Obama’s Ladder – 6 March 2014

POTUS shares the general opinion in the US that we run the world.  In pursuit of that belief he intends to sanction Russia in various ways including the punishment of private Russian capital and capitalists in the belief that rich people in Russia will force Putin to obey us.

What will happen is that Russia will match us rung by rung in going up an escalatory ladder of sanctions;  visas, seizures, etc.

Russia will certainly annex the Crimea.

How far is Obama prepared to go up that ladder?  Somewhere near the top lies a transition to military red lines and the possibility of a nuclear exchange that would destroy both Russia and the US.  pl

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155 Responses to Obama’s Ladder – 6 March 2014

  1. Anon1 says:

    When will the Russians cut off our Northern Distribution Network route through their territory to Afghanistan? Putin can really put the hurt on us on that pressure point.

  2. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread?

  3. cloned_poster says:

    I would love to have a dialogue feed from the ISS to hear what they make of this.

  4. kao_hsien_chih says:

    They may be the only people left by the time we’re done with this nonsense…

  5. John Minnerath says:

    In his narcissistic haze he sees his light dimming. Who knows where the fool will try to go.

  6. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I am curious about the goings on in Ukraine: so, they have scheduled the referendum for joining Russia on the 16th, which is approaching rapidly. One could think of this as Putin setting up a deadline to force Ukrainians’ (and West’s) hand, but I have to wonder how much control Putin really has over the Crimean Russians now? In case of Bosnia and Croatia, if my understanding is right, Milosevic had much less control over the Serb minorities in these countries than what Westerners thought, and worse still, the threatening stances (underwritten by the West in both cases, although to varying extent) taken by Zagreb and Sarajevo increasingly drove the extremists among these groups into positions of power, escalating the situation even further. Could it be that Crimean Russians (presumably, increasingly dominated by the nationalist extremists of their own) are trying to force Putin’s hand? Jack Matlock seems to suggest that Russia should play a legalistic hand, should this be the case, by demanding adherence to Helsinki Final Act, which would seem to be a good move on their part…

  7. robt willmann says:

    Here are statements and an “executive order” from the White House today, 6 March, the anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo.
    The press release about Ukraine–
    The president’s statement about Ukraine–
    The executive order saying that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, “in consultation with” Secretary of State John Kerry, will decide which persons and entities will have assets in the U.S. or in the possession or control of a U.S. person frozen–
    The Treasury Secretary can also re-delegate these asset freezing functions to other persons and agencies as allowed by applicable law.
    The visa restrictions and bans are not in this particular order.
    The second paragraph of the “executive order” contains the embarrassingly false wording that the events in Ukraine “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”

  8. Matthew says:

    Col: In addition to the excellent Stephen Cohen, Professor Walt also hasn’t drunken the Kool-Aid. See http://www.foreignpolicy.com/voices/walt

  9. walrus says:

    John Minnerath, I have tried searching for an earlier post in which I labeled President Obama as a narcissist and suggested that he, like all narcissists, would do something monumentally stupid before the end of his Presidency. By “Monumentally stupid”, I meant something that makes ordinary (non – narcissistic) people say to each other; “why would anyone in their right mind do that?”.
    Obama, aided and abetted by the military industrial complex, appears to me to be making a final, existential threat to the Russian Federation by suborning the buffer states with the obvious intent to export that strategy to the Federation itself. Putin has indeed been backed into a corner as Mr. Habakkuk said.
    I hope I am wrong about this and will happily endure the criticism for being an amateur psychiatrist.
    If I am right, then it may be foreign historians asking that question because I agree with Col. Lang that this mess could end in a nuclear exchange.
    What I would like to know right now is the readiness state and deployment of the Russian and American submarine fleets. This could get very ugly very fast.

  10. optimax says:

    Obama says that it is illegal under international law for the Crimea to declare independence from the Ukrain. But we recognized Kosovo, Russia does not, when it declared independence from Serbia. According to the ICJ that was not illegal under international law. From wiki: “On 8 October 2008, upon the request of Serbia, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the issue of Kosovo’s declaration of independence.[23] On 22 July 2010, the ICJ ruled that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate general international law because international law contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence’: nor did the declaration of independence violate UN Security Council Resolution 1244, since this did not describe Kosovo’s final status, nor had the Security Council reserved for itself the decision on final status.”
    Like the constitution, Obama interprets international law through the mind of his ideological desires.

  11. JohnH says:

    Crimean parliament has already agreed to join Russia. Referendum in 10 days.
    How can Kerry and Obama vilify Russia for respecting the democratically determined wishes of the Crimean people? Washington’s “public diplomacy” organs will soon be at full throttle, trying to convince us that the will of the Crimean people is not in fact democracy. On the other hand, the will of a handful of Ukrainian oligarchs is trumpeted as democracy.
    The hypocrisy is certain to become really deep…

  12. William Herschel says:

    The run-up to the Iraq war on steroids.

  13. VietnamVet says:

    I am certain that USA/Russia tensions will escalate too. Confrontation keeps attention off of problems at home and keeps 50% of DOD spending going to contractors. Also, a third Russian collapse in a century is a huge lure to Wall Street/City of London looters.
    I am surprised that a Russian army of tanks wasn’t sent west. The Ukraine revolt is more provocative and closer to Moscow than the Prague Spring in 1968.
    Vladimir Putin cannot let the unrest spread to the Russian speaking provinces next to his borders. So he has to infiltrate agents and build up Orthodox Christian militias there. At some point if pressed too hard, he will say the hell with it and drive his troops west.
    Our leaders and their advisors have no sense of history. We are heading down the same fool’s path again; except this time we may not get to the end of it. There were people in the 1960’s saying “Bomb them back into the Stone Age”. We are alive because they weren’t in control back then unlike today’s neo-cons.

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, he certainly received a lot of help and encouragement from the EU leaders.
    Back last year, EU spurned Putin’s offer of a joint EU-Russian bail-out of Ukraine.
    No my friend, you cannot blame it all on Obama.
    And even this late in the day I do not hear a single dissenting voice from say, Italy or Switzerland, or Sweden or UK.

  15. nick b says:

    That discussion of narcissism was on a thread about Chris Christie and who would ‘rat’ on him. For your convenience:

  16. Haralambos says:

    This was up yesterday: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/magazine/the-story-behind-the-sat-overhaul.html
    I often disagree with some of his opinions, but this strikes me as apt:
    “An elected democracy is what Ukraine had before Washington overthrew it.
    “At this time there is no legitimate Ukrainian government.
    “Everyone needs to understand that Washington is lying about Ukraine just as Washington lied about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just as Washington lied about Iranian nukes, just as Washington lied about Syrian president Assad using chemical weapons, just as Washington lied about Afghanistan, Libya, NSA spying, torture. What hasn’t Washington lied about?
    “Washington is comprised of three elements: Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil. There is nothing else there.”
    I would add that this does not exhaust the factors or causes, as noted by Col. Lang’s paper linked in the previous thread.
    As an American, denizen of Europe for the past 36 years in Greece and Portugal, I imagine my perspective is largely influenced by that, especially the transitions to democracy in both Portugal and Greece from their one experiences of totalitarian regimes. I also had the experience of teaching at an American College in Greece during the NATO campaign over Kosovo. I had students from Greece, the US, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the only name currently recognized by Greece). My students, colleagues, and I faced many delicate situations in class, and some students faced mutual harassment outside of class. I believe we were all very fortunate to manage that period without any more ugly incidents than the harassment.

  17. Mark Kolmar says:

    I don’t know whether and how much my blathering resembles or follows (leads?!?) thoughts or directions of similar thinkers or blatherers, for example the President of the United States and his advisers.
    One of the changes between Bush “W” and Obama was an actual change (in aspiration) for ambition (to breathe slowly). These are statements for local consumption.
    What I read from hint, action, and speech is that Obama recognizes the limitations of broad, physical power, and he wants to pull back on gross, indiscriminate weapons (Syria…)
    A POTUS should aspire to “run the world”, even if the end point is separate, different, complete harmony.

  18. Haralambos says:

    My apologies. Two of my posts seem to have been merged with more than a little lost in the process.

  19. eakens says:

    The real question here is why is their such a rush? If we just took a step back, licked our wounds, and picked up where we left off and kept working towards creating a viable alternative to Russian gas for Europe, we would be much better positioned in 5-10 years.
    I understand the stepping back and licking wounds part is perhaps the toughest avenue to turn down in DC, but the alternative here is simply not an option. Where are they going with this.

