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04 January 2018

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Lincolnite

I had assumed a strong Naval presence at Tartus along with Sevastopol gave Russia strategic cover of the Dardanelles should anyone be tempted to revisit the Montreaux Convention. It may also relate to the development of the gas fields of the Eastern Mediterranean where I believe Gazprom has a presence.

Tom

Poland-Ukraine Having lived in Russia and Poland and knowing both languages I believe that Poland is just opening a can of worms. Or the box of Pandora. To wit: the West of Ukraine was until 1939 part of Poland. The majority was Ukrainian but a significant minority was Polish. The Poles were brutally kicked out after the war. Poland is now reopening old wounds. It is cratching at the scabs. What is worse: the Poles are making (until now subtle but nevertheless) noices about places like Lwiw or Lwow (Lemberg) really being Polish. The people ruling Poland now are no less nationalistic than the rulers of Ukraine. They create the same kind of militaristic atmosphere like in Ukraine. Youth organisations, war propaganda a.s.o. First against Russia but now more and more against Ukraine.
The really scary part is that that might result in a German reaction. Remember that a third of Poland was German before the war. And the Poles certainly didn´t treat the Germans any better when kicking them out than the Ukrainians treated them.
I don´t know how signifanct all of that might become but it bears watching.


Peter AU

Good articles on the agent of chaos by yourself and Korybko.

The down side I see is Trump's military spending and the team of Iran haters he has chosen to appoint and delegate responsibility to.
Trump increased military spending when the US already spent more on their military than the next ten countries combined.

Cutting back on foreign entanglements, retaining just a few closest allies? Israel, I think would be one of the close allies retained. Iran is the main power behind the resistance to Israel. Since watching the US election campaign, and even at my most optimistic, this downside has always been their. I think now that it is very likely that at some point in the not to distant future, there will be US air and missile strikes on Iran. No invasion or occupation, that doesn't seem Trumps style.

Patrick Armstrong

Trump (and not just Trump -- all his close military guys and not just them) have a thing about Iran. Let us not forget the frequent statement in the State Dept review on terrorism that al Quaeda/ISIS/whatever is the Number 1 terrorist threat and Iran the Number 1 state sponsor. No one (no one) who knows anything (anything) could possibly see a connection between ibn Taymiyya inspired takfiris and twelver Shiites. IMO it's entirely a creation of the Israeli/Saudi control over US thinking both in the govt and academia.
It's very disturbing.

Patrick Armstrong

I agree. Poland is opening a whole box of cans of worms. The curse of Polish history, I think, are all those times Warsaw overestimated its position. Vide 1939 -- Warsaw had a deal with Hitler and thought it was OK.
But also watch Hungary which notices Transcarpathia. And I'm sure others will. As I have said many times, "Ukraine" is an entity created out of bits and pieces of other countries. And it is collapsing.
https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2014/05/27/the-destruction-of-ukraine/

Reggie

The Ukies are slowing moving troops & equipment into the neutral zones in the Donbass. It seems that it's just a matter of time before things get "hot" there.

Account Deleted

Thanks for the update Patrick. I read your linked Gordion knot piece and I must say I am more and more coming around the this point of view; that DJT really does have a strategy to disentangle the US from foreign commitments as part of his MAGA plan. A key part of which I am sure is misleading just about everyone as to his real aims. Or better still fooling them into thinking his actions are aimless, or just plain dumb.

He has let the military have their missions in Syria, all the while allowing the Russians to be in control. The US will eventually leave, saving billions for MAGA. The slow pace of Assad/Putin's eventual victory means that the military will not have to live with the disgrace of actually 'losing'. The Ziocons' unnecessary war will be over and guess what; he got someone else to pay for a large part of it.

With Jerusalem he cut the mother of all Gordion knots (strictly from the American perspective) by disentangling the US from mediation in the Palestinian question. He has suggested funds for the Palestinians are at risk and can now simultaneously say to Israel "see what I gave you, you owe me". Cave in to pro-Israel lobby? I'm not so sure it isn't just America First (actually before Israel for a change).

And could it be that he was actually in on the sudden New Year Sunshine Policy (with very Putin-like characteristics) emanating from North Korea? The peninsular sorts itself out, face and more $ billions are saved when the CBG's & troops come home. Perhaps a stretch too far, but if he really is crazy like a fox, how better to extricate oneself from the mess..

World domination and bases in Kyrzbekistan don't help the version of MAGA Trump's supporters voted for. He'll disentangle plenty more, but he's smart enough to know that resistance to his plans would be 10 times worse if the Exceptionals in the swamp and elsewhere really understood what he is up to.

The Donald may not know what a Gordion Knot is (nor likely care) and in their blind rage the liberal elite think him stupid for not matching up to their intellectual and behavioral standards. This is Trump's real strength - his ability to be perpetually underestimated. Strategy and not incompetence? Could be.

