Going to War with Russia Over Ukraine May Be Suicide for America – Larry Johnson

The Biden Administration stands on the threshold of launching America into a war with Russia that we will lose. Most Americans have swallowed the propaganda that our military is the best in the world and head and shoulders above Russia and can easily handle Putin’s forces. But our military is more like the now retired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman–well dressed, well decorated, fat and soft. Yes, we have some remarkable capabilities and some very brave, capable men and women. But the risks of getting into combat with Russian forces who are fighting on their home turf are enormous.

Here is the hard truth. America has not fought a real Army and Air Force in the last fifty years. The Vietnam War was the last time we fought a genuine Army and we failed to win that contest. In saying this I am not disparaging the grit and sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators who fought and died in Vietnam. They were betrayed by military and political leaders who lied about the war and used those lies to rally a majority of Americans to support a hopeless military mission. Our ignominious retreat from Vietnam lives on in iconic images of helicopters being dumped from US aircraft carriers into the China Sea. And this fact remains–we lost to a third world Army.

In the intervening fifty years America has sent its military forces to “fight” in Honduras, Grenada, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Panama, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. We have not fought a single country with a legitimate air force or functioning army. And we have not prevailed in all of those contests. Anyone prepared to argue that we won victories in Somalia or Afghanistan? Give it your best shot.

So now the American public is being hoodwinked into backing a fool’s errand of sending weapons, troops and fighter wings to countries near to or on the border of Russia. I am old enough, barely, to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. Americans were furious that the Soviets dared to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba. That was on our border and was unacceptable. Fortunately, that dire situation ended without a nuclear war. Cooler heads prevailed.

Why do we indulge the childish fantasy that we can deploy weapons and military forces to countries bordering Russia and that Russia will tolerate this threat? They will not. This is a bona fide red line for the Russians.

Here is how the rebel Ukrainians who live in the disputed eastern portion of Ukraine see the situation:

According to the LPR intelligence, the preparation of the Ukrainian security forces for the offensive in the Donbass has entered the final phase.

The Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will soon arrive in Donbass to assess the troops readiness for the offensive, said the official representative of the People’s Militia of the LPR Ivan Filiponenko on January 4.

“According to the People’s Militia intelligence agency, a commission of the Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine headed by Commander-in-Chief General Zaluzhny will arrive at the location of the task force “North” in the near future. The visit is aimed to assess the combat readiness of the military units of the group North to conduct offensive operations,” Filiponenko said.

Most of the Javelin, TOW and NLAW anti-tank missile systems from the U.S. and U.K. were delivered to the Donbass front lines. The UAF Command is deploying personnel trained in the use of these foreign-made anti-tank missile systems in the area of the Joint Forces Operation.

At the same time, the situation remains tense on the Ukrainian-Belorussian border. On January 3, the Belarusian military shot down a Ukrainian drone that went 40 km deep into the territory of their country.

If the Ukrainian Armed Forces launch an offensive in Donbass and Luhansk with U.S. and U.K. supplied weapons Russia will respond to quash that offensive. I believe the Russians will rely on airstrikes and artillery to fend off the Ukrainian attack. At that point the west will howl in outrage and there will be enormous pressure on Biden to retaliate.

If the United States and the United Kingdom decide to use air power to support Ukrainian forces we will be entering a threat realm we have not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Russians have robust, sophisticated air defense systems. The Russians have a significant contingent of jet fighters and bombers. The odds are high, if this scenario unfolds, that the United States will lose a significant number of aircraft and pilots.

If that happens we will find ourselves on the threshold again of nuclear war. Russia has other cards to play. They can launch massive cyber attacks on the United States, attacking and disabling power girds, communications systems and our financial system. The United States could try to do the same inside Russia, but I believe that Russia is far better prepared than are we for such an escalation. I am not trying to spread fear. Just hoping we can get past all of the hollow political posturing and take a cold, hard look at what we hope to achieve if we decide to intervene militarily on behalf of Ukraine.

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128 Responses to Going to War with Russia Over Ukraine May Be Suicide for America – Larry Johnson

  1. Pat Lang says:

    As I have repeatedly and boringly pointed out, the VC/NVA were a real army, very real. When we left the country under the armistice the VC/NVA had been defeated. That is why they accepted the armistice. That lasted two years until the US Congress passed a law forbidding ANY further assistance to SVN. Their forces and government then collapsed.

    Iraq had real armed forces when we invaded them, but they went underground rather than surrender. No unit of divisional size ever surrendered. A decade of guerrilla war ensued.

    In the other place our forces were sent to apply the much-failed doctrine of Counterinsurgency. Nobody wins with that doctrine. Only idiots like Petraeus fail to understand that the costs are far too high unless you are willing to kill the population en masse.

    Nevertheless, LJ’s essential point is valid. Eastern Europe is too far away. Logistics would be impossible. Air units would quickly run out of munitions. Ground units would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers> The German and the French do not have their hearts in this. And always looming in the background are Russia’s 4,000 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, C.O.D. at New York, Washington, etc.

    We more or less badgered the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines. We did that by crowding the Japs endlessly over restrictions on our exports to them of essential resources of rubber, oil, scrap metal, etc. etc. Newt Gingrich once said to me of the Japanese reaction that “they decided that if they did not fight us, they would not be the men they had thought they were.” The result of that decision by them was the destruction of both the Pacific Fleet and the pitifully small US garrison in the Philippines (one division).

    Do we really want to repeat that kind of history?

    • ex-PFC Chuck says:

      “We more or less badgered the Japanese into attacking us . . ”
      There was no “more or less” about it. Robert Stinnett’s Day of Deceit
      The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor
      convincingly removes all doubt. In October of 1940 Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum, the Head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), wrote a memo to the ONI Director that summarized the world situation, identified dangers to the United States of passively reacting to events initiated by adversaries, and proposed an eight action plan intended to entice Japan into attacking United States’ military and/or possessions. The memo reached President Roosevelt who, after consulting with McCollum and other officers, implemented the plan. A photocopy of the memo is included in an appendix. Stinnett found it in some obscure USN document repository in the Pacific northwest.
      From the book: “McCollum had a unique background for formulating American tactics and strategy against Japan. Born to Baptist missionary parents in Nagasaki in 1898, McCollum spent his youth in various Japanese cities. He understood the Japanese culture, and spoke the language before learning English. After the death of his father in Japan, the McCollum family returned to Alabama. At eighteen McCollum was appointed to the Naval Academy. After graduation the twenty-two year old ensign was posted to the US Embassy in Tokyo as a naval attaché and took a refresher course in Japanese there. . .

    • jim ticehurst says:

      Pat..I wanted to back to your Post here..Regarding Viet Nam..Because you were
      there..It the Mountains with Your Support..Know its History well. In Regards to that.My Brother In Law Was Also There..Engineer..experienced The TET Offensive ,,had an eye Blow out By IED Went Back two More Tours..Thats where his Team was..

      I had someone Close to Me..that I have talked with many times..He was also
      There..in Saigon..Flying around to OPs with
      a Burn Bag On Air America.. perhaps you Met….He Was Among Those on The Roof To of the Embassy..During Evacuation.Getting as many Assets as He could out and was among the last to Leave..He Later was In an Embassy In Europe When His Cover was Blown By a democrat Congressma..He had to Return to Langley..
      JT

  2. Barbara Ann says:

    Larry

    I can only think that the Ukie forces massing to retake the LDPR have been told they will receive unwavering US & NATO support. They are being set up for a suicide mission as the casus belli to force Putin into an act of ‘aggression’. The dual aims are to trigger the “sanctions from hell” & force the wayward NATO children back into the fold. A false flag or other incident could trigger hostilities and thereafter it won’t matter who started it.

    But it is absolutely clear who will finish it. I cannot imagine that any offensive by the Ukie ground forces would survive 48 hours without Russia annihilating most of it, as well as most of the infrastructure in the rear supporting it. By the time NATO decides how much support to give, it could all be over. Then what?

    The neocons get their sanctions. And when China backs Russia up financially what – sanction China too? The whole concept is insane, unless your aim is to tank the US & world economy.

    The world changed yesterday, but it was easily missed. The joint statement by China & Russia that Patrick Armstrong linked to in his post (below too) is an unequivocal statement. China & Russia are completely united and now explicitly challenging to replace Pax Americana, at least in Eurasia. War on one can only mean war on both – simultaneously. Throw Iran in there too and WWIII is what you are looking at.

    In 560BC King Croesus of Lydia was considering war on Persia. He consulted his contemporary equivalent of the foreign policy think tanks – the Oracle at Delphi. Famously, the Oracle’s forecast was “If you make war on the Persians, you will destroy a great empire”. Let us pray team Biden is in receipt of less ambiguous advice.

    http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5770

    • fredw says:

      How did we get to “Ukie forces massing to retake the LDPR”? Followed almost immediately by recognition that such an undertaking would make no sense. “I cannot imagine that any offensive by the Ukie ground forces would survive 48 hours without Russia annihilating most of it.” The Ukrainians certainly understand these issues in far greater depth than you or I. So why bring it up?

