The Abyss Looks Back: Europe’s Phenomenal Arrogance

Uncle Volodya says,

Uncle Volodya says, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

Today marks a special treat for the readers here, because it is the occasion of Lyttenburgh’s writing debut. Lyttenburgh first appeared here just about this time in 2010, as Carpenter117. I don’t know anything about him, I’m afraid, other than that he is Russian-born and lives in Russia somewhere. Whatever else he chooses to reveal is up to him. As I’ve mentioned in discussion, his English has improved tremendously, although it was always good; I first noticed him elsewhere, on Julia Ioffe’s old blog at True/Slant, which was later absorbed by Forbes. Mark Adomanis was a regular at True/Slant, as well. There’s just something about Ioffe’s patronizing condescension that winds Russians up, I’m afraid.

Today’s post deals with a somewhat higher authority, which is also prone to smug condescension far out of proportion to its own claim to authority – the European Council on Foreign Relations. They appeared in the pillory here not very long ago, as I recall, and I strongly agree that their demonstrated performance suggests decades, if not generations, of dedicated and enthusiastic inbreeding.

What do Russians really think about the way the western allies view them? About their patronizing pseudosympathy? Their one-upmanship snubs, like who doesn’t get to sit at the popular kids’ table at the high-school cafeteria? The outright fabrications as it needles Russia through its popular press while its regulatory councils take their own press’s nattering for gospel?

Pull up a chair, and let’s hear. Lyttenburgh? The floor is yours.

On Europe’s Phenomenal Arrogance

A lot of august bodies have decided to share their thoughts on the current vis-à-vis between Russia and what is colloquially known as “the West”. Most of such “musings” inevitably touches the subject of the current situation in Ukraine, due to it’s being a “hotspot” in the bilateral relations. Most often we are graced by some strongly worded opinions from the veritable Legion of the Free and Independent Western press (), or it might be even a Deep and Thorough Analysis by this or that think-tank, NGO or research facility, sharing with the hoi-poloi of the world their convoluted (and, therefore, unquestionably true) findings on the nature of things they probably didn’t even have any previous personal contact with.

And then we have something… anomalous. And huge. I’m talking here about a report (well, “commentary”, to be precise) of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a rather self- explanatory name for an organization.

The Limits and Necessity of Europe’s Russia Sanctions

The picture below the title of the article shows Moscow’s Kremlin and the snow-covered streets of Moscow. Because –apparently! – it is always gloomy and snowy in Russia. How you gonna argue with such a paragon of Western objectivity on Russia’s portrayal as the Independence Day movie, where there is snow in Russia in July?!

You might say that I’m too nitpicky. Honestly, I’ll cease and desist the very moment the West stops this kind of petty manipulation of public perception of my country.

The article from the very beginning says what it’s about:

To get a clearer understanding of the situation it might be useful to start from the other end – not to ask if the sanctions work, but to first look at the nature of Europe’s problem with Russia and ask what it would take to fix it, or even whether it can be fixed by the West at all. That will allow us to see what role the sanctions can play in remedying the problem – and what the things that sanctions cannot accomplish are.

In short – this article is about judging Russia by the esteemed people of the EUrocracy, and determining – is it worthy of their “mercy”. The author asks her audience,

Do we want Russia to leave Donbas? Give back Crimea? Do we expect a regime change in Moscow? Or do we want Russia to start behaving “as a normal European country,” i.e. one that tries to base its influence on attraction rather than coercion?

with the straightest face possible. Suddenly, Russia became an object of EU decisions, as if Russia now is a member of the EU (it isn’t) or that the EU is some super strong, unified world power capable of really compelling Russia to do it’s bidding (again – nope).

Unfortunately, what follows is the author’s opinion on “the nature of our Russian problem”. The author had a mighty lot of predecessors willing to find a “final solution” for the “Russian problem”. This particular individual, elevated well above her station by the simple fact that she writes for the ECFR, does the most “professional” thing possible – goes full ad hominem not only against Russian president Vladimir Putin (KGB reference included), but to the Russian people as well. You see, for the author of this “commentary”, Russians are just “rent-seeking clients” mobilized against “enemy figures – real or imaginary”. The Russian system of education (in the Soviet era, second to none – now “thankfully” reformed by the West worshiping “democrats”) plus “the state-centric way history and international relations are taught at Russian schools and universities” has contributed to the fact that the EU is “having problems” with Russia.

As a person educated in Russia by the Russian system of education (including Higher Education) I can say that this kind of claim is inaccurate. In the Moscow State University (aka “Lomonosov’s”) our professors took a lot of effort to drive us to the “multi-vector approach” of the history and historiography, taught us of many existing schools of thoughts and research. No one indoctrinated gentle young souls into some Putin-worshiping cult. I can safely claim, from personal experience, that I was educated from a plethora of historical textbooks – including extremely “handshakable” ones, both in school (state run) and at the Uni. Still, I am who I am despite (and thanks) to everything that I’ve learned earlier. So, basically implying that the Russian state is “brainwashing” youngsters in the state-run higher education institutions is a big fat lie. One only need to look at MSU’s (of Lomonosov) Journalism department to see teeming masses of “handshakables” and “not-living-by-the-lie-ers” in the making.

But the article is actually right in one regard – it admits the vast abyss that exists now between the Western perception of the current situation and the Russian one. The author is even sufficiently capable to articulate it correctly:

What makes the current standoff so tense and dangerous is not the reach of Russia’s territorial ambitions, as many suggest, but vice versa – the limited nature of them, and its psychological implications. Moscow sees itself as having given up everything: it has left Central Europe, it has left the Baltic States, not to mention Cuba, Africa and the Middle East, but now the West seems intent on ‘taking’ the last little bit that was left – ‘brotherly’ Ukraine. Of course Moscow takes it emotionally and tries to fight back.

But then, as tradition dictates, the author allows her own ideological bias to distort the rest of the narrative in what might have become an honest attempt to look at the current problem from both sides’ perspective:

The countries in Russia’s neighbourhood – in what one can call the Eastern Partnership area – received their independence semi-accidentally in 1991, when it was promptly hijacked by corrupt elites. Now, their societies are starting to mature and demand better governance, rule of law and more say over their countries’ futures. This manifests in a bumpy, but inevitable evolutionary process that the EU did not launch and does not control, but cannot do anything other than support. Moscow, on the other hand, is fixated on the elites it can control – and therefore bound to resist it. The clash is systemic, and likely to manifest repeatedly as long as the fundamentals remain unchanged.

Calling the multitude of processes that in the end resulted in the dissolution of the USSR “a semi-accident” is an admission of one’s ignorance about the history of every single country of the so-called “Eastern Partnership area”. The author also fails to mention that “societies” (the author obviously likes this term as much as she despises the term “the people”) in some of these countries indeed have found an answer how to reach a “better governance, rule of law and more say over their countries’ futures”. One only has to look at Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. And let’s not forget that Russia itself was “promptly hijacked by corrupt elites”. And what the EU “did not launch… but cannot do anything other than support” were the forces inimical to these governments, which managed, indeed, to bring better governance, rule of law (which was non-existent before) and more say over their countries’ futures (that’s it – they will have more say about it, not some “advisers” from Brussels or Washington).

And then the article lists all the reasons why the West won’t reach any agreement with Russia. The EU will continue to do what it pleases, not giving a damn about Russian concerns over “spheres of influence” because of “the OSCE charter, the principles of the Council of Europe, the founding documents of the EU and NATO and so forth”- even despite the fact that some members of Russia’s elite are indeed ready to strike a deal with them. This sort of sincerity is kinda refreshing, I must say. When a person speaking on behalf of the West freely admits that they don’t care about Russia’s opinion at all, that any real equal dialog is pointless, this sounds both arrogantly prideful and refreshingly new.

But the article also discusses some methods to “fix the Russian problem”! Once again, I’m reminded of some other high-ranking citizens of the “United Europe” of old, who had similar plans. But the new generation is much, much more merciful to the undeserving “lessers”:

Ideally, Europe would want to live next to a Russia that shares if not our values, then at least some of our interests, and uses attractiveness, rather than coercion to win allies and make itself influential. Some experts suggest that to achieve that, we need a regime change in Russia. This would be true if our Russia-problem was rooted solely in the personality of Putin and the nature of his regime – but this is probably not the case. Russia’s dominance-fixated mindset has survived multiple regime changes…

What is needed, therefore, is something much more complicated: Russia’s sincere and extensive rethink of the means and ends of its international behaviour. This is closer to an identity change, than to a regime change. And a lot trickier. While such things have happened in history, the circumstances that bring them about are generally unpredictable and tend to vary greatly – which means that this is not something that outsiders can easily bring about, and achieve a desired outcome.