  20. William Herschel says:

    As robt willmann points out, the Executive Order says,
    “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”
    I am scared by that. That statement is impeachable. It’s a lie.
    A tiny clique is leading the US to war. And in the words of Lon Chaney Jr. “for what”? For the same crazy ideas that led Napoleon and Hitler into Russia?
    Americans, I hope, can stop this.
    The adventure in Syria was prevented by 30 British MP’s at the eleventh hour. I hope they have the courage to do it again if Congress can’t.

  21. Ramojus says:

    I’m thinking that a deal is being (or has been) made… ala “JFK removing missiles from Turkey”….
    No one will go to war over the Ukraine no matter how “narcissistic” they are.

  22. turcopolier says:

    Wishful thinking. pl

  23. Treasury will only freeze assets that don’t involve close friends of the Administration IMO!

  24. jr786 says:

    “the events in Ukraine “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”
    The second part of that, the threat to the foreign policy of the US, smells like a post-Snowden reaction. It’s pretty expansive, isn’t it? I suppose denouncing said policy is a threat, too, or releasing any documents pertaining to that policy.
    Has this always been linked to national security in executive orders?

  25. turcopolier says:

    You are down in Melbourne on the beach. My wife and I have had good lives. we would not even see the flash. pl

  26. The Twisted Genius says:

    Another few steps on the ladder:
    The Pentagon plans to send six additional F-15 fighter jets, and a Boeing KC-135 refueling Stratotanker, to beef up the squadron of four F-15 currently flying air patrols over the Baltic states. These fighters will be flying out of Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania. Sure, demonstrate to the Russians exactly why we want to move NATO into Ukraine.
    The USS Truxtun, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, is heading to the Black Sea. The Navy says this is a preplanned deployment, which is plausible. Why not just stop for a port call in Istanbul?
    The Pentagon signaled it will conduct an unplanned military exercise in Poland. This is a direct response to the Ukrainian crisis. This is after we screamed bloody murder over the Russian military exercises.
    Do our leaders really think this will change Putin’s mind or the minds of the people of Crimea? These pompous ignoramuses are risking war just to hurl schoolyard insults and convince themselves they’re a bunch of Billy bad asses. Colonel Lang, you are right. We won’t even see the flash.

  27. toto says:

    I thought Obama had made it clear that he has no interest in staying in Afghanistan. Karzai’s refusal of an immunity agreement may well provide a convenient pretext for a withdrawal that he was wishing for anyway.
    OTOH Russia has plenty of ways to make life difficult for the US – not to mention the Europeans!

  28. toto says:

    Pretty sure you have the wrong link…
    The actual piece is easy to find by googling the extracts you provide, but I’ll be damned if I give the link myself.

  29. turcopolier says:

    Yes, it may well be “on.” The Russian SIOP is unknown to me but the Soviet Red SIOP called for something like 2 10 megaton weapons in a low air burst over DC. The redundancy was to compensate for CEP. The estimate was for something like 25 to 40 million dead on each side. You would not want to survive the attack. I was at the USAWC in 1984 where the Army general staff was to be re-created as we tried to re-establish control. I was slated to be the head of CI for CONUS. I take this shit seriously and I have not told you the worst about government survival plans. pl

  30. Mark Kolmar says:

    Gentlemen, U.S. and allies pay <3% down and almost 0% interest on Putin's reality adjustment of rental property. So what? Ceremonial barking.
    Next steps from Russian side toward the same direction would be new, difficult questions.

  31. toto says:

    Putin will not invade Western Ukraine because the cost/benefit just isn’t there. The Europeans would go for broke, take the pain and cut economic relations – and he needs their money at least as much as they need his gas. The Balts would ask for NATO (read:American) bases, and would probably get them.
    And for what? Who cares what the peasants in Lviv do, as long as they don’t join NATO? And they obviously won’t, as long as the East remains part of Ukraine: even if Kievans asked for it, there’s no way NATO would accept to set up bases in a country with Russian-dominated areas.
    That last point is also a very good reason *not* to take over Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine with the East is a sick, ungovernable country, with a direct channel for Russian influence, that will never join NATO and may even be prevented from joining the EU. Ukraine without the East is a unified, hostile country that will inevitably join the EU and ask for NATO bases all along its border – and will probably get them.
    By and large, IMO, the perpetual destabilization from keeping the East within Ukraine has both a lower cost and a larger benefit than acquiring Eastern Ukraine outright.
    As for Crimea, neither the US nor the EU will take any really painful action on Crimea alone. They’re (mostly) Russians, we get it. We’ll mumble, groan, and then eventually find something else to groan and mumble about.
    If the above is roughly correct, the “hot” phase of the situation is behind us. The new normal has been reached.

  32. nick b says:

    In early 1980s when I was in high school, my family hosted a professor from the Soviet Union, through the American Field Service (AFS). It was a great experience. I remember quite clearly discussing the possibility of nuclear war. What he told me was that WW2 was unbelievably horrific for the Soviets. He said there was no one who did not lose a relative or loved one to the war, including himself. It was his feeling that because of horrors of WW2, antiwar sentiment among the people of the Soviet Union was so strong, that nuclear war would never happen. As a young man, I took great comfort in this. Has so much time passed that this may have changed? Was it ever true?
    Gennadi kept in touch with my parents for almost twenty years after.

  33. turcopolier says:

    nick Gennadi was not in charge. pl

  34. georgeg says:

    Nevil Shute…..

  35. John Minnerath says:

    The drums in the distance beat louder. The Russians sink a ship to blockade a harbor, words like “a diplomatic solution” are bandied about and violations of sovereignty.
    Wars have been started with less saber rattling. We’ve seen these same mindsets lead us to the brink before.
    Too few people today realize how quickly things can go to far and what the consequence could be.

  36. nick b says:

    I believed him, because I wanted to.

  37. Anon1 says:

    I was a SAC minuteman maintenance officer at Minot in the mid-80s and one of my ancillary duties was on the Wing Reconstitution Force. It was a farce, and was only used to rate us on SAC IG inspections. The RF had no connection to reality and we would have never survive a Soviet first strike on our missiles.
    I later became a Russian and Chinese missile analyst. The Russians have greatly improved the accuracy of their warheads and they no longer need to compensate yield for accuracy. They basically have about the same accuracy as our RVs these days.

  38. The 1976 National Emergencies Act is a procedural statute only and authority to take any action must be found elsewhere and identified to the public!
    That statute sun-setted a National Emergency declared in the Korean War by Truman and other statutes.
    Little additional legal authority is actually given to the President by such a declaration and in fact Congress has allowed most statutes triggered by such a declaration to lapse.

  39. Augustin L says:

    @ Toto, the de facto partition of the country by Crimea means that the eastern and southern russophone and orthodox populations will now constitute a perpetual minority inside Ukraine. Their opinions and vote didn’t matter whent they were numerically on par with those from the western part of the country. It will now become almost unbearable for them to live under the yoke of pravy sektor and svoboda who have now formed their versions of military commisars (in charge of morale and purging the ukrainian officer corps from ”traitors”) and comité du salut public ransoming the populations. Can Moscow even control those ethnic russian zones from doing what seems to not be in their best interest ? Shades of Yugoslavia with the serbs…
    TO ALL the bad times are here to stay…
    Since the 1970s, patient, alliance-building ideologue-adventurers, think-tankers and journalists,have crept up through the institutions, using and being used, joining the fantasies of redemption, revenge, plunder, and
    control over the world, into an action program for employing American power.The style betrays the character. Since the ambitions of these ideologues are much larger than their education, they flatter themselves into believing they are the New Romans, that they write history on a even greater scale than Titus Livius; and their vanity expects awe, not reason. But they are acting out the grand guignol version of empire whose points of reference might be Sallust, Petronius or Procopius, those who castigated or ridiculed or despaired at the corruption and the pretentions of its personnel.
    It is the remarkable lack of decorum, the intentional staging of bullying language, rich in threats and insults, the resentful hypocrisy, the slightly unhinged display of bad faith when diplomacy and suasion are the order of the day, that has convinced even some of the “just-a-bad-patch” hopefuls that the bad times are here to stay. I hope we don’t see the flash ! At this point I’m not hopeful.

  40. The beaver says:

    Has Turkey given permission for the USS Truxtun?
    Remember the Montreux Convention and this is not a NATO exercise.