      For obvious reasons it is not the Ukrainians demanding immediate changes in the situation and threatening violence to achieve them. There was some of that in 2014 when the stakes looked smaller. Now they are playing for time in the belief that Russia is playing a weak hand over any long term. The Russians need immediate stabilization on their terms because they doubt that they will ever again have as much leverage as they do now. To me their rhetoric reeks of a sense of ongoing stagnation. (That is not actually reassuring to me. It feels much like the German calculations around 1940. We know the results of that.)

      A combination with China over any long term is ridiculous. If Russia is at geopolitical risk, that risk is located in the East, not the West. There are no armies massing in Europe with ambitions to move East. The Europeans are completely wrapped up in their own cultures and economies. On the other hand, there is a strengthening military complex in a China haunted by insecurity about access to resources. In that aspect they are somewhat like the Japanese in the 1920s and 1930s. Russian population in Siberia is declining as Russians move west. The Chinese, with ten times the population density along much of the border, are filtering in. The Chinese have always expected that in the course of things a time will come when Russia is weak and China is strong. By the time that passes, the half empty spaces of Siberia will be filled with Han Chinese. Then the territory will stay Chinese.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        fredw

        What you say in your final paragraph may well be true, but who says China & Russia’s marriage of convenience is for the longer term? As our host noted a few posts back, in the most colossal strategic failure of an era, US & British foreign policy has overcome all of the forces separating these natural adversaries and driven them together. They are, for the present, united in resisting US ‘containment’. The two now conduct joint military exercises at some scale, conduct trade in local currencies to avoid the USD and yesterday’s joint statement makes it clear they share a joint vision for a future that has no place for US hegemony. It is clearly a pragmatic deal to hang together, rather than hang separately. I read recently that most of the Russian Eastern Military District has deployed to Belarus and that there are fewer troops on the Chinese & Mongolian border than at any time since 1922. Assuming it is accurate, that fact alone speaks volumes about how the 2 adversaries see each other today.

        There is probably some truth in your point about Russia being at a high point in terms of their leverage. An unpopular & weak US president with a looming election. A post Brexit UK outside the EU. Winter, combined with a Germany whose energy policy has been taken over by tree-hugging Greens at a very real cost to national security. And of course a military technological advantage that may be eroded as the US plays catch up. No doubt these and other reasons have prompted the Russians to act now. But the game changer is the alliance with China.

        Everything I read from Russian analysts and commentators exudes confidence – bellicosity even. I see no sign that Russia feels she needs to do anything immediately. If anything, I think Russia sees the rapid degeneration of the West as a whole and is primarily concerned with how to act so as to minimize the blowback from the imminent collapse. Russia’s hand is not weak and more importantly, it is meaningless now to talk about Russia’s hand without including China’s.

        I’m not sure I understand your first point. Do you disagree with my assertion that the Ukrainians have been duped with false promises of support? The fact is their forces are formed up on the border with the breakaway republics. If Ukraine is just playing for time why mass forces there and not, say, on the borders with Russia & Belarus.*

        *See https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2022/02/04/look-at-the-map-where-are-the-ukrainian-military-forces-concentrated-and-where-are-they-absent/

        • fredw says:

          Interesting link. Thank you. Reinforces the widely reported fact that the Ukrainians seem to be taking the threat of Russian invasion less seriously than the West does. A couple observations.

          Advances in technology and changes in military organization (not necessarily advances) have not changed everything, but they have most likely changed the nature of the timelines. The onset of a big war seems likely to resemble what we saw in the gulf wars more than the Barbarossa model being bandied about. Weeks of preliminary artillery and missile work to take out the substantial Ukrainian air defense system before committing anything on the ground. Total surprise by armored columns is probably a throwback model of warfare. Ukrainian forces don’t have to be at the crucial points on day 1. Ukraine does not have an equivalent to the tunnel that Georgian forces failed to take on their day 1.

          If I were the Ukrainians, I would be concerned that the Russian buildup might be a distraction aimed at prompting redeployments away from the Donbas in preparation for an intra-Ukrainian offensive from there. That would leave Russia (sort of) off the hook for starting a war. It would also set the stage for a much smaller, easier to control, war. I don’t know how plausible such a scenario is, but I am sure the Ukrainians have a pretty good idea of the possibilities. People who do know more are unlikely to share with us.

          Related to my first point above, I am not sure that tank columns are even the right image. European armies have vastly reduced their inventories of tanks over the last 20 years. (They still have more in total than the Russians.) US observers, especially military contractors, see that as an unwillingness to spend for their own defense. But it also stems from hard-eyed evaluations of the survivability and effectiveness of tanks against vastly improved infantry defenses. Something like the criticisms of US aircraft carriers. “Classic” infantry is the kind of war being fought in the Donbas, but it is likely not what a major war would look like. (My recollection is that back in 2014 the Ukrainians “won” the war on the ground a couple times and were then driven back by massive applications of artillery. The situation since then has been a sort of compromise over how far each side has been willing to go. The important outcome of 2014 for me is that the Ukainian forces did not fall apart under that pressure.)

          One other thought that may or may not be related. If I saw the world as being manipulated by US imperialists, I would have to consider that the recent events in Kazakhstan might be a warning. Get your army committed to long efforts in Ukraine and things might start to go haywire in other places with hundreds of miles of mountain and desert between them and your forces.

          • fredw says:

            An indication that I might be wrong about the probable course of events. Still, Putin’s 2014 estimate sounds more like reality to me, even using the Barbarossa model.

            “…in 2014 the Italian PM Matteo Renzi claimed that Putin had told EU head José Manuel Barroso that he could be in Kiev in two weeks if he wanted to. The US military believes the real number is 3 days.

            In closed door briefings in the House and Senate last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers Kiev could fall within 72 hours, at a cost of 4,000 Russian troop deaths and 15,000 Ukrainian troop deaths, multiple congressional sources say.”

            https://anti-empire.com/us-military-the-russians-would-be-in-kiev-within-3-days-of-commencing-operations/

        • English Outsider says:

          Barbara Ann,

          I’d read somewhere earlier that the Ukrainian forces were deployed on the line of contact in formations suitable for attack. But that they are no longer so deployed, although still there.

          I can find no solid references to the current position on that. Surely, however, intensifying the shelling across the line of contact would be sufficient to necessitate a LDNR/Russian military response to stop it.

          That would be enough. Any such response could be written up as a “Russian attack” and Washington then has the casus belli it needs to press for heavy sanctions.

          Scholz won’t give Biden the sanctions he wants unless there is some such “Russian attack”. He’ll be most reluctant to agree to the most severe sanctions even if there is.

          I still hope that more likely is that the El Pais leak shows the Russians will get the security measures they want: observance of Minsk 2 and no missiles too close. That gives Biden a PR victory – he’ll be the man who “stopped the Russians” – and addresses at least some of the main Russian security concerns.

          • Barbara Ann says:

            EO

            I see the degree of waywardness of NATO children like Scholz as one of the most dangerous aspects of this crisis. Surely something spectacular is required to jolt them all into line. Walrus (below) is right about the imperative of the war party.

    • Lysias says:

      The Brandon administration is desperate. If there isn’t a gamechanger, they’re facing a wipeout in the midterms.

      Did anybody notice that Bloomberg News reported a Russian invasion of Ukraine this morning? What was up with that?

  3. blue peacock says:

    Heck, Bloomberg even has the headline “Russia invades Ukraine” ready!

    https://www.yahoo.com/now/bloomberg-apologized-accidentally-publishing-story-120805766.html

    Larry,

    You know it is not stupidity even among the highly politicized, optics driven, perfumed class in the White House, the Pentagon, State Dept, CIA, and military bureaucracy, and the media, the think-tanks, et al that’s driving this brinkmanship. Anyone even with just a high-school diploma knows that you can’t win in any sense of that word an aggressive war with Russia on their home turf. Everyone knows that they can kick anyone’s ass from a destruction point of view anywhere in the world. They could blow up New York City just as well as we could blow up St. Petersburg. More importantly there’s no support for any such war among the among the American people. And after the covidian hysteria even the most gullible amongst us will not believe everything that the government’s Baghdad Bob’s will pitch.

    So this begs the question, what is their real agenda?

    • Pat Lang says:

      BP
      IMO, the real agenda is raw, naked imperialism.

      • Mal says:

        Imperialism? Commanded from England, Sir? They do seem to have no shortage of dirty fingers in stinky pies…..I think Trump stepped in one.

        Cheers Mal

      • Sam says:

        Col. Lang,

        That’s nuts considering there has been no support for imperialism among the American people for at least a few decades. Even during the height of the Iraq WMD and Mushroom Cloud hysteria a significant portion of the population opposed the invasion of Iraq.

        I can understand how the imperialists would be seduced by the use of naked power when they have it. But currently we don’t have that kind of military hegemony. That implies stupidity but as BP notes they can’t be that stoopid that even a high-school kid would get it.

        • Pat Lang says:

          Sam

          No. No. The imperialists are pushing this here and, in the UK, not the American people whose children would be killed or mutilated in such foolishness.

          • jim ticehurst says:

            Good Morning…Col..Hope your warm..and safe..and Dogs are happy…So…You now have Taken Matters..(Current Events) To The Next Level….i/e “IMPERIALISM..” The ,as Old As Time..And Has Alway..Been In The Open..Or in the Shadows….but..Always A Force..So..You Point..Intrigues Me..And You Haven Aound All of Them Domestic/Global..To Get Better Insight Than Those on the Outside..

