The US warns Russia? Self delusion at its finest.

"While Russia has pledged not to intervene in Ukraine's domestic affairs, it has issued a flurry of statements voicing concern about the situation of Russian speakers in Ukraine, including in the Crimea. Some Russian officials accuse the West of being behind the revolt against its fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the capital last week. U.S. and European officials have denied such allegations. In addition to Putin ordering the military exercises, Russia's defense ministry said it would take steps to strengthen security at facilities of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, where there have been clashes between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators. Pro-Russian protesters have spoken of secession, and a Russian lawmaker has stoked their passions by promising that Russia will protect them. Those steps have raised fears of possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine along the lines of its 2008 operation in Georgia, which led to the occupations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and was roundly condemned by the United States and its European allies."  Foxnews and the AP


I did not hear a "pledge" in what Lavrov said about this.  What I heard was a statement of principle conditioned on a reasonable situation and behavior in Ukraine.  That is quite a different thing.  Western media, especially the carefully controlled US MSM are, of course, seeking to twist this to the policy needs of the Obama R2P government.  This is analogous to the manner of the present silence concerning the recent shipment of mustard gas  from Lattakia.

Today we learn that the deposed Ukrainian president has been given asylum in Moscow and that Russia considers him to be the legitimate president of the Ukraine.  The policy gambit available to Russia is obvious.

We also have Russia conducting readiness exercizes in the Western and Central military districts.  As TTG has commented such exercizes are necessary in order to "shake down" units which have been in garrison for a long time and to prepare them for action in the field.  One can be sure that there are also command post exercizes underway to ready the chain of command.  Is this a bluff?  It may be but as I have said elsewhere the element of uncertainty produced by this activity is a useful thing from the Russian point of view.


As OOFDA pointed out today, the Morning Joe pumpkin heads are reacting to all all this in a way typical of many US media and political creatures.  They seem unable to grasp the fact that the US does not rule the world and does not have infinite authority and power to move events far away.  Two failed wars have not reduced their hubris, a hubris perhaps inspired by a mysterious surgical process of brain removal that seems all too common in the US in the modern age.  It used to be a joke in the US Army that officers who were promoted to full colonel were automatically scheduled for such a procedure.  I missed my appointment.  I was also an SES and missed that operation as well.  In Kerry's case, he must have volunteered for it.

I would remind one and all that Russia still possesses around 500 ICBMS tipped with very large warheads.  If the old truths remain the same, their megatonnage is typically larger and heavier than ours because their missiles are less accurate.  Remember.  The Russian Strategic Missile Forces are a force in being, not some sort of reserve.  pl

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83 Responses to The US warns Russia? Self delusion at its finest.

  1. eakens says:

    NATO doesn’t have any contingency plans for Ukraine. Do we want the Russians to act?

  2. b says:

    In Georgia Russian peacekeeper troops were attacked by a “western” supported force. They reacted properly.
    Would Putin repeat such in the Ukraine. Sure. But only if Russian troops get attacked. They are currently securing the Krim where their fleet harbors. They will watch out for whatever comes their way.
    One should also not that Russia is willing to use tactical nukes on a battlefield level. A NATO force preparing to cross a river towards Russia would be a juicy target.

  3. IMO Russia has bigger fish to fry than seizing and holding the Ukraine all or part and risking some coalition intervention.or even civil disobedience and riots. What one may ask?
    [1] protection of ill-gotten gains by the oligarchs, criminal elements, and Putin;
    [2] de facto accession of the wealth of the Siberian Region to the Han Chinese and German financiers.
    As always could be wrong and Putin does seem to be more cautious than American leaders in employment of his military [perhaps because they are decrepit except for strategic nuclear forces?]!
    Putin and Obama will both attend a conference on NUCLEAR SECURITY at the Hague in Mid-March.
    Again beware the Ides of March?

  4. Charles I says:

    Do we know what we want at all? Can we align our behaviour with our desires, let alone our interests? Likely not. Probably to meddle enough for domestic politics but to no appreciable effect in situ.

