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Russia's SMO - a primer from an evolved military perspective

by paul spencer Tue Dec 6th, 2022 at 06:02:07 AM EST

I don't visit ET often, but I easily perceive that Oui's take on the Ukraine/Russia war is not generally accepted here. Just to set the tone for my post, I support the RF with few reservations, due to my long-held belief that the US and our closest 'allies' (I prefer the old CPC term running dogs) are by far the greatest source of trouble on Earth. There is simply no reasonable or useful comparison between US/NATO aggression and destruction vs that of any other nation or group of nations.

The most frequent - and egregiously incorrect and ahistorical - description of RF's SMO in Ukraine by the 'western' alliance is that it was "unprovoked". The following article by Chuck Spinney, a long-term Pentagon employee who has evolved from a critique of the lack of accountability and competence in the US DoD to an understanding of the political foundation of our foreign policy. He published this piece in April of this year to try to explain the SMO from a military viewpoint.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger - a useful corrective to the dominant "western" perspective - although an article written from a Ukrainian perspective might also be a useful corrective. Putin may have been provoked, but who is the greater provocateur now?

How the Narcotic of Defense Spending Undermines a Sensible Grand Strategy

by Chuck Spinney

The MICC's grand-strategic chickens are coming home to roost big time. While war is bad, the Russo-Ukrainian War has the champagne corks quietly popping in the Pentagon, on K Street, in the defense industry, and throughout the halls of Congress.  Taxpayers are going to be paying for their party for a long time.  

It is no accident that the United States is on the cusp of the Second Cold War.

Future historians may well view the last 30 years as a case study in the institutional survival of the American Military - Industrial - Congressional Complex (MICC), together with its supporting blob now saturating the media, think tanks, academia, and the intelligence community.  Perhaps, these future historians will come also to view the Global War on Terror (GWOT) as the bridging operation that greased the transition to Cold War II by keeping defense budgets at Cold War levels after Cold War I ended.  Also, 9-11 may have re-acclimated the American people to the climate of fear now needed to sustain Cold War II for the remainder of the 21st Century.

The First Cold War's 40-year climate of fear was something Mikhail Gorbachev tried to end.  But Presidents Clinton and Bush (the 2nd) were busy planting the seed money for a new generation of cold-war inspired weapons.  These weapons required massive future defense budgets that would require a climate of fear to sustain (especially for the across-the-board nuclear modernization program).  President Obama then locked in these programs, and won a Nobel Peace Prize to boot.  President Trump and the Dems in Congress worked overtime to ice the Pentagon's budget cake by incestuously amplifying the growing Russophobia.  

No one wants war, but rising tension and the politics of fear ... and their bedfellow: demonization ... had to be magnified to justify the huge bow wave of defense spending looming in the budgetary offing, particularly the trillion+ dollars to pay for the nuclear modernization program.  This "chicken" takes us back to the "egg" laid in the 1990s.

As it gradually sank in that the First Cold War had indeed ended when the Soviet threat evaporated in 1991, the titans in the defense industry understood their comfortable market for new hi-tech, high-cost weapons could dry up.  They also knew that sword makers do not have the management and engineering skills to make good affordable  plowshares.  So, they went on a Pentagon subsidized consolidation binge to gobble up access to what threatened to be a stagnating market.  Their collective logic was explained in October 1991 in a speech by William Anders, CEO of General Dynamics (see especially page 13).

At the same time, the defense industrialists recognized that market diversification was necessary.  So, it was no accident that a lobbying operation named the Committee to Expand NATO emerged in the early 1990s and was headed by a vice president of Lockheed Martin -- for a reminder, see Why is US Foreign Policy a Shambles?.  At the very least, in the mid-1990s, it seemed that expanding NATO implied dramatically increased requirements for what is known in NATO jargon as weapons interoperability. This promised huge new markets for American weapons, communications systems, and logistics infrastructure, as ex-Warsaw Pact countries trashed their Soviet weapons (e.g., F-16s to replace old Warsaw Pact Migs, etc.).  That this interoperability cornucopia did not materialize to the extent dreamed of is quite beside the point, when it comes to understanding the motives shaping the hopes and dreams underpinning the powerful American impulse to expand NATO -- despite promises to the contrary made by leaders in the US, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom (see this page in National Security Archive).

