russia's upper house of parliament said on Saturday, saying Obama has “crossed the red line and insulted the Russian people.”

“Yesterday we heard from various media sources that the US president, Obama, had said Russia would pay dearly for its policy. We know that Maidan militants who were active in Kiev, and not only there, had been trained in Lithuania and Poland. Now they want to spread their influence with their activities to eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea,” Federation Council Deputy Chairman Yury Vorobyov said at an upper house session.’

(See http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_01/Putin-to-decide-whether-to-send-troops-to-Ukraine-recall-ambassador-from-US-depending-on-developments-Peskov-8653/ )

Is it the case that ‘Maidan militants’ were trained in Lithuania and Poland? Your sources of information are probably better than those available to me.

Also from ‘Voice of Russia’:

‘Ukraine nationalist leader calls on “most wanted” terrorist Umarov “to act against Russia”. A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector’s page in VKontakte social network.’

(See http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_01/Ukraine-nationalist-leader-urges-top-terrorist-Umarov-to-act-against-Russia-6033/ )

In your view, is this Russian disinformation – or may it be accurate?

VietnamVet

TTG

I am afraid you are correct. With parliamentary permission to protect fellow Russians, the spearheads of tanks will not stop on the East Bank of the Dieper River but keep driving forward until faced by an opposing force of Polish Twardy Main Battle Tanks and A-10 Warthogs overhead. To survive NATO has to defend Poland; a variation of the start of WWII.

Just like America forgot the Vietnam War, the Russians will overlook their Afghanistan occupation. Catholic Western Ukrainians will resist the Russian occupation for God and Home. Cold War II has reignited.

Incineration of mankind is a real possibility with the masters of the universe in charge advised by baby faced R2Pers and delusional neo-cons.

David Habakkuk

TTG,

The most recent post by ‘the Saker’ seems to me to the point. An extract:

‘In the past days I have listened to many Russian experts, lots of talkshows, political statements, etc. and I was amazed by the fact that nobody even suggested that Russia should intervene militarily. Everybody agreed that Russia should support the Russian speakers in the Ukraine politically, financially, and morally. But nobody mentioned the use of force. So what happened since?

‘1) some kind of attack on Crimea overnight
and
‘2) Obama's absolutely imbecile and reckless threats against Russia

‘And this combination really set things off. Now, every single political party in the Council of the Federation and every single representative have voted to allow the use of Russian armed force. That would be the equivalent of the US President getting each member of the House and the Senate to vote to allow him to wage war.

‘I need to make something else clear here: no amounts of threats will stop the Kremlin now, all that will achieve is to get even more of the public reaction of support for Putin. And if some wannabe Napoleon or Hitler decided to try to use military forces against Russia the latter will go to war, no matter who is standing against it.

‘The USA and the EU have to realize that they dangerously overplayed their hand in the Ukraine: they have used neo-Nazis to overthrow a totally corrupt and incompetent President, but a legitimate one, in the process they have wrecked the Ukrainian state apparatus, by allowing so much wanton violence and racist slogans they have totally freaked out the eastern and southern Ukraine, and by either conducting or allowing an attack on Crimea they have threatened the Russian population and the Black Sea Fleet. That is yet another absolute and TOTAL DISASTER of the Obama Presidency. This man is as dishonest, as he is mediocre, arrogant and reckless and I hope and pray that the US Joint Chiefs are going to have a "frank exchange of views" with him as soon as possible. In an ideal world, the Congress should have impeached that despicable loser, but since they are even worse then him, it is for the JCS to act.’

(See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/obama-just-made-things-much-much-worse.html )

It may indeed well be that we need to pin our hopes on General Dempsey. It seems an awful burden to place upon him!

DH

VV, I wouldn't think an occupation is in the plan, but a show of force and competence. Putin could then graciously turn east Ukraine over to the tender ministrations of the West, and walk happily away with the Crimea and the loyalty of west Ukraine.

turcopolier

DH

I think an occupation and annexation of at least part of Ukraine is likely. pl

oofda

Think Moldova and the Transnistra- the latter is a breakaway part of Moldova that is a de facto independent state. It is not recognized by most nations or international organizations. But Russia and Russian mililatry forces stationed there keep it from being reabsorbed into Moldova. Because of the Russian military contingent present in Transnistria, the European Court of Human Rights considers Transnistria "under the effective authority or at least decisive influence of Russia. That is what we might get in Krim (Crimea).

Also there are reports that the US intel community less than a week ago was certain that there would be no Russian military action. The siloviki had completely conviced US intel people and diplomats that there would be nothing like what has happened. Again, this was the same intel community that said Assad was on his last legs in Syria.