            So..It just hapened there was a Imperial..News Story Yesterday…England..Elizabeth..Charles Camilia..new “King and “Queen” endorsed By Elizabth Herself..The RH….

            Its a Reuters Story..With Quotes..Reuters Feb 5 United Kingdom…by Andy Bruce..Headline….”UKs Elizabeth wants Charles wife to Be “QUEEN CAMILLA” When HEs KING…

            So Yes ..There Are Imperial..Connections….Again..All over..Europe..Persia..Asia..And various Pedigrees..Yoiu Are Rught..And I Appreciate the New Perspective..For Analysis..Cheers

        • ex-PFC Chuck says:

          The USA does not practice the “conventional” kind of imperialism we associate with the UK, France, Spain and other European countries. It’s a more subtle, primarily financial thing, as described in detail by Michael Hudson in Super Imperialism mentioned down-thread. Another resource is John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, published in 2004. He worked for a firm that designed and built electrical infrastructure in developing countries. Hydroelectric dams and generating plants, transmission lines, substations, etc. The firm had a close but hush-hush relationship with a three letter agency in the US government and much of his training and prep took place in what to me read like a safe house in the DC area. According to Perkins, his job was to develop projections of projects’ economic potential that were as close as possible to the boundary of the utterly absurd. The projects were then approved to be built with loans from the World Bank and/or Wall Street investment banks. When the projects failed to live up to their financial projections and the countries were in danger of defaulting on the loans, US diplomats would come in saying “Do what we want and the problem will go away.” That “what” usually involved toeing the US line on foreign policy, giving US-based investors and companies, especially banks, free rein for investment, exploitation of resources, and minimizing investments in social resources so the funds would be available for interest payments. If the leaders didn’t respond to the velvet gloves, the mailed fists under said gloves applied different methods.

      • ex-PFC Chuck says:

        ” . . the real agenda is raw, naked imperialism.”
        Bingo! To resolve any doubt check out the following:
        The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion 1860-1898, by Walter LaFeber – 1963
        Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, by Michael Hudson – originally published in 1972, 3rd Edition in 2021
        In addition to the Military-Industrial-Congressional, Think Tank, etc complex, the biggest pusher is the financial sector. They are desperate to maintain the US $’s position as the medium of international exchange. Ironically it’s the USA’s aggressive foreign policy pursuing that goal at Wall Street’s behest that is now inexorably pushing it over the edge down into the ash pit of history. If they only hadn’t been so damn greedy . .
        It was the aforementioned Michael Hudson, then with the Hudson Institute (no relation), whose analytical work in the wake of the August, 1971 severance of the US$ from gold that pointed the way toward the metal’s replacement with the dollar.

      • jim ticehurst says:

        More “Imperialism” Developing…Net chatter saying that Prince Charles Will Be Crowned as The King of England Next Year..Actually..That Could happen any Day Now..If The Queen Dies..or Decides to Step Down…Im Sure She would want to Do That..While She is Alive and Could Participate in the Coronation..and Give Her Subjects..A Good Show..and Something to Celebrate..The EU..Russia/Ukraine matter Needs to Be Resolved..Through Negotations..Tho..For any Kind of Imperial Process to Continue..Even V.Putin..and All His Public Apperances..and Holdings…Projects..Nothing But Russian Imperialism..and I Believe He Sees Himself with That Status..and Role..In Current Russian History …

    • zmajcek says:

      Divide and conquer. In this case, separate the EU from Russia.

  4. Leith says:

    Big ‘ifs’ Larry. Uncle Joe Biden may not be your favorite president but he ain’t stupid enough to launch a war against Russia or the combined strength of Russia and China.

    PS – Colonel Lang is 100% correct about the defeat of the North Vietnamese. And if Congress had not forbidden sending ammo to the ARVN then South Vietnam would still be free and independent today.

    • Larry Johnson says:

      Biden not stupid? Are you paying attention? Please provide me one example of Biden’s display of non-stupidity in the last 12 months.

      • J Roche says:

        I’d like to see even one example from his whole grifting career. He’s always been a dim bulb, it just got dimmer.

      • Fred says:

        Larry,

        Given the left’s goal of radically transforming the Republic I would say all his policies serve that end. Inflation, which Joe says is a good thing, is running at least twice the official rate, we’re $30 trillion debt and he’s got the black liberation movement and LGBT+ wings of his party calling the shots domestically and the neocons back for yet another war. A collapse serves that radical transformation goal quite well. Don’t forget the flying of illegals across all boundaries, seeding the whole area with only the left knows what problems.

      • Leith says:

        Larry –

        I agree with your basic point of a war with Russia being suicide.

        For Biden, believe what you want. But I’ve got a hundred-dollar bill that says you and all the others crying ‘wolf’ are wrong about Uncle Joe starting a war with Russia. Putin may get a hair up his butt and decide to take us on. But that will be because of his own insecurities, or from threats and actions by warmongers like Mike Waltz and other Republican Neocons, and not from any action of Biden. Of course, if Putin does start that war, then maybe you or I or both or us would not be alive to collect that bet.

        • Larry Johnson says:

          Putin is not going to start anything. But he will react to a Ukrainian Army attack on Donbass and Luhansk. That’s the point I’m making.
          LJ

          • Leith says:

            Ukrainian Army is not going to attack the Peoples Republicks of Luhansk and Donetsk. For sure both sides will violate the cease fire in one way or another. There is no trust.

            Javelin and NLAW antitank weapons are defensive – not offensive. Some were moved to the Donbas region to prevent armored attacks by separatists (and their Russian ‘volunteers’) hoping to liberate all of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts instead of just the 33% that they control now.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Leith

            The difference between offensive and defensive weapons is largely a matter of employment. Was the German .88 mm multipurpose gun an offensive or a defensive weapon?

          • Yeah, right says:

            So any false flag would be an attack on Ukraine (Zelensky’s assassination, perhaps?) that the West will blame on Donbass rebels.

            The Ukrainians will then claim justification in “retaliating” by attacking Donbass. Maybe the odd massacre. Maybe not.

            Russia will then retaliate against that military action, and Team Biden will then have the war they appear to crave so much AND there will claim that it wasn’t the Ukrainians who started it.

          • Leith says:

            Pat –

            Yes, the 88s when mounted on Tiger IIs were offensive. Ditto for the ones mounted as SP tracked tank killers. But all of those were a variant that had different barrels and different mounts.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Leith

            The towed long barreled version was used as a pivot in the desert in Africa. They could kill British armor a long way off. The panzers would wait until the 88s had made a hole and then would pour through it. IMO that is effective offensive use of a defensive, i.e., AA gun. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_Flak_18/36/37/41#/media/File:Flak18-36.jpg

          • Leith says:

            Pat –

            I stand corrected. But then Rommel was a brilliant tactician. And he used what he could at hand irregardless of Wehrmacht doctrine, because the Royal Navy was limiting his other options.

            I don’t believe the Ukrainian Army head honcho, Colonel-General Syrskyi, is anywhere as innovative as Rommel. He is the one of the key leaders during the Ukrainian fiasco at the Debaltseve Cauldron. And since then has regressed to WW1-type trench warfare in the Donbas.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Leith

            Rommel one of many tactical geniuses among them. Interestingly he was not a general staff product.

    • Sam says:

      “…South Vietnam would still be free and independent today.“

      Leith,

      The South Vietnamese have a pretty good standard of living and none are goosestepping down the streets of Ho Chi Minh City with the equivalent of Xi Thought.

      No. We didn’t go there for “freedom & democracy”. We got involved in the first place to back DeGaulle’s colonial and imperialist fantasy. Our role began as financier of the French colonialist enterprise post-war under Truman. As they say sunk costs….

      • Pat Lang says:

        Sam
        I never realized what an asshole you are. Go away. I am very aware of the desire to build NATO that caused us to involve ourselves in VN. I don’t care. US grunts fought all the way to the end and that is all that matters unless you are poly sci creep.

        • Sam says:

          Col. Lang,

          I apologize if I offended. But…my Dad was one of those that came back in a body bag. Even after all these years I’m still bitter about that war and remain convinced that we didn’t have to be there.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Sam
            He died for our cause, not that of VN. People were killed all around me. Every time I see the ads for the mutilated on TV, I weep.

      • Leith says:

        Sam – Sorry about your Dad. I lost a good friend there and left a little blood and skin myself.

        They may not be goosestepping in Saigon. But regardless, Viet-Nam is still a Marxist-Leninist one party state with only the Communist Party being legal, all other political parties are outlawed. Their human rights reputation may not be as bad as what is happening in Xinjiang, but they continue to this day to repress the Cham, Khmer, and Montagnard minorities. There is no freedom of speech, or of the press, or religion. Catholic and Buddhist religious practices are restricted and kept under government surveillance, as are those of the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects.

        I do confess to having overstated the resilience of the RVN lasting another 50 years. The North never would have stopped. And the Russians kept supporting the North with arms and ammo. But if the South could have held out until the Soviet Union started dissolving maybe they could have made a go of it.