  41. Fred says:

    Obama can’t with Ukraine, look what’s happening down in Mexico:
    US Embassy and Godaddy conspire to censor dissenting Mexican political site

  42. Fred says:

    Are they asking for nuclear war? Meanwhile the Senate is busy trying to approve Senator Gillibrand’s political commissar bill to screw up the combat effectiveness of our armed forces. This is perfectly asinine.

  43. Jane says:

    Some related points:
    1)It has been reported that the Russians have run exercises which show that conflict in this region rapidly escalate to where things go boom. Nonetheless,Putin moved to force in response to the elected leader being turfed out. Why? Why wasn’t Putin of the opinion that this was a place for excess caution?
    2) One of President Obama’s greatest weaknesses is his belief that his opponents will rationally assess the odds.
    3) Romney was convinced of Russia’s bad intentions. Why was this? Was it just an ideological hangover or did he learn something that President Obama did not and if so, where did he learn it from?
    4) Is there anything in the way the West has reacted that is apt to have surprised Putin? Aren’t we reacting exactly as he ought to have anticipated?

  44. Grimgrin says:

    I’m going to be torn between being grimly amused and annoyed if, 100 years after the start of the First World War, we have an actual war to end all wars because of some damn fool thing in Russia’s near abroad. Well, for whatever time I have in that event. I don’t know if Canada’s pacific fleet still rates a Russian nuke or if it’d be fallout from targets in Washington state being hit that’d do it.

  45. David says:

    Since the only way to reach the ISS is via Russian
    Soyuz Space crafts, Putin could embarrass the US
    by canceling future NASA flights, Imagine, a 20 Billion dollar space station and no way for the US
    to reach it for at least a couple of years.

  46. William Herschel says:

    Here’s how it might go down.
    Background: “The acting Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, roundly dismissed the referendum. “This is an illegitimate decision. This so-called referendum has no legal grounds. Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine,” he said. “In case of further escalation and military intervention into Ukrainian territory by foreign forces, the Ukrainian government and military will act in accordance with the constitution and laws.””
    1) Crimea votes to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia. Note, this has already occurred at the parliamentary level.
    2) Ukraine sends its army to Crimea to take it back.
    3) That army meets with effective and probably victorious resistance from armed forces in Crimea.
    4) The West/Allies/Coalition of the Willing/United Nations say that the armed forces in Crimea are actually Russian troops which have conquered Crimea.
    5) To assist the poor, overwhelmed freedom fighting Ukraine troops, Western/Allied/Coalition of the Willing/United Nations troops are inserted into Ukraine to turn the tide of battle.
    6) At the very, very least you have Korea II.
    The only question is who will play the role of MacArthur requesting nuclear strikes against their opponent. And who, if anyone, will play the roles of Truman relieving MacArthur of his command and subsequently Eisenhower saying, “I declare this war over.”
    The beauty of this scenario from the point of view of the neo-cons is that all the questions about the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government disappear in the smoke of war. Nazi thugs? No elections? Who cares. There’s a war on.

  47. YT says:

    Jacob’s ladder?
    Col., I find your metaphor most interesting…

  48. YT says:

    RE: “A POTUS should aspire to “run the world”, even if the end point is separate, different, complete harmony.”
    http://paragkhanna.com/?p=264 ??

  49. YT says:

    Let us pray that the Russians will never have to again experience major conflict on their native soil…

  50. William Herschel says:

    I follow euro dollar exchange rates closely.
    Draghi has now said that there is no risk of deflation in Europe, left interest rates unchanged, and said that he will withdraw liquidity.
    This has caused the euro to skyrocket to near $1.40.
    War in Europe? How could that possibly occur if the foreign exchange markets are placing the highest value in years on the euro?
    Perhaps there is another explanation. If you are euro rich and you know war is coming, you would like to buy dollars with the highest valued euro you can. Enter Draghi (an old Kennedy School-Goldman Sachs man).
    Could it be that the skyrocketing euro is the surest sign yet that there will be war?

  51. Harry says:

    I dont know if Russia will annex Crimea. Its not clear its in Russia’s interests. Crimea staying in Ukraine means that its electorate is pretty finely balanced between Russians and Ukrainians.
    But Russia will pursue her own interests.

  52. harry says:

    Oh dear. I see there is no one who understands the Russian mentality. They wont be bullied. They wont back down. You cannot force them to do anything.
    I starting to get a bit worried about this.

  53. turcopolier says:

    “The Russians have greatly improved the accuracy of their warheads and they no longer need to compensate yield for accuracy. They basically have about the same accuracy as our RVs these days.” Important information. Thanks. pl

  54. DH says:

    Gentlemen! This is the war room!
    My spidey sense leads me to agree with Mark Kolmar here:
    “Gentlemen, U.S. and allies pay <3% down and almost 0% interest on Putin's reality adjustment of rental property. So what? Ceremonial barking."
    And here:
    "What I read from hint, action, and speech is that Obama recognizes the limitations of broad, physical power, and he wants to pull back on gross, indiscriminate weapons (Syria...)
    A POTUS should aspire to "run the world", even if the end point is separate, different, complete harmony."
    "Obama, aided and abetted by the military industrial complex, appears to me to be making a final, existential threat to the Russian Federation by suborning the buffer states with the obvious intent to export that strategy to the Federation itself. Putin has indeed been backed into a corner as Mr. Habakkuk said."
    Now here is the question. Are the Neocons actually nuts enough to destabilize a nuclear powerhouse? I don't think so.
    All, has it changed from yesterday that Germany doesn't seem interested in sanctioning Russia? So far, I think Putin has played this masterfully.

  55. nick b says:

    The Euro jumped on the news the ECB would not cut interest rates. Currency analysts have been predicting for weeks that the ECB would cut their key interest rate from their already low .25. After the announcement markets took the idea that any further ECB monetary stimulus could be done, a sign of economic growth. Hence the rise.

  56. nick b says:

    A good prayer. In my own prayers, it’s global.

  57. Joe100 says:

    All –
    This is a “must read” FT comment that suggests perhaps the MSM is beginning to be more reflective of reality and also to hopefully cheer us up a bit in light of the tone of recent posts:
    I also noted last night that the comments on this article appeared about 99% positive.

  58. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The steps in the ladder cannot include non-existent NATO land forces.
    It would mean air and naval escalation steps.
    I seriously doubt that NATO naval units would move into the Black Sea or get near Riga or Gulf of Finland.
    That leaves airplanes.
    Now, again, what can airplanes do in the absence of a strategy of combined arms?
    To me, it seems, then the only way for NATO to escalate credibly and effectively is at the strategic level.
    I wonder, again, where are all these Peace-Loving EU leaders?
    Do they really want to have EU go up in smoke?

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I had heard similar things but second-hand.

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Russians have multiple hard options that they can exercise.
    They can occupy parts of the NATO members Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia in order to protect Russia minority there.
    Is NATO prepared to wage war to push the Russians out of those 3 countries?

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    1. Look at the map and you would see that there is no natural barrier between Moscow and Berlin. Many wars have been fought on that territory and Russia could not be indifferent to that.
    2. I think you are neglecting the EU leaders in all of this. Clearly, this was a pan-NATO policy that was pursued in Ukraine. One has to ask EU leaders: “Are you mad too?”
    3. Let us say Russia has “bad” intentions – in practice that means that Russian leaders have bad intentions. Nevertheless, there is only so much that you can do to oppose their bad intentions – provided you want to live and do not wish to watch 150 million people die in 15 minutes.
    4. I think he was prepared – or he had prepared several options. The events in Crimea indicated to me that there must have been preparations.
    I read an article sometime ago in which the analyst stated that Putin has concluded that US & EU leaders are not rational actors – in as much as they pursue policies that contradict their own interests – and he is going about minimizing damage to the Russian Federation.

  62. Babak Makkinejad says:

    On you number 6) – I am rather doubtful. Who is going to fight it? Where are the NATO land forces to fight an analogous war?
    And then the political situation is very different than in 1950 when US was standing as a colossus in the International Arena.

  63. ISL says:

    A young thing on the radio suggested is Ukraine turned off the power to Crimea, then the Russians would go home. Aside from demonstrating her lack of grey matter, it does suggest leaving Ukraine in its current state puts Crimea in a geopolitically unstable situation. Since Russia is apparently not at the moment tally-ho-ing across the rest of Ukraine, I assume they are supporting a people’s rebellion (aka training, funds, etc) to Russian minority groups, ready to save them from the inevitable Kiev repression (with a Nazi flare). Maybe wait until the IMF transfers the 15 billion? Maybe some false Nazi flagged ops against russian ukrainian citizens? No face for Obama to save after that.
    At least that is my educated (on SST) thoughts. Any takers?

