“Like in 1914 or 1939, we may be sleepwalking towards a global war that nothing can stop”

Betty White as I first remember her.

” Russia is still powerful, but in decline. China until recently appeared to be in unstoppable ascent. But now its economy is stalling, its population ageing, and (like Germany before 1914) it has alarmed its rivals. Its rulers may be starting to feel “encircled” as America, Japan, India and now Britain start to react.

If Russia wants another slice of Ukraine, it may not have long to grab it. And if China wants Taiwan, both for prestige and for its semiconductor industry, its chances may not be improving. As for Iran, is it already too late for it to develop usable nuclear weapons, or will it rush to do so while its enemies hesitate? Who might play va banque?

Could past generations have staved off the disasters of 1792, 1914 and 1939? Even with hindsight, there seem no simple solutions, no moment at which any politically feasible action could have saved the world.”

Comment: Betty White died today 2 weeks short of a hundred years. An omen? I first remember her while watching her play knock-knock games on the tiny screen of the first TeeVee that my parents bought in the late ’40s in LA. I remember that several years ago she was involved in an on the air discussion of baking buns and remarked that there had not been a cherry in her bun since 1938. Yes, an omen. pl

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/12/31/like-1914-1939-may-sleepwalking-towards-global-war-nothing-can/

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67 Responses to “Like in 1914 or 1939, we may be sleepwalking towards a global war that nothing can stop”

  1. Babeltuap says:

    It was 4K clarity to me when they refused to lock down the borders when the fireworks started. It had nothing to do with containment or even a virus for that matter. They did everything possible to keep the show going.

    It looks like pre-WWI in many ways as Elon Musk pointed out in a tweet this year. I hope for the best but there are too many people playing around with greasy sticks of dynamite right now. I don’t pretend to know what is going on but when the networks don’t care about ratings something sure as hell is. The Golden Girls in syndication is getting more viewers than many prime time shows.

  2. walrus says:

    Col. Lang;

    “Russia is still powerful, but in decline. China until recently appeared to be in unstoppable ascent. But now its economy is stalling, its population ageing, and (like Germany before 1914) it has alarmed its rivals. Its rulers may be starting to feel “encircled” as America, Japan, India and now Britain start to react.”

    I believe that this quote is a classic example of psychological projection; it is America that is in decline. It is the American economy that is stalling. It is America whose population is ageing and it is America that is reacting to the mighty combination of Russia and China who are developing interior lines of communication via One Belt One Road that among other things, vitiate Americas control of the worlds sea lanes. Our rulers calculate that time is not on our side. We must destroy Russia now!

    In almost every military field I can think of, of which my knowledge is admittedly out of date, amateurish and incomplete, Russia appears to me to have equal or superior technology. What Russia does not have is the American capacity to produce and deploy in volume, China does have that capability – given time.

    I believe that “woke’ culture and individualism may have destroyed much of Americas young population as a source of quality military recruits – which would be Jedi Knight wants to lay down their life for transexual rights? Taking “Cancel culture” to its obvious conclusion will make the American military look something like the pre WW1 French Army – militarily illiterate but oh so politically correct. Russia and China still have intact young populations that may fight in my opinion. Time is not on our side.

    The guts of the real American economy has been destroyed by financialisation, not so Russia and not (yet) China if anything, our misguided sanctions policy has strengthened the self sufficiency of both. Time is not on our side. What happens for example, if Russia shares the weapons system blueprints so to speak of the S500, Khinzal, Tzirkon, etc, etc with China – and they go into American scale mass production for the Chinese armed forces?

    But wait, there’s more! What happens if the Chinese start selling these highly capable systems to the rest of the world for a fraction of the price of a less than capable U.S.. made system?? At some point CAATSA is not sufficient deterrent. Then there is the question of operational sovereignty. Who really wants an F35 and to have Lockheed leaching money out of you for “software upgrades” like IBM did and Tesla does now?? Time is not on our side.

    Judging by the last ten years gradually increasing drumbeat against Russia this is not a new development. The academic establishment – always sensitive to the way the wind is blowing, is on board; you cannot buy a book on Eastern Europe these days without a forward, preface, introduction or epilogue warning of “The expansionist Russian Empire” or “The Dictator Putin” “in these troubled times”; even people I used to consider gold standard academics like Tim Snyder are on board.

    As for the media, they are all on board to a man. Even the Australian ABC re ran this crap about “Russias Militarised Children” the other day.

    https://neweasterneurope.eu/2020/06/16/generation-war-russias-militarised-children/

    It somberly reports: “However, the reality is that the social policy of Russian Federation of the last several years incorporates the idea of preparing its youngest generation to become part of its military system. Through propaganda, special training and a systematic educational approach, young Russians are becoming part of the Russian government’s offensive policy. ”

    WTF was the school cadet system that I joined that had me training for war as a Thirteen year old? WTF is ROTC and the Australian Army University Regiments if not training young civilians for war? I used to carry my .303 Lee Enfield home on the suburban train, in uniform, with my schoolbag in my other hand as a thirteen year old…. but Russia is “militarising children”???

    The strategy is obvious;; Madeline Albrights moniker for the USA – “The indispensable nation” should be seen not as an observation but as a threat at least as far as Europe is concerned. Its as if we are watching a geopolitical equivalent of the Movie “Misery” – in that movie Cathy Bates character rescues a famous author that she idolises from a snowy car wreck and tends to his broken legs in secret in her basement which reminds me of Americas rescue of Europe after WWII. The patient is grateful, but when he is sufficiently healed he tries to leave and the distraught Cathy Bates Character takes a sledgehammer to his ankles and breaks them again. That, to me, is what America is doing to Europe via NATO, sanctions and energy policy – I do not believe it is in Europes interest to fight a war with Russia….again.

    I believe we have until the end of January before this die is cast. I believe Putin when he states that there will be consequences for America that we will not like, but I don’t know what they might be.

    I respectfully suggest that in the interests of discussion of this matter it is useful to state your ethnic position because the subject of Russia raises strong passions. Me? I follow my fathers dictum and Bismark – the whole of Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea is not worth the life of one American soldier.

    • Lysias says:

      The leading powers in the two sides that would engage in World War One thought that time was not on their side and that they had to act now. Germany feared the rise in Russia’s population, economy, and military capacity, the decline of her Austrian ally, and the rise of Socialism within Germany. Britain feared how she was being outstripped by Germany’s economic, cultural, and military vibrancy. Similar remarks can be made about the other great powers.

      All of which looks all too much like the situation today.

      • English Outsider says:

        Lysias – I came across a most interesting discussion of the origins of WWI not long ago. Some very sharp academics who’d put the work in in the archives. Long, I’m afraid, and I have no transcript.

        General conclusion: – a perfect storm. Lots of events that came together to a disastrous result. The diplomats thought they could handle it as they’d handled similar flashpoints before. They didn’t.

        On the British/German rivalry – that’s downplayed.

        https://youtu.be/hMKqPgWJYr8?t=3

        Kate Epstein has some most interesting things to say on pre-WWI defence policy. And this crucial throwaway observation that for me dealt with the question of to what extent we can determine causation. Because this fascinating discussion is not merely an examination of history. It’s an investigation into how we should conduct and use such examination. (1.41 approx) –

        https://youtu.be/hMKqPgWJYr8?t=6096

    • Fred says:

      walrus,

      “…woke’ culture and individualism may have destroyed much of Americas young population as a source of quality military recruits ”

      Individualism has always been a hallmark of America, it is the wokeness that is new.

      “The guts of the real American economy has been destroyed by financialisation…”

      How’s the economy of our ally down under? That sub force fully manned (and womaned) and ready to go? How about that manufacturing sector? Who financialized that? Surely a successful executive like yourself have some insights on that.

      “what America is doing to Europe via NATO, sanctions and energy policy….”

      What a crock of crap. NATO leadership is pushing the neocon (borg) expansion, not “America”, as we certainly didn’t vote for any of that. Europe’s engergy policy? Don’t blame us for that one either; look at Merkel, now gone but her dark legacy will live on as Germany is going to end nuclear power generation ‘for the environment’ or some such hogwash. They voted that all in, not us. They’ve had an authoritarian streak in them since the Napoleonic wars, if not earlier. One thing they fear is American individualism, which you also decry, because it might rub off on thier own people. God forbid a German “Trump” ever get political power. Imagine what Europe would look like if one did.

      • walrus says:

        Fred,

        you are confusing individualism with self reliance and independence of spirit, both admirable traits.

