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15 February 2015

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Marcy

Sir,
A question regarding President Obama: is he driving this headlong rush to an actual war with Russia or is he agreeing with consensus opinion from advisors? Or, worse yet, does he simply feel he is on the "right side of history" and things will just work out? BTW I loathe that view of history; I am
sure Hitler, Stalin and Mao all felt that way and look what happened to all that disagreed with them. Horrible phrase.

turcopolier

TTG

The tank looks like it could be salvaged. pl

The Twisted Genius

pl,

I'm sure that tank will be salvaged. I've seen a video of a salvage shop in Donetsk chock full of former Ukrainian army equipment. Some looked a lot worse than that tank in the trenches.

The Twisted Genius

Marcy,

A big problem in this world is that damned near everybody thinks they're on the right side of history and that God is on their side. A little humility would be refreshing.

anna-marina

So simple and so eloquent: "They are our enemies. Our real enemy, who has come to our land." And here are those who fight against the pro-federalists in East Ukraine: "Azov battalion is one of several volunteer battalions funded in part by Ukraine oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. The battalion's commander Andriy Biletsky is also the head of two neo-Nazi political groups, Patriot of Ukraine and Social-National Assembly. Kolomoysky has a triple Ukrainian-Israeli-Cyprus citizenship." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion
How come that the citizen of Israel has been financing the neo-Nazi battalion? Amazing.
At the same time the natives of West Ukraine do not want to obey the orders of the US-hand-picked "deciders" in Kev. "Ukraine Passes Law Allowing Military to Shoot Deserters:" http://www.newsweek.com/ukraine-passes-law-shoot-deserters-304911

VietnamVet

TTG

The real horror of the Ukraine civil war is that Kiev and its Western Deciders are repeating the folly of WWI, a hundred years later. They simply don’t give a damn for their troops or civilians caught in the crossfire; Five Cauldrons to date. On top of it they believe their own propaganda. This so crazy, I am relieved when I awake alive each morning. The Western Elite will keep baiting the Bear; until our world is torn apart.

The most astonishing realization is the abdication of the media to honesty and the truth. That Ukraine started the second round of fighting trying to rescue their troops trapped at the Donetsk airport has completely disappeared down the rabbit hole. To compound the absurdity, Brian Williams, NBC’s Prime Newsreader, is suspended by Comcast for six months for telling war stories; not for questioning the western agitprop he repeats. Apparently, he is unaware of reality just what sounds good.

Fred

TTG,

A couple of novice questions. Has there been any raiding by any of these rebel units? I would think some command and control elements of the Ukrainian government would be very vulnerable, not to mention some right wing political party hq's. (Perhaps those are the best defended?). Second, what about the morale factor? Exhausted the defenders maybe, yet they have a habit of victory. On the other hand five times in the cauldron should have put a big hole of the morale of Poroshenko's "praetorians".

bth

TTG please keep in mind that the Russians are flooding the web now with surrogate blogs many professionally produced - highly formatted, perfect spelling etc. and with enough truth to be read studiously due to a lack of western news but laced with propaganda if one cares to look. Also a pattern can be seen in the referenced blogs. Usually when the Russians bring armor in, a Nato 155 shell casing shows up in the street in front of a Russian sympathetic video crew claiming it was fired from a Paladin. Or a cache of US small arms are discovered in the airport rubble that probably were captured in the Georgian campaign but they are video ready with a nice sprinkling of snow and cinematic lighting. If the latest pocket of Ukrainian troops is cut off, no doubt the rebels will want to kill them as they posted on YouTube this weekend, but I'll bet Putin will show up at the last minute to offer them sanctuary after a nice video ready parade reminiscent of 1941 and 1945 parades of Nazi prisoners by the Soviets complete with street cleaners. German industrialists will not doubt praise him. American leaders may be dolts and I only wish they were half as cunning as Putin maintains, but at the end of the day it is his little green men and the Russian navy that seized the Crimea and are promoting the eastern rebellion with bullets and shells. This is worth remembering during our period of self doubt.