Babak Makkinejad

Russia, should she elect to intervene militarily in Ukraine, will have no reason to leave a rump Ukraine in the Western part to be used as a NATO bridgehead.

They will have to play for keeps or not at all; in my opinion.

DH

Sorry, switch my east and west.

William R. Cumming

The Russians are expert in partition of nation-states on their borders! My guess is the Dnieper will become the new dividing line between an East and West Ukraine and Russia will leave the Ukraine with its Facist thugs to deal with.

And again President Obama listening to the R2P faction in National Security Circles.

Personally I have long viewed the Neo-Cons as Crypto-Facists and perhaps the R2P is also a cover story.

The US financial exchanges are all up as they were after 12/7/1941 and after the Start of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1945!

The only big political question for the year is whether the 2014 fall elections are a referendum on this President or rather turn on indivudal States and their local government issues.

I find it of particular interest that none seem to know exactly why NK gave the Crimea to the Ukraine? My guess is he was paid to do so!

DH

"I think an occupation and annexation of at least part of Ukraine is likely. pl"

Thank you, Colonel. How about a corridor encompassing the Dneiper?

Tyler

How do the Cold War old hands here feel at seeing this? It feels like, as the good Colonel said, I am watching history being made. Its a fascinating time to be alive.

Personally after reading books about the Soviet forces and their capabilities and methods, I have no small amount of professional interest in seeing how the Russian military performs. If the soccer hooligans think to repeat their actions in Kiev's square (charging a riot line with baseball bats and football helmets) with the Russians, Ithink they'll get a short sharp lesson in why that's a mistake.

turcopolier

DH

Could be, but I am inclined to think TTG is right. They will go to the Polish border. pl

Bobo

CNN up with photo of Tanks moving in Sevastopol....

Imagine that Victoria the witch has recognized that her position is, add an ed to the first word of her recent published profanity.

DH

Sir, I was not disagreeing with TTG, just saying they might to it for show, then withdraw. Occupying such a large country seems economic and administrative overkill, as VV said.

gemini333

Some interests in US have been pushing to allow export of natural gas. I believe it's been championed by an Alaskan senator. Of course Big Oil/Gas want it too.

If this crisis causes a disruption of gas from Russia to Ukraine and other parts of Europe and becomes a crisis, would US pass emergency law to allow natural gas export to help our European friends? Western media is working overtime to generate sympathy.

If so, is it possible that this was the point of the whole Ukraine thing from the start, or at least a factor? Large scale export of natural gas (which supposedly we stepped up drilling to reduce our dependency on foreign oil & gas, but everyone knows oil companies want to get it out on the open market where they can get a higher price and what are the LG terminals for?)

turcopolier

Gemini333

"is it possible that this was the point of the whole Ukraine thing from the start." The faith in economic determinism dies hard. pl

Nightsticker

Colonel Lang,

I have to admit I got a little thrill
out of watching Russian special operations
units doing their thing, by all accounts,
quickly, surgically, professionally, quietly
and in support of genuine national strategic
objectives.
Wish we could do that type of thing still.

Nightsticker
USMC 1965-1972
FBI 1972-1996

walrus

THe Russians are going to need to get control of the Three reservoirs and the bridges over the Dneiper quick smart if they want to get to the Polish border. We will see if the Ukranians are competent enough to open the spillways and blow the bridges.

Joe100

All -

With reports like the following of claims by the ultra-nationaists/neo-nazi fascists who appear to be running things in Kiev, one can see the value of restoring real order throughout Ukraine. Can Russia afford to let groups like this remain loose given the significant nuclear power infrastructure in Western Ukraine - as crazy as these claims may appear??

"Calls in Kiev to ‘regain nuclear status in six months’

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-nuclear-arsenal-threat-314/

Harry

Agree entirely. Maybe I dont understand the strength of the US position but it seems to me that Obama has nothing behind his threats.

tv

IF (and I stress the IF), the media reports of US "intelligence" misreading Russia and NOT anticipating the latest military moves, we're back to the same old question:
Just WHAT do we get for the trillions spent (pissed away) by the so-called "intelligence" community?

nick b

This is about oil, but along those lines.
From the Voice of Russia:
http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_12/Oil-export-in-US-its-mpre-about-politics-6422/

Haralambos

Thank you, Col. Lang, and others for your thoughts. This is a bit of trivia, but I found it interesting.
My wife went to a NY Met broadcast of _Prince Igor_ by Borodin (finished by Rimsky-Korsakov) here in Thessaloniki tonight and the singers included folks who had trained in Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia and Slovakia. This was the first Met performance of it 100 years. The plot seems to foreshadow events of recent days: https://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/season/synopsis/prince-igor?src=hdpage

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