Against the background of broken promises not to expand NATO, Mr. Putin has made several speeches explaining why NATO expansion would be a threat to Russian security.  In this sense, NATO expansion has become both the chicken and the egg when it comes to understanding the origins of the Russo-Ukrainian war, which is now on the cusp of locking in the perpetual state of fear needed to sustain a Second Cold War for the remainder of the 21st Century.

Washington observers have long argued that the Pentagon doesn't have a strategy.  As the famous American strategic thinker, John Boyd opined repeatedly, "They are wrong,  ... the strategy is simple," (albeit focused more intensely on domestic politics than international relations).  "It is: Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it."

But the Pentagon's strategy of maximizing its budget has created a growing dependency on defense spending in the American political economy.  This grotesque distortion was first recognized by President Eisenhower in 1961.  In 1987, George Kennan, forty years after he fathered the dominant US policy of "Containment" for the entire First Cold War, summed up the narcotic of defense spending, saying prophetically:

"Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy,"

Source: George Kennan, At Century's Ending: Refections, 1982-1995, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996) pg.118.

And that dear reader, is why the Russo-Ukrainian War -- a predictable consequence of NATO expansion -- has champagne corks popping in the Pentagon, in the defense industry, and in their wholly owned subsidiaries in Congress, think tanks, the intelligence apparat, and the press.  

Understanding the internal political-economic causes of the American addiction to the narcotic of defense spending is at the heart of the problem.  This understanding is essential to reforming the foreign policy mess exacerbated by NATO expansion.  

So, there is much work to be done, but a great beginning can be found in reading and updating the late Seymour Melman's path breaking work, which began in the 1950s (e.g., see Profits Without Production, The Permanent War Economy for an introduction).

But a first step along a road to clearer thinking is for concerned American citizens to appreciate what Mr. Putin has been saying -- and to understand why Mr. Putin thinks he is justified in saying it.

Attached herewith is James Carden's useful analysis of how the American impulse described above is perceived by the key decision maker on the receiving end of that impulse:

Putin's path to war in three speeches

The time between 2007 and 2022 was a period of missed opportunities for the West

James W. Carden, February 25, 2022


[Reposted by permission of the author.  Reformatted and underlining by CS]

With regard to the illegal war being waged by Russia against Ukraine, no one has any right to be surprised.

For all the understandable and justifiable outrage over Russian president Vladimir Putin's decision to abandon diplomacy and launch what appears to be an unprovoked act of aggression, a look at prior statements by Mr. Putin shows that, with the passage of time, patience and rationality gave way to irrationally, paranoia and ultimately the decision to launch an armed conflict.

I   Any proper accounting of the history of the downturn in US-Russia relations must include Putin's 2007 address to the Munich Security Conference. To many, this was a kind of point of no return, with Putin putting the US and its European allies on notice: there are red lines not to be crossed.

Having cooperated with and facilitated the war against the Taliban in 2001, Russia, along with France and Germany, opposed George W. Bush's unilateral war of choice against Iraq in 2003. At Munich, Putin charged, correctly, that with the actions taken by the US against Iraq and during its so-called global war on terror,

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.

Putin continued, "The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN. And we do not need to substitute NATO or the EU for the UN."

Putin, in line with his immediate predecessors, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, also voiced grave concern over the project of NATO expansion. Today, pundits such as former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and rabid neoconservative commentators like Anne Applebaum would have us believe that the current crisis has nothing whatsoever to do with NATO expansion.

Yet a reading of Putin's Munich address should put their thesis to bed. Said Putin:

I think it is obvious that NATO expansion...represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.

II   In the years between Munich and Mr. Putin's next major international statement, his UN Assembly address of 2015, much occurred to further poison relations between the world's two nuclear superpowers, including but not limited to:

the US recognition of Kosovo (2008);
a pledge by NATO that Ukraine and Georgia would become members (2008);
the Russian war in Georgia (2008);
US regime change wars in Libya and Syria (2011);
the passage of the Magnitsky Act (2012); and
the Ukrainian civil war after Russia occupied Crimea (2014-present).
At the UN, Putin took square aim at America's self-appointed role as arbiter of the so-called international rules-based order. By 2015, it was clear that Putin's patience with the US was at its limit.