One of the biggest reasons why Russians resisted so fiercely (and why the common people’s memory preserved it through generations) the many-faced West is because of its desire to “re-make” and “re-model” Russia into forms more suitable to the West. Numerous nomads from the East were up to the usual stuff – pillage, burning, slave taking. But they’ve never dictated to the Russians how they should rule themselves or how they must worship. Only the West did it and by doing it have forever earned the special degree of distrust – confirmed once again by this “commentary” of the EU institution, not intended to be read by Russian “savages” at all. While the author generously admits that “perhaps” Russia doesn’t warrant a “regime change” (which, you must understand, is sort of a norm for the Free and Democratic West – i.e. changing legally elected “regimes” for fun and profit) in Russia, she still argues for an “ideal” Russia without an independent foreign policy; she is arguing for Russia surrendering its security and economical concerns in the name of “appealing to Europe”. Oh, and she also dreams of a Russia which abandons any thoughts of allying itself with China because the EU are the good guys, and China is a “meanie”.

The article is a true hodge-podge of some brilliant epiphanies (for a typical westerner) – when, say, the author argues that the West’s blind support or Yeltsin in 1996 in face of the possible “communist revival” has been unwarranted and even harmful. But then, unfortunately, the author decides to touch upon the subject of Western sanctions, and here we might glimpse the true attitude of “what it’s all about” concerning them:

This implies a wider strategy that consists of boosting the security of the vulnerable EU and NATO members, defending the independence and sovereignty of the EaP countries, and keeping sanctions until the conditions for lifting them – implementations of the Minsk agreements or settlement of the Crimea issue – are fulfilled…

… It is good that the sanctions are linked to concrete demands – return of Crimea and fulfilment of the Minsk agreements. This provides a relatively clear conditionality that Europe needs to stick to. While the Crimea-related sanctions will probably remain in place for the foreseeable future, as a settlement of the issue is not on the horizon, the Minsk agreements are supposed to be implemented by the end of the year.

This is very notable, because in just a few paragraphs a person close to the EU analytical stuff (at least) admits that:

  1. Russia MUST “return” Crimea to Ukraine
  1. b) Russia will be held personally accountable for any failures in implementation of Minsk agreement.

And despite the fact that the author tries to distract us with all her flowery words about “one does not need to make sanctions a ‘barometer’ of Russian behaviour in Ukraine” (because, As Everybody Knows It  () – “Russia is waging a war on the territory in the territory of Ukraine, and about Zero percent of locals actual contribute to it”), while demanding that the EU’s policy “ must consist of a refusal to roll back sanctions before Ukraine has gained full control of its eastern border”. In short – the current Kiev government can do nothing regarding their responsibilities according to the Minsk-2 accord (with the blessing of the EU, it’s implied), but Russia must be held responsible for EVERYTHING. And be sanctioned appropriately, should it falter in its duties. After all, “sanctions should be a slow squeeze that gradually reduces Russia’s freedom of manoeuvre and thereby reminds it of its misdeeds and Europe’s displeasure.

The conclusion of the article, despite the absence of any bellicose terms, reads (at least for me) as a declaration of War against Russia:

Europe needs to be aware that our problem with Russia is long-term and multi-layered. It is clear that the sanctions are not a miracle cure to fix it all, but they need to be a small part of a bigger strategy. They are instrumental in restoring our credibility and possibly fixing a few near- or medium term goals. Getting that right, however, is important, as credibility is something Europe badly needs if it wants to influence processes in the future. Hence the necessity of sanctions – despite all their limits.

Actually, the majority of politically aware Russians won’t find anything “revelatory” in this article. It’s been a “Punchinello’s Secret” that the EU will always skew more on the side of regime in Kiev while reviewing the “fulfillment” of the Minsk-2 resolution. The Official EU (as opposed to its individual members) will always see Russia as an aggressor and the guilty party by default. While the talks about “possible cancellation of sanctions” remain a sort of tasty carrot for some people (especially for some too eager to sell Crimea for a batch of the “true” Italian Mozzarella cheese), the fact remains – the EU will renew its sanctions against Russian at the end of 2015, no matter what.

The sheer gall of claiming that “…Europe would want to live next to a Russia that shares if not our values, then at least some of our interests, and uses attractiveness, rather than coercion to win allies and make itself influential” is astonishing. Since when did the so-called “United Europe” abandon the use of “coercion to win allies and make itself influential”? What has happened to the collective memory of the Enlightened Western Public () (Totally Entitled to Its Own Opinion Even Without Knowing A Thing) about the events that preceded the bloody coup d’etat in Kiev on February 22, 2014?

But, despite all its flaws, I actually like these kinds of “anomalous articles” that sometimes grace the pages of the Free and Independent Western Press (). First of all – some admissions here signify that the so-called analysts in the West are not brain-dead and that they can still understand and articulate some basic things about Russia’s perspective, in the language probably accessible to the vast majority of their target audience. Second – the article is refreshingly honest about the West’s goals and objectives in the conflict with Russia.

Yes, there is some flowery prose here, but the core imperatives are hard to miss. And, yes, I’m using the term “the West” in rather broad definition here. Despite their best attempts to conceal this, it’s rather obvious for anyone with a functioning brain that the EU sanctions against Russia applied (as they claim) due to “the unlawful annexation of Crimea”, “support of militants in the Ukrainian East” or “Russia’s as yet unconfirmed (but we are counting on it anyway!) complicity in the downing of MH17” have nothing to do with any point of the Minsk-2 agreement. In fact, right after the signing of this treaty, the EU decided to prove to the Whole Civilized World that it didn’t bow down to Russia’s demands, and issued yet another batch of sanctions.

But for every Russian who will read this article (and believe me – there will be a fair amount of them), after they get the essence of it, they will realize that this is not some op-ed by the typically “handshakable” Western outlet, that this “commentary” had been published by the Powers That Be of the EU – and that everything written herein bodes nothing good for Russia in the foreseeable future, no matter what. Russians, being the citizens of Russia, tend to react very negatively to some Western countries’ decision to “deal” with them. And the reaction will follow. As it turned out, the Westerners of old (who also had some “long- term problems with Russia”) were truly… mortified by such manner of counter-reaction.

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1,341 Responses to The Abyss Looks Back: Europe’s Phenomenal Arrogance

  1. Drutten says:

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there was a funny little Russia story in Swedish media the other day.

    Basically, a Swedish museum decided to host a Chagall exhibition, but they didn’t have the paintings themselves (they’re in Russia). Instead of actually taking things in the correct order they loudly announced the exhibition, started printing supporting materials, booked experts and so on. Only after this they got around to deal with the fact that the paintings themselves were in Russia… So, they requested the paintings and the Russian curators in return requested properly written, legally binding assurances that the paintings would be treated properly and returned, or they wouldn’t lend them out.

    The Swedish museum for some reason couldn’t give them assurances that Sweden wouldn’t throw some kind of fit and refuse to return the paintings (?!) so naturally – the very next day you got news articles all over the place describing how the pesky Russians “stopped a Chagall exhibition” – the bastards! Not only that, but now the exhibition will take place anyway with small signs in place of the actual paintings, as a (and I quote) “statement” (which in Swedish implies a political ditto).

    I’m not even kidding. What a fucking farce.

    • kirill says:

      What is sad is that most media consumers have such a low level of attention and knowledge that they will lap up this crap like honey dew.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I’m sure that’s almost an exact repeat of a trick some British national gallery did a few years ago when it was presenting a Russian exhibition there.

      Yep! In 2007:

      Russia calls off major art loan as ties with UK worsen

      Irina Antonova, the Pushkin’s general director, said paintings from four Russian state museums would not be loaned to the UK because of worries that they could be subject to legal claims and would not ultimately be returned to Russia.

      “I learned about this only last night,” Antonova said. “The British side did not guarantee the return of the exhibition, which includes masterpieces of Russian and French art from four Russian museums – the Puskhin Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum.

      “As negotiations on such guarantees have ended unsuccessfully, the decision on returning all the exhibits to Russia has been made.”

      • kirill says:

        If they can’t guarantee the return of loan art then obviously there cannot be any loans of said art. This point appears to escape a lot of people.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Sound like an a calculated provocation – if the Russian caved and sent the artwork it would be confiscated for some BS reason (a win for the noble West) and if the Russians did not take the bait, it would be characterized as indicated; Russia “stopped a Chagall exhibition”. What pukes.

      • Jen says:

        “Legal claims”? Sounds like the British couldn’t afford to insure the paintings for the duration of the exhibition.

        I believe that not that long ago, paintings from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris were on a travelling exhibition around the world while the museum was being renovated. While the paintings were being exhibited at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, because Australia was one of many stops on this tour, the curators there had their fingers crossed the whole time because the insurance covering the paintings was either not complete or non-existent.

  2. kirill says:

    Something smells, literally. The string of “accidents” are breaking statistical variance limits and it is likely this is some sort of sabotage campaign. Perhaps to send a signal to China that the USA is top dog in this world.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Could be. It was made clear sabotage was at the root of at least one Proton rocket failure in Russia.

      The Chinese government needs to do a thorough investigation to determine if it were sabotage, operating error, QC problems or design flaws. They should and most likely will act accordingly to these findings.

      In any event, those explosions are unnerving the urban Chinese population to some degree based on what one acquaintance who lives in Beijing indicated. He was concerned about the effects of air pollution which these explosions only heightened.