Peter AU

Trump's actions in Syria are, I think, part of his Iran strategy. he has held onto eastern Syria and Tanf. There is still a small pocket of ISIS east of the Euphrates at Abu Kamal which makes me think there may be more fighting there for its control. Taking Abu Kamal will cut the only land rout from Iran to Lebanon, so I think it will be a target. Then there are the retrained ISIS and AQ types at Hasaka. Are they to be moved across Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran? or perhaps used to target Hezbollah and so forth through Syria and Lebanon?
The US war against Syria or to destroy the Syrian government was lost when Russia moved in, Trump admin recognizing this and repositioning assets to face Iran?

Lysander

Having lived in Poland for a number of years myself, I concur. A great country with great people, but a large proportion cultivate a sense of historical victimhood that leads to worsening excesses. The current government is dislike by many, but it has wide support over its antiimmigrants stance. This seems to give it confidence to antagonize both Russia and Germany at the same time. And now, it antagonists the right wing Ukrainians that it helped bring to power 4 years ago.

The God loves irony I guess.

outthere

Prof. Stephen F Cohen reviews Ukraine.
Cohen is elder wise man, spent his life knowing Russia.
He gives factual review and political outlook on the ongoing crisis, including Trump decision to supply new anti tank weapons and Biden warmongering.

The history of the Ukrainian crisis, which has made everything it affected worse, is distorted by political myths and American media malpractice.
By Stephen F. Cohen

quote
Putin and his ministers sought to persuade the EU to make the economic agreement with Ukraine “tripartite,” including Moscow so as not to disadvantage the very substantial trade relationship between Ukraine and Russia. The EU leadership, for whatever reason, refused, telling Kiev it had to choose between Russia and the West. For years, as all sides knew, Washington and other Western actors had been pouring billions of dollars into Ukraine to prepare it for the West’s “civilizational” values. That is, the “march” on Ukraine had long been under way. The EU agreement—purportedly only economic and civilizational—included provisions binding the new “partner” to NATO “military and security” policy. (The intent was clear, with President George W. Bush having proposed to fast-track NATO membership for Ukraine in 2008, only to be vetoed by Germany and France.)
. . .
the once-distinguished academic Paul Krugman, who tells his New York Times readers: “There’s really no question about Trump/Putin collusion, and Trump in fact continues to act like Putin’s puppet.” There is every “question” and no “in fact” at all
. . .
Vice President Joseph Biden. It has long been known that President Obama put him in charge of the administration’s “Ukrainian project,” in effect making him pro-consul overseeing the increasingly colonized Kiev. In short, Biden, who is clearly already seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, bears a heavy personal responsibility for the 4-year-old Ukrainian crisis. But he shows no sign of rethinking anything and still less any remorse. In an article in Foreign Affairs, Biden and his coauthor Michael Carpenter string together a tsunami of highly questionable, if not false, narratives regarding “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin,” many of them involving the years he was vice president. Along the way, Biden repeatedly berates Putin for meddling in Western elections. This is the same Joe Biden who told Putin not to return to the Russian presidency during Obama’s purported “reset” with Moscow and who, in February 2014, told Ukraine’s democratically elected President Yanukovych to abdicate and flee the country.
endquote

outthere

forgot the link, here it is
https://www.thenation.com/article/four-years-of-ukraine-and-the-myths-of-maidan/

J

Russia being scapegoated by White House advisor:

http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20180104-mcmaster-says-u-s-must-reveal-insidious-russian-meddling-to-prevent-further-attacks

The Twisted Genius

Your Gordian Knot theory makes a lot of sense. It certainly fits with most of what he said during the campaign. He has more or less avoided antagonizing moves towards Russia in Syria. I'm pretty sure we'll be pushed out of there by R+6 negotiations with the Rojava Kurds. His Jerusalem policy knocked the US out of any part of having to oversee any future negotiations in that region. That gives us a reason to walk away there. He's doing everything he can to piss off Pakistan. They'll close off our access to Afghanistan and give us reason to leave there. He cares nothing about these places or people and that's actually a good thing. He has no ideological reason to remain. Maybe his genius lies in his ability to piss off enough people to force us out. That way he can say it's not his fault when we leave. It's just too bad he's got a real hard-on for Iran. Perhaps it's only because of the Obama connected JCPOA.

Anna

The "liberated" (post-2014) Ukraine is a monumental black eye to the Lobby prudes: https://off-guardian.org/2017/06/24/reuters-finally-realize-there-are-nazis-in-ukraine/
"…local authorities [in Kiev] recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych.”
“In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA)”
“Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas.”
“…the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war.”
“…a Ukrainian official called Ukraine’s SS Galizien division – created with the support of Heinrich Himmler – “heroes”
A rhetorical questions: Is the US State Department ready stand with Ukrainian neo-Nazi?

Balint Somkuti, PhD

"third of Poland was German before the war."

As was polish a third of Belorussia. I've spoken with polish people who told me their country was artificially pushed 200 kms westwards after WWII.

I also heard a possibly fake, but telling story about a polish military officer telling a german one "we have now more Leopard 2 tanks than you". The answer was allegedly " but we have the production line".

While I also fear that our polish brothers politically-militarily overreach themselves based on their good relations with the US (like in 1939, as already mentioned), it has to be mentioned that Poland is a strong and united country, which is generally overlooked, played for a puppet and left out of calculations by western powers.

