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15 April 2014

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505thPIR

There will be violence and lots of it. Putin really has two choices: 1)Temporarily occupy Russian speaking and Orthodox areas with their general acquiescence and set-them up as independent Moscow affiliated republics. Annexation doubtful as the illusion of non-annexation still useful. 2)The Ukrainian security forces are underequipped, undertrained muffins. They are not capeable of carrying out a long term occupation of said regions for any enduring amount of time nor are they capeable of finesse/using anything but blunt force. Further, Russian special ops/working hand in hand with local "patriots" would win outright any prolonged guerilla war. The extended border with Russia and Belarus is unsealable. Arms and strategic initiative permanently in breakaway group's favor. The fracture zones between East and West Ukraine would harken back in terms of blood and atrocity to the worst the 20th century had to offer.

Once the fighting gets going in earnest this week, secession is going to be a given. How this plays out is not.

Should Russia intervene directly, it would not likely seem to be in its interest to invade the Western Ukraine and roll-up on NATO borders. A) Direct Confrontation will be a very real possibility and B) Occupation of the Catholic/Ukrainian speaking territories would be bloody and the resistence would be "sponsored". This would be a trap Moscow would do well to avoid. Again, in this scenario the liklihood of direct conflict with NATO goes up.

Western Ukraine will be eventually the frontier state of "Europe" in Cold War 2. Advantage Neo-Cons as a deep schism will exist between Europe proper and rest of Eurasia.

All this said, once the killing gets going in earnest, all bets are off.

505thPIR

Timely? Some national introspection perhaps?

"The warrior’s approach is to say 'yes' to life: say 'yea' to it all. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. When we talk about settling the world's problems, we're barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It's a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives."

Joseph Campbell in a Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

turcopolier

All We all have a big problem. The BHO Administration sees the
Russian actions as a challenge to world wide authority wielded by the US on behalf of the world community in a post-modern international system and the Russians (Putin) see their own actions as a rightful re-assertion of Russian control of lands which they never should have lost.

Karel Dolejsi

Ukrainian Lieutenant-general Krutov, commander of ongoing "anti-terrorist operation" in Eastern Ukraine. He gave a speech yesterday - highly critical to current Ukrainian authorities, but he is military professional too. Warning sign for the Russkies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=60BzBGtl-SE

David Habakkuk

All,

In one of its intermittent attacks of common sense, the ‘Financial Times’ has published a commentary by Dmitri Trenin, the former career Red Army officer who heads the Carnegie Moscow Center, which seems to bring out very well how dangerous today’s developments may turn out to be:

“Until Tuesday, when Kiev began a military operation in Ukraine’s east, the Kremlin neither needed nor intended to use military force there. Its army was lining up across the border to deter Kiev from using its own forces against pro-Russian activists, and to dissuade the US and Nato from meddling. A Russian intervention becomes more likely if there is a full-blown civil war.

“The Kremlin is often accused of fomenting instability in Ukraine as a pretext for invasion. In reality, Russia’s main objective is to help the country’s Russophile southeast to assert itself and create a new political balance within Ukraine. It wants acceptance for official use of the Russian language where it is spoken; direct election of governors, which would create regional elites accountable to their Russian-speaking constituencies and form a counterweight to the pro-western elites in Kiev; continuing economic relations with Russia, especially in the defence industrial area; and, lastly, for Ukraine to maintain a neutral relationship with Nato.

“Ukraine is a large and complex country. Ukrainians are not Russians, as Mr Putin will have to admit. They are not ‘one people’, even among themselves. But equally, not all those who reject a narrow version of Ukrainian nationalism are Russian agents.”

The conclusion to Trenin’s article seems to me apposite:

“If it [Ukraine] is allowed to break up – or made to do so – Russia and the west will spin into a confrontation from which both will emerge the losers. Both sides need to keep Ukraine whole. They cannot allow a clash of civilisations to become a self-realising fantasy.”

