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14 December 2014

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robt willmann

Actually, it is much worse than that.

This past Thursday, 11 December, I think it was, the U.S. House of "Representatives" passed at night a new sanctions bill directed at Russia, and it provides for some lethal weapons to be given to the puppet Ukraine government. The initial version was Senate bill S.2828, and what was passed was House bill HR.5859--

https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5859/text

https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5859/all-actions-with-amendments

This is very dangerous. Section 6 is "Increased Military Assistance for the Government of Ukraine". It lists the equipment: "anti-tank and anti-armor weapons, crew weapons and ammunition, counter-artillery radars to identify and target artillery batteries, fire control, range finder, and optical and guidance and control equipment, tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, and secure command and communications equipment...."

For this, section 6(c) appropriates U.S. taxpayer money in the amounts of $100 million for fiscal year 2015, $125 million for 2016, and $125 million for 2017. And, of course, section 6(d), saying that the money for "provision of defense articles, defense services (!), and training may be used to procure such articles, services, and training from the United States Government or other appropriate sources." Well now, who are the "other appropriate sources" who are going to get some of this sweet taxpayer money?

The bill also has more economic sanctions against Russia, assistance to reduce "Ukraine's reliance on energy imports" (sections 7(c) and (c)(2)), money to broadcast propaganda in the area (section 8, $10 million a year), and money to destabilize Russia internally and its government through the "civil society" organizations (section 9, $20 million a year).

One of the early versions of S.2828 had a section that would have made Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia "Major non-NATO allies", but it was taken out of the last version.

I read an article that said the Senate passed this bill last night, 13 December, during the session when the disgraceful spending bill was passed, but I did not save the link. Congress's website just says it went to the Senate on 12 December. Assuming the Senate did pass it last night, Obama will certainly sign it.

The word "fool" is one of the harshest in the English language. But the promoters of this law in and out of the federal government, in financial companies, and in Congress are indeed fools who are also drunk with the desire to have authority over others and use coercion to make money.

The probability is very high that Russia will not just bow down to this needless provocation and say, "Yes, Master".

VietnamVet

Walrus,

No doubt; except for mutually assured destruction (MAD), Russians and Westerners would have had WWIII. Instead of Vietnam, I would have been drafted to serve in the Faulda Gap.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_Gap

I’ve gotten to live another half century. Unfortunately, it is long enough to see that man’s hard baked genes for greed and antipathy for others have spread warfare throughout the borders between East and West from the Balkans through the Arabian Peninsula to Africa.

What is remarkable is that the Cold War 2.0 has started without any notice by the media or Congress. This is because the few who rule the Western World hate Eastern Oligarchs and see resources ripe for picking. In addition there is denial. The Transnational Elite don’t want to hear how close the world is to destruction. Their pathology, the rush from winning power and money, covers up the consequences of their actions. Especially now since they no longer face jail time and their financial loses are transferred into public debt.

Valissa

Pretty underwhelming... but at least a few representatives are willing to buck the forever war crowd. Interesting that it's 5 from each party.

The 10 Republican & Democrat members of congress that voted against Resolution 758 in the House… http://russia-insider.com/en/2014/12/10/11-41-20pm/us_congress_only_ten_little_indians_left

Although he phrases his ideas more bluntly, Ron Paul echoes the words of another former member of Congress, Democrat Dennis Kucinich, “NATO encirclement, the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border, a U.S. nuclear first-strike policy, are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy.” It should be noted that Resolution 758 is not binding, but it effectively presents President Obama with a blank check, or, as Kucinich calls it, a green light, to use military force against Russia.

Therefore, it is important, at least for historical purposes, to note and preserve for posterity the names of these American “dissidents” in the US Congress – those few who are not blind to the potentially catastrophic consequences this resolution may entail. Here they are: Republicans Justin Amash, John Duncan, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie, and Dana Rohrabacher, plus Democrats Jim McDermott, Alan Grayson, Alcee Hastings, George Miller, and Beto O’Rourke.

pbj

I just looked over the actual text of the bill. Wow, High drama! Written like an ornate, formal declaration of war.

This doesn't look like the usual legalese, looks like it was written to be read by a person.

Very odd that it passed near unanimously without debate.

ex-PFC Chuck

Madness!

turcopolier

All

IMO Resolution 758 although moronic is meaningless. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

Col., what about SR 2828 and HR 5859 mentioned above by Robt. Willmann?

Fred

Walrus,

Off topic but hope these guys are nowhere near your part of Australia:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30473983

I'll say a prayer for the hostages.

