Short and early because I will be taking a break in Victoria BC for a month

UKRAINE. I see no reason to change what I wrote in 2014: “Why Russia Hasn’t and Won’t Invade Ukraine” except to add that Ukraine has become even more ruined. But I do smell preparations for some sort of false flag event or goading the always excitable nazis to do something to provoke a reaction from Russia. (Note the Atlantic Council preparing the information battle space here: Why Azov should not be designated a foreign terrorist organization.). I’m sure Russian intelligence is aware of everything and ready. I would therefore not be surprised to see Russian action with stand-off weapons to obliterate the nazi formations and possibly, depending on the extent of the provocation and involvement of forces that Kiev actually controls, rear area Ukrainian military or leadership targets. The destruction of the military power of the nazi elements in Ukraine will change the power relationships there; all the boilerplate about how they don’t get many votes ignores the reality that they have lots of guns (tanks too). Take away their guns – and them – and it will be very different. A probable result is a series of revolts in Novorossiya and the collapse of any pretence of central power. In short: provocation leads to Russian response leads to delamination of Ukraine; probably pretty quickly. Again, I expect Russia to have all sorts of things prepared. On the other hand, no provocation or false flag and things will limp on. If there is one thing we should have learned in the last twenty years it’s that the Russian team is much, much more competent than the Western team. But – and this is news to most Western “experts” – the Putin Team’s primary job is looking after Russia, not saving Ukrainians from their nightmare; that they must do themselves. We reach the next stage in the destruction of Ukraine begun because Washington thought it could ignore The First Rule of Ukraine (although its Ambassador warned it.)

POTENTIAL SURPRISE. I don’t think Zelinsky’s stupid. He must realise that his “friends” are not his friends: “I think there’s too much out there about a full-scale war from Russia, and people are even naming dates. The best friend for our enemies is panic in our country, and all this information only creates panic, it doesn’t help us.” Is he starting to understand that there is only one player whose word he can trust? If he does, everything suddenly turns upside down.

READING. I can’t think of a better single source explanation of what’s going on in and around Ukraine than this by Scott Ritter: “The Ultimate End of NATO“. Pass it to people who are starting to question the organs of state propaganda.

RUSSIA/CHINA. The Russia-China manifesto is, I think, a very important statement. I cover some of the things that struck me.

PORTENTS OF THE END. Quite a few aren’t there? Truckers all over the place. China-Russia manifesto. Ukraine. The exposure of the futility of NATO and the so-called Rules-Based International Order. Incompetence of the Western ruling class. Inflation is gathering. Mysterious military accidents.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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67 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 14 FEBRUARY 2022 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. Mitch says:

    Amazingly it was correctly predicted on Turcopolier that Russia was considering recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. And Russia just confirmed they are actually doing that. That could be a huge game changer. What will the West do about it, apart from screaming ?

  2. Fred says:

    “Ultimate End of NATO “, we should have declared victory and dissolved the organization decades ago.

  3. elkern says:

    PA -Thx for Sitreps, & have a nice peaceful time in BC!

    But, plz clarify “mysterious military accidents”?

    • Submarines colliding with underwater mountains, nimble destroyers being run into amidships by plodding container ships, F-35s going swimming,

      • Deap says:

        Yikes, (lay person here). So those recent US Navy accidents that were presented US military personnel bungling, where not really accidents?

        • They were indeed said to be accidents. But — and I’m sure there are naval types in our audience who have a better opinion than mine — cannot understand how a ship as nimble and fast as the Arleigh Burke class could possibly be hit amidships by a container ship plodding along on a straight course at 12 knots. And it’s happened twice! One, two Similar and, of course, this one And all Aegis ships too

          • Leith says:

            Over reliance on software and electronics instead of the human eyes and brain.

          • Pat Lang says:

            True, but it is just made-up political warfare BS directed at the American people.

          • Claudius says:

            The answer is simple.
            The best equipment in the world is ineffective if it doesn’t work correctly, if the operator cannot operate because of lack of ability or insufficient training, and if those responsible accept sub par equipment performance.
            Add in bridge watchstanders not looking out the windows and using the MK1 Mod 0 eyeball.
            FITZGERALD had radar console problems that tracking surface contacts problematic, the OOD
            wasn’t using the eyeballs to look for ships with risk of collision. Worse of all she didn’t call for help from CO (I’ve sailed those waters; intensely busy shipping lanes).
            McCAIN drifted off course into path of a merchant vessel while entering Singapore (I’ve done that one too). The officers on the bridge got to fiddling with the helm and throttles, and didn’t realize that they had lost control of the port shaft, causing the ship to slow and drift to port. Nobody looking out windows either.
            The above comments are brief and its been some time since I read the investigations, so I may not be completely spot on.
            I served in four Navy destroyers (XO of frigate) and on three afloat staffs; my career was soiled by only one tour in DC. Later I sailed ten years in Merchant Marine as Able Seaman and later Second Mate Oceans, Unlimited Tons.
            I look out the windows!
            I kept my gear up!

