Armageddon on the Steppe? – TTG

Golii_25

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter today said the United States and its allies remain committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during his bilateral meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak at the U.N. Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial in London, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a readout of the meeting.

Carter is in London as part of a three-day trip to the U.K. and Norway. The two leaders discussed the fragile ceasefire between the Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, Cook said. Carter emphasized that the United States, together with its allies, remains committed to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, the press secretary said.

As a demonstration of continued U.S. support for Ukraine, Carter and Poltorak co-signed a bilateral partner concept, a document that provides a framework for the United States and Ukraine to enhance the defense capacity of Ukraine's forces, advance critical Ukrainian defense reforms, improve resource management processes and boost defense technology cooperation, Cook said. (DoD)

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The most visible sign of this new agreement is the appointment of retired General Abazaid as special advisor to Ukraine’s defense minister. According to the Military Times, Abazaid’s mission is “to strengthen democratic civilian control of its military, take on corruption and put in place other reforms.” In other words, he is to find a way to turn the depraved, atrocity committing Nazi scumbags masquerading as the Ukrainian national guard into something more presentable to the Western public. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig… or a basket of deplorables. He’s not alone in this endeavor. In May, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO secretary general, was put in place as a “non-staff” adviser to the Ukrainian President.

This agreement also moves the Washington-Kiev relationship from its current ad-hoc status to a formalized five year plan. More aid is already flowing to Kiev. Our Congress has allocated 335 million dollars in military aid and McCain is working on getting another 500 million for Kiev. Ten AN/TPQ-49 counter-mortar radars and four AN/TPQ-36 counter-battery radars were handed over in July. Exercise equipment and other amenities are flowing to the training areas in western Ukraine for the comfort of U.S. trainers. We are in this for the long haul.

What does this look like to the Russians and the separatists governments in Donetsk and Lugansk? South Front offers a good summary of the current situation. I strongly recommend you watch the video presentation. The conclusion of this South Front report is as follows. 

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The developments in Ukraine indicate that US-backed Kiev regime is actively seeking to find a cause to escalate the situation in the region and has already prepared a significant military force for this. Amid the military and diplomatic setbacks in Syria under the pressure of Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance, the United States, mostly the so-called “Hillary block” of military and diplomatic establishment, is now need to create a hot point in Europe in order to draw the Russian attention from the Middle East and unite again the dispersed allies under own rule. Pursuing the political goals of its foreign sponsors, Kiev will continue to provoke the militia forces in the Donbass region and if this fails to elicit a full-scale military response, will probably attempt further terror attacks on Russian soil. (South Front)

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The “Hillary block.” That should give us pause. Both Nuland and Pyatt (now replaced by one Marie L. Yovanovitch) worked for HRC and were instrumental in creating the crapfest in Kiev. Their influence and capacity for creating further mayhem under a Clinton Administration will only be enhanced. 

But wait. Won’t the level-headed Putin just take all these provocations for the sake of world peace? I’m convinced he will, but only to a point. You may be able to poke a bear with a stick and get away with it. But you keep at it and you’ll be lucky to only lose your arm. I’m also convinced that the ethnic Russians in the DPR and LPR are the cubs of Mother Russia. And we all know what happens when you mess around a mother bear’s cubs.

What do the cubs have to say about this? The deputy commander of the DPR operational command, Eduard Basurin, stated that a change in the present government in Kiev and the creation of a confederation in accordance with the Minsk II Agreement is necessary for peace in the region. The DPR has no intention of backing down. Nor does the LPR. 

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Just before the announcement of the [1 September] ceasefire, LPR head Igor Plotnitsky also stated that establishing a ceasefire in Donbass can only be guaranteed by a change of government in Ukraine. “No pressure, whether from the West, East, North, or South, is capable of forcing Kiev to permanently cease firing…Only a complete dismantling of the current regime in Kiev and a deep program for de-Nazifying Ukraine, as in Germany in 1945, can establish a lasting peace in Donbass. The sooner the West realizes this, the less time and money this will take,” Plotnitsky said. (Fort Russ)

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We can only surmise exactly where Putin draws the line in this matter. I’d rather not be in the position where I find out exactly where Putin draws that line. I prefer it to remain one of life’s mysteries. I will leave you with these words from Alexey Chesnakov. He is not currently a member of the Russian government, but he recently held fairly high level positions in Putin’s Administration. I would consider him part of the Moscow in-crowd. How widely these views are shared, I don’t know. I’d prefer that also remains one of life’s mysteries. 