  5. turcopolier says:

    Russian forces are no longer “decrepit.” I fail to see what penalty Russia would pay for intervention. pl

  6. All,
    The Crimean Parliament has called a referendum on the area’s future. The Acting President of Ukraine appears to be attempting to backtrack on the rescinding on the renewal of the attempt to enforce Ukrainian as the official language throughout the country. The economy is heading for free fall.
    (See )
    The U.S. and E.U. have got their fingers firmly stuck on the ‘tar baby’ which is the Ukraine. Although the Crimean situation may run out of control, it still seems to me that the Russian authorities can afford to ‘enjoy the benefits of time.’ Intervention in any immediate future would leave their fingers firmly stuck in the ‘tar baby’. What could they conceivably gain?
    As to situations that might materialise later on – the prudent course for the Russian authorities would appear to be to ensure that nobody takes for granted that one will in no circumstances intervene, and that one is in a position to do so, if conditions warrant it. But I still think that conditions under which intervention would be sensible, if they are going to materialise, will only do so some time down the line – and are not actually all that likely.
    That it was sensible to attempt to ‘enjoy the benefits of time’ was a common maxim of sixteenth-century statecraft, according to the classic history of ‘The Defeat of the Spanish Armada’ by Garrett Mattingly – sometime sergeant in the U.S. Army, and lieutenant-commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

  7. Basilisk says:

    PL, et al,
    It seems to me if hyperbole were a weapon we would have this situation well in hand. The fact is that in military operations as in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. US diplomat George Ball particularly liked Ian Fleming’s aphorism “nothing propinks like propinquity.” Spheres of influence are not imaginary, they are rather a practical recognition of who can get there firstest with the mostest.
    It is something of a joke, IMO, to be talking of “drawing lines” in The Ukraine. Better to be looking to real world capabilities and the flack thereof.
    It has become popular of late to assume that special operations can fulfill all military needs, but there are some cases where real power projection of the old style might be actually needed. In such situations it might be better to speak softly, especially when the only big stick we possess is the one that no sane planner ever wants to have to use.

  8. Babak Makkinejad says:


  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What huge army is there the defense against which would compel Russia to resort to use of nuclear weapons against tits massed troop formations?
    Or Romania’s?
    I do not think so.
    The statement “…that Russia is willing to use tactical nukes on a battlefield level..” is irrelevant to this situation.
    On the other hand, may be if Yellow Hordes started invading Russia, perhaps then.
    But not now.

  10. John Minnerath says:

    Good grief, does Kerry have any brain cells at all?

  11. jonst says:

    Leaving aside what one thinks of Alex Baldwin…he has won a warm spot in my heart by calling Mika B the “Margaret Dumont” of morning talk shows. Priceless.
    Reference for those uninitiated as to who she was.

  12. b says:

    Russia does not have to do anything but wait. The economic situation of the Ukraine will make sure that Russia will always have the biggest say of any international actor in it.
    The “west” is not willing/able to pay up fro the Ukraine. Putin is just waiting for that simple fact to sink in.
    Therefore, unless there is a serious attack on Russians or their troops in the Ukraine Putin will do nothing.
    Why risk “western” sanction or other nonsense when one can just sit back and wait?

  13. All,
    The latest ‘take’ on the situation by ‘the Saker’, which provides his reading of the likely response to re4cent developments by the Russian authorities, is worth reading.
    (See }

  14. oofda says:

    It should be understood that Crimea had been a part of Russia since the late 1700’s when it was annexed by the Russian Empire. It was given to Ukraine(Ukrainian SSR) in 1954- purportedly signed over by Khrushchev while he was drunk. Another version holds that while an ethnic Russian born in Russia, his early Soviet career was in Ukraine and he had strong feelings towards the country. The real reasons for the move are stil obscure; Crimea is now an autonomous parliamentary republic within Ukraine. It is heavily ethnic Russian, with more than a 2-1 ratio over ethnic Ukrainians. Being the home of the Black Sea Fleet, it is of particular strategic importance to Russia.
    While Ukraine proper is now an economic basket case, Russia may merely bide its time and not take overt military action. But with regard to Crimea, due to strategic, ethnic and emotional reasons, the Russians will do whatever they have to do to hold it. Many Russians see it as ‘part’ of Russia.
    Funny that an insignificant, and mostly ignored, bureaucratic action of six decades ago can have such an impact today.