        Our forefathers were not brought up to think that they were “special” individuals who were entitled to receive the fruits of the economy and our society without working their backsides off. Nor were they ‘woke”. They knew that one of their duties was to bear arms if required by law.

        As for the Australian economy – doing just fine thank you.

        As for your personal comment; are you a Communist or just trolling?

        • Fred says:

          Walrus,

          You are applying your brush strokes a bit too broadly in describing Americans. I do not think you understand any of the younger generations in America , or even mine. The young “woke” are busily being further indoctrinated by the leftists, who control most of the cultural institutions of our Republic. The older ones are simply flexing their muscles, to use the phrase, with little opposition.

          Since the end of Reagan’s second term the left has not been successfully countered from the right until the election of Trump. That is why he generates such hatred from so many. They fear losing their grip on power; especially junior democrats in office, the bureaucrats in federal service, and most fearful of all – the think tank and NGO elitists whose influence will evaporate if Trump, or anyone like him, gets elected president in 2024.

          As to the point of my previosuly posted comment Australia isn’t Germany. They haven’t yet outsourced all their automotive industry. Australia did. You cannot build your own cars, or your own submarines, but I’m glad your nation’s economy is doing great. That cost of lockdowns you mentioned on a different thread, should I presume it is zero?

          Communist? I must really have struck a nerve to receive that label. Trolling? Well, in the future I will use a more polite tone in expressing any disagreement with your view of matters so as to save feelings, or at least ensure clarity. I will conclude with concurring with your father’s view about the value of Eastern Europe to America, at least in general.

  3. Rick Merlotti says:

    “I believe that this quote is a classic example of psychological projection; it is America that is in decline.”

    Walrus, I was about to say almost the same thing. You said it better than I could. America IS in decline. It was never inevitable but our “Leaders”, such as Slow Joe long ago chose the path of deindustrialization and globalization. The very real danger of war keeps growing, not because Russia and China are so very aggressive, but because the dying global Financial system is bankrupt and we are the ones encircling the RF and China. Our leaders cling to sanctions as if we are the ultimate arbiters of good and evil. “We” meaning the US/UK/NATO/IMF/MIC/MSM/Pharma etc.

    The US republic with its unique Constitution must drive out the moneylenders from the temple, so to say, and live up to its mission of being the distillation of the writing and struggles of history’s great Humanist thinkers. That, or inherit a maelstrom of financial chaos and war.

  4. Lysias says:

    Betty White died the morning of Dec. 31. Somebody purporting to be her posted on line on Dec. 28 saying she had gotten a booster shot that very day. Nothing about that in the reports about her death.

  5. Barbara Ann says:

    The ideological battle lines for the coming war are clear. Advocates of global technocratic government (personified by the WEF) on one side and Westphalians (anyone who believes in a meaningful concept of the nation and the primacy of national interests) on the other.

    This war will be (is being) fought within nations as much as between them. Russia and China are in the Westphalian camp, as nationalist elites hold power in both countries. Since Trump’s demise, globalists have regained control of America’s government and so this government is now waging an undeclared war against the large section of population Trump mobilized – the Westphalian Deplorables. Globalists hold sway in most European governments, but it is not clear to me how secure they really are.

    I am in no doubt the conflict will be cataclysmic. If the globalist technocrats are victorious, within the next few years the Great Reset will have been accomplished and Huxley’s imagined world will be well on the way into existence. Our new rulers will have unimaginable power and I’d expect the very concept of human freedom to be extinguished in an accompanying Orwellian dystopia, perhaps forever. Conversely, it is hard to see the Westphalians being victorious without a global conflagration and/or at least one revolution of 1789-level proportions. The delicate supply chains that keep us all fed & warm will not survive in either event, I think.

    If this conflict is inevitable, as I believe it is, then choose your side and let’s get it on. Let us see history made, or if it goes Orwell’s way, perhaps instead destroyed.

    Happy New Year everyone.

    • Marlene says:

      Test

    • Marlene says:

      But, Barbara Ann,

      How could the current Kremlin adminsitration be in the Westphalain side when they are also applying the same coercive measures agsint its own population, with videos recently seen of babushkas and veterans of the Great Patriotic War being forbidden access to groceries, being humiliated and dsicrimined as we are being in the West?

      It seems to me that this time it is the peoples agsint all the governments.

      Out only hope is that part of the military and police pass to our side, there are signs about this, but it is not clear the number of people who would be willing to risk everything.

      Although millions of people, as demonstrated these past days through Brazil, even when unarmed, of badly armed, could well overwhelm any police and military force…

    • English Outsider says:

      Barbara Anne – deliberate intent on the part of the politicians and interest groups or merely emergent behaviour? My money’s on the second. Either way the Russians are not, this time, rolling with the punches.

      One could argue that the Russians are more interested in survival than Westphalia right now anyway. They talk Westphalian but aren’t given much opportunity to show whether they mean it or not. Listening to Lavrov or Rybakov recently looks like they’re just trying to find some way of relieving the pressure.

      It’s a concerted pressure from the West overall and we’re being taken for a ride.

      In Europe the talk is of Putin using the “gas weapon” and the recent price rise was blamed on him. The facts are dead against that. The licensing for NS2 is being deliberately slow walked. It also turns out that Yamal gas via the Ukraine is not being blocked by Russia after all. The Europeans are refusing to buy it – they put in no orders recently. Instead LNG from elsewhere – more expensive – is being hurried in to fill that gap deliberately created. That argues concerted action. This was a deliberately created shortage in the market that was and is being sold to us as Putin’s malice or trickery.

      So too our noble efforts to protect the Ukrainians against an expansionist Russia. That also is dead against sense. Who would want to take over a ruined and largely hostile country? We’re being taken for a ride there too.

      The use of the Ukrainians as proxies by the US and the UK/EU to exert pressure where there need be no pressure is transparent. Putin has chosen the time to say “thus far and no further”. Either Biden has to give or Putin has backed himself into a corner where he has to put up or shut up.

      If he’s forced to put up, and Biden too, then we’re very much on unpredictable ground. To adopt the terms in the Gleick exposition of complex systems you mentioned recently, our diplomats and generals, as in 1914, may not be aware of what can happen when a complex system is given a jolt.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        EO

        A great number of politicians of all stripes seem to have already embraced de facto technocracy – that is they have abdicated decision-making in favor of merely implementing the advice of credentialed experts. The reaction to the “pandemic” is the most egregious example. The WHO, CDC and other bodies have been heavily infiltrated by WEF affiliated interests. Lockdowns & Vaxx mandates implemented on the advice of public health professionals provide a fig leaf of legitimacy to the population control measures necessary for the Great Reset, the process which is to usher in the era of an omnipotent techno-oligarchy. Elected politicians are being relegated to window dressing retained simply to thinly disguise who is really in control.

        What I find interesting is the largely bipartisan acceptance of technocratic takeover. With the exception of individuals like DeSantis and the usual characters like Rand Paul, where is the party political opposition to the emergent system? For example; the US Constitution makes no provision to deny citizens their rights in the event of a (low lethality) communicable disease and as I have said here before, mandated medical treatments will surely not survive a decent 9th Amendment challenge.

        Politics, as we have understood it for the last two and a half millennia is the business of decision-making. But it appears we are on the cusp of an era in which all meaningful decision-making will in future be done by unelected ‘managers’. Representative democracy would be rendered a meaningless concept as a result. If the People reject this future and cannot vote for a party which rejects it, there is only one other course of action available.

        • English Outsider says:

          Well, on the pandemic I naturally take my line from what I saw in the UK. I saw the usual set of fumbling politicians trying to get a grip on it, sometimes with remarkable success and sometimes screwing up. Nothing more than that. As in the US, no doubt, the politicians would have been trying to get what political advantage they could out of it but isn’t that business as usual?

          Perhaps we in the UK saw more of the inner workings of our government at that time because an advisor to the PM shot his mouth off after he lost his job. But the picture one arrives at even so is roughly as stated above.

          On the Russian stand-off, I reckon they’d settle for implementation of Minsk II and no missiles on their borders. Since NATO is unlikely to concede that there’s always the chance, as stated by many, that it could get ugly. As Kate Epstein in the discussion above hints, “butterfly’s wings”, so the way it’ll go is anyone’s guess.

          That discussion above, by the way, has some things to say about the failure of various tunnel vision participants at that time to take account of the big picture. And seven years ago they pointed out that that’s what we’re doing now. With China, going to war with one’s chief supplier looks somehow dumb. With Russia, the EU’s being remarkably aggressive (Borrell) with a major energy supplier. Poodles with not much bite in them on that last, is how I see it, given that Putin could wreck the whole show merely by turning off a few taps.

