Hello; I’m From the European Council on Foreign Relations – I Hear You Have a Bridge For Sale.

Uncle Volodya says, "Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them."

Uncle Volodya says, “Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.”

Are you familiar with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)? No? Well, have a look at their website. Not to be a spoiler or anything, but let me quote briefly from it: “Inspired by the role American think tanks played in helping the US move from isolationism to global leadership, ECFR’s founders set about creating a pan-European institution that could combine establishment credibility with intellectual insurgency.”

Intellectual insurgency – now, there’s a phrase that should inflame your mental ganglia with mingled interest and suspicion, and you’re going to see an inspired example of intellectual insurgency in just a moment.

“The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is a pan-European think-tank which conducts research and promotes informed debate across Europe on the development of a coherent and effective European values-based foreign policy.” Having, hopefully, established its affinity for intellectual insurgency, I’d like you to take the next step with me, and think about the target of all this intellectual insurgency. The formation of a coherent and effective European values-based policy.

Once again, please expore the website and draw your own conclusions; I have no wish to apply undue influence to your development of a viewpoint – but might I draw your attention to the membership?

Oh, the hell with it. Timothy Garton Ash, obsessive non-participatory warmonger and the biggest, knobbiest Russophobic prick in a waving pink field of turgid Russophobic pricks? Carl Bildt, Psychotic Pswede of the year and compulsive tweeter of everything anti-Russian? Ivan Krastev, Mr. Moscow-is-trying-to-split-the European Union when the European Union gleefully colluded in the manipulation of Euromaidan which started the cycle of violence in Ukraine? Radoslaw Sikorski, who needs no introduction? Toomas Ilves, fourth president of Estonia, who thinks current Russian wages are close to what they are in Ukraine? Russian average wages are more than three times as high as Ukraine’s – assuming people are actually getting paid in Ukraine – when both are converted to a common U.S. dollar value. Heidi “The EU is not trying to extend its sphere of influence to its eastern neighbours ” Hautala? Do tell. Come on, for Christ’s sake – don’t you think people can read?

You might imagine from this that the ECFR’s delight in the appointment of a foreign leader would be directly proportional to how anti-Russian his policies are, and the extent to which he is an irritant to Moscow. And you would imagine correctly (thanks, Tim).

With that in mind, let’s examine the ECFR’s continuing moonie and swoony support for corpulent criminal Mikheil Saakashvili, which I frankly find incomprehensible through any filter except his value as an irritant. Can the ECFR actually believe he is a suitable candidate to fight corruption? Seriously? Using that standard of measure, such a think tank could reliably be expected to endorse Keith Martin, Europe’s fattest man, for Equestrian Jumping in the 2024 Summer Olympics. And that’s even allowing for the fact that he died last year, poor soul. Not to belabor the point, but Mikheil Saakashvili is about as ill-suited – by both his nature and his proclivities – to fight corruption as a cricket bat is unsuitable for cleaning your ears.

Holy Hannah; I’m torn between the urges to scream out the window in frustration, and guffaw like a Seinfeld laugh-track. Well, let’s look at it.

Immediately, the author indulges in wild supposition – one of the reasons, he says, that the Russians did not move on Tbilisi in 2008 was their assumption that the Georgians would finish off Saakashvili themselves. There is no reason at all to believe this, and Sharashenidze is the only person in the world who has ever postulated such a ridiculous theory – it is particularly ludicrous in light of the fact that Tornike Sharashenidze was one of the earliest voices to admit Georgia started the war by attacking Tskhinvali. He voiced his opinion at that time that Saakashvili had listened to dunces in his government and expected the United States to intervene on Georgia’s side. That’s hard to imagine, considering the U.S. Secretary of State visited him less than a month before, and told him he had to “put a non-use of force pledge on the table”  in negotiations wih the separatist provinces. No word on whether she winked broadly and significantly at him as she said it, but there’s no particular reason to imagine so. The Assistant Secretary of State and other American officials also reportedly warned him not to escalate the situation right up until just hours before the conflict went hot. Both Saakashvili’s response to direction and judgment must be viewed as reliable like a chocolate teapot. A brilliant choice for governor. I guess “loose cannon” was already filled.

Note the generous use of the passive voice in excusing Saakashvili’s more glaring failures – some people lost their jobs, some people were sent to jail, Georgian protesters were dispersed by force, the television station which backed them was raided. Nothing in there suggests Saakashvili directly participated in any of these things – they just… sort of…happened. Imagine such things just…sort of…happening in Moscow. The ECFR would scream as if it were being cooked in a giant microwave.

But the author contends confidently that Saakashvili stands a good chance of success in straightening out the situation in Odessa, in the complete absence of any reason to think so. And that is the most maddening thing of all.

Let’s take a stroll together down memory lane, shall we, and have a non-partisan look at Saakashvili’s previous corruption-fighting record. Beeeeeoooowwwowww (that’s supposed to represent a time-bending sound effect). Okay, here we are in Warsaw; March 4th, 2008. The OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission’s final report on the Extraordinary Presidential Election in Georgia on January 5th has just come out – you can smell the photocopier blistering from all the way down the hall, and the pages are still warm. Just before we open it, I want you to imagine two things – one, that the events and actions we read about  took place during a presidential election in Russia, and two, whether the ECFR would regard them as examples of corruption in those circumstances. Ready? Here we go.

Oh, dear. It doesn’t kick off very positively, I’m afraid. “The campaign was overshadowed by widespread allegations of intimidation and pressure, among others on public-sector employees and opposition activists, some of which were verified by the OSCE/ODIHR EOM. The distinction between State activities and the campaign of the ruling United National Movement (UNM) party candidate, Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili, was blurred.” Intimidation and pressure of public sector employees and opposition activists, in Moscow, benefiting Vladimir Putin and his party – examples of a corrupt and rotten government? What say you, ECFR? I think you know. “Opposition parties were underrepresented in managerial positions in Precinct Election Commissions, and the ruling UNM (United National Movement, President Saakashvili’s party) held a de facto majority“. Is that how Putin runs Moscow? Not on our watch, Sunny Jim. Is that a model for governance in Odessa? I guess it doesn’t need to be – regional governors in Ukraine are appointed, not elected – pretty democratic, I think you’ll agree.

Amendments to the election code were adopted only weeks before the election, and their meaning was sometimes subject to interpretation. “[G]overnment distribution of social benefit vouchers was perceived to overlap with the campaign of Mr. Saakashvili, and raised the concerns about an unequal campaign environment.” You could say that – vouchers for utilities and medical supplies were distributed by authorities ahead of the election to pensioners and the poor; a clear case of use of state funds to buy votes, especially as the vouchers were prominently marked as being from Mr. Saakashvili and incorporated his trademark “5” (He was number 5 on the presidential ballot). Some voucher recipients were asked by distributors if they planned to vote for Mr. Saakashvili and were asked to sign documents confirming their intention. How do you think that would go over at the ECFR kaffeeklatsch if it were benefiting Putin in a presidential election? Like a turd in a punchbowl, I suspect.

The last presidential election, held in January 2004, was won by Mr. Saakashvili with 96 per cent of the vote, in a largely uncontested race in which the main opposition figures did not stand.” Well, ‘pon my word; that’s democratic, surely, and just about as non-corrupt as…say…Zimbabwe. I can easily imagine a president elected on such a believable tide of national optimism turning into a finely-honed corruption fighter, especially when the same country issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of abuse of power.

As mentioned just a couple of posts ago, Saakashvili’s reign in Georgia coincided with record high unemployment and record low wages. You can shake and stir that as much as you like without ever being able to pour it out as success. He built himself a multi-million dollar palace that dwarfs the White House, while the Georgian per-capita GDP for a year was less than $6,500.00. His Defense Minister ran an offshore business for three years, right under his nose, that grossed nearly a Billion dollars in 2012. If all of that does not smell to you like c.o.r.r.u.p.t.i.o.n in three-part harmony, your stink-recognition rectifier may need replacement.

The efforts by this author, through “intellectual insurgency”, to repackage the Georgian Misfortune as  Georgiy Washingtonvili are insulting, sophomoric and deserving of nothing but ridicule. I am frankly surprised that even a parcel of pernicious partisan peckerheads like the ECFR would print it.

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2,017 Responses to Hello; I’m From the European Council on Foreign Relations – I Hear You Have a Bridge For Sale.

  1. Neil McGowan says:

    Timmy Garbage-Trash has lost all credibility.

    Amazingly he manages to cling onto a post at Oxford University. Surely they will soon jettison this intellectual turd and his paid-to-post ideas from the Soros Foundation??

    • marknesop says:

      He’s just so relentlessly negative, and he paws through Russian events and circumstances until he finds something to bitch about. He’s usually wrong in his predictions, and if he finds a fault in a Russian’s behaviour he attributes it to Russians as a whole. I can’t think why anyone listens to him, except that he confirms their worldview and tells them what they want to hear. But he keeps me busy.

  2. et Al says:

    Second!!! The ECFR will only be relevant once it pulls its head out of its ass.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know that it ever will be, and I have a hard time understanding the need for these think tanks beyond providing lucrative employment and a platform for opinionated blowhards. Carl Bildt, for example: his hatred for Russia so colours his perceptions of global events that it is not imaginable he could ever make an objective assessment. I have a good deal more respect for bloggers like The Saker and the group at Fort Russ. Of course, their views largely reflect my own, and I think that sort of clustering is inescapable – so I understand it in the anti-Russian crowd as well…only, why do they have to lie all the time? It’s always all about Putin’s Billions and his expensive watches and constructing the image that he’s another rich pig who wallows in excess while the people suffer. Is that true? No, it’s not, not even close. But they say it anyway.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        They do it because that is how they imagine most who are in positions of power are likely to behave because these people who pontificate so are themselves so venal and it’s how they could imagine themselves being tempted to operate if in a position of power. In fact, that is how Sikorsky did operate when he managed toland a top job, together with his dear spouse.

        All those listed as members of this latest “think tank” are not short of money: they are all on good little earners slagging of all things Russian. Lucas is so venal that he’s operating a scam in Estonia so as to evade taxes – true-blue,loyal Englishman that he is.

        These people present themselves as bulwarks against greed and corruption amongst politicians, yet they are always on the make themselves.

        Navalny is an extreme case in point: he never stops bloviating about swindlers and thieves in government, yet always has his eye on the main chance, is always ready to take part in money-making scams here and there.

        Putin commented on this once: wherever you find Navalny, you find something underhand going on.

        Limonov made the same observation: the whole Navalny clan has always been on the make – he compared them to the fictive “Hooves and Horns” businesss famous in Russian literature.

        Limonov pointed out that there are families such as the Navalnys everywhere who just manage to keep on the right side of the law but who are always on the make, yet Navalny does this whilst pointing his finger at everyone for being corrupt.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          An article by Limonov on “squeaky clean” Navalny that I long ago translated :

          You Guys Are Nuts!

          Eduard Limonov on why Navalny became a hero of the bourgeoisie.

          I pay a lot of attention to Navalny. I do.

          In so far as this Navalny phenomenon appears as a hitherto unknown symptom of our time.

          The hysterical affection of the Moscow intelligentsia for this man is mysterious and has no rational roots: all causes of affection are irrational.

          Well, yes, I do have personal reasons for treating Navalny negatively.

          How is possible for me to be nice to him when I’ve been given time and done it? After doing only one night behind bars, Navalny was magically released from gaol the following morning.

          In 2011, I said that I would be a candidate for the Russian presidential elections in March 2012.

          What happened next was that the annex of the Hotel Ismailovo, where, on the initiative of a group of a people a meeting was to have taken place as regards nominating me as a candidate, was surrounded by the police, who allowed nobody to enter the room.

          I still held a meeting there on the hotel car park. As was expected, more than five hundred people came with their passports; they registered themselves in a bus, and the meeting took place.

          The Central Election Commission did not register me as a candidate.

          In order to have Navalny registered as a candidate for the post of Moscow Mayor, municipal deputies from the “United Russia” party, about which Navalny has spared few expletives over all these years, chipped in and provided him with 55 votes out of the 110 votes needed.

          He was registered, and now he’s conducting his election campaign as though nothing had happened.

          This is a man who has been branded with five criminal cases for fraud and embezzlement – five! And you have the nerve to say that all five of them were just dreamed up by the Investigative Committee? So as to suck at a finger you need to have at least a finger.

          However, for some years now this man has been shamelessly engaged in private investigation – in investigation into corruption. And now he is presenting himself to Muscovites as a candidate for the post of their mayor.

          In their yearning for a hero, the Moscow bourgeoisie does not want to notice the thickness of the crust of dirt that is stuck to this character.

          After all these years, I should really like them to find their hero.

          Do you remember how they rejoiced in ecstasy over the “musician Yuri” [Translator’s note: Soviet/Russian poet, rock musician, protester, critic of Putin]; all right then: Shevchuk – and how they all flocked around him for a whole season? By the way, the musician Yuri turned down the role that they were about to foist on him.