  15. Thomas says:

    Some people here in the West do fail to appreciate that others have their own Samson Option.
    Today’s Saker post says Russia won’t intervene unless provoked and if they do: “we only help those who help themselves and deserve our help”.
    Russia strategy seems sound, alert the military on the borders, consolidate the Crimea, and hand this new born ‘democracy’ baby to the west to provide their economic medicine.

  16. Kunuri says:

    William R. Cumming,
    Reading your post, quoted below, unrelated the intent of your comment, compelled me to share about how I emphatize with the decent Russians who live in Putinland…
    “[1] protection of ill-gotten gains by the oligarchs, criminal elements, and Putin;”
    …before waiting for a new topic on Turkey and parallels between Russia and current Turkish politics, I would like to share an experience about how is it like to live in an authoritarian state.
    I and my partners submitted a proposal for a TV series to the state owned and financed TV station TRT. Naturally we all had to include our CVs in the proposal file. I got a call from our producer, asking me if I had ever commented on social Media against the government, AKP, RTE and in support of Gezi Protests and against lately revealed corruption scandals and etc. He said if I had, we have zero chance of getting the financing we need. Luckily, I had not, except reporting and ranting and raving here, where the good Colonel had given me a full title page my of my reporting during Gezi. …and I rarely use Facebook and twitter, which are both are safely under my American alias. I know not one in my circle who has not used the social media to criticize the current state of affairs here, so affectively no one can produce anything for state owned propaganda TV except diehard government supporters and sycophants of the oligarchs. And no one here who has any talent, education, or common sense support the current regime. So imagine the quality of any production that gets aired anywhere! So apply the same train of thought to anyone who steers the domestic or foreign policy in Turkey. I wonder if one can do the same to Russia, except their foreign minister, the chess master.
    Sorry all for posting off topic, but when Russia is the focus of commentary here, Russian people and the oppression of the regime they live under seems to be not included sufficiently in the equation for geopolitical predictions and analysis.

  17. harry says:

    They dont need to seize it. They can take it any time they want.
    This is a win zone for Russia. Its very hard for them not to come up with the whole pot in this game. I think the first objective is strategic. Protect the fleet. Then the next objective will be to allow the West to contribute as much money as they want so that russian creditors can take their cash out and on good terms.
    Then they can turn their attention to buying all the cheap assets in the country they might want – with whichever corrupt Ukrainian partner politician as cover. Then they can think about how they want to run things. To be in charge or just to dominate from afar. I would assume the later is better.
    I see no other end gamne. Can anyone else get cheap fuel to the Ukrainians? Interesting the timing in that respect. Spring just round the corner – so I guess that the guys responsible for sponsoring the trouble wanted to minimize russian leverage. Fine, you have a year to argue!
    Good luck changing reality to your prefered perception on this one neocons.

  18. Kunuri says:

    Albayim, the Russian Army may have gotten it together equipment and organization wise, but do you think the Russian peasant soldier would be as willing to die for a Mother Russia where the oligarchs ride in gold Mercedeses and where no dissent or upward mobility is allowed except within the current apparatus? Could there not be a few anarchists and free souls within their ranks as they go charging a foreign land?
    I think this factor may be the underlying factor beneath Putin’s caution.

  19. Thomas says:

    “Again beware the Ides of March?”
    Why? Is someone going after our President? Con Coughlin was on FOX today saying Obama was cutting and running from Afghanistan, so maybe he should be careful.
    What ill-gotten gains does the Petrograd Group have? They sell oil and gas from a resource rich country. An observation about them, they work together in a collegial manner and have Vladimir serve as the public frontman.
    China and Russia have an amicable working relationship. China won’t do unto others, so no one has reason to do unto them.