          • Barbara Ann says:

            EO

            I will once again share a Build Back Better montage – dozens of Western politicians and ‘thought leaders’ parroting the slogan of the WEF’s Great Reset. If this is political business as usual I must have missed the point at which voters across the world elected Klaus Schwab and his gang to rule the world.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkcaeaD45MY

      • David Habakkuk says:

        EO,

        ‘Either Biden has to give or Putin has backed himself into a corner where he has to put up or shut up.’

        That may be too simple.

        For pointers to how the Russians may be ‘playing’ this, I would strongly recommend the discussion by Gilbert Doctorow, which includes extensive transcribed excerpts, of the 28 De-cember edition of ‘Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,’ which was subtitled “War or Negotiations.” His reading is developed in comments on the Biden-Putin telephone conversation.

        (See https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2021/12/31/russian-elites-talk-will-the-negotiations-in-geneva-on-january-10-bring-about-a-roll-back-of-nato/ ; https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2021/12/31/deciphering-the-biden-putin-telephone-chat-of-yesterday-30-december-2021/ .)

        Although I have no claims to be a ‘Russianist’, as Doctorow very much is, and at the risk of rushing in, like the proverbial fool, where a prudent angel would fear to treat, I think the actual messages that these exchanges are intended to convey may be slightly more complex than he appears to think.

        Of particular interest, I think, is that between Solovyov and Mikhail Khodarenok, who is a prominent, and patently extremely capable and well-informed, technical military analyst. Under one of his hats, he provides English-language commentary on military matters on ‘RT’, and what writes there is always very well worth reading.

        (See https://www.rt.com/op-ed/authors/mikhail-khodarenok/ .)

        About his exchanges with Solovyov, Doctorow has this to say:

        ‘I have no doubt that one or more of the exchanges in this talk show were agreed in advance, although my experience as a participant in the past showed no prior commitments from panelists to say this or that, and free use of the microphone subject to interruptions and shouting by other panelists. As to “choreography,” the exchange between Khodarenok and Solovyov showcases the latter’s explanation of what Russia may do to resolve security threats by force. This may be assumed to be an unofficial message from the Kremlin of its intentions if the USA does not order the ‘full menu’ and sign on the dotted line. That the talk show would have been used in this way in no way diminishes its importance, on the contrary.’

        One thing that emerges from the exchanges between Khodarenok and Solovyov – as also from the contribution by a ‘liberal’ commentator, Sergei Stankevich – is that the naval agreement signed between the U.K. and Ukraine back in June appears to be an important part of the background to what Putin has done.

        It looks as though it materially exacerbated Russian concerns that the failure of Brzezinski’s strategy of bringing Ukraine into NATO has simply resulted in a ‘tactical change.’ The current plan, in this – in my view not exactly implausible reading – is to make Ukraine a base for ‘forward systems’ directed at Russia, without formal membership in Alliance structures. From such a perspective, the agreement looks as though it could be, as it were, simply a ‘slice off the salami.’

        (Our government’s ‘press release’, at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-signs-agreement-to-support-enhancement-of-ukrainian-naval-capabilities , is I think unlikely to have quietened such fears.)

        Confronted by the prospect of ‘salami slicing’, it may indeed be a quite ‘rational’ response to suggest a reaction to initial ‘slices’ which may appear disproportionate. And the contribution by Solovyov, I think, may have been ‘choreographed’ to make the possibility of such a response ‘credible.’

        However, it looks as though the contributions by Khodarenok may also have been ‘choreographed’, so that he warns of the dangers involved in drastic action, without actually ruling it out. And then also becomes interesting to look at the reference by Vyacheslav Nikonov – incidentally, Molotov’s grandson, although as Doctorow points out that is not the reason he is there – to the outcome of the Cuban missile crisis.

        In this, while indeed Kennedy was able to portray the outcome as a straightforward victory, as Nikonov points out, Khrushchev did secure the withdrawal of the Jupiter missiles from Turkey and Italy, as a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for the withdrawal of the Soviet from Cuba. (On this, see the review by Benjamin Schwarz of the 2012 study of the crisis by Sheldon M. Stern, at https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/the-real-cuban-missile-crisis/309190/ )

        While they have repeatedly, and quite rightly, stressed that Western assurances are not reliable, it seems to me eminently possible that these various statements have been ‘orchestrated’ by the Russians to make clear that, if they can see indications of a genuine willingness to abandon the ‘salami slicing’ strategy, there will ‘give.’ It seems to me somewhat unlikely that, if there could be serious progress on the substantive issues, even if on a totally ‘behind the scenes’ basis, Putin will want to insist on the kind of humiliating ‘climbdown’ which Biden is no more in a position to perform now than Kennedy was sixty years ago.

        More speculatively, I think it is possible that the fact that while the roles of the sober ‘military-technical’ expert Khodarenok and the ‘excitable civilian’ Solovyov may come quite naturally to both ‘players’, there may have been a point in allowing them to ‘play them up.’ It seems to me extremely likely that – particularly given the history of ‘deconfliction’ in Syria – people in Moscow think that substantive progress might be more likely if negotiations were carried out, quietly, by people from their own military leadership and that of the United States.

        To suggest that Putin is eminently aware of the dangers of either backing Biden into a corner, or himself into one, does not mean that the Russian side are not serious about taking action should their initiative get nowhere. And at that point, one is back with the familiar problem of how to ‘finesse’ the obvious tension between the objectives of persuading people in Washington, and London, that ‘salami’ is ‘off the menu’, and that of avoiding unacceptable risks of escalation.

        As to how the dilemma might be ‘finessed’, the remarks by Doctorow need to be complemented by the extensive discussion of possible options by Patrick Armstrong, back on 21 December.

        (See https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2021/12/21/weve-seen-the-ultimatum-what-is-the-or-else/ .)

        If indeed the Russians decide that it would make sense to send the members of the ‘Azov Battalion’ to ‘meet their maker’, and accompanied the attack with an ‘information operations’ offensive featuring ample still and video material and learned discussion of ‘Nazi’ symbols, including the ‘Wolfsangel’ and ‘Black Sun’, how would the West respond?

        And then, Solovyov might choose to expand on his remarks to Jacob Heilbrunn in an interesting ‘National Interest’ interview last October about how the ‘Banderistas’ who are now celebrated in Kiev buried six of his relatives alive, just because they were Jewish, as he is himself.

        (See https://nationalinterest.org/feature/what-vladimir-soloviev-really-thinks-about-russia-and-america%C2%A0-194966 )

        A possibility that had not occurred to me, but did, reading the Solovyov/Khodarenok exchanges, was that if indeed on the new naval base in the ‘Sea of Azov’ has started, a ‘hyper-sonic missile’ obliterating all traces of preparations might be a possible option. The timing, of course, might need to be carefully calculated, depending on the view of what level of British casualties, if any, would be most likely calculated to ‘knock some sense’ into people in London, without provoking the Americans too much.

        But then, I have long thought that, in working out possible ‘escalation scenarios’, the Russian side, and now very likely also the Chinese, would be likely to think that it would make sense to start with British targets! (In both cases, they might indeed see it as ‘combining business with pleasure!’)

        • Barbara Ann says:

          David Habakkuk

          A very interesting comment, as always.

          I find your suggestion that kinetic action against Ukrainian military installations, particularly those the Brits are to enhance/create, a highly plausible scenario – in the event that the Kremlin does decide a peaceful solution is impossible. However, this would not have to be limited to a one time action and indeed I suspect the solution to continued salami slicing would have to be a policy of regular grass mowing.

          The risk associated with the first such action (as you say, perhaps with calculated British casualties) is offset by the precedent created; that should the salami slicing not end, Russia reserves the right to obliterate all future attempts to expand NATO lite capability in Ukraine as and when it sees fit.

          • English Outsider says:

            Barbara Ann – apologies for misquoting you below
            Remembering it more accurately, “HMS Tethered Goat” was the term you found for HMS Defender when it was in the Black Sea.

        • Barbara Ann says:

          David Habakkuk

          A very interesting comment, as always.

          I find your suggestion that kinetic action against Ukrainian military installations, particularly those the Brits are to enhance/create, a highly plausible scenario – in the event that the Kremlin does decide a peaceful solution is impossible. However, this would not have to be limited to a one time action and indeed I suspect the solution to continued salami slicing would have to be a policy of regular grass mowing.