          They so much wanted their very own hero, did the bourgeoisie! They have been waiting so passionately that they have accepted the first comer, and quite wrongly; for in a sense he is totally the opposite of the hero that they need.

          They have taken on board an energetic rogue and a swindler.

          But that’s just not possible!

          No matter who promoted him and for whatever purposes, this is just not on, because this character is so unsuited to the role that he has been playing with pleasure.

          In fact, they have taken on a petty thief, a businessman, and he has been almost elevated to the rank of saviour of the Fatherland.

          His history is clear. He comes from an adept and skilled family of New Russians, in which everyone is a Jack of All Trades. Dad retired after serving 25 years in the army. (He must have been a good administrator in the Army.) The family comes from one of the richest districts of the Moscow region, Odintsovo.

          The family did some buying and selling, got into any swindles that were in the offing, wove and plaited willow cane (Reminds you of Ilf and Petrov’s “Horns and Hooves” firm!) [Translator’s note: the spoof firm appears in the humorous novel “The Little Golden Calf” by I. Ilf and Petrov (1931), in which the name a front organization, “Horns and Hooves”, created by swindlers for fraudulent transactions, has now become a byword in Russian for one-day firms and similar organizations established for a criminal purposes], gets into any money making operations that are in the offing – from a subcontract with Russian Mail for delivering for the firm “Yves Rocher”, to Cypriot offshore companies. There are such families and such families continue to take pride in themselves operations.

          The law tolerates them as long as they keep out of gaol.

          However, a politician has no moral right to have such shady scams in his CV: he ought not to have them.

          All the values in society have been violated because of the hysteria that surrounds Navalny.

          And the values of democracy take priority. Democracy means equality of opportunity. But what kind of equality is there? None. 32 candidates got no help from the members of “United Russia”, but Navalny and Mitrokhin did. And Gudkov did as well in the Moscow suburbs.

          When chance smiled on Navalny, the newly elected governor Belykh took him on board. Navalny happily clung on to to the source of his wealth. And arising out of this period in his life, we have at least three criminal cases: one involving “Kirovles”, another a distillery and the total disappearance of millions from the “Union of Right Forces”.

          And you support him?

          Well, you guys are nuts!

          See: Ну вы и психи, ребята!

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, that’s rather good, and I had completely forgotten that half of Navalny’s endorsements to allow him to register as a candidate were donated by United Russia. Limonov is one of the very few dissident kreakly whom I ever took seriously, because even though I can’t support most of his reasoning, there is no doubt for me that his motivation is altruistic and founded in a desire to better the lives of the people rather than self-aggrandizement or gravy-train riding.

            • yalensis says:

              I personally would not catalogue Limonov in the genus of “kreakl liberalis”.
              Because, for starters, he is not a liberal. He is actually one of those fearsome “Trotskyites” of whom ThatJ froths at the mouth like a rabid Chiroptera.
              Limonov’s “National Bolshevik Party” opposed Putin from the Left, from the POV that United Russia sells out to international imperialism

              Having said that, Limonov has never been a “pure” Trotskyite eiher. In the sense that he would form popular fronts and rotten coalitions with bourgeois elements. Like, he would march in the same anti-government demonstration as the Nemtsovs and the Navalnys. But he never linked arms with them.

              That was all in the past, though.
              Limonov learned his lesson, now he keeps his distance from the Fifth Columnists.
              He was one of the first to denounce Razvozzhaev.
              Plus, unlike the other Opps, he never took any State Dept money.
              Therefore he is relatively clean, in the Russian scheme of things.

            • ucgsblog says:

              UR supported Limonov’s nomination to show everyone what a farce he was. Also it meant that Sobyanin could win without campaigning.

          • ucgsblog says:

            Horns and Hooves wasn’t created to swindle people. It was created as a cover up company to legally steal money form a known thief. The movie’s protagonist, Ostap Bender, is a charming hustler who knows how to get things done. His dream is to go to Rio di Janeiro, and run a small business there. While pulling a small scam on an idiot governor, (claiming that he’s the son of the famed Lt. Schmidt, in reality Lt. Schmidt had no kids, in order to extract money for his travels, i.e. would you deny the son of Lt. Schmidt?) he meets a fellow scammer who’s also a thief with a good heart, Shura Balaganov. Shura, (short for Alexander,) tells him that he knows such a millionaire, by the name of Koreiko. So Bender finds Koreiko, but the latter doesn’t confess. Bender then begins an investigation into Koreiko’s files, whilst establishing Horns and Hooves as a front. The investigation is successful, and just as Horns and Hooves is shut down, Bender forces Koreiko to pony up the million.

            On a train he meets students, and blabs out that he’s a millionaire, causing them to abandon him. He then goes to find his old flame, but she’s also uninterested. He gives 10k to Shura, but Balaganov ends up being busted. He tries to give some money to his driver, but the driver only accepts what’s needed to run his car business, a pittance. Frustrated, Bender tries to flee, but ends up being caught and rid of his money. If only he worked to improve the system, not to enrich himself, he’d be a hero to many.

      • et Al says:

        These think tanks do actually server a useful purpose though. If they weren’t full of nuts who can easily have an eye kept on them in one place, then they would be out somewhere else causing mayhem. That such a bunch of dimwits thought they could mirror the American institution says it all. The only other purpose of such think tanks is for policy makers to pull something out of their ass something fast when they’ve been caught with their pants down.

        The ECFR neither has the power, pull, influence or weight of its American counterpart (which I think is highly overrated in the first place). Even calling it a pale imitation would be factually incorrect. For all Europe’s talk about being united and standing together, the many cracks are barely papered over, each unified position automatically based on the lowest common denominator.

        BTW, I call him Timothy Garting Fash. Go figure!

  3. yalensis says:

    And in the category of “Funniest Name” …. the envelope please…
    And the Oscar goes to:

    Andrew Puddephatt!

    I know, that was a cheap shot at his funny name.
    Andrew’s bio says he is an expert in freedom of expression and internet privacy.
    I wonder what he thinks about the Snowden leaks, that NSA is spying on everybody in Europe, including the national leaders.

    Would he think that is a good thing, or a bad thing?
    I’m guessing he thinks it’s great, ’cause The United Snakes of America is so benign and only means well, when they spy on everybody’s secrets.

    • et Al says:

      Come on yalensis, you opened the door but you did not walk the walk. Here it is:

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, I kind of snickered a little at that, too, but you’re right that you cannot really infer anything from a person’s name and they didn’t choose it. Edward Lucas has a perfectly ordinary name, and he’s just about the biggest idiot imaginable in a field where there is fierce competition.

      I didn’t have time to go through the bios of everybody I didn’t know – it’s a big group – and there were actually some moderates in there. But I’ll bet there are some real winners I’ve never heard of.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Go to the sin bin!

        Snicker is to snigger as snuck is to sneaked.

        And don’t do it again!

        Obersturmbahngrammatikführer Moskauer Exil

        🙂

        • marknesop says:

          “Snicker” is a variation of “snigger”, and they are actually two different words that mean the same thing. The former may well have resulted from a misunderstood interpretation of the latter (which probably came first). Kind of like “sausage” and “banger”. I’m sure you can find a dictionary entry that recognizes “snuck” as an acceptable substitute for “sneaked” , but that is based solely on the fact that it is in such common usage, which is another way of saying “let’s normalize ignorance”. the fact is I hate it because it is an incorrect contraction of “sneaked” which ignores the structural rules that make a language a language and not a series of comforting grunts. Accepting “snuck”, we may as well observe, “I tried to pace myself, but I puck early”, or “The water luck out of my canteen”. Structure. Without it, language is unpredictable. Some people love unpredictability. I am not one of them.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Where I lived in England, whenever a roof fall had occured over the weekend, the deputy undermanager of the district where I worked underground often used to say to me, when giving me instructions on Monday morning before going down the shaft, such convolutions of the English tongue as: “W17 face has aw fawed up..” [W17 face has all falled up.] My response to such dire news was usually: “Aw reet!” [All right.]

            I wonder if “snicker” is a preferred variant of “snigger” in the USA now because “snigger” might now be considered there by some as indecorous and insensitive in much the same way as some people think the use of the word “niggardly” is?

            • yalensis says:

              That’s probably true. People in the U.S. tend to shy away from any utterance or spelling which might cause confusion. It’s really not worth it, to risk upsetting somebody.

              Which suggests a possible solution to the perennial American problem of how to teach Twain’s masterpiece “Huckleberry Finn” in high school.
              They could simply rename the character in question to “Snicker Jim”!

              • yalensis says:

                With paid rights to the advertising tie-in:

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The chocolate confection was originally marketed in the UK as “Marathon”.

                  Farewell Snickers, now Marathon bars make a comeback

                  The manufacturers, Mars, was founded by the American Mars brothers, who introduced the Snickers bar in the USA in 1930. In 1932, Mars set up shop in Slough new town in 1930s England – I think there were cash big incentives for them to do so: with new manufacturing located there in a tailor made new industrial area, Slough was the “Silicon Valley” of its day – and for some reason or other Mars marketed Snickers in the UK as “Marathon”.

                  Mars also manufactures my favourite snack, Pedigree Whiskas.

              • marknesop says:

                Ha, ha!!! Or “Smurf Jim”. The Smurfs used the word to substitute for anything they could not remember or properly define. A contemporary of mine, while on a course in Halifax (his home town), kept a Smurf figurine on his desk in the classroom, whose face had been coloured black with a marker, and to whom he referred as “Smigger”. He was the only black man in the class and, so far as I know, one of only two in the entire trade.

            • marknesop says:

              It’s possible, but a lot of words in “American speech” – meaning the English of North America including Canada – result from their having been spelt phonetically the way their western originator heard them. Words that originate from native Indian speech are an example also; the city of Ottawa is named for a trading tribe of the Algonquin nation, called the Odawa. For the same reason, the missus has never been able to explain to me why the Russian word for “Milk” contains three “o”s (moloko) but two are pronounced like an “a” while the other is not (malako). Russians might have a similar problem grasping the word “circus” in English, where one “c” is pronounced “hard” and the other “soft”. “Tire” is another example – Americans (and Canadians) spell it with an “i” rather than a “y” because that’s the way it sounded like it would be spelt to the first American who wrote it. The British spell it “tyre”. You might see a similar verbal dilemma to that expressed by your supervisor in the perceptions that an explosion blows a house up, while a storm blows it down, but it will be scattered all over the ground in either case.

              The colloquial is a big part of what makes A.J. Cronin such a joy to read – he writes in the colloquial, using “come ben an’ crook your hough” for “come in and sit down”, and although you can intuit the meaning of most, it almost has the flavour of reading in a foreign language.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                The pronunciation (standard Moscow) of those three vowels in the word “moloko” depends on their stress. The last is the stressed one, therefore it is pronounced “oh”. The previous two are unstressed. The first is more sressed than the second and is pronounced as “a”. The least stressed is barely stressed and is pronounced as the letter “e” in “computer”.

                This unstressed vowel sound in Russian is the same in as in English. It is has a name in phonetics: “schwa”.

                “Конечно” (means “of course”) in Russian has the stress on “e”. The first vowel sounds like “a” and the last has the least stress and sounds like “e” in “computer” or “mother”. To make matters worse, the “ч” sounns like “sh” in English.

              • Cortes says:

                Trenite’s wonderful poem “The Chaos” on the perils of English ought to be much better known. Dmitry Orlov’s “Unspell” project to kill off the chaos is well meaning and designed, but probably doomed.

                • marknesop says:

                  “The Chaos” is the reference I frequently quote as a bit of verse I saw posted in the office of a French-Canadian officer with whom I once served, and who used to work in the translation cell at the Fleet School. I never knew its name – now I do; thanks!!

  4. yalensis says:

    This is actually on topic, if the topic is human rights:

    Back story:
    Two days ago (8 July), Zakharchenko (DPR) and Plotnitsky (LPR) submitted a petition to the U.N. Security Council, requesting to create an international tribunal to judge war crimes in Donbass (committed by Ukrainian fascist militias against peaceful civilians). “Not one single death will be forgotten,” Zakharchenko declared.

    The numbers submitted by Zakharchenko are as follows:
    For the year 2015 to date, 1212 peaceful civilians killed, amongst whom 25 children.
    Counting deaths since the beginning of the conflict: 3684 deaths of peaceful civilians, including 522 women and 65 children. There are an additional 3000 people who have disappeared without a trace.

    The Russian Prosecutors Office is backing the war crimes project, with lawsuits of their own, particularly targettiing Arsen Avakov (Ukrainian Minister of Interior) as the main culprit and instigator of these war crimes.

    Okay, so today the Chinese delegation to the U.N. spoke out about this idea to create an international tribunal.
    China’s permanent representative to the U.N. Liu Jieyi made a statement today, expressing the usual Chinese caution, but not nixing the idea:

    «Нам нужно посмотреть… Очевидно, нужно взглянуть на детали, чтобы сделать какой-то вывод. Но я думаю, что преступления любого рода против кого-либо должны осуждаться международным сообществом», – сказал Лю Цзеи.