        And you are wrong about de Gaulle. Yes, Free French units went to Nam in 1944 to fight Japanese and the Vichy colonial forces who collaborated with the Japanese. But the French conflict with the Viet Minh did not start until August of 1946 more than six months after he left office. He went home to Colombey in January of 46 to write his memoirs and be with his family. It was not until 1958 that de Gaulle returned to lead the Fifth Republic. He later constantly criticized US involvement in Viet-Nam. I was there and remember the headlines. I can’t believe you slandered him by saying he had colonialist/imperialist fantasies. De Gaulle was the one who pulled French troops out of Algeria. For that reason, several close assassination attempts were made on him by far-right OAS terrorists.

        • Sam says:

          Leith,

          You’re not acknowledging that our involvement in Vietnam post-war began as financier of French colonialism. Have you read the cable sent by Ho Chi Minh to Truman on February 28, 1946 appealing to him personally and the American people to support their independence on the principles of the Atlantic and San Francisco charters? Who knows what the arc of history would have been if Truman supported Vietnamese independence?

          Would you have had to leave blood & skin and Dad take his last breath in some distant jungle when I was just a toddler?

          • Pat Lang says:

            Sam
            Yes. our participation in trying to help the French recover Indochina was a foolish thing but I insist that it was motivated by a desire to cement France into NATO and not some nefarious plot. General Leclerc of 2nd French AD fame went out there in the immediate post-war period and was on his way home to recommend that France accept Ho Chi Minh as a successor to French rule when his plane crashed in Egypt and he and his staff were all killed. Too bad! Colonel Aaron Bank the father of SF was in OSS then and he actually drove around VN with Ho Chi Minh for several weeks. Yes. The Vietminh did not want trouble with us, and we should not have sided with the French, but we did. So be it. Don’t go on crapping on people because you are in a lot of pain.

          • Leith says:

            Sam –

            Ho sent several cables and letters. Pretended to be the George Washington of Indochina. BS. Long before he came to power he ratted out other Viet revolutionaries to France’s Deuxieme Bureau to consolidate his own power. Near the end of WW2 in 1945 he conned the OSS for arms and equipment supposedly to fight the Japanese. But earlier in the war many of his Viet Minh troops worked with the Japanese occupiers. Including acting as guards at POW camps for French soldiers who had resisted the Vichy collaborators in Hanoi. The Viet Minh at those camps were reportedly worse or just as bad torturers as the Japanese Kenpeitai. He was a dedicated communist. He collaborated with Vichy colonial forces to massacre non-communist supporters of Vietnamese independence. After VJ Day he recruited Japanese soldiers and officers into the Viet Minh, up to 5000 of them.

            The propaganda campaign to portray him as a kindly old uncle, a simple land reform advocate, and forthright revolutionary worked very well. But it was a total sham. He would not have made a pimple on George Washington’s butt. Damn us Americans, we tend to believe everything.

          • Larry Johnson says:

            I do not know what your source of information is, but I am friends with the son of the man who was Ho Chi Minh’s OSS contact and fought alongside him for more than two years. That gentleman has a very different account. Since he has firsthand information, I’m curious about your source?

        • Leith says:

          Larry – Sources?

          Bernard Fall’s book ‘The Two Viet-Nams’ and extracts from Paul Mus’s writings. Plus, a PBS radio interview with Carleton Swift, an OSS officer who served in both Kunming and Hanoi. Swift is quoted as saying: ” Ho indeed, all this talk of nationalism was cover for a tight Soviet controlled agent, who was responsive to every whim of direction from Moscow.”

          I still have a copy of the Fall book. Reviewing it now, I note he claims that Ho did not meet with the Americans in China until the winter of 44/45, and that it was not until April or May of 45 that OSS teams went in-country to meet with Ho and Giap. By that time the Free French Corps Léger d’Intervention (CLI) was already fighting guerrilla battles against the Japanese occupiers. They had been parachuted in by the British SOE. Pierre Messmer, a future French PM, was one of those and when he was caught and imprisoned by the Viet Minh, an OSS detachment refused to help him. Ditto for Jean Ramadier, son of another future French PM, who even after VJ Day in a Japanese concentration camp was refused release or help by the Americans. Fall also mentions the revolt of Generals Mordant, Allessandri, and Sabattier against both the Japanese and their Vichy collaborators that got no help from the OSS, or from Generals Wedemeyer and Chennault. No wonder de Gaulle was leary of us.

          Fall also mentions that Ho not only ratted out non-communist Viet nationalist revolutionaries to the Deuxieme Bureau, but delivered others to the British police in Hong Kong, and kept the OSS from meeting anyone in Hanoi except for dedicated communists. While Ho and Giap were working with the OSS Deer Team, Ho’s other deputies were liquidating intellectuals, socialists, Trotskyists, mandarins, religious leaders, school teachers, and anti-communists by tying them together in bundles of three or four and throwing them into rivers to drown. They called it ‘crab fishing”.

          Your source may have different insight. LTC Patti? Maj Thomas? Col Glass? But from father to son and then to you does not sound like a first-hand account – maybe more like three degrees of separation.

          • blue peacock says:

            Leith,

            I don’t know anything about the history of our involvement in Vietnam. However, Col. Lang responded to my post on this thread asking what the real agenda is regarding the Biden administration’s claim that Russia is going to imminently invade Ukraine as follows: “IMO, the real agenda is raw, naked imperialism.”

            Why did we get involved in Vietnam in the first place and how did mission creep evolve? What was the real unpublicized agenda?

          • Leith says:

            Blue Peacock –

            I don’t believe there was any ‘unpublished agenda’. And it was not for imperialist reasons. But I’m the wrong guy to ask and Colonel Lang would have better insight.

            But IMHO we blundered our way into Viet-Nam because of a combination of 1] the Domino Theory or the Red Scare; and 2] an early version of R2P due to the VC campaign of terror where they murdered schoolteachers, landowners, village chiefs, nurses, or anyone who objected to Uncle Ho’s ideology.

          • blue peacock says:

            Leith,

            It appears “blundering” has been our middle name since the end of WW II. No lessons learned from the Vietnam blunder as we “blundered” our way into Afghanistan for 20 years, Iraq, ….And R2P has been used to bomb a whole host of militarily weak countries.

            Neither the Red Scare nor the Domino Theory panned out. But I’m sure the same institutional “expertise” remains so that we can blunder further. Of course the trillions that we’ve borrowed from future generations to pay for these foreign adventure blunders along with the “blunder” of dismantling our industrial capacity to ship it overseas….to the benefit of the greatest wealth inequality since the Gilded Age.

            The only question that remains is how do the chickens come home to roost?

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Leith

      Remember that presser when Uncle Joe Biden says he was doing as “instructed” – why should this be any different? It is the instructors who matter (whoever they are) and if there are those among them who believe, as Karl Rove did, that when Imperial America acts it creates its own reality, we are all in deep trouble.

      It doesn’t need a shooting war either. An unwinnable sanctions war in which the US loses control the escalation ladder would do the job just as well. Nuland is certainly delusional re the Russia/China relationship. How many in Congress still think Russia can be isolated & subdued via sanctions?

      • Leith says:

        Barbara Ann –

        I share your contempt for both Rove and Nuland.

        “Instructed”? He (like every President) was given advice by his press office on who were the friendly faces out there in the press room and who had their knives out. There was no instruction. Fox and others tried to make Mount Everest out of an anthill. Sorry, no sale.

  5. Degringolade says:

    I think that we are still in the “woofing” stage of the process.
    What I am interested in is how Turkey and Iran swing in this process.
    I think that Russia and China have presented a pretty solid set of “woofs” themselves. Taken together, they might cause us more than a spot of bother.
    But what are other folks going to do?

    • Leith says:

      Degrinoglade –

      As for Turkey, see TTG post below.

      Iran will normally toe the line of Moscow and Beijing. And Ali Khamenei would help Putin any way he could if there is a war. I think there may be some growing dissension though. Lots of hints coming out of Tehran that Russia and China support to the Taliban was simpleminded and caused great harm to Iran and to the central Asian countries on the Afghan border.

  6. Ed Lindgren says:

    My liberal friends are almost to a man Russiaphobes. They are still convinced that Putin was the sole reason that their champion Hillary was jilted out of her ‘coronation’ back in 2016! They are all in on our supporting Ukraine. I give them directions to the nearest recruiting office (but they are all, like me, old men).

    Any attempt to explain the logistics of our attempting to support a major military operation in eastern Europe in met with blank stares. “Can’t we just fly the supplies in on aircraft?” they ask. Then I remind them that it took almost six months to get the troops, equipment, munitions and other supplies in place to conduct Desert Storm. I don’t think Putin would sit on his ass (like Saddam did) if we were to do the same in preparation for a military operation in support of the Ukraine.

    Well, they respond, we will ruin Russia’s economy with sanctions!

    We are big on imposing sanctions on relatively weak countries that annoy us (North Korea, Cuba, Iran), but what happened the last time we placed economy crushing sanctions on a near ‘peer’ adversary? COL Lang reminded us above how that turned out. The Japanese decided to fight. We prevailed, but at a significant cost in blood and treasure.

    The clown show that is the Biden national security team is fully capable of screwing this up. That’s what happens when a dementia-ridden old man is elected as ‘Master of the Universe.’

