Red Hot Jingoism, With a Side of Apple Pie

Uncle Volodya says, "Empty threats are for dreamers. And I fancy myself a realist.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Empty threats are for dreamers. And I fancy myself a realist.”

Peruse, if you will, this sabre-rattling pile of poop. Coming on the heels of recent articles which warn that the west sees a nuclear war as both winnable and possible, even probable, and the conviction that a new western strategy is the attempt to initiate a Kremlin palace coup  by Russian nationalist hardliners fed up with Putin’s squishiness because he will not respond more aggressively to NATO provocations on Russia’s doorstep, it’s hard not to conclude that the west has lost its mind. If the fear of a planet-devastating nuclear war – in which the two major world nuclear powers pull out all the stops in an unrestricted attempt to annihilate one another – no longer holds our behaviors in check…what’s scarier than that?

We seriously need to persuade our leaders, in the strongest terms, that they cannot talk smack like that.

Do the leaders of the free world need a refresher course in nuclear explosions? Hiroshima 1945, before and after what was, at the time, the greatest destructive force in the world fell upon it. The bomb which flattened Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons, or 15 thousand tons of TNT. Modern Russian ICBM’s typically carry MIRV warheads, Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles, of up to 250 kilotons yield; more than 16 times the destructive power – each – of the Hiroshima bomb. A MIRV carrier releases its warheads individually, post-boost-phase, and they reenter the atmosphere independently and not necessarily proceeding to the same target. Their accuracy is a few hundred feet CEP (Circular Error Probability); in the case of the RS 24 Yars, about 150 feet. Increased accuracy means less necessity for huge warheads, so more can be carried. At about the same time, the missile releases decoys, to make it more difficult to establish which are the real warheads. Finally, the payload accelerates to 15,000 mph for the sprint to the target. Anyone who tells you the missile shield can take care of a target traveling at 15,000 mph in any profile except coming directly at the missile shield’s launcher could probably sell you a bridge, if you believe them. The crossing rate is just too high.

Alternatively, the Topol M can carry a single 800 kiloton warhead – more than 53 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb.

But there’s US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, looking quite a bit like an earless bloodhound, strutting and talking tough.

“Despite the progress we’ve made together since the end of the Cold War, Russia has in recent years appeared intent to erode the principled international order that has served us, our friends and allies, the international community, and Russia itself so well for so long…We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot war with Russia. We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake, we will defend our allies, the rules-based international order, and the positive future it affords us.” 

It might seem funny to you to hear a senior government official from the country that fabricated a case for war so it could destroy its old enemy, Saddam Hussein, and lay waste to his country and people, prattling on about ‘the rules-based international order’, just as if the United States recognizes any limitations on its application of raw power, anywhere on the globe, in its own interests. It’s quite true that whenever the USA wants to start a war with someone, it first makes out a case that this is a situation in which it must act. And even its critics would have to acknowledge that it is damned good at this sort of fakery, and has come a long way since one of its premiere PR firms – Hill & Knowlton – coached the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States through her performance as a make-believe Kuwaiti nurse devastated by Saddam’s forces’ make-believe plundering of a Kuwaiti hospital, something which did not happen. It did, however, strike precisely the right responsive chord in public anger and disgust to kick off Gulf War I. Both wars against Iraq got off the ground on entirely fabricated scenarios calculated to get the rubes all in a lather to do the right thing. To hear a self-righteous assrocket like Ashton Carter maunder on about the rules-based international order, considering the United States encouraged the military campaign by the Ukrainian government to kill its own citizens in a blatant violation of the very core principles of the imaginary rules-based international order…why, it’s a little like listening to Imelda Marcos teaching a seminar on how to take care of your shoes so they’ll last a long time and you won’t have to buy more. I have to say, it just… it makes me mad.

What has really brought us to this point in the history of the Big Blue Marble is that despite the progress we’ve made together since the end of the Cold War, the indispensable and exceptional nation has in recent years tried by various means to overthrow the government of Russia, without success. It has tried incentivizing and supporting opposition movements, and got most of its NGO’s kicked out of the country for its pains. It has tried sexual politics, hoping to mobilize the world’s homosexuals against ‘Putin’s draconian anti-gay laws’, only to have the effort fall flat. It has tried open economic warfare, which worked just long enough for President Obama to take credit for it, then Russian counter-sanctions made European businesses wish they had never heard of President Obama. Shortly after that, Russia began to muscle in on US agricultural markets; a startlingly lifelike performance for a dying country. It looks like everything that has been tried in the effort to send Russia down for a dirtnap has failed. What’s left? They’re running out of war-alternative regime-change efforts.

And what has made Washington suddenly so cocky with the nuclear stick? Could it be that its European-based missile defense system has just gone live? After all Obama’s waffling, after his backing away from  the missile defense the hawks wanted, in the winding-down days of his presidency he re-committed to it, and the site in Romania has started up, with great fanfare. Washington continues to insist, tongue in cheek, that the system is not and cannot be targeted against Russia’s nuclear deterrent, but for what other purpose could it be there? The rogue-missiles-from-Iran canard is pretty much played out. It seems pretty clear that Washington figures its interceptors (the Standard series SM3) give it a potential first-strike capability, which would – in theory – see Washington’s unalerted launch taking out most of Russia’s ICBM’s in their silos, and the forward-based interceptors taking out the few missiles that avoided Washington’s hammer-blow. If they don’t believe that, why the sudden nuclear-weapons nose-thumbing?