    “We need to look at this. Obviously we need to examine the details (of the matter) before drawing any conclusion. But I do think that crimes of such a nature against whomever, should be judged by the international society,” said Jieyi.

    [yalensis: This could be big. I am assuming that Zakharchenko/Plotnisky would not have floated the idea of U.N. tribunal without Russian support and knowledge; and that Russia doesn’t float such ideas either, without first checking with their “partners”, in this case, China.]

    • marknesop says:

      It could be, but if it gets off the ground the USA will inveigle against it behind the scenes with its usual arm-twisting and persuasion, and if it cannot get enough support it will simply veto it as it does all resolutions critical of Israel. It knows very well that what is going on in Ukraine will not withstand unbiased scrutiny. And I would not want a massive international effort to distract attention from MH-17 so that it could be quietly buried.

      It is good to see China getting steadily more assertive, though.

  5. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit is underway in Ufa, Russia.
    This is actually a huge event. The lede to the story is that both India and Pakistan were accepted as new members today.

    This piece in KP gives a timeline of the events along with interesting photos.
    If you scroll halfway down, there is a nice photo of Putin shaking hands with the President of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
    This is his first big international summit. (If you read his bio, he sounds like a typical kreakl.)

    Scroll down a bit more and you see the money shot: Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, standing shoulder to shoulder. As KP correspondent Dmitry Smirnov notes: С Си Цзиньпином Путин практически не расстается уже третий день; «наилучшие отношения за всю историю России и Китая»
    “Putin and Xi Jinping have been practically inseparable for 3 days. These are the best relations ever between Russia and China.”

    [yalensis: If I were Barack Obama, I would be clasping my head and exclaiming: “Oi! What have I done!”]

  6. yalensis says:

    In Saakashvili news:
    Yesterday Saakashvili showed off for President Porky’s approval his 2 new assistants: his left-hand man, and his right-hand girl. They will get important jobs at Saak’s side, helping him to rule Odessa Province.

    The man (let’s get him over with first, so we can concentrate on the girl) is Vladimir Zhmak. He is 51 years old, an Afghan veteran and a businessman. He has no experience in government service which, according to Saakashvili, makes him a perfect candidate for this government position.

    Moving along to Saakashvili’s “girl Friday”, it’s none other than 25-year-old Julia Marushevskaya, who became famous during Maidan when a video clip of her went viral.
    Marushevakaya is of Ukrainian origin (Odessa Province), but spent most of her student years in the U.S., where she attended 2 prestigious American universities: Harvard and Stanford.

    When Maidan happened, Julia became an international media star, with her interviews and video clips about the protests. Her most famous video was entitled: “I am Ukrainian”, in which Julia called for people to revolt against the “tyrant” Yanukovych. The video gained around 7 million views worldwide.

    The video was meant to look fresh and spontaneous, but researchers back in March unrooted the fact that it was produced by a professional British photographer named Graham Mitchell, and directed by a professional Hollywood director named Ben Moses .
    In other words, like everything else about Maidan, the video, and Julia herself, were produced in the West.

    [yalensis: and I would bet money that Julia was placed in this position by her American handlers, in order to keep an eye on their erratic Gruzian Gauleiter. Julia may be aware that previous “young things” in Saakashvili’s cabinet in Gruzia were expected to sleep with him, as part of the job. Which is why Saak’s wife eventually left him. But if Julia is a true CIA pro, then she can keep her natural revulsion down to a manageable level…]

    • yalensis says:

      “I am Maidan. I am a native of Kiev.”

      but… but… when presenting Julia to Porky, Saak emphasized that the girl is a native of Odessa!

      • marknesop says:

        Never mind, a few lies on the road to national greatness is to be expected. You are big, but we are grand. How’s that working out for you so far?

        It’s hard to imagine she was educated at Harvard and Stanford, in English, and spent years in the USA, and she still has such a halting, thick accent. I know several Ukrainians who live here, a couple who could not speak English at all before they arrived, and their delivery is much better than that; I suspect it is a deliberate put-on for poignant effect. It would be interesting to see a clip of her speaking English in another situation.

        It’s hard to say if she was lying about being a native of Kiev or if Saakashvili is lying about her being from Odessa, but well done to spot that clanger so quickly. For some people, lying just comes as naturally as breathing and they do it just to keep in practice even when the truth will serve just as well.

        • yalensis says:

          I think she is faking the accent.
          Away from the camera, she probably talks like this:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Definitely faking it!

            Mrs. Exile has been my spouse for almost 18 years now and when she speaks English, which she does very well, she unknowingly utters Northwest England pronunciations. This became quite a problem for her a couple of years ago after she had decided a few years back to study at a pedagogical institute here in order to become a teacher of English in Russian state schools.

            She graduated last year. When she was on her course of studies, however, her Russian tutors constantly corrected her pronunciation of English, and quite aggresively too.

            For example, Mrs Exile says “can’t” with a short “a” as I do and similar to the way North Americans do, instead of the Southeast England way, the so called “standard” pronunciation, namely with a long “a”, thus /ka:nt/.

            She also says /gras/ instead of /gra:s/ and /laf/ instead of /la:f/ etc.

            I’ve not made her do this: this pronunciation is what she’s passively picked up over the past 17 years living with me.

            Her teachers got really ratty with her at times about her “northern” pronunciation, one even conceding that many speak that way in England, but adding that Northerners are less educated than are people from Southeast England and their pronunciation of English is wrong! On hearing this, I told my wife to tell her to “fook off”!

            So how long has this “I am from Kiev” – or is it Odessa? – woman lived in the USA?

            And she still talks with a “Ukrainian accent”?

            Bullshit!

  7. Pingback: European Council on Foreign Relations an American-Inspired Hotbed of Russia Hatred | Timber Exec

  8. Jen says:

    Great hack-job on the European Council on Foreign Relations. I would advise against trying to beat the old BBC Radiophonic Workshop in reproducing the sounds of time-travelling transporters.

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, Jen, on both counts!! I love the sound effect, but I am lazy and it is much easier to type Beeeoooowwwoww than Rawk! Rawk! Rawk!! Pecheww! Pecheww!

      • yalensis says:

        That reminds me of another classic Finnemore classic:
        About the little boy who wanted to make the Tardis sound when he grew up:

  9. et Al says:

    Flight Gobal: US conducts first flight test of guided B61-12 nuclear bomb
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-conducts-first-flight-test-of-guided-b61-12-nuclear-414484/

    …The billion-dollar weapon system couples a refurbished 1960s B61 with a tail kit assembly produced by Boeing. It has been in development since 2012 and will be the primary tactical nuclear weapon carried by US and NATO forces once it enters service in the early 2020s by consolidating the four existing variants (B61-3, -4, -7, and -10), with the exception of the powerful earth-penetrating B61-11…

    …The bomb will eventually be integrated with the F-35A Block 4 Joint Strike Fighter, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-2A Spirit and PA-200 Tornado. Its introduction will not only consolidate the ageing nuclear stockpile, but inform a decision on whether to phase out the last US megaton-class nuclear bomb, the B83…
    ####

    This is the nuclear bomb the US wants to reintroduce to Europe under the guise of Russia being a threat and one of the big reasons a lot of big American military generals and others have been hyping this non-existent threat. Repeating myself like an old fart, I still don’t see Germany allowing the US to remove, upgrade and then return these bombs to Germany, so if they don’t return to Germany (or even Belgium or the Netherlands), then where else except the the lo-lands of Poland & the Balts? Turkey? Not likely. Bulgaria & Romania? As if.

    So how is this going to improve Europe’s security? The 1987 INF Treaty removed intermediate range nuclear armed ballistic missiles precisely because of the very short time from launch to target which greatly introduces a disaster if someone makes a mistake, but here the US is providing extra capability for the currently useless free-fall B-61 bombs which will have F-35s, F-16s & Tornadoes lofting these glide nukes in to Russia. Though not as dangerous, i.e. long-ranged or as fast as an IRBM, it certainly increases the direct threat to Russia and will bring back the risk of war through NATO posturing and threats. All good for American military business only.

    This is going to put Germany in a very difficult situation which it cannot simply ignore any more, a strategy that has worked moderately well the last twenty years. Even if Germany were to accept the return of these bombs (it may well be too provocative to store them immediately in Pl, Lv,Lt & Et), then I suppose the German Air Force could could simply stop training their Tornado pilots for the mission. The problem with that is the bombs would still be on German soil under American guard ready to be shipped to any other NATO country (probably bordering Russia) at a moment’s notice, so meaningless. Curiously (or not), this should already be a massive politicla issue in Germany but so far we haven’t seen much evidence of it. It is as if no-one wants to talk about it.

    If, we imagine that things actually calm down in the Ukraine (!), then even then why would Moscow have one iota of trust in the EU? There is a fundamental divergence of strategic interests between the US & EU that has to be addressed at some point. No-one has come close to even starting…

    • marknesop says:

      I think Russia and the west are quits for good as far as any hope of alliances is concerned, because the west is just too untrustworthy. However, it is my personal opinion that much of the demonization of Putin is intended to make him respond in kind with bellicose rhetoric which will allow him to be cast as an unstable, ranting dictator. Moreover, he seems to see the trap or for whatever reason is avoiding it, choosing instead to keep his criticism mild, measured and slightly mocking. So if that is the strategy, it’s failing pretty badly, and it is the western media which looks unhinged.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        You mean he adopts the throwing under buses tactic?

        • et Al says:

          Lots of good points below, namely the efficiency & flexibility of 1 nuke,

          Sputnik: A New Arms Race? US Nuclear Test Might Trigger Response from Russia, China
          http://sputniknews.com/us/20150711/1024480759.html

          …According to Hans Kristensen, nuclear information project director at the Federation of American Scientists, there are significant tactical, efficiency and long-term strategic benefits in the United States’ efforts to bring all variations of the B61-12 into one guided gravity bomb system capable of deploying from both strategic and tactical fighter jets.

          “They have all these different types of weapons in the arsenal and they want to in the future to be able to reduce that to one gravity bomb, so it will be cheaper to maintain and simpler,” Kristensen told Sputnik on Friday.

          By creating one type of guided gravity bomb deployable on both strategic and tactical fighter jets, he added, the United States also gains flexibility.

          “They want to have a more flexible weapon,” Kristensen said, “one that can do all the missions, so you do not have to drag a certain type of aircraft in with a certain version of a gravity bomb to able to do this and that mission.”…

          …”Perhaps the answer is both,” he said. “The dominating power of the Military-Industrial-Complex and the Pentagon brass is so complete in American politics that President Obama’s capitulation today is eerily reminiscent of President [Jimmy] Carter’s decision to abandon the SALT II Treaty with the Soviet Union in the late 1970s.”

          “The acquiescence of two ‘liberal’ presidents before Pentagon war hawks triggered major nuclear arms escalations and posed a new danger to the prospects of world peace.”

  10. Warren says:

    Brazil neither exerts nor supports sanctions – President Rousseff to RT

    Brazil stands firmly against sanctions as means of political pressure, since they always end up hitting common people, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told RT in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the BRICS forum that she says was “excellent.”

    http://rt.com/news/272764-brazil-rousseff-brics-result/

  11. Terje says:

    Democracy is taking second seat with western elites, even rhetorically:
    http://www.ecfr.eu/article/saakashvili_in_odessa_no_half_measures_this_time3061
    Saakashvili believes that he was not able to finish what he started in Georgia. He may think that this was his fault too, because he was too lenient and allowed his opponents to interfere and criticise him. Many of his supporters still cannot understand why he did not arrest some openly pro-Russian politicians.
    This is why in Odessa he will be even more resolute.

    In Georgia, he succeeded as a reformer [sic] and failed as a democrat. In Odessa he has only to succeed as a reformer. Ukrainians need modernization. They are fed up with corruption and bad governance and so democracy can wait.

  12. Warren says:

    Published on 15 Jun 2015
    What You Need To Know:
    ✓ Russia needs to win a conclusive victory fairly quickly because this conflict is not economically sustainable for them;
    ✓ Since the post-Cold War order was established Russia has wanted to discuss the new world order with the West;
    ✓ Some in the West now understand that this is long term struggle, but it is unclear how much longer some EU members states will support the sanctions;
    ✓ It is unlikely that Russia will target Georgia next, rather, the next two countries will be Moldova and Belarus because they are more vulnerable;
    ✓ Things are being achieved in Ukraine primarily because of the civil society which is increasingly strong and self-confident.

    “The appearance of a stalemate is deceptive. If the West’s sanctions remain in place and the oil price remains low it will be very difficult for the Russian state to function in the way it does now,” James Sherr, associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia programme at Chatham House told Hromadske. The current occupation regime in Donbas is not sustainable economically and Russia no interest in subsidizing it, said Sherr, the situation, therefore, will not remain frozen forever.

