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31 August 2014

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FB Ali

I used to have some respect for Gen Wesley Clark. But he seems to have drunk the Koolaid like the others (is there an epidemic of some virus going around the US?).

This is his latest contribution to intelligent discourse on issues facing his country and the world:

"Russia is not going to admit that it has invaded because to do so might invite a stronger Nato response. But until Nato governments unambiguously label Russian actions “aggression” and “invasion”, they will have difficulty mustering support for the stronger actions that needs to be taken".

http://tinyurl.com/nrghcbw

Valissa

LOL... Priceless! I just read this at Orlov's blog and then popped by here to see if anyone was discussing it!

One of the commenters over at ClubOrlov shared a link to this hilarious parody of the classic Monty Python spam skit.

Monty Python State Department http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/monty-python-state-department.html

On a more reflective note, here is today's post by M K Bhadrakumar on the MSM PR war regarding Ukraine. He's not optimistic about Merkel standing up to the US propaganda war tidal wave.

Obama, Putin neck and neck on Ukraine http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/08/31/obama-putin-neck-and-neck-on-ukraine/
Will Germany be able to continue with its obdurate stance in the face of the Western narrative piloted from Washington that Russia has ‘invaded’ Ukraine? An answer will be available by coming weekend after the NATO summit in Wales. The Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko has been invited to meet the NATO gathering in Wales. (But Russia has been pointedly excluded unlike past practice since the mid-1990s.)

The growing signs are that the German resistance to Ukraine’s association agreement with NATO is being worn down in a sustained war of diplomatic attrition waged by the Obama administration. Britain, as always, will be pushing the Pentagon script at nest week’s Wales summit, where, as the host country, it happens to carry extra clout.

toto

No Russian boots in Kiev, ergo Russia hasn't invaded Donbass. Right.

Is this actually representative of current thinking among the "Russophiles", or am I just being too dense to detect obvious satire?

Patrick Bahzad

@ Walrus: nicely done ... I've been wondering as well, wether the Russian invasion force has gone lost on its way to Kiev.
That being said, doesn't mean there are no Russian advisers or even fighters (or groups of fighters) on DPR side.
"Incursions" might be a much better suited terminology than "invasion" for what is going on, but certainly hasn't the same impact with in terms of PR ... Seems some people still people they can spin the truth so much, til they spin us out of cohesion !
Regarding the coming NATO summit (in reply to Valissa's post), I would see things quite the opposite way, especially the nomination of two new top-EU officials definitely are a sign that the EU (i.e. Germany) is not going to be sucked deeper into this cycle of violence and is not willing to let things spirale out of control.
That's not to say the fighting is going to stop anytime soon, but the economic clock is ticking for Ukraine, the energy (gas) clock is ticking as well, and so is the financial clock ... None of them in favour of Kiev.
So I would see the latest hype about NATO membership and Russian invasion more as a sign of panic and last ditch attempt of the supporters of an "agressive" stance in Kiev (and Washington), before a sense of reality sets in and they realize they lost this battle, if not this "war".
In short, no NATO membership for Ukraine, too many countries opposed to it.

georgeg

Pure and obvious.

Fred

On to Moscow! The neocon pronouncements are reminiscent of the righteous abolitionists who helped drive to US to civil war with a cacophony of wannabe generals shouting "On to Richmond" a hundred and sixty years ago.

ISL

toto: Its logistics. Russia would not invade with such a force without the support brigades - for example where to get fuel? Repair parts? Field hospitals. Etc. To protect the support brigades would be additional forces. These would all be susceptible to airpower, so there would need to be aircover. Stealth? Hardly. That's why the invasion of Iraq was not stealthy, either. And if you invade with that much power, why stop in the west. It only leaves vulnerability.

That said, the list is dripping with satire.

This was a question on SST early in the year. Reviewing, it seems Putin's strategy was to allow Ukraine to wear itself out on a well-supported and trained insurgency/rebellion (Ukraine is near bankruptcy), await sanctions that would allow it to respond by shut off gas to Ukraine and thus Europe, and wait for European voters to pressure their governments to stop following Nuland given her evident respect for Europe, perhaps even finalizing South Stream. IMF cannot loan Ukraine funds because it is at war. Germany, busy imposing austerity on the continent, politically cannot, but then again, I have heard neither Obama nor McCain propose a Ukrainian bailout (US elections are soon).

