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02 August 2019


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Persevet, too, on top of everything else. A big question mark on top of a bunch of other question marks, no?

As for Afghanistan, am I being a ding-dong civilian to say we are still there so the agency can skim the poppy trade?



Yes, you are a ding-dong civilian. CIA does not control policy and they don't need the money. They are given immense funds by Congress.

Jim Ticehurst

Armstrong...Very Excellent Presentation..Worth the Read...


Patrick, this is a bit OT but I just watched this video from The Duran and wondered what your thoughts are on Ukraine making peace with Russia.

Is Ukraine ready for a Russian reset? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lWOJIetDu4 (24 min)
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss whether the time has finally come for Ukraine to re-engage with Russia.

Can a sitcom actor turned President, Volodymyr Zelensky, find the courage to fight off ultra right nationalist forces and the neocon US deep state, to be the man who brings peace and sensibility to Ukraine, in relation to Russia?

It appears that most Ukrainian citizens want to make peace with Russia, and of course there are the potentially devastating financial challenges the gov't has upcoming (a strong incentive). But is that enough?

Thoughts anyone?

Patrick Armstrong

The Russian bear (I've saved the picture for future use), BTW, is what we in N American call a Grizzly. It's not a cuddly little Black Bear.

Patrick Armstrong

My POV is in my last Sitrep -- in short not impossible but a lot of ifs.


Thanks, I must have missed that post. Since the oligarchs still wield so much power in Ukraine do you have any sense of how many of them want peace with Russia? I am curious what percentage of the oligarchs support the US vs Russia vs neither/opportunist.

On the above article... it seems that the very sensible Russian defensive military mindset is entirely too 'foreign' for the Borg to understand. Or perhaps they don't want to understand because stirring up fear of Russia is of greater benefit to them in numerous ways.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

It appears that most Ukrainian citizens want to make peace with Russia

A bit more complicated than that. Some want just the absence of war, not necessarily "peace" (whatever that means) with Russia. And then there are very many those shades of grey after that. Ukraine did happen, did coalesce, as a political nation, however with a very questionable expiration date, and there are very many flavors to this "peace with Russia" on Ukrainian side. And then, of course, there is Russia's opinion and very many (I do not have exact numbers), very very many, Russians simply do not want to deal with Ukraine and Ukrainians at all. I, personally, don't see any improvement (again--what is a definition of "improvement") between Russia and Ukraine, not least because Ukraine is controlled from the outside. Here is an example of audacity on the West's (US) part to "represent" Ukraine.


ted richard

he is of course correct in his over all views. russian missile and EW technology is already, today, at least a generation ahead of what the pentagon fields for combat. rendering effective pentagon military power projection neutered against both russia and china as well as any ally they choose to support (think syria for sure, iran?, venezuela?)

the problem washington faces is they sold out the federal government decades ago to banking and corporate interest which as time has proven repeatedly are NOT aligned with the best interests of the american citizenry, and like anyone who sups with the devil a bargain is a bargain, once taken there is no going back.

the problem for washington is that banking and corporate interests require plunder to operate properly as currently structured. maximize short term gain for private ownership while either put off long terms costs (pollution etc) well into the future or like in 2008 socialize the losses across the entire tax payer (a euphemism for serf) base while handily keeping all those fed vomited bailouts private.

as russia, china, iran, venezuela erect signs backed up by force saying.."this is a plunder free zone" and, what with unencumbered assets becoming ever harder to locate for anglo american capitalism a crisis is emerging as forward motion (real growth) slows to a crawl or goes below zero which renders all the debt entangled corporations, especially governments and citizens susceptible to gravity once the trigger of ''no confidence''' hits the public consciousness. increasing debt is directly correlated to decreasing growth need to sustain the debt load. like unsuccessfully dieting a vicious circle.

all russia and china have to do to prevail over washington and its empire at this point is WAIT.... while keeping their swords bright and their domestic intentions true (by taking care of their own).

gravity once widespread public no confidence emerges will do all heavy lifting.