(See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c4d5fd58-c3d9-11e3-a8e0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ysyb9bqU )

William R. Cumming

So the Ukraine a pawn in the chess game of geopolitics but one that can self-initiate catastrophe!

crf

A Swiss news piece:
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Burkhalter_seeks_to_defuse_Ukrainian_crisis.html?cid=38384068

kao_hsien_chih

I've been wondering about this from very early days of the crisis... How reliably loyal are Ukrainian troops to The current Kiev government? The impression that I have gotten was that it is not but Russian propaganda might have been exaggerating its disloyalty (ie the unverifiable but large numbers of supposed defectors and such.) How many Ukrainian soldiers will actually fight when things get serious enough, and whether Kiev will have to call on loyalist "militias" they supposedly have been raising (reminiscent of various thugs in former Yugoslavia, on all sides), seems potentially very important.

I suspect that if Ukrainian Army can maintain discipline, Putin will be cornered. If they caanot and Kiev resorts to unleashing armed thugs, I suspect we will see Russians retake Kiev in a few days after the thugs show up. If the Ukrainian army does falter but no thugs show up in yheir place, the Kiev government will be probably finished.

walrus

I did not fully understand the importance of the military in U.S. life until I visited the Lynn, Mass. Military jet engine plant of G.E. I was in a machine hall, listening to an inspector explain to me why the front housing of the T700 engine that powers the UH60 Black Hawk helicopter we had made was not quite up to his standards when I glanced up the hall and realised that every machine operator was watching me.

It struck me that all their jobs depended on a continuing need for that helicopter engine and that depended on those military helicopters flying lots of hours and that depended on their being a military justification for that expense. Their jobs also depended on an Australian company not being able to make this complex part cheaper and better than they could, which was why the inspector was doing his level best to find fault with ours, but that is another story.

Throughout my visits I consistently noticed the preponderance of military activity. I sat next to a pimply Twenty something on an airliner - he was a crew chief for a B52. I saw naval transport ships moored in the Mississippi downtream of New Orleans - doing nothing, but sitting there just in case. I saw the marines training area south of Los Angeles, the huge naval and air installations at San Diego, the submarine on the slip in Groton Conn. and a whole lot more.

It is quite clear that there are huge sections of the American economy that feed off war, whose jobs, like those of the men at G.E.'s factory in Lynn, depend on the existence of some "threat" that justifies this vast expense. However I am not going to rail against the military industrial complex, there is something more important going on here. When one is under threat of something, we give ourselves permission to postpone introspection. This is an obvious and necessary survival trait.

Could it be that America now prefers perpetual war to peace because it indefinitely postpones the self analysis and painful change that America desperately needs?

The Twisted Genius

The seriousness of this problem hit me when the news of Brennan's recent visit to Kiev leaked out. To me, that move meant that the BHO Administration is doubling down on its bet. I have no doubt that the CIA owns the SBU. That's what they do. ITAR-TASS reports that a Pravy Sektor unit spearheaded the retaking of the Kramatorsk Aerodrome. I'd bet that Brennan told the coup leaders to put Krutov in charge of their anti-terrorist center after instructing Krutov to use the Pravy Sektor and Svoboda units to crush the uprising in the East.

oofda

And the religous aspect is more complex as there are several Ukrainian Orthodox churches. There is the Ukrainian Orthodox Churck- Kiev Patriarchate; the Ukrainian Orthodox Churck- Moscow Patrirchate; and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Then there is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church/ Uniate. This presents a problem for the Russian Orthodox leadership and the Russian Government- they don't want to be seen attacking fellow Orthodox believers.

Matthew

WRC: It's simple to de-escalate. All NATO and EU have to do is state categorically that Ukraine will never become a member of NATO/EU unless Russia does too.

Augustin L


What is the administration trying to accomplish here ? In the end it is the europeans and ukrainians that will be the losers. No Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis, this will facilitate the pivot towards Asia. Here's an interesting footage of the Pravy Sektor thugs beating the presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev yesterday, ironically as he exited the studios of a show entitled ''liberty of expression''. This is democracy ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejh1-_8YIBY

seydlitz89

From a strategic theory perspective: President Putin demonstratively thinks and acts strategically whereas the US has acted astrategically in a consistent manner through a series of political crises requiring the possible resort to military action. The character of the political leadership is important, as is the consideration that organized violence in various forms seems to be our/the US's political/military method of choice.