  7. scott s. says:

    In naval circles I have been reading various things about naval war in the Black Sea, but I can’t say how real that possibility is or what the probable outcome would be.

    • Fred says:

      scott s.

      The only outcome without the Turkish navy getting involved and winning a remarkable victory is turning the thing into a Russian lake. One look at a map would show how little striking power we could bring to bear, or how easy it would be to bottle it all up.

    • Ed Lindgren says:

      scott s. –

      It would be interesting to see how the Montreux Convention, the 1936 treaty which gives the Turks control of the Bosporus and Dardanelle Straits, might impact naval operations and possible hostilities in the Black Sea.

      This treaty places limitations on what types of naval ships non-Black Sea nations can send through the straits.

      Of course, in our world of “…the rules-based, international order…” when the going gets rough, treaties were made to be broken.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreux_Convention_Regarding_the_Regime_of_the_Straits

  8. O.B. says:

    I know nothing about the frailty of North Vietnam’s military situation by 1968. But for those interested, I went on to check an article that back in the day shocked me, and that correlates with such situation. The obituary of General Giap in The Guardian portrayed him as a person willing to lose personnel to win politically; pretty much the opposite what you would expect from a military commander.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/general-vo-nguyen-giap

    • Pat Lang says:

      O.B.

      He was an earnest former French colonial schoolteacher. As many of his most effective French opponents were former provincial schoolteachers.

    • Leith says:

      Giap got the credit for Dien Bien Phu. Rightfully so for his ability as a logistician and a motivator of men. But General Van Tien Dung was the strategic brains of that victory. Dung was also the guy that commanded the 1975 offensive that took Saigon. And he was the Army CinC when the NVA defeated the ChiComs in the 1979 border war.

  9. Marlene says:

    Some days ago, while strolling over there at TASS, I found an interesting interactive infographics on Dante´s Divine Comedy´s Circles, explaining main characters an inhabitants of what was was Dante´s geopolitical environment at his time..

    I was wondering why TASS, whose section Special Projects is most of the time dedicated to advanced scientific breakthrough in military and space exploration, with some episodes dedicated to atomic energy and special developing economic zones, all of a sudden decided to go to the classics, especially this work by Dante..

    I was very pleased to navigate this interesting and entertaining infogrpahics since i have not read Dante´s works, to find that what it is reflected there is the ethernal political struggle between the same factions which opress us all since the beggining of the very civilization.

    It is curious that TASS decided to publish this work now when it is obvious almost the same actors are at play along the so called “pandemic”, Italy finding itself as one of main centers of this conspiracy to definitely end the nation-states, and thus, get us back to the times of the city states in which Dante lived, and how, as happened to Dante himself, anyone´s initial political and ideological linkage, by birth or personal position achieved through life, gets totally crumbled, as it crumbles the old order and old myths fall, and gets reduced to the most simple, important, and original fight between evil and good,with which a realignement of forces and sides is obliged.

    May be you can enjoy, eventhough having reading the book..

    https://dante.tass.com/?_ga=2.36007776.1540817816.1644090264-1973233373.1636754984

    • Marlene says:

      But…as that enigmatic old strategist I used to find commenting over there in the blogs always said I should ask myself, “why this, why now, why in this form”?

      Could be the Russian broadcasting this to the attention of minded people?

      That old man sometimes ended wishing you “Enjoy the journey”…

      Probably “practitioners” ( as he referred to professionals of the art..) here can understand…

    • Degringolade says:

      Marlene:

      Thank you for pointing this out.
      I have a sneaking hunch that someone is 1.) passing a message to folks here in the USA. 2.) laughing out loud that no one in power currently will understand the message.

      The part on Boniface was especially intriguing. Lots of parallels between the current situation.

      And bringing in Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti, is odd but intriguing.

      Gonna need to think about it for a bit. Whiskey and some prime rib will help that process

      • Marlene says:

        But, take also into account that Dante, after refusing his family Guelph ideology, turns to the Guibelines, on the side of the Roman Empire, to finally develop a rejection of political ideologies and embrace the idea of a just “universal monarchy”…In this sense, I find this excerpt quite interesting…

        “He began writing Inferno in the early 1300s, by which time he had been exiled and won over to the Ghibelline cause, before finally breaking with all political factions in favor of his idea of a just universal monarchy. Dante saw Frederick II as the last legitimate heir of the Roman Empire, and an example of a monarch independent of the papacy. And he respected the Ghibelline leader Farinata for refusing to destroy his native Florence for the sake of consolidating his party’s power.”

        That sounds to me all the way like a globalist government…But “just” is not how anyone who is awaken would describe the current globalist project…

        How in the Earth the globalist project in which the Russians appeared to be immersed too, by trying to impose on their people the QR cattle-tag, could be in any way just?

        Also, who, in the eyes of the current rulers of Russia, would be today “the legitimate heir of the Sacred Roman Empire”?

        Notice also how it is pointed out that Dante admires Farinata for refusing to destroy Florence for the sake of consolidation of his party´s power, just what neither of our governments are doing…
        Is it the Russians sending the globalists of Davos the message on their red lines, say, that they will collaborate, but not to the extent of destroying Russia, as they have done many Western countries…like, for example, Spain, Italy, Greece, at the head of exponential indebtedness through the pandemic, being Spain at the head of indebtedness and loses, and thus enslavization to the hedge funds, in the world, resulting in a country which has no future any more?

        This broadcasting has a lot of edges…me think…

        Wondering which faction amongst the Russian officials is in the authorship of this broadcasting and whether the Russian Army is aboard…

        • Marlene says:

          On the other hand, having this infographics hidden into a section most of the time dedicated to military development news, who would be the destinatary of the broadcasting, after the apparent dead end of political diplomacy?

          The US military?

      • Marlene says:

        “Whiskey and some prime rib will help that process”

        I would recommend some red wine, instead of whiskey, that moreover is good to fight “the cobi”….

  10. To me, the only way this makes any sense is some sociological feedback loop, aka, drinking their own bathwater, that is all part and parcel with Russiagate and the Woke movement. Ed Lindgren is saying something similar. That some significant part of our society is not capable of looking outside their collective thought bubble and any suggestion it isn’t the right and true path simply Does Not Compute.
    It goes to a lot of social and cultural situations. Religion comes to mind, though one of my interests has ben following it in theoretical physics for the last 40+ years. Back in the 70’s, there was a lot more openness to alternative models, but it solidified around certain ideas, such as string theory, super symmetry and I would add, Big Bang cosmology. These are obviously extremely intelligent people, but once the crowd starts to move, you are either with them, or against them. No middle ground.
    With that in mind, I would predict we will continue to get a lot of huffing and puffing, but little will happen, because those with the most on the line, the Ukrainians, are not part of that thought bubble and are starting to realize there is no there there. They are probably realizing it’s a lot of barroom bragging and the loudest are not going to show up.
    I could be wrong, then it really will get messy, but it’s not like they are even trying to be serious. 2 or 3 thousand troops, some antitank missiles, etc. It’s just not serious.

  11. Herbert Ely says:

    The Cuba Missile Crises is one example of how things could have gone wrong.

    Does anyone remember exercise Able Archer and the 1983 war scare? Seems to me this should be in our minds as we think about Russia and Ukraine at war.

    I wonder is anyone remembers that ~1000 nuclear warheads were demilitarized in Ukraine and brought to the US for use as nuclear fuel.

  12. j.+casey says:

    What form will the US/UK false lag take?

  13. walrus says:

    IMHO, The objective of the war party in Washington is to secure Europe as an American client for the next seventy years.

    By “client” I mean subservient to America in economic, political, defence and foreign policy fields.

    The aim of the current campaign is to sever all economic, political, defence and foreign policy relationships with Russia. This will be achieved by causing Russia to engage with Ukraine in some form of unwinnable military adventure that will stop short of nuclear war

    Later campaigns are intended to weaken Russias security by destabilisation at its borders, it’s economy by sanctions and its Government by propaganda with a view to ensuring it is not a useful partner to China when we confront that nation. The intentions would also include making Russia a client state as well – something that almost succeeded under Yeltsin.

    In my opinion, all American actions make sense in such a framework – including neutralising Iran as a Russian partner by the sudden agreement to the JCPOA.

    • Antony D. says:

      Anyone who believes that in the next 20 years, or even 10 years, the U.S. will be anything like it has been for the last 70 years is no longer plugged in to what’s going on and is blissfully ignorant of the rapid transformation of U.S. (and Western) society. And it is increasing at an increasing rate. I’m not only talking about the rapid demographic transformation— much of it disparate and third-world— but the increasing systematic dismantling of culture and society by the perfidious commissars.

      At all levels we see this targeted destruction (see story below) while conservatives in power focus their attention and anger at the one white Christian country standing against the Christian-hating Globohomo GAE.

      VMI will change honor system that expels Black cadets at disproportionate rates

      By Ian Shapira
      Today at 7:00 a.m. EST

      Virginia Military Institute will make changes to its student-run honor court to make the system fairer to cadets accused of lying, cheating, stealing or other transgressions that can lead to expulsion…

      … initiatives approved, enacted or begun last year, including mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for administrators and members of VMI’s..