  20. TWit says:

    I think the 2008 Russian conflict with Georgia offers the following lessons relevant to the current situation in Ukraine:
    1. Russia systematically and patiently, over a period of many months, dug-in / strengthened its military presence in a territory (South Ossetia) that was outside of Russian sovereign territory but wholly in the greater Russian orbit, just like Crimea today. This was done as a preventative measure to counter the potential of Georgia trying to forcibly reclaim control over the ‘breakaway’ regions of Georgia.
    2. During a summer of tit-for-tat provocations, Russia invaded Georgian territory only in direct response to Georgian military action. The destruction wrought by the operation seems in retrospect to have been well calculated and proportional to Russia’s political objectives – namely to regain decisive control over South Ossetia and deter Georgia from trying to retake it for the foreseeable future.
    3. Saakashvili, megalomaniacal darling of the neocons, believed his own hype and ignored facts on the ground. He thought that because South Ossetia was legally part of Georgia, he had liberalized and democratized Georgia, stamped out corruption, and made various positive domestic reforms that this would somehow trump strategic reality, presumably by making it diplomatically impossible for Russia to defend South Ossetia. He also apparently believed that a few years of American training and equipping made Georgia’s army capable of fighting and winning against the Russian army.
    4. The neocons and their cheerleaders encouraged Saakashivili into believing that we “had his back,” when we obviously did not, should not have, and indeed never did.
    5. The Georgian people were led to believe that their salvation laid not in their own unity and strength as a country, but in the EU and NATO, when membership in both was always an impossibility. When I was there in 2006, they flew the EU flag next to the Georgian flag everywhere in the country, despite not having any official relationship with the EU.
    Perhaps the biggest difference between the situation then in Georgia vs now in Ukraine is that Russia did all of the above even though South Ossetia was (and is) just a crappy little mafia province with only limited strategic value, whereas Crimea has huge strategic importance to Russia, plus major cultural and economic significance, as detailed here.
    Applicable lessons? That Russia will be patient, systematic, and will take advantage of provocations to secure its interests in the Crimea.

  21. Fred says:

    WRC, protection of ilgotten gains? Are you referring to Obama’s failure to prosecute a single banker after his bailout?

  22. Rd. says:

    “I fail to see what penalty Russia would pay for intervention. Pl “
    On the other side of the coin, what would Russia gain by not intervening militarily?
    US is in dire financial state and is no longer able to peruse hegemony via military option. The color revulsion, R2P, promoting democracy or what ever marketing logo the DC crowd comes up with will also fail in the pursuit of hegemony.
    As currency fails and prices rise in Ukraine, who would feed the hungry people? US simply can not afford to hold on to Ukraine. This may prove to be the best way to expose the r2ps and their democracy nonsense.

  23. PL! Perhaps you are correct but my info different!
    This wiki extract may be of interest:
    This is a list of the ten countries with the highest defence budgets for the year 2011, which is $1.29 trillion or 74% of total world expenditures. The information is from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.[11] Total world spending amounted to $1.74 trillion USD in 2011.
    Rank Country Spending ($ b.) World Share (%) % of GDP, 2011
    1 United States 711.0 41.0 4.7
    2 China 143.0 8.2 2.0
    3 Russia 71.9 4.1 3.9
    4 United Kingdom 62.7 3.6 2.6
    5 France 62.5 3.6 2.3
    6 Japan 59.3 3.4 1.0
    7 India 48.9 2.8 2.5
    8 Saudi Arabia 48.5 2.8 8.7
    9 Germanya 46.7 2.7 1.3
    10 Brazil 35.4 2.0 1.5
    World Total 1735 74.3 2.5
    ^a SIPRI estimates
    ^b SIPRI: “The figures for Saudi Arabia include expenditure on public order and safety and might be slight overestimates”

  24. shepherd says:

    Russians have historically been very good at dying for any cause whatsoever.

  25. Thanks Kunuri!
    It is also my understanding that many in the Russian intelligentsia are in fact Ukrainian but few Ukrainian oligarchs in Russia except for those Ukrainian ones remaining in the Ukraine where kleptocracy also a factor!

  26. Highly accurate comment with which I agree.

  27. Matthew says:

    Kunari: thanks for the pop psychology.
    I imagine that few Ukrainians will be willing to fight and die for the US/EU chosen oligarchs either.

  28. Matthew says:

    Saker’s analysis is convincing. The Ukrainians clearly want a better life and can see that in the EU lifestyle. But since the EU cannot afford 5 million Ukrainian economic migrants, the EU will need to impose a “shock doctrine” on the country.

  29. CK says:

    They would pay the penalty of being demonized by the regnant hostile intellectual minority in the US. Now on the upside, should the Russ successfully reintegrate Ukraine, the A-10 program would not be cut from the defense department budget. Russian success means more money for the MIC, Russian failure means more money for MIC to fight the next Japanese inspired war against the World’s Creditor China. It’s a win win.