  64. kao_hsien_chih,
    My hunch would be that you are quite precisely right – that local initiative and popular, (also populist) politics are taking over, and that it is people in the Crimea who are driving the move to get out of Ukraine as quickly as possible. We are liable to be moving into an area where such politics is a major driving force – which is one of the reasons the situation threatens to become unpredictable and extremely dangerous.
    I have little doubt that the reasons Ambassador Matlock presents which should make the Russian authorities cautious are indeed clearly apparent to them. Unfortunately, he himself does not seem to me adequately to grasp how destructive, and indeed self-destructive, Western policy has been. He writes:
    ‘Russia has established that it will do whatever necessary to protect what it defines as vital security interests in regard to Ukrainian territory. It is in a position to make sure, with Western support, that Ukrainian reform does not threaten Russian security interests or those of Russian-speaking Ukrainians. But this will be possible only if Russia makes clear that its object is not to grab the Crimea or any other territory now within Ukraine.’
    It seems to me sheer self-delusion to suggest that after the events of the past weeks the Russian leadership can be confident that they would have ‘Western support’ in ensuring that ‘Ukrainian reform (sic) does not threaten Russian security interests or those of Russian-speaking Ukrainians.’
    No serious effort whatsoever has been made by the authorities either in the U.S. or the E.U. to address either the security concerns of the Russian authorities or the anxieties clearly apparent among substantial elements not simply in the Crimea but in the South and East Ukraine more generally.

  65. Fred says:

    And the neocon/NED crowd has a base of operations on the Russian Federation border in which to repeat the process of overthrowing the Russian government in the same manner they did to the Ukrainian one. What part of that is hard to understand?

  66. Fred says:

    Which ‘bad intensions’ of Russia do you refer to? Has the Russian Federation destabilized Mexico or Canada? Are they responsible for the potential secession of Quebec? Or do you mean he wouldn’t allow the Syrian government to be replaced with the Islamic jihadists the US and allies are backing?

  67. The Twisted Genius says:

    The Beaver,
    “Has Turkey given permission for the USS Truxtun?”
    I’m sure they have permission. This is a preplanned exercise and port call with the Romanian and Bulgarian navies. It’s business as usual and, IMO, should not be cancelled. I think the smart thing to do is to quietly coordinate the exercise movements with the Black Sea Fleet just to prevent any misunderstandings. Putin is going to the Sochi Winter Paralympics Games starting today. That’s a smart, calming move by Putin and another reason for talking to the Black Sea Fleet.
    I think Putin is now waiting for the Crimean referendum for his next move. I still think his Spetznaz GRU forces are operating in Ukraine proper, but Putin will never acknowledge this. He knows when to STFU. That’s probably why he doesn’t acknowledge any new Russian forces in Crimea although I’ve seen blog comments that the 3rd Independent Spetznaz Brigade left its base in Togliatti and is in the Crimea. They’re probably to just in Crimea.

  68. Fred says:

    “This has caused the euro to skyrocket to near $1.40.” The euro has been within the range of $1.20 to 1.50 for years.

  69. nick b says:

    This story was on my Bloomberg terminal this morning. It pays particular attention to Lithuania. I thought it might be of interest to you.

  70. The Twisted Genius says:

    “Are they asking for nuclear war?”
    I don’t think we have a clue as to what we’re doing. I wish some TV network would rebroadcast “The Day After” to remind people what nuclear war would look like. I remember Reagan fought like hell to prevent that movie being broadcast. He was toying with the idea of a winnable nuclear war at the time and was afraid the movie would “scare the women folk.” I don’t think any network would have the stones to rebroadcast it today. They’re just as clueless, spineless and breathtakingly shallow as our leaders.

  71. walrus,
    As to Obama’s ‘narcissism’, I agree. My only qualification would be that the disease appears to be much more widespread. An example. In response to the press conference which Putin gave on Tuesday, the journalist Anne Applebaum, who writes for the WP, ‘tweeted: ‘Putin’s press conference reveals that we may have reached the weird moment when the dictator believes his own propaganda.’
    (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/04/a-brief-rundown-of-vladimir-putins-strange-rambling-press-conference/ )
    This woman is the wife of the Foreign Minister of Poland, Radoslaw Sikorski, one of the initiators of the ‘Eastern Partnership’ which has produced this shambles. It would hardly be unnatural if Putin concluded that Sikorski believed that he was some kind of Hitler or Stalin figure.
    Even if her view was plausible, which it isn’t, it would be an act of the most complete irresponsibility for someone in her position to articulate it in public, or indeed for the WP to publish it.
    But if indeed both Sikorskis inhabit a narcissistic bubble, it is not so surprising. After all, when he was at Oxford, the husband was a member of the Bullingdon Club – the same rich white trash organisation to which our current Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mayor of London belonged.
    (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullingdon_Club )

  72. The Twisted Genius says:

    “I see there is no one who understands the Russian mentality.”
    None of our politicians, that’s for sure. Putin’s going to Sochi. That’s not the actions of an intimidated man. We spend 5 billion dollars, get a violent coup in Kiev and thought the Russians would timidly accept this “march of history.” We don’t understand Russians. We don’t understand Arabs. We don’t understand Persians. We don’t understand Chinese. We don’t even understand ourselves.

  73. walrus,
    The only very small ‘silver lining’ I can offer is that scrutiny of the comments sections of all the major newspapers in Britain reveals deep scepticism about the current directions of British foreign policy. I think you noted this in relation to an FT editorial in a previous thread.
    And a lot of people, not least on the right, are fed up with the ‘Bullingdon boys’.

  74. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I have not read this book but the idea of creating a Peace that would replace the Peace of Yalta is a sound one, in my opinion.
    If that is what this author is suggesting…

  75. The Twisted Genius says:

    There are NATO land forces, but damned few of them and their no longer configured for land war in Europe. I read somewhere that NATO planners admitted to not having any prepared plans for a war in Ukraine. Maybe that’s an acknowledgement of the realities of the correlation of forces as the Soviets once said. Without a plan, any movements on air, land or sea are just flailing about in the hope of intimidating Putin. Now Russia is conducting air defense drills. You’re right. If the EU thinks their only viable option is strategic nuclear war, then they will go up in smoke. Why can’t they see that doing nothing is not just a viable option, but the only sane one? Go to Sochi to watch the Winter Paralympic Games and take a deep breath. Maybe that will clear their heads.

  76. harry,
    The problem is not simply failure to understand the ‘Russian mentality’.
    It is a basic principle of ‘compellence’ strategies that they are liable not to work, if your opponent calculates that making concessions in response to pressure will only lead to further pressure in search of more concessions. The principle has been ignored by the U.S., and indeed the West in general, in relation to Iran, and it is now being ignored in relation to Russia.
    What one is dealing with is not simply ignorance of the mentality of particular peoples, but a failure to grasp how the world works, outside the rarefied and commonly narcissistic world of Western elites.

  77. nick b,
    This wasn’t what Soviet military theorists believed at the time. By the early Eighties, many of them had become acutely concerned with the possibility of that a chain of events running out of control could produce a nuclear war, even if neither side wanted it.
    This was fundamental to their scepticism about academic Western theories of ‘deterrence’. All this was discussed at length by Ambassador Raymond Garthoff in his 1990 study ‘Deterrence and the Revolution in Soviet Military Doctrine.’
    While much Western theorising about nuclear weapons was the product of ivory-tower academics, largely uninterested in the problems of operationalising nuclear strategies, Soviet theorising was largely the work of practical military men.
    Although through until the mid-Eighties it suffered enormously through being elaborated in the context of an essentially preposterous ideology, it did engage with practical problems in a way much Western theorising did not.

  78. Babak Makkinejad,
    They are extremely unlikely to want to do anything of the kind. Precisely what Putin wants to avoid are any steps which would create potentially irreversible rifts both with the West and with other post-Soviet states on whose cooperation he relies to construct his project Eurasian economic space.

  79. kao_hsien_chih says:

    With regards 4, any Russian leader after 18th century not prepared for a Crimean crisis of some kind would have been criminally negligent, and that goes quadruple after 1991.