          The risk associated with the first such action (as you say, perhaps with calculated British casualties) is offset by the precedent created; that should the salami slicing not end, Russia reserves the right to obliterate all future attempts to expand NATO lite capability in Ukraine as and when it sees fit. I would be interested in the Committee’s views on the plausibility of such a possible outcome.

        • English Outsider says:

          Mr Habakkuk – I do hope it goes the way you outline. Do you believe the Russians have territorial ambitions in Eastern Europe? I don’t. I reckon they’ve given up on Europe and would now be more than happy to close the door on it. Correct?

          There are two points that struck me first off.

          1, If now and in the Ukraine is when and where the Russians decide to put a stop to the death by a thousand cuts – the Salami slicing you refer to – then they’ve chosen a good time and place.

          That unfortunate country is by no means crawling with neo-Nazis. Far from it. But there are enough of them around, and they’re infringing Minsk II to a sufficient extent, to make dealing with them justifiable, certainly for the Russian public and as you point out, possibly for ours. This is a well chosen time and place for the Russians to make their stand.

          2. How? As Mr Armstrong also, you do not choose to predict. But you point out a possibility. You say – “But then, I have long thought that, in working out possible ‘escalation scenarios’, the Russian side, and now very likely also the Chinese, would be likely to think that it would make sense to start with British targets! (In both cases, they might indeed see it as ‘combining business with pleasure!’)”

          In which case, Mr Habakkuk, Barbara Ann’s christening of HMS Defender as “HMS Sacrificial Goat” would be generally prescient. The Euros would shed no tears if the Brits got knocked about and the Americans wouldn’t escalate.

          I shall spend this evening chasing up the links you provide. I’d hope you could provide more on the EU dimension. HMG’s prattles about the UK playing a “leadership role” but I believe the key European figure is Scholz. For all his coalition difficulties he has to come out from behind the curtain and declare his hand, as Mrs Merkel was able to avoid doing for so long.

          • English Outsider says:

            Mr Habakkuk – should have been clearer above and said “I do hope a settlement between the Americans and the Russians goes the way you outline”. i.e., NATO able to pull back without publicly losing face.

            That with reference to your paragraph here – “While they have repeatedly, and quite rightly, stressed that Western assurances are not reliable, it seems to me eminently possible that these various statements have been ‘orchestrated’ by the Russians to make clear that, if they can see indications of a genuine willingness to abandon the ‘salami slicing’ strategy, there will (be) ‘give.’ It seems to me somewhat unlikely that, if there could be serious progress on the substantive issues, even if on a totally ‘behind the scenes’ basis, Putin will want to insist on the kind of humiliating ‘climbdown’ which Biden is no more in a position to perform now than Kennedy was sixty years ago.

          • David Habakkuk says:

            EO,

            I do not feel I have an adequate grasp of what has been happening in Europe. But it does look rather as though Olaf Sholz may have decided that, if any progress is to be made, inhibitions about the Germans and the French dealing with Russia without the smaller Eastern European countries having a ‘seat at the table’ have to become less. How important or otherwise his problems with the ‘Greens’ are I cannot calculate.

            It seems to me that HMG is delusional about the way that events have been developing – with one of the delusions involved being exemplified by the suggestion by Robert Tombs that ‘If Russia wants another slice of Ukraine, it may have not have long to grab it.’ If one reads the exchanges to which I linked at all carefully, it becomes amply clear that an extension of Russian direct control is generally regarded as a ‘trap’ into which they should not be stupid enough to fall.

            The question of timing does indeed become of pressing interest, when Solovyov suggests that precisely the measures which imbecilic members of the ‘Cambridge Right’, as it seems that Tombs himself is, believe are going to ‘deter’ Russian ‘aggression’, pose an ‘existential threat’ which may need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

            In my own undistinguished, and mildly irreverent, Cambridge undergraduate career, more than half a century ago now, which was at the college where Tombs is now a fellow, St. John’s, I formed the view that the only thing that could be said of the ‘Cambridge Right’, as of their Oxford equivalents, was that they were not quite as awful as the ‘Cambridge Left.’

            It has long seemed to me that British ‘neoconservatism’ represents an alliance of the worst elements of both, as exemplified, for example, by the collaboration of Sir Tony Blair, as he now is, with Sir Richard Dearlove and Sir John Scarlett.

            The risk of us ‘sleepwalking towards a global war’ is quite strong at present, I think precisely because of the new naval bases which people like Tombs think will act as a ‘deterrent’ to ‘Russian aggression’ are perceived in Moscow as likely homes for missiles designed to target both Sevastopol and the Russian heartland, with negligible ‘flight times.’

            It was this prospect which provoked the following – to my mind clearly ‘choreographed’ – exchange between Solovyov, playing the ‘mad dog’ role, and Khodarenok, playing the responsible ‘military-technical expert’ one.

            ‘Solovyov: Russia never begins wars. But we finish them. Was it the start of war when Israel made an air strike on Latakia and destroyed freight which it believed threatened the national security of Israel? Was it the start of war when the Israeli air force flew into Iraq and destroyed a nuclear installation under construction? Was it the start of war when Turkey sent its armed forces 30 km inside the border of sovereign states of Syria and Iraq? So does this kind of solution satisfy you?

            ‘Khodarenok: Completely.’

            I suspect this may be a prelude to a ‘behind the scenes’ exploration of how people in Washington, in particular, could be expected to react if British targets were struck.

            Another very striking example of HMG ‘shooting itself in the foot’ incidentally, was the ‘AUKUS’ deal. In September. The problem here is not simply that it is not obviously sensible to encourage Macron believe that the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ are ‘ganging up’ to ‘stab France in the back’, if one is at the same trying to discourage ‘Gaullist’ tendencies in Paris.

            It is also that the deal represents a commitment to developing technologies for which the Australians have very little in the way of a relevant ‘industrial base’, on a ‘time frame’ which may mean that the nuclear submarines created, which may in any case be ill-adapted for the kind of operations against China for which they are intended, may be obsolescent.

            Moreover, as the invaluable Lyle J. Goldstein, who was the founding director of the ‘China Maritime Studies Institute’ at the U.S. Naval War College, and speaks Russian as well as Chinese, and has now moved to a ‘think tank’ called ‘Defense Priorities’, noted, the contract maximises the incentives for China and Russia to collaborate to counter the threat.

            His concluding observations bear, I think, upon the comment by ‘walrus’ above:

            ‘Even so, the biggest problems with AUKUS are not confined to its feasibility, time horizon and relevance to various scenarios. Rather, there is the major danger that this submarine partnership will cause China and Russia to double down on their own naval partnership. It is within the realm of possibility the Russian Navy will operate decades in the future with Chinese-made aircraft carriers, even as the Chinese Navy navigates all the world’s oceans in the most cutting-edge Russian-made nuclear submarines, while they collaborate to build lethal drones and vertical-launch fighters.

            ‘A semi-permanent marriage between Russia’s military design genius and China’s industrial production acumen on large projects may be the most concerning legacy of the AUKUS deal.’

            The suggestion made by Tombs that either Russia, China or Iran may find themselves in a position where, as Hitler did, they believe that because time is ‘running out’, they must embark on ‘va banque’ strategies, seems to me to indicate quite how ‘delusional’ British élites have become.

            So also does the conclusion to his article, which reads as follows:

            ‘We have to trust our highest values are of universal appeal. And not just a “Western” peculiarity. For that, we have to regain our confidence to speak not just for ourselves, but for people everywhere.’

            This puts in mind of some observations in an article in the ‘Spectator’ back in March 2007 by John Casey, a prominent figure in the ‘Cambridge Right’, which was headlined ‘The Revival of Tory Philosophy.’ Describing meetings of a body called the ‘Conservative Philosophy Group’, he explained:

            ‘Mrs Thatcher came only twice, once as prime minister. That was the occasion for a notable non-meeting of minds. Edward Norman (then Dean of Peterhouse) had attempted to mount a Christian argument for nuclear weapons. The discussion moved on to ‘Western values’. Mrs Thatcher said (in effect) that Norman had shown that the Bomb was necessary for the defence of our values. Powell: ‘No, we do not fight for values. I would fight for this country even if it had a communist government.’ Thatcher (it was just before the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands): ‘Nonsense, Enoch. If I send British troops abroad, it will be to defend our values.’ ‘No, Prime Minister, values exist in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time. They can neither be fought for, nor destroyed.’ Mrs Thatcher looked utterly baffled. She had just been presented with the difference between Toryism and American Republicanism. (Mr Blair would have been equally baffled.)’