      On the other hand, give that the physical economy of China seems at least twice that of the US, industrial accidents will happen. Combine the forgoing with the fact that most safety rules are written in blood (just as in the US over the past century), China will show steady progress toward worker safety and a general decrease in industrial accidents.

      • kirill says:

        I agree that China has problems. But this cluster of incidents and its general timing with the geopolitical situation is out of the norm. The port incident is actually rather bizarre. The US has the gangster style of diplomacy and it sends severed horse head messages on a routine basis. I think we are seeing China get slapped for aligning with Russia and for not kowtowing to US imperial will.

        I believe the Kursk submarine was sunk by a NATO torpedo and the string of Bulava SLBM failures magically stopped when a hive of US “inspectors” near the plant producing them was finally told to bugger off. For sure there has been more than one incident of sabotage of the Pronton rockets. The spectacular one was the most glaring and the other ones were more subtle. As we discussed before on this board there has already been some sort of crackdown at Khrunichev and we had a balcony bird departing for the after life already.

        A properly operating intelligence service is vital in the current era. And Putin has managed to restore Russia’s intelligence agencies to a state where they can counter NATO meddling and sabotage. But for some reason the NATO propaganda chorus makes no mention of this aspect even in its cheesy twisted way of attacking Russian intelligence for being incompetent or somesuch.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Regarding the Kursk sinking, it does appear likely that the US/NATO had a hand although it may have been an accidental collision between a US sub and the Kursk (such collisions have happened before IIRC).

          If there were involvement with the US/NATO (accidental or otherwise), it makes sense why Russia would give a free pass regarding blame – Russia was trying mightily to build bridges with the West and such an incident would inflame anti-US Russian public opinion. Better to take the hit rather than set back years of effort.

          Or, perhaps, Russia knew all along what the end game would be but needed more time to recover and strengthen for the inevitable showdown. I favor the later theory

    • marknesop says:

      Adding impetus to your misgivings, this comment from the source article:

      The above report says the explosion occurred just before midnight.

      Two of the previous explosions occurred @11:30 PM and 11:28 PM.

      Hard to miss the significance of what is at play here.

      People are putting things together and it’s difficult to imagine the Chinese – who presumably are investigating these explosions – have not noticed the pattern as well.

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    Порошенко задумался о захвате Москвы
    Poroshenko thinking about capturing Moscow

    The President said that the conflict in the Donbass should be resolved through the implementation of the Minsk agreements. However, according to “Correspondent”, Poroshenko does not exclude a radical option: a Ukrainian army offensive in the East with a further March on Moscow.

    President Petro Poroshenko is sure that the most suitable variant in the development of events in the Donbass is the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and power in the uncontrolled territories in Eastern Ukraine. However, according to “Correspondent”, Poroshenko does not exclude other scenarios.

    “There are three options, three scenarios for the development of events. The first scenario is a radical one for the armed forces: the military liberation of the territories and a march on Moscow. The second variant is to build a wall, to give away part of the territories – ‘to go on living without the Donbass’. Is this a viable option? Yes, it is. But I, as President of theUkraine, am not willing for a trade off. I am not giving away anyone or any scrap of Ukrainian land”, said Poroshenko during an interview on Ukrainian TV channels.

    The third way in which the Donbass situation may develop is, according to Poroshenko, the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

    “And there’s a third way – providing for the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty, Ukrainian authority in these territories. This path is called the Minsk agreement”, said the Ukrainian President.

    A march on Moscow?

    You and whose army?

    Bring it on, idiot!

    And make sure you wear your latest uniform and appear in the vanguard of the march so that someone can legally put a bullet in your ugly fat mug!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Porky at the front?

      Please, please let it happen!!!

    • marknesop says:

      This is just like the NRA whenever there’s a major civilian shooting incident – they straightaway come out swinging with an argument for arming everyone big enough to carry a gun. That will prevent violence, they say, because you can just whip out your equalizer and eliminate the baddie. Of course they know political figures will react with horror and say they’re not doing anything of the kind. Things go back to the way they were, and everyone says “Whew! Isn’t it lucky the NRA didn’t get their way?”, not noticing that they never expected to; they just didn’t want to have to give up anything, and they didn’t.

      In a similar fashion, Porky’s legions could hurl themselves at the Donbas and take it, if they managed to achieve surprise. Then the world would say “Whew! Good thing they stopped short of attacking Russia, which they had every right to do.” Which they never intended and know well would result in annihilation.

      I doubt Porky’s military types share his optimism. They must know he is just posturing for the Nazis.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Denis Denisych (can I adress you like that, Mr. Exile?)! Victorious Ukrainian Military Plans to Conquer Katzapstan ™ are a thing! That’s absolutely true!

      Just last year, while the medical effect of чайок з Маiдану and Nooland’s cookies was still strong, the UkrMilitary had “da kunnin’ plan” how to bring the War back to enemy!

      And I remind you, that Ukrainian commander in chief Petro Poroshenko called the Ukrainian Army “the mightiest army in Europe”:

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Fox News обвинил Россию в нашествии беженцев на Европу
    Fox News has accused Russia for causing the refugee invasion of Europe

    Persistent Russian military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was the reason for the surging into Europe of Middle Eastern refugees, it has been stated during a Fox News interview. Moreover, in its desire to annoy the West, Moscow is acting in cooperation with Beijing and it is not by chance that Chinese ships appeared off the coast of Alaska at a time when Barack Obama was there, an analyst at the channel has noted.

    If you look at the map, it is evident that all [the refugees] are moving to the West. They’re definitely not going to the East – to other Gulf countries. And yet no one seems to want to go to Russia and China. Both of these countries have sided with Assad and put a lot of effort into maintaining his power, and so on.

    As regards the photos of the Chinese military parade, one can conclude that in this manner both Russia and China are trying to dump refugees into Europe and anywhere else, playing with human lives to gain political capital in the world.

    KATHLEEN MCFARLAND, a Fox News analyst for national security: I think this applies less to China than it does to Russia, but yes: last week we learnt that Russia had increased its military presence in Syria. Russia, like Iran, is trying to strengthen Assad’s government, therefore, it is sending military equipment by sea, by land, by air – all in the name of the Assad government’s continued military action.

    Continued military action – hence the refugee crisis.

    KATHLEEN MCFARLAND: Yes, exactly. The refugee problem will only get worse.

    We know how much Putin loves Europe – that is, how he loves getting Europe involved with any kind of problem, as is the case now with the refugees.

    My last question to you, Kathleen: In the past few days we have been showing pictures of the Chinese military parade which Vladimir Putin also attended. Does this mean the formation of a new world axis is due to the fact that China and Russia have started to get along with each other better, or are they are just on good terms rather than good friends?

    KATHLEEN MCFARLAND: It’s a marriage of convenience. Throughout the postwar period, China and Russia have tried to set off in different directions and to ensure that they were no longer enemies of the United States. Nixon neutralized China; Reagan neutralized Russia. And now, apparently, they have come together again. The pleasant terms of their relationship lies in the fact that China has the money to buy necessary resources, and Russia has those resources and she wants to sell them. So, naturally, their union is built on land resources. However, there is concern that China and Russia will work together against the United States and our interests in the world. It seems to me that that is exactly what will happen in the future.

    At least it is obvious that some kind of cooperation is going on. After all, it is no coincidence that the ships of the Chinese fleet were off the coast of Alaska, when the peninsula was visited by President Obama.

    And to close this refugees topic, I shall will read out a message from Twitter: “What bothers me most about the flow of refugees into Europe is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hiding among the other guests”. The same thought you expressed earlier in our programme, Kathleen. Kathleen Mcfarland, a big thank you and happy holiday weekend.

    KATHLEEN MCFARLAND: Thank you, Leland.

    Reagan neutralized Russia?

    What a load of bollocks!

    Everyone knows it was Maggie Thatcher what done that!

    Bloody Americans!

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    New York conceptual artist David Down has created a new Ukraine flag

    I wonder what a “conceptual artist” is?

    Everything created by man starts as a concept, from a condom to Concorde – the aeroplane, that is!

  6. james says:

    i see usa asking greece to close off it’s airspace to russian aid to syria..

  7. Cortes says:

    Speculation at Moon of Alabama that manned US helicopters in use in Syria.

  8. et Al says:

    Asia Times Online: Moscow lures East Asian investors by ‘exclusive preferences’

    The Russian authorities held the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on September 3-5 in an apparent attempt to invite East Asian investors into the country’s vast Far Eastern regions….

    …On September 4, President Vladimir Putin told the EEF that Russia offers potential partners “exclusive opportunities and preferences,” including tax breaks and state support of infrastructure development projects. These preferences are offered in a number of Russia’s Far Eastern regions, including Primorie, Khabarovsk, Yakutiya, Amur, Chukotka and Kamchatka regions.