In situations of potential military conflict, Putin would think in terms of the correlation of forces, those material and moral forces available to the political community/state in question at a particular time regarding a particular context (contingency).

Imo the Russians are more reacting to events than precipitating them; I would look elsewhere for that.

Materially speaking it would be "crazy" for Russia to take on the US/NATO in a military conflict . . . Russians being Russians, that may not matter, but whose to tell those following the US Govt/Cheneyism that?

Morally speaking it's another kettle of fish . . .

Anna-Marina

There are two terribly depressing articles in CounterPunch, one by Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/15/the-attack-on-russia-is-mounting/
and another by Mike Whitney:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/15/is-putin-being-lured-into-a-trap/

And here is an excerpt from Whitney's article where he quotes the prominent neocon Mr. Wolfowitz in order to explicate the DC' guiding principles re Russia and Ukraine:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere.... We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”
It seems that there is no hope for a peaceful solution in the poor Ukraine. The visit of the CIA Director Brennan to Kiev is an omen of an incoming West-provoked civil war in Ukraine.
The lunatics are courting a mushroom cloud.

FB Ali

The latest developments are covered by The Saker in an 1830 EST sitrep on his site. He sums up the day's developments thus:

1) "The Ukrainian military only pretends to participate in the so-called anti-terrorist operation. While some units from Galicia might try it, most units are probably unwilling to shoot many civilians.

2) The cops, SWAT teams and SBU special forces probably would not mind shooting into a crowd, but they would be fearful to enter inside the urban environment of a city and storm buildings while having a furious mob all around them.

3) As for the neo-Nazi thugs and common criminals hired by the oligarchs, they have neither the training nor the means to put down a city".

The fact remains that, if there is significant loss of life among civilians in this action in succeeding days, the chances of a Russian military intervention become very high.

It almost seems as if Washington is trying to force such a development. Will Merkel do anything about this, or will she allow Germany to be pulled into this morass?

VietnamVet

All, When CIA Director Brennan was reported by RT to be in Kiev and urging the Putsch to send troops to put down the unrest in the Eastern Provinces, all I could foresee is Ukraine spiraling out of control. With thousands of hydrogen bombs on both sides, MAD is in play no matter how it is ignored by the White House or the media.

In many ways we are replaying 1861, 1914 and 1941; all over again. In each case, societies had reached their boundaries, stagnated, and thought they needed more land (Lebensraum). The West is now all played out; ruled by a few hundred multi-national monopolies and families, concerned only with preserving and increasing their capital, any way they can, including by war. Sovereign Nations ruled by puppets and controlled by non-democratic institutions without any interest in their people’s well-being.

Victorian Nuland and Pierre Omidyar (eBay founder and donator to the National Endowment for Democracy) are one and the same as the hot headed Southern Radicals who fired on Fort Sumter. Each sees war as necessary rather than peace with compromise and the concurrent loss of status. Except, this 21st century war will destroy the Northern Hemisphere.

bth

The YouTube link is not from yesterday but from March 10. Are you referring to another one?

steve

Yet, at the same time, you can travel throughout much of the US and see very little military presence, if any, save for the occasional national guard personnel on a weekend.

Of course, the US is full of industrial and manufacturing operations that supply military hardware. I don't dispute that.

Tyler

So what happens on the domestic front if we decide to go all in with the Ukraine?

William R. Cumming

Agree!

William R. Cumming

YUP!

William R. Cumming

The Brennan visit to Kiev finally documents for me his total incompetence.

William R. Cumming

IMO Ukrainian factions have no end game in mind other than stirring the pot and hoping someone else keeps it from boiling over. This will not happen and look for many Ukrainians to be scalded.

Ukrainian-American friends in the DC area tell me almost that entire community is trying to get their relatives out of the Ukraine and hopefully many to the USA!

Dismayed

@TTG

I was just reading this thread with an eye to asking what others thought the reason for Brennan's visit might have been. My own suspicion is that at the least he offered to pay SBU's salaries. And us still running annually ~600 billion in the red ... utter madness.

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