            (See https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-revival-of-tory-philosophy )

            This raises questions too complex to go into here – including that of the apparent inability of Casey and other members of the ‘Cambridge Right’ to understand the difference between a ‘nationalist messianism’ of a ‘neo-Jacobin’ kind and strands of ‘republican’ thought, to be found in the United States as elsewhere, which have always been deeply hostile to it.

            Another relevant point however is that some of the sharpness of Powell’s reaction may have reflected the fact that, alone among the figures in the room, he had direct personal experience of military intelligence, in situations where ‘getting one’s facts right’ was literally an ‘existential’ matter.

            My late father used to recall meeting him, on King’s Parade in Cambridge, not long after the outbreak of war, which had prompted him immediately to depart from Sydney, where he had been the youngest professor in the Commonwealth. The claim that he had a volume of Clausewitz under his arm may have been embellishment, but I have no doubt that he did say that he was intending to ‘join up’, as a private, and in three years would be a brigadier.

            In the event, he and Fitzroy Maclean were the only two people who accomplished this feat during the war. In his case, it was due to the fact that he had been a pivotal figure in intelligence analysis in the Middle East and South Asia. So, confronted by Edward Norman, he may well have thought ‘who is this “twerp” of an ‘ecclesiastical historian’ talking about military planning issues of which he knows f**k all.’

            My own views of Powell are, to put it mildly, conflicted. Of my two meetings with him, one was when I was a trainee on the ‘Daily Post & Echo’ in Liverpool, and he came to address the annual dinner of the ‘building societies association.’ At drinks before the event, he was very clearly among his own people, and, quite uncharacteristically relaxed, he was extraordinarily funny.

            I vividly recall him explaining how the description of the British as ‘Perfidious Albion’ was absolutely correct. It was, he argued to his slightly bemused audience, our essential nature, deriving from our geographical position and history, to be unreliable people who would be prepared to ‘ditch’ an ally at a moment’s notice.

            Also involved here, as in his remarks to Thatcher, was the belief that whether or not one’s ‘national interests’ do or do not ‘mesh’ with those of others at a given time is a matter which has rather little to do with ‘values.’

            This is in turn up with another fact which the – ever sanctimonious Tombs – obfuscates. As Powell, and others, including my father, believed at the time, if there was any chance of preventing war, it had to involve Britain seeking agreement with the Soviet Union. Now Solovyov says that current negotiations remind him of those in the period leading up to the Second World War, when ‘The British sent their people to us.’

            It seems to me that we have been ‘setting ourselves up’ to be the ‘player’ whom everyone can agree in disliking.

            Of course, as a ‘Perfidious Albionian’, I think that to push Russia and China together is, as it were, ‘positively unBritish.’ And indeed, I sometimes think that we need a kind of ‘compulsory repatriation’ for British ‘neocons.’

            Perhaps the whole ‘Cambridge Right’ could be persuaded to ‘take refuge’ at Harvard, named after a graduate of Emmanuel College who ‘took refuge’ in ‘New England’, which seems to be their ‘spiritual home.’ We would be well rid of people like Tombs.

          • Barbara Ann says:

            David Habakkuk

            I agree the passage you quoted between Khodarenok and Solovyov may well have been choreographed. It continues (and Doctorow’s quotation of the exchange concludes) as follows:

            Solovyov: So we will behave in exactly the same manner as our Western partners…

            Sidorov: We don’t have to use the word “war.” We will take a political action with limited use of armed force

            Tantalizingly, Khodarenok has earlier said “We don’t need a war right now in whatever form”. I would be very interested to know if in citing the final response from Sidorov (an earlier speaker) Doctorow is accurate, or is this a typo – i.e. it was in fact Khodarenok who uttered these final words.

            In any case, if the exchange was choreographed, the message seems crystal clear; Russia is preparing to adopt an Israel-like security posture and conduct unilateral strikes in its near abroad (at least in Ukraine). Perhaps the message is intended for the US; “if you do not comply we will call NATO’s bluff”.

            Interestingly M K Bhadrakumar has a very different take and seems to be in the ‘Putin has backed himself into a corner’ camp. I fear we are at the moment when career diplomats need to consider Clausewitz’s most famous aphorism and the point at which the attainment of political goals transcends political means.

            https://www.indianpunchline.com/us-shows-the-exit-ramp-to-russia/

        • Tidewater says:

          DH–Thanks for that. I continue to find it surprising how little anyone is talking about the Persian Gulf and Iran. If the Vienna talks fail, and Israel attacks the Iranian nuclear facilities, I think Iran could destroy the British base at HMS Juffair on Bahrain, as well as the ‘intense sixty acres’ that are the United States Navy Naval Support Activity (NSA) in the area of Mina Salman, Bahrain. To understand Iranian capabilities, one only needs to look at the results of the Iranian missile attack on a mockup of the Israeli nuclear plant at Dimona during the recent Great Prophet XVII military exercises.
          I think if things go wrong in the Persian Gulf, then the United States will find itself facing a three-pronged threat, from Iran, Russia, and China. If a real shooting war breaks out with Iran –and fury at the carnage and destruction that a missile attack on the NSA will certainly cause could very well force Congress into a declaration of war– then the United States will have to create a conscript army of one million young men and women. I could see very serious internal disruptions to normal life in America in the event of war with Iran, draft riots, and even armed rebellion. I think Putin is keeping one eye on Iran and is waiting to see how it plays out over the next two to three months. War in the Gulf could mean worldwide depression. And it would be a disaster for the United States, India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen–in fact, the whole Middle East, as well as for Iran. I simply cannot stress enough how bad it would be in the military sense.

          • David Habakkuk says:

            Barbara Ann, EO, Tidewater,

            The ‘caravan has moved on.’ A few final thoughts, for now.

            Having often Bhadrakumar’s ‘leftist Indian diplomat’s’ perspective useful, I was alarmed to find that he does indeed seem to be providing an example of quite how dangerous ignorance of military matters on the part of diplomats and ‘think tankers’ can be.

            If people at Brookings, and the ‘Institute for the Study of War’, do not grasp that Putin’s moves have been carefully worked out, and appear to represent a collaboration, and consensus, between the top military people and the diplomats, and also ‘think tankers’, they are in ‘cloud cuckooland.’

            To make the point that a consensus is involved may perhaps be a reason why Andrei Sidorov – who is a heavyweight civilian foreign affairs academic – was brought in to ‘cap’ the exchange between Solovyov and Khodarenok.

            How seriously one should take the ‘window of opportunity’ argument I am not clear. In further pieces, about whose arguments I again need to reflect further, Doctorow notes the complacent mentality which Bhadrakumar appears – incredibly in my view – to think justified.

            (See https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2022/01/07/how-far-can-diplomacy-go-awaiting-the-us-russian-talks-in-geneva-on-10-january/ .)

            He goes on to suggest that this means that ‘some kind of military action is needed’, saying that ‘I continue to believe it will be surgical strikes, probably against NATO installations being built on the Ukrainian coast.’

            As with the Iran situation whose seriousness Tidewater stresses, it is hard to work out how far apparent complacency on the part of the Western powers, and also Israel, about the continuing existence of military options they can pursue at manageable risk in the face of developments in ‘conventional’ missile – and ‘drone’ – technologies should be taken at face value.

            I see that a piece has just appeared on the ‘Responsible Statecraft’ website, by an analyst called Sina Toossi, headlined ‘Iran’s 2020 attack on US base underscored maximum pressure folly.’

            (See https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/01/08/irans-attack-on-us-base-in-iraq-underscored-depth-of-max-pressures-folly/ .)

            His argument that the response to the Soleimani assassination, involving advance warning so as to avoid actually killing Americans, but a clear demonstration of what Iranian precision missiles can do, has been something of a ‘game changer’ in the Middle East seems cogent to me. But I do not feel sufficiently ‘up to speed’ with what has been happening to have a considered view.

            Returning to Russia, it may indeed be that people like Victoria Nuland, and also Tony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, are, as Bhadrakumar suggests, anticipating that Putin will back down.

            However, it is not necessarily the case that a flurry of rhetoric actually means that the West will be ‘emboldened to retain the option to continue with the present “salami tactic” – integrate Ukraine into the NATO incrementally while pushing military deployments right up to Russia’s borders.’

            Of course, it may be that I am allowing my own preconceptions to cause me to ‘over interpret.’