    Residents of Vladivostok free port are eligible to benefit from a larger number of preferences, Putin said. Russia aims at creating a major transportation and industrial hub around Vladivostok to serve the entire Asia-Pacific, he said…

    …The Russian authorities also pledged to develop transportation infrastructure to serve the increased transcontinental freight shipments. Putin told the EEF that Russia aimed to spend 500 billion rubles ($7.4 billion) before 2017 to upgrade the Trans-Siberian and BAM railways so as to funnel more freight between Asia and Europe.

    In the past, officials in Moscow repeatedly promised to take action so as to increase railway freight via the Trans-Siberian and BAM routes. However, these promises have entailed limited results so far.

    The Kremlin also prioritized energy projects as major drivers of the country’s drift towards East Asia. Russia’s state-run oil giant, Rosneft, plans to invest 1.3 trillion rubles ($19.2 billion) in the Far East, according to Putin…

    …During the Eastern Economic Forum, Russian and foreign businesses signed deals totaling some 1.2 trillion rubles ($17.7 billion). However, before the EEF there were expectations that this number could have reached 4 trillion rubles ($59 billion)…

    The Russians really have to deliver on the infrastructure.

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    Zyuganov has urged the Russian authorities to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics

    The Ukraine is already under external control, but domination by NATO forces Russia will not allow, said Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist party and its faction in the State Duma .

    “At the same time we must declare to NATO and the USA and Europeans that we will not allow NATO to prevail in the Ukraine. This disrupts the whole balance of power that has emerged in post-war history and is a deadly threat to all”, Zyuganov said at a press conference on Monday.

    According to him, the Ukraine “is under external control”; in Kiev today, there is no “fully fledged management team” and the situation there is out of control.

    “There is direct bickering for power”, said the politician. Moreover, he said “this bickering has already gone to the top”.

    He believes that in the West they are beginning to assess the situation in this country realistically:

    “Europe has felt and realized that she has had her fingers badly burnt when it came to maintaining the current Kiev regime”, said Zyuganov.

    “We are doing everything to ensure that the peace will come to Novorossia. Tomorrow we are allocating the 41st convoy with humanitarian aid”, said the leader of the Communist party.

    He called for greater support Novorossia.

    “Our point of view: Russia needs to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics. Russia has the right to state that we will never hand over Novorossia – neither to the Nazis-Banderites nor to Kiev”, he said.

    That’s the leader of the real opposition in the Duma, the leader of the next biggest bloc after the governing party.

    Of course, most in the West believe that the leader of the opposition is that shite Navalny, a person for whom the percentage of the electorate votes is in single figures, unlike the percentage vote that the Communist Party enjoys – but they don’t like talking about that in the West.

  10. et Al says:

    Neuters via Poland may buy submarines with other NATO members: minister

    …The ministry had planned to buy three submarines with delivery set for 2020-25 and at a cost of 7.5 billion zlotys ($2 billion) in a tender due to be launched at the start of this year.

    This was postponed when Poland decided to change the contract specification to arm the fleet with maneuvering missiles…

    …Poland’s defense ministry was not immediately available for comment…

    I’m confused. If the lo-land of Po-land is facing an existential threat then why does it need to look for money down the back of the sofa and go to the sweet shop with its friends to get its toys? Patriotic poles would be more than happy to forgo holidays, cars, nice food etc. to be the USA’s bulwark against a resurgent Russian empire. Or maybe not…

    • Oddlots says:

      Poland cannot into deep?

      Was not aware.

      Poor Poland.

    • Jen says:

      Imagine the day when Poland has to use one of the three submarines in an emergency but must get permission from, say, Lithuania to use it because Lithuania was a co-buyer of the submarine. How long would Poland have to wait while the Seimas holds a debate and a vote to allow the use of the submarine? Would permission extend to the firing of torpedoes or would the Poles have to wait while the Seimas holds a second debate and vote on the firing of each and every torpedo on board?

      And if the submarine was damaged or got blown up, would Poland have to compensate Lithuania for its half of the loss?

      • Terje says:

        The idea of international NATO units seems to be in the air at the moment. They would be responsible to a joint NATO central command, and not to the individual member countries.

        In a recent Norwegian strategy document the defense brass says that «if the government’s original funding plans are carried through, then Norway would have to leave defense against invasion totally to NATO. The Norwegian operative highquarters would have to be closed down, and the number of officers in the NATO system increased substantially.»

        I think more will be heard of these kind of plans in the next few years.

        • marknesop says:

          I think so, too, because surveys taken in NATO European countries see a wide deviation in support when they ask, say, “Do you agree it is Poland’s responsibility to support NATO so that it can protect Europe?” and “Would you be willing to see your taxes increase by 10% across the board to fund such an effort?” The response goes from “Hell, yes!” to “Hell, no!” in a hurry. Hence Washington arms merchants’ latest cunning plan – get them to chip in and buy our stuff as a group.

          I remember Annie Applebum mocking the idea of a EuroArmy, back in the glory days when George W. Bush was kicking ass and taking names in Iraq and America looked unstoppable. Back then, Europe had a case of the nervous dribbles over American militarism, and mulled the idea of being a counterweight to American military power. Since then Europe has mostly been persuaded that throwing in its lot with the juggernaut is the wisest course of action. Here’s Annie, applying a licking to George Bush’s underparts that he won’t soon forget, and which is almost pathetically comical now – the line that sticks in my head and helps me find this over and over although I’m sure Annie wishes it was forgotten is, “Yes, the war did prove, as everyone knew it would, that we no longer need military allies — and in that sense, Europe is irrelevant.”

          How times have changed. Back then, the Russians were “so chaotic” that it was okay to forgive them their duplicitous ways, such as smuggling Saddam out of the way of searching Americans, and coordinating Baghdad’s air defense using the latest Russian technology, although there was no air battle over Baghdad and the Americans pretty much bombed what they liked. Russia seems to have gotten its act together since then, though, and is now “the fearful foe that ought to unify Europe“. Annie never seems to notice these dramatic reversals, and just picks up the raveled sleeve of bullshit from wherever she decided to change the narrative, just as if everything she said before supports everything she says now.

          • Oddlots says:

            As someone approaching my golden years I found this a helpful note:

            “the line that sticks in my head and helps me find this over and over although I’m sure Annie wishes it was forgotten is, “Yes, the war did prove, as everyone knew it would, that we no longer need military allies — and in that sense, Europe is irrelevant.”

            You could make an ap out of that… Kind of like Bitly.

            I would call it Howlers.

            • marknesop says:

              Annie is a graduate of the same school to which Barack Obama sends his daughters. Of course she continued her education after that, so she is very well-educated. Which is not the same thing as saying she’s smart. And it should be a lesson to us all – if you have a serious blind spot due to ideology, your ability to be objective and analytical basically goes out the window. Annie can only bark like a dog that hears a whistle out of the range of the human ear, because she sees a looming threat only she and her conservative fellow cultists see.

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    Yukie slaves dancing for their masters in Odessa where USN units participating in “Sea Breeze” have docked.

    • kirill says:

      The professor from Harvard is a total clown. PPP GDP makes more sense than dollar GDP for any country other than the USA when comparing GDP sizes. PPP normalizes price scales for products and services of equal value. US produced overpriced military hardware is not worth every cent compared to cheaper Russian hardware. Nobody who claims the T-14 or even the T-90MS is trash compared to Abrams tanks can be taken seriously. So it simply does not make sense to use dollars to compare Russian military and civilian production which grossly understates the *physical* economy. The one composed of tangible matter and energy and not psychological delusions. Even services can be properly evaluated in terms of matter and energy so there is such a thing as an objective, physical economy.

      Another way of countering the Harvard economic voodoo is to think what would happen if some rich Americans decided to buy up all that cheap, 3rd rate GDP of some other country. The prices would shift overnight and they would lose their ability to buy anywhere near the amount they thought the could. So pricing the GDP of states other than the US in dollars is beyond ridiculous. But it serves US propaganda purposes to claim that a 50% ruble devaluation shrank Russia’s GDP by 50%.

      • Oddlots says:

        He is presumably a tenured economics professor so you can’t expect much. It would be like interrogating the Manchurian Candidate.

      • Oddlots says:

        I do have to ask though, while paging Guy, whether the fact that traders can, on futures and options exchanges dominated by New York, Chicago, London, Hong Kong etc., multiply the actual physical economy in terms the amount of “munny” at stake, whether a focus on the “real” – physical – economy is entirely to the point.

        Just as a rough stab at what I mean: this seemingly meaningless false economy has made London the powerhouse of England’s economy… It seems utter bullshit to me but it has “worked” somehow since Thatcher’s age.

        My point is, I wouldn’t underestimate the staying power of the wholesale financialization of the economy. What I’d like to really understand is how it’s gotten this far and, FWIW, what it will look like when it comes to an end.

        That’s going to be absolutely wrenching I suspect. Least of all for its advocates with perfect irony.

        • kirill says:

          Indeed, money has established economic structures that are meta-stable. Since psychology is one of the main parameters of the economy (humans make choices based on various notions and delusions and this translates into physical processes converting matter and energy), money enables the manipulation of human behaviour including the establishment of perceptions that organize economic activity. Banksters are quite powerful politically, they manipulate the economy in ways that no politician can.