  30. CK says:

    I believe you have successfully restated the German opinion of the Russ just before June 22, 1941. Dumb kulaks will never fight for mother Russia because Robin Williams finds the idea funny.
    So many peasants so few patriots? The oligarchs are mostly in the UK and the US owning sports franchises and wintering in Gstaad.

  31. CK says:

    To ask is to answer.

  32. rkka says:

    “2. During a summer of tit-for-tat provocations, Russia invaded Georgian territory only in direct response to Georgian military action. The destruction wrought by the operation seems in retrospect to have been well calculated and proportional to Russia’s political objectives – ”
    Precisely. This was an example of a well-considered military operation for clearly achievable political goals, of the sort the good Colonel got upset at me for pointing out that a couple generations of blinkered, clueless US presidents have failed to achieve, largely because of our brainless drooling over sexy hardware.

  33. CK says:

    There is only one back that any dual national neo-con will ever have and that is Israel’s. The rest is smoke, mirrors, lies and bad theatre.
    There will never be a Kagan or that ilk in the front lines of Ukrainian absorption into the EU.

  34. CK says:

    Once upon a time, there was the Holodomor.
    Most of the West has never heard of it; it was the trial run for the Shoah. So 8 or 9 months from now, natural gas will be necessary for Ukraine winter ( bupkis would be a high estimate of Ukrainian energy resources) . I am sure, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the US neo-cons and Obama-cons will ship the gas from the Bakken and the Marcellus to Kiev on the US taxpayer’s dime and against the US citizens needs for energy to prevent another Trotskyite mass murder of Ukrainians.
    On the other hand, given the treatment of the Ukrainians during WWII by the Germans, maybe the Ukrainians will welcome their new German overlords. I so love foreign affairs.

  35. turcopolier says:

    “the sort the good Colonel got upset at me for pointing out” You will have to remind me. pl

  36. turcopolier says:

    “Russian peasant soldiers?” “Decrepit?” ‘Tactical nuclear weapons?” Some of you seem to be living in another era. First – time moves on and forces change and evolve. Second – The Russian Army is nearing the end of a process of re-reorganization that closely resembles that of the US Army. Their forces now are now manned 70% by volunteers. The equipment is new and there is a lot of it. Third – the only function of nuclear weapons in a US/Russian crisis is at the strategic level where Russian capabilities cancel out those of the use – not for use but rather for projection of a threat. pl

  37. turcopolier says:

    Defense budgets are not a sufficient way to judge military capabilities. Nevertheless, by your figures Russian budgets are greater than any of our allies. pl

  38. turcopolier says:

    Exquisite. I think her best role was in ‘Coconuts.” I suppose that you would have to explain to Mika B who MD was. pl

  39. Matthew says:

    WRC: The Saudi numbers are stunning. How can the Kingdom spend that much money but be incapable of defending themselves?

  40. Matthew says:

    CK: Why do the Russians need to commit mass murder? Ukraine, the Argentina of the East, may be simply ungovernable. Their government is a revolving door of gangsters with different patrons.

  41. Matthew says:

    Col: I suspect that the Russians don’t need to spend as much on their military because their international commitments are substantially less. Aren’t we the only power whose force levels are supposed to be adequate for two simultaneous wars?

  42. Matthew says:

    jonst: Best exchange–
    Dumont: Oh, I’m afraid after we’re married a while a beautiful young girl will come along and you’ll forget all about me.
    Groucho: Don’t be silly. I’ll write you twice a week.
    See id.

  43. different clue says:

    Even if rather few Russian soldiers would die for a foreign land or cause, if they consider Crimea and maybe adjacent East Ukraine to be Russian or nearly Russian land then they would be willing to die and kill for it.

  44. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think a vast proportion of US military budget goes towards expeditionary and force projection capabilities across oceans, especially the navy and the strategic air capabilities (including transports). My understanding (very limited) is that no other country can match that.
    But, with regards Ukraine, Russians are not talking about long distance expeditions. Kiev is only 500 miles from Moscow. It should not be difficult for Russians to pour in tens of thousands in fairly short order, if they decide to do so. Location, not just overall military expenditure, matters.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Our defense expenditures are an outlier caused by our insistence on assuming imperial missions abroad. The Chinese expenditures are also outliers caused by remarkable growth in their navy and air force. pl

  46. nick b says:

    Not that it changes the proportions that much, but I believe $150+ billion of the US number is for the VA, DHS, DOE, DOJ and construction.