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If the Ukrainian authorities, instead of fulfilling the Minsk agreement, continue their aggressive rhetoric against Russia, and carry out repression and discrimination of the Russian population, the Russian authorities will be forced to dismember the former Soviet republic.

This was said at a press conference in Moscow, said political analyst Alexei Chesnakov, leader of the Center for Political Studies.

"If Europe will not put in effort to pressure on Kiev, this will mean the potential resumption of hostilities. For Russia, our fundamental concern is the implementation of the agreements that have been signed in Minsk on 12 February, 2015. This will ensure that the Donbass republic will have autonomous status. ", he stated. "As an expert, I can see what is happening in Ukraine itself. If Ukraine continues to increase aggressive rhetoric in relation to the Russian Federation, to take Russia as an enemy, if the Ukrainian government will make laws that toughen its stance towards Russians, then of course for Russia it is most probable there will be no other choice than to demand in fact any, by any means, the disintegration of Ukraine and its transformation beyond a federal state, into a union of states, or several independent states.” (Fort Russ)

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Sweet dreams, all.

TTG

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35 Responses to Armageddon on the Steppe? – TTG

  1. kao_hsien_chih says:

    More fodder to the depressing mixture that is the U.S. presidential politics! If Trump can demonstrate even a slightest shred of competence and seriousness, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. As it were, events are conspiring very hard to get me to vote for him rather than sit this one out, even if he is a certified lunatic (which, for record, I don’t think he is.)

  2. Tyler says:

    “I’d rather not be in the position where I find out exactly where Putin draws that line. I prefer it to remain one of life’s mysteries.”
    I laughed hard enough at this turn of phrase to startle the dog.

  3. Tyler says:

    Kao,
    We get it.
    You’re so very much more moral and good and virtuous than us deplorables here in this basket who are going to vote for Trump because we recognize that while he’s not perfect, he’s less likely than Hillary to turn the US into Bangladesh and start a hot war with Russia because of transsexual bathroom privileges.

  4. Prem says:

    Putin will hang fire, at least until the 9th of November. Any reaction before then will be used as a stick with which to beat Trump.

  5. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    I don’t get why the apparatchiks in DC have this bugaboo about Putin. It seems it has now become a badge of honor among the media elites to pin all issues on Russia no matter if there are any hard evidence. In many ways reminiscent of the Mushroom Cloud propaganda. We are treading a dangerous path here trying to push Putin into a corner and then expecting him to capitulate. It is the main reason why I believe the election of the Borg Queen would be an existential threat.
    You’ve been around trying to understand the real intentions of the Bear. What do you think is the break point when they start to retaliate with covert and overt activities against us in earnest?

  6. kao_hsien_chih says:

    You do realize that, by now, your attempts at shaming me about my ambivalence is about the only thing that will keep me from voting for Trump, right?

  7. Jack,
    I don’t think the Russians have any desire to retaliate against us directly in any real way. However, I do think they may solve their Ukrainian problem one way or another next year. We won’t see it coming and we will be left wondering how it happened.

  8. Thirdeye says:

    If Hilly gets elected, Russia would have every incentive to create new “facts on the ground” before she takes office.

  9. rjj says:

    (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*) six out of a possible ten sphincters, Tyler.

  10. Charles Michael says:

    If I may,
    Russia is not a threat to USA it is The prize, and Putin having largely stopped the pillage of Russia natural ressources is really a trouble maker from the Chicago Boys point of view.
    As the EU is more and more breaking at the seams, you have some noise coming from Germany and France to restart the idea of a European Force, that for Nato and UK is anathema.
    In Europe Putin is just biding his time and act mostly in damage limitation, just waiting for the geography and geology to impose reality in the EU geopolitics.

  11. Lemur says:

    After that immigration speech, where everyone thought he’d go soft, I think its safe to say Trump says what he means and means what he says.

  12. Lemur says:

    As the Saker says, Russia is weaker than it looks. Now, contra neocon propaganda, Russia is growing stronger. Look at the vastly improved military performance since the Georgian War. And twenty years ago, Russia was less powerful than Ukraine if you took the nukes out the picture. Putin is playing for time. That answers all the pro-Russian criticism of failing to confront the West. If Russia had an economy like Germany and had completed military modernization, Eastern Ukraine would have been annexed, and armored brigades sent to crush the head choppers in Syria.
    In short, Putin just does enough to frustrate substantial changes to the status quo that negatively effects Russian interests. There are very real red lines, but they are all drawn quite close to Russia, or further afield represent the minimum acceptable outcome. Consider Syria. The maximal goal there is a settlement on the whole of Syria favourable to Assad. The red line is the Baathist structure and rule over the Syrian heartland is preserved. Whenever that is threatened, the bear’s teeth are bared.
    So in a perverted sense the neocons are right – in the future Russia WILL be a major threat to designs based the irrational and imperial templates of the Washington Consensus. They will be shut down with extreme prejudice before they can get off the ground.