          Over the last 20+ years we have seen how financial “technologies” have driven western GDP growth via debt growth. This applies to all levels including the individual consumer who is racking up large debts to pay for all sorts of consumer junk. The housing market is also grossly distorted and people are “buying” million dollar homes on family incomes of $70,000. Their mortgages are nearly all interest and only affordable due to ridiculously low interest rates.

          But the racket can’t last forever. Growth through cheap credit is a nonsense concept in the long run. Already the national debts of many NATO states are beyond the ability of those states to pay them off. Even though they are “only” around 80% of GDP, there is no austerity program that would preserve the GDP level and the ability to pay. Greece is a nice example of what happens when the confidence in the system breaks. Greece was actually quite normal and attempts to paint it as some sort of special basket case are revisionism. The west is headed for the brick wall of reality. I am afraid that the elites realize this and are engineering WWIII to extricate themselves.

          • Oddlots says:

            “The west is headed for the brick wall of reality. I am afraid that the elites realize this and are engineering WWIII to extricate themselves.”

            Squinting hard I see the same thing. But, call it nitpicking if you will, here’s what I really want to know.

            What worries me most in a way is that the fundamental insight of Modern Monetary Theory will be lost in the confusion.

            Hardly clear so let me try and explain.

            – all the world’s central economies are capitalist roughly speaking
            – the current, dominant ideology of capitalist countries – including Russia and China – are (as far as I’m aware) running on a neo-liberal platform where the economy is assumed roughly to be “self-righting”
            – this despite the fact that – as Hyman Minsky points out – the only reasonable theory of capitalism is one that models capitalism that is precisely prone to booms and busts (the exact thing that neo-liberalism puts out of consideration.)
            – in this context it worries me a great deal that the central insight to deal with this… That public “debt” is actually UNIQUELY sustainable – as a tool to deal with a massive output gap as in Southern Europe at the moment – while the market-cheerleaded run up of private debt is UNIQUELY unsustainable.
            – … so when I hear this obsession with debt per se, even when it comes in the form of pointing out how comparatively robust Russia is by this metric, it still worries me.
            – and this is because public expenditures are the only way to escape to from the “private credit” trap.
            – there is no other way if one understands the money system in a pure fiat world.

            Not sure I’ve really nailed it but.. Gotta retire.


  12. Oddlots says:

    Cheney on “cooked up” deals.

    I REALLY look forward to the clinical dementia of our recent and current neo-Con overlords.

  13. Chios-tears says:

    I ask rhe maste of this blog is France and French can be admitted

  14. Chios-tears says:


    Ir is about the two little children perhaps twins of europe, one is angry and the other suffering and sad.
    SAUDADE and FADO sinking
    ZORBA etc doing very well

  15. Chios-tears says:

    Je cherche des amis.
    Rien d’autre….
    Ou des alliés, qui sait, un jour on en aura peutêtre besoin.
    Merci à tous de votre acceuiil.
    En flamand on dit WeLKOM

  16. Chios-tears says:

    FR cul est passé en Chine maintenant

    Bruite de bateaux
    La Rochelle
    Ca c’est beau ça, c’est beau

    4 13 heure.

    y a-t-il quelqu’un qui s’est branché?

    C’est vraiment une nuit magnétique.

    Vin espagnol avec la boussole dessus.
    Cubicle 3 litres, juste entamée.
    Nuit de garde.

    A la revoyure.

    • Oddlots says:

      J’ai eu la chance de rencontrer ici, au Canada, avec un arménien qui a grandi en Syrie. C’était il ya environ un an et il a été repping une maison je voulais scout pour un film.

      Nous avons parlé pendant environ une heure dans l’allée et pourrait presque fini uns et des autres peines. Nous avons littéralement dit en même temps: “d’Où vient la baiser adultes s’en vont!”

      Used Yandex. Still looks wrong.


    • marknesop says:

      Holy Hannah; what a crackpot.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      President Vlad Putin, there is a reason everybody is leaving your country. You suck.

      Errr, everyone isn’t …. leaving Russia that is.

      Plenty leaving the Baltics though, and your precious Poland – not to mention Romania, Albania etc. and, dare I say it, the Ukraine.

      And once again, “Vlad” is not the diminutive of Vladimir!

      The diminutive of Vladimir can be either “Vova” or “Volodya”, but never “Vlad” – Russians associate that diminutive with other names, like “Vladislav” or “Vladilen” (an abbreviation of “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin”).

      See ya, sucker!

      • Oddlots says:

        One of the remarkable features of our moment is how the much trumped up “successes” that the current crop of western leaders are so hopelessly ramshackle… But the realization is never allowed to breach the surface of consciousness.

        The idea that the demographic horror stories of the Baltic nations – where, if Micheal Hudson is to be believed, they have introduced mortgages that allow for multi-generational, non-recourse loans to allow the remaining population to simply subsist and work – should be seen as an abomination.

        Yet they are trumpeted as the apotheosis of a free market.

        Completely Orwellian in the deepest sense meaning that is a bold-faced lie visible only illuminated by it’s own hypocrisy.

  17. marknesop says:

    Now suave dark-haired piglet Francois Hollande says he will push for a meeting of the “Normandy Four” ahead of the UN General assembly, and if they can do a deal he will use it as a springboard to argue for lifting sanctions.

    There is a definite whiff of desperation in the air, with a sense that the west has lost its stomach for keeping this farce staggering along. A Peter Hitchens piece at Russia Insider argued that Ukraine has used up its early flush of goodwill, and the west – primarily Europe, Washington will hector angrily against it – wants to try mending fences with Russia.

    I devoutly hope Washington prevails. For one thing, if Europe restores its trade ties with Russia and all is forgiven, Europe will quickly forget what a fucking-over it got at Washington’s insistence. For another, I don’t want Hollande to pull off a statesmanlike coup ahead of French elections, because I want him unceremoniously kicked to the curb. For a third, Russia’s market replacement is not yet complete, it’s just taking off, and if there was an emotional rapprochement the kreakles would all howl for their French cheese and their Polish apples, and the whole effort would fall apart. Stand firm, Russia!!

  18. Warren says:

    Ukraine conflict: France hopes to end Russia sanctions

    French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Check this out, Svidomite retards.

    top: Grafitti written by Sofia of Kiev in the 11th century

    (Note: as in classical Latin and, I should imagine, in Byzantine Greek, there are no spaces between the words)

    What Sophie wrote using modern Russian Cyrillic orthography and spacing would look something like this:

    алътарь пламаны
    а црикы ледяна и
    олътарь погаснетъ и
    црикы стаеть

    bottom left: modern Russian

    bottom right: Yukie

    Spot the similarities!

    And remember: Moskali and their hybrid Slavic-Tatar tongue are alien to the true ethnos of Rus’!

    Stick your Polish slaves’ dialect up your collective zhopy, Svidomite morons!

    • kirill says:

      This is just gold. I have been hoodwinked into thinking Ukrainian was closer to the old Slavic language of the Rus. Clearly Ukrainian is quite distinct.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Shouldn’t have used Russian italic for the transliteration of Sophie’s graffiti, because the Cyrillic italic “т” is “т“.

    The plain “t” in modern Russian is just as Sophie wrote it in the 11th century and what she wrote would be something like this in modern, non-italicised Russian Cyrillic:

    алътарь пламаны
    а црикы ледяна и
    олътарь погаснетъ и
    црикы стаеть

  21. Jeremn says:

    File this under Western Assistance for Syrian refugees:

    Bulgaria has denied its airspace to Russian aid flights to Syria, Reuters reports on Tuesday citing the Bulgarian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman.

    • marknesop says:

      Washington is desperate to complete its putsch of Assad before Russia can interfere – it’s all going so well! Everyone in Syria is the enemy for the USAF. ISIS is the make-believe enemy, so the USA pretends to bomb them but really just bombs ahead of them so they can gain ground. A couple more weeks and they’ll take Damascus, and it’ll be all over. America is determined to win one; if it has to give way on Ukraine, then it must win in Syria. One way ot the other, Washington must control the transfer of energy to Europe.

      And fuck Bulgaria. It’s gonna be a cold winter, jackasses.

  22. Warren says:

    Ukraine crisis: Is conflict fuelling far-right threat?

    • marknesop says:

      Gosh! The Beeb is getting all analytical, like. Whatever happened to just plunging ahead and reiterating monotonously, “We stand with Ukraine in its efforts to grasp the golden ring of freedom and democracy”? Typically, the western press organs react long after the damage is done and then pretend they knew it all along. Which they probably did – a blind man could see it unless idiots were shouting in his ear, preventing him from knowing what is really going on. I think we may have reached the point where Europe is ready to give it up as a bad job. Too late, you bastards. You own it.

      • Oddlots says:

        I fear avoiding “owning” it is job 1. Which is not to say that “owning it” is not the exact purported goal at a certain, early phase of the debacle. Hence the whip-lash inducing about-faces that feature for those paying attention.

        But almost no-one does.

        Maybe there’s an ap we could launch?

