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27 April 2014


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Thank you for your helpful opinion. It helps me to put these things in the right context.


I suspect blackmail also, though more from Number Two at the Fed than a personal kind.


I originally thought the same about her as a practical politician, but I currently do not see it in her actions. Maybe she has something going on behind close doors or the NATO wing of her government is too strong to overcome?


Here is the link:



Since you have read the book, what were the concerns and issues about Ukraine and the proposed solutions to address them?



Caught this little tidbit by Juan Cole,"...cities such as Sderot, where Israelis have settled Ethiopians and Thai guest workers."

So ethical to put your unwanted in the line of rocket fire.

Charels Dekle

Col Lang,
We seem to be led by a true Confederacy of Dunces. Frankly, I am worried.

FB Ali

These are token sanctions, imposed largely for domestic political and PR reasons. They do not change anything, the Russians will brush them off (as Rosneft's CEO just did).

The real game-changer would be sectoral sanctions. About them the European editor of The Guardian, Ian Traynor, wrote today:

"The formula is evasive. The threats are empty. There is no stomach for such moves in Europe because the result would be a devastating trade war that would damage a weak European economy that is only in the early stages of recovery from recession and years of currency and debt crisis".

Until that happens, I think my thesis holds: the West has folded on Ukraine. That is why those in the West who want another Cold War with Russia (some don't even mind a shooting one!)are trying hard to provoke Russia into sending troops into Ukraine.

Ken Roberts

It seems improbable to be this inept accidentally.

On a related concept, "mess with minds", what do you make of the suspension of regular phone chats? Who has come to expect what sorts of reassurances?

Finally, how long has this confrontation been in prep? Last Jan-Feb 2014 there was a movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, about some young guy who was in Moscow outwitting Russians (KG played the heavy) who were going to crash the financial system. So the meme-ducks being gotten into row.

It seems more like theatre than reality. In which case one wonders what outcomes are scripted (of course, vs what outcomes may result by not all the actors being rehearsed on the script).


Yes. Spent my first decade in Sharptown. Haven't been back in years. Glad to hear its stayed more or less the same.


Bob Carr, a former Australian foreign minister, suggests that intelligence reporting is sometimes no more illuminating than Economist articles. Maybe Carr's view would be different if he was a military commander instead of a foreign minister, but is he somewhat right?

Given all the money spent on intelligence organizations and bureaucracies, could a state be better served by shifting resources to increased diplomatic reporting or open source capabilities?




As someone who has worked in all aspects of the intelligence trade, I would say that for the most part it is true that open source material suffices. The exception would be the need to discern the secret intentions of an adversary or specific information needed to conduct military operations. p l

different clue

The question could apply to Merkel, Blair, Cameron, etc. (One would wish otherwise).

But it feels to me as if Slaughter, Nuland, etc. are in it for love, not money. Would I be wrong?

different clue

If the Assad government can win a crushing victory over all the rebel groups, then the Syrian Christian presence may well continue and even regain former size. Especially if a victorious Assad government is very selective about which refugees it re-admits and under what terms and conditions.


did you travel at all by bus at the time? During a short trip to Turkey several years ago, I was quite impressed by the inter-city bus system. Buses were always sparkling as they were washed at nearly every rest stop, and steward-boys would bring around complementry coffee and cookies. Way better than Greyhound.


FB Ali,

I think that is correct. For example the French are trying to impose their own domestic austerity program. It's already creating problems within their own government. I don't see them ponying up a few billion to bail out Ukraine at the expense of French nationals. Equally I don't see anyone in the EU wanting a few million more residents with EU passports and no job prospects back in Ukraine. Apparently Obama and company believe our own underreported unemployment numbers. I doubt the Greeks or Spanish have any doubt about theirs.

The Twisted Genius


I agree with what Colonel Lang said. A caveat about open source capabilities is the need for analysts that can reliably see through all the lies, disinformation, distortions, and deceptions to find the useful nuggets of information. Open source information is also the battlefield of the information operations practitioners. All source is the best way to go.



"All source is best." Yes but at what price and for what purpose? Much of what is collected is encyclopedic or just trash busywork. We do a pretty good job here with open source material. pl



The "Dev Genc" insurgency was in full bloom at the time. That would not have been a good idea. pl

The Twisted Genius


"We do a pretty good job here with open source material."

Yep. You got me there. My hesitation came from seeing some astoundingly wrong conclusions reached by analysts using open source info they did not really understand, especially in the technical arena. The internet is no place for gullible newbs. Happily, we have a great abundance of talented, yet cynical, old farts here to see through the bullshit.

nick b


Cool video. Do you kayak in those smaller crafts? I have long considered one, but a much larger Sea Eagle type (suitable for fishing). Agreed, on the undeveloped rivers. Having lived lived on the banks of the Hudson in NY and NJ, and between the Navesink and Shrewsbury in NJ, I'm far more used to well developed areas by the water. There are a few lucky homeowners on the Nanticoke, but the largest homes we saw seemed be owned by beavers.



Everything in the intelligence business depends on the quality of the brains involved. pl

The Twisted Genius

nick b,

I have a 12 foot kayak that tracks very well. My son's is very similar. The ones in that video are a slalom kayak and that weird looking bathtub toy is a freestyle kayak. I had to look that one up. I've never seen anything like that before. My kayak has a large cockpit making it easier for me to get my broke down old ass in and out of it. I use a sprayskirt to keep from swamping. This year I want to make a sail for it this year. nothing big, just a square meter or so.

That Sea Eagle of yours looks pretty nice. Back in my ROTC days, we took a lot of trips in inflatables in the Adirondacks including the upper Hudson and the Saint Regis area. Great fun.


Under President Obama 20% of women attending college are victims of sexual assault. Good thing we are spending time talking about the billionaire bigot and his comments to his fellow adulterer rather than asking why all the Congress is pushing for everyone to go to college:


I wonder just what definition they used in that report?


This is fotage from an overrun SAA position near the Golan Heights. What was used - FAE or mustard gas?

Fk Dahl

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