          • Thank you. Bad seamanship, not enemy action then.

          • southpoint says:

            My good friend’s boy was attending UH in Engineering. During summer he applied for internship at Pearl doing IT for a major military contractor on Naval destroyers. Out of over 50 applicants he got the job. Dad runs an ocean sports operation and this kid grew up on boats.

            The interviewers told him, “You’re the only applicant that knew port and starboard so you got the job.”

            True story.

          • ISL says:

            PA, always appreciate these updates and enjoyed your Belarus Radio interview.

            Collision problems could be solved by a few dozen lines of software and a few thousand dollars of hardware (which one can find in a Tesla), so it buggers the imagination that in such expensive vessels auto-pilots do not idiot proof against those kind of accidents.

            However, as we saw in Iraq from the Iranian attack, if the US is not politically ready to respond, then a cover story is needed (which fell apart – but the media is highly amnesiatic).
            Photos of the submarine damaged in the South China Sea show it was no sea mount. The reality is the US had no good response.

  4. Marlene says:

    For Macron´s tranquility, it seems that Putin met Lavrov over possibilities of agreement with US/NATO in a longer table he did with France petit roi…

    Everybody speculating about the longitude of the table that will meet Scholz…

    Related peregovory,

    Why is it not Scott Ritter negotiating with the Russians instead of people who were nurtured grudges against everything Russian from the first feeding bottle, like Blinken and Nuland?

    • Leith says:

      Marlene –

      The six meter table is back in the news. I guess Chancellor Scholz refused to give up a DNA sample same as Macron.

      Interesting backstory on that table, it was made by a Lombard craftsman from Cantu in northern Italy.

  5. English Outsider says:

    Mr Armstrong – I don’t see one objective of all this theatre being attained. It’s going to be the very devil to get Sholz to abandon NS2 and no one is even talking about NS1. From my least favourite neocon cheerleader in the UK: –


    “He ( Scholz) says that all options are on the table regarding potential sanctions against Russia but will not be drawn further.

    “His colleagues call this “strategic ambiguity”, but it maddens some in Berlin who just want Chancellor Scholz to declare that the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would double the amount of Russian gas coming into Germany, will never come online in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    “The president of the United States has said it. Why can’t the German chancellor?”

    I sense from the UK media that there’s also a shift of emphasis. That Johnson and Biden will now settle for the Russians abandoning the invasion they were never going to undertake anyway. “We stopped the Russians” will be sufficient PR victory for those two and Putin will, presumably, get a behind the scenes settlement of his chief security concerns.

    If it doesn’t go that way, or if Zelensky can be persuaded to an adventure along the line of control, then I suppose there’ll be trouble. I hope there isn’t. Both the Euros and we in the UK have a deal of other pressing matters to get on with.

    Thank you very much for your report. I hope you have a good holiday.

    • A very possible outcome. In which case, “things will limp on”

    • ex-PFC Chuck says:

      Pelosi gave the game away in an interview the other day with George Stephanopoulos. The whole “they’re going to invade any minute” hysteria is political theater producing a supposed PR win for Biden.

    • Leith says:

      EO –

      As for adventures along the line of control, this from Nolan Peterson an American reporter in Ukraine: “Overall, and based on other reports I’m receiving from Ukrainian troops, the Ukrainian armed forces are quietly preparing their defenses while also being incredibly cautious about not giving Russia a false flag pretense for escalation.” One soldier in particular told him: “His unit is under strict orders to obey the ceasefire and not shoot back “under any circumstances.”

      The UKR troops on the line of control are all hunkered down in WW1 style trenches with no apparent offensive buildup. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) though is being denied entry to the other side to observe the LPR/DPR lines. And their UAVs and GPSs are being jammed heavily. So there is no capability to see what is happening on that side of the line. The British and American observers in the SMM have been evacuated leaving only German, French, and Turkish observers. So it is not a concocted story by us devious Yanks or by perfidious Albion.

      IMHO any adventures along the line of control won’t come from Zelensky. It will come from the LPR/DPR side trying to force a reaction. That reaction could possibly come from a nutcase or two in the Azov Battalion – or perhaps from the foreign ‘volunteers’ in that unit (strangely enough there are said to be 40 to 50 Russian citizens among those foreign volunteers). But I recall a recent comment from TTG on another post that implied the Azov Battalion had been tamed and integrated into the UKR military. And last report I saw placed them in Mariupol recruiting and training Babushkas to defend against a Russian amphibious landing – ergo not near the line of control. Another possibility would be from the Georgian National Legion or their foreign ‘volunteers’. But latest reports I have read is that they also were integrated into the Ukrainian forces and are now defending Kiev, a long way from the border.