The Twisted Genius

Excellent analysis, Patrick. It shows what can be accomplished when you don't blow your whole wad on force projection and seeking full spectrum dominance at the same time. Seeking dominant capability at our borders and territorial waters is doable, but projecting that all over the world is a losing proposition. The Russian strategy reminds me of the Swiss defensive model.

BTW, while the Russian bears and our Grizzlies are both brown bears, they are different species.


I read that article too. Exceptionalism dies hard. Unironically this is part of their "Realism & Restraint series"... had a good chuckle over that.

Your point about Russia not wanting to deal with the Ukraine at all makes a lot of sense to me. What a hot mess that country is! Since Ukraine does not a strong central gov't, and instead has many factions with different internal and external loyalties (esp. the US), then who is there that can actually make a deal, stick to it and enforce it?


Very good analysis, but.....
If the US is not making the global rules, somebody else (China?) will and we will not like those rules.

different clue

I believe that it was all the major Allies and not just the US which wrote a prospective set of rules for global behavior and embodied it in the United Nations and all the treaties involved with that. It was not just a set of America-centric rules.

And if the DC FedRegime of our own day keeps breaking those rules for its own Regime benefit, the rest of the global will begin to find ways to exclude DC FedRegime rule-writing and rule-enforcing from growing parts of the global territory. The Aggressive-War invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an example of the DC FedRegime breaking global rules. The Cheney(bush) Administration use of torture was another such violation.

Meanwhile, the Corporate Globalonial Plantation ClassLords were writing and imposing another set of rules, namely all the Forcey-Free-Trade Agreements now impoverishing and exploiting so many. And even casting many aside completely, as in ex-Industrial America. Since the Corporate Globalonial Plantationists operate under American cover, America gets blamed for the effects of Forcey-Free-Trade, even though America also suffers from those effects.

The American Exceptionalizzum DC FedRegime can try to continue forcing and extorting and blackmailing American society into spending the money, time and effort to Freedomize and Democrafy the Whole World. America will ultimately be driven into some kind of bankruptcy by the effort, and may even break up into a few viable successor countries and some anarcho-violent No-Man's-Lands like Somalia. With lots of loose nukes.

And then China may indeed write new global rules, after the DC Fedregime creates the vacuum for China to fill in writing those rules . . . by destroying America beyond any hope of writing any rules at all, or even getting to submit any Public Comment.

Ken Roberts

Possibly related, the interview of President Putin with Oliver Stone contains an interesting statement by Putin, re Ukraine ... See the official transcript for context, and of course there may be translation nuances -- transcript is from


Here is an excerpt (about one-third into transcript)...

"Vladimir Putin: The connection is that he [Medvedchuk] has his own ideas about Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. For example, I believe that Russians and Ukrainians are actually one people.

Oliver Stone: One people, two nations?

Vladimir Putin: One nation, in fact.

Oliver Stone: You think it is one nation?

Vladimir Putin: Of course. Look, when these lands that are now the core of Ukraine, joined Russia, there were just three regions – Kiev, the Kiev region, northern and southern regions – nobody thought themselves to be anything but Russians, because it was all based on religious affiliation. They were all Orthodox and they considered themselves Russians. They did not want to be part of the Catholic world, where Poland was dragging them.

I understand very well that over the time the identity of this part of Russia crystallized, and people have the right to determine their identity. But later this factor was used to throw into imbalance the Russian Empire. But in fact, this is the same world sharing the same history, same religion, traditions, and a wide range of ties, close family ties among them.

At the same time, if a significant part of people who live in Ukraine today believe that they should emphasise their identity and fight for it, no one in Russia would be against this, including me. But, bearing in mind that we have many things in common, we can use this as our competitive advantage during some form of integration; it is obvious. However, the current government clearly doesn’t want this. I believe that in the end common sense will prevail, and we will finally arrive at the conclusion I have mentioned: rapprochement is inevitable."