FkDahl

On the Maidan square killings, from U of Ottawa:
https://www.academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine
"In his paper Professor Katchanovski produces solid evidence for the argument that hired snipers were involved in shootings of protesters on Maidan, even if police forces are not to be absolved from blame for firing on protesters."

Will be interesting to see how long U of O can publish reports like this, given the current political climate in Canada (who just sent Military Police to Ukraine)

Imagine

Ukraine is underwater somewhere around $10B and this bill offers $100M of military toys. Ukraine gov't will probably collapse w/i 6 months I believe. Even in a country where the average person makes $4K a year, $100M seems surprisingly underwhelming, esp. to the billionaires running the country. Someone who knows better than I do, can you do anything serious militarily with $100M? Or is it just teenage allowance money to get someone to shut up?

Piotr, Poland

@ Walrus

So is it OK, when Russia sends heavy weaponry and MANPADS to Putinists/Separatists, but Ukraine can buy bulletproof vests, helmets and shovels only?

A war with Russia? Far too big words for describing of meaningless paper, full of wishfull thinking.

Tyler

Sir,

And here I was hoping for blowback in the form of the Polite Green Men helping the freedom loving people of Arizona secure their right to self governance without the interference of a despotic central government.

I think the Russians would enjoy the irony of throwing the platitudes of the Children Crusaders back in their face.

Walrus

@ Piotr,

I can understand your point of view given that for you, as Tony Judt pointed out, the Second World War only finished around 1990 with the departure of the Russians. There is underlying hatred that will take another Two generations to dissolve I think.

However I fail to understand why the rest of the world should risk nuclear annihilation by provoking Russia via a direct threat to its existence by the positioning of destabilising modern NATO weapon systems on its borders. It will not protect youanyway despite what you might think.

To put it another way, you and Ukraine occupy territory that has been fought over, depopulated and repopulated regularly by various settler groups since Roman times. None of you have any "ancient rights" to "homelands". I fail to see why we should waste our blood and treasure and hazard our own existence over you, Ukraine, or anything else in Eastern Europe. You have been part of a battleground for Ten Centuries between Ottomans, Habsburgs Swedes, Russians, Asian tribes and God knows who else. If you are stupid enough to prefer war to peace then have at it, but leave us out.

Ishmael Zechariah

SST, Col. Lang:

The Russkies have responded with a simple statement:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-13/russia-warns-may-send-troops-ukraine-after-congress-unanimously-votes-give-lethal-ai

These issues have not made the Turkish press yet We are waiting for the next series of corruption revelations following the arrest of some from the rival gang of islamists.

Greetings from a land governed by unprincipled camel rustlers.

Ishmael Zechariah

confusedponderer

What I wonder - is not foreign policy a perogative of the executive branch?

Afaik no president is bound by any of this, as long as it doesn't amount to a formal declaration of war. Can the president not veto sanctions bills and nonsense like this?

What concerns me, deeply, is that the loons in congress with this bill have indeed issued something that to Russia will amount to a declaration of war in evrything but the name, and they did so glee- and cheerfully.

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

confusedponderer

Piotr,
what you fail to see is the price of being a frontline state if this cold war turns hot. It isn't just about putting in some systems and US troops as bait to makie sure he US will get drawn in if some loon like Sikorsky or Yatsenyuk does something real stupid.

During the cold war 20 tactical nukes were aimed ad my old garrison town, Koblenz. I have always found that that's something rather sobering. The prospect should sober you (and mind you, NATO Nukes and their fallout won't differentiate between Poles and Russians).

I am fully with Walrus in saying that - despite all your reaons to be concerned about Russia - find a way to deal with it that does not involve drawing the rest of Europe down into the abyss with you. Considering Polish economic and military strength - you won't be doing any of the heavy lifting in the resulting conflict yourself.

The real risk here is that Polish paranoia is pushing for a policy of escalation, primarily aimed at soothing irrational polish fears but that is certainly not contributing to NATO's collective security (which is about real risks).

Escalation has brought us to the brink before.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83

The root of the problem here is what we did with regard to Ukraine, and not any Russian designs for Poland or Ukraine. We forced Russia's hand. This is not about aggressive Russian moves. Russia is playing this purely reactively.

The point here is that escalatory moves have a habit of creating risks that would not exist otherwise. The mess in Ukraine is just such a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Israeli conduct vis a vis Iran falls in the same category: If they and their US proxies keep on threatening the Iranians long enough with a first strike and make headway on destruction of the Iranian economy, perhaps bomb Iran, then you can count on Iran one day having a real nuke, not just an asserted program, just to fend off Israeli and US encroachment.

kodlu

Well said.

Amir

Hear, hear!