If they do believe that, it’s a big mistake. First of all, where the USA relies on a nuclear triad deterrent – land-based, air-deployable and seaborne nuclear missiles – Russia adds a fourth leg; mobile Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL) vehicles which have a demonstrated off-road capability, so that they could be most anywhere.  The USA could not be sure of hitting all Russia’s land-based missiles before launch. Then there is the sea-based component, in SSBN’s, ballistic-missile submarines. The BOREI Class carries the Bulava missile. Each of the 20 missiles can carry up to 10 MIRV warheads of 150 kilotons yield. The USA is already worried that it is falling behind Russia and China in submarine capability. Finally, Russia has the ‘dead hand’ system, which is an automatic program that will launch all undestroyed fixed-site missiles even if everyone in Russia is dead.planet-of-the-apes-ending

Could the interceptors be sure of getting all the landbased missiles a first strike did not take out? Well, how sure do you want to be? The interceptor has a range of about 100 miles, and an altitude capability of around 65,000 feet. That’s enough to catch a ballistic missile in the boost phase, before the warheads separate. Once the reentry vehicles accelerate to their terminal velocity of 15,000 mph, the SM3 has a speed disadvantage of about 4000 mph. But the reentry warheads would be much too far away by that point anyway, and it would be the job of interceptors protecting US cities to stop them. Could they do it? I’d suggest that anyone who is 100% confident plans to be somewhere else when it happens.

This is an existential battle for Russia. No amount of conciliatory gestures will buy it peace, and the United States is determined to push it off the edge of the world. With NATO surrounding it, even if it disbanded its military and plowed all its croplands into flowerbeds, the west would still pretend to see it as a threat, and would foment internal discord until it broke apart. Russia’s leaders know this. Its people know this. Strutting up and down the border and waving the NATO flag is not going to make Russia get scared about ‘consequences’, and kneel in the dirt. NATO’s fundamental problem is that it understands neither the Russian character or the true circumstances in the country, preferring to rely on rosy estimates presented by its think tanks.

The biggest ‘consequence’ of this dick-waving and posturing is that we are back where we were in 1947.

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492 Responses to Red Hot Jingoism, With a Side of Apple Pie

  1. Warren says:


    As NATO’s Warsaw summit in July looms, closing the “Baltic gap” will be its most pressing task. A new report by the Tallinn-based International Centre for Defence Studies highlights the problem—and the means necessary to solve it.

    The elements are simple. Russia has developed capabilities that can credibly confront NATO, which it regards as an adversary, and frustrate the reinforcement of the alliance’s most vulnerable members.

    In January 2016, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the re-activation of the 1st Guards Tank Army and the formation of three new armored divisions in the military district adjacent to the Baltic states. This signals a move back to a Cold War-like military posture, central to which was preparation for high-intensity, large-scale combined arms warfare.

    • marknesop says:

      Nice. You have to admire what we have in the role of strategists these days at NATO; I wonder what a job like that pulls down for cash in a year. So physical proximity = vulnerability. If you’re close to Russia, it wants to seize and rule you, even though you are a dying country with a population which is closing in on statistical insignificance, and Russia already is a huge country with a tiny population that it cannot spare to colonize more territory, at the same time it does not lack for seacoast or any natural resources the Baltic nations possess. That’s why they import their energy from Russia, you know – how ’bout looking at the balance of trade, for example, and not letting me just do everything for you? Latvia. Lithuania. Estonia. Every one with a widening negative trade balance, shrinking population and nothing in sight but more of the same. What would Russia want with these countries, especially given how over-sensitive NATO is to their independence? Does Russia have a history of doing stupid things? I wouldn’t have said so, except for its efforts at friendship and partnership with the west. But anyone can make a mistake.

      Nice example of self-fulfilling prophesy, though. Huddle with the fatuous bootlickers who lead the Baltics. Get them to beg for an increased NATO military presence. Announce that NATO will come to the rescue, although it strains the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty at the seams, then react with shock and anger at the completely predictable reaction from Russia and characterize it as an example of Russian aggression.

      Interestingly, the aforementioned CFE treaty was crafted, composed and agreed upon with a view to establishing a military balance by convincing the Warsaw Pact forces to give up their overwhelming advantage in conventional armaments. The exchange was supposed to be assurance that the two sides meant one another no harm. The side which is now the Russian Federation having given up its advantageous position in military strength, the two-faced side which is NATO now starts a military buildup, shouting all the time that it must do this because of Russian aggression although this is really all about Crimea, and Crimea did not return to Russia as a result of Russian aggression, but by popular vote. The CFE treaty, according to its own text, stipulates that the signatories are “conscious of the need to prevent any military conflict in Europe”. Yet NATO escorts the Baltics in everything they do as if it were walking a little brother to school past the house of a notorious bully.

      Russia does not want the Baltics. But in order to execute its scripted scenario, NATO must pretend it does.

      • Warren says:

        Lucas’s latest crackpot idea is to bypass the North Atlantic Council and the requirement for unanimity among NATO members in the event of a hypothetical crisis/conflict with Russia. Rather, instead encourage the US, UK and Canada, and more “martial” (read obsequious) European nations to respond immediately!

        • marknesop says:

          We can thank our lucky stars that Lucas is satisfied with merely writing and shrieking as wielding influence. Imagine if he were the Prime Minister of something. What a menace.

          • Jen says:

            He’s probably gunning for an unofficial paid position as media and communications advisor in Porky Pig’s government. After all, if Anders Fogh Rasmussen can get a job there, why not Lucas?

        • Oddlots says:

          I love how quickly the rule of law or even of procedure, precedent errr… prudence gets chucked out the window when these baby-men don’t feel they’re getting their way. Funny because they are the first to prattle on about our supposed law / rule based order.

          Errrr… how many rules has the IMF burned through to pamper Ukraine or punish Greece?