    “They [Russia] need to win a conclusive victory fairly quickly or time starts to work against them. This creates a dangerous situation because they are under pressure to do something more here,” said Sherr.”It might not mean they will take Mariupol but it might mean the kind of military offensive that produced Minsk 1 and 2”.

    Since the post-Cold War order was established Russia has wanted to discuss the new world order with the West, said Sherr. Russia does not see this as conflict with Ukraine, it views as a conflict in Ukraine but with the West. According to Sherr, the solution from Russia’s perspective is to have that conversation with the West, not only about Ukraine but about elsewhere in the former Soviet space, central and eastern Europe.

    Some in the West now understand that this is long term struggle, said Sherr. In 2015, the West has been more realistic about what it is facing compared to 2014, when many were talking about the ‘Ukraine Crisis’ – as if it was something short term. However, the West is also more tired now than it was last year, explained Sherr. Several EU states who imposed sanctions on Russia at the cost of their own economies thought that they would have an effect within a few months. It might take a couple of years and thus it is questionable whether or not they will continue to support the policy, Sherr told Hromadske.

    In terms of developments in the rest of the region, according to Sherr, it is unlikely that Russia will target Georgia next. Firstly, the Georgians are very astute and secondly, NATO has a much higher profile there so there is more certainty that they will respond. The next two countries will be Moldova and Belarus because they are more vulnerable. Nobody wants to see Putin defeated more than Alexander Lukashenko because he knows if he is not defeated in Ukraine, he will be next, said Sherr.If Moldova is attacked it is far from certain if the EU or NATO will respond. Romania would respond but it is unclear how. At the moment Russia is doing everything to make Moldova dysfunctional, said Sherr. In the Baltic region, furthered Sherr, one of the dangers is miscalculated accident. It is unclear what could happen if a Russian military plane collided with an SAS Boeing, for instance.

    Sherr also discussed the question of Ukraine’s energy dependence. According to him, steps have been taken towards making Ukraine more energy efficient. Ukraine is now surviving with a very low level of imports from Russia compared to what it was. However, there is still work to be done improving investor confidence.

    One of the worst realities for Ukraine, according to Sherr, is that the system and the culture of power has survived 2 revolutions and is now surviving a war. Things are being achieved in Ukraine primarily because of the civil society which is increasingly strong and self-confident. The state, however, is still a major problem for people “so far much more talk about change than real change.

    Hromadske International’s Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke with James Sherr on May 28, 2015.

  13. Warren says:

    Published on 21 Apr 2015
    Lecture by James Sherr about Russia’s Challenge to the West’ organized by Center for Security and Strategic Research, March 4, 2015.

    James Sherr is one of top experts on Russia in the United Kingdom. He is an associate fellow and former head of the Russia and Eurasia programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs “Chatham House”. He was a fellow of the Coflict Studies Research Centre of the UK Ministry of Defence from 1995 to 2008. He has published extensively on Soviet and Russian military, security and foreign policy. He has spent last weeks in Kiev.

      • Warren says:

        Sherr is the archetypal think tank expert. The most interesting part in that biographical sketch – was reading that he was born in New York and holds dual US-UK citizenship.

        Sherr and Lucas are the most erudite and loquacious Russophobes in the Anglosphere.

        • marknesop says:

          Whenever I see his name, though, I’m reminded of a piece he wrote on Ukraine years ago, long before Maidan. I never had any success linking it because it was an odd document, and the link always led to the wrong story, about an air show in Lvov. Let me see if I can find it again.

          Yeah; it’s still a wierd one, it opens in a new window, so you’ll have to google it yourself; it’s called “Realism About Ukraine Part I – Internal Conditions. James Sherr, Conflict Studies Research Centre, UK Defence Academy”. Read it over carefully; this dates from June 2005, and I found his assessment of the competitors for power to be frank and realistic, especially that on Tymoshenko. He describes her as “an electoral ally [of Yushchenko] but a personal rival, is not averse to confrontation and seems determined to exercise authority without limit. If Yushchenko has confused leadership with inspiration, she has confused it with control and, to the astonishment of many in Ukraine’s business sector, these controls are taking the form of Soviet style ‘administrative measures’ which extend to the micro economy.“. Later he opines (unclear whether this was Tymoshenko’s decision or Yushchenko’s, but I believe the former), “But this defence cannot be stretched to justify price controls on meat or subsidies on electricity, and the decision to increase public sector salaries by almost 57 per cent flies in the face of economic reality“. You go, James.

      • Northern Star says:

        “James Sherr is one of top fascist Nazi moron stooges..”

        end of story

  14. Warren says:

    Published on 14 May 2015
    Lennart Meri Conference 2015

    Saturday, April 25

    • Tim Owen says:

      Might return but only got as far as 4:49 where his nibs suggested that ALL the EU wants is a “borderlands” – oh, the irony – that is, what was it?… “quiet, stable and prosperous” while the inscrutable Russians positively YEARN for a humanitarian disaster on its, you know, ACTUAL border.

      I have no idea who this guy actually is but, just from that statement I would say he’s an empty vessel in moral terms.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Ok, I’ll give the traffic light argument to ThatJ.

      • yalensis says:

        They’re Jewish traffic lights.
        ’cause Jews are into pornographic semaphores.
        Helps destroy the white race through a rather creative brand of genocide.
        All part of the master plan, my friends!

        • Tim Owen says:

          You’re not yet selling hard enough though. I appreciate the obvious study of the method. I think you need to dig a little deeper into your sexual… Fuck. I’m confused. Was it liberation or repression? Oh! Oh! I know this one!

          You’re the opposition so you must be a – TA DA – LIBERAST.

          (I’m hoping that ended like the sophisticates joke but, you know I’m easy. Friday.)

          • yalensis says:

            Dear Tim:
            Your ability to throw out the word “liberast” as the ultimate rebuke, shows that you have studied hard, and learned much at the School of Hard Knocks.
            But your mastery of the genre is still incomplete.
            Back to the library with you, boyo, and check out all those back copies of “Occidental Observer”.

    • marknesop says:

      Give it a few years at this rate, and you’ll be able to get gobbled by your boyfriend on the sidewalk and people will surround you and applaud while the police do a burlesque pantomime beside you in their rainbow vinyl uniforms. I am curious in an academic sort of way to see how far the pendulum will swing as the western democracies vie with one another to see who can be the most gay and hedonistic. This has all happened before, for anyone who never studied history – it was called the Roman Empire. And it will end in tears; you’ll see.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        More recently, in Weimar.

        Imagine a visitor to Berlin in 1925. Would he even recognise the place ten years later?

      • Warren says:

        The acceptance of homosexuality is the most potent example of a civilisation that is decadent. Tolerating and indulging in such degeneracy and perversion, demonstrate that such a civilisation no longer cares for its future and no longer has any morals.

        • marknesop says:

          I am absolutely fine with the acceptance of it, because it is not a “problem” for society like alcoholism or chainsaw juggling or diabetes. Healthy homosexuals pay taxes and consume products and laugh and drink and have fun like all the rest of us. Although I am liberal in my politics I am a social conservative in that I do not care for overt sexual displays in a public setting unless it is a strip club, where presumably you knew what you were getting into when you came in and that’s your choice. I do not want to know how you and your partner do it, and I don’t want to be forced into thinking about it by having to run down an endless rainbow tunnel surrounded by prancing boys in pink jockstraps. Just keep it to yourself and confine your lust to significant glances exchanged with one another, and we’ll be just fine. Being forced to play gooseberry to overt gay displays is embarrassing and uncomfortable for me, and just when we were beginning to internalize the lesson that thinking about your fellow citizens’ feelings was important, the tolerance train pulled into the station and the rule book was thrown away in favour of celebrating homosexuality. I don’t have anything against it – I’m just not interesting in being dragged into a neverending boogie of celebration of it. I’m even less interested in it just so my country can thumb its nose at other countries and say “Beat that, you anti-gay brute!”

          • yalensis says:

            Dear Mark:
            Okay… (beating half-dead horse here)… [neigh neigh neigh!]

            but… but… in a previous comment you used the “thin edge of the wedge” argument, that accepting gay rights would ultimately lead to legalizing PEDOPHILIA.

            I realize that you were talking about gay marriage in particular, you argued that the pedophiles are watching all this in great interest with their short but lusty eyes, hoping they will be the next “oppressed” group to see their wishes met by the great Fairy Godmother the liberal state.

            Which would entail:
            Changing all the laws of every state to lower the age of sexual consent to … what? something like 5?

            In particular, you used the argument (this was just on the last blogpost) that by defining homosexuality as a “compulsion”, then they could argue that they themselves suffer from a sexual compulsion, that NEEDS to be legalized by society. ’cause, they just can’t help themselves, so better make it legal.

            Okay, where to begin?
            For starters, there is a difference between a “compulsion” and an “orientation”.
            A compulsion is similar to a fetish; it is a sexual act that you feel compelled to do. For example, a man who cannot achieve orgasm unless his partner shoves a boot in his face. (like Sashko Bily)

            An orientation on the other hand is WITH WHOM you want to do whatever it is that you do sexually, be it compulsive or non-compulsive sexual behaavior.

            The two things are independent variables. For example, A could be attracted only to males (=sexual orientation), but not necessarily have any fetishes or compulsions. B could have compulsions (he needs porn to jack off), but be attracted to females (=sexual orientation), etc. Independent variables.

            Any state or society can legislate compulsive behavior, as they see fit. They can make certain “compulsions” illegal. For example, you are not allowed to strangle somebody, even if that is what you need to do, to achieve orgasm. You are not allowed to serve shit sandwiches in a cafe, even if the coprophiliacs demand it. (because of health rules)

            On the other hand, society cannot make “orientations” illegal per se (you can feel anything you like in the privacy of your own brain), but can only regulate BEHAVIOR.

            The age group at which sexual activity is allowed is one of those things that is regulated in every society. I am not sure, but I think in the U.S., you can get married (same- or opposite-sex) at 18. There is a certain age, where sexual behavior is not allowed, by law, and this in itself should keep the pedophiles from getting what they want.
            If you see the pedophiles start to militate to lower the marriage age to, say, 10, then I would start to get worried about the issue.

            I read recently, that in Afghanistan, they lowered the age of marriage to 9. It’s opposite-sex, obviously. So, a 60-year-old man can legally marry a 9-year-old girl.

            If such a thing should happen in the West, then that would be a sign that the barbarians did, truly, triumph.

            • marknesop says:

              I was basing my contention on an article I referenced somewhere far, far back when we were discussing Putin’s Anti-Gay Olympics which postulated that all pedophiles needed to lay the legal groundwork for forced acceptance was the weight of medical opinion that their compulsion was genetic (therefore natural) in origin, i.e something that they could not fight because it is programmed into them. The arbiter of validity for such a statement would be the medical world rather than the legal, because lawyers do not know anything about genetics. the same argument has gone on for yonks about homosexuality – that it must be natural because it is genetic. Neither has been successfully proven, although much to do with rights would hang on such a decision.

              Just to be clear, it did and does not reflect my personal opinion, which does not reflect a causal relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia, and there is no law which could be passed which could induce me to accept the latter while I long ago accepted the former.

              • yalensis says:

                So, I think we’re talking about the same thing.
                But I don’t know that any lawyers argued that just because something is a compulsion, therefore it should necessarily be legalized.
                Individual acts and behaviors are either legal or illegal, depending on the behavior itself, and not whether it is compulsive or not.

                The campaign over the years was just to legalize otherwise-legal behaviors that same-sex “consenting adults” do to each other in the privacy of their bedrooms. To repeal anti-sodomy laws and so on.

                Then people decided that, if 2 consenting adults want to live together, even without the blessing of a priest, they should be able to file joint taxes, etc. Hence the idea of civil unions.

                That’s probably where it should have stopped, but then gay people got greedy and wanted big Vegas weddings.

                Anyhow, returning to pedophilia, I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY do NOT believe there is any danger that in the “civilized” world anybody will ever legalize marriages between adults and children.

                If such a thing did happen, then, like I said, it would be a sign that the barbarians are truly at the gates.

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, you’re probably right and nothing will likely come of it. But it’s worth pointing out that while all homosexuals are certainly not pedophiles, many pedophiles are homosexuals. One of these is “veteran gay rights activist” Peter Tatchell, who is both gay and a pedophile. All that audiences see is his gay side, as they cheered him (according to him, I wasn’t there) when he disrupted concerts featuring Valery Gergiev in New York and London, walking onstage and making an impassioned plea for gay rights and raving about Putin. Or when he buttonholed London Mayor Boris Johnson at Pride London in 2010 to coerce his support for gay marriage. People forget he is also a pedophile, and even gay-rights sites unconsciously champion him because his activism is advantageous to their cause. Gays are justifiably worried about the conflation of their lifestyle with pedophilia, and they should be because pedophiles deliberately piggyback on gay-rights activism.

                • yalensis says:

                  In order for the pedophiles to legalize pedophilia, they would have to convince their societies to lower the age of sexual consent significantly. I just don’t see most Western societies doing that!