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      If he’s so damned sorry he should come here and take what’s coming to him.

      • Oddlots says:

        Nice insight. Really all that’s happened is the fucker’s been allowed to demonstrate his privilege by admitting guilt with no consequences.

        As you suggest, hardly progress.

    • Oddlots says:

      OMFG where to start?

      Searching for an analogy.

      Maybe an Onion-style headline?

      “Local Pimp Looks Forward to City Hosting International Woman’s Day Conference”

      Any ideas?

  23. et Al says:

    Neuters: France says taking all refugees would be victory for Islamic State

    … About 60 countries, including ministers from Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, met in Paris on Tuesday to cement measures aimed at easing the return of refugees, encouraging regional governments to bring minorities into the political fold and ensure no impunity for crimes against humanity.

    “It’s very difficult, but if all these refugees come to Europe or elsewhere, then Daesh has won the game,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RTL radio, referring to the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

    “The objective (of this conference) is that the Middle East remains the Middle East, that means a region of diversity where there are Christians, Yazidis, etc,” he said…

    … “There is a humanitarian urgency,” President Francois Hollande said at the opening of the conference.

    “If we do not offer more help to the countries that welcome (refugees), if we do not give more support to the families that are in these refugee camps or are displaced in neighbouring countries, then not only will there be tragedies … but there will be this exodus.” …

    What a dick. The only reason he gives a s/t is that a) it’s good for the Front National; b) France doesn’t want to pay for anything. It’s amazing that Hollande has suddently discovered that there are refugees after all this time. Maybe the concept of not taking part in destroying secular countries with the US and UK is a new one to him. I do wonder where all the Armenian’s from Aleppo went though as they were the first to leave when the Western sponsored civil war broke out.

    • Oddlots says:

      Here’s a question. I began to smell a rat regarding Syria when I noticed the weird and – crucially – un-noticed or commented upon – disconnect appeared between, on the one hand, the early and regular reporting from Syrian state media on casualties in the ranks of the military and police and, on the other, the breathless presentation of and cheerleading for the peaceful, pro-democracy protesters of the “Arab Spring” franchise in Syria.

      Strangely, no one picked that story up.

      Yes we’ve got Laurent Fabius – ironically, given the above – saying that, way back in I think 2011, his British counterparts were telling him they had something planned for Syria. But I’ve never seen anyone dig into it and give a timeline to demonstrate that the supposedly democratic “Arab Spring” in Syria was perniciously violent from the beginning.

      Think of all that’s been uncovered about the Maidan. Where’s the analogue for Syria?

      • marknesop says:

        Well, I did, actually, in February 2012. But as usual, I did not think it up myself, merely highlighting information available around the web. It was not so much “unavailable” as it was “studiously ignored”. Here’s an excerpt:

        “This is Homs, where Britain’s representative to the United Nations would have you believe Assad’s forces were besieging the city with heavy artillery just the night before the U.N. vote. More? Sure: “In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed”. The British Ambassador remarks caustically that jelly-spined Russia would not get with the program even after language that expressed very modest concern about weapons was taken out, because Russia worried it might constitute an arms embargo. And no doubt it would if, say, Russia decided to move a few SAM systems into Syria to deter air attack on government forces. But a few may remember that the great Islamic-fundamentalist-empowerment festivities in Libya kicked off with…that’s right, Resolution 1970, an arms embargo. Did that have any effect on military intervention? Certainly not – Resolution 1973 merely rode right over it; “notwithstanding the provisions of Resolution 1970…”

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Plus ça change …,

    plus c’est la même chose.

    [Guns of US warship “Massachusetts”, 1901.]

  25. Jeremn says:

    Interesting analysis of Russian strategy in Ukraine, and beyond. Concludes the strategy is “low cost” and effective, at least compared to recent US adventures:

    “What most discussions of a possible Russian invasion of the Baltics share in common is their inability to explain what is in it for the Russians. Exactly why Russia would risk war against the most powerful military alliance in the world led by the United States in order to seize something in the Baltics remains an analytical quandary. Russia’s cautious and measured approach against a relatively weak, incapable, and non-aligned Ukraine offers little support to the notion that it would risk war with NATO.”

    • marknesop says:

      The trouble is, it assumes – as does every western assessment, without exception – that Russia is engaging in “limited conventional war” in Ukraine; that is, Russia is present in a state military capacity, uniformed soldiers, organized military formations, the lot. And nobody has been able to provide any proof of that at all. It is inconceivable that could be going on in one of the most heavy-surveillance areas on the globe and nobody would see it. You know the USA would provide proof if they actually had it – that “we have plenty of evidence” line is just bunk.

      • Jeremn says:

        True. But at least it affirms that, when Russia “invades”, or intervenes, it puts in place an alternative to the chaos so typical of western intervention.

        The West has to learn that when you trash a country, the West’s rivals and enemies are just as likely to benefit as any of our friends.

        As per Iran, and how after we defeated Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran’s two major competitors, we were magically presented with a more powerful Iran – which seemed to appear out of nowhere.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, that’s an excellent point. It still irks me, however, that the general public in the Anglosphere is so accepting of major allegations – Russia has battalions of soldiers and heavy armor in Ukraine, but you can’t see them although it is largely open fields; Russia shot down MH-17 – without any demonstrated evidence at all. It’s as if anything we’d like to believe is no longer off limits just because there’s no evidence it is true.

          • cartman says:


            Sounds like the same people crying that it was a Russian sub knew all along that it was one of their own. Still, I don’t expect any collective soul searching from the public that would protect them from believing the next round of lies.

          • kirill says:

            What has disappeared from the NATO propaganda wankfest if it ever even existed is any consideration for motive. Why would Russia deliberately shoot down MH-17? To prove how evil it is? This is beyond ridiculous and points to serious collective cognitive deficiency in NATO mainstream thought. But really it is just self serving BS where the western crusaders are always morally superior and justified in their imperial adventures while the barbarians are inferior in every way and need to be pacified. This syndrome has been afflicting the west for more than 1000 years and shows no evidence of going away in spite of all the cultural progress.

            • Oddlots says:

              Nail on head. I really think the West’s key strategic advantage is how easily thir / our populations can be led around by any political leader that appeals to their / our collective vanity. And it works both both ways or has two “moments.” One is the demonization of other nations and particularly other national leaders that baths the typical westerner in a sense of moral superiority. Call that particular “perfume” – because it’s all utterly empty marketing – the passive moment.

              The active “moment” comes with the call to action for which the above lays the ground work. The salient example is of course the refugee “crisis” where the suffering – long ignored and (insanely) OBVIOUSLY CAUSED BY WESTERN ACTIONS – can be invoked EXACTLY to promote more of the same kind of mindless aggression.

              That is a rough sketch of a psychopathic world view. The terrifying thing about it – speaking as a Westerner – is, most prominently, how well it works on US. It appears to almost never fail. It’s as if we live in a hermetically sealed, narcissistic pathology where even the evidence of our craven narcissism actually fuels more of the same.

              That is a doom loop surely.

              God help us.

              • marknesop says:

                I just finished pushing out the latest post, maybe an hour ago. Then I started catching up on comments. Dear God, I wish I had seen that line, “…the West’s key strategic advantage is how easily their / our populations can be led around by any political leader that appeals to their / our collective vanity” in time to work it in – it perfectly encapsulates what I wanted to say. The west is not filled with evil people – it’s filled with people who are too silly and vain to think for themselves, but you can’t be in the swim unless you can talk politics – all the int’resting pipple do it. Thank God for western newspapers and think-tank analysts!

            • marknesop says:

              Why, to blame Ukraine, of course! Come on, get with the program! Surely you knew Russia planned to shoot down one of its own Aeroflot flights, and then blame it on Kiev? Because Putin was desperate to stop Ukraine from making a great success of itself as a European Union member, prosperous and happy….it just couldn’t be allowed to happen, and the Poison Dwarf knew only desperate measures would be sufficient to keep Ukraine chained to his wicked empire.

              But because the Russians are too fucking stupid to even be able to read IFF, they accidentally shot down a Malaysian flight instead of an Aeroflot one, of which there were not any within a hundred miles at the time.

              Russians will want to keep MH-17 in mind if this dancing-with-reconciliation talk continues. Nothing wrong with being polite, of course, it is the mark of the well-bred. But Russia and Russians should remember the path the west would take, in the event of such an attempted reconciliation, would not be acknowledgement that Russia did not do it. No, it would be…forgiveness. Absolution. We know you did it, but sometimes accidents happen, and we’re prepared to say – for public consumption, anyway – that we’re sure it was just a horrible accident. You let us take care of the Ukrainians; I’m sure they’ll be furious, but give it some time and they’ll settle down.

              Russia should be polite, but firm. You’re no friends of ours, and you never will be. If you have problems, solve them yourselves. Just remember, we’re watching, and if you attempt to solve your problems using military might to win despite your complete moral bankruptcy, you will be opposed. Did I already say go fuck yourself?