  2. Warren says:

    Published on 17 May 2016
    Еще больше коротких, но информативных роликов смотрите здесь:

  3. yalensis says:

    There is an update on that story about the mother and the little girl who were attacked by Nazis in Kiev, on May 9.
    According to PolitNavigator the family have been whisked away to safety in Belarus.
    A Russian businessman/philanthropist named Alex Krepchinaky contacted the at-risk family, rescued them from Ukraine and took them to a safe place in Belarus.
    “Natasha and Nastya are safe now,” according to Krepchinsky. They are in a country where people are not killed for carrying the symbol of Victory over fascism. I want to thank the people who took an interest and helped them. Until the very last, Natasha did not want ot leave her native town. She loves the Ukraine and her native Kiev. I personally saw to it that they were moved to a safer place.”

    Earlier, Krepchinsky had offered a reward of $10,000 to anyone who can confirm the identity of the “militant” who attacked the mother and daughter in Kiev. Within two hours after Krepchinsky posted this offer on his Facebook, informers relayed the name and identity of the Nazi attacker, but also declined the reward money.

    The last photo shows the family safe in Belarus, and it is nice to see the smile on the little girl’s face. They certainly look calmer, than last we saw them.

  4. Oddlots says:

    Here’s a fun exercise. I stumbled across Ed Lucas’ latest contribution to European Security thing here:

    I was excited to comment as I would be FIRST!

    Sadly I can’t seem to multiply ___ X VI adequately to get 12. (Stupid Captcha!)

    In my despondent state all I can do is:

    – suggest others try to constructively engage with Mr Lucas
    – post my comment here

    “I am mystified by this dominant narrative re. Russia’s intentions that you are trying to sell here.

    There is no conflict between Russsian “values” and European “values.” The problem is that the Cold War alliance between Europe and the “five eyes” can’t survive the non-existence of a Russian threat… So it has to be created.

    Russia did not advance to NATO’s borders, NATO advanced to theirs. It’s patently obvious.

    Did Russia create the mess in Ukraine? Throughout the Russian position has been conciliatory. When the EU made it a binary choice the Russians were willing to consider a trilateral agreement. When the Maidan created a constitutional crisis the Russians, French and Germans tried to save the Ukrainian constitutional order. When this resulted in a coup again the Russians, German and French have worked doggedly to hold the country together via the Minsk accords.

    There is literally NO Russian agression involved in the whole sequence of events.

    It is a complete con-job by Russo-phobe war-mongers like you who have the temerity to mention European values while distorting the truth and giving succour to the very worst impulses in Ukrainian and Baltic society. Racial hatred and ethnic cleansing.

    The fact that this has now brought us to the point that ex-defense secretary William Perry is describing this as being the most perilous moment of nuclear brinksmanship INCLUDING the Cuban Missile Crisis should make you search your conscience before it’s too late for all of us.”

    • Oddlots says:

      Sigh. So much for first.

      • marknesop says:

        You’re still first, only now your name is Mark. I posted it for you. The trick is that stupid captcha code – you have to enter it last, because it’s time-limited and if it expires you lose everything. Fortunately, since I was just copying and pasting, I still had the body of the comment available to re-enter. Then I re-entered all the other information, leaving the captcha code for last. And it took it. Mind you, he will probably delete it as soon as he sees the address, because he already blocked me on Twitter.

        • Oddlots says:

          Sweet. I will shuffle off to the registry office to change my name first thing lest the long arm of Putin’s Mafia State strikes me down.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I tell you what, though, my powers of tolerance and rationalization that I have developed over my 67 years of existence have, in my dotage, reached their limit. The likes of Lucas, Fogh Rasmussen, Breedlove, Obama, McCain, Shirreff, Higgins and all the rest of such shites who wish to immolate my wife and family and all the rest in my adopted homeland would cause only one reaction off me if ever I should meet them face to face: a smack in the gob. Several actually. And I would put the boot in as well. Especially as regards that Higgins prick.

          I don’t care. That’s how they expect Russians, the Russian state and “ex-KGB-thug” Putin to react, so I would be more than willing to satisfy their wishes in their lieu in that respect.

          Well, I am not Russian, but their mendacity, their warmongering mentality, their belief in their superiority, their crappy “Western values”, their sham “democracy”, their shitty food, music, life-style, immorality etc., etc. has finally pissed me off.

          I have not long ago come back to Moscow from the countryside, where I was toiling away on my own plot of land in Mother Russia. Lovely weather. Lovely neighbours, who treat me as one of their own, knowing full well that I am one of those whom the likes of Lucas and others maintain the “xenophobic” Russians automatically despise.

          Bastards such as those that I have listed above have no idea. It does not enter their pea-brains for one second that Russia is by far the largest state with a population that has more than enough land at its disposal: the government is even giving land away in the Far East to those who want it. Those deranged Western Russian “experts” and military cannot accept that Russia does not wish to “expand”, does not strive for world dominance, and, most importantly, does not wish to be dictated to by those who consider themselves to be Russia’s cultural and moral superiors.

          Obama and his ilk say Russia is isolated. Well I for one wish that Russia were isolated from that charlatan and all that he represents: better said, I wish that the West and all its dirty, filthy, degenerate ways were isolated from Russia.

          Go away! Begone! Russia does not need you!

          By the way, my son and heir is getting ready to set off with his pals to spend a couple of weeks in the Crimea. One his friends was born in Simferopol, but came to live in Moscow about 2 years ago. My son is going to stay at his friend’s relatives in Kerch, Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol. I have told my son to take plenty of pictures of the hell-on-earth that the West says the Crimea Republic now is, to e-mail them to me so that I can post them on here.