We all know that after the end of the Cold War -- everyone is aware of that -- a single center of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that if they were strong and exceptional, they knew better and they did not have to reckon with the UN.

Taking aim at the debacles caused by unilateral military action taken by the US in the name of democracy and human rights, Putin noted that the result was not a "triumph of democracy and progress." What resulted instead was "violence, poverty and social disaster."

Addressing America's role in sowing instability in the Greater Middle East for the better part of a decade and a half, Putin mused:

I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.

And, yes, NATO expansion was still very much on Mr. Putin's mind in 2015. "They continue," he said of the US and Europe, "their policy of expanding NATO. What for?"

If the Warsaw Bloc stopped its existence, the Soviet Union have [sic] collapsed and, nevertheless, NATO continues expanding as well as its military infrastructure. Then they offered the poor Soviet countries a false choice: either to be with the West or with the East.

III   During last night's address, in which Putin announced the commencement of hostilities against Ukraine, he restated his previous objections to NATO expansion, stating that

"fundamental threats to Russia have grown yearly as a result of the expansion of NATO." He condemned the alliance's support for "extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine."

Going much further than he had previously, Putin tried to justify his own war of choice by claiming "we had no option but to initiate a special military operation to protect the people who for eight years have been subject to bullying and genocide from the Kiev regime."

Yet Putin's actions are not only a departure from the sentiments and principles he himself had once so forcefully espoused, they are a wholesale repudiation of them.

In the end, the period between 2007 and 2022 may come to be regarded, in the light of history, as years of missed opportunity. And while the ultimate responsibility for this war falls on Mr. Putin, the West's failure to take him seriously has no doubt helped bring us to this dangerous moment.

How the Narcotic of Defense Spending Undermines a Sensible Grand Strategy | Blogspot Chuck Spinney - Feb. 27, 2022 |

His article includes several links.

The Ukraine war was initiated in Feb. 2014 by the neocons and VP Joe Biden with the coup d'état creating chaos and overthrowing a democratically elected government.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 6th, 2022 at 10:15:10 AM EST
The Afghanistan military campaign ended in a regional catastrophe. No one was held accountable for torture, inhumane acts, Bagram detention center, rendition and hundreds of war crimes.

There would be no investigation by the ICC due to lack of funds.

From 2002 ...

CIA accused of torture at Bagram base

Some captives handed to brutal foreign agencies

*) such as Syria, Libya, Jordan and Tunisia

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 6th, 2022 at 10:29:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Had the US actually achieved something with their interventions in Libya and Syria, EU citizens might have had a reason to be in bed with their latest. In fact, EU citizens were never consulted and the EU believed it would get its share of the Ukr cake since 2014, one just have to look at the various EU funded projects with Ukr).
by Tom2 on Wed Dec 7th, 2022 at 12:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All that said ...

Without exception, in all wars atrocities happen. Perpetrators of inhumane acts and war crimes will be found by all parties involved. Standing, well prepared armies appears to be something of the past as mercenaries fight wars and without discipline of commanding officers, war crimes and atrocities are on the increase. The Iraq War and NATO's wars in Libya and Syria as sad examples. The decision makers should not escape culpability, unfortunately the West has the military might and operate with impunity.

The horrors in the Middle East are common place as the West looks away. Ugliness of hypocrisy for the rest of the world to see.

Al Jazeera takes the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh to the ICC

Under George Bush, the Pentagon got a free hand to operate in Afghanistan and Iraq. The deadliest conflict where hundreds of journalists died. Al Jazeera was targeted in both Kabul and Baghdad ... whistleblower Assange was incarcerated by the US-UK powers.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 6th, 2022 at 10:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Former Soviet occupied states used as wrecking ball of the European Union ... #WeAreNato #WarNotPeace

'Ignore This Russian Red Herring' | Posted @BooMan on Jan 23, 2018 |

Sad asses and ultra-warmongers ...

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 6th, 2022 at 02:02:08 PM EST
"who's is the greater provocation now?"

