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13 May 2014


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A wonderfully clear and concise overview and an interesting discussion developing in its wake.

You're probably right in your unhappy conclusions, Furrukh, but at the same time there does seem to be a very real effort being made in certain quarters to de-escalate matters. The OSCE under Burkhalter is taking a very active role and is making a point of including Putin as a constructive partner in this process. Equally, Russia is giving full backing to the OSCE efforts, including a formal appeal from the Duma to "parliaments of the world and international parliamentary organisations" to work together to avert the looming catastrophe.

Is it possible that Merkel (and perhaps others) are quietly giving support to the OSCE's efforts? Using it, if you like, as a front to avoid direct disagreement with the US?


burton50 and FB Ali

I apologize that my post was not clear.

The corporate media in the United States is describing Vladimir Putin by word, facial expressions and clips as the homophobic “scumbag” perpetrator of the Ukraine Crisis. It is patently not true and constitutes “The Big Lie” of the current Western Propaganda barrage. Of all the US TV I’ve watched I never have heard him described as a “Russian Patriot”; although, Professor Stephen Cohen comes close when he explains Russian History.

It is tragic to watch the Civil Servants who aren’t neo-conservative ideologues try to explain the inexplicable actions of the US Government that have restarted the conflict between the USA and Russia. They express the humiliation one suffers to keep a job and watch the VP’s son grab the golden ring on top of the dead from Ukraine’s incipient civil war.

Norbert M Salamon

I agree with your assessment for a., and possibly c - where the hydrocarbon supply by RF and the transit of other hydrocarbons through her territory makes China an economically partially dependent client.
Point b is somewhat less valid, for there is a minimum of 4-5 years and in excess of couple hundred billion dollar investment is necessary to get Liquid natural gas -- where is the money?? and moreover where is the gas source:
Not the USA, they are importers -and the fields are depleting
Not Australia - tied to the far east,
Not Qatar - does not have enough infrastructure beside regular costumers.

not Iran - does not have infrastructure
QED - RF is not in danger for 4-5 years, and by that time they be exporting to China, Japan, N & S Korea



What makes you think I won anything more than local fights? pl



It can only be CIA but they don't make policy. pl



You raise those squirrels right in the Old Dominion. To bad they can't sneak into D.C. to give some of that good advice.



"he has politically neutered his one per centers"

That is a fact the western media will not advertise, since it seems the one per centers are working on neutering our own democracy.


I agree Putin is a great leader for Russia, a very hard nosed and realistic man.

A worthy opponent for anyone. I hope,it doesn't come down to a face off with Obama.

Thank you FB Ali for the enlightening post.



"The Maidan thugs immediately saw theoligarchs' importance to their own continued survival and appointed several of them as governors of the eastern oblasts."

I would assume the order of events to be the other way round. Some oligarchs organized and paid for the whole party on Maidan. Just look for the roles that people like Igor Kolomoyskyi and Stepan Kubiv played in the background of the Maydan protests. My guess is that many people on the Maidan knew someone rich was paying for that big party, but in all the euphory few were interested to ask for details of who paid for the music and even fewer on the Maidan understood that they were dancing to the tune of Kolomoyskyi's music.


Did Ukraine already get our billion? I can see Brennan telling Kiev to spend it on Blackwater Xe Academe. We like circular lending, and they aren't GI, may not even be All American.


Maybe that ambush was a false flag designed for just that purpose. Wheels within wheels in Banderastan...


burton50 and others,

I encountered a very good post over at Naked Capitalism in which there is a lot of discussion of the prelude to current deep suspicion of Western motivations and actions by Russia's leaders arising partly from the looting following the dissolution of the USSR. The topic covered is more general, but the topicality of the Ukraine/Russia crisis provides grist for the mill.


This points toward the non-trivial power center of Western finance capitalism as a driver, a driver largely insensible to the historical and cultural triggers that are in play in Eastern Europe.


steve and others,

I posted a comment in another blog today that contains some material that may add to your link to Zerohedge.

Here goes, slightly edited for this forum:

So get this: Joe Biden’s youngest son, Hunter Biden, has just joined the legal team of Ukraine’s largest private gas company:



A further post adds some more insight into exactly who the owner of this company is, and illustrates the point about the corrosive effect of off-shoring of illegally expropriated national assets by oligarchs as can be seen in this, Yves’ post. It’s really detailed – a virtue – but that needs to be traversed so that the really startling information can jump out at you as you encounter it.