Babak Makkinejad

I think it is more illuminating to consider that with the dissolution of USSR, the post-World War II Peace has ended.

Immediately after the dissolution of USSR, we had the Yugoslav Wars and now War is again being waged at the frontiers of Russia.

There is no foundation for local or global peace any longer; in my opinion.

DH

Not so much an invasion as engaging in a proxy war with the US.

North

Yes, there is: contageous idiotsm. when the only thing you can ofer for cover of your actions is bs, it spreads and eradicates any meaning from the infofield. this is what I will never forgive them - turning human minds into shitholes.

cville reader

One can presumably provide military support without conducting a full-scale invasion.

There is a website run by an American that generally covers Muslim extremism within the Russian Federation. This translation would seem to suggest that in fact there have been Russian troops operating within Ukraine.

http://www.retwa.com/home.cfm?articleId=16706
28-Aug-2014 Wounded Russian Soldiers Being Treated in St. Petersburg Military Hospital

Jack

Brig. Ali

Gen. Clark has a lucrative consulting business he needs to grow. Groupthink is necessary to win the insider deals. No different than Gen Alexander trading on his knowledge of cybersecurity paid by the American taxpayer. The insider revolving door is an essential element of crony capitalism that is pervasive. Another exhibit in this is "wealth" generation by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. As long as citizens allow this to continue government and politicians will be bought.

David Habakkuk

Patrick Bahzad,

A detailed analysis of the photographs purporting to validate the claims about the supposed Russian invasion has been published by the former long-serving Canadian government analyst of Soviet and Russian affairs, Dr Patrick Armstrong, under the title' 'US is a joke: NATO ''Evidence” on Russian Invasion Completely Unconvincing.”

(See http://russia-insider.com/en/ukraine/heres_why_natos_evidence_russian_invasion_completely_unconvincing .)

The detailed analysis of specific claims is useful. Equally interesting is the spectacle of a former veteran analyst for a NATO country frankly contemptuous alike of the integrity and competence of Western elites. Some of Dr Armstrong's remarks are almost as entertaining as those of Orlov:

'And, by the way, if Russia did invade, don’t you think it would do it in strength rather than a couple of tanks here and a gun or two there? No wonder the Russians are laughing at this “evidence”; this isn’t evidence of anything except how gullible NATO thinks its taxpayers are.

'Its time to consider what real evidence would look like. The United States has spent billions and billions of dollars on intelligence-gathering equipment; and supposedly has more assets than anyone else has ever had or dreamed of having. So, given this vast array of sophisticated devices which, one has to assume, have been watching Ukraine and western Russia for months, what would real evidence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine look like?

'We would see a series of photographs, maybe even a continuous moving picture, perhaps backed up by intercepted communications, of Russian equipment forming up in a base. We would follow that column, photo by photo, moving towards Ukraine. We would watch that column, photo by photo, as it crossed the frontier and deployed.

'We should also have photos of Russian artillery actually firing – after all, the guns they show are right out in the open and artillery doesn’t fire single shots. If the Russians were actually firing across the border regularly, there would be real satellite evidence showing it. That is what real proof would look like and that is what these pathetic efforts are not. Although they are negative evidence: if NATO had real evidence, we’d see it 24/7; this paltry effort demonstrates that it does not.

'It’s all reminiscent of the two British reporters who said they saw Russian armour head across the border into Ukraine a couple of weeks ago, My smart phone has a camera and it has GPS too and there’s lots of map software available (I recommend City Maps 2Go, download Rostov Oblast. I’m sure their newspapers would stand the $3 it costs). A real report would have said this is the time, this is where we are, this is what we saw, here’s photos. But oops, whaddaya know! they forgot to take their smart phones with them. Gee, so we have to trust them and take their word for it.

'WELL, I DON’T TRUST THEM.

'And I don’t trust NATO and its pitiful commercial images, I don’t trust reporters who “forget” to record things and I don’t trust Marie Harf and her “social media and common sense”.'