                  Although it does remind me of that old joke, which goes something like this:

                  “Did you hear the latest news? The Archdiocese of Boston came out for a Constitutional Amendment. The Archbishop wants to enshrine the concept of marriage as a union between a Priest and his choirboy.”

                • Jen says:

                  A danger certainly exists in Western societies that marriages between adults and children could be legalised, and that danger is in arranged marriages that have the purpose of preserving property and wealth within families and communities. If at some time in the future the rule of law breaks down and the vast majority of people are living in poverty, with no hope of climbing out of debt or getting paid work – and I think most of us would agree that’s a very real possibility in parts of the West – families and communities would try to invest what wealth they have in owning property. To stop property from breaking up, they could resort to practices like cousin marriages or marrying off young girls to older men. Eventually these practices might end up becoming legalised.

                  By then there might not be much in most societies to stop marriages between adults and children. Established religions like Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism and all their offshoot forms would not be able to mount objections to such arrangements because they have histories of having condoned or encouraged adult-child marriages in spite of any religious texts they may have that condemn such practices. To take one such example, Islam actually forbids marriages between uncles and nieces and yet in many places where Islam is the majority religion, marriages between uncles and nieces is common to the extent that the practice might explain the presence of certain genetic conditions and low average IQ levels in those communities.

                  The actual Koranic verse that prohibits uncle-niece marriage is chapter 4:23.

                  حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ مِنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَائِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِكُمْ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمُ اللَّاتِي دَخَلْتُمْ بِهِنَّ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُونُوا دَخَلْتُمْ بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ وَأَنْ تَجْمَعُوا بَيْنَ الْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
                  Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your [milk] mothers who nursed you, your sisters through nursing, your wives’ mothers, and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you. And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins, and that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.

            • Max says:

              Gays will always be a minority – they should accept majority rules. But women should be consulted(assuming they have the political clout consistent with their numbers) when it comes to marrying pre-pubescent females. If they’re OK with it, let the nuptials proceed.

              • yalensis says:

                I find it hard to believe that an eight-year old girl is mature enough to consent to marriage and a sexual relationship with a 40-year-old man.

                I think in these undeveloped societies, the girls mostly just have to do what their families tell them to do.

              • Jen says:

                In many Third World countries, women usually do make the decisions that drastically affect the health of their prepubescent daughters and granddaughters to the extent that death or life-long illnesses and conditions leading to banishment or begging can result. Part of the problem that Westerners have in understanding the custom of female genital mutilation, often practised on girls as young as a few months old, in some African countries and immigrant communities in their own countries is that the mother or the grandmother arranges for the operation to be done and a woman usually does it. Depending on the form of FGM carried out, the operation has often resulted in the deaths of children from severe blood loss and shock. FGM has other effects on the lives of girls and women as they get older and these are not very pretty. In these societies, the men themselves may disapprove of FGM but have no power to stop it because the practice has the force of community tradition and that is often upheld by women.

                The fact that certain customs and traditions continue in some places because most people approve of them is not in itself a good reason for letting them go on. Once upon a time, the majority of people in Phoenician society approved of mass sacrifices of children during times of hardship. In some countries, some leaders in the Roman Catholic Church still believe in not reporting priests who prey on children to the police because they consider the Church to be above human law; the fact that this belief used to be very common in countries where Catholic Christianity is the majority religion does not mean it is morally right.

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear Jen:
                  Yes, these are excellent points about how Third World cultures work.
                  Like you say, there are certain things which are simply objectively MORALLY WRONG – like child sacrifice or FGM.

                  The question is, how to deal with these practices?
                  Most of the change has to come from within the society, by change of consciousness of the people themselves.

                  Sometimes, though, people in those societies do accept the moral authority of outsiders.
                  For example, back a few decades ago, in a more “enlightened time” than nowadays, the U.N. was considered an external authority which people listened to. U.N. agencies promoted good changes, like vaccinations; breast-feeding; childrens rights; and so on.
                  And people listened to them.

                  Another example is the Soviet Union. Back in Soviet times, Federal authorities spent many decades slowly changing old customs that still proliferated in Central Asia; for example, polygamy. Polygamy is a borderline case, because the practice is not necessarily abusive; however, it often entailed abuse of young girls.

                  As in many federations, the central (federal) Soviet government was often more “enlightened” than the locals, coming from the Russian/European judicial tradition. But there was a constant push and pull between federal requirements and local customs.
                  More englightened practices proliferated, as the standard of living went up and people became more urban/sophisticated.

                  I could cite an analogous situation in the United States. When the state of Utah applied for membership in the United States, they had to de-legalize polygamy, in order to meet federal requirements.

                  These are examples showing that positive change in primitive societies can come about through 2 major means: (1) internal dynamics and desire for change; and (2) an external authority which is respected and not considered to be illegitimate.

                  The problem nowadays, is that the USA has screwed up the international system so badly and gutted the U.N., that there is no more external authority which can even speak to these societies in a respectful way and ask them to change.
                  And it is the primitives and barbarians which seem to be on the march now. Thanks to the U.S. screwing everything up, with their incessant meddling and wars.

                • Jen says:

                  @ Yalensis: An example of how a longstanding tradition was eradicated by both outsiders and the community itself was the way the binding of girls’ feet in China was discouraged in the late 19th century / early 20th century. European missionaries and Chinese middle class people worked together to eliminate the practice after banning it alone failed and only encouraged public defiance. The missionaries had to find out why foot-binding was being done and what advantages it conferred on families that practised it, and then the missionaries worked with Chinese community leaders in mission areas to substitute other harmless customs in the place of foot-binding. After 1949, the Chinese Communist government banned foot-binding but by then the practice was already dying out.
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24FOB-Footbinding-t.html?_r=0

                  People aiming to eradicate FGM customs in Africa sometimes study and copy what was done to get rid of foot-binding in China, adapting the tactics to the target ommunities. The reasons for performing FGM can vary from one community to the next so what works in one place won’t necessarily work in another.

          • Cortes says:

            Mrs C and I raised La Conquistedorita in a suburb on the fringes of a rather swanky area of Glasgow in the mid 1990s.
            As part of my contribution to marital harmony, it fell to me to occupy the child on a Saturday morning while mama lay impersonating a blue whale.
            Anyway, one of the places I used to take the sprog was a well appointed public park with a clearly defined children’s play area. How marvellous it was to have to skate past naive enquiries about the detritus from gay encounters. This in a very liberal and liberalising area.
            How fucking cheesed off I was to see the local counci’s response: CCTV installed ostensibly to cover a car park adjacent to the play area but with the camera focused away from the cars.
            My point is that if there is no great local beef (ooh, missus) about gays, why on earth do gays congregate around children oriented places?
            I think there is a real danger of gay and paedophiles rights being conflated.

        • Jen says:

          Landlords renting out apartments and real estate agents often prefer gay couples as tenants because gay couples, or at least those gay couples who don’t care to have children, often have a combined income larger than what straight couples have, after necessary expenses have been paid, and they are more likely to pay rent on time.

          Most civilisations and cultures have at least tolerated male homosexuality, if not accepted it, as long as gay males were discreet and conducted their affairs in secret or in older versions of gay bars. There have been cultures that have gone further and allowed a “third sex” to exist, that is, men who prefer to play female roles in society. Native North American cultures and some Polynesian cultures (Samoa, Tahiti) in particular recognised and accepted male individuals who dressed in women’s clothes, performed women’s tasks and even married other men and adopted children.

          Fewer cultures have recognised female homosexuality or allowed women to adopt men’s roles full-time. Albania is one society that allowed some women to live as men, provided that they swore to be celibate before the elders in their communities. This was important in places where on-going vendettas sometimes resulted in families losing all their adult male members; for the family to survive, an unmarried and childless woman in the family might swear celibacy and assume the role of family head in order to work and earn money, and conduct business deals on behalf of the family.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_sworn_virgins

          The difference in Western cultures is that gay rights has become part of a PC culture that demands allegiance from people whether they are gay or not. Homosexuality itself ceases to be the issue: the issue is whether you’re loyal or not loyal to a new set of values that celebrate instant gratification, hedonism, identity politics and a shallow individualism based on self-interest.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s curious, because Middle Eastern cultures – particularly the Arabs – are ambivalent about female homosexuality and, while not endorsing it, do not criminalize it. The same societies prescribe violent capital punishment for discovered incidents of male homosexuality.

            • Jen says:

              A similar paradox existed in Britain in that while male homosexuality was criminalised under the original Offences against the Person Act of 1861 up to 1967, female homosexuality was not covered by the same act. This technically meant that lesbianism has been legal in the UK since at least 1861. The reasoning behind this was that for a long time, women weren’t considered mentally mature enough to have sexual fantasy lives and in that kind of thinking, the notion that female homosexuality was possible was dismissed.

              Middle Eastern and Arab societies may be ambivalent about lesbianism because they have had past practices of rulers keeping harems, an institution that allowed situational lesbianism to thrive. So most people in upper class Middle Eastern societies would know of at least one or two past female relatives in their families who had lesbian liaisons. Most traditional restrictions on women of childbearing age in Arab societies focus on their freedom of movement which would bring them into contact with strange men and threaten the ability of their own menfolk to defend them. Female homosexuality doesn’t fall within this focus.

      • Tim Owen says:

        Ahhh dear. I thought we were tired of this subject so I “repressed” thoughts about earlier comments.

        Really?

        FWIW I remember being proud way back when – what, early 80s – Trudeau said boldly the State had no fucking – ha – business in the nation’s bedrooms. Compared to today’s leaders it makes him clearly visionary.

        Has it swung the other way so that gay rights has become a cudgel? Absolutely. Does it make any moral or strategic sense to wield that cudgel… You know, for them?

        I would say: absolutely not.

        Beyond that I’m kind of confused by the “thin end of the wedge” argument.

        Why would anyone choose to have such “trials”…

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I’m afraid that gay rights has indeed become a cudgel, and I am forced to recall once again that gay activists once said what they wanted was to be invisible, in the sense that the eye passed over them without taking notice because they were…just like everybody else. Unfortunately, when politics dictates that special rights be offered so that a special-interest group’s rights are elevated above those of the common herd – so that everyone must perforce celebrate their difference, few are those who will refuse such a celebration in favour of anonymity.

          I don’t want to create the impression that I see a Russian connection in absolutely everything, no matter how obscure; but I can’t help remembering the frenzy over gay rights leading up to the Sochi Olympics, and the determination to paint Russia as an anti-gay wasteland. I remember saying at the time that smart gay activists would strike while the iron was hot, and keep up the momentum, because the only political will in it was the political will to rub Russia’s nose in the dirt, and with great good luck get the Olympics taken away from them and awarded someplace else that loves gay people. And it seems gay activists were even smarter than I thought.

    • Jen says:

      Funny, the two lesbian figures are wearing dresses and standing still when they should be in overalls and sitting on motorbikes. 🙂

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Jen:
        Okay, so you went there.
        My first impression (of the traffic light girls) is that they are 2 little girls in pinafores.
        Now that I notice it, the boys also look like …. er…. little boys.

        Is this kiddy porn, or are the German authorities just encouraging children to be cautious when crossing the street??

        • yalensis says:

          “Two little maids from school are we,
          Crossing the street so merrilly!”

        • marknesop says:

          I never thought of that – maybe the intent was not gay at all, and everyone (including me) completely overreacted. Anyone have a story on what the motivator was behind the change? i just took the poster’s word that it was a recognition of gay politics.

          • yalensis says:

            No, apparently the German traffic lights really are gay!
            I just didn’t see it myself, until it was pointed out.
            I only saw children crossing the road.
            That’s because I am a pervert.

      • marknesop says:

        Not enough detail to tell if they are wearing Birkenstocks.

  15. marknesop says:

    The latest news out of Greece (not to change the subject too much) does not sound too encouraging to me – if the west is cheered up, it is almost certain not to be a good deal for Greece, while I see the Syriza government’s plan is to realize savings on “a mix of tax increases and spending cuts” and it is asking for another colossal bailout. I’m afraid I’m having a hard time distinguishing that from “imposing austerity and borrowing from the IMF”. Investors breathe a sigh of relief – everything is going to be all right after all! But that is going to mean squat to the average Greek saddled with paying it back, and I can see Syriza being kicked out on its ear in a popular uprising, for appearing to take a brave stand and then caving every time. Which will suit the west, of course, because once someone – anyone – signs on to another big bailout then Greece is locked in for the forseeable future. The west will have its way after all.

    Won’t make a big difference to Russia, though; it might force some rearrangement of pipeline plans, but so long as Turkey holds out Greece is not really that important.

    On that note, I see Gazprom has canceled a contract with Italy to lay the first line. Although this is said to not affect the remainder of the project, I suspect it is still western meddling. It will serve the west right if Europe has no gas in 2019 – maybe by then they will have learned how to heat their homes with all the hot air coming out of Brussels.