  47. turcopolier says:

    In the background in this discussion of a possible Russian intervention is the mistaken belief that what are called conventional forces have been supplanted in importance by SOF. As Basilisk pointed out, sometimes what is needed is hard hitting conventional air and ground military forces. pl

  48. Medicine Man says:

    One of Col. Lang’s previous threads on this subject included a slide that had an estimate of Russia’s total military personnel. The estimate was one million personnel and 220 thousand officers.
    Under the circumstances you would think that sabre rattling would be reserved for issues of obvious national interest or to head off such issues down the road, but apparently common sense is not so common.

  49. There are currently about 30M residents and citizens of S.A. The Royal Family even stretching
    kinship under 20,000! I discern the Saudi National Guard a loyal and credible source for the Royals.
    Over 5-10 million non-Arab guest workers!
    The Saudi Royal family riding the proverbial tiger?
    Even more disturbing many Saudi women insisting on learning how to drive?

  50. Actually PL agree with you because currency exchange rates make a fiction of the wiki list I posted. With the Ruble at its lowest level ever Russia probably would not make the top ten.
    And as most know nuclear weapons deteriorate over time. Yes even the US arsenal. Tritium has a shelf life. Maintaining a nuclear arsenal may make trying to use economics a farce in managing modern economic life where any of the nuclear priesthood rules.
    And why is Obama visiting SA? If the Saudis decide against the dollar [even as part of a basket of currencies] the US economy is finished. And so may China’s economy!

  51. Was not the Georgia intervention by Russia skillful employment of Combined Arms?

  52. VietnamVet says:

    50% of the DOD budget is for military contractors. The problem the American Empire is that besides military officers needing war to get promoted, there are all the contractors and their paid politicians who are pushing for war in order to be paid. On top of this, are the vulture capitalists on Wall Street seeking chaos to implement shock capitalism. Not to mention, true believers seeking paradise and the End of Days.
    In other words, Ukraine is ripe for plucking. But, a war with Russia is like closing the Straits of Hormuz, it is sure to crash the Western Economy and crush the Oligarchs. Most likely Ukraine will be another Mash-Up with millions suffering starvation, lawlessness and mob rule while they are looted.
    We are living the Last Days. Empires have to win wars and bring law and order (peace) to survive.

  53. Fred says:

    Obama can send the Power, Rice and Nuland brigades, armed with this administration’s favorite weapon – the jawbone. They will certainly never run out of recruits.

  54. Fred says:

    You mean the EU is going to screw 5 million Ukrainians the same way they did to the Greeks?

  55. nick b says:

    The Ukrainians might want to ask their Cyrillic language brethren in Greece how it feels to be bailed out by the EU. The Greeks and the EU had to do it, as the Euro banks held too much Greek debt (among the other PIGs) and default would have destroyed their capital base, and the Euro banking system with it.
    The largest holders of Ukrainian debt are believed to be Russian banks Sberbank and VTS. The Russian government is the majority stake holder, or outright owner of both. Any EU bailout of the Ukraine is essentially a bail out of these Russian banks. This is something that the Russian govt must realize. Complicating things is the fact that a decent portion of Ukrainian debt is dollar or euro denominated. The Ukrainians have been burning their foreign reserves propping up the hryvnia in the open market. The Russians have been doing the same for the ruble. Neither country can afford this default without economic consequences in terms of balance sheet and future borrowing cost. Further, Russian investment in the Ukraine is quite large. Russian companies, some state owned, hold big market share in the Ukrainian oil, mobile telephone, and retail gasoline markets among others. From an economic standpoint, it might make sense for the Russians to hold back and wait for a western bailout. Once the Ukrainians have had a good taste of EU austerity they may not be quite so enamored with the “EU lifestyle”. At that point it would make sense for the Russians to make their move. They might be able end up economically in tact (or not hurt so badly) and keep the Ukraine in their orbit.
    As an aside, check your retirement accounts for holdings of Franklin Templeton global bond fund. If you own it, you have Ukrainian bond exposure too.

  56. phil cattar says:

    In a word, Syria.Russia may have most of the good cards in the Ukraine but we have many cards in the area of Syria that we could play to make Putin think twice about any bold actions.BTW I live very close to Ft Desoto Park.Great place.