            However, the very palpable contempt expressed by Sidorov for both Blinken and Sullivan reinforces my suspicion that in parallel with the meetings due to start on Monday, between the diplomats, there will be use of ‘backdoor’ channels with military people, who the ‘powers that be’ in Moscow may think more likely to appreciate the realities of the situation.

            I am puzzled by the way that Bhadrakumar simply assumes that the claim made in the Russian version of the conversation that Biden emphasised that ‘Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine’ can be discounted because it is contradicted by the American one.

            Without wanting to be dogmatic, it seems to me perfectly possible that the American side do want to give some kind of verbal assurances, while denying that they have done anything of the kind. It is not clear to me that, if that had actually happened, Putin would think that he was faced with some kind of devastating ‘loss of face’ by not getting things said publicly.

            A larger problem is that particularly given the history, people in Moscow will clearly want to insure against verbal assurances being broken. And, once bases exist, it is possible to move weaponry into them at short notice.

            Plans for decisive action to prevent ‘salami tactics’ being implemented will clearly have been developed, and information about these would I think be being passed to the American side – again, ‘back channels’ may be important.

            An obvious scenario would indeed seem to involve my fellow-countrymen being subjected to a situation where some kind of advance warning of strikes is provided – as with the Iranian example, and also the ‘Abkhazian scenario’ discussed in Patrick Armstrong’s latest ‘Sitrep.’

            Whether it is deemed necessary to do this now seems to me difficult to calculate. The answer may perhaps depend on what happens with the ‘back channels.’

            Another imponderable is whether, at any point, it may begin to dawn on people in Washington, and London, that it is not so very bright to maximise incentives for cooperation between Russia and China, particularly in naval matters.

            I see that Mikhail Khodarenok has just published a piece in ‘RT’, arguing that the size of the Black Sea fleet needs to be doubled.

            (See https://www.rt.com/op-ed/545142-black-sea-fleet-russian/ .)

            How this suggestion is to be interpreted I am not clear. But, it does remind me of a somewhat comic moment when Keir Simmons of NBC interviewed Putin just before the latter’s meeting with Biden in June.

            Confronted by the – to my mind utterly bizarre – suggestion that the Russians should be concerned about the fact that the Chinese were building aircraft carriers, Putin tried, rather gently, to explain that this made no sense.

            In what might appear to be a statement of the obvious, he remarked:

            ‘On top of everything else, we have a hugely vast border with China, but it’s a land border. It’s a land border. What? Do you think the Chinese aircraft carriers will cross our land border?’

            (See https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/transcript-nbc-news-exclusive-interview-russia-s-vladimir-putin-n1270649 .)

            That to challenge Russian naval power in the Black Sea, and Chinese in the Taiwan Straight and South China Sea, at one and the same time, must maximise the incentives for the closest possible collaboration between the two powers hardly seems to me ‘rocket science.’

            All the more so, as it has been amply apparent to anyone with minimal intellectual curiosity, for decades, that the whole emphasis of Russian military planning, for decades now, has been on ‘asymetric’ measures.

            As regards the ‘war at sea’, this means: Decrease the size and cost of the ships, increase the range, accuracy and lethality of the munitions they can deliver. And, of course, the more American ships are in the Pacific, the fewer there can be in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Black Sea. (And ‘vice versa’, from the Chinese point of view.)

            That people at ‘NBC’, Brookings, the ‘Institute for the Study of War’ etc do not seem to have grasped these rather basic facts, obviously means that there is no particular reason to suppose that they will ‘wise up’ now. However, sometimes, people do suddenly ‘cotton on.’

            How these aspects enter into Russian calculations is a matter at which I can only guess.

  6. Marlene says:

    Happy New Year to all!!!

  7. Deap says:

    Side note in the Pasadena Rose Parade, for anyone who did not watch it:
    China Airlines had a float – which is Taiwan’s national airline, not CCP’s airline:

    The theme in full view on the front of the float was “Biking around Taiwan” and the flower-flocked bikers were holding a “Map of Taiwan” in full view.

    How did that one escape the CCP supply chain censors?

  8. Sam says:

    This quote from Carl Sagan is so on point.

    https://twitter.com/adambaldwin/status/1477382756170489856?s=21

    I take a contrarian viewpoint compared to Walrus and Barbara Ann. CCP is neither Westphalian nor going to be the world economic & military superpower. Their weakness is already leading to an expansionist mindset and their neighbors are quietly gearing up for the battles. BRI is already falling apart and soon enough the Africans and Asians will challenge them to use military force to get at the assets or keep rolling over the unpayable debt. CCP weakness is already strangling Deng’s golden goose. Xi is moving away from Deng and back to Mao. We’ve seen this movie before in the late 80s when the cognoscenti were claiming Japan as the next economic superpower. An important metric was the size of Japan’s banking system relative to their economy. The CCP backed Chinese banking system puts Japan’s circa late 80s banking system to shame. My fearless forecast is that as long as CCP has all levers of power, China will not get beyond the middle income trap.

    I agree with Charlie Munger, never sell America short. We have the best self-correcting system. While the past 50 years would indicate that the capture of America by the Party of Davos is so complete that there’s no way out but further authoritarianism, there’s hope that enough Americans will get it after the covidian power grab has shown to be a complete failure. Unfortunately too many Americans have become paralyzed with fear that they need Big Daddy. On the bright side there’s a growing minority IMO that no longer easily accepts whatever the power brokers claim as gospel truth and the courageous few who were brutally slandered and canceled in the covidian power grab will become examples for other courageous truth tellers.

    • Sam says:

      🧵 As a born and raised New Yorker, I’ve never even considered living anywhere else. Raising my kids here was the best gift and privilege I could give them. But last night, as I tucked my son into bed just after the ball dropped, I was overwhelmed by sadness and guilt…

      https://twitter.com/elisawine14/status/1477458206158950400?s=21

      The shattering of illusion is always the beginning of correction. The covidian power grab has gone too far. The revisionism is already coming on fast. While many will still buy it, the skeptical “fringe” minority is growing with the addition of the disillusioned who can now grasp the scale of lies, obfuscations and suppression of dissenting voices. Especially as the courageous few who risked it all and were not afraid to lose what they had spent a lifetime to earn keep being proven right. YouTube taking down Malone’s and McCullough’s interviews with Joe Rogan is not a sign of strength. Slandering Kulldorf, Battacharya and Gupta as fringe came from weakness. The trust in the so called “expert” technocracy is eroding as they’re just another bought and paid for set. Trust in institutions is eroding as their corruption gets too blatant. All the blowback needs is a critical mass of ordinary Americans who exhibit great courage.

      • Bill7 says:

        I agree that the COVID revisionism™ is really getting going now,
        post- New Year; however, my prediction is that the Ruling Class- who are in fact behind the last two years of COVID™ fear-mongering- will in fact clamp down harder than ever now, despite their new “oopsie, we were wrong!” rhetoric. We’ll see how that prediction fits soon enough.

        It’s a conditioning / softening-up / destabilizing process, and we the 90% are the targets.

        • Sam says:

          Basically, people have had enough of the endless meddling/scolding by the health-industrial complex.  This is also why Fauci is de-emphasisng caseloads.  He’s been in public office long enough to know how to shift with the prevailing political winds. You don’t last that long as Fauci if you don’t shift with the prevailing powers that be. So the new messaging will he “learn to live with it”. Itonically,  it will soon be compared regularly with the flu or a cold even though that was verboten around 10 months ago

          https://twitter.com/mauerback/status/1478212015537758212?s=21

          You’ll keep seeing more examples. Have we ever had a “vax” in history with similar reinfection rates? Yeah, even this guy caught it??

          https://twitter.com/luigi_warren/status/1478195244986351616?s=21

  9. The future is a continuation of the past, until it becomes a reaction to it.
    My predictions;
    While there are a lot of mines out in that field, the one sure fact is that the US will have a midterm election this fall and the odds are becoming over-whelming the Republicans will win both house and senate. Obviously this will have serious political implications in 23, but it means the political tension over the course of this year will be going off the charts.
    Add to this the market bubble and the fact much of our foreign policy is as driven by factions and interests within and between the various powers that be, as national policy is.
    If there is a movie analogy for the coming year, it should be, Godzilla Versus King Kong, if it were directed by Pablo Escobar.
    A cage match among the elites.

    • Bill7 says:

      Elections don’t matter now, and haven’t for some time, IMO.
      They’re theater and cover for what the tiny ruling class have
      decided to do, long beforehand.