    Speaking of that, I can’t suppress a bit of schadenfreude at news of how shitty things are in Bulgaria after its intransigence and caving to EU pressure got South Stream canceled. It’s funnier when you hear the Bulgarian PM, Borisov, “pray to God” that sanctions against Russia will soon be lifted. Too late to be Russia’s buddy now, dickhead. It should not have escaped his notice that countries which wish to strike energy deals with Russia in spite of sanctions simply ignore them.

  16. Warren says:

  17. Warren says:

  18. Tim Owen says:

    Couple of seemingly contradictory but I think important pieces about Greece:

    First is from Yves Smith, doyen of Naked Capitalism (my fave finance blog.) Smith has been an absolutely brutal critic of Syriza leadership which is particularly painful as she is certainly in their camp in terms of completely agreeing with Varoufakis’s appreciatiion of what the crisis is really about. Her critique’s weakness / strength is she’s basically claiming that the idea that Syriza had any leverage no matter what they did was delusionary. It’s basically an argument against hope. Never popular. But she’s been an uncannily accurate analyst and forecaster, particularly when it comes to laying out the terrifying ramifications of Grexit.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/07/tsipras-has-just-destroyed-greece.html

    The other is a two part interview from The Real News with Michael Hudson. Hudson vehemently – and (cough) if you watch the interview, you’ll see that’s a weak term – supported the no vote. His points are devastating I think if you really understand the bait and switch involved in the 2010 bailout of private banks in Europe.

    The counterpoint is pretty devastating as I believe both are right on the money.

    The fact that earlier generations of politicians, economists and public intellectuals have solved the sovereign debt problem – at least within Europe on several occasions, as Hudson details so well – is a stunning indictment of our generation of “western” adults. Ours is truly an age of midgets, as perhaps symbolized by that Tatar leader who seems to be wheeled in and out of European staterooms… kind of like a “politically correct” negro lawn jockey.

  19. ucgsblog says:

    “don’t you think people can read?”

    Erm, these are the same group of idiots who thought that imposing Taruta on Donetsk was a wonderful idea, or that Saakashvili’s armed forces could hold of the Russian. I don’t think that they know how to think, so asking them what they think is a bit unfair, Mark 😛

    Speaking of this development: http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabetheconomy/2015/07/08/poisoning-the-well-of-u-s-china-relations/

    I’ll let the article speak for itself: “In the past few years, virtually no area of Chinese policy has remained untouched by the influence of “hostile foreign forces.” China’s education minister Yuan Guiren argues that “young teachers and students are key targets of infiltration by enemy forces” and condemned Western concepts such as the rule of law, civil society and human rights. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) accused “hostile Western forces” of exaggerating the number of people who died during the Great Leap Forward in order to undermine the legitimacy of the party. CASS also worked with the Chinese Defense University and General Staff department to produce a film that claims U.S.-China military-to-military exchanges offer Americans a chance for infiltration and attacks the longstanding Fulbright program as an element of “America’s cultural invasion.” Western reports of police violence in Xinjiang were attributed to hostile foreign forces in August 2014. The vice chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, Li Yufu, blamed hostile foreign forces for attempting toundermine the solidarity of the Chinese workers. Early in China’s clean air movement, as well, some officials argued that the activists were being used by hostile foreign forces. And, of course, hostile foreign forces were a major contributor to the protests in Hong Kong. Even President Xi Jinping has warned against outside forces intruding on Chinese religions, although virtually all major religions in China today came to the country from outside its borders, and two of the largest, Buddhism and Catholicism, are led by religious figures who reside outside China.”

    Yep, China and Russia are minimizing the influence of foreign NGOs, the “Soft Power” of the West. Since the recent flop of the latest generation combat plane design and the spin following it, “it’s like totally not designed for one on one combat, even though it’s predecessor was,” hard power isn’t enough and the SCO is effectively destroying Soft Power. I used China as an example, since all of us know how poorly Navalny’s and similar NGOs are doing in Russia. Yalensis’ piece coevered that. So just as the Soft Power of these think tanks is being destroyed, the EU is starting its own version.

    “The efforts by this author, through “intellectual insurgency”, to repackage the Georgian Misfortune as Georgiy Washingtonvili are insulting, sophomoric and deserving of nothing but ridicule. I am frankly surprised that even a parcel of pernicious partisan peckerheads like the ECFR would print it.”

    I’m not. You’re also forgetting Saakashvili’s increase of GDP on military spending: http://militarybudget.org/georgia/

    After failing in the 2004 assault, Georgia’s military spending as percent of GDP increased from 1.4% to 9.2%, or from $134 million to $1.2 billion. If that’s not crystal clear data that Saakashvili was preparing for war, I don’t know what is.

  20. Warren says:

  21. Warren says:

  22. Warren says:

    Galicians once again demonstrating their “European democratic values”.

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t know if Galicians can be fully blamed for Right Sektor, who are the ones who attacked this deputy.
      Right Sektor’s leader Dmitro Yarosh is from Dnipropetrovsk. Yarosh and the others seem to be mostly Russian-speaking.
      In the video, the Right Sektor woman shouting at the deputy is shouting in Russian.
      She is probably from Kiev.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yarosh doesn’t speak Ukrainian, despite the fact that he had to learn it at school. Over a year ago I remember him saying he was going to learn to speak it. I don’t think he has done this.

        Same thing with Tymoshenko: on her own admittance she couldn’t speak Ukrainian until she was in her 30s. She learnt to speak it, of course, after she had remodelled herself from being a mega-thief into a Ukrainian nationalist and changed her hair colour and style to match this new image of hers that she wished to promote. Now Tymoshenko demands a translator when addressed in public in Russian.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Tymoshenko is from Dnipropetrovsk as well, as was the man who set her on course for becoming the “Gas Princess”, Mr. 50% himself, former Ukrainian Prime Minister, grand fraudster and erstwhile state-farm tractor driver Lazarenko. He was Dnipropetrovsk governor when Julia first set up shop in her home town with a chain of video-rental stores, which she stocked with bootleg porn imported from Poland.

      • marknesop says:

        Well, I know it’s a technicality, but she is actually shouting in Ukrainian because “Russia” is no longer used to refer to the former Russian Federation. Ukraine has claimed its rightful place as the true Rus and the Russians are a bunch of mongrels from someplace else. So their language, as long as used properly by born Ukrainians, is now Ukrainian rather than Russian. There are just two Ukrainian languages – Ukrainian and Ukrainian.

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    The recently dubbed Knight of Lithuania:

    From Dzhamileva’s Dossier

    Mustafa Dzhamileva’s father was a member of a Special Services (SD – Sicherheitsdienst) punishment squad during the occupation of the Crimea. Mustafa was first sentenced in the USSR under Section 117 of the Criminal Code – RAPE

    His dissident activity only began after his first term of imprisonment, when he had learnt how to crow.


    May I lick your arse, sir?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      He was knighted for his “services to Lithuania”, by the way.

      I wonder what exactly those “services” entailed?

      Or was he simply knighted for being an irritating litle twat according to the Russian point of view?

      If that is the case, surely Edward Lucas should be elevated to the Lithuanian peerage?

      Oh, hang on a bit! Lithuania is a republic, isn’t it? That means no aristocratic hierarchy there, doesn’t it – no titles, no orders?

      So how come plain little old Mustafa the Rapist is now Sir Mustafa the Rapist?

      • marknesop says:

        Very much of a piece with Lithuania being accepted into the NATO Alliance on the grounds of “value added”, in that it “contributes to North Atlantic security”. The west squalls constantly that Russia wants to stifle the independence of its neighbours, but the west cares nothing for their independence. It is interested in making them dependents on NATO, and surrounding Russia and hemming it in with a wall of NATO. Keep that in mind when it starts bleating about freedom and democracy in the next Russian neighbourhood. It does not care about freedom, it simply wishes to change the orientation of these countries’ dependence.

        Any one of those countries will find out how independent it really is, the first time its leaders says something in public that displeases America or Brussels.

      • Warren says:

        If that is the case, surely Edward Lucas should be elevated to the Lithuanian peerage?

        Lucas has already been bestowed medals for his “services” from both Poland and Estonia!

        http://johnhelmer.net/?p=11967

        http://johnhelmer.net/?p=12044

        • Moscow Exile says:

          re.the second of the two links (above):

          This is the ministry’s announcement, dated November 13, 2009, and currently to be read on the ministry’s website. The ministry says Sikorski “has awarded” — that’s the ministry’s official continuous past tense — its medal to “Edward Lucas – journalist, European correspondent of “The Economist”.

          The expression “has awarded” is not the “continuous past tense”: the past tense, continuous aspect, is “was/were awarding”.

          The expression “has awarded” is the present tense of “to award”, perfective aspect, that bugbear of many learners of English, often simply labelled the present perfect “tense”: it refers to a past action – a pre-present completion of an action that focuses on the present result, state or condition of said action.

          For example, I have lived in Moscow for over 20 years: that means I began to live in Moscow 20 years ago and I still live in Moscow now.

          When the Polish authorities state that they have awarded Lucas something, that means they awarded it in the past and the award is still extant now.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Oooh stop it! That tickles.

    • yalensis says:

      As a young street urchin, Poroshenko must have trained at Fagin’s studio.
      His specialty is what the Cockneys refer to as a “finger man”.

      Notice how deftly and expertly he removes Hollande’s wallet!

      • yalensis says:

        P.S.
        which brings to mind that famous Shakespeare quote:

        “He who steals my purse steals trash.
        He who steals my WALLET, on the other hand ….
        That’s a dead man walking!”

  25. Pingback: penetration - Occurrences

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    The Russian blogger’s comment reads:

    If anyone has had any doubts about what Ukrainians have been dying for, then the “great friend” of the Ukraine, Edward Lucas [editor at “The Economist”], has explained everything in the latest edition of “The Times”: “Ukrainians are the the only people to have died in the cause of European Union expansion”!

    Well there you have it, nor does he hide their goal: expansion at any cost, namely that for the sake of this goal they send Ukrainians to war.

    Source: http://moguletaty.livejournal.com/3634817.html

    • yalensis says:

      Translation correction:
      The expression на бойню should be translated as “into the slaughter” not “to war”.

  27. Scanning swiftly down the list of ECFR experts it seems heavily overloaded with experts on the Balkans. There also seems to be a lot of experts on the Middle East and Israel – the distinction is theirs. And then we have Russia. I may have missed a few, but what seems to be missing are experts on Latin America, Africa, China, Japan, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and, well, let’s face it, most of the rest of the world. There are a few, but are the Western Balkans so much more important than the entire continent of South America?

    • et Al says:

      The Western Balkans is much more important if you are a self-centered, navel gazing twat. It was the origin of Western regime change and correcting ‘wrongs’ without there being a Russia to tell them to stop doing stupid things.

      It is the lens that western humanitarian warriors created and firmed up their policies of ‘international humanitarian law’, humanitarian intervention and later responsibility to protect that of course only suit western nations and their strategic interests. It is the core of everything they proclaim to be today.

      That is why they are still having guilt orgasms over Srebrenica, an entirely preventable event except the west did not want to prevent anything that would give them a figleaf to start dropping bombs wily nily. The pushback has already started against this core, with the Serbs simply refusing to accept the western designated role of being wholly responsible for genocide. Apologized for crimes, yes, genocide? fk off!

      As you can see quite clearly, this is driving the Pork Pie News Networks in to a tizzy. The Serbs are remarkably stubborn (and often quite naive and a bit stupid), but they know what is what and will not accept this bs from the west. If it wasn’t for Serbia trying to get in to the EU, they would have told Brussels, Berlin, London, Paris & Washington to fk off a long time ago.

      Of course the world has changed, Russia is back, China is swinging its mighty economic balls and the other BRICS nations aren’t interested in following western talking points.

      So yes, it is made up of self-proclaimed balkans experts (who knew nothing of the Balkans, let alone Yugoslavia before all hell broke loose), because it is the core of their belief system of the last twenty years. That they ignore BRICS etc. just tells you how out of touch they are with the current world rather than their imagined world.

    • marknesop says:

      Good point, and I did not have the time to go through the list in detail. However, as I have explained elsewhere (so I’ll just copy and paste to save meself the trouble of reconstructing it) “If Poroshenko does not cut a few humanitarian corners in Donbas, the story goes, the Russian cancer will spread as Putin The Horned One recreates the Soviet Union, and his insatiable appetite for land (although he is president already of an enormous country with a relatively tiny population) and power will see him gobble up the Baltics next. And then, oh, and then, all of Europe will lie before him like a weakened maid who has given up trying to fight off her suitor’s rough advances.”

      Europe is the bait and the Baltics are the trigger to the trap. However, this board was formed long before the crisis. But it’s true that the Baltics have always been exaggerated as to their importance, and perhaps it is easier to be a “specialist” on a country that you could just about throw a potato across if you have a good arm.