  80. Augustin L,
    This is a very fine summary, and I think ‘resentful hypocrisy’ is a peculiarly brilliant formulation.
    As to whether the ‘bad times are here to stay’, the Victorian poet A.H. Clough wrote ‘if hopes were dupes/fears may be liars’. As Babak Makkinejad has insistently reminded us, a situation where the sanity of General Dempsey often seems the one thing standing between us and disaster is not a comforting one. But then sanity is sometimes infectious, as well as madness.

  81. stanley henning says:

    The Ukraine is not worth blowing up the world – let’s get this straight, just because we have “leaders?” who think we should be in charge of the world, there may be no world left.

  82. cloned_poster says:

    I imagine that a “fuck the ISS” comment was made a few years ago by a NASA neocon.

  83. William Herschel,
    I do not want to minimise the possibilities of escalation. However, one cause for qualified optimism is that it is extremely unclear that Ukraine has a functioning military. While ‘the Saker’ has his own axes to grind, his sceptical view deserves a hearing. From a post a few days back:
    ‘I am sure that you have heard that the Ukrainian military is now on maximal alert and is read to repel any Russian aggression. Guys, this is laughable. There IS NO UKRAINIAN MILITARY. There is a lot of old hardware lying around, there are a number of units with basically zero training and there are a few units of higher combat readiness. Do you know what that list is called in military terms? It’s called *TARGETS*.’
    (See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/obama-kerry-ukrainian-military-yulia.html )
    The most recent post from ‘the Saker’ suggests that, for the moment, the new authorities are being successful in containing dissent in the South and East – in particular, because they have used the local oligarchs to do so.
    (See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/ukraine-sitrep-march-7-0903-est-and.html )
    My suspicion is that this may indeed be a very successful strategy, in the short term, and also that the Russian authorities have no interest in fomenting separatism outside the Ukraine at the moment.
    The longer term dynamics of the situation are unpredictable. It is one thing to allow the Russian populations of the Baltics to be treated like second class citizens: after all, the Baltics were the victims of savage Soviet repression, and many of their Russian inhabitants are recent arrivals. The problem of securing decent treatment both for ethnic Russians and for Russophones in the South and East of Ukraine, however, may turn out to be of a different order of magnitude – particularly given the problematic nature of the economic package proposed by the E.U.
    My suspicion accordingly is that the prospects for a rapid escalation of the crisis may be much lower than is widely assumed. But the situation in the South and East of the Ukraine may well remain a festering sore, fraught with an ongoing potential to create catastrophe.

  84. nick b says:

    David Habakkuk,
    Thank you for the perspective. I’m afraid I fell in with the ‘ivory-tower’ theorists at university. I wrote my senior thesis about morality and nuclear deterrence. Reading it today is painful. I’m not sure how I ever got the grade I did.

  85. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It was the Parthian-Sasanian Confederacy that checked the Romans in the Near East.
    Even then the Kingdoms of Armenia and Iraq were buffer states between the 2 world powers.
    Nothing, it seems, to have changed for 2000 years.

  86. TTG,
    I think it overwhelmingly likely that the Russians have put some of their best ‘spetsnaz’ into the Crimea.
    However, I note your suggestion that they are likely to have put ‘Spetznaz GRU forces’ into other parts of Ukraine.
    It seems to me that this may bring one up against an ambiguity in the whole notion of ‘special forces’ – that they not uncommonly involved both in the efficient deployment of violence and in intelligence operations. It may be that this is a misunderstanding on my part – if it is, I would be grateful to have my error corrected.
    If indeed Russian ‘special forces’ have been deployed in the Ukraine outside the Crimea, what do you think they are likely to have been tasked to do?

  87. Babak Makkinejad,
    This comment was of course in response to you, rather than ‘walrus’.

  88. Tyler says:

    And the Army just opened all artillery positions to women. Hagel is looking more and more like an useful idiot IMHO. Drag shows in Made a, gay pride marches, and now women in the combat arms. Glad the Us military has its priorities in order.

  89. Castellio says:

    Who, in fact, is being “hurt” in the present circumstances? Not the people of Crimea: they are quite happy to join Russia in some form.
    Nor are the people of Europe hurt by a willing and traditionally Russian population rejoining Russia. In fact, it settles several issues. It doesn’t destabilize, it stabilizes.
    Is it that the pride of those Ukrainians who thought to build a nation on the precedence of their ethnic group over another are being hurt? But they failed at their nation building – it really is that simple, and there are consequences to that. But other than their pride, seriously, how are they being “hurt” by this?
    Or is it the pride of the American neocons which are hurt by this? How are they hurt? Will they not continue to collect their state pensions? Will they not continue to do what they have always done, which is to build an American foreign policy based on Israeli interests and hubris?
    Why, then, war, if no-one is currently being hurt?
    Who, actually, stands to gain?

  90. DH says:

    A black cloud hung over me for a week.

  91. DH says:

    Make it so, Number One.

  92. Medicine Man says:

    Another line being peddled is that we cannot recognize the succession vote in Crimea because they are under military occupation. Remind me again how many elections took place in Afghanistan and Iraq while those place were under US occupation.

  93. kao_hsien_chih says:

    There is something strange about the interaction between military professionals and academic theorists, relative to business people and the same academic theorists.
    Deterrence theory in security is based on as much reality as the assumption of profit maximization in economics. There is ZERO firm that actually maximizes profits: it’s not because businesses don’t want to maximize profits, but because practical organizational, implementation, and “human” problems, as well as the role played by various “human” motives (that may not be “problematic” as such) in real businesses make that impossible or even undesirable in practice. Both business people and economists are aware of this gap but are willing to recognize that profit maximization is just an ideal. Vast amount of work, both practical and academic, has been done on how the actual practice of businesses deviate from the theoretical baseline that yielded a lot of practical insights about successful management, regulation, and such. The only people who take the idea of profit maximization “seriously” are left wing activists and undergraduate students, neither of whom is in touch with reality. For those who have to deal with the reality, economic theorists and practical business people, for both good and bad, can work with each other quite well, with both realizing the respective limits and wisdom in the theoretical and practical.
    The situation with regards to politics and security seems quite different. I keep alternating between being aghast at how naively stubborn academics are about the gap between the reality and their theories and the practical folk who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge potential gain from taking a more theoretical view on things. This is increasingly making things worse since ever more impractical theories get churned out that confirm the prejudice of the practical folk that theories indeed are useless. How did politics wind up being so different from businesses?

  94. All,
    There is a new report on RT which I fervently hope is the product of an FSB disinformation campaign. Otherwise, Pogo theory rules.
    ‘The Pentagon has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years so that researchers can study the body movements of foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in hopes of predicting future behavior.
    ‘An article published by USA Today reporter Ray Locker on Thursday and corroborated by documents discovered by RT provides rare insight into a scarcely-discussed military effort that for years has relied on the expertise of body movement analysts to interpret the nonverbal projections of Putin and other heads of state…
    ‘Speaking to CNN on Friday morning, USA Today’s Locker said he imagines the Body Leads team is already working on analyzing remarks made on camera by President Putin as recently as this week. For a decade, though, Connors has already been attempting to dissect the Russian president.
    ‘Connors characterized Putin’s body language as a “highly restricted…head-to-tail spinal pattern similar to fish movement” in one 2004 report, according to her because he likely did not crawl as an infant.
    ‘“Putin’s bodily imbalance and self-image show him to be risk-averse – stuck in place and time – and extremely sensitive to criticism,” she wrote.
    ‘Putin’s physical problems “created a strong will that he survive and an impetus to balance and strengthen the body…When we are unable to do something, really hard work becomes the way,” she said a year later during an interview with The Atlantic.
    ‘“He is like that ice skater who had a club foot and became an Olympic skater,” she said. “It is really poignant to watch him on tape. This is a deep, old, profound loss that he has learned to cope with, magnificently.”’
    (See http://rt.com/usa/pentagon-connors-putin-language-510/ )
    ‘Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius’, as the Romans would have said.