  57. Charles I says:

    $70 billion out of the country in the last ten years according to the evening news.

  58. Charles I says:

    Who cares about Kiev? Wait for the Crimea to fall from the rotten bough and tell the Tatars they can move west from the new country.

  59. greg0 says:

    Luck has it that Cocoanuts is playing all season in Ashland, OR at OSF.
    BTW, thanks for the insightful Ukraine related comments. It’s a big world out there, and the MSM doesn’t do it justice.

  60. rjj says:

    Is there any way Antonov could come up for grabs as a result of all this?

  61. jonst says:

    Can someone point me to good, or at least, reasonable, material on why Nikita K ‘returned’ Crimea to Ukrainian ‘control’ in 1954? Or, anyone care to speculate?

  62. Fred says:

    It looks like the President of Ukraine hasn’t resigned after all.
    Returning to the liberal’s favorite leaker, Mr. Snowden. Just what documents related to the funding of the Ukrainian opposition might he have stolen before fleeing to Russia? Just curious to see if Russia already knows who knew what and when they knew it in regards to this ‘revolution’ (at least up to the time Snowden fled).

  63. Alba Etie says:

    MSM is reporting Russian forces have seized airports in Crimea.Perhaps the partition of Ukraine has started .Yep lets have Ms Nuland/Kagan jack around in Russia’s Near Abroad – what could possible go wrong ?

  64. bth says:

    Q1: How much of Russia’s available military resources are required to cleave and hold the Crimea? Has it been sealed off now by land, sea and air?
    Q2: A long-term economically viable Ukraine would seem in all parties’ interest. This would depend on natural gas access, freely flowing sabotage free pipelines across the Ukraine to the EU, a Ukrainian customer able to pay most of its gas bills. That would mean keeping the industrial base of the eastern Ukraine intact, in commercial intercourse with Russia and in the Ukraine.
    Is this a military option for Russia or is it an outcome only achievable by all parties through diplomacy and threat of military action?
    It is one thing to send in a couple hundred forces in new unmarked uniforms to hold two airports and some government buildings in the Crimea, it is another to take and hold the eastern Ukraine by force.
    Q3: What is the status of the Ukrainian military and intelligence service? Crimea, excluded, can it/will it hold ground in the eastern Ukraine?

  65. 505thPIR says:

    NK was the communist party boss in the Ukraine during WW 2. I am sure the move finds its genesis there.

  66. oofda says:

    I went to a CSIS seminar last eventing : it was titled “Journalist Roundtable:National Security & Foreign Policy Flash Points”. Headed by Bob Scheiffer, it had David Gregory, Jake Tapper and the CBS correpondent for the State Dept. The first item discussed was Ukraine, and they all had the same group-think- expressing comments like “Putin is poking his finger in the US’ eye” and “Putin is on a power grab.” No recognition of the import Russia places on the region, especially the Crimea. And these are the media people that help form US public opinion.
    Jonst- this piece gives some insight into the ‘gifting’ of Crimea to Ukraine. It appears to have been the brainchild of Nikita Sergeyevich and the Russians don’t know the exact reasons.

  67. LeaNder says:

    Yellow Hordes
    I love this Babak, maybe since I never did really look into the larger paranoia scenario in this context, but I am vaguely aware of it.

  68. turcopolier says:

    Many years ago there was a stage musical production of the Cocoanuts at Washington’s Arena Stage. It was magical, better than the Marx Brothers film. It was so good that it was held over for three months after it was supposed to go off the boards. So far as I know this production was not filmed. What a shame! pl

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think Russia will intervene by any means necessary to prevent Ukraine joining NATO.
    This is analogous to the situation in Taiwan; if Taiwan declares independence, China will invade Taiwan.

  70. LeaNder says:

    Thomas, so the Yellow Hordes don’t matter that much anymore. I agree, I would put them in the second to last century from Russia’s perspective, but I may be wrong. But Petrograd group? Are the headquarters of any prominent oil or gas enterprise based in St. Petersburg/Petrograd/Leningrad. I would put both Grazprom and Lukoil more in or at least close to Moskau. So what exactly do you have in mind with the “Petrograd Group”?
    In any case this “curious nitwit” is more wondering if this is not some type of “cold war” revival which may explain b’s fast take on matter.
    But I also wonder about William R. Cummings suggestion of German financier’s special interest. Any one in particular?