  13. LeaNder says:

    what would get him ten? Dropping the victim narrative and approaching matters proactively?

  14. steve says:

    Imho the media herd mentality surrounding Putin exceeds even the “Mushroom Cloud”. It reminds me of the mean girls’ middle school lunch table: “I hate Mary more than you do”, “No, I hate her more.”
    “Vicious thug” appears to be the requisite baseline.
    No context whatsoever is mentioned–no US assisted Ukrainian coup, no Nato expansion, no aid to Syrian jihadis, etc.

  15. sillybill says:

    rjj,
    The proper emoticon symbol would be )*(. 😉

  16. Tyler says:

    Kao,
    If being mocked by an internet commenter is keeping you from voting Trump, you were never serious about it anyway and just engaging in more signaling.

  17. Tyler says:

    Rjj,
    Pfft, what are you, a judge of Olympic Figure Skating? That’s not my best work, but its easily an 8/10.

  18. Tyler says:

    LeaNder,
    I thought you were going to stop posting until after the election?

  19. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    About a month ago I read William Perry’s book “My Journey To The Nuclear Brink,” based on reviews that suggested the book was a coherent plea for a sane policy in Eastern Europe from a man whose experience with nuclear weapons went well back into the 1950s. It was not.
    After recounting his career in considerable depth and well before he began covering recent events in depth he made a passing reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, saying Putin justified the move with the “lame excuse” that there had been a US instigated coup d’etat in Ukraine. No acknowledgment that the “lame excuse” happened to be true. Nor was there any recognition by Perry that access to the Black Sea had been regarded by the country’s rulers as a strategic imperative since the time of Peter the Great at the turn into the 18th Century, an access that had been achieved during the reign of Catherine the Great coincident with the American Revolution. When Perry got to the contemporary era the book was basically more Borg propaganda. I’ll include the link below but I won’t recommend spending much time on it.
    https://www.amazon.com/My-Journey-at-Nuclear-Brink/dp/0804797129/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473610663&sr=1-1&keywords=my+journey+at+the+nuclear+brink

  20. LeaNder says:

    Hmmm, yes true, Tyler. I offered it as a some type of compromise; but babbler that I am also realized it would be a bit of challenge, remember? 😉

  21. EEngineer says:

    Lemur,
    That’s one of the more concise summaries of the state of play that I’ve seen. I see the real danger point as the period between when the Russians consider themselves strong enough to resist and the Neocon coming to the same conclusion (and giving up the game). All else is subordinate strategy.
    The Chinese are also in the same boat but have the luxury of being the #2 mark.

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    TTG:
    I agree that Putin has many options and he could exercise them in Ukraine before the Kiev government could react.
    I think the disintegration of Ukraine is the most likely course that the Russian Federation would pursue (regardless of Putin) and they would do it sooner rather than later.
    Personally, I never believed that Russia – the ancient Prince of Muscovy – could ever accept an independent Ukraine. USG forced their hands; they started their Reconquista earlier than they either had planned or expected in the Kremlin. I think the time for a neutral independent Ukraine is over.
    I think that horse has left the barn and there would be war in and over Ukraine until Russia regains control of that territory – minus, perhaps, the Western Oblasts that are primarily Catholic. It could take several decades but Kiev will become, again, a part of the territory of the Prince of Muscovy.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likely help usher in the independent state of “Novia Rossiya” as well; during one of those days.

  24. kao_hsien_chih says:

    That there are internet commenters, on both sides, who would mock those who are unsure for being unsure is exactly why I remain unsure. To you, HRC and Trump supporters, everything is obvious and those who don’t see it are somehow disingenuous or morally weak. Well, it ain’t that obvious to us simpletons, professor. Stop lecturing us.

  25. rjj says:

    but (*) is more in keeping with community standards of decorum.

  26. Tyler says:

    Kao,
    “Stop lecturing” – this was a more effective rebuttal from Fred to you. Coming from the guy who turns every chance he can to let us know how very very troubled he is to vote for Trump, it’s laffo.

  27. Tyler says:

    LeaNder,
    You should try it.