  95. The Twisted Genius says:

    David Habakkuk,
    “If indeed Russian ‘special forces’ have been deployed in the Ukraine outside the Crimea, what do you think they are likely to have been tasked to do?”
    Spetznaz GRU forces would be deployed to first conduct what we called SICTA (strategic intelligence collection target acquisition) They need to track mobilization and movement of Ukrainian units as well as Pravy Sektor paramilitary units. They will be watching and tracking leaders, including those of Pravy Sektor. On order, and if necessary, they will kill them or maybe capture some for later prosecution. They will conduct sabotage operations and, perhaps if required, seize key terrain like bridges or airfields.
    These forces can indeed do both reconnaissance and direct action missions. Most special forces or commando forces can do both, just as infantry can do both. As far as I know, Spetznaz GRU does not do the U.S. Special Forces mission of UW. Perhaps some other Russian element does that. I have so network of contacts to confirm any of this. This is all based on my prior knowledge and experience. The USG came damned close to deploying my SF team and a few others to Poland in 1981 to perform SICTA when Jaruzelski proclaimed martial law. If the USG was seriously considering sticking me in a hole in the ground outside Warsaw at the height of the Cold War, I find it near impossible to consider that Russia wouldn’t put Spetznaz GRU teams throughout Ukraine at this time.

  96. Fred says:

    Yes, they don’t understand Arabs. Today Saudi Arabia has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist group. Wasn’t Obama’s man in Egypt, President Morsi, an MB member?

  97. Thomas says:

    “Now here is the question. Are the Neocons actually nuts enough to destabilize a nuclear powerhouse?”
    Yes, they are the ones who instigated this crisis.

  98. nick b says:

    IMO, it’s not that much different. Both are a study of peoples’ motivations. What I discovered in politics (US, domestic, at the local level), was that you cannot depend on the model of ‘rational actors’. People do not always act in a way that one thinks they should. Divining why can be difficult to down right impossible. (I once discovered after much digging the reason two politicians, who would’ve seemed to be natural allies but were not, was the result of a grudge over a run over pet in their old neighborhood long, long ago.) When I went to Wall Street, peoples’ motivations were somewhat easier to figure out, it usually, but not always, centered on some derivative of greed. It was a rule of thumb, but the smartest folks knew differently.
    The problem, as I see it, is the unshakable belief that everything can be ‘modeled’, in both politics and business. I have seen this over and over again: everything fits into a model. The belief is that whoever has the best model will win. When the models don’t work, no one stops to wonder ‘should we continue with models?’ They say the premise is fine, the model was flawed, and get to work on a new one.
    I see this more as a failure of outlook than thinking. Reading this blog has only served to reinforce these thoughts. Just my take.

  99. Thomas says:

    “A young thing on the radio suggested is Ukraine turned off the power to Crimea, then the Russians would go home.”
    Russia turns off the gas to EU, check.

  100. SAC Brat says:

    I’m waiting for Putin to ask Obama to return Texas to Mexico.

  101. Jane says:

    Bad intentions was a poor choice of words on my part. Too judgmental. I agree that Russia has done nothing as concerning to us as an unfavorable Ukrainian regime looks like to either Russia or the EU.
    What I was interested in was the source of Romney’s certainty that Russia would behave in ways we wouldn’t like.
    Respecting the territorial integrity of sovereign states even if you dislike a regime change within them is a staple of the official version of how states interact. I disbelieve Russia’s claim that it was acting to protect Russian speakers. In addition, too often claims to protect affinity groups in other people’s nations have lead to war. A history which is well known to Putin who nonetheless proceeds to alarm all his neighbors in this fashion.

  102. PS says:

    The Republican politicians and much of the media are baying for Obama to do something, blaming his weakness for what Russia is doing in their backyard (did they blame W for weakness when Putin walked into Georgia?). Obama seems afraid that he will appear weak, so the only option that does “something” seems to be sanctions.
    That leaves the option of “doing nothing” unexamined. If Obama actually talked to the average American instead of listening to McCain’s rants on Sunday morning TV, he’d probably see profound indifference. After years of war, a conflict with Russia over a peninsula that was considered Russian as recently as 60 years ago would poll in the teens, at best.
    According to breaking headlines, Putin may have upped the ante today with a takeover of a Ukrainian military base.
    If the Ukraine let the Crimea go, the Ukr electorate should shift towards a pro-Western/anti-Russian majority, and Russia will have the fun of dealing with p-d off Tatars.

  103. Charles I says:

    Whatever Obama’s Clarity, that’s a lotta men and kit, take more than a few clicks of the ole magic slippers to get it out. This could be very dramatic.
    I have asked here before, without doing any work on it, other than monitoring my Canadian container caper, about withdrawal. Relying on one northern corridor seems as latent with all perils and banana peels as the South proved to be even while the North was/is open.

  104. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang, yes, on the beach. My classmates and I were extras in the film. We were about Eight years old.
    Four nukes (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth) and the Australian Aboriginies get their country back. I doubt we would be spared.


  106. Charles I says:

    Vancouver has too much Chinese everything not to be an outpost worthy of takeout in a general cluster****, and I mean no levity or racism

  107. TTG! What is the official NATO stance on the events in the Ukraine and Crimea? Is there any official stance by the EU?

  108. Charles I says:

    hey, its Ukraine, not the Ukriane. Drives them crazy(er)

  109. Matthew says:

    Tyler: Many of these mobile artillery pieces look like tanks. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M109_howitzer
    When is the difference between “self-propelled artillery” and tanks?

  110. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang, aftermath plan? I was told triage, labor battalions and a merciful bullet behind the ear for the hopeless cases.

  111. NancyK says:

    Don’t you get it they are all narcissists. Anyone who goes into politics is. It is how the best lawyers have sociopathic tendencies so all politicians are narcissistic.

  112. different clue says:

    My memory tells me that Romney said Russia was our most “dangerous geopolitical foe”. I thought that was silly at the time and think it remains a misplaced concern. (I note that some of the talking voices on NPR are beginning to say “maybe Romney was right all along.”) Putin (and likely his successors) just want to restore Russia’s respect and regional great power status and assure Russia’s safety where that is threatened.
    I still suspect China may pose a greater geo-political / geo-economic danger than Russia does or will. Romney may not wish to see that if he has (as I believe) bussiness interests in China. Russia will never want to turn us into a corn/soy/coal “banana republic” supplying Russia’s raw material desires. I suspect China would like to turn us into that very thing over the long term.

  113. John Minnerath says:

    Have you read Warday?

  114. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    It drives them crazy? Great! I prefer “the Sudan,” “the Lebanon,” etc. BTW, in Arabic the article is necessarily attached to the name. pl

  115. turcopolier says:

    Modern artillery pieces have the same function that artillery has had for a long time. they are designed to fire with great accuracy at far distant targets that they normally cannot see. they are fire support weapons intended to provide supporting fires to infantry and armor. Tracked self propelled artillery piece have great mobility and can move swiftly from firing position to firing position. They have a degree of armoring intended to protect them from counter-battery fire from other artillery. Tanks are very different. These tracked, heavily armored vehicles normally have turrets that rotate 360 degrees and are intended to fight other tanks in direct fire in situations in which the other tank can be seen. someone else may wish to add to this. pl

  116. Tyler says:

    The 105mm pieces are definitely not self propelled.
    Are you saying there’s no physical strength component to being a tanker/gunner? Or pointing out its a small leap until Armor is opened up for females as well?

  117. Tyler says:

    Well the Dems and Republicans are both in the pockets of the Zionists, who are still mad Putin was able to avert WWII. So its no surprise there.
    As for your last statement I think Russia knows how to handle C/T, especially with a friendly local population to draw on. Any claims of a Tartar uprising seem to be drawn from neocon fantasy world.

  118. DH says:

    Yes, I understand they are rattling Putin’s cage over Ukraine. How would and attempt at regime change look inside Russia itself? Are NED tactics being used as we speak?

  119. nick b says:

    That was a good book. I remember reading it when it came out. It just occurred to me that perhaps Max Brooks ‘borrowed’ that style for ‘World War Z’.

