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13 May 2014

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ffintii

Obama "tilts" on narcissism or WW3?

steve

"The Farce Is Complete: Joe Biden's Son Joins Board Of Largest Ukraine Gas Producer

Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director."

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-13/farce-complete-joe-bidens-son-joins-board-largest-ukraine-gas-producer

GulfCoastPirate

Why does Obama not fire Nuland and her cronies?

VietnamVet

FB Ali,

This is the best summary of the current situation in Ukraine that I have read.

One aspect of this crisis I’ve never seen before is the propaganda that is completely divorced from reality and is so vicious. In the Vietnam Era, the domino theory made sense even if it didn’t happen. Stalin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh, also, were worthy opponents deserving the best efforts of the American people not dirty rotten scumbags like Vladimir Putin. In Saigon the Generals were venal and incompetent but they were our Generals. Now, the US Government is supporting Jihadists in Syria and Right Sector in Ukraine who would like do nothing better than to kill Americans.

This change is due to who is doing the fighting. What we are seeing today are Wars between varying Western and Eastern Plutocrats over scarce resources. The people don’t matter anymore; except, to be kept out of the way, jailed, or killed. Today wars are fought with mercenaries not people’s armies. We are living at the start of the new Dark Ages if mankind survives climate change and a possible nuclear holocaust.

Norbert M Salamon

Thank you for the encompassing ideas and facts surrounding Ukraine, the West and Russia [with Chinese backing-as revealed today].

I think one issue is unmentioned, to wit, that the Ukraine economy will not survive past a few months [will sink below that of Greece], as neither the US nor EU has the sufficient cash reserves to keep Ukraine above water.

There is a shortage of analysis in MSM and blogsphere concerning the damages done to EU, US and world economies by the foolish attempt to sanction RF.

The people of RF are quite willing to make living standard impacts when the security of the Nation is involved. One does not need too much historical analysis to ascertain this fact. The same can not be held for either the EU or the spoiled children of US.

So my notion is that the "West" may win the battle in the short term, but will loose the war within a year.

walrus

Thank you very much for your appreciation Gen. Ali!

There are three other factors at play that I am aware of.

a) Putin is concerned not to tip the Russian economy into recession, it's currently quite finely balanced.

b) Putin is aware that truncating Europes gas flow will have permanent negative effects on European gas revenues. Once Europe has found and invested in alternate supplies, they will use them in preference to Russian gas even in the face of future Russian price cuts.

c) Chinese material support for Russia is not a given. For one thing, there is still bad blood regarding border issues.

Medicine Man

Thank you for the round up, Brigadier Ali. Very informative.

James Patrick

I've asked myself the exact same question. The best I can figure is that Obama thinks that by keeping neo-cons in his administration, he can neutralize/co-opt them as a group. "Better to have the camel on the inside of the tent pissing out, rather than on the outside pissing in," as Lyndon Johnson once said. The trouble with this approach, I think, is that the neo-cons are the type who will go on pissing in the tent even when they're inside of it! They're not loyal to any president or party. They are loyal only to their own, mad vision of world domination.

turcopolier

JP

"by keeping neo-cons in his administration, he can neutralize/co-opt them as a group." IMO Obama is a weak man If I were president, the neocons would be in hiding. pl

burton50

VV:

If being, first and foremost, a Russian patriot makes Putin a “dirty rotten scumbag”, well, then, from the U.S. perspective, I guess that’s how it will fly. The jury is still out, but I think, at least for Russian history, he could end up being one of the great figures. The Russian state collapsed in 1917, and in 1991-1999, it came damn close: the armed forces demoralized and dispersed, tax revenues heading toward zero, the ex-Communist mucky-mucks, the managerial class and the well-connected heading for the exits with all the assets of the old Soviet state, and a rapid flight of political power to the regional oligarchs and their political front men. All this left nothing at all for the ordinary Russian. The entire sequence was tenderly encouraged by “Western advisors” (Jeffrey Sachs and others, the “shock therapists”) for whom Russia was some of laboratory and, of course, the International Monetary Fund with its usual recipes for opening countries to the mercies of the transnational corporations.