(transcript continues)


I really learned a lot from this article. Thank you for posting

Tom Wonacott
Moscow will not engage in an exhausting arms race, and the country’s military spending will gradually decrease as Russia does not seek a role as the “world gendarme,” President Vladimir Putin said

While Vladimir Putin is one of the most astute observers of foreign policy in the world (running circles around Obama and Trump), he is also a politician. I sincerely doubt that Russia gradually plans on decreasing spending on their military in any meaningful way. That is for home consumption because about 35-40 percent of Russians live on $300 per month or less. Putin's popularity is also dropping even though it remains quite high (Paul Goble: Window on Eurasia -- New Series: Nearly 40 Percent of Russians Subsist on Less than... https://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/nearly-40-percent-of-russians-subsist.html?spref=tw):

Thirty-seven percent of Russians life on 19,000 rubles or less a month, Rosstat says, a figure that works out to a subsistence of ten US dollars or a less a day, 23.2 percent live on less than 15,000 rubles a month (under seven dollars a day); and 12 percent have incomes under 10,000 rubles a month (five dollars a day).
Patrick Armstrong

I've always been intrigued by Switzerland -- more guns than anywhere but pretty peaceful; really understands neutrality (which is actually a pretty cold-blooded position). I remember reading some time ago that Switzerland General Guisan (hah! name just came to me, ultimate senility is at least a week away!) told the Germans that, if they invaded, the Swiss would blow the tunnels thereby rendering Switzerland useless to an invader.

Never seen so many measelshafts as there. (You old Cold Warriors might recognise the term from Germany back in The Day (not entirely sure of the spelling).

But definitely a country that minds its own business but makes sure its more expensive to conquer than it's worth. Finland is (or was) another example. (Which is why it's so disappointing to see the current rulers in Helsinki sucking up to NATO.)

Faugh Sir! Wikipedia says a clades not a species.

Patrick Armstrong

Well, many of us will live to see whether that's correct or not. My assumption is that China is so arrogant (Middle Kingdom means between Heaven and Earth) that they really don't care what the rest of us do as long as business happens.

But ya gotta admit that the USA/UK/West/Whatever-you-want-to-call-it rule has been pretty disastrous.

Patrick Armstrong

I'm coming to think that you are that rare species of a POLITE troll. Russians like VVP, they trust him and buy the package. And they get it that Russia is under attack (they aren't living in a news bubble. They see Western stuff.)

Nobody in the West comes anywhere close to his numbers.

PS Paul Goble just prints anti-Putin stuff and is mostly entertainment.

PPS. check my link to SIPRI on reductions.


After 8 years of the governance of Boris Yeltsin & the Free Market Reformers, 30% of Russians were living on $1.50/day or less as their country unstoppably descended into social catastrophe & strategic irrelevance.


The place has since transformed, much for the better.

LA Sox Fan

What happened to the USSR and it’s empire should serve as a warning to the USA. We have two huge oceans defending us, yet we spend more to maintain our far flung empire than the USSR ever did. One day, the taxpayers of this country are no longer going to pay for an empire that they don’t profit from.


Wonder why they tested the arrow 3 in alaska.

Tom Wonacott

I am polite, and at the very least - an honest troll. I am just not quite as trusting of Putin as some. The IRA are real trolls which had (have?) a two million dollar operating budget according to Meduza (https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/10/15/an-ex-st-petersburg-troll-speaks-out?utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=share_twitter&utm_campaign=share). At any rate good article.


different clue

Will that day come by choice, while we still have any money to be able to refuse to pay such taxes from?

Or will that day come by passive default force, once we have run out of money to be able to pay for taxes or for anything else?

Sooner by choice would be better than later by passive default force.

Ingolf Eide

Good stuff Patrick, thanks.

Russia may be uniquely inoculated against all manner of foolishness by the two catastrophes it lived through over the last century. For now at least, it seems driven by a bone hard realism.

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