  120. kao_hsien_chih says:

    nick b.,
    I think that is consequence of the academics (and politicians) acting dishonestly as well as various folks mixing up cause and effect.
    In the ideal universe, a “model” is nothing more than an intellectual “standard operating procedure” in response to a problem–how to start thinking about a given issue based on the accumulated understanding of the past, in absence of any new information. If there is new information that is incompatible with the model, it is only natural that you should adapt.
    The trouble is that, all too often, the models become a dogma, not just a “standard operating procedure” that is open to adaptation. To illustrate this, let’s compare two common “premises” that often gets bandied about: “firms maximize profit” and “the market works.”
    The idea that firms maximize profit is, in terms of economic theory, far more important because every model is built on this premise, but nobody really defends this because it’s not really true and everyone knows it. The reasoning behind the premise is that firms that don’t turn a profit usually don’t get to stay in business, but this does not mean that you must maximize the profit either. Since there is no moral imperative associated with the idea of profit–no commandment that says “thou shalt maximize profit.” So, it gets thrown aside when there is a good reason. In the academic universe, this is perfectly fine since the idea of “rationality” in academicese is actually fairly loose and flexible–if there is a good reason of any kind behind an action or a choice, it is rational. Hardly anything is actually irrational–something that people outside academia is rarely aware of. This flexibility, of course, allowed people–even academic people–to think up a lot more interesting, creative, and often practical ideas about both effective management, among other things.
    What about the idea that “the market works” (or, related to this, “people want ‘democracy;”)? One, it’s a political slogan rather than an actual premise for a model (at least not an honest one). We don’t know what a market (or a democracy) really is. We have learned a lot about how a putative market (or democracy) works, how it can be abused, how it can be subverted, how it can be break down, etc. But we don’t really know what the whole thing is so it is simply honest for anyone to claim as a premise something like “the market works.” In fact, we can’t even approach it as logically through counterfactuals as we can the idea of profits: we can ask, “what if a firm doesn’t maximize profits?” and get two answers, “it doesn’t really have to if it turns some profits,” and “if it doesn’t make any money, it will go out of business.” Through these, we’d know how far we can relax the premise about profits in thinking about how firms work. But what can we say, in honesty, to the questions, “what if markets don’t work?” or “what if people don’t want democracy?” Logically, how can we if we can’t even define the concepts? Politically, will anyone say either of these bluntly, especially if they want to be credible before the politicians who take these to be God-given truths? So sophistry begets more sophistry and academia gets subverted by being politicized.

  121. turcopolier says:

    matthew and tyler
    If the point of matthew’s question was that women will soon be in armor, infantry and SF then I would say that they will. There will not be many enlisted people who want to be so designated but there will be a lot of ambitious officers who will yearn for it until they find out… the only way to do this is to make all soldiers in these specialties perform to job related test standards. Most women will be unable to pass the tests. If some can, god bless them. If you have seen the TV film “Two Weeks in Hell” you will know that few women will ever be in SF. pl

  122. FB Ali says:

    Just saw Gen Dempsey on PBS. He fully lived up to the impression I had of him (formed mainly from SST). He is a great credit to the US Army and military.
    Despite being offered ample opportunity by the interviewer to indulge in grandstanding and bombast he was low key, and clearly indicated that he was all for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

  123. turcopolier says:

    fb ali
    I saw it as well. IMO he is the best chief of staff/chairman since Marshall. I don’t know how he slipped through the screen. One thing that puzzles me is that I don’t think he actually is really responsible for some of the institutional issues in the services that he accepted responsibility for, but he does not seem the kind of man who would say “it’s not my job.” pl

  124. The Twisted Genius says:

    David Habakkuk,
    “If indeed Russian ‘special forces’ have been deployed in the Ukraine outside the Crimea, what do you think they are likely to have been tasked to do?”
    Spetznaz GRU forces would be deployed to first conduct what we called SICTA (strategic intelligence collection target acquisition) They need to track mobilization and movement of Ukrainian military and police units as well as Pravy Sektor paramilitary units. They will be watching and tracking leaders, including those of Pravy Sektor. On order, and if necessary, they will kill them or maybe capture some for later prosecution. They will conduct sabotage operations and, perhaps if required, seize key terrain like bridges or airfields.
    These forces can indeed do both reconnaissance and direct action missions. Most special forces or commando forces can do both, just as infantry can do both. As far as I know, Spetznaz GRU does not do the U.S. Special Forces mission of UW. Perhaps some other Russian element does that.
    I have no network of contacts to confirm any of this. This is all based on my prior knowledge and experience. The USG came damned close to deploying my SF team and a few others to Poland in 1981 to conduct SICTA when Jaruzelski proclaimed martial law. If the USG was seriously considering sticking me in a hole in the ground outside Warsaw at the height of the Cold War, I find it near impossible to consider that Russia wouldn’t put Spetznaz GRU teams throughout Ukraine at this time.

  125. Tyler says:

    Sadly I agree on the first two bits, at least until the next serious land war. Thisis all about checking boxes on OERs and has little to do with the actual mechanics of a light infantry unit.
    I disagree on SF though – I think even if women are ‘allowed’ the reality on the ground is that those men operate on such a high op tempo/skill set that they don’t have time for war poseurs, nor will they tolerate such officers. Especially not with their lives on the line.
    On the other hand, you are a Colonel of Special Forces,and likely know better than me (at best a ‘local auxiliary’) in these matters.

  126. Fred says:

    I think the book author’s medieval metaphor is pleasing only to those who think they will be in the new feudal aristocracy. The Principate, which the blog’s host has referred too, is a better reference to what is happening in America. These folks are dangerous to the American way of life as their very ideas about a need to create a ‘new world order’ show they have no concern about the people who make of the human race; other than their own intellectual brothers and sisters. Don’t forget what the Jacobins did to the French during their revolution.

  127. turcopolier says:

    I suppose that there are women who can do the SF life. Surely there are not many. pl

  128. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Like Marshall who saved the world from World War III when Bernard Baruch and his cohorts were plotting to start it.

  129. fanto says:

    Sir, give President Obama credit (for Gen Dempsey’s appointment). that was very smart IMHO.

  130. Are the Frackers anywhere in the Ukraine and/or Crimea?

  131. Anonymous says:

    A flash? Very fitting. The Age of the Narcissist would end in the Big Selfie. Instead of MAD there would be SAD, Self-Assured Destruction. Obama’s last presidential order right before being sent to eternal vacation would be ‘wait for Helle!’

  132. Tyler says:

    Few and far between, if any. I had a platoon sergeant who was an RI back during the Clinton years and participated in an abortive attempt to open up Ranger School to females.
    All but one failed the male standard PT test, and none could keep up on the ruck marches. This entire social experiment is just more liberal do gooder “We are all born equal” nonsense.

  133. Thomas says:

    Just like the Ukraine, which is why Russia put restrictions on NGOs a while back. One aspect of the situation in Ukraine is they weren’t really a nation with a cohesive state, so they were easy pickings.

  134. turcopolier says:

    There may be a few muscle bound Joan of Arc types out there. Women arrived at WP while I taught there. The PT training all had to be modified to keep them off the hospital list. pl

  135. Tyler,
    The attempt to subordinate the U.S. military to feminist values is quite clearly absolute and unconditional lunacy.
    Actually it is not simply a matter of ‘we are all born equal’. Out of this has developed a lunatic assumption that we are all fundamentally identical.
    You noted the shift from the – at least not simply stupid – objective of trying to clear ‘Al Qaeda/Taliban’ out of Afghanistan, to the absurd project of trying to turn that country into Iowa.
    The underlying mentality is the same as that which wants to go from an argument about the equality of women, which one may or may not dispute, to the preposterous suggestion that they can do all the things men can.
    The reverse suggestion, which is equally preposterous, is that there are no things that women can do which men cannot do as well or better.
    The whole mentality is ‘soft totalitarian’. It is a complete disaster.

  136. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nah, it is just the application of the Hindu Doctrine of Atman; a universal common self that is shared among all living entities. Within that doctrine, as I am sure you know, all differences are illusionary and are part of Maya.
    It is interesting that Christians have embraced it in as much as that religion posits the opposite doctrine of the uniqueness of each individual self.

  137. Babak Makkinejad says:
  138. Fred says:

    Wasn’t the Emperor Valerian captured by the Shapur I? It seems the hubris of Western leaders certainly hasn’t changed in 2,000 years.

  139. Tyler says:

    Mr. Habakkuk,
    Its insane to those of us that aren’t drinking the egalitarian kool aid. To the Frankfurt School types who are currently pulling all the levers of power, it makes perfect sense.
    I once wrote a pretty lengthy essay for a friend describing how there were certain pillars to a traditional productive society. The military is one of them, along with culture, borders, the family, and religion. What we’ve seen is systematic infiltration and/or destruction of each of these in order to bring about some sort of prophesied utopia that always seems to be another million corpses down the road.
    What’s happening to the military is disgusting, but there’s a “logic” at work here, if your end goal is the disruption of Western culture and values.