On the question of NATO membership for Ukraine, I do not disagree with you that this remains extremely unlikely. It is less clear to me whether you are right in your optimism about the likelihood that sane people – which in this context means largely sane Germans and Russians – can find a relatively painless way out of this shambles. I think the jury is still out on that one.

Aka

cville reader,
No one (except may be the Russian government) is denying the fact that the rebels have russian support including the government support.

Russian troops operating inside Ukraine and Russian soldiers (or off duty servicemen) operating inside Ukraine are two very different things. And russians do have tendency to involve in wars like these. Its not just strelkov. Take this Russian special forces colonel who fought in Kosovo and dagestan as a volunteer after leaving the militray.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoly_Lebed

So Russian serviceman in Ukrane does not necessarily mean they were ordered there.

Important point is that even if NATO estimates are correct (1000 russian serviceman), that number is simply not enough to for the reverse that happened.

But its not like the Uki government can tell their public that
"yeah we sent our badly equipped, badly trained, demoralized military to put down a rebellion but look what happened. Rebels kicked our army out" right?

So blame the Russians of an all out invasion and suddenly remember that IMF can't give you aid if you are in war so change the story again.

Patrick Bahzad

DH, thx for the link to Armstrong's analysis ... Good read, quite entertaining in fact if it weren't that sobering. But totally concur, I actually thought these images were a PR stunt from the moment i saw them: digital satellite images from a private business in order to assert truth of an invasion ? And to make things worse, pics taken 5-6 days before the alleged Russian invasion started ... Where is the official NSA imagery and evidence ?
Imagine Kennedy relying on some commercial images to prove Russian missiles in Cuba ... surreal !
The credibility of US intelligence (and thus the credibility of the US as such) is at an all times low ... But these people don't even realize that, such is their blindness to reality. It's very sad because they're are not even aware how much damage they doing to their country.
Besides, talking counter-factual here, even if there were a thousand russian troops in Ukraine (which is the highest figure NATO is admitting to), how could they possibly defeat an army of 50 000 ukrainian troops ? Would surely be one of the biggest upsets in military history ... Talk about some odds here !
About NATO membership, it's gonna be pushed by some member States, but I know of at least 7 countries that would oppose if it were put up to a vote, which it won't. The aim is mostly to put a narrative in place to further antagonize Russia and make them appear as a new strategic ennemy of the Alliance (and, secondly, to show at least some support to the Kiev government).
That's not to say I'm optimistic in the short run: the fighting is gonna carry on for now, I have no doubt about this.
The positive I see, is that the EU is not going to get sucked into this spirale of violence, even though some countries are pushing for it too. Donald Tusk as EU President is a good move: he's Polish, so that will appease the Eastern European countries, but he's more focused on economic development rather than resucitating the old antagonism with Russia. As for the new head of EU diplomacy, i.e. former Foreign minister of Italy, she has awlays stated that there is no military solution to this and that sanctions alone won't be a substitute for negociations. This means the realists in the EU largely outweigh the warmongers.
Finally, regarding Ukraine itself, I'm also a bit less pessimistic as time goes by, because the closer the winter, the closer they are to having their backs against the wall, so I hope that cooler heads are going to prevail there as well ... GNP is to fall by 7-8 %, the country needs a urgent Financial assistance of at least 18 billion dollars, inflation is at 20 %, the Donbass industry is not producing anything, the country is gonna need 5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia to make it through the winter, the list goes on.
So I'm hoping for their government to realize that there are other issues at stake, just as important than sovereignity in the East. Baseline is either they come to an agreement by the fall or that country is gonna sink into chaos, which is gonna have massive consequences for all parties involved. Only possible winners of such a development ? The NeoCon "chaos club" I suppose. And I don't want to believe that after 8 years in power, and blunder after blunder, there still is no "lessons learnt" from those lunatics ...

Patrick Bahzad

True to that ! Can't say they got beaten through sheer incompetence of leadership and poor equipment of troops so better blame it on the Russian involvement with the "terrorists" !