The Twisted Genius

Fred,

Both sides employ sabotage-reconnaissance groups. The rebels (or separatists as many prefer) have employed them from the beginning. Strelkov used them quite liberally when he was defending Slavyansk last Spring. The tradition continues. These tactical operations are supplemented by sabotage attacks by underground elements in Kharkov, Odessa and other areas throughout what may someday become "Greater Novorossiya." These underground attacks don't amount to much, yet.

The morale question is simple. The rebel motivation is fight or die. Through setbacks and victories, their morale remains very high. On the other hand, morale among the Ukrainian regular forces is in the toilet. They have nothing to make them happy. The Pravy Sector thugs in the national guard units are still rabid true believers. However they blame everybody except themselves for their string of failures. I guess that will have to pass as morale on the Ukie side.

crf

I bet this cease-fire will be said to have held, even if minor fighting continues. The Ukrainian government cannot win, and cannot survive, if it continues fighting. The Western European governments which are key to supporting Ukraine's economic future clearly want the Ukraine to cut its losses. Europe has lived just fine with frozen conflicts.

Fred

bth,

Probably very true on the propaganda front. Of course the other side would never do such a thing....

confusedponderer

"... with a nice sprinkling of snow .."

Which cannot be said of the images brought from Ukraine by Inhofe that allegedly showed the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. There the trees were green - in February, in Ukraine.

In such instances I always angry about the insult they add to the injury. It's the sheer inpertinence - it's not just that they lie - they lie brazenly and in a half-assed way that shows utter contempt for the target audience.

And the media then write things like that Inhofe was "duped by the Ukies". I beg to differ.

Inhofe needs no duping to show such images. He very probably knew perfectly well knew what he was doing - propagandising - just as McCain knew perfectly well what he was doing in Syria on that photo op.

http://fortressamerica.gawker.com/senator-duped-into-using-old-photos-to-promote-new-wa-1685511541

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/mccain-didnt-realize-he-was-posing-with-rebel-kidnapper#.hyOPVMabb

Piotr, Poland

Sorry TTG
This Shurygin says total nonsenses about "polish instructors". It is classical Russian propaganda lie, so don't take him too seriously.
There are no ANY polish profesional soldier or ex-profesional soldier - instructor in Ukraine. We have there a few polish volunteers (fighting for the both sides), but not profesionals
I saw "the evidence" Russians showed for "polish military advisors" working for Kiev.
It was Landrover on polish registration numbers. But inscription on the car doors said it was owned by one of the NGO's which sent food and humanitarian aid to Eastern Ukraine. But how many people in Russia understand polsih language to know, this was lie?
It was typical Russian primitive manipulation, they usually use for their inner propaganda purposes (to show Russia is attacked by NATO).
Old Russian propaganda school" Lie, lie, lie as much as you can, people will believe that at least part of it should be true!" still in use.

João Carlos

I was thinking about what made Merkel and Hollande move so fast for ask for a truce, that happened just after the Debaltsevo cauldron was formed. Nothing like that happened when the other 3 cauldrons were formed and is good remember that the troops inside the dauldron had huge casualties. So, if there are NATO troops inside the cauldron and they are french and germans, Merkel and Hollande trip to Moscow for talk to Putin makes a lot of sense...

I doubt that if there are NATO troops inside the Debaltsevo (tht we don't know for sure) I doubt they are Lithuanian, because Lithuania have a very small and innocuous army. There are some rebels reports that they saw polish troops inside the other 3 cauldron, but that ones refused to surrender and tried a desperate escape that had high casualties. So, I too doubt that Debaltsevo have Polish troops inside, Poland probably for now is not kin to idea to send more troops because they lost so many.

We know for sure that there are US and english troops with the Ukrainian army, there are that "Ukrainian" soldier that said in american english "don't show my face" to a reporter and a photo from an english soldier there (both using uniforms from Ukraine army). So, french and german troops are plausible.