      ‘R’, ‘D’ … sheesh.

      • Lysias says:

        How come the ruling elite were so upset by the result of the 2016 election?

        • Pat Lang says:

          Lysias an outsider who threatened the swamp land.

        • Carey says:

          They weren’t: it was and is pure theater. Remember when
          “the wall were closing in!” on Mr. Trump, and when the
          Mueller investigation was finally going to bring him to justice™ ? Nothing came of any of it.

          Now, from the “other side”, we’re told that the Durham investigation is going to bring the Clintonite perps to justice. A prediction: nothing will come of that, either.

          “It’s Big Club, and you ain’t in it.” -George Carlin

  10. Deap says:

    America in decline? Depends on the definition of decline and who is measuring it:

    https://babylonbee.com/news/wow-what-a-terrible-year-say-people-living-at-the-absolute-peak-of-human-civilization

    Babylon Bee always takes a wry look at today’s most troubling matters.

  11. walrus says:

    Too late. The modern day equivalent of the German troop trains of WW1 have already started to run. The media is scripted to blame Russia for what is about to happen. The talks will fail to produce anything new and The Biden Administration is going to make an impossible demand of Russia: – that will be to agree not to deploy its own troops on its own territory except with our permission – in effect surrendering Russian sovereignty over its own border areas with Ukraine.

    https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/how-to-deal-with-the-kremlin-created-crisis-in-europe/

    In my opinion, such a demand cannot be accepted by Russia without similar demands being made later in the Baltics and the Caucasus.

    In my opinion, the outcome of such an American demand and Russian negative response will be to put Russian nuclear forces on a hair trigger. Biden then gets ONE chance, after Russia levels parts of Ukraine, to save America from nuclear destruction.

    Such idiots as the Atlantic Council remind me of the stock market touts who recommend shorting the market in the event of nuclear war.

    I am enjoying this summer with no particular thought of seeing Christmas 2022.

    • Fred says:

      walrus,

      Idiots at the Atlantic Council? Come now. A bunch of Bushies and Barackies along with Biden’s best! What’s not to respect about that. Especially Evelyn Farkas, who managed to let the Russians know we could read their diplomatic messages while ‘serving’ in the Obama admin. Then there are those Supreme Allied Commanders (former) who never managed to win a war anywhere.

      “Finally, the United States and its allies should continue to make clear their readiness for dialogue with Russia, to include concerns of NATO and other parties about Russian military and other aggressive activities. ”

      Oh, wait, they want to “jaw jaw, rather than war war” Sounds like they finally figured out there is zero public support anywhere outside the borgesphere for a war.

      “I am enjoying this summer with no particular thought of seeing Christmas 2022.”

      I hope that you are not yet that old sir; 2023 will be a great year.

      • walrus says:

        Fred,

        ““Finally, the United States and its allies should continue to make clear their readiness for dialogue with Russia, to include concerns of NATO and other parties about [b]Russian military and other aggressive activities. ”[/b]

        Thats not “Jaw, jaw”! That’s an accusation camouflaged as negotiation after you confess your crimes.

        • Fred says:

          Walrus,

          The Vlad the Terrible can remind the great leaders of NATO that Russia still have a few thousand nuclear weapons, both strategic and tactical.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      walrus

      I share your feelings of foreboding. Those of us cursed with the compunction to see the world for what it is must embrace our fate and enjoy life among the blissfully ignorant as best we can. Enjoy your summer. The sun is gradually returning to my own hemisphere and cannot come soon enough.

  12. Leith says:

    Betty was a babe. And she had an innate genius for that self deprecating humor of hers. Very few of us, women or men, can carry that off. Animal lover extraordinaire! Volunteer driver during WW2 (probably where she learned her salty language). TV producer, one of the first of her gender.

    As for a new global war, it is too terrible to contemplate. I’m a doubter. What kind of idiots would pull the trigger to start that? I don’t see anyone in the USA stumbling into it regardless of political party. Could the world stumble into it? Maybe. But I suspect the author of that article and The Telegraph itself is just trying to bolster the Tories into more NATO-loving and more defense spending.

  13. Marlene says:

    Wondering whether this could be a sign of the incoming Pax Judaica…

    https://edwardslavsquat.substack.com/p/the-false-prophet-leading-russians

    Attention to the really interesting comments..and the links of “Moses” Gintsburg, the “sexual-democrat” ( may be the new ideology out there…look AOC…) with Rusnano Chubais….

    What has really changed since the 90s?

    Are we assisting here to a theater play?

    I really think so with regard “the war”, in any case it will be a paripé…

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Marlene

      Thanks for the link to Riley Waggaman’s writings. He appears to agree with Archbishop Viganò’s position that the Vaxx passport digital ID is the mark of the beast, as described in the Book of Revelation. They could well be right.

      • Marlene says:

        Well, here you have, a whole paripé…they commit to negtiations and to take into account each other´s interests..

        Seems all the way as a repartition of the world amongst the nuclear powers…

        Meanwhile, in the last days of December, new homeland security laws were passed at most Western countries, which include the possibility of requsition of propierty and foreced displacement of people under not only diect treats but also potential treats to security and, pay attention, health..

        Riley Waggaman discloses in his last posts the Russian security law, while in the comment section one commenter unveils the Spanish one..

        https://edwardslavsquat.substack.com/p/russia-adopts-compulsory-evacuation

        Meanwhile, the new UK unleashed ID Digital legislation which includes the management of all personal private data by private corporations, the neccessity of a ID digital document for work to and rent ( hence the laws to eliminate or requisition private property in the first place, since when you own your own business or home you do not depend on government and associated corporations for that.., and no one can impose a med into you so that you can access those basic human rights and activities…)
        Also it seems that the whole thing will really include data related health physical condition and pre-conditions, sex prefrences and habits, political ideas, internet activity, along with travel and consum habits, which some commenter deem as for the government to be able to blackmail you and for the private health insurance companies to calculate what they will charge you for their services…once the reamining public health systems erased..

        All this, of course, only could be possible in a scenario of perpetuating of current governments, or those of the other side of the political aisle, at the helms, soemthing all the singmatories of the “nucelar descalation agreement are interested in…

  14. blue peacock says:

    ‘I have thought from the beginning, that the isolation of people, especially the way elderly people in care homes were isolated from family…was bordering on the criminal’

    https://youtu.be/vSPpCvxvnBE

    From “15 days to ..” and then lockdown for nearly 2 years which screwed over the working class, the poor and of course those with illnesses that required regular in-person treatment. The laptop class were all in on this.

    Australia and New Zealand took this to an extreme. And now we see this:

    Australia just reported record high cases — the equivalent of 425,000 cases in the US with mask mandates, vaccine passports, one of the world’s highest vaccination rates and forced quarantine camps, but I really do think we can end the pandemic if we just do what Australia did

    https://twitter.com/ianmSC/status/1477718306756849665?s=20

    What has been one of the most egregious consequences of this policy has been the impact on kids. Massive increases in mental health problems and the loss of education especially for the most vulnerable. This will never be acknowledged. While there is much rhetoric on “we’re always for kids”, this was a singularly anti-kid policy.

    IMO, lockdown will go down as a watershed defining act of the covid era. We’ll see it be memory holed quickly with all those that were firm supporters and activists claim they never did or only supported it for the “15 days to ..”. We should never forget who was on which side of this policy. This is a societal litmus test of the character of individuals.

    On a much lesser scale will of course also be the mask theater.

    BASH: “Are cotton and surgical masks effective at preventing the spread of Omicron?

    FAUCI: “They are”

    https://twitter.com/KyleMartinsen_/status/1477661892063768582?s=20

    At this stage of the pandemic, cloth masks don’t provide much protection against COVID-19, according to @ScottGottliebMD

    https://twitter.com/FaceTheNation/status/1477670342604771328?s=20

    When former FDA chief and now Pfizer board member and chief spokesperson for more vax who was a big proponent of mandates and lockdown, now says cloth masks are essentially theater, he’s quickly attempting to rewrite what he advocated a short few months ago. He’s not getting into the rationale what has caused him to change his opinion whereas Tony who first said masks don’t work and then when the narrative engineers demanded it became a big advocate.
    .

    • walrus says:

      The Australian lockdowns succeeded in reducing case numbers until Omicron appeared, that much is readily provable. HOWEVER, the cost to the community of the collateral damage the lockdowns caused may have outweighed the benefit. That cost is still being calculated.