  71. LeaNder says:

    Fred, I somewhat are on Thomas side in other words I am never quite sure what he could do if there weren’t strong counter forces. Much less sure by the way then I am sure what, if he were given a more free reign, what the outcome would be. 😉

  72. Joe100 says:

    All –
    Some most interesting views of last night’s events in Crimea from Saker:
    It appears that some real professionals were involved. Curious what TTG and others with relevant experience think of this?

  73. Charles I says:

    Speaking of the delusional, here’s Charlie K indulging, as usual in a . . . folie a un, one might say, over the sheer indignity of it all. He suggests “a naval flotilla to the Black Sea”. It is not clear whether the bombing should begin in five minutes or economic prowess alone will suffice to redeem the shame.
    Charles Krauthammer: American inaction leaves Ukraine naked to Russian intervention
    Whether anything Obama says or does would stop anyone remains questionable. But surely the West has more financial clout than Russia’s kleptocratic extraction economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka

  74. jonst says:

    Forgive me 505th for asking a question, and then mildly, and respectfully, disagreeing with the proffered answer. That is bad form on my part. But I am dubious about your suggestion….most of the time, especially back in 54, K et al, based decisions on what was happening, or not happening, in the Politburo.., and deadly back alleys of Party Politics.

  75. jonst says:

    Thank you oofda….I will review.
    Honestly, I can’t watch talks like that, especially if my wife is in the room. I go crazy….so much nonsense as you point out offda. but dangerous stuff…because among a lot of people, this ilk has credibility, right?

  76. greg0 says:

    The same actors at Oregon Shakespeare Festival performed Animal Crackers two years ago. It was great! I have high hopes for another fantastic production.

  77. hans says:

    I can’t shake the feeling that S. J. Perelman has returned and is scripting this whole thing. Casting is going to be a problem though. Suggestions anyone?

  78. harry says:

    Its an even better position than that. Any cash the west puts into Ukraine, the Russians can take back out. Either in the form of not rolling over loans, or allowing their banks to exit. Or in the form of higher gas prices. Ukraine pays below market rates for its gas. Let the West put together some package of assistance. The assistance will accrue to Russia in the end.

  79. harry says:

    Very little I would suggest. They base their fleet there and the fleet has a brigade of marines with it. It is a peninsular. Its going to be pretty easy to hold even without help from outside Crimea.
    Eastern Ukraine is majority Russian. Coal miners and Steel workers who think of themselves as ethnically Russian and vote that way.
    Im not sure the Ukrainian military could hold it against the local population.

  80. Your thinking aligns closely with mine on this topic!

  81. Thomas says:

    Curious friend from Cologne, your comments have been appreciated over the years you have been here.
    The Petrograd Group is a wise azz comment for the people associated with Vladmir from St. Petersburg either growing up there, or going to school at the university. The point is to see the leadership as friends working together for the common interest instead of the Tyrant and his minions.
    Unfortunately in contrast,our present situation could be seen as the Temporary Emperor and his Court where the courtiers in cutthroat career competition amongst policy factions would not care if their actions harmed the US as long as they screwed over their rival.
    Which brings us to your question of a cold war revival, the policy faction that receives the bashing here would accept that as outcome if they can’t have their New World Empire, because they would insist on maintaining power arguing only they can prevent the Evil Hordes of Darkness devouring our poor innocent children.
    To appreciate the current Chinese leaders, understand that they have scarred souls from the Cultural Revolution (which they will admit to).Their priority is stability above all else to never experience such a situation again and they emphasize dialogue and mutually beneficial relations with the outside world. If outsiders were to meddle in their internal affair, they would go to war, so they don’t meddle in other affairs.
    The German Financiers is a reflection in how your country has been able to achieve prosperity and stability and emblematic of your future economic strength.

  82. Imagine says:

    Tactical nukes are so 20th century. Tactical thermobaric warheads give largely the same bang, while being cheaper; easily adjusted in scale; and not radioactive. They are less horrific, which I count as a detriment.
    {I suggest our President could take leadership and phase out nuclear weapons [while quietly switching to thermobarics for defense]. We could go down to the level of China, say, maintaining only 100 warheads for the strategic value you note, and declare no first use of nuclears.}

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