But we probably will never know, the agreement made with Putin must have a secret clause that make that soldiers surrender and return to home asap with no one seeing them. I guess what Merkel and Hollande will give to Putin for make the deal work, maybe the end of sanctions?

But IMHO maybe the rebels will gain some NATO tanks from the surrendering troops...

Ishmael Zechariah

Bth,

May I remind you of a few quotes:

1- "Fuxk the EU"
2- "Yats is the guy" (http://www.thenation.com/blog/178293/not-so-secret-ukraine-phone-call)
3- ""Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations," she said. "We have invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2fYcHLouXY#t=504 )

Check the dates vs. the start of the Crimean gambit by Putin.

Stick to reading/commenting on Fox news.

Ishmael Zechariah


Mixa


America started the war in Ukraine....
http://youtu.be/hmceqYDmdms


Piotr, Poland

It's possible that in Ukraine you can find mercenaries or volunteers figthing for Kiyev, even from my country - Poland, but not regular army squads, as Russian propaganda says it.
Putinist side use mercenaries too, especially "Vostok" battalion is full of soldiers, crying "Allahu akbar!"- very typical shout for Russian or Ukrainian soldiers, isn't it? :-)
Those mercenaries mostly came from Chechnya and Dagestan

João Carlos

There is a problem with the mercenary hypothesis: Ukraine have no money for pay them, Ukraine is bankrupt. And everyone know it, including the mercenaries. I don't think mercenaries will risk their lives if there is no money for gain...

That US soldier that the tv reporter tried to interview and the english one that people saw at a paper photo were not mercenaries, but NATO troops... sadly. Some people said they are regular troops.

So, we can be confident that there are NATO troops there and IMHO that is the reason why Merkel and Hollande run for talk to Putin for get a truce, they can find too much embarrassing if some french and german troops are captured.

Anyway, can you think about other hypothesis for explain why Hollande and Merkel acted so fast after Debaltsevo cauldron? The other cauldrons that happened no one saw any problem, the forces trapped had loses above 50%, but no one saw that as a problem, it is normal war, so what make Debaltsevo a special case? Why Ukraine government was so desperate for try open the cauldron? They can create any lie at the tv and the Ukraine people will believe it, so it was no internal public opinion the factor there.

Anyway, we will have a confirmation at the next weeks when Hollande and Merkel fulfill the deal they made with Putin. Maybe Putin will get the end of sanctions, so any dramatic change of curse from Germany and France will show a deal was made.

FkDahl

Hi Piotr
Just be mindful about using platitudes such as primitive=Russian - they do have a bit of an historic stench.
As for (ex military Poles in Ukraine:there is this Jerzy Dziewulski guy, who certainly is ex Polish military professional showing up in Ukraine (http://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/6733/18771686.6c/0_8a6fa_7ae42deb_orig.jpg) . http://politik-im-spiegel.de/polen-leitet-die-militrischen-operationen-in-der-ukraine/
He also appears to be a guy who is highly connected in the Polish society, with Tusk and Radek Sikorski (http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/the-sikorski-set-the-polish-foreign-minister-has-locked-horns-with-cameron--but-their-history-goes-back-to-the-bullingdon-club-9564492.html). An interesting read in it's own right. How did a refugee from Poland enter Pembroke College at Oxford? He sure met a lot of people who are good to know. Later was executive director at American Enterprise Institute's "New Atlantic Initiative". The guy's a rising star, you might have him as president one day!
Back to Jerzy Dziewulski - he will not come alone (also is linked to Hunter Biden through Purisima Holdings Gas Company).

We ill soon have LITPOLUKRBRIG, which will be practical as a conduit for getting military aid in.

ISL

BTH,

while I find the propaganda interesting (and generally insulting as to the reader's level of intelligence, that is to be expected and ignored.

Clearly, whatever DC prefers, the outcome will be the cold hard reality on the ground. And the reality is that Kiev has unsustainable loss of forces with an economy in free-fall. Although the head of the Ukraine military admits there are no Russian forces, the reality is Moscow will provide arms to Novorussia, as the US does to all over friends (as if nations have friends). Meanwhile, our strategic advice to the Ukrainian military in plain English by the only thing that counts results - sucks - and/or views the Ukrainian grunts in particular and the country in general as strategy-less sacrificial pawns.