Balint Somkuti, PhD

It is not only Hungary, but also the Czech Republic, which ran the place between 1920-1939. And yes the romanians, who are still living the dream of Greater-Romania encompassing everything between the Danube and the Dniestr.

Real question what does the local strongman Viktor Baloga want. Or to be more precise what does the majority, which is a small, but definitely differenet slavic branch, the ruthenians/rusyns want?

English Outsider


Patrick Armstrong - Thank you very much for that once again wide ranging summary.

I believe that you might be indicating the possibility that Trump's actions do show he is seeking to withdraw from foreign entanglements while wrong-footing the pro-Zionists and the neo-cons. What he is doing is at least consistent with that. His vision of MAGA is internal, as shown by the Colonel's analysis of the recent economic moves.

At least I hope you are indicating this possibility, and that it will come off. Even if it doesn't the West is still better off than under an Obama/Clinton type leadership. If nothing else Trump has effectively wrecked an Obama/Clinton type foreign policy by antagonising the Europeans (and Westminster) and also antagonising proxies. Even in the worst case - the intensification of military/proxy action against Iran or against Iranian forces - such action would be less dangerous given that the Europeans no longer seem to be fully on board with neo-con foreign policy as they would have been had there been a Clinton presidency.

But all this is against the background of worsening financial crisis, particularly in Europe and the UK. If it is the case that Trump, in his "crazy like a fox" way as some commenters on SST describe it, might be pulling off this roundabout way of honouring his election promises, he'd better get a move on.

JohnB

Barbara Ann - I admire your optimism but for me the populism that propelled the Donald into the WH is no more. His, is a traditional republican administration, albeit less stable than most. The draining of the swamp rhetoric, was just that rhetoric.

I agree Trump isn't dumb you don't get to where he has by being an idiot. But as far as FP is concerned is Trump is a wild card and that for me is dangerous. He also see the world in very 'black and white' terms which is not to dissimilar to the neo-cons. his latest rhetoric on Iran must be music to the ears of Israel and the Neo-cons.

As PA has said I think most Russian FP people would have preferred 'The Devil You Know' Clinton to Trump.

 jld

Indeed I thought it a little bit weird that "populist" Trump was supported by Peter Thiel but what do I know, I am not even American.

Malachy Smyth
As PA has said I think most Russian FP people would have preferred 'The Devil You Know' Clinton to Trump.

Hillary said she would impose a NFZ in Syria and shoot down Russian planes. Trump still says it’s terrible how the Democrats have destroyed any rapprochement* with Russia. In some of these egregious moves (arms to Ukraine, bellicosity toward Iran, etc.) I hope he is doing the bare minimum to placate the neocon establishment forces he has to deal with.

*he didn’t use this word for it. ;-)

SmoothieX12

I think most Russian FP people would have preferred 'The Devil You Know' Clinton to Trump.

Debatable and is very close to a cliche. I think the consensus in Russia on the US as not treaty-worthy party (nedogovorosposobny) emerged early to mid-2000s. Trump was merely viewed as "let them have another go at it." Didn't work out. Fine, life goes on. I personally think that HRC would have unleashed a war at some point (why--is a separate matter) and then would have lost any control over escalation. This is apart from the fact of utter foreign policy incompetence being a MO of current US power elites across political spectrum.

Account Deleted

Being able to deny culpability is critical to the disentanglement strategy, he knows he can't just come out and say this stuff. Be interesting to know how many of his inner circle are in on the gag, if any. Also, I suspect you are right re JCPOA and the Obama connection. If Obama had cured cancer he'd want to undo it.

LeaNder

emerged early to mid-2000s.

my mind circles around the same time, incidentally.

That said, I found both Armstrong's and KORYBKO's usage of metaphors interesting. The Gordian Knot and/or the Chaos The Kraken interesting.

For whatever reason, I immediately felt I should check "Alex Jones" + Kraken. Beyond the link he provides. You'll find an Alex Jones interview of 2010, where the Kraken surfaces:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_of_the_Titans_(2010_film)#Plot

In 2010 Trump still reflected if there shouldn't be the death penalty for something like Assange. But now considering the larger context and mood. Assange might have used his chances correctly. ;)

*******

I had to get interested. The Kraken, over centuries the destructive force turned into a savior symbol that'll help to drain the swamp, get rid of the shadow government? ... Now that's quite a turn around.

Pat's Kali?

Charles Michael

Yes I think you are on to something about DJT way of doing, or rather un-doing things.
As John B wrote: his latest rhetoric on Iran must be music to the ears of Israel and the Neo-cons.
It may be a clever trick to placate them, while enflaming the very nationalistic feelings of the Persians, thus shouting the rioters.

did Obama cured any cancer ? (just jocking)

Ulenspiegel

"The really scary part is that that might result in a German reaction."

No real chance that there will any problems. The last people who claimed these former German parts of modern Poland are dead now, the last time I saw interviews of their lobby group was many years ago. Most younger Germans understand that peace is more important than these lost territories. There is no political pressure as almost no Germans live there.

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