Was it too difficult to forecast that the energy/economic war would be quickly lost?

by Tom2 on Wed Dec 7th, 2022 at 09:46:00 AM EST
"weapons interoperability".... "NATO grid" anyone? much bigger than NATO... just like the EU "safe" cloud.
Check 1999 Mind the gap promoting a transatlantic revolution in military affairs for the programme.
by Tom2 on Wed Dec 7th, 2022 at 12:30:13 PM EST
Many times I frantically searched for factual peace initiatives ... there are none to be found. Same situation existed in the two months before outbreak of war. For over a year Russian and Belarusian forces were stationed along a thousand mile border with Ukraine. From the US-UK invasion of military might stationed in the Middle East, the Pentagon let it be known that 500k military cannot be stationed for a longer period. The West and the US refused any sort of serious talks with the Kremlin. A military conflict was prone to happen ... Joe Biden and his staff made the call to let the Russians invade and meet their "Waterloo" in Ukraine, no matter at what cost

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 7th, 2022 at 01:05:44 PM EST
One of the ugly features of the propaganda (already at play for the war on Syria) is to claim that the whole society supports it, so that even for the local people (the Ukrainians) it is impossible to resist the call to arms.
https:/declassifiedaus.org/2022/11/03/strongmassive-anti-russian-bot-army-exposed-by-australian-res earchers-strong
by Tom2 on Wed Dec 7th, 2022 at 04:52:39 PM EST

Just a reminder, it is Joe continuing Trump's policy of AmericaFirst! ... MAGA and Deglobalization.

Richard Grenell claims he watched Trump 'charm' Germany's Angela Merkel

Trump has repeatedly criticized Berlin for not meeting its defense spending commitment to NATO, and recently ordered the Pentagon to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany. Merkel's apparent disdain for Trump, meanwhile, has been well-documented, with the chancellor recently rebuffing the U.S. president's invitation to the G7 summit in Washington.

In his speech, Grenell made an impassioned case for Trump's America First doctrine, arguing that the president's foreign policy has made the nation safer.

"As U.S. ambassador to Germany, I had a front row seat to Donald Trump's America First foreign policy," Grenell said. "I wish every American could see how President Trump negotiates on their behalf."

Grenell accused both Democrats and Republicans in Washington of buying into the "illusion" of "unlimited globalization," and leaving behind the interests of "the average American."

"Entire communities were devastated, and our manufacturing plants were shipped off to China," Grenell said. "That's what happened when Washington stopped being the capital of the United States, and started being the capital of the world."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 04:05:09 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 04:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 04:06:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 04:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shira A. Scheindlin, the former New York City federal judge who sentenced Bout before returning to private law practice, can be counted among those who would not be disappointed by Bout's freedom in a prisoner exchange.

"He's done enough time for what he did in this case," Scheindlin said in an interview, noting that Bout, a vegetarian and classical music fan who is said to speak six languages, has served over 11 years in U.S. prisons.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 04:52:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Care to speculate why Russia would want him? The impression of official Kremilin disinterest in his extradition from Thailand and conviction, curated by wikiwtf, is remarkable. Are there no other Russian nationals imprisoned in US correctional facilities?
by Cat on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 08:14:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Viktor Bout: GRU

Putin was furious with the US sting operation, arrest, extradition and harsh sentence.

Russia angry at Viktor Bout's US guilty verdict | BBC News - Nov. 2011 |

Extensive biography ...

Disarming Viktor Bout | The New Yorker |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 11:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the tips.

I've also learned that US does have two other Russians on ice. Vladislav Klyushin (waiting trial) and Artem Uss (nabbed in Italy).

TASS (28.11.22) headline: "In Moscow, the son of the governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory was arrested in absentia and put on the wanted list"
The Insider's translation of the Russian objection to unlawful US jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions regime. I idly wonder, if this strategy will pique the Italian nationalist ("fascisti") spirits.

by Cat on Fri Dec 9th, 2022 at 02:19:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RT | Maria Butina interviews Victor Bout, 10 Dec, A/V (RU, EN) simul translation, 00:43:45
reflection on US justice system, Marion prison accomodations, demographic population, and prison wages

NY Post | Brittney Griner is going to sleep great in her 3,000-square-foot home, 8 Dec, feat. photos of RF Women's Penal Colony No. 2. dormitory

by Cat on Sat Dec 10th, 2022 at 09:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lawmakers propose 'National Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day' day after Griner release, 13 Dec
"The bill, introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) as well as Reps. French Hill (R-Ark.) and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), would create the commemoration on March 9 and establish an official flag to honor hostages in custody overseas."
archived Butina and Whelan 2018
by Cat on Tue Dec 13th, 2022 at 10:24:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our scoundrel bastard. Why the Kremlin wants to exchange the «merchant of death» Viktor Bout

The global media, in contrast to the Russian media outlets, describe Bout as a «merchant of death» who contributed to the incitement of bloody conflicts. French journalist Jean-Michel Vernochet argues that the wars in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Liberia, DRC, Angola, and Sudan would not have been of such magnitude, had Victor Bout not supplied the warring parties with weapons.