          They are not flying there. They are heading south by bus and then getting a ferry to Kerch from Anapa. I have told him to go by train, but by going by bus he is cutting his costs and also increasing his vacation time: it is quicker and cheaper by bus, but a damned sight less comfortable than spending 36 hours in an air-conditioned train.

          I wish I were going with them.

          • yalensis says:

            Tell your son to watch out for these people.
            I saw the above “expose” of open prostitution in Yalta – gasp!

            The writer complains: “Have they legalized prostitution in Russia?”
            Well, no.
            But I suppose Crimea will always be Crimea.

    • marknesop says:

      Very well said, and a very literate and eloquent rebuttal. However, only one reality is allowed in Lucasland, and even if it got through it would make no impression on him. He sees himself as a holy warrior for the cause of western imperialism, only to him it is just the more prosaic enlightenment and democracy.

      Russia is far from isolated, but it has no friends in the west, politically speaking. They are not by any means the same thing, but efforts to secure western partnership are wasted. It is just good visuals to keep trying, of course, but I hope realists in the Russian government know better than to offer any concessions at all in the hope they will bring peace or security. The west is determined to make an enemy of Russia regardless their innocent protestations to the contrary, but their capability to keep up the bristling hostile front is time-sensitive economically. Russia just needs to wait them out while not offering anything it does not have to, and watching carefully for provocations and false-flag setups which will give the west the opening it is looking for. Further military exercises with China are helpful as well, from the Russian standpoint. They serve to remind the west that were it to actually attack Russia, there is a strong possibility of a joint response.

      • Oddlots says:

        “Very well said, and a very literate and eloquent rebuttal. However, only one reality is allowed in Lucasland, and even if it got through it would make no impression on him.”

        No doubt.


        Don Q

  5. Oddlots says:

    Just going to put this, well, here… Cuz it popped into my mind like a (cough) revelation:

    The west hates Putin because he put an end to the West’s plundering of his country.

    For similar reasons they hate (or hated):

    – Assad
    – Chavez
    – Lula & Rouseff
    – Morales
    – Correa
    – Zelaya
    – Pepe Mujica

    … and on and on.

    At what point does this skit become unfunny:

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    BBC latest ordure:

    Is Vladimir Putin really trying to break up the EU?

    1. Accusation.

    2. Cannot be proved.

    3. Applebaum comment.



    Putin’s waging of hybrid warfare (note: Putin’s waging, not the Russian state waging) is a reality that cannot be proven, and by definition “hybrid warfare” cannot be proven.

    By whose definition.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    A study in sliminess?

    The news that the President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has appointed the former Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as his adviser, suggests that the Ukrainian government is trying to show the West that it is willing to play by their rules and to conduct anti-Russian policy. Also, the new external adviser will strive to convince them that the government of the Ukraine has done a good job in the coordination of the internal policy of the country. But we all know that these are just empty statements that are not even worth paying attention to. The worst thing in this situation is that no one asks the citizens of the country; no one is interested in their opinion, the government is not interested in finding out how the ordinary folk see the future of their country.

    Source: Одобрена ли политика Украины Западом?

    Are Ukraine politics approved by the West?

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    На майдане постояли, пора и на заработки в Москву

    On the Maidan they stood: now it’s time to work in Moscow

    Our correspondent travelled on the L’vov – Kiev – Moscow train, which they call “The Gastarbeiter”

    For nearly 2 years now there have been no direct trains to Moscow from Kiev. To be precise, there now remain only two Moscow routes: L’vov – Kiev – Moscow and Chernigov – Kiev – Moscow. The Ukrainian authorities have decided to curtail any communication with Russia — or, at least, to minimize it.

    A “KP” correspondent went by train from Lviv via Kiev and on to Moscow and back, and took a look himself at who still travels from the Ukraine to the capital of Russia and why…

    According to Ukrstat, in Russia there are about 4.5 million Ukraine citizens.

    That is one third of the total outflow of migrant workers from the Ukraine. Another 30 percent head for Poland and other countries. That is, of the 42 million Ukraine population, one third of it is located outside the country — so as to work!

    And the Yukie trains are falling to bits!

    I know — I have been aboard them!

    Last time was in 2011, and they were heaps of junk then.

    Above picture from the above linked article. Look at the corroded window frame and the crappy paintwork.

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    «Росатом» приостановил ввоз отработанного топлива с Украины по причине неуплаты

    “Rosatom” has suspended the import of spent fuel from Ukraine because of non-payment

    The state Corporation “Rosatom” has suspended the removal of spent fuel from the Ukraine because of delayed payment, reports RIA “Novosti”. Director of state policy “Rosatom” Oleg Kryukov said this during the international forum “ATOMEXPO-2016”.

    Give Westinghouse a call, Porky!

  10. Paul says:

    It seems to me that the Western moves are just designed to be provocative and to force Russia to make some tough decisions. They may have a strategy of making Putin look weak, and you still have the comprador elites who are just like the elites in Europe, and don’t care a whit about their countries, just their own convenience, wealth, and status. And how long can the oligarchs be kept in this compromise position?

    Russia’s general goal of stalling for time and letting business and oligarchs develop and prosper is tough, as the West is the one with the cards. There are a bunch of areas that the West can play, such as Armenia and Azerbaijan. If Moscow decides to try to force the two sides to a compromise, it could lead to a blow up in one or the other and then the Western NGOs/spies/assets can make their move.