This is the very same process that is playing itself out to a very bitter end in the Ukraine. In twenty three years, the place has been entirely looted by its home-grown oligarchs with little or no thought for the needs of the population. They run the place and its political formations. Not one of them had political (or even human) smarts enough to see the end point of this trend. Not one of them prevailed on their front people (Kuchma, Iushchenko, Timoshenko, Ianukovich and their blocs of Rada deputies) to lay the ethnic “dog whistles” that were the staple of electoral campaigns and to produce a program that would at long last lay the foundation for a single national vision.

Say what you want about Putin, but in the course of fifteen years he and his team have acted very decisively to limit and reverse the damages of this trend in Russia, rebuilt and re-energized the armed forces, begun the hard work of reconstructing the state’s tax base and its institutional organization, and brutally rehabilitated the state’s capacity to reign in the sort of massive theft and corruption that when on in Yeltsin’s era. The effort has begun to bear fruit in the reversal of the terrible demographic and economic trends unleashed by the collapse of the USSR (it’s to this that Putin’s famous quotation refers). The program was not to be a frontal assault in the Bol’shevik manner: the oligarchs are probably thought of as useful in their own way, but they are carefully supervise and have been warned in no uncertain terms that interference in the affairs of the nation (as in the Ukraine) wouldn’t be tolerated.

This blog is a daily read for me because the host and many of the commentators are almost reflexively sensitive – often from hands-on experience – to the powerful nuances of national or tribal cultures and their impact on the political situation in the world (http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2014/05/httpenglishahramorgegnewscontent164101044egyptpolitics-arab-spring-a-plot-to-divide-countries-egypts.html being just another case in point). It is in that same spirit that I try to place the figure of Putin, not in American context (he ain't no liberal democrat), but in the rather long tradition of the Russian State and its architects: Grand Prince Ivan III Vasilievich (1440-1505), Tsar and Emperor Peter I, Catherine II, Aleksandr II (“the Liberator”).

Congratulations to FB Ali for a superior analysis.

seydlitz89

FB Ali-

Excellent post sir!

My question would be, does the Kiev element see the Cheneyites as instrumental to their political aspirations? That is do they see themselves as playing the role of a Chalabi?

FB Ali

Thank you!

I agree with what you say about Vladimir Putin. He saved Russia from a decline into poverty and irrelevance. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he is so detested by the neocons and their supporters.

I think he is a Russian patriot, and this is his primary motivation in his policies and actions.

Fred

NMS,

The EU is going to find out the hard way when more unemployed Ukrainians start showing up in Berlin, Rome and Paris looking for work and welfare. The spoiled children in the US - they are being fed a constant barrage of information management that is placing the 'minimum wage' as their aspirational target:
http://tinyurl.com/mrr7ahk
http://tinyurl.com/pjtc3nd

Tyler

The neocons are the same as the current crop of neoliberals who think they can export democracy at bayonet point and subscribe fully to blank slate voodoo.

Why doesn't he fire them? Because he fully agrees with what they're doing!

FB Ali

I agree that Putin has these economic compulsions to consider. However, he may well decide to let geopolitical necessities override them in the short term. The fact that his current policy has such huge backing within Russia may allow him quite a bit of room to accept economic pain for such a period.

Clwydshire

Thank you. There are reports of some 400 or so U.S. Academi contractors in the Ukraine, dressed as Ukranian paramilitary police. The report in Der Spiegel begins with a denial and condemnation of the report as a rumor by Academi (formerly Blackwater). A Russian news service is then cited that the U.S. mercenaries are working in eastern Ukraine wearing Ukranian "special" or paramilitary police uniforms. Spiegel then cites the orginal “Bild am Sontag” report. The information is supposed to have come from U.S. intelligence agencies and Spiegel says is is supposed to have been discussed by German officials at their recent regular foreign intelligence meeting. All this is unofficial so the presence of these people is still described as "unconfirmed" in the Spiegel article.

Presumably if U.S. contractors are serving as special police, they will not be so hesitant to use violence as native police.

Who, in the American government, really controls these people? The arrogance of the neo-cons is breathtaking.

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

Great analysis. I would add the top Ukrainian oligarchs as a critical part of the government in Kiev. The Maidan thugs immediately saw theoligarchs' importance to their own continued survival and appointed several of them as governors of the eastern oblasts. The oligarchs have the money, the organization and, most likely, the connections to the "mafiya" needed to create muscle for Kiev. They also have the motivation since they would be toast if Putin had his way. Putin has effectively neutered the Russian oligarchs as a political force. My guess is that the oligarchs are funding the mercenaries from Academi as well as the local police forces still loyal to Kiev. The CIA is probably funding the national guard units being formed from Svoboda and Pravy Sektor hooligans.