The Insider has obtained materials that help shed light on the reason for the Kremlin's grandiose efforts to free Bout. We have in our possession a video recording of an interview with Alexander Litvinenko, in which he tells how he met Bout at the Lubyanka. He did not come in for interrogation: Bout collaborated with General Khokholkov on the issue of illegal arms sales to Africa and the Middle East, Litvinenko claims. According to The Insider, retired General Khokholkov maintains ties with the Solntsevo organized crime group, which is an indirect confirmation of Litvinenko's words.

Litvinenko was videotaped by a freelance Australian journalist Nick Lazaredes in 2003. Here is the transcript:

    "I was told by an employee of the Internal Security Directorate with whom I met: Sasha, you know, they sell tanks. They sell heavy arms to Africa; they go to the Middle East. In confirmation of these words, I saw in the office of Khokholkov, my boss, head of the Directorate (and it was the group that was associated with Khokholkov, he is one of the leaders of the group), I saw Bout in his office. Bout is now on the international wanted list for illegal arms trafficking. This person is associated with Ukrainian criminal groups, this person, according to operational data, was associated with the son of Derkach - the former head of the SBU, the closest person to the President of Ukraine Kuchma.»

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 8th, 2022 at 04:42:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How we miss Bush-Cheney .... [not!] ... today the World has Joe Biden in person to set forth a similar aggressive foreign policy of neo-colonialism, added with a flavor of deglobalization summed up in a single term: MAGA. Destroy all competitors ... EU-Russia-China. Augmenting Planet Earth's risks of Global Warming, emissions, hunger, refugees ... not solving existential threats to humanity. War is the worst option today.

LQD: The drums of war are deafening | by generic on Mar 25th, 2008 |

I. One Tick Closer to Midnight

Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council -- the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle -- is preparing "national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts' warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors,"one of the kingdom's leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper's story.

Related reading ...

Diplomacy and Hypocrisy: The Case of Iran | March 2008 by Anthony B. Newkirk |

We don't need reminding that in March/April 2008 it was VP Dick Cheney who forced through the further NATO expansion decision into Georgia (Saakashvili military operation invading South Ossetia in August 2008) and Ukraine after a push for "Orange Revolutions" with puppet masters in Kyiv. See my diaries, and comments on the Bucharest Summit of April 2-4 2008.

Changing NATO strategy from defense to a global policing role in close operations with the Pentagon and Washington DC.

Afghanistan. Above all, NATO's effort to stabilize Afghanistan is proving a test of allied capabilities and political will. Under a U.N. mandate, NATO has an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan that is simultaneously combating a resurgent Taliban and attempting to stabilize the country through an ambitious rebuilding program.

Some allies have proven reluctant to send combat forces to engage the Taliban, and have their forces instead in more secure areas of the country. This reluctance has led to sharp criticism by allies, such as the United States, Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, and Denmark, which have suffered casualties to their forces that are frequently engaged in combat.

The allies now have approximately 42,000 troops in Afghanistan, as well as 25 Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). PRTs are the core of NATO's effort to rebuild Afghanistan by constructing schools, roads, and hospitals, and urging national and local leaders to improve governance. A continuing problem is Afghanistan's narcotics trade, which continues to expand, and to fuel the Taliban insurgency as well.

The Obama/Biden administration made the strategic blunder by surging more troops into the war theater of Afghanistan in 2009. A mission impossible led to more deaths, casualties and loss of allies in the region.

Amazing U-turn in a frontpage article by Martin Longmont after a decade long criticism of my writings ...