    The risk of a big war is there, but only after Moscow is weakened and demoralized sufficiently. After the return of the Crimea, for example. Or perhaps Kaliningrad could be strangled first. But all of this is predicated upon a Western economic, financial, industrial, and PR attack. If Moscow agrees to a bad deal in the Ukraine, all bets are off as the anti-Russian Axis would have the very strong argument that pressure works and that Russia is ripe to be looted and destroyed. This was partly the argument for the coup in Kiev in the first place. Many in the West look at Russia and see a very weak country. It is up to Moscow to convince otherwise, and nukes aren’t how you do it. You have to look at how the USSR and Russian Empire collapsed and show that those weaknesses aren’t present today. And this is my concern with the long list of concessions regarding the Ukraine since the coup. Every one of them, starting with recognizing the legitimacy of Poroshenko, is a big plus to those in the West who say that all that is needed is to up the pressure. Putin is perhaps a larger-than-life figure, but so was Chavez. What matters is relentless pressure, and the countervailing force. If Russian elites think that their message can be “we retreat and retreat, till no more retreat is possible”, then we may be doomed, as that gives the message to the West to keep pushing. It would be better to stand up before you are on the outskirts of Moscow.

    • marknesop says:

      I can find little to disagree with there, except that while it is true that nukes should not be used to threaten (and to the best of my understanding Russia is not doing that), it is only their existence which prevents the west from its usual pattern of stirring up a provocation on the border and then staging a false-flag operation to get the ball rolling.

      Everyone, and I mean everyone should be well aware that if the ball is started rolling in this particular case, it will rapidly become too late to stop it, as certain assumptions will be made on the basis that an attack must be in progress, and there are only minutes in which to react and mobilize. It’s not the sort of scenario in which either side should be prodding or dicking around. We are inured by hearing about the Doomsday Clock advancing toward midnight for decades now, bla, bla, boring, to the point a lot of people think it couldn’t happen. But it could, and as we see progressively nuttier hardliners taking up positions in Washington and presenting arguments for winnable nuclear war, it even becomes likely.

    • The two Minsk agreements showed that Russia can be forced to capitulate under outside pressure. The Donbass militia could have liberated most of eastern Ukraine but due to outside pressure Russia forced them to stop.

      • Btw, Putin’s economic adviser Alexei Kudrin wants Russia to “ease geopolitic tensions” with the West:

        What Kudrin is saying that Russia needs western investment and thus Russia should withdraw from Crimea and stop supporting Donbass rebels.

        • marknesop says:

          Be careful to note that Kudrin is an economic adviser, not the economic adviser, and there is absolutely no reason for Putin or anyone capable of thinking for himself to take such advice. The USA’s ‘massive’ exercise Saber Strike kicked off on Friday, which will see about 14,000 allied troops and 400 or so armored vehicles grinding around the Baltics and looking menacing so the quivering Balts will feel warm and safe, and perhaps it will even bring an angry reaction from Russia as a bonus. But the message is clear, and the west still claims the absolute right to bait and pressure Russia in its own back yard while pretending it’s all about peace.

          I must have missed the part in there where Kudrin said Russia must withdraw from Crimea and stop supporting Donbas rebels. Or is that your interpretation of what he must be thinking?

        • yalensis says:

          Kudrin said no such thing.
          I mean, about withdrawing from Crimea and the bit about the Donbass rebels.
          You just made that part up, Karl.
          It’s true that Kudrin is a Fifth Columnist, and that he bleated some things about Russia needing to tone itself down and become more integrated with the “world economy”.

          The article goes on to say that Putin disagreed with him and even rebuked him.
          However, there is nothing in that RIA piece about Crimea or the Donbass.
          You are just making shit up in the hopes of fooling people who don’t read Russian.
          And I doubt if you read Russian either, so you shouldn’t pretend that you do.

          • What did Kudrin mean then? As far as I see the only way Russia can “ease the geopolitical tensions” with the West is to withdraw from territory that the West considers Ukrainian.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Smacked Down Liberal ‘Expert’ Kudrin at an Econ Council Meeting
          The Russian president told his former finance minister that Russia’s sovereignty was not on the negotiating table

          Kudrin is said to have advised that in order to once again exceed 1% growth, Russia’s economy needed to shake its dependence on oil exports.

          He then went further, saying Russia needed to do more to repair its relationship with the West, and integrate more closely with the Western economy:

          Kudrin said that besides easing political differences with the West, Russia was lagging farther behind technologically and that another way out of the economic gutter is to integrate more fully into international production chains.

          That suggestion apparently didn’t sit well with Putin. He reportedly rebuked Kudrin that while Russia doesn’t seek more conflict there would be no compromise on the issue of Russia’s sovereignty:

          Russian leader Vladimir Putin… reportedly told the Council that Brussels and Washington need to understand that Russia has a thousand year history and “will not trade sovereignty” for nothing in return.

          After the meeting, one of the members of the Economic Council reportedly told Moscow business daily Vedomosti that Putin also said “it is not in our interest to increase tensions, nor give in to provocations”. And that foreign business are welcome in Russia.

          What do you reckon of that, Karl?

          Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer?

          Better next time he give the twat a smack in the gob to remind him what a tiresome piece of Western arse-licking shit he is.

          Кудрин предложил Путину снизить геополитическую напряженность

          Не Россия начала конфликт и не будет торговать суверенитетом, ответил Путин

          Kudrin has proposed that Putin lower geopolitical tension

          It is not Russia that began the conflict and she will not trade her sovereignty, Putin replied

          Другой участник совета говорит, что президент добавил примирительное: конечно, не надо увеличивать напряженность и поддаваться на провокации.

          Another council member says that the president added in a conciliatory fashion: “Of course, it is neither necessary to increase tension nor to give in to provocations.

          What do you think Karl?

          Putin and Russia are weak?

          Is that what you think, Karl — and it sorely grieves you in recognizing this obvious fact?

          Because deep down you are gunning for Russia?