        • Patient Observer says:

          My impression is that the West is content with creating chaos if it can not readily control a country – they don’t call it the Empire of Chaos for nothing. By that measure, Libya was a smashing success and Iraq is getting there.

        • Oddlots says:

          Playing devil’s advocate I really wonder this: what’s the most powerful demonstration of “psy-ops” prowess? Is it being able to sell reasonable, mature and informed policy as wisdom or being able to sell craven, evil and destructive policy as the height of sage “international relations”?

          I kind of suspect that the ad-man’s reverse-boast that “anyone can sell a great product” is kind of apropos.

          • Cortes says:

            Lots of clues these days that “The Space Merchants” (Pohl and Kornbluth) and “The Merchants’ War” (Pohl) understated, if anything, the insidious corralling of public opinion using advertising/PR techniques. Both novels well worth reading.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      “Russia’s cautious and measured approach against a relatively weak, incapable, and non-aligned Ukraine offers little support to the notion that it would risk war with NATO.”

      Well, I know it might be thought that I’m really pushing the envelope here and could possibly open myself to ridicule, but perhaps Russia’s approach to dear little, weak little Ukraine could be explained by the fact that the Empire of Evil has no expansionist plans whatsoever.

      Yeah, I know: pretty stupid idea.

      Forget I said it.

      • Jeremn says:

        I think one Russian strategy is that countries with ongoing territorial disputes can’t join NATO. I haven’t seen much comment on this, but I think it is in the NATO founding charter.

        Russia might be warning NATO with Crimea and Ossetia? Some kind of red line?

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, that’s a fairly well-established theory, and the term “frozen conflict” was more or less created for the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Indeed, the NATO Charter precludes the admission of countries which have unresolved border disputes. However, there are a couple of cautionary notes there. One, NATO has yet to show that it considers itself bound by anything so silly as rules, and probably if someone (*cough* Washington *cough*) were to propose an amedment to the NATO Charter which eliminated that restriction, the rest of NATO would be too venal or too chicken to vote against it even though smaller countries would regularly use it to get NATO to fight their battles for them. Two, Ukraine could recognize Crimea as part of Russia and the republics as independent entities – which is the reality anyway, Poroshenko and the fascists simply can’t accept it – and the remainder of Ukraine (still substantial) would be free to join NATO and the EU with the stroke of a pen. It would be a bold move, and Porky likely doesn’t chance it (or has been advised against it) because Ukraine as it is now is a thoroughly unappealing prospect for either organization. The west put all its eggs in one basket, and counted on Russia backing down before Ukraine became too much of a ruin. NATO would love to have a firechain of bases right up against the Russian border, but it could hardly put that kind of money into Ukraine and leave the people poor and desperate; if NATO bought in it would have to go all the way, and now we’d be talking more than a hundred billion dollars. Who’s got that kind of money?

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    The Russian words actually scan with the US anthem :

    Oh, skazhee, oh vyed zheev
    Palosatiy nash flag,
    Tsvyeta krovee ee smyertee
    Nashye zvyozdnaye znahmya?

    Oh see it still lives
    Our striped flag,
    The colour of blood and death
    Our starry banner.

  27. et Al says:

    Financial Crimes: We must be realistic about intervention in Syria

    The west should help the Sunni majority against both the Assad regime and Isis…

    …A more coherent policy needs to find ways of helping the majority Sunni of Syria — on the ground and against their tormentors: Bashar al-Assad’s minority regime and the Sunni jihadis of Isis. The moral imperative needs no explanation but the strategic aim is to turn Sunni opinion against Isis…

    ….It is important to get away from the perverse received wisdom that the only way to fight Isis is to lay off the Assads. That is a mirror image of the hopeless choice facing millions of Syrians, caught between the barrel bombs of the regime and the barbarian savagery of Isis. Mr Assad has used total and sectarian war to create the self-fulfilling conditions whereby he would be seen as the only alternative to jihadism. He is the flipside of the caliphate on which his forces have barely laid a glove…

    David Gardner, warmonger extroridnare writes about being ‘realistic’ but still wants to have his cake and eat it like all the other humanitarian bomber at heart. Unfortunately such doublethink in the par at the Financial Crimes newspaper, so quick to offer advice by clever clever people who are the first to then turn tail and beg protection the moment it all goes Pete Tong.


    David Gardner is International Affairs Editor at the FT, which he joined in 1978. He has been Chief Leader Writer, Middle East Editor, and an FT correspondent in Europe, Latin America and South Asia.

    He writes columns, commentary and analysis, mainly on the Middle East.

  28. et Al says:

    Here’s a turn up for the books:

    Independent – Evgeny Lebedev (reprint Evening Standard)(: An alliance of Western leaders, Muslim nations and Vladimir Putin is the only way to defeat Isis

    …The West has done little. Thankfully, the mood appears to be changing. Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon admitted that the UN, and by extension the international community, had failed Syria. After events this May I am weary of believing opinion polls, but I note The Sun reported that 52% of the British public now support some form of military intervention in Syria. Over the weekend, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, added his name to this roster when he called on David Cameron to “crush” Isis.

    By far the most persuasive intervention came from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Confirming that he has been supporting the Assad regime militarily in its fight against Isis, Putin said: “We really want to create some kind of an international coalition to fight terrorism and extremism.” And then, in words that jumped out at me: “To this end, we [have held] consultations with our American partners – I have personally spoken on the issue with US President Obama.”..

    …Seventy years ago, Russia and the West were riven by ideological differences. And yet they came together to defeat Nazism. In our time, the greatest threat to humanity is Islamist in nature, and our failure to defeat it is a direct cause of this refugee crisis. I agree with the Financial Times’s Edward Luce, who argued yesterday that Syria may come to haunt Obama, because his indecision and false threats about crossing “red lines” has made him look weak.

    Obama’s whole approach to foreign affairs is conciliatory: witness his rapprochement with Iran and Cuba. Here, then, is a golden opportunity. I do not say Assad is a long-term ally. But Isis is a short-term, mortal danger. Putin is prepared to support efforts to defeat it…

    …To mend relations internationally, neutralise the cancer of Isis, and help the desperate people of Syria and beyond: that is a prize worth fighting for. Putin has shown leadership. Does Britain’s political class, so slow to respond to the refugee crisis initially, have the same courage and moral strength? I doubt it – but given public support for action, now would be a good time to prove us sceptics wrong….

  29. Warren says:

    Russia Was Right About How to Deal with Syrian Crisis – Finnish President

    Read more:

  30. Warren says:

    ‘Washington infected with anti-Russia virus’ – senate leader Matviyenko

    Anti-Russian sanctions and visa restrictions only demonstrate a lack of professionalism by US diplomats, as it is not in the Russian mentality to give in to intimidation, the upper house chair states in a major interview.

    “The people in Washington who initiate decisions are infected with an anti-Russian virus. They lack foresight because they don’t know the history of our nation, they don’t understand the mentality of our people or our traditions, they don’t know that one should never use the language of force and sanctions in talks with Russia,” Valentina Matviyenko told Izvestia daily.

    She also noted that the origin of the anti-Russian sentiments of American politicians lied in the serious geo-political struggle and the desire to contain Russia’s development in the economic and social spheres as well as its growing influence in international politics.

    • kirill says:

      She is limiting the scope too much. The US is not infected with an anti-Russian virus. It is the anti-Russian virus.

      • chios-tears says:

        Kirill, please, calm down a little.

        Ukraine is 26 years old.
        It is a fragile baby that has to be taken care of.
        The parents are Russia and Europe
        Those parents had a long and tumultuous love story, like, all our novels, frenchn italian russian etc….prove.

        I don’t know where that flag, blue against yellow, was born.
        It IS AN ABSOLUTIST FLAG., sky- against earth
        Only China can stand that.
        I know.

        The antidote is Ukraine becoming the champion of PURE cheese, only biologic and sustainable things, etc.
        She has the ‘BLACK EARTH, the most fertile of the world.
        She has also goats with a chain, happily chewing away the grass growind too near the road
        She has no cadaster, like Greece, and perhaps , keeping people busy with endless discussions of what piece of land they own or don’t own, will calm theirbellicose instincts.

        Meanwhile, Europe and Russia could work together to assure to Ukraine, a sustainable AVENIR
        Vive l’Ukraine WELKOM UKRAINA, but you are not the first child of Europe.
        There are many, it is a big family here, and you will have to learn a lot from us, the europeans, all together.

        And if ever I sing or play again, it will be for China.
        La chine a repris le drapeau

        TO FOLLOW and company, please.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          There’s plenty of black earth in Mother Russia too. The Svidomites claim it as their own, of course, but they would do that, wouldn’t they?

          They, those retards whose forebears were Polish slaves, believe that anyone who calls himself a Cossack is a fellow retard and lands where Cossacks have settled are, therefore, all part of Greater Banderastan.

          Problem is, though, that (a) no Cossacks came from the heartlands of Banderastan, which territories only became parts of the created by the USSR in 1922 Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the mid-20th century, and (b) Cossacks are not an ethnic group: anyone who was not tied to his landlord, any Russian Imperial peasant/slave (“serf” in Marxist terms, albeit they were not serfs in the mediaeval feudal Western European sense) who freed himself from his obligations to his master and served as a guardian of the empire frontiers, was termed a “Cossack” and had certain rights and privileges.