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/02/05/vmi-honor-court-reforms/

      “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”

    • Mal says:

      Russia will not be egged on, seven years of lobbing mortars and arty at civilian targets in the Donbas has not forced Russia’s hand one bit. Massing forces, fodder, let’s call it what it is, on the border and playing soldier, put bulls eyes on them why not?
      Russia does not need Ukraine other than a pacified land, and a secure border, much like the US Mexican border today. A bit of black humour, in case it was lost in translation.
      The Republics will do the heavy lifting, they did before. They paid, and still do, in blood and lives. I wouldn’t be worried about Russians in Ukraine, anyone takes the gloves of the Republics, get worried, many a score to settle, starting with the Union Building massacre.

      Cheers Mal

      • zmajcek says:

        The republics don’t have the resources to withstand a full Ukrainian attack without Russian help. They have maybe 30k combat troops. To say nothing about logistics, operational depth etc.
        Ukraine has a serious army. How much an average soldier is willing to risk his life trying to capture Donbass is another matter.

    • English Outsider says:

      Walrus – in the context of the current confrontation there is no doubt that the US needs EU cooperation in a sanctions war. If, as in this Panetta interview heading, “hitting Russia’s oil (plus natural gas) supply is the key to covert war” then that must be done with Europe.

      https://youtu.be/5pORUsjcRYY?t=275

      He’s living in the past, as are all neocons. They still believe Russia is merely a gas station with nukes.

      Why must we “confront China”, by the way? Running out of enemies? A defensive alliance, if that’s needed. OK. But I hope we’re not going all R2P and initiating them in the joys of freedom and democracy. Assange? One or two other little matters? We could try initiating ourselves first.

  14. mcohen says:

    Larry.what wars have the Russians fought in comparison to the usa

    • Larry Johnson says:

      Their combat operations in Syria over the last 8 years has given them some good real world training. But apart from that they have not been invading countries. They train to protect the Motherland.

      • Leith says:

        Not been invading? What about Georgia and Transnistria?

        • Fred says:

          Leith,

          Who stirred up that trouble to begin with?

        • Peter Williams says:

          Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Adjaria and Artsakh all pre-date the collapse of the USSR. Adjaria is the only region to peacefully re-integrate with it’s former republic. Russia inherited these regions from the USSR. None of the regions is ethnically a part of their respective republics. Civil wars were occurring during the break-up of the USSR. Soviet (later Russian) peacekeepers attempted to keep the various sides apart.

          In Transnistra, neither the Moldavians or Ukrainians have tried to resolve this by force. Georgia attacked South Ossetia killing Russian UN authorised peacekeepers. Russia responded, but did not occupy Georgia.

      • Fred says:

        Larry,

        They were certainly successful in Syria in an advisory, logistics, and air support role, however, they have not engaged a peer enemy in decades either. I will agree their senior leadership appears far more professional than ours, or NATO’s.

    • Leith says:

      Second Chechen War, 1999 to 2009 was a Russian victory. Many Russian troops in Syria, mostly MPs that interface directly with civilians, are Chechen or Dagestani Muslims. Smart move.

      • Peter Williams says:

        There is a video, which I couldn’t find quickly, of a Russian MP patrol. The OIC states that he is Sunni, his 2IC is Shia, he has a few ethnic Russians (he uses the Russian word руский and they are православи – Russian Orthodox), and a Buddhist. But they are all rоссияне – Russian nationals. Russian has two words for Russians, not inappropriate in a country of 180 or so ethnicities. I suspect, but do not know, that the ethnic Russians were Arabic translators, as the video was very early in the Russian engagement in Syria. Russia is very different from Western stereotypes.

  15. Matt says:

    Ned Price lying like his job depended on it after stepping on an AP mine (Matt Lee)

    https://twitter.com/cspan/status/1489329356644229132

    @ 4mins 42 secs Ned Price “if you doubt the credibility of the US government and the British government…. of other governments, and want to find solace in the information the Russians are putting out…..

    I saw a proverb quoted, apparently of Turkish origin;

    “when you let a clown into the palace you don’t make him a king, you turn the palace into a circus.”

    I really think we are watching the Anglo-American Empire stupid itself to death.

    • zmajcek says:

      Kirby, Price, Psaki can sometimes barely keep from laughing out loud as they hear themselves telling these ridiculous tales.

      I admire Psaki. As spin artists go, she is on another level. She has that Zuckerberg, emotional detachment stare. I bet if half the newsroom suddenly dropped dead, she’d only be slightly amused by the unexpected commotion. Then she’d go and have her lunch.

  16. Deap says:

    Once Kamala Harris solves root causes for the invasion of our own US southern borders, we will have all necessary tools that prevent incursions into other nations. Hurry up Kamala, the world awaits your shared wisdom.

  17. Sean says:

    I laugh at analogies to WW2. If the Japanese had 3000 nuclear weapons and ample means to deliver them anywhere in the world, that war would have gone differently, despite their inferior industrial base. You can’t have total victory or anything close to it against a significant nuclear power. Not against the USA, not against Russia, and not even against the UK or France. You can have one round of boxing where one side or the other gets the better of their opponent, but there will be a negotiated settlement and punches pulled or there will be nuclear Armageddon.

    I don’t think there will be a full-blown NATO-Russia war in Eastern Europe. Putin’s abundance of caution will make sure of that, no matter what the Americans do. The whole narrative of him is wrong, he is slow, cautious, calculating, and only makes surprise moves when his back is against the wall.

    Think of things from his perspective. The British are building an unofficial naval base on the Azov Sea, right next to the Crimea, the USA and UK are pouring weapons into a deeply Russia-hostile Ukraine, there is a giant CIA building in the center of the Soviet Union’s third largest and most important city Kiev, and Americans are threatening sanctions specifically designed to destroy the Russian economy. Meanwhile Russia is running naval exercises and mustering troops 100km from the Ukrainian border. The Russian response has not been escalatory, it has been absolutely subdued.

    • Peter Williams says:

      A naval base in the Sea of Azov is ludicrous. Have you ever looked at a chart of the Sea? It is SHALLOW! there are two dredged channels that allow shipping from Mariupol UKR and Taganrog RUS. Both merge and proceed through the Kerch Straight. When a US Senator proposed sending US warships to Mariupol, the Runet was full of laughter asking “how was the USN going to retrieve a vessel firmly wedged in the mud”.

      • JohninMK says:

        We are Brits are indeed helping build a naval facility near Mariupol. There are plenty of military craft around which pack a serious punch that do not need much water beneath them.

  18. TTG says:

    Given current conditions and trends in Ukraine, why would Putin want to launch any kind of further incursion into Ukrainian territory? Ukraine continues to move solidly towards the West and away from Russia. There’s the reasonable fear of Ukrainian entrance into NATO and a very possible emplacement of US or NATO offensive missile systems on Ukrainian soil. Even the encroachment of NATO A2/AD towards the Russian border would affect Russia’s defense posture. It would limit Russia’s military freedom of action. Those are legitimate concerns, but hardly causes for war. Those concerns call for serious negotiations. Let’s face it, Europe is certainly not comfortable with Russian Iskander missiles and S-400 systems in Kaliningrad. They threaten Europe’s security. There’s plenty to discuss and plenty to give and take in those negotiations.

    What other regional conditions would push Putin towards war? Well, the current situation and trends in Crimea, the LPR and the DPR are not in Moscow’s favor. Crimea is solidly in Russia’s grasp and will be for decades if not forever. The West won’t recognize that fact just as the occupation of the Baltics was not recognized for decades. That doesn’t matter. Crimea is now Russian. So is Crimea’s problems. The loss of 90% of Crimea’s fresh water through the loss of the North Crimean Canal has been devastating. This is costing Moscow a fortune. Water only flows a few hours a day in Kerch. Arable land has been reduced by 90%. The situation will get better with time. Moscow needs that canal open. An armored assault across the Crimean Isthmus along with supporting amphibious and airborne assaults could seize the canal rather quickly. It’s less than a hundred miles to the Dneiper. That’s where Kyiv is concentrating the bulk of her heavy rocket artillery, the Uragan, Smerch and Vilka-M systems, to halt a crossing of the narrow Perekop Isthmus and to hit any possible amphibious assaults on the beaches.

    Conditions in the LPR and DPR aren’t much better. Just being a war zone is preventing the breakaway republics from improving their lot. A recent WSJ article by Yaroslav Trofimov describes the conditions thusly.

    “The Russian controlled areas of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions were once the engines of the country’s economy and dominated its politics. They produced its richest man, billionaire industrialist Rinat Akhmetov, as well as former President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted by the street protests that triggered the Russian invasion in 2014.”
    “Since then, however, the two areas — now nominally independent “people’s republics” inside the larger regions of Luhansk and Donetsk — have turned into impoverished, depopulated enclaves that increasingly rely on Russian subsidies to survive. As much as half the prewar population of 3.8 million has left, for the rest of Ukraine, more prosperous Russia or Europe. Those who remain are disproportionately retirees, members of the security services and people simply too poor to move. Current economic output has shrunk to roughly 30% of the level before the Russian invasion, economists estimate.”