      • marknesop says:

        You should take into account that a fairly consistent recommendation from Karl has been that Russia should show some muscle if it wants western respect, and that it is taking shit from Ukraine which is encouraging the west to bully it. Therefore, if Russia were to rise up and smite Kiev, the west probably would not do anything, because Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

        • Paul says:

          Well, I don’t know if the West “would so something”, but the world is ruled by force and respect is earned, not requested. The West didn’t respect Russia, which is why the coup in Kiev happened in the first place. Even now, I would bet a large number of planners in the West think that various forms of pressure have a good chance of gaining the Donbass pretty clearly, and the Crimea as, say, a 50-50 thing. It is like the US fighting Brazil or Nigeria. The nukes won’t matter, and neither will the army. As Brzezinski asked, are those elites yours or ours? And there is precious little evidence that Putin wants to move away from the neo-liberal, oligarchical, and neo-colonial model. Cynics might call it convergence. His supporters, such as The Saker, argue that he waits till things are very far along before acting, but I think that is for things that are not about inconveniencing or endangering his friends and allies, which is what would happen with major economic restructuring. Besides, with good propaganda and a better internal security system, giving up the Donbass shouldn’t matter. It is the Crimea that is the tough case. And they could always just buy some Diebold voting machines or hire some vote fraud specialists from places like Chicago. A piece of cake.

          For that matter, I would imagine that the mess in the Ukraine happened because of the way Russia is tied up in knots by its criminal oligarchy. And this is one of the main reasons things have played out in such a negative way in the rebel zones. Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs have lots in common, with a fear of a non-oligarchical system developing anywhere in their control being high on the list. And the US knows this quite well.

          But I will have to defer to those of you who live in Russia – as long as it isn’t the case of being too close to the trees to notice the forest. I remember listening to Americans saying they couldn’t understand how Reagan got elected, as nobody they knew had voted for him. Social selection and regional and career segregation make it so people see what they want to see, and what those around them see.

          • marknesop says:

            The point that people see what they want to see, I believe, goes far toward explaining why America is eager for conflict with Russia, and brushes aside most suggestions that it might have a very capable military which could inflict serious damage conventiionally. Even some senior military members are afflicted by this malady; the last SACEUR was certifiably crazy on the subject of Russia, and the current one shows alarming signs of being just as nutty. Russia is not going to just withdraw sullenly if allied military forces continue to push it in the Black Sea and the Baltics; close passes will become the norm, and sooner or later someone will misjudge and there will be a collision, probably with fatalities. The west should stop pretending it is defending freedom of navigation or national airspace or any of that bunk, because all these encounters are taking place in international space, just very close to Russia, and the message clearly is that Russia is not allowed a sphere of influence. But the western public is woefully underinformed as well, and large proportions of it probably believe the Russian military is ramshackle and crumbling, and that the agile and modern western forces can run circles around it. That belief is necessary for ongoing public support of western provocations.

            Excellent point about the Diebold voting machines and Chicago fixers; very funny, but accurate – what could the west say then? And it’s just a matter of money.

            It’s my impression that the Russian oligarchy is nowhere near as prevalent or as overt as its Ukrainian counterpart, but I could be wrong.

          • Nice to see people like you here. I agree with you. The oiigarchy and pro-Western forces in Russia are the real reason that stops Russia from acting on its interests in eastern Ukraine. And not that it would cause the WW3. Russia knows that the West will not start a war against Russia over eastern Ukraine.

            Putin is clearly not able to make decisions independently of these fifth columnists.

            • marknesop says:

              Can you name some of these oligarchs who are influencing Putin so he cannot make real-man decisions?

                • marknesop says:

                  I guess I should have been more specific. What reason have you to believe the Rotenbergs are influencing Putin to make irrationally-peaceful concessions? How are they employing this leverage, and what is their motivation for wanting Putin to adopt a more western-oriented outlook? Arkady Rotenberg is a longtime friend of Putin’s, and many of his biggest projects are tied directly to Russian assertion of sovereignty, such as major energy pipelines and the bridge to Crimea. They would not likely exist if Russia partnered with the west, and similar projects might well go to western contractors instead.

            • Paul says:

              I generally surmise the way you do, but there are a couple of other angles to it. First, the Kremlin can logically want to keep a united Ukraine. The problem is that it will be pretty seriously anti-Russian, and Moscow hasn’t got any great proposals for changing the media or schools inside the Ukraine, to say nothing of the SBU or Kiev Police Chief. Second, minimizing the destruction to infrastructure and the number of fatalities was and is attractive. Finally, Russia has a relatively small and vulnerable economy to bear the burden of, say, half of the Ukraine, particularly as many of them would have felt entitled to at least the living standards they had before and the West would have sent in lots of provocateurs to damage things or even kill people.

              Having said that, I feel that the idea of taking the Crimea and going into a prevent defense sounds like sucker punching a professional boxer for stealing your girlfriend and then not continuing to hit him when he is stunned on the ground. Your thinking is that he will get up and you will say “Can we call it a fair trade? You got my girlfriend and I got to hit you.” The trouble is he will likely just be determined to beat the crap out of you once he has recovered from the initial blow. I just can’t see how NATO would ever agree to trade the Donbass for the Crimea. Moscow seriously crossed the Rubicon with that, or at least Putin and his close allies did.