I think General Breedlove's change of tune is also tempered by a realistic assessment of the military situation in Ukraine. He sees, as do I, that Putin's polite men in green are sufficient to get the job done. I, too, thought Russian tanks would roll across Ukraine early on. Obviously Putin did a better risk versus gain assessment from Moscow than I could have done from my gazebo. He had his polite men in green to feed him accurate information from Ukraine. I only had the squirrels to advise me.

FB Ali

There is no doubt that the Kiev regime is using those in the West I have labelled the War Party for their own purposes, both in the short term and the long term. These require, as I said above, Ukraine "becoming the frontline in a new Cold War between the West and Russia".

The Twisted Genius

Vietnam Vet,

I disagree with your assessment of Putin. He is a skilled adversary worthy of respect. Rather than a dirty rotten scumbag, he is a heard hearted empath and, perhaps, one of the rough men we hear so much about. As Burton50 said, he has politically neutered his one per centers, the Russian oligarchs. Russian history will probably look kindly on the Putin years.

D

Col. and JP: The largest enterprises Obama ever managed prior to the US Executive Branch were a classroom and a Senate office - what's that? 20-30 people at a time? He has been in office over five years and is just now discovering the sweep of the Executive Order. The Executive Branch had over two years to set up and knock down the Obamacare software procurement and chose a contractor off an IDIQ contract for such a huge project instead of full and open competition - and then botched oversight royally. He sets a policy course, vacillates and then reverses direction. His words often lie about 179 degrees off course from his actions. He is eating the Democratic Party's seed corn and has left a lot of elected Democrats quietly seething. What I'm saying is this guy has no Washington smarts and is no executive. He has little control over his employees nor much understanding of how to tighten things up. I'm pretty sure there are lots of people around him who like it this way.

Haralambos

With all due respect, Norbert M Salamon, I would quibble with several of your thoughts. I do not think "there is a shortage of analysis." To cite two: http://johnhelmer.net/ http:/ http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/
as well as this blog and several others.
In regard to the ability to support the Ukraine, I think our US "involvements" over the past dozen or so years have been supported by mortgaging the future and bailing out the banks. The Fed can just keep printing, while the EU does not have that freedom or apparently so, although they have fudged it and allowed several countries to cook the books and continue to do so, especially Greece. As for the Ukraine and Greece, I have lived in Greece on and off for going on 36 years. The current situation here is indeed serious, but were the Ukraine to enter the EU, I imagine it would add tens or hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Greece and other countries seeking a better life in the EU. I base this on my sandals on the sidewalk here and my observations of the scores of beggars on the streets after the most recent expansion of the freedom of movement and the fact that the Greek state does not have the resources to patrol its huge borders to maintain fortress Europe.

GulfCoastPirate

Colonel,

Can people like you actually win these days or does it take someone like Obama? Is he really 'weak' or just playing the game he needs to play?

'... the neocons would be in hiding' - nice. That's where they belong.

ToivoS

This a very good summary. I would like to add that it is very unlikely that Obama and Kerry wanted this to happen and they were oblivious to what Nuland was doing in Ukraine. However, Nuland knew exactly what she was doing and had the support of all the other neocons and brzezinski hawks that influence policy. The War Party is a good way to describe them. It is still perplexing that Nuland still has a job, for Kerry can't be that dumb and not know what she knowingly did.

Obama erred when he made War Party member Hillary his Sec of State. She is the one who promoted Nuland and also brought in Ann Marie Slaughter.

Obama and Kerry, even though it will cost them face, really do not have much choice now but to follow Germany's lead. Though it might be too late. Today's ambush of that Ukrainian army convoy that killed 8 soldiers and destroyed two APCs might stir up the competitive spirit of the army so they will make stronger efforts to conquer the east.

The Twisted Genius

seydlitz89,

I think the coup leaders in Kiev see Nuland, Pyatt and the COS in Kiev as visibly and immediately instrumental to their political aspirations, along with the oligarchs they appointed to rule the eastern oblasts.

JohnH

Maybe Obama is leading from behind...

In other words, not in charge, as in serving as a spokesman rather than a decision maker.

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