Ihor Kolomoisky, the apparent new employer of young Biden, is rumored to be behind a lot of the killing and terrorizing in East Ukraine, collaborating with the junta in Kiev in these activities. When you factor in the idea that the majority of his gas fields are in disputed territory in the East, giving him the worry that they might slip out from under his control, the picture comes into better focus. And gosh (h/t Catherine Ashton…), wasn’t it just such a coincidence that CIA director John Brennan, and then in a further coincidence, VP Joseph Biden, had meetings with the junta just prior to all of the killings?

At this point, I wish to acknowledge that this information came to my attention via several posters over at Moon of Alabama. A sweeping bow is in order rather than a mere hat tip.

FB Ali,

Thank you for your comprehensive and cogent analysis. I always read your posts with great admiration for your diligence in marshaling facts as well as your interpretative insights.

robt willmann

Russia is responding to the sanctions and other activities by the U.S. and others by saying it will no longer let the U.S. use Russian rocket engines to launch satellites into space, and it will cancel the 11 GPS towers that the U.S. has on Russian soil if something is not worked out regarding Russian transmitters on U.S. territory.


Other reports have stated that the U.S. does not have its own rockets on which to launch its own satellites, and has become dependent on Russian engines. This is astonishing. Part of the taxpayer money wasted on needless "security" and the phony "war on terror" could have been used to develop rocket engines right here.

steve and JerseyJeffersonian pointed to articles I was going to refer to stating that vice president Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was put on the Board of Directors of Bursima Holdings, Ukraine's largest private gas producer. The Bursima press release states that Hunter Biden "is a counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, a national law firm based in New York, USA...." This deceptive language makes it sound as if Biden the Son is an attorney employed by the law firm. But it appears he is not. The law firm's web site, with the name bsfllp.com (BS Flip!) does not list him as an attorney there--



The words "a counsel to" or "of counsel to" usually refer to a lawyer who is not an employee of the firm or a partner, and does not even work there full time. Retired judges, usually court of appeals judges, will sometimes appear as "of counsel" to a law firm. In essence, Biden is a hook used in David Boies's firm to get business.

FB Ali's excellent article is substantive and literate as always. I think there is another category and factor affecting the situation in Ukraine, and that is its money and debt. Russia holds high cards in that hand. Time permitting, I will try to say something about it.

James Patrick

Very possible.


One more point. I think you are being unfair with the good prof Petro. I suspect that he is trying to communicate with a larger American public. There are very few Americans that even realize that such a thing as a War Party even exists. Petro is trying to connect with a larger part of our public and is giving the current admin the benefit of doubt that they are making a mistake. This allows him to avoid trying to make the case that there is a conspiracy inside our government. That is a much more difficult case to make. Calling it a mistake allows him to communicate with a larger segment of the American public.

Alba Etie

And Mr R Hunter Biden as Delaware's State Attorney General was supposed to have been tough on BOA and other bankster for ripping off consumers in the recent real estate meltdown ..Follow the money ,


Around October it will start getting colder in the Ukraine. The country can perhaps play games with gas money until then, but it starts getting serious real fast in winter. America will require--what, $15B /year?--in order to keep the Ukraine hobby going, all of which will end up in the back pocket of Russian/Ukrainian/(perhaps American?) oligarchs. So far we've offered something like $1B in commitments, inadequate. The economics of the Ukraine are a train wreck in slow motion. Therefore the Ukrainian oligarchs' survival depends on playing America, with the help of the CIA. This means more dirty tricks; more false flags; and as much action as possible towards fomenting a hot war, IMHO. Unless the oligarchs start an American-backed war, they and the country are toast within six months. America throws money down a rat-hole until it eventually gets sick & tired, then stops, having only postponed the inevitable. A full economic accounting of how much different scenarios are going to cost should be the first and main exercise before any decisions are made. Economics is trumping politics. Surely both State and Capital Hill have competent accountants?