              • marknesop says:

                Unless the west is willing to pony up the trade connections to keep Ukraine solvent – especially without transit fees from Gazprom – and buy its products, I think Ukraine will gradually fall back into the Russian orbit, since Russia only has to wait it out and it will collapse. Unless, as I said, the EU is willing to replace lost market share. Ukraine simply cannot afford the ten years or so it would take to achieve market replacement and upgrading all its products to European standards, with next to no income on which to do it. Flooding it with money, even if the west had it to spare, would achieve little because its oligarchy would promptly divert and appropriate it. Ukraine’s aircraft can’t fly over Russia, and a big chunk of its population are refugees in Russia who will likely apply for citizenship eventually and not return. Its tax base is a wreck. It seems to me to be just a matter of time, and Europe has already said no membership within the next 20 years. I really don’t think you will see visa-free travel, either, because the irritant value to Russia would be greatly offset by the flood of Ukrainians misusing their travel privileges to escape to the EU to look for work.

                The western Ukrainians would have to go, though; it’s not likely, having tasted the intoxicating air of unfettered fascism, that they would be willing to ever go back to grudging partnership with Russia. It’d be nice if the Poles had ambitions to take them over, but they haven’t much incentive to do that.

                Russia had to seize Crimea, because it was the prize NATO wanted, and would have been very instrumental in the NATO doctrine of surrounding Russia with hostile military bases. If NATO wanted to turn the Black Sea into a NATO lake, I suppose they could try from Turkey, but there would have been tremendous psychological value in being able to menace Russia from Crimea. The whole thing was not a victory for the west without Crimea.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            Wow, Paul. Congrats – sorta! You were endorsed by pur resident racist trollish Finn karl. This is what we call in Russia “зашквар”. That’s impressive. Are you feeling comfortable in your two-bit club of “путинсливщиков”?

            I’ve been hearing this kind of wailing and gnashing of teeth since… forever. Like, even before 2013. In this regard your types are no different from the ordinary run of the mill Ukrainian zradndik-genotbist. Too much hype, too loud hysterics and a firm belive that “that’s it – the End Is Upon Us!”.

            If Russian oligarchy was really like its Ukrainian counterpart we will be still living in the Rough 90s. Thankfully, they got (slightly) purged. Yes, the consensus within Russian society steadily rises that such purge should be repeated – only more thorough. But the fact remains – #KrymNash, Donbass still resists Ukrian Army and NatzBats, and no oligarch on Russia “defected” to the “winning” West or tried to launch a coup or a street action.

            • marknesop says:

              I didn’t get the message that ‘the end is upon us’ at all, only that Russia must continue to box clever and should waste less time courting Europe on a friendship basis, sticking to strictly business. That’s not necessarily bad advice. I think everyone – except Karl – is agreed that Russia does not want the Donbas as it is a needless expense, although it serves a useful purpose as a frozen conflict and could continue in much the same role as an independent entity, even federalized with somewhat of a connexction to a central Ukrainian government.

              I’m of much the same mind as you on the issue of the Russian oligarchy; I think it considerably more low-key than in Ukraine and probably far less politically influential. But that’s mostly due to Putin’s strength of character as a political leader of Russia, and it could change under new leadership depending on who it is.

      • Paul says:

        Perhaps you are an optimist. It might have been internal pressure. They want to be friends with the oligarchs like Akhmetov. Friends don’t needlessly cause trouble for each other, which is what taking more territory would have led to. I recently read an interview of political commentator Maxim Shevchenko, where he said that a high percentage of the industrial factories and such in the war zone are not damaged. Apartment buildings are fine targets, but it would be downright rude to target an oligarch’s property.

        My take for how much respect and freedom of action Russia can get would be from Frederick Douglass’s text:

        Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

        This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.

        • marknesop says:

          That certainly sounds like war to me. Because according to this scenario, the west will not back away unless it is militarily forced to back away, and any such pushback inside NATO borders will very likely result in American pressure for an Article 5 military response. And once something like that got rolling, it would be almost impossible to stop; any defeat would be instantly reinforced by both sides, as the conflict widened and widened.

          • Paul says:

            Not really. I am just suggesting that the world is returning to a more normal state of a constant struggle amongst countries. The Ukraine is not in NATO, so there is no Article 5 in any case. And, of course, Russia gathering in the Crimea would be off the charts in terms of provoking the West, and that didn’t start a big war. If taking the Crimea wasn’t worth a war, then there is no way that taking all of the Donbass or even Kharkov would have been so bad. But was Moscow willing to pay? That would have been a lot of mouths to feed and keep warm.

            All I am suggesting is that the strong do what they will and the weak suffer as they must, and that Moscow had a lot of options besides huge war and do nothing. For example, the Ukraine was in a near total state of confusion after the coup and some decent bribes and deals with local criminals and a dozen or so groups roughly on the line of Strelkov could have done wonders.

            Most people in the planning establishment in the West probably just want to try shooting a bunch of darts at the bear from a distance. After each dart, the bear won’t go berserk, or so they hope. An example of this is the regular shelling of the rebel zones. Totally demoralizing and it makes Moscow look very bad. But it is never enough to go to war, not even locally, to say nothing of with NATO. And the same applies to maneuvers like stopping South Stream or seizing bank accounts in Cyprus. All just more darts at Moscow. And all of these darts weaken Russia over time. Whether they can bring down the bear is up for debate, but it has no more nuclear war than taking down the USSR did. If Russian athletes can be kept out of the Olympics, it would be quite a coup. It would make the Russian leadership look weak or incompetent. The Russian leadership has made a big thing out of being treated as an equal by the West, which, besides being hard to imagine, has the drawback of making Moscow look weak when something like the Olympics issue comes up.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, I was actually speaking of the Baltics in terms of the Article 5 invocation; although several fairly-heavyweight analysts have speculated the west would not go to war for them, it is curious, the constant screeching now about Putin’s desire to invade the region and how NATO must stop him with a resolute show of military commitment. I’m not sure either, although I believe NATO likely would go to war over the Baltics because Washington would push it into war.