          Cossacks certainly did not originate in such places as Transcarpathia, Ivano-Frankivsk (aka Stanyslaviv, Stanislau, or Stanisławów) and Lvov (aka Lviv or lemberg). And they weren’t/aren’t Greek Uniate Catholics either.

    • marknesop says:

      Know why that is? Because they listen to experts who don’t know anything at all of what they’re talking about. But “the people in Washington” listen because it’s more important to them to feel like Washington is still the center of the universe and American society is still the highest plane of enlightenment to which mankind can aspire.

  31. Warren says:

    ‘Moscow Preparing for Victory in Nuclear War,’ ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

    Paul Goble

    Staunton, September 7 – Over the last week, the editors of Moscow’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta” point out in an editorial today, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces have conducted “two large-scale exercises which in essence reject the well-known thesis that in a nuclear war, there cannot be a victor.”

    And that suggests, as the editors put it in the headline of their article, “Russia is preparing for victory in a nuclear war,” a shift that is undoubtedly intended in the first instance to intimidate the West but that represents a dangerous escalation of rhetoric and action in an unstable time (

    These exercises strongly suggest, “Nezavisimaya gazeta” says that Russian commanders no longer view an exchange of weapons of mass destruction “as the inevitable end of humanity.” And they add: “if that is so, then [the Russian military and Russian political leadership] should tell us that directly.”

    Both the size of the exercises – they covered some 20 Russian regions – and their focus – practicing the decontamination of locales hit by chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons – suggest, the editors continue, that Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces are thinking about fighting and winning a nuclear war.

    After describing the various units involved and the actions they took, the editors conclude that “in other words, the scenario developed in the maneuvers shows that Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces are preparing to carry out military tasks after an attack by an opponent on our country” involving the use of “nuclear weapons.”

    “More than that, they write, what the Russian military is practicing is to launch a counter strike even after such an attack, an action which in the past has been called “’a shot from the grave’” and that many analysts have suggested is an important part of deterrence against a first strike by suggesting that no first attack could prevent a response.

    • kirill says:

      I guess someone in NATO with two functional brain cells must be worried. Good. NATO is pulling a HItler on Russia: Russia will collapse like a rotten facade with a little push. No, NATO will cease to exist first.

      BTW, the above is not subject to the BS “law” under the name Godwin. The behaviour of NATO is progressively closer to the Reich dream and it is aiming its hate at Russia. It is time to stop pretending that the west is normal. It is a diseased entity that has a pathological obsession with the Russia. Look through the history of the last 1000 years and you will see the same shit over and over like waves breaking on the shore. The current drang nach osten comes out of the blue. And the spectacular example is Ukraine. NATO stages a bloody coup and has its minions wage a war of terror on 7 million ethnic Russians in the Donbas and then goes into a hysterical frenzy of hate against Russia including staging the obvious MH-17 false flag for daring to resist this gross provocation. NATO has no excuses. NATO is a disease.

    • Jen says:

      The original Nezavisimaya Gazeta article actually suggests that Russian forces are fighting the enemy on Russian territory. So it makes sense to carry out exercises in decontamination after war exercises. There is no way that the war exercises were carried out with victory in mind, with no other option considered. Even if Russia suffered a defeat in an actual war, the country would still have to rebuild and cleaning up and removing toxic chemicals and germ weapons is just the start.

      Paul Turkey Gobbler sees red wherever he goes; maybe his retinas need checking.

    • Drutten says:

      Fuck Paul Goble. Fuck him right up the ass.

      I’m tired of his shit.

      (for reference, browse through the last couple of comment pages)

      Thank you very much.

  32. et Al says:

    The latest scaremongering served up in proper journalist style:

    Vice News: Giant Prehistoric Viruses Could Be Awakened By Oil Drilling in Siberian Permafrost

    French scientists have announced the discovery of a giant 30,000-year-old virus, which was found buried 100 feet deep in the Siberian permafrost — a thick layer of soil that remains frozen year-round.

    Mollivirus Sibericum — “soft virus from Siberia” — measures 0.6 micrometers, which means that, unlike normal virus specimens, it can be observed under a regular microscope. Viruses larger than 0.2 micrometers in diameter are considered “giant” viruses….

    …”It’s not that the permafrost itself is melting, but global warming is opening up [previously frozen] sea routes to sought-after sites that contain gas, gold, and minerals,” said Claverie.

    “In the event of mining operations, millions of tons of these layers will be dug up and exposed to air. All the conditions will be in place for the reactivation of these viruses, some of which could be pathogens.”…

    In the great tradition of having a headline that bears little resemblance to content, the ‘indy media’ darlings Vice News become just like the rest of the Pork Pie News Networks with every passing day – no that there was much ‘indy’ in the first place. Even if this is anywhere near true, am I wrong in believing that such ‘giant’ viruses are a much lesser threat than the much smaller ones because they can be blocked more easily and are less easily absorbed?

    • Jen says:

      All you would need to do is to thaw out the viruses, then freeze and thaw them again. They can survive one thaw but refreezing and re-thawing will kill them.

      Also the viruses, if reactivated, would be unlikely to cause diseases in humans; they would have adapted to infect birds and other animals that were living in the area 30,000 years ago, and those creatures may be extinct.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Presumably “prehistoric” means before recorded human history or, say, about 5,000 years ago. With than in mind, virtually every life form is prehistoric. I have a prehistoric dog and a prehistoric cat as pets – Scary!!!

    • kirill says:

      The claim that the permafrost is not melting is a total and brazen lie. Warming is vastly more than just the disappearance of sea ice. It is the release of teratons of carbon sequestered in land and seabed permafrost.

      • Oddlots says:

        I prefer the term “Global Weirding.” The effect of upsetting a finely balanced, closely linked system are not certain. The most likely events are more extreme phenomena more of the time. The end result could be almost anything.

        Simply put: don’t fuck with complex systems. The result could just as easily be extreme “warming” as a mini ice age. Or the first then the second.

        The point is: you want to avoid finding out. At all costs.

        You don’t fuck with the seed grain. Ever.

    • Drutten says:

      And here we go. This certified a-hole apparently keeps flying under the radar of Swedish authorities even though they’ve nailed him like a gazillion times before for various violent crimes in Sweden. One cannot but notice that once you’re sorta in line with grand ass US geopolitical moves abroad, everything’s apparently forgiven and nobody gives a damn anymore.

      Fucking sad is what it is. And it’s not only about these particular shitheads either, it’s ISIS/ISIL/whatever folks as well. Somehow we’ve got a real soft spot for ’em.

      Marvellous, Sweden. Just bloody marvellous. Hope Uncle Sam pays well.

    • Drutten says:

      LOL, just LOL.

      I can’t belive they’re able to put these things out with a straight face after what’s been going down for the past 10 or so years. I suppose FP is not my cup of tea after all, I’m too decent a human being for it.

  33. et Al says:

    Time of India: Verifying reports about killing of 20 Indians in Yemen, ministry of external affairs says

    …”We are ascertaining the facts about the reports,” MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup said when asked about reports that 20 Indians had been killed in Saudi-led strikes in Yemen.

    Some media reports, quoting residents and fishermen, earlier claimed that at least 20 Indian nationals were killed in air strikes by Saudi-led coalition forces on fuel smugglers at Yemen’s Hodeidah port today.

    They claimed two boats were hit in the attack on an area called al-Khokha near Hodeidah port. ..

    Yup, it’s working out just fine for the Gulf States, their use of cluster bombs and killing hundreds of civilians in Yemen. But who cares, certainly not the PPNN, they’re poor, black and far away! But they can’t brush the killing of Indians, even if they were only fishermen under the carpet so easily. It’s only a matter of time before the Gulf state beg the West to come and save their military operation in Yemen.. Maybe the media will cover it with passing interest..

    Sputnik News: Glenn Greenwald Destroys NYT Myth That US Abides by Cluster Bomb Treaty

  34. Warren says:

    Published on 19 Aug 2015
    Full remarks by Dr. Taras Kuzio, Senior Research Associate, Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, on his publication “Ukraine: Democratization, Corruption & the New Russian Imperialism”, University of Toronto, Canada, 2 July 2015.

    • james says:

      for the record – i am voting ndp.. green party has strong showing in our riding to date – one of a few here on vancouver island..

      • PaulR says:

        While the NDP are marginally less belligerent on foreign policy than Tories and Grits, it is only a marginal difference. Personally, I’m tempted by the Libertarian candidate, as a sort of ‘none of the above’ vote. There was a Marxist-Leninist last time round in our riding, but not this year.

        • james says:

          paul – i know what you mean.. unfortunately in a first past the post voting situation voting for obscure candidates and parties remains irrelevant until we get proportional representation. my vote is a combo – get rid of harper and vote for a party that has a small chance to be the next gov’t… if we had proportional voting, i would vote differently.

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