Alba Etie

Do you see President Obama supporting the Victoria Nuland cohorts in the current crisis in Ukraine as the US appears to be propping up Neo Nazis in Kiev ? Or do you see President Obama actively trying to mitigate against the neocon agenda ? I am certainly not a foreign policy expert but simply based on what President Obama has done versus what the neocons really wanted - say in Syria ; this is an open question to me . Would it be counter intuitive to think the CIA Director Brennan went to Kiev to try to mitigate the neocon support of the neo Nazis?
I ask that question then I see on this blog reports that Biden Jr is now on the board of directors for the big Ukrainian gas company - and we go back to the warring oligarchs theories of 'why Ukraine " . And in a domestic context I also wonder if we are not seeing our own Oligarchs starting to systematically loot These United States resources. Citizen's United decision by SCOTUS opened up the floodgates of money to corrupt our own national politics . For me its getting harder to make sense of trying to instill a neo nazi regime in the Russian Near Abroad - without following the oligarch money trail ..

Alba Etie

FB Ali
He also has been a champion of endangered wildlife in Siberia and elsewhere.

David Habakkuk


But why should Putin – or indeed Russia – be an enemy? Why do we still need this kind of ‘you’re either with us or against us’ thinking? Why cannot post-Soviet Russia be accepted as a power with whom the United States has some interests in common, and others which diverge?

In the comments to which F.B. Ali links, the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke remarks that the aftermath of the Cold War has given rise, in Russia, to ‘a Versailles Treaty type of popular resentment at the consequences of the post-Cold War settlement, and the (unwarranted) unipolar triumphalism (from a Russian perspective).’ A vivid description of this, by a prominent Russian international relations expert, comes in a recent article by Sergei Karaganov, entitled ‘Time to End the Cold War in Europe’, which discusses the ‘Weimar syndrome’ in Russia.

(See http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/pubcol/Time-to-End-the-Cold-War-in-Europe-16599 .)

In a footnote to a paper he wrote back in 2001, on the problems of what he termed the ‘national security paradigm’, which contains an interesting discussion of NATO enlargement, Michael MccGwire, the most significant post-war British analyst of Soviet security policy, commented that:

“Those who argue that fairness is irrelevant to a ‘realistic’ view of international relations ignore its correlate – resentment. It was German resentment over the terms of the Versailles Treaty that led to the Weimar 1920s and the rise to power of Hitler.”

(See http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/International%20Affairs/Blanket%20File%20Import/inta219.pdf )

Thankfully, the ‘Weimar syndrome’ in Russia has not, so far at least, led to the coming to power of an unstable and erratic leadership. What it has done is ensure that even those who were, traditionally, hard-core ‘Westernisers’, like Karaganov, see their country’s future not as being a junior partner in an American-led global political and economic order, but in detaching itself from it and in important respects challenging it.

It is simply not clear to me what, from the point of view of the United States – let alone Europe, which now has a disintegrating polity on its borders – has been gained from this.

Alba Etie

Norbert M Salamon
Do you believe that there will be a German brokered deal to end this stand off ? If so will this give the RF foreign policy in places like Syria more EU support ? The more I try to understand the neocons
mucking about in the Russian Near Abroad the more Putin looks like the adult at the table - as we begin to de-escalate from a shooting war over a neocon supported putsche in Kiev.

David Habakkuk

Fred, Haralambos,

There is not a cat in hell's chance of Ukraine being admitted to the EU -- this is a case of a cruel raising of expectations bound to be dashed.

How far 'fortress UK' can be maintained is perhaps a moot point. I was told some years back that in Stryy in West Ukraine, where some members of my extended family come from, there was a sophisticated passport-forging industry, which for the right price would turn you out a first-class Polish passport. Whether technology has developed so as to make such forgeries detectable I do not know.

Norbert M Salamon

Thank you for your reply. I was referring to MSM and sanction analysis. I started reading Saker a while ago and other blogs - they try to cover the issue.
There is no chance in H**l that Ukraine will be part of Euro, even less being part of NATO.

The economic collapse will be due to restructuring via the IMF, problems of export to RF, and gas prices.

Norbert M Salamon

My opinion is that the plan of BRIC and EURO area [not EU] will get together as foretold by LEAP 2000 as a necessary economic union of sorts combining natural resources, high end technology and mass market trade.
There may be a hic-up for the near term due to US interference, but that shall be overcome.

Please recall that it was US/UK banking cartels which tried to destroy the EU, through attack on banking debts [sovereign and private] when the two antagonist [US/UK] were the main source of the 2008 crash - with their total debt greatly surpassing in ratio to GDP that of the Euro area.

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