Piotr, Poland

@ Walrus

1. Are you sure , "Ukraine occupies Donbass"?

2. Do you think selling to Ukraine helicopters and other weaponry by US, even in big number, would provoke Russia to nuclear attack on US? It would mean Putin is total idiot. Putin is not my hero, but I never call him an idiot. He is very clever Russian nationalist to me, brilliantly using for Russian purposes every weakness of his opponents.

3. Do you think US will sell to corrupted Ukrainian army the newest NATO weapons systems?
Sorry - it's impossible, especially when you remember, that Kiyv has now special investigation, which tries to explain illegal selling and “disappearing” (in 1st half of 2014) of near 35000 AKM’s, 23 drones, near 5000 of rockets, near 100 of armored cars and near 1000 of mortars.
Some say part of this weaponry was sent to separatists by the chain of middlemen, doing their business in ex Soviet republics..
It sounds quite probably if the stubborn Ukrainian rumor heard many times among common Ukrainian people would be true, that separatists are financed in big part by Yanukovych and his friends .

For now all we really know now is: Ukrainian state-owned producers were sellers, but who was the buyer is still officially unknown.
If US sell the newest NATO weaponry to Ukraine today, you would find big part of it in Russian Army research and development laboratories tomorrow.
Remember – Ukrainian Army is very well penetrated by Russian GRU military intelligence and you can find many Dimitri Berezovsky –likes traitors in this army (DB was head commander of Ukrainian Crimean fleet).

4. I’m not the Poroshenko fan, but I remember Yanukovych was nothing more than ex gangster, who’ve stolen together with his cronies more than a few billions of USD from Ukrainian treasury. Ask any Ukrainian if you know him/her personally (and he still have relatives there) about what happened in Ukraine during Yanukovych times – you will be shocked!

5. I know well too, who is aggressor and who is the victim of this war, and don’t buy Russian propaganda nonsenses about “Novorussian nation” produced by Russian so called “Service A” cell of active international disinformation. I was in Donbass few years ago, and there were no such creatures like “novorussians”.

By the way, the Vineyardsaker, you like to read so much, looks for me like Service A professional contributor, or even group of contributors.

PS Sorry, I don’t know contemporary name of the Russian disinformation cell. “Service A” was their name during Soviet times, but I have no doubts they are doing their job very actively to this moment.

Dubhaltach

I see the resident russophobe is warmongering again. Perhaps we should chuck Poland out of the EU as a gentle reminder that warmongering is naughty.

Dubhaltach

Dubhaltach

Second the motion. Speaking as one of those who'll be called up I see no reason why we should get involved. Particularly as the Polish government has been doing it's very best to aggravate the situation in Ukraine from the start. I've suggested that throwing the Poles out of the EU would dampen their ardour going the whole hog and chucking them out of NATO as well would be even better. Not going to happen alas

confusedponderer

"So is it OK, when Russia sends heavy weaponry and MANPADS to Putinists/Separatists, but Ukraine can buy bulletproof vests, helmets and shovels only?"

This is not about what Ukraine does and what they buy.

The problem is that the US decides to pick a side in that conflict, and in doing so has chosen a side against Russia. This has consequences for the relations between US and Russia, the two major nuclear powers.

The US bill has made Ukraine - as far as congress is concerned - a de facto NATO member, enjoying many of the privileges (including US arms) that NATO members enjoy, and that have been before that exclusive to NATO members. That is what is escalatory about it.

Re the Donbass:
As for the Russians supporting the separatists - do you recognise a right of th people in the Donbass to secede?

After all, people like Yats and Poroshenko have said things to the effect that they want the territory, but not those subhumans, colorado beatles (a pest) or Ruskals (or whatever is the epithet of choice they hurl at the), in a sense expressing their view that they don't want to rule the ethnic russian part of the population, just the territory.

Would you be in favour of Poland supporting and arming a besieged Polish minority, say in a country like Slovakia if it faced repression on the sacale of what Ukrainian forces have subjcted the Donbass to and potential future ethnic cleansing? Just asking.

confusedponderer

addendum:
"but Ukraine can buy bulletproof vests, helmets and shovels only?"

Ukraine can buy nothing. It is broke. If they receive US arms then the US is giving them either a gift or a loan.

Gerard Pierce`

Somewhere among our "representatives" are the Judas Goats who introduced this traitorous piece of crap. Our "representatives" are as much part of the sheeple as the electorate, but someone among them led the push to pass this abomination. Who?

Dubhaltach

Colonel,

To what extent would such a resolution - even if it were completely without legal import - further increase the likelihood of war?

Is it just noises off, or does it actually have a political impact within the beltway by raising the temperature?

Dubhaltach

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