    And further in the article Trofimov writes, “There used to be a lot of enthusiasm for the Donetsk people’s republic in the beginning. Now, there’s a lot of disappointment,” said Mr. Gayevoy. “My brother now tells me that they are ruled by cretins. The economy there has crumbled, the jobs are gone.” As long as there’s a slow simmering war in the Donbas, conditions in the LPR and DNR won’t improve. They’ll continue to deteriorate. Moscow will foot both the military and social welfare bill. At the same time, conditions in greater Ukraine are slowly improving with an opening economy and with continued European, Chinese and Turkish investment. The visible dichotomy is not good for Moscow and it certainly looks bad for Putin.

    What would improve this in Moscow’s eyes is if these breakaway republics expanded to their former borders, thus removing the heart of the republics from being war zones. Then, maybe, they could return to their former glory under Moscow’s wings. At the moment Moscow still doesn’t formally recognize the self-proclaimed independence of the DPR and LPR, something it has already granted to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, it appears the Russian State Duma will take a decision on the recognition of the DPR and LPR as independent states on the 14th of February. Why is Moscow doing this now and throwing all the talk about the Minsk Protocols out the window? Do they intend to make the new independent republics viable by military technical means?

    All this doesn’t mean war, even a limited incursion of a war. It would not just be risking suicide for America. It would be risking suicide for Ukraine, the rest of Europe and, yes, Russia as well. I believe all parties would rather go the route of continued bluster and bluff followed by negotiations. Of course, information operations, or information confrontation if you prefer, will continue no matter what the future holds.

    • zmajcek says:

      Creating a land corridor towards Crimea, expanding rebel controlled territory, etc is something Moscow could have done in 2014 much more easily.
      Instead it was involved in creating a political framework for resolving the conflict in Donbass (Minsk agreements), building a bridge towards Crimea etc.

      Why would Moscow seek to initiate hostilities now, when the price would be much greater ? In the past, they always seemed to prefer frozen conflicts to hot ones. Could it be that they are making preparations, expecting someone else to initiate hostilities ?

      • TTG says:

        zmajcek,

        They built the Kerch bridge. That compensated for the lack of a land bridge. They tried to compensate for the loss of the canal with wells and reservoirs. It didn’t work. They can build several desalinization plants to provide drinking water, but not enough for irrigation. Maybe Moscow will say screw it, at least we got Sevastopol. That alone is worth it, but Crimea’s water problems and supporting the breakaway republics is costing Moscow a fortune. Russians may begin to resent the cost.

        • Fred says:

          TTG,

          does that mean Ukraine was spending a fortune it did not have on agricultural water to the Crimean peninsula? That should ease their budget problems by a significant amount. It also gives them an incentive to sell water, which they apparently should have an excess of, for use in agriculture there.

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            That canal, along with the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, dam and reservoir, was initiated in the 50s as one of the “Great Construction Projects of Communism.” The canal is still there and is irrigating southern Ukraine, now with more water available for Ukraine’s own agricultural sector. It’s just not irrigating Russia. Crimea was arid steppe before the canal and is becoming, once again, arid steppe.

        • zmajcek says:

          War and sanctions would cost them much more. As you say yourself, the situation will get better with time.
          The fact, they are investing in drilling wells, building desalinization plants, power plants, repairing of water supply networks etc, indicates they prefer to avoid solving problems with military action.

          • TTG says:

            zmajcek,

            You’re absolutely right. War and sanctions would cost them much more. Things will get better for Ukraine. Things won’t get better for the Crimean water supply. Russian hydrologists figure the aquifers will unusable in a few years. Even with nuclear powered desalinization, which Russia is easily capable of doing, hundreds of thousands will likely have to be resettled elsewhere. Moscow will have to chalk it up to the cost of retaining the strategically important bases at Sevastopol along with the Soviet Riviera. As long as the Russian people still consider it a good deal, which is likely, Moscow should suck it up. It’s not worth a war. Hell, even reopening the canal could be subject to Kyiv-Moscow negotiations.

          • zmajcek says:

            TTG

            You are right, negotiations and political settlement are possible and should be insisted on by all parties.
            Minsk 2 was supposed to be a step in that direction.
            Ukraine is also hurting in this conflict. Many of the problems it had before the coup are still there, including rampant corruption and torch lit processions for Stepan Bandera whom many consider a war criminal.

            Water supply to Crimea is important to Russia, but so are continued gas transit fees important for Ukraine.

            Much to be gained by negotiations, and a lot to be lost with war.

        • Sean says:

          Russia spent $50 billion on the Sochi Winter Olympics. They can handle Crimea, which is much more important to the Russian self-conception than Sochi which was just a sad consolation prize pre-Crimea. Crimea doesn’t need to be an agricultural breadbasket, it will do fine as a Russian Florida. Russia is also not afraid of major engineering projects that are not carbon neutral etc, massive desalination plants, etc. This is not coastal Orange County with 20 year environmental reviews.

          Slightly off topic, one reason I’m optimistic about Russia in the medium term is because they will not scrimp on energy. My guess is they will go big into nuclear, and they are already big with hydrocarbons and hydroelectric. Cheap and more importantly very plentiful energy might make it a unique place going forward for economic development.

          • Peter Williams says:

            One important thing that most people forget is that the Sea of Azov has a low salinity, thus desalination is more efficient.

            A second point is that the Kuban River discharges into the Sea of Azov and pipelines from its discharge point to Crimea are short and affordable.

            The main agricultural industry to be saved is the grape growing areas. The loss of Crimean wines and champagne would deal a major cultural blow.

    • fredw says:

      “The Russian controlled areas of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions were once the engines of the country’s economy and dominated its politics.” Much like the US midwest 50 years ago. The comparison I saw at the time of the initial fighting was to the midwest. A massive industrial/manufacturing base that had turned into a rust belt of obsolete technology. I saw it asserted that they were drains on Ukraine’s economy that then became drains on Russia’s economy. What the Russians wanted was Kharkiv and Odessa, which were vital economic centers. They tried, but they didn’t get those to join in the rebellion. Politically, the removal of those two areas (and Crimea) meant that the coalition that elected Yanukovich could never again get a majority of voters. Supposedly there was even a joke in Ukraine that though they had to demand and even fight for sovereignty, they would really finds ways to not take them back until “the Russian tanks arrive in Kyiv.”

      Am I mis-remembering? Or remembering an extremely biased account?

      • TTG says:

        fredw,

        You’re not mis-remembering. All of Ukraine reeked of post-Soviet decay at that time. The Orange Revolution gave a glimmer of hope that something better was to come, but oligarchs and corruption were still rampant. Much of the country’s military equipment was sold off. Some was stolen and then sold off. That was the state of Ukraine. In the USSR’s better days the Donbas was an economic powerhouse and Ukraine was the bread basket of the Union. But that all went to shit.

        The Maidan Revolution occurred under conditions of anarchy and continued corruption. Under the cover of that anarchy, the right wing elements, the neo-nazis, white supremacists, anti-semetics and ultra nationalists gained ascendancy. They formed the right wing militias that threatened the lives of those in the east. The rebels had no choice but to fight for their lives. And they did. And it got ugly. Their declaring independence was the logical reaction to that ugliness. The Ukrainian Army was ill equipped, poorly led, demoralized and down to less than 6,000 effectives at the time. They had to live with the ugliness created by the right wingers. At no time did Kyiv willingly cede any territory to the independent republics or to Russia. Russia didn’t want any part of Ukraine either, except the Crimea. They knew Ukraine was a basket case and they didn’t want to assume responsibility for any of it excepting Crimea of course. Perhaps they felt a responsibility to protect the lives of the rebels, an R2P, and created a robust Voentorg along with sending advisors and volunteers.

        Ukraine and the Ukrainian Army has progressed a great deal from those days. Their turn towards the West is serving them well. That is except for the fear and animosity it causes in Moscow. If not for the war, the Donbas would have progressed along with the rest of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Donbas has regressed from the 2014-2015 days to something more like the 1930s Soviet Union, largely due to the continuing war IMO.

        Thankfully, the Ukrainian right wingers have lost much of their allure and power. In the last elections, the far right received less than 2% of the vote and no seats in the Verkhovna Rada. But they’re still there and their militias have been integrated into the military. The patriotism sweeping the country now is of a much healthy variety than the hate-based xenophobia of the far right. And Russia has been largely responsible for this new wave of patriotism.

        • English Outsider says:

          Turning more to the military side of the confrontation, TTG, and putting on one side the impressive array of new weaponry, does the Russian army have depth?

          Here’s Dr North giving an assessment –

          “The Russian Army modernisation programme is, of course, unfinished business and plans to introduce 21st Century armoured vehicles has stalled. None of the new generation has so far been introduced into service. The Armata T-14 programme, for instance – despite original plans to equip units with 2,300 of these revolutionary new tanks between 2015 and 2020 – has been shunted to 2025.

          “The Russian Defence Ministry itself recently announced its equipment plans for 2022, promising that more than 400 armoured vehicles would be supplied to ground forces. But these comprise T-72B3M, T-80BVM and T-90M tanks, plus BMP-3, and modernised BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, as well as BTR-82A armoured personnel carriers – all based on 20th Century designs of some antiquity.