  140. Tyler says:

    My understanding was that Saint Joan was an orator more so than a combatant, but I am 100% in agreement with you that the extreme majority (let’s say 99%) of women are not fit for the combat arms, and the idea that we need to break down everything to serve the possible 1% that may possibly make it is lunacy.
    I saw first hand the amount of photo op, internal IO bullshit that surrounded the USMC’s “Team Lioness”. What a joke – send in the grunts to make sure everything is okay, leave behind a PUC (Person Under Control), and then watch as Team Lioness ‘storms’ a ‘fortified compound’ and ‘captures a dangerous insurgent’.
    This would be funny if there wasn’t so much at stake.

  141. walrus says:

    We are now in uncharted territory for the first time since the Cuban crisis in my opinion. As far as my memory goes that was the last time there was what passes for a direct military confrontation between Two great powers.
    Proxy wars don’t count. Accidental or “by design” confrontations in international waters and airspace doesn’t count. None of these involve direct existential threats to ones homeland as the threat of Soviet missiles in Cuba did or the possibility of American missiles in Ukraine does now.
    He actions of successive American Administrations, starting with Bush II and now Obama demonstrate that no American Government can be trusted to adhere to any principles whatsoever. Not its own Constitution. Not international law. Not the Nuremberg principles. Not the Declaration of human rights. Not, perhaps most importantly, the Golden Rule.
    What we are seeing, I believe, is a naked grab by America for power as world hegemon. To put that another way, no matter what “negotiated settlement” is proposed for Ukraine, America cannot be trusted to adhere to it, for example by not basing NATO assets or “defensive” missiles in that country. The only rational response to American pressure on Russia to disengage is going to be a resounding “Nyet!” To put that another way whenever I hear Obama, Nudelman, RIce, Powers etc. I keep hearing: “This is my last territorial demand”.
    The trouble with such ideas of divine authorisation is that they ignore the first rule of human behaviour: that a bad actor can make more trouble for you, than you can for him, which is the cornerstone of all forms of social organisation. Will this lesson have to be finally taught to America? What will it take, the loss of Five aircraft carriers? What will the “Varus! Give me back my legions” moment be? Where is Americas Teutoburger wald?
    Unlike Americans, Russian and European peoples have direct, personal experience of warfare and I hope it reflects in their Governments and politicians thinking over the Ukraine, it obviously isn’t reflected in the thinking of the war mongers: Obama, Rice. Powers and Nudelman. The American lumpenproletariat, if they think at all, still believe the BS that the apparent success of America since WWI is attributable to the perfection of its ideology instead of a happy accident of geography and circumstance. What will it take to disabuse them of this idea? Thermonuclear war and a thousand year dark age?
    My advice to Ukrainian admirers of the warmongers is to buy a good bicycle and a few bottles of Scotch and carefully plan your route to the Polish border. Even then it is debatable, perhaps thermonuclear cremation on your home soil might be a more satisfying thought.

  142. seydlitz89 says:

    Milo was a bastard . . . once you had plotted him/them burning through one community it didn’t take a lot of imagination as to how they would burn through the next, they were those kind of people . . .

  143. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think that you are picking on the Great Satan rather unjustly. For it is quite clear that the Midget Satans of the European Union have also been quite complicit in bringing about what has been transpiring in that Border Country.
    I do not see any dissension among Europeans leaders with a policy that flirts with nuclear war and almost certainly will lead to decades of strife in East Central Europe.
    But may be all of this is just so much storm in a tea cup; I heard that Berlusconi is getting married for a thirds time.

  144. different clue says:

    Wasn’t it the Clinton Administration which broke the promise not to advance NATO? And wasn’t it the Clinton Administration which sent the “Harvard Gang” economists to Yeltsin’s Russia to lead and advise the Russian government into steps and actions designed to open all Russian public assets to private looting and to destroy the Russian economy as much as possible? That is what I think I remember.
    If so, then President Clinton first created the massive distrust of which you write.

  145. All,
    In relation to the escalatory potentials of this situation, the passions liable to be aroused by the readiness of the U.S. and E.U. to identify themselves with West Ukrainian nationalists should not be underestimated.
    An article by Patrick Cockburn which has just appeared in the ‘Independent’ deals with the Lviv pogrom of July 1941, to which ‘harry’ referred in a previous thread, recalling the murder of his uncle’s family. An excerpt:
    ‘I thought about Lviv again last week when I saw a sentence in a newspaper referring to it as “a bastion of Ukrainian nationalism”.
    ‘I wondered just how much the writer knew about Ukrainian nationalists in Lviv and the strong evidence that, in 1941, they had played a leading role in one of the horror stories of the Second World War.
    ‘This was the Lviv pogrom of 1 July 1941, when thousands of Jews were dragged from their homes, beaten and executed by either German troops or their Ukrainian helpers. Ukrainian politicians and historians have denied complicity, but surviving Jewish victims, other witnesses and contemporary photographs prove that Ukrainian militiamen and mobs of supporters carried out the pogrom, though the Germans oversaw it and committed many of the murders.’
    Drawing on a study by the Canadian-Ukrainian historian Professor John-Paul Himka, Cockburn notes that the pogrom:
    ‘was primarily carried out by the militia of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) acting under German auspices. It happened quickly after the German occupation because the OUN wanted to show “the Germans that it shared their anti-Jewish perspectives and that it was worthy to be entrusted with the formation of a Ukrainian state”.
    (See http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/to-see-what-ukraines-future-may-be-just-look-at-lvivs-shameful-past-9178968.html )
    Actually it was not simply Jews who were murdered. The purge of the Polish ruling elite in the area initiated by Stalin was carried on by the Germans and their Ukrainian allies. Among the transcripts of the bugged conversations among captured German generals recorded at Trent Park, one finds the following explanation by General Rothkirch to General von Choltitz:
    ‘Of course masses of people were shot at Lvov. Thousands of them! First the Jews, then Poles who were also shot in thousands, non-Jews, the whole aristocracy and great landed proprietors and masses of students.’
    As Cockburn notes, one cannot simply assume that the present generation of Ukrainian nationalists are ideological descendants of pro-Nazi Ukrainians. The truth actually appears to be that many aren’t, but some, and in particular some of the most active and influential, may well be.
    In any case, it might perhaps be advisable if people like Victorian Nudelman/Nuland, and Mr and Mrs Sikorski looked a little more closely at who some of their little friends are.
    Similarly, before Hilary Clinton compared Putin to Hitler she might perhaps have reflected on the fact that he was born in what was then Leningrad eight years after the end of the siege, and that his older brother died as a child of diptheria in the siege.

  146. Anna-Marina says:

    the events in Ukraine “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”
    If only there were words “the events on Wall Street” followed by a decree to freeze assets of the principal Wall Street’ fraudsters

  147. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They also destroyed pensions as well as private savings – USSR had a very very large private savings in the banks.

  148. As to women in the military first ban wearing of skirts when on duty even ceremonial or otherwise. Being a loader in SP-artillery a very tough job physically!
    ALL: What does the Ukraine actually have in the way of Armed Forces?

  149. turcopolier says:

    Imagination? you think it was your job to imagine subject matter for your reports? pl

  150. Charles I says:

    I think also the Oct Announcement by the FED that they would continue dollar auctions to the ECB, which preceded the release of the Oct and Jan FED minutes alluding to QE tapering, gave the markets a heads up when factoring in the tapering correction, which has amounted to nothing.

  151. fanto says:

    John H,
    you said “On the other hand, the will of a handful of Ukrainian oligarchs is trumpeted as democracy”
    the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on line edition has an interesting article explaining the sudden news a few days ago that the Ukrainian (Yerseniuk) government nominated two oligarchs to leading positions in the Eastern Ukraine. I recommend for readers of SST who do not read German to have it translated for them. In nutshell it says that the oligarchs have their assets spread all over Ukraine, so it is in their interest to keep Ukraine together and prevent the break-up. The tactics of Yanukovich would end up in split, was the calculation of the oligarchs and that is why they decided to stop supporting him. The main figure behind the scene seems to be Rinat Achmetov who is ethnic Tatar. The people in the ukrainian streets were not fighting for the oligarchs to take over (again, as in 2008) and there is embarrassed silence, or even some contrived comparisons to the alliance of Churchill and Roosevelt with Stalin – in order to defeat Hitler.(or in clearer language – ‘opposition must ally itself in great need with an unwelcome partner’ ).

  152. nick b says:

    Quite possible, but I think the spike in the Euro after the ECB announcement was largely the result of short covering.

  153. YT says:

    Thank you, Fred…
    Apparently we need to be careful with what we peruse…
    Aye, we need to be wary of elitists…

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