              Of course NATO would not go to war over Ukraine; if it was that motivated, it would have supplied Ukraine with weapons, although weapons were not really its problem. But NATO would have declared itself if there were actually a line in the sand.

              Washington, however, does seem to want war. OffGuardian has a nice Pilger piece up which offers considerable interesting speculation in that direction. My favourite moment is only partly his, as he is quoting Harold Pinter:

              “The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

              And that’s it, exactly, far better than I could ever put into words – the clinical manipulation of power worldwide, always in some fashion in the American interest, while masquerading as a force for universal good. Washington is so good at it that when American forces deploy somewhere to kick someone’s ass, most of the world believes and accepts that they do so regretfully, having first exhausted every other reasonable alternative. What it’s really more like is, “C’mere. Gimme your lunch money. What??? No???!! Why, I oughta…” followed by a cloud of dust with the occasional fist poking out of it.

              If Russia had merely invaded and subjugated Crimea, I think the west would be much more interested in a quicker and more tangible punishment. But Russia tried its best to do everything right, and it was clear to even the loudest shouters that Crimea had very much wanted to be free of Ukraine and went willingly back to Russia. Thus the attempts to drum up some interest in the cause of the poor Tatars – Putin must have oppressed somebody!

              I agree with Pilger that a hot war is much more likely under a President Clinton than a President Trump. I don’t see any realistic possibility of a President Sanders, although he might prove pivotal in splitting the vote. But the president is only part of the problem. A bigger part is an America that sees all its aggressive moves as protective of the western way of life, and all of Russia and China’s defensive actions as escalatory sabre-rattling from which America is forbidden by its code of moral values to back down.

        • Jen says:

          The issue here though is that Frederick Douglass was speaking from the point of view of his having been an ex-slave and this experience may have coloured his opinion of power which he may have assumed to be exemplified by the power of the master over the slave, and that in itself might take place only in a particular kind of society, in which power is only allowed to proceed from top down, is always concentrated in a small elite at the top of society and takes the form of demands and orders. In many of the examples he makes, he is right within the limits of American society at the time but the context in which he speaks must be borne in mind.

          We can’t tell from his speech though whether Douglass believed there is only one kind of power (the power of the tyrant) or if he ever thought that power could take different forms and paths.

  11. et Al says:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): UK pays £5.5m to defunct European defence organisation

    …In the past five years the department has paid around £5.5m to the Western European Union, which is now defunct.

    Critics said it was a waste of taxpayers’ money but the Foreign Office says the UK has been pushing to get the WEU fully closed as soon as possible….

    They closed the wrong organization at the end of the Cold War. It should have been NATO, not the WEU.

  12. Patient Observer says:

    Expert on crime fingers UK as the most corrupt country on the planet:

  13. Ukrainian artillery again has started heavy shelling of Donetsk:

    Two years and counting…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      An they’ve still not retaken the “occupied territories”, despite the Ukrainian army being in Poroshenko’s own words “amongst the five most powerful in Europe” and, furthermore, has the open backing of the mighty US of A and the armed might of Europe.

      So what’s going wrong for the Yukie “heroes”?

      Perhaps some get-up-and-go Finns like your good self might provide the Khkohly with some much needed gung-ho help?

      • The problem here is that the Minsk agreements were signed before Ukrainian artillery was driven out of shelling range of Donetsk. The NAF was on its way to complete this task but it was stopped before it had a chance to do so. The ceasefires were signed at a time when Ukraine was losing and the NAF was winning, which clearly indicates that Russia was pressured from outside and the NAF had no other choice than to accept the ceasefire no matter how much they hated it.

        So now we have been in a situation for two years where the Ukrainian artillery can reach the outskirts of Donetsk. The NAF would have needed maybe a few more weeks to drive them out-

  14. et Al says:

    All via

    Politico: Sub sailor’s photo case draws comparisons to Clinton emails

    Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

    Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation…

    More evidence that under the skin of the World’s Greatest Democracy(tm), this is much discontent. How about making a horse Consel… or President? Remember kids, History does not repeat itself!

    Now for some human rights upchuck:

    The Intercept: Samantha Power to Receive Prize From Henry Kissinger, Whom She Once Harshly Criticized

    …And she’ll be getting it from Kissinger himself.

    The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize is awarded annually to a European or American diplomat….

    Will that square her circle? Will she clap handcuffs on Kissinger and lead him to the ICC in the Hague? The Greeks would have had a field day with this, but these days literacy is rather a rare speciality, though giant fibbing is still widespread.

    And lastly:

    The Peninsular (Qatar): US blocks cluster-bomb sales to Saudis: report

    …The report in the journal Foreign Policy, citing US officials, said that the White House had quietly placed a hold on the transfer of such munitions to the Sunni kingdom as it carries out a bloody war on Shiite rebels in Yemen…

    I guess the USDoS only just got the news about cluster bomb use in Yemen by post. They really should get wired up to that Internet thingy!

    • marknesop says:

      I has made mistakes? And he’s a journalist?

      Mmm…the Guardian is in financial difficulties. Lost a bit on the gee-gees, did you? Far be it from me to suggest you act like a newspaper with a duty to inform rather than a Russophobic hate-rag.

    • Jen says:

      In this case, the reporter was a freelancing small-fry guy based in California who wrote infrequently for The Guardian. About 13 pieces of his were taken down.

      From The Guardian itself on the fabrication scandal
      ” … Second, we need to take a closer look at occasions where individuals are not named in a story for no strong reason. We need to question the use of anonymous sourcing in any story; a policy we hold, but have not enforced strictly enough …”

      I suppose that means Tintin should stop calling his Russian-speaking acquaintances Sasha in any future reports he files?

  15. DianaSlunk says:

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