      Whoops! Somehow I read “Baltics” for “Balkans”. I guess the same applies as far as gobbling them up opens the way for a thrust into Europe, as well as their diminutive size. But I would have to look at the membership again to get a feel for what you say, although I have no doubt it’s accurate. Wiped out, though, is my argument that “Europe is the bait and the Baltics are the trigger”. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a similar level of hysteria and fearmongering generated over the Balkans. Anyone disagree?

      • Only yesterday I had to correct someone confusing the Balkans with the Baltic States.

        Along with the Balkans the Baltic States are of great strategic interest to neo-cons such as Robert Kagan, Victoria Nuland, Eliot L. Engel, Robert Aderholt and various former members of the Project for the New American Century.

        The Baltic States border Russia. and Belorus, with Poland and Lithuania sharing a frontier with the strategically important Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

        The neo-cons are obsessed with Eastern Europe and have strong connections with many governments stretching in a huge arc from the Adriatic Sea to the Baltic Sea. Little wonder people confuse the two groups of nations; that’s the way the neo-cons like it. Trouble is being stirred all along the arc.

        I cover some of this towards the end of my post Double, double, toil and trouble … the cauldron of Kiev, which can be accessed here: https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/double-double-toil-and-trouble-the-cauldron-of-kiev/

        • marknesop says:

          Well, of course I know where and what the Balkans are; I just read “Baltics” where it didn’t say “Baltics”, perhaps because of all the recent caterwauling about how Putin is going to invade the Baltic states.

          That’s a really, really good post – I wish I had seen it when it first came out, but better late than never. I’ve forwarded it to Russia Insider, and I hope they’ll contact you and perhaps publish some of your work. You have a very readable style, a natural aptitude for writing and it seems very well researched and accurate. I was very favourably impressed, great job. The caricatures are brilliant; they preserve the overall look but the deliberately exaggerated features highlight their various internal failings – Ashton’s bovine stupidity, Nuland’s venality and Lagarde’s avarice.

          An excellent, and frightening, point that I had not even considered while I am blathering about how it does not make any difference who is the next president because there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the parties’ policies – and there isn’t – is the political appointments the new president will make. The very idea of Secretary of State Nuland sent a cold shiver up my spine, and it should do to everyone else, too. She’s made enough serious mistakes already that if there was any will to take her out, there was ample excuse. It’s plain nobody dares touch her, which likely means she will be a feature of the American political landscape for some time to come, and perhaps even a contender for President herself some day. Meanwhile, the only factor which will determine how much clout she wields will be who is President.

          • I knew you knew, but thought I’d take the opportunity to inform the amazing number of people, who don’t.

            Thanks for the compliment I really appreciate it.

            • Jen says:

              Very interesting and detailed article on Victoria Nuland, Catherine Ashton and Christine Lagarde, thanks very much for excellent work!

              BTW that oil producer where Hunter Biden is a board director is Burisma Holdings which is owned by Ihor Kolomoisky’s Privat Group. The company is registered in Cyprus. Kolomoisky has a Cypriot passport in addition to his Israeli and Ukrainian passports.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    Ukraine/Egypt gas deal clinched!

    Loading Ukraine-bound gas at Alexandria

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    22-year-old intelligence officer met his love after having been seriously wounded at Donetsk airport

    I had thought of going to the military institute, but I was not accepted because of a problem with my heart. Later, after having served in the army, I tried to enter the intelligence faculty at the institute, but an officer who had come there told me: “That’ll cost you 25 thousand hryvnia”. There were still some priviliged places there, but they were only taken by invalids.o

    Western values rule!

    Glory to the Ukraine! To the heroes glory!

    • yalensis says:

      The word “invalid” in Russian is ambiguous, sometimes it means “wounded veteran”, but sometimes it just means “veteran”.

      In this context, I think it means “wounded veteran”.
      So, the guy in question couldn’t get a tuition-free position at the spy school because he had not been wounded in battle. Although technically, he was still an “invalid”, especially with his heart problem. At least, that is my interpretation.

    • marknesop says:

      I’m a sucker for a love story.

  30. Warren says:

  31. Warren says:

    Published on 10 Jul 2015
    Ukraine Today speaks with the Canadian ambassador in Kyiv to find out Canada’s official position on Russia’s vast disinformation campaign over Ukraine, the state of Ukraine’s army, and what it will take to get Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko released from Russian prison.

  32. Warren says:

    Published on 10 Jul 2015
    Quagmire and fiasco are only two words to describe the condition of the European Union and the eurozone after the democratic choice of the Greek people. In the end the IMF’s crisis-mongering strategy failed and the Brussels leadership completely miscalculated. So-called Western values are lying in tatters.

    CrossTalking with Joshua Tartakovsky, John Laughland, and Theofanis Exadaktylos.

    • Unfortunately Greece is a western country and it will always remain so. While not hostile to Russia, Greece will never be in the Russian/BRICS camp.

      Hopefully Russia is still not banking on that Turkey-Greece pipeline to be built.

      • marknesop says:

        I’m afraid I have to agree – the Greeks are too flighty and emotional, and Tsipras is turning out to be no exception, with a spine of purest marshmallow. Russia would be well-served to just terminate Turkish Stream at the Greek border and let it sort out with its EU masters what sort of gas hookup they want, if any.

    • marknesop says:

      I disagree; if recent reports are anything to go by and Tsipras did indeed – as has also been reported elsewhere – accept a deal which is nearly identical to what Brussels previously offered and the Greek referendum specifically rejected, it is a great victory for the EU and a validation of their steamrollering coercive tactics.

  33. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, this expose from KP claims that Facebook is not nearly so fair and balanced as Zuckerberg claims.
    The correspondent Dmitry Steshin claims that Facebook is biased toward the pro-Ukrainian side of the Ukrainian civil war.

    SUMMARY:
    In the past 3 months, Steshin has been banned 5 times from Facebook.

    One time he was banned for re-posting a comment by a Ukie ATO volunteer, who wanted to “burn the vata” [yalensis: “vata” being the derogatory term for pro-Russian civilian population living in Donbass]. Facebook banned Steshin and his re-posted comment, but did not ban the original post about burning vata.

    Steshin was banned another time for posting a photograph of himself with his daughter (scroll down a bit to see the photo), apparently the moderators thought this was kiddy-porn, or something like that. They removed the photo and suspended him for 3 days with the comment: “For showing the naked body of a child.” (The kid is not naked.)

    [yalensis: actually, Zuckerberg had mentioned in his “Porky” press conference, that a bug in the Facebook software had mistakenly banned certain posts on the grounds of “nudity” when the reason for the ban was actually something different. Don’t know if this fits into that category. Maybe the software thought it was pedophilia without nudity, ’cause the baby is kissing him, but sent the wrong warning message about nudity?]

    Steshin then shows an even more egregious example of what he considers to be Facebook bias:
    A Facebook comment by a Ukrainian nationalist by Oleksiy Tkalich reads thusly:

    “Still another pro-katsap [yalensis: another derogatory word for Russian] ***** whom (we) sidelined on the territory of Ukraine. The terrorist’s family – we will cut their throats later on. Death to the katsap occupiers!”

    A Russian named Sergei Dorenko then complained to the Facebook team about above comment.
    Later that day he received a status report: “Your complaint has been received.”

    And then a bit later an update from the “Facebook Support Team”:

    “Thank you for your communication regarding materials which, according to your opinion, violate Facebook Rules. Complaints such as yours, play an important role in the creation of a safe and pleasant atmosphere on Facebook. You have communicated, that a (comment) contained an expression of hatred or symbols of hatred. We verified (the comment) and came to the conclusion, that it does not violate the rules of our forum.”

    Steshin concludes: Facebook thinks it is okay to cut the throats of ethnic Russian families living in Donbass.

    [yalensis: Not sure how Facebook works, but it seems the Russian-speaking moderator who made the decision that Tkalich’s post was okay, is some guy named Alexander Stepanov?]

  34. marknesop says:

    Right on cue after Australia’s backing away from a portion of its F-35 buy, the putative incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the U.S. Armed Forces says the overall size of the F-35 fleet is under review.

    Highlights of the disclosure include some figures from the panel, incorporated in their questions – by the time the F-35 enters full-rate production, the program will be 17 years from its inception. Therefore current planning will see the USA spending between $12 and $15 Billion per year for the next 20 years for a fighter design in which the last one will be 30 years old – in terms of program development – when it rolls off the line. He was also asked if the F-35 will be the last manned fighter for the USA. That might seem like an odd question, but take a look at the UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance) long range drone concept.

    And finally, it is clear that the U.S. government is branding “Russian aggression” – nearly every official statement on the subject of Russia includes the phrase, and it is plain now that it is a deliberate effort to imprint it upon the public consciousness so as to make it an internalized truth which will justify every action which comes after that is needed to fight it. U.S. official psychology is about as subtle as Doug Walker describes.

    • et al says:

      LM claims it is on track to get the F-35 down to an affordable $80 million by 2019
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-03-12/f-35s-to-sell-for-as-low-as-80-million-in-2019-pentagon-says

      Meanwhile, the USAF is remedying design faults in both the F-22 & B-2 (not built strongly enough):

      Flight Global: F-22 Raptor retrofit to take longer, but availability hits 63%
      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/F-22-Raptor-retrofit-to-take-longer-but-availability-hits-63-414341/

      The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor may be the world’s greatest air superiority jet, but the supercruise fighter came with some major structural flaws that are still being addressed.

      One $350-million programme in particular is making a mix of five major structural changes to 162 aircraft, including a mid-fuselage and engine bay retrofit, just so each can reach its promised service life of 8,000 flight hours….
      ####

      63%! That’s even lower than their C-5 fleet! They’re great airplanes if they can fly, otherwise call it the Craptor

      Flight Global: OPINION: Ageing US nuclear bombers not fit for a superpower
      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/OPINION-Ageing-US-nuclear-bombers-not-fit-for-a-superpower-414290/

      This is not because of a lack of training or professionalism but, as the general in charge of the force put it to Congress recently, it’s because “we have airmen flying bombers that their grandfathers flew”.

      The bomber squadrons see inconsistencies and uncertainty surrounding replacement aircraft, and this impacts morale. “It makes them question just how important the mission really is,” the general says.

      This is the stark reality that America – arguably the world’s foremost superpower – faces today with its 53-year-old Boeing B-52 Stratofortress fleet.

      But the B-52 – and the comparatively new Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit – are America’s only nuclear-­capable bombers. Both face critical parts shortages ­because industry sees no business case for supporting small numbers of outdated aircraft…

      …But with a bomber force whose age averages 39 years, the air force must get LRS-B across the line because its superpower shine is already looking a little tarnished.

      & I’ll throw this one in too:

      Flight Global: US “carrier gap” could see naval air power dip in Gulf region
      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/US-carrier-gap-could-see-naval-air-power-dip-in-Gulf-region-414440/

      …According to retired Vice Adm Peter Daly, carrier demand has exceeded supply for many years, and is a clear sign that the Navy is a force under significant strain due to the pace of operations.

      He said at a Navy League forum in Washington this week that the service needs more resources and some breathing room to reconstitute its force and deal with maintenance backlogs. He said having the Navy cannibalise itself by making trades within its budget limit, more money should be directed toward the service.

      Even without a carrier in the region, the Navy says the Essex Amphibious Ready Group equipped with Marine AV-8 Harriers will remain through to the end of the year, and the US Air Force is currently leading the fight against ISIS. But Daly contends that the landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship of an amphibious ready group has just 12-15% of the sortie generation capability of a Nimitz-class carrier.

      The gap is partly the result of the Navy’s push to limit extended deployments, which are causing strain on the force, but also because one carrier is receiving its mid-life refuelling and delivery of the first new Ford-class carrier is over budget and behind schedule…

      ….He says the almost $600 billion US defence budget is already wholly committed, particularly in the 2020s when the Pentagon need to recapitalise its nuclear force with new bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

      “Unless we decide to take a bigger bite out of [gross domestic product], which I don’t see happening, I think we’re going to have a 10+1 carrier force.”

      With 10 nuclear-powered carriers in service and one being refuelled, the US Navy has more than twice the deck space of every other foreign carrier combined. The service says it needs a total of $819 billion from Congress between 20016 and 2020 to stay afloat, including $161 billion in fiscal year 2016.
      ####

      With the petrodollar fading away and the ability to print itself out of trouble, I suspect that the above is rather over ambitious.

  35. marknesop says:

    An interesting piece on the deliberate selection of the Nazi symbology for Ukraine’s nationalist battalions. Rub them out now or rub them out later, Ukraine, but you are never going to get rid of that Hitlerian Nazi fanaticism so long as you allow it to flourish on whatever scale in your ranks. And they will always seek the thrill of war, because nothing in peacetime civilian life can match it. I cannot for the life of me understand why Europeans, of all people, do not blanch with horror at the thought of having a Nazi republic forced on them as a friend and ally. Lie down with dogs…

    I am getting all this stuff, by the way, from the latest post at the excellent blog “Occurrences“. I’m just using their individual sources rather than the post itself.