          “With the move to an all-professional army having failed, and the ground forces still reliant for a third of its numbers on conscripts retained for only a single year, and with much of its equipment antiquated and obsolete, Putin’s “New Model Army” has a long way to go before it catches up.”

          https://www.turbulenttimes.co.uk/news/front-page/media-reckless-misinformation/

          That doesn’t look like an army geared up for fighting a long ground war of the sort I sometimes see suggested. It looks like an army that can deliver a hefty punch if needed but no more. On our side, the Americans aren’t in Europe in force and there’s not much else in depth to do much useful.

          What’s the condition of the Ukrainian army itself? If that’s all shop window as well looks as if no one is in shape for any sort of war. And given there’s always nuclear in the background, no one with much inclination either.

          TTG – are we looking at a whole lot of shadow boxing? Wouldn’t keeping missiles further away from the Russian frontier and quietening things down along the line of control best answer the Russian security demands? And then leaving the Ukraine alone to get on with the job of rebuilding?

          • TTG says:

            EO,

            IMO we are looking at a lot of shadow boxing. All the massing of armor, artillery, men and ammunition is part of an effective aggression display. All the rail and road movement of equipment in broad daylight in front of cameras is part of that display. Now, as in any aggression display, it can turn into bloody conflict at a moment’s notice often inadvertently. So the possibility of stumbling into something ugly is there.

            Dr. Norths’s assessment seems to go too far in the other direction. Sure, the Russian soldier is not ten feet tall, nor is he four feet tall and saddled with “antiquated and obsolete” equipment. Those armored vehicles from the last century are upgraded models, plenty lethal and dependable. Much like our Abrams tanks introduced in the 80s have been upgraded into currently the best on the battlefield. The main problem with the Armata vehicles is that they are exorbitantly expensive, especially for Russia. And they’re behind schedule. Welcome to the world of modern weapons acquisition.

            Keeping missiles away from the Russian frontier is a great idea. We currently don’t have any near the Russian frontier. The closest are Ukraine’s own OTR-21 Tochkas. Russia has Tochkas and Iskanders menacing the frontiers of the Baltics, Poland and Ukraine. Yes, there is much to negotiate here.

          • Pat Lang says:

            TTG
            You don’t watch Foxnews but JJ Keane just told Kudlow, our recently found Brother in Christ that Putin will not conquer Ukraine. He should be careful. The Turcopolier might begin to respect him

          • TTG says:

            pl,

            Good, Keane’s comments may take a little wind out of the sails of all the chicken littles yelling war is upon us. I just saw he called for preemptive sanctions a week ago. That was a horrible idea then and is a horrible idea now. What gives me solace is a conversation with Dr. Jerzy Wiatr many years ago. He told me that the common view among the WTO staff was that war in Europe would be a monumentally stupid and costly affair. All the war plans, deployments and exercises were bluff and bluster.

            I don’t watch Foxnews, MSNBC or any of those things. I don’t have cable, satellite or streaming TV. I could listen to that stuff on SiriusXM if I wanted to. I prefer Siriusly Sinatra. And I’m healthier and happier for it.

        • Fred says:

          TTG,

          “The Maidan Revolution occurred under conditions of anarchy and continued corruption.”

          Glory to the National Endowment for Democracy and Victoria Nuland!
          “Under the cover of that anarchy, the right wing elements, the neo-nazis, white supremacists, anti-semetics and ultra nationalists gained ascendancy.”

          Or maybe the cookie lady didn’t do such a great thing. Or am I mis-remembering? (to use Fredw’s phrase).

          R2P, isn’t that the Samantha Power’s/Barack Obama idea?

    • Leith says:

      TTG –

      Kaliningrad is now also reported to have Kinzhal Kh-47M2 hypersonic mach-10 missiles. Unclear whether they are nuke tipped or conventional. Supposd to have arrived at Chernyakhovsk air base, just 30 km from border of NATO countries, three or four days ago.

      Range would cover all of Europe except for Spain and Portugal:

      Chernyakhovsk air base

  19. jim ticehurst says:

    LJ
    ..Always Good..To.. See Your still Around..Throwing Out Those Bones To Chew on…and This Was a Good Run..Lots of response…I Have followed You since right after 9/11 happened…and You Went Public…In Those Days..BUSH.. Jr,,,was Another BIDEN…and allowed the people around Him..For Self Serving Reasons..As You Know..,Talked Bush Into Invading Iraq..and Take Out Saddam…

    You Didnt like it..and You went Public..You were RIGHT..Good Honest Analysis..and I first heard You on FOX News..Telling the TRUTH and The BUSH/CHENEY People…
    and as a Result…YOU..were the First Victim..of Media CANCEL Culture..(NeoCons)

    So..To Your Run..Good Article..Now Russia/Ukraine..BidenStatus..Copys BUSH Jr..and IRAQ….Much More Dangerous Currently..Than Iraq Was…I Hope War DOES Not happen..On Any Scale…Potential for WW..3…..Full Nuke..Everyone Dies..Worse Case..
    My New Focus Is on New DATA….that TTG…(Twisted Genius) Put Out Here..about CHINA and the Ukraine..That my Research Shows It Seems To Be True…That Being..That After Ukraine became Independent…China Approached Kiev..and started Negotiation Deals….In 2014…….As a Result..They were Able To Buy
    Machine Parts.. Alot Of Equipment…Engines..anything they Wanted..Until Russia Blocked Some Deals..China Ever Leased Thousands Of Acres..For Pig Farms..and Crop Production..even The President of Ukraine V, Zelinsky Last Year.Proclaiming That ”
    ..
    “”Ukraine…Is CHINAS BRIDGE..To Europe..””
    using Ukraines Ports For Import ..Export…

    If The Chinese are still There…Thats and Issue With Russia..May be The Real Problem..So I would Watch ALL Chinese Activity In Ukraine. If There..and Withdraw ersonnel..That Could Signal An Invasion..By Studying Weather Patterns over Ukraine this Montyh..It looks like The PEAK For Armored Assault Weather..For Cold..is around Feb..20th…and Days Following.Followed by Clear Skies For Air Assaults..

    Just more Bones To Chew On..Cheers

    • jim ticehurst says:

      Colonel Lang,,and All….

      Colonel LAng,,,,And All

      Plesse Note That at the end of My Comments to Larry,,,Feb 5th..that I
      researched the Weaather Patterns OVER Ukraine for the Entire Month
      Of February..2022,,I Then came here and Commented…” It Looks likeThe
      PEAK for Armored Assault Weather..For Cold..Is Around FEB,,20th..and the Days Following..Followed by Clear Skies for Air Assaults..”

      THAT DATE, A Potential Russian ASSAULT ,going into the weekend of Feb 20th. was Published Here 0n TURCPOLIER First,that I have seen anywhere.on FEB 5th,,

      It only recently is being the likely date Talked abou..Going into This Weekend..The 20th..

      As PAT has noted about all The Generals Commenting on the MSM;;NONE of them had the Foresight to Check The Weather Forecast.Ukraine Optimum
      Invasion Weather (D DAY INVASION WEATHER FORCAST}

      The One Note I Maade..was General McKenzie saying on FOX News That A Likely MASSIVE CUBER Attack By Russia on Ukraine..Would Likely Precede
      An INVASION..

      JT

  20. drifter says:

    After the Duma passes the annexation of Donbas, can’t Putin use it as leverage to get implementation of Minsk II? Seems like when all is said and done, Russia would prefer a settlement along the lines of Minsk. But annexation is a viable option since, while somewhat risky, it has the potential to demilitarize the Donbas conflict, resolving an increasingly expensive undertaking for Moscow. Ukraine can’t afford to trade shots with the RF. So Ukraine’s gotta deal or get stuffed.

  21. mcohen says:

    Funny you don’t hear much about this going on in syria as reported by my favourite site “debka”

    https://www.debka.com/an-armada-of-russian-warships-masses-for-drills-at-tartus-syria/

  22. JoeC100 says:

    For further insight into “what might have happened” in a saner world, “ Why Vietnam” by Archimedes Patti is worth reading – he was in the OSS team that worked with Ho Chi Minh and clearly saw a different future if the US had not let France return after the war. I think very little of this history was accessible until long after the war..

  23. Leith says:

    Latvian Defense Minister: “Russian troops are reportedly suffering from poor conditions in their staging areas. Large covid outbreaks reported.”

    True or False? Speculation or hard intel? Don’t know about the covid. But with the weather in Belarus frequently dropping below freezing it is not a good time to live in tents.

    • Leith says:

      I think Shoigu said last year that 100% of Russian Army troops had been vaxed. SputnikV?

      • TTG says:

        Leith,

        Several of the Russians on our Washington Capitols team were advised by their Russian doctors before they left for DC last Fall to skip the Sputnik shots and get vaxxed in the states. The doctors told Orlov and Kuznetzov that Sputnik was shit. Not sure what Ovechkin was told.

  24. TTG says:

    Seems Turkey has not been drawn into the imminent war frenzy. Not only are they selling their drones to Ukraine, but they plan on building a factory there as well. This is from Oleksii Reznikov, Defense Minister.

    “Feb 3 was signed a framework agreement with Minister of Industry & Technology Mustafa Varank on cooperation in high-tech, aviation & space industries. The agreement provides for the construction of a Bayraktar plant in Ukraine! Thank to our Turkish partners!”

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