NATO Membership Should Not Have Been Dangled for Ukraine and Georgia | by Martin Longman - Apr. 11, 2022 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Dec 9th, 2022 at 08:35:17 AM EST
I start to miss Bush and Trump, now that our very own Borrell, the man in the garden, is lecturing us on the imbecility of the Africans (he should better check if the EU diplomats really know their lists of capitals)
https://english.almayadeen.net/news/politics/borrell-says-africans-and-balkans-do-not-know-where-don bass
by Tom2 on Fri Dec 9th, 2022 at 05:10:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
almayadeen.net | Borrell says Africans and Balkans "do not know where Donbass is", 9 Dec
During a session of the EU Parliament's Special Committee on Foreign Interference [INGE]*, Borrell said "Russia is able to deflect blame, twist reality, and find an audience in some parts of world. I have seen in TV screens these young African people on the streets of Bamako with billboards saying 'Putin, thanks. You have saved Donbas and now you will save us.' It is shocking. You can consider that these people do not know where Donbas is or maybe they do not even know who Putin is."

The EU's foreign policy leader also argued that such people existed not only in Africa but also in the Balkans, in nations pursuing EU membership.

* editorial brackets in original removed; NB. absence of any of this committee's meetings recorded by europarl for public review--since March--indicates that a Source® "leaked" Borrell's remarks, recalling ...
eeas.europa.eu |Josep Borrell: "You should only blame the Russian government for the consequences of the sanctions" (03.03.22)
AP | EU: Blame Russia, not sanctions, for global food crisis (20.06.22)
by Cat on Sat Dec 10th, 2022 at 03:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly wouldn't say I support the Russian Federation. In terms of outcomes there's just little worth fighting for. The RF has shown a blatant disregard for the lives of their Donbas allies and an unwillingness to incur political costs to protect newly acquired territories and citizens. Its state ideology is also at it's core not that different from the other post communist Eastern European states and frankly I have no confident that we'll see large scale rebuilding in the case of a Russian win. On the other side we have a far right regime that is working hard to relegitimize enthusiastic participants in the holocaust, break all labor power in the country, sell off every last bit of public property with no hope of ending up as anything than an IMF debt colony. The US empire will not collapse, even if Russian tanks roll into Lviv and the Kremlin might end up politically destabilized by a humiliating loss, but it seems very likely that the successor regime would be more revanchist than the current one. In short there's nothing worth dying for. Certainly not if the alternative was implementing Minsk2.
by generic on Sun Dec 11th, 2022 at 12:01:25 AM EST
From my new diary ...

Merkel's Explosive Interview Der Zeit

Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal

Merkel reveals the Minsk Agreement was a stalling tactic that allowed the West to militarize Ukraine as an anti-Russian proxy and fortify it for an inevitable war. I'm struggling to find any coverage or analysis of this remarkable confession in English language mainstream media.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 25th, 2022 at 07:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly don't believe she thought so at the time. Doing a bit of revisionism, because it's now politically more convenient.
by generic on Mon Dec 26th, 2022 at 04:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

2015, running time 01:12:30

by Cat on Sun Dec 11th, 2022 at 11:54:03 PM EST
Hi Paul.
Just to set the tone for my post, I support the RF with few reservations, due to my long-held belief that the US and our closest 'allies' (I prefer the old CPC term running dogs) are by far the greatest source of trouble on Earth.

I have no problem with your diagnosis as to who is the greatest source of trouble on earth (as long as you fix limits in time, because it comes and goes, but for the sake of argument, we can agree on the first twenty years of the current century)

BUT the idea that this, in itself, justifies support on general principles for the Russian Federation... that's just a huge non-sequitur.

Your reasoning seems to be based on the old maxim "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".
But it is trivially easy to make a list of other entities which are enemies of the US, and conclude that one should be backing them too (Islamic State, anyone? After all, they had legitimate grievances...)

Any polity can be judged on its acts in specific circumstances. There is no rational worldview where all the acts of the USA can be considered bad, and all the acts of the RF are good.

If we consider the question : "Is Russia's special military operation in Ukraine a good thing, or a bad thing?" I don't find any answers in your diary. You seem to be indicating that Putin was tricked into war by the American military-industrial complex. If this is so, then we need to consider whether Putin was forced into this war : could he have simply refused to fall into the trap? I find it hard to see a case where Putin, and Russia, would be in a worse position than their current one, if the SMO had not been launched.