    • yalensis says:

      The party was co-founded in 1991 by Andriy Parubiy and Oleh Tyahnybok. In 2004 Tyahnybok became sole leader of the SNPU, and replaced the Wolfsangel with the symbol imitating the Tryzub and renamed the Party Svoboda. The SNPU’s paramilitary arm Patriot of Ukraine (PoU) that had been founded in 1999 was dissolved on the occasion.

      It was refounded in 2006. PoU defines itself as a ‘revolutionary vanguard of the Ukrainian social-nationalistic movement’ that pursues the goal of ‘a uniracial and uninational society’. Social-Nationalism as in Leninism-Marxism.

      Er… no….
      The “uniracial” National Socialists are NOT Marxist-Leninists.
      They are actually at the opposite end of the political spectrum.
      The one thing all European “nationalists” can agree on, is that they are anti-communist.

  36. marknesop says:

    Here’s another one – damn, that blog is a good aggregator – summarizing in a new context the deliberate; I repeat, deliberate, lies of the Bush administration as they pushed the entire western world into war with Iraq after first unleashing it on Afghanistan and then lying over and over again to redirect its attention.

    This is old news now for everybody except the astonishing percentages of Americans who still believe some evidence of existing WMD programs was found in Iraq. But I would like you to review it now in the framework of the U.S. State Department’s ceaseless current manipulations and clumsy lie-studded press briefings on Ukraine. It is difficult to draw any other conclusion, from the evidence, than that the United States is actually trying to push the world into another major war – this time one against Russia, that could easily go nuclear.

    • Northern Star says:

      “except the astonishing percentages of systematically miseducated American morons who still believe some evidence of existing WMD programs was found in Iraq.”

      Mark….You must remember that the ‘Murican electorate put GWB in office twice,…and then went on to put the current war criminal (Nobel Laureate) in office ..twice…AND are now poised to put Killary in the POTUS chair with Huma-and her Internet dong flashing husband- as Chief of staff…??
      Ummmm…pretty much case closed….except for the part where everybody is loading their drawers as the first wave of Russkie missiles detonates…
      November 22,1963…
      game over…
      for even the pretense of democracy and a desire for even a little attempt at global sanity….

      • marknesop says:

        I read an article awhile ago in which someone being interviewed on the street in Ukraine (this was back when the “election” was taking place) speculated hopefully (and rather pathetically, I thought) that Poroshenko would make a good president because he was already rich, and consequently would be less likely to steal.

        That, in a nutshell, substantiates why politicians are able to pull the wool over people’s eyes in the outrageous fashion they do. Because the people fool themselves. Their optimism makes them irrational. Far better to be a cynic; the result is exactly the same, but at least you can say you saw it coming.

  37. Apparently there was a shooting incident between the Right Sector and Ukrainian police in Mukacheno in Transcarpathia region. Two dead and four injured for the Right Sector.

    Maybe I am a bad person but after watching Ukraine slaughter thousands of civilians in Donbass I hope for a long and bloody battle between different clans and sections inside Ukraine. They would deserve it.

    But this is a minor incident so I’m not getting my hopes up. And the West will do everything in its power to prevent any infighting between Ukrainians because it would hurt the western cause of using Ukraine to hurt Russia.

  38. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!! That’s great!! But I dare you to get it printed on a banner and run down Ulitsa Teatral’na in Lvov waving it. I’ll give you five bucks if you do.

      • et al says:

        It begs the creation of Лівий Сектор

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        I’d never be able to get a visa.

        How about Melbourne instead?

        • marknesop says:

          Mmmmm…..not dangerous enough to be worth five bucks, I’m afraid. Unless Oz has changed a lot since I was last there, which would have been…let’s see…click click click, carry the 4…..1998.

          Besides, you could easy get a visa. On your photo in your application, just paint your face half blue and half yellow, and enclose a childlike drawing of your passport page which lists your name as Slava, Geroyim. You’ll have your visa in a couple of days, probably with Avakov’s DNA on the stamp.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            Heroyim Peremogovich Slava.

            So it begins.

            I expect I will either get murdered or elected president.

            I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    • Warren says:

      For those of us who do not understand the ру́сский язы́к, what does it read?

  39. Warren says:

    • Tim Owen says:

      The EU is a sick joke:

      “The independent economics-writer, Charles Hugh Smith — who was one of only 29 economists worldwide who predicted the 2008 crash in advance and who explained accurately how and why it was going to occur — has provided a more honest description of the sources of Greece’s depression:

      1. Goldman Sachs conspired with [actually: were hired by] Greece’s corrupt kleptocracy to conjure up an illusion of solvency and fiscal prudence so Greece could join the Eurozone [despite Greek aristocrats’ massive tax-evasion, which created the original problem].

      2. Vested interests and insiders gorged on the credit being offered by German and French [and other] banks, enriching themselves to the tune of tens of billions of euros, which were transferred to private accounts in Switzerland at the first whiff of trouble. When informed of this, Greek authorities took no action; after all, why track down your cronies and force them to pay taxes when tax evasion is the status quo for financial elites?

      3. If Greece had defaulted in 2010 when its debt was around 110 billion euros, the losses would have fallen on the banks that had foolishly lent the money without proper due diligence or risk management. This is what should have happened in a market economy: those who foolishly lent extraordinary sums to poor credit risks take the resulting (and entirely predictable) losses.”

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/07/how-fascist-capitalism-functions-the-case-of-greece.html

      • marknesop says:

        Here’s a very interesting article by recently-departed Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. He contends that Germany is the driving force behind it, and that Germany is attempting to force Greece out of the common currency union as a lesson to France, to put the fear of God into them. In such circumstances, Tsipras’s erratic behaviour and overall spinelessness just gets in the way.

        This fits well with the image of Germany as the emerging leader of a new Europe, but not so well with the concept of a Germany that is more a friend to Moscow and less a tool of Washington. In fact, it sounds like a country rent with internal struggle which is trending toward a boil itself.

  40. Warren says:

    Banderites are now spinning the story that Pravy Sektor were fighting corrupt cops and smugglers in Transcarpathia.

  41. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Dmitry Yarosh is not going gently into that good night.

    Yarosh calls upon Right Sektor to continue the demonstrations and bang-bang shoot-em-ups until the desired consummation, which is the resignation of Arsen Avakov.

    Yarosh hates Avakov even more than he hates the Russians.
    And this is typical of Ukrainian nationalists. We saw the same thing with Yushchenko/Tymoshenko.
    These guys can’t get along with anybody, not even their own kind.
    It’s like putting scorpions in a jar!

    • yalensis says:

      More on Yarosh.
      He got on a plane and flew to the city of Uzhgorod (regional center of Zakarpatie), accompanied by 8 representatives of Right Sektor.

      Awaiting his arrival to the hot town of Mukachevo, Head of administration there Vasily Gubal, temporarily called off the police storming of Right Sektor positions. [yalensis: in the ongoing dispute between 2 rival gangs over rights to the cigarette smuggling trade]

      Police are going to postpone the shoot-em-up for a while, until Yarosh arrives and maybe can talk some sense into his comrades. Word is that the rebelling RS gang has withdrawn to the town of Perechin, where they are preparing to withstand a police attack.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S.
        Right Sektor, get thee to the front!
        Why aren’t you fighting in the ATO?
        Those Donbass women and children aren’t going to shell themselves, you know.

      • marknesop says:

        They just love fighting with guns and the thrill of shooting to kill. The front is boring right now, shooting artillery into cities does not have the same gratification. The only way for Ukraine to purge itself of Right Sector is to kill them all. So long as any are left alive they will cling to their guns – which nobody seems to be able to make them give up – and foment armed insurrection. The Ukrainian state is disintegrating and Washington smiles beatifically, having created another Libya, this time on Russia’s doorstep.

    • “Yarosh hates Avakov even more than he hates the Russians.”

      Aren’t they both Russians themselves? Yarosh does not even speak Ukrainian and Avakov is a Russian name.

  42. et Al says:

    Via Antiwar.com

    Neuters: Kerry doesn’t view Russia as existential threat: State Department
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/10/us-usa-defense-dunford-state-idUSKCN0PK27120150710

    …”If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,” Dunford said. “And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”

    U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Kerry did not share the assessment, even though Russia’s actions in Ukraine posed regional security challenges.

    “The secretary doesn’t agree with the assessment that Russia is an existential threat to the United States, nor China, quite frankly,” Toner told a regular news briefing when asked about Dunford’s remarks.

    “You know, these are major powers with whom we engage and cooperate on a number of issues, despite any disagreements we may have with them,” he said. “Certainly we have disagreements with Russia and its activities within the region, but we don’t view it as an existential threat.”…
    ####

    The problem with ignorant blowhards like Dunford is that if their words are to be taken seriously, then seriously needs to be funded with cold, hard dollars. Resources daarlings. The USA has pinned its flag to the Asia Swivel (aka fk China!) as its fundamental future military posture.

    That is an expensive proposition.

    To then start bivolating (sp?) about Russia means some cash going to contain China would have to go instead to containing Russia, which so far, the USA has been doing on the very cheap by using Ukrainians as willing (or not so) canonfodder and the Europeans paying the economic consequences. To mix a metaphor or three, the US Gorilla shits in an European chinashop and still expects fawning applause for the performance*. Instead, by amping up the rhetoric via NATO and bigging up the Russia threat, the USA is trying to get Europe to pay (new UK budget promises 2% GDP on weapons) for the US’ own mess and aggressive anti-Russia policy, squaring the military budget circle if you will. Except, it is not working. Europe as a whole will still not pick up the military tab US wants it to. This is the de facto recognition by Europe that the Russia threat is total bullshit, in total contradiction of all the mass propaganda to the opposite by the pork pie news networks.

    * “It’s like a jungle some times it makes me wonder how I keep from going under” – Rapper’s Delight

    I just wanted and excuse to post it! If I were younger, I’d be the guy dancing in the audience at the beginning of the video.

    • Warren says:

      The Europeans need to free themselves from American yoke, the Americans must have serious leverage on European leaders to explain their servility to the US.

      * “It’s like a jungle some times it makes me wonder how I keep from going under”

      That line comes from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – The Message

    • marknesop says:

      All that notwithstanding, Kerry is out of favour and the State Department has the bit in its teeth. It likes the cut of Dunford’s jib and his willingness to help imprint brand “Russian Aggression”. Kerry’s demurrals are not going to mean anything in the great scheme of things, and it is much too late for him to assuage his conscience now for all the lies he told and partisan bullshit he spread. He deserves to ride his doomed state down nearly as much as the rest of his government.

  43. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Avakov himself is blaming the whole thing on Putin, implying that Putin is behind the cigarette-smuggling gang, as well as controlling the rogue Right Sektor gang:

    Avakov wrote in a crazy-ass ramble on his Facebook page, thus proving once again that he is mentally unsound:

    “Hello, Vladimir Vladimirovich? Your lads out there didn’t pay me for the cigarettes? They got greedy, so I chased them away, no? And it all turned out well? Is that what you calculated? That shows real class…”

  44. yalensis says:

    Several sources that I am reading keep alluding to stuff that Yarosh wrote on his Facebook page. But every time I click on the link that is given , I get this “Page not found or removed” stub.

    Methinks that Zuckerberg deleted Yarosh Facebook page quite recently, just in the last day or so.

    • yalensis says:

      The Azov Battalion doesn’t have that problem.
      They use the RUSSIAN Social Media site V Kontakte instead of Facebook.
      They never get banned, and they can say whatever they like!

      • likbez says:

        It’s rather strange that you do not like this fact ;-). Just think about the location of the servers. Much more convenient location I would say. Also Facebook is way too cosmopolitan. In a sense “bezrodnie cosmopolity” phrase was used in 50th. It you think about it, you might agree that there is something humiliating to use such a site for a real nationalist.

  45. Jeremn says:

    Just looking at who funds the ECFR.
    http://www.ecfr.eu/about/donors
    George Soros is the primary funder, and the European Commission also supplies money. Then there’s a whole slew of banks, oil firms and foundations. Interesting reading.

    • marknesop says:

      It would of course be a generalization, but just about everywhere you find a western agency fomenting revolution and stirring up unrest in the names of freedom and democracy, you will find George Soros’s money. It’s a wonder Obama has not awarded him the Presidential Gong of Freedom.

  46. It is likely that Greece will get the co called “third bailout” from the European Union. This bailout has very harsh conditions for Greece including the foreign policy. This likely means that the Russian backed GreekStream pipeline connected Greece to Turkey will not be build.

    • If I were Greece I would take the money and build the pipeline anyway 😀

      The West always double crosses others so why not do the same to them?

    • Finnish media is saying that Russia has promised to give free fuel to Greece to aid the country in crisis. The article did not mention about quantities though. Hopefully Russia is not wasting its money for nothing, again. Greece is – even in its current state – a wealthier country than Russia. I don’t think poorer countries should be aiding richer ones like this, unless Russia gets something back in return.

  47. Warren says:

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