      Those costs include but are not limited to the direct financial impact to the hospitality ,entertainment tourism and industries but also need to include metal health costs – suicides, marriage breakdowns, disrupted education, etc. which are still being totaled. For example we now have a potential problem with child drownings since swimming schools have been closed.

      In any case the arrival of omicron has made all that irrelevant. Lockdown is out of the question this time. Contact tracing ditto. My brother – triple vaccinated with no underlying conditions, got a mild case in December – his comment “if that was mild,I would hate to have a severe case”.

      What we are starting to see is “self imposed lockdown” where people are too afraid to go out. This becomes a problem for industry and logistics.

      Spare me the BS about conspiracy, covid camps and pseudo science. This is now an old fashioned pandemic that we have just got to work through.

      There are state and federal elections coming up this year where in my opinion, governments are going to be punished or removed for their handling of this public health crisis.

      • Lysias says:

        By taking megadoses of Vitamin D3, I have raised my blood level to 84.7 ng/mL. Are you aware of a single case of covid, never mind a severe case, contracted by someone with a similar Vitamin D level?

      • Fred says:

        walrus,

        “This is now an old fashioned pandemic that we have just got to work through.”

        That was all it ever was, the only thing missing was the death rate; which wasn’t pre-antibiotic era yellow fever, smallpox or influenza. It is now endemic globally. The ‘elites’ prevented use of prophylactics of any efficacy by government regulatory and medical certification board established protocols; and their media allies aided them in hyping the communist way of lockdowns. They don’t need replacement, they need to be jailed for their conduct.

    • Sam says:

      BP

      You’re gonna see massive revisionism. Lockdown policy will become an orphan with no one claiming they supported it. Just watch.

      We got lucky that there were some controls. Sweden which never locked down and Florida which did it for 4 months. Sweden is inexplicable in many ways but comports with common sense as all-cause mortality last year is the lowest in Europe. If ever someone comes up with a comprehensive metric of total health costs from all diseases, mental health incidents to required treatments not done Sweden will come out way ahead. They never locked down, kids went to school throughout with no mask mandates or social distancing. They were allowed to continue being normal. And of course there were no vax passport requirements or mandates. Exactly how a free society should work to allow people to make their own health decisions.

      “Most Western health authorities have not yet acknowledged that their entire approach to the pandemic has been a complete failure.” – Swiss Policy Research

      https://twitter.com/martinkulldorff/status/1478030144489070592?s=21

      The last couple years should make it clear that skepticism of the so called “experts” is highly warranted. The conflicts of interest were staggering. Yes, we should clearly note who had the courage to stand up and personally risk everything and note who were the authoritarians. The most obvious tell early on was the doom porn mongers were central to the obfuscations on the origins. If you have a calamity with millions dead and entire societies in quasi house arrest, wouldn’t a core question be how and where did this originate? Why didn’t that get any traction? Why did the “experts” collude to hide the facts?

      • Marlene says:

        “If you have a calamity with millions dead and entire societies in quasi house arrest, wouldn’t a core question be how and where did this originate? Why didn’t that get any traction? Why did the “experts” collude to hide the facts?”

        Because all governments in the wordl are aboard, except may be old Lukashenko, and this is a plan to save the Western financial system, to which both Russia and China are linked?

        One would guess that apparent rivality between Russia, China and the West would had brought as collateral the unveiling of this interesting question, but both China and Russia are aboard, I fear, with the current NWO dictatorial.

        Only difference with the West is that they, instead of submitting to a global corporate government, they want to keep their own NWO at home headed by them, current elite there.

        And to this extent reachs the rivalry, thus nobosy is going to nuke anybody.
        They are simply negotiating this.

  15. TTG says:

    Russia has issued us an ultimatum to leave Central and Eastern Europe. The region is to be Moscow’s near abroad, within their sphere uncontested sphere of influence. In essence, Moscow want’s another Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to carve the region up. The ultimatum is backed up with a now formidable military threat. As Grushko put it, “The Europeans must also think about whether they want to avoid making their continent the scene of a military confrontation. They have a choice. Either they take seriously what is put on the table, or they face a military-technical alternative.” Moscow is loudly rattling their sabers and threatening far ranging conventional and even nuclear destruction.

    Moscow is reasonable in seeking guarantees that NATO offensive weapons are not stationed in Ukraine or the Baltics. I think we’d be wise to recognize and accommodate that fear. Beyond that, we should not appease Moscow. I believe Moscow’s real fear of Ukraine is not NATO weapons on Russia’s border, but a Western leaning Ukraine, as dilapidated as it is and still full of corruption and nazis. We know of the corruption and nazis because Ukraine has a remarkably free press and a people not in fear of their government in Kyiv. That change started with the Orange Revolution. That chaotic spirit of freedom is anathema to Putin. He does not want it on his doorstep.

    I’ll conclude this comment with part of a comment I left in an earlier discussion we had here. I think the ideas expressed are important to the understanding of this entire situation.

    “I found an interesting thought by Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder and CEO of the political analysis firm R Politik and a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center. It follows from the view that Ukraine is not an independent country worthy of continued existence… the country 404 view, a view that Putin certainly seems to share. No wonder so many in the region, including Ukraine, wanted to join NATO.”

    “There are at least three sensitive issues linked to the Soviet Union that have huge emotional meaning personally for Putin, and that the world should take into account when seeking to understand Putin’s motives. Firstly, he believes that Russia must be a unitary state and that the Soviet experience that implied national autonomies was a huge mistake. On several occasions, Putin accused Lenin of planting “a figurative bomb under Russian statehood by offering different nationalities their own territories and the right to secede,” “breaking down a 1,000-year-old state” — something that Putin believes he may restore and enforce. It shows how much Putin dislikes dealing with a federalized Russia and would rather deal with the country that governed as a single unit. It also demonstrates Putin’s strong fear of regional ambitions.”

    “Putin will be remembered as the man who saved Russia. The question is whether he will be content with that or if his fear of being known as the man who lost Ukraine will haunt his mind.”

    • Pat Lang says:

      TTG
      Our Webb appears to be doing well. I find Putin’s position to be quite rational so long as h does not us to expel former Warsaw Pact countries from NATO. What do you think of the current level of repression in Canada? “Oh Canada, terre de nos aieux.” Asi triste.

      • TTG says:

        pl,
        The Webb’s launch was so precise that it saved enough fuel to add a couple of years of operation. Things are going very well, indeed. I agree Putin’s position isn’t unreasonable, but his rhetoric has been off the charts. I think he wants Ukraine back in his orbit badly. That’s not going to happen. He’s going to have to be happy with Sevastopol and some mutual confidence building measures.

        Are you referring to Montreal’s attempts to enforce the French language law (understandable, but futile)? Nunavut will have a better chance preserving indigenous languages and cultures. Or are you referring to Canada’s upcoming covid restrictions? We’ve become surprisingly gun shy of such restrictions or just smarter about them.

        • Pat Lang says:

          TTG
          The 10 PM curfew went into effect today I believe with police rounding people up on the streets and forced quarantine in camps for those who test positive.

        • Fred says:

          Nunavut will be successful because there are only 40,000 people there and has an immigration rate of zero.

          • TTG says:

            Fred,
            And given the nature of the land and climate, anyone moving to or staying in Nunavut have little choice but to embrace the Nunavut way of life. The Yukon and Northwest Territories have similar settlement patterns. It does make it easier to preserve existing culture.

  16. Deap says:

    How does a layperson unpackage this Newsweek report of “secret commandos in place with shoot to kill orders” in anticipation of Jan 6? Just your regular SWAT team on call, or did they anticipate more?

    https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-secret-commandos-shoot-kill-authority-were-capitol-1661330?%20utm_source=pushnami&utm_medium=Push_Notifications&utm_campaign=automatic&UTM=1641226734924

  17. irf520 says:

    It looks like the reply to Putin’s ultimatum has come in the form of an attempt to bite off another big chunk of salami in Kazakhstan…

  18. English Outsider says:

    Mr Habakkuk – this dog’s still barking so went back to the discussion and saw your concluding remarks. Thank you. Most illuminating.

    Brings me back to the question raised so often here. As far as the UK is concerned, it also brings me back to the question underlying similar exchanges with you on the Colonel’s site in the past, the UK being the most anti-Russian country by far in the Western part of Europe.

    What does HMG hope to achieve by assisting in exerting such pressure on the Russians? Is it merely a hangover from the old Cold War days? Or does HMG hope to derive some long term “advantage” from this policy with regard to the UK’s commercial or security interests?

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