  28. Ramojus says:

    TTG,
    What is the feasibility of offering Crimea and other Eastern Ukraine majority Russian territory to the Russians in exchange for the Kaliningrad Oblast?
    From Wikipedia: “Kalingrad (former German name: Königsberg; Russian: Кёнигсберг, tr. Kyonigsberg; Old Prussian: Twangste, Kunnegsgarbs, Knigsberg; Polish: Królewiec; Lithuanian: Karaliaučius).
    Is this a realistic negotiation point?

  29. Balint Somkuti says:

    I cant do anything but recall the old szekler saying: “Beer is not a drink, woman is not a man, and bear is not a toy.”
    This nice new globalised and interconnected world is a perfect playground for secret services. In which area the russians enjoy an obvious superiority.
    The US Govt/elite whatever will lose its remaining credibility on the steppes of Ukraine.
    Not sure for good or bad, but it definitely will.

  30. Charles Michael says:

    I quite agree with that: Russia is just waiting for the Ukraine economic collapse, EU is no more so interested in this failing state, US never gave more than cookies, weapons and incitations to war and the FMI has constantly to adjust its own lending rules. The only rational for Russia not to push too much for the Ukraine collapse and subsequent annexion under some democratic (lol) form is the cost.
    Military options except support of Novorosia (without recognition) has never been considered by the Kremlin. Also we can consider a parity in nuclear capacity between USA and Russia, (first strike nonsense is a Borg delusion), in conventionnal warfare superiority is more and more on the Russian side and with the coming of the JSF (F35) Nato will not get better. But Russia won’t attack.
    With the Brexit and the U-turn of Theressa May and Boris Johnstone on Hicley Point nuclear project (opseting a bit the Chinese and the French) then renewed aligment on the Putin basching camp, the poodle is back in the kennel. In gratitude US will push EU for a soft and fast agreement on Brexit.
    That will do no good to the spreading anti Bruxelles feelings in the stagnating economies of EU, not to speak of the refugees crisis. Putin is wall aware of these trends, the elections calendars in Europe and their lack of energy ressources.
    As stated in a short previous post above, in geopolitics the determining factor is geography and that includes geology.

  31. Ramojus,
    I doubt this idea would ever get off the ground. The crazy Nazis in Kiev would have nothing to do with it. Crimea is Russia. There is nothing to negotiate there. I seriously doubt Russia will give up Kaliningrad. The idea of a forced removal of Russians out of the oblast would not go over well. At any rate, I believe the current regime’s days in Kiev are numbered. I see some here feel the same way.

  32. Fred says:

    Tyler,
    Definitely not your best work. Best not put all your deplorables in one basket.

  33. FB Ali says:

    TTG, thanks for this update on the situation in Ukraine.
    If the current regime in Kiev does fall, what is likely to replace it? What I’m really asking is whether the Ukro-Nazis are likely to lose the influence they currently have on policy-making. If that happens, is it likely that the Minsk agreement will be implemented by Ukraine?

  34. Chris Chuba says:

    I am pessimistic regarding the future, especially if HRC is elected and given the present establishment of crazy NATO bear baiters and Borg. It takes two to Tango and while I do believe that the Russians are prudent, it means that they know that they cannot afford to backdown to the NATO triumphalists. The Russians know that even if they gave the NATO triumphalists everything they asked for, it would only give them license to use their resources to destabilize Russia internally with the ‘hybrid warfare’ that they falsely accuse Russia of using.
    The one Borg website that I bother reading on a daily basis are links form realclearpolitics.com and the stuff I read there would definitely convince me to dig in if I was Russia. The blind rage I read from these Russia haters makes me think that they are living in the 1980’s, that they just think that they can use the 1980’s playbook, to pressure Russia on all fronts with ABM, a military buildup, hostile neighbors, and watch Russia break up again. I don’t think that the Flea Flicker is going to work this time and I don’t think that this will end well.
    The fact that Donald Trump is being so viciously and uniformly attacked just for refusing to call Putin a ‘tyrant, murderer, thug, and kleptocrat’ (a Batman arch villain) scares me because it shows how intrenched this mentality has become for our Regime Media.
    It’s the anniversary of 9/11 and it seems like we are becoming nuttier and nuttier with each passing year. We started out attacking Al Qaeda / Taliban (okay logical), then we went onto Iraq, Libya (way off target), Syria (more off target), and are presently obsessed with Iran, Russia and China.

  35. charly says:

    Doesn’t matter. Next rulers will be A) more pro Russian or B) depicted as Neo-Nazi’s by Europe so have no NATO backing

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