And above all : the fact of launching the SMO, and of messing it up so badly, has given vastly greater agency to the US military-industrial complex, and launched significant re-armament and expansion of NATO. These are not outcomes that I expect you to be happy with; but they are direct and mechanical responses to a bad actor invading a neighbouring European country.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 27th, 2022 at 04:27:57 PM EST
Don't tread on Me.

Deglobalization with MAGA in mind. For America and NATO the theater of war in Ukraine is a necessary step in a military lab setting for the ultimate confrontation with the CCP. The path of democracy and freedom is always hard fought asking sacrifices of the innocent. Moscow is looking East to #CIS and the expansion of #BRICS.

U.S. and European officials blew through one red light after another

BTW search of the Internet via Google got me zero hits, had to use another search engine. Censorship by itself gives the West a position of guilt. Quite stupid for any nation and a democracy.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 27th, 2022 at 05:26:44 PM EST
From my dear friend and author Real History Pisa @BooMan ... her blog.

FB and Twitter Censorship are driving me back here

I haven't been posting here because I enjoy the immediacy of Twitter and FB for an instant response. But with the growing and completely irrational censorship I'm seeing on Twitter and Facebook of late, this may be my last option.

If the powers that be had their way, I'd be silenced on all platforms forever. Power relies on lies to survive. And I'm a truth warrior, shattering the mirrors they are using to try to keep us down. They want us to feel helpless. I refuse.

Free speech was hard won with the blood of thousands. But some today are so wimpy they'd give it up without any fight whatsoever.

Look. I've been against violence all my life. My way is not the way of war. I believe information can change reasonable people's minds for the better. So I write. I speak. I tweet. I post.

Free speech is like a muscle. Use it or lose it.

Join me. Call out the fascism, the racism, the labelism wherever and whenever you see it.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 28th, 2022 at 12:30:40 PM EST
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For me personally, the atrocities of the Vietnam War and the Watergate burglary was the pivotal moment to realize Washington DC and environs were not better than Beijing, Brussels, London or the Kremlin.

White-washing the participants as a modern day Jim Bowie is a falsification of history and worsens the damage already done.

For Bud Krogh, the turn toward darkness
was partly about blind loyalty to higher-ups,
but he was ultimately swayed by Nixon's
notion of "national security."
Breaking into Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office
wasn't a politically self-serving crime
but a battle in the Cold War.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 28th, 2022 at 04:30:10 PM EST
The Plumbers Who Couldn't Fix a Leak

Chief among those horrors was the 1971 break-in of the office of Lewis Fielding, the Beverly Hills psychiatrist whose patient was Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the famed Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. Nixon believed that Ellsberg wasn't a misguided or malevolent liberal. The president had no doubt that the Santa Monica, California-based RAND Corporation employee was part of a conspiracy directed by Moscow to sabotage the American war effort in Indochina and the nation's defenses.

The head of the FBI was a paranoid individual, likely similar to Richard Mulhouse Nixon, former VP under Eisenhower and participant in the Senator McCarthy witch-hunt of Communists in America ... In 1968 election cycle, the Republicans committed an act of treason by sabotaging President Johnson's attempt to make a peace arrangement with Communist North Vietnam. By intensifying the bombing, many more American servicemen lost their lives and hundred of thousands Vietnamese through war crimes. Support for dictator Suharto in Indonesia cost over half a million lives of opposition groups and civilians. The wreckage in Cambodia was even greater.

Thus nothing, nothing has changed in Washington DC, nor the vulnerability of the vast majority of the people to digest lies, disinformation and utter war propaganda. Disregard of the law, US Constitution and violation secrecy of medical records. MAGA, BBB and a foreign policy building US hegemony thru deglobalization. Never waste an opportunity.

The death of JFK will never heal as the real perpetrators behind the scene of Lee Harvey Oswald will never be uncovered. The Texas oil barons, the mob, anti-Castro agents, CIA or FBI tiran J. Edgar Hoover in highest echelon have never come clean despite a late Congressional investigation concluded Oswald didn't operate alone. The plumbers have worked for the CIA years before the Watergate break-in the anti+Castro operation.

An air of mystery still envelops the 1968 assassinations of MLK and RFK.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 28th, 2022 at 04:33:37 PM EST
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