There is reality (thanks for the essay, TTG) and there is propaganda (thanks mainstream media). Sadly, DC appears to act these years on our propaganda, which in the end is how empires fall.

FkDahl

Video from Azov battalion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTT1JBxbim8&feature=youtu.be from Shirinkino, east of Mariupol.

At first through it appears idiotic to post a video of themselves breaking the cease fire, but at second thought, why not? Western MSM will never show this and anybody who shows this is a "Putin agent".

bth

That McCain has been a wrong way weather vane for a decade and that Inhofe is a liar is no reason to take Russian propaganda sites as unfiltered truth.

bth

Ishmael Zechariah, I don't watch Fox thanks for asking. But if you are going to post quotes from modified and clipped Russian phone intercepts you might as well give your source.

David Habakkuk

CP,

The extraordinary fighting abilities of the Wehrmacht were fully appreciated by competent people in British intelligence. So, for example, Kenneth Strong, who was a pivotal figure in Army intelligence and became Eisenhower's G2, used to say: 'You need three British battalions to equal one German. When will people learn this?'

(See http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/a/annan-enemies.html .)

However, competent intelligence people were also well aware that an Achilles heel of a populist dictatorship which operated through incessant propaganda was the difficulty of such a system in generating accurate intelligence.

The Director of Naval Intelligence, John Godfrey, diagnosed the weaknesses of German intelligence as 'wishfulness' and 'yesmanship'. At the risk of glossing his meaning, 'wishfulness' could be defined as a propensity, confronted by evidence that called in question one's existing views, to find means of defending those views rather than contemplating the possibility that they might have to be rethought.

Meanwhile, 'yesmanship' meant telling one's political masters what one thought they wanted to hear.

It was precisely these weaknesses on which Godfrey and his colleagues played, in the great deception operations that had a crucial effect on the outcome of the war.

Through 'Operation Mincemeat', involving the planting of a corpse with faked papers to be washed up off the Spanish coast, they which caused the German High Command to ignore the basic strategic logic which mean that any invasion of Europe from Africa would have to be in Sicily.

And 'Operation Fortitude South' managed to obscure the massive preparations underway for the Normandy landings, creating the impression that these were a ruse and that the real attack would come in the Pas de Calais.

Had the fighting skills of the Wehrmacht – even when its major force was engaged against Russia – not been offset by German ineptitude at intelligence, the outcome of the war could have been a very different story.

For reasons I do not fully understand, we seem, in both the United States and Britain, to have ended up with political systems which depend on incessant propaganda.

What I find amazing about elites in both countries today is not simply the prevalence of 'wishfulness' and 'yesmanship' – it is the utter inability to contemplate the possibility that getting intelligence wrong can have adverse consequences for one's own side.

bth

ISL, another way to look at the evolved situation is that Ukraine had not invested in its military for 20 years and represented no threat whatsoever to Russia. Then after the Olympic games last year Putin needed a political boost and boiling up slights preceived or otherwise from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s decided to reassert the Soviet/Russian power base by first seized the Crimea with its neighboring ships at port and unprepared as they represented no threat in the face of betrayal from Russia. When this went on with barely a wage of the finger from NATO he pushed on into Eastern Ukraine proper. And if you listen his political lackeys are quick to get the scare up across all eastern Europe.

Now the meme pushed by Russian propaganda sites is the Ukraine is finished. Well I would point out that Ukrainians are a tough people as the 20th century made plain. Russian language and political demographics seem to circumscribe the borders being developed as rump states. But I will say I've noticed the Ukrainians fight, unlike our 10 year training effort with Shia Iraqi forces and they are fighting with hopelessly outdated equipment against new Russian equipment,Russian and surrogate forces. Personally I have a convulsive reaction to Russian tanks heading west.

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