Ishmael Zechariah

Toto,

If the Russians ever decide to go into the Ukraine, it would be with the modern equivalent of the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5th_Shock_Army

And only the USA would have the power to do anything about it, even they would have only bad options.

I take exception to your calling commenters on SST "Russophiles". IMHO these folks are only interested in the "truth" of the matter. It is a matter of written record that TTG, Col. Lang and others have been discussing a "culmination point" for the putschist forces for over two weeks based on the various maps that were posted.

Ishmael Zechariah

turcopolier

IZ

I have been discussing "culminating points," not "culmination points." I have described the difference. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Syria and Ukraine are evidence of the demise of the post World War II settlement and the almost certain zero-sum game among the major global powers.

I think that weaker states will also try to form blocks to enhance their own security.

Whims and fantasies and hubris have brought us to this juncture; it would take decades of dedicated and sincere hard diplomatic labor to create a new settlement - which does not seem likely.

 Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

My mistake. I had just finished reading

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a207383.pdf

and mixed things up.

Ishmael Zechariah

walter

Jack, this is the most concise, accurate description of the mechanism driving corruption at the top levels of our society...it seems to be self-interest; go along to get along; being part of the cool group. thanks

The Twisted Genius

All,

Putin gave his own telltale sign that would tell you Russia has invaded Ukraine. He told the outgoing EC Commissioner, “If I want, I will take Kiev in two weeks.” IMO he was being modest.

I also found this hilarious clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhHZ4MEW2c8

confusedponderer

It has been noted by people like Stephen Cohen that the Ukie oligarchs were greedier and more venal still than even their Russian counterparts. In Ukraine there was no Putin to reign them in.

In Ukraine oligarchs continue to this day to buy political influence with money they earned from former government assets and corporations they 'took over' after the fall of communism, defrauding on an unprecedented scale Russian taxpayers and the Russian (and the other successor) state(s) alike.

Small marvel how, without investment, and probably without much taxes, one could become a billionaire in the former Soviet Union so quickly.

You grab a factory worth billions of investment or a penny by playing the privatisation process and rake in the profits, which you offshore and launder asap, for instance to Cyprus, or Israel.

Now that is a business model.

I have always wondered why and how Ukraine made all their arms exports over the last decades, for instance to Africa. Now it has become rather clear how it went:

They simply looted their depots and inventories, and sold off what they had. They didn't build new stuff, and since they dind't buy it either it was pure profit minus shipping costs.

Given that attitude, and given what TTG wrote on the Ukies trying real hard to break the nuclear codes, and fail, they'd have probably sold nukes also if they had had them.

Patrick Bahzad

Sorry BM, hadn't noticed your MSG (sometimes difficult to follow the flow of comments).
Think the post WWII era ended in 1990-1991 already ... Ever since then, we've been going through a transitional phase during which some lunies in Washington (suffering from hyperpower delusions) thought they could shape the world according to their ideas (that's basically the NeoCon philosophy as stated already in the PNAC). They thought they had a window lasting til about 2025 to do as they pleased. Thing with hubris is, you rarely get it completely your way.
What we're seeing now is the real emergence of the new era in world politics: Russia is picking itself up, China is continuing on its path for position n°1, India and other countries develop further, the EU is not breaking up and basically the US has to accept these realities. What they do with them is another thing, but at least, all the BS of the Fukuyama supporters needs to be flushed down the toilet.
Now with Ukraine and Syria, i think you're onto something as there is probably a link between both crisis areas.

Patrick Bahzad

I think Prof. Cohen is quite right in most, if not all of his statement and comments about the ongoing crisis.
I was very disapointed by Christiane Amanpour's attempt at dismissing the case he was making when she interviewed him. Guess that what you got to expect from MSM. So much for Amanpour's credibility as impartial journalist.
Regarding the oligarchy in Ukraine, situation is indeed much much worse than in Russia, where their politicial influence has been completely broken by the Russian state (i.e. Putin). They still do some shady business deals, but politically they're a non-entity, at least, they can't act independently from the Kremlin.
In Kiev and Ukraine, they control the state and the economy and basically dictate the agenda. There would be so much to say about this group of greedy, corrupt, murderous and immoral people ... Enough stuff for several books !

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