      • English Outsider says:

        Leith – that is such a valuable correction. Would it be OK if I quoted it verbatim on an English site currently looking at the position in and around the Ukraine? (Dr North’s site)

        • David Habakkuk says:


          I ‘Googled’ Nolan Peterson, and rather quickly a report emerged on the ‘RealClearPolitics’ site, headlined ‘Nolan Peterson In Kiev: Ukrainians Are Delivering A Master Class At How A Democracy Can Stay Calm During A Crisis.’

          (See .)

          I haven’t currently got time to check if Peterson is any more reliable than say, Luke Harding, or the reporters who produced the claim about General Gerasimov putting ‘bounties’ on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan which ‘TTG’ was happy to endorse, but if you want to quote the evaluation on Dr North’s site, I think further investigation would be appropriate.

          • English Outsider says:

            Mr Habakkuk – thank you for that. I’d been looking over some old material on Strelkov. That does remind one that it’s not just on the Ukrainian side of the line of control that there might be troublesome elements in the forces in position there.

            If there’s some incident along the line of control this will be attributed by our politicians and media to Russian aggression whoever is at fault. Then sanctions.

            Biden’s cautious proviso that minor incidents wouldn’t necessarily lead to sanctions presumably means that some local exchange of fire wouldn’t qualify as meriting sanctions, but that’s a vague proviso. What is wanted by London and Washington is anything that could justify insisting that Scholz impose sanctions. How “minor” is “minor” in that context?

            An evaluation of how likely it is that anything serious will kick off along the line of control must, I believe, take into account that there are elements on both sides of that line who would very much like something to kick off. Elements who might take matters into their own hands.

            On the LDNR side, are there any such? Strelkov types, quite at variance with current Russian policy, who know that even if they are worsted they still can’t lose because the Russians will ensure they don’t lose. If there are any such still around then they are in a position to drag the Russians into a conflict the Russians themselves don’t want.

            A conflict the Russians very much don’t want, if we are to take into account Mr Martyanov’s authoritative view that the Russians don’t want the Donbas anyway. The Strelkov types will be aware of that and would be happy if there could be further conflict. They’d then be able to say “Well, you’re going to damn well have to have us now!” And those elements would be encouraged by the recent Duma proceedings.

            Such considerations – that there might be LDNR elements anxious to see more conflict – led me to append the following to Leith’s informative account:-

            “… that’s perhaps what makes this a risky situation. Certainly in 2014/2015 there were units around not truly under the control of either Kyiv or of the separatists/Russians. Any leftovers from that period could spark an unwanted and unintended conflict.”

          • Leith says:

            EO –

            Exactly. And Strelkov was not the only one. Where is Vadim Pogodin and other members of the infamous ‘Kerch Battalion’ that in 2014 murdered anyone who flew a Ukrainian flag. Their most egregious was the torture and murder of a sixteen year old schoolboy whose crime was to tie a yellow and blue ribbon to his school backpack.

          • David Habakkuk says:


            I am slightly baffled by what you write.

            Obviously, Andrei Martyanov can speak for himself, but what I recall him saying is that Russia did not want Ukraine.

            It seemed to me that he was talking about the current situation, in which small parts of what was, and still is, by quite a few, referred to as ‘Novorossiya’ have made clear their determination to be back in the ‘Motherland’, cost what it may, but other parts have not ‘followed suit.’

            So, I thought Andrei was talking about places other than the Donbass, such as Odessa, which was a great centre of Russian – and perhaps in particular, Russian Jewish – culture.
            But, of course, he can correct me, if I am wrong.

            Coming back to the Donbass, there was a free Duma vote yesterday on the two resolutions about which Patrick and ‘Barbara Ann’ had an interesting exchange on this thread, and the winner was the Communist version, which was a direct appeal to Putin to recognise the two republics as sovereign and independent nations.

            Obviously, as such, they would be entitled to have Russian military deployments on their territory, which could only be limited in the context of the more general agreements which the Russian ultimatum to Washington and NATO is intended to secure.

            As trying to make Minsk work has been central to Putin’s approach to the Ukraine, accepting the appeal would represent a remarkable ‘volte face.’ However, quite clearly, the ‘trend’ is towards people in the Donbass getting what they want without any need for a military conflict.

            Why should anyone in breakaway republics in their right mind – and Strelkov/Girkin, incidentally, was clearly not a lunatic, however much he may have despised Putin’s caution – court the costs and risks of all-out military confrontation, when things are going their way?

            Also, with no disrespect whatsoever to Andrei, to whose arguments I always pay close attention, it is a mistake to take his, or anyone else’s views on these matters as ‘authoritative.’

            A fact which is obscured by the ludicrous Western self-deception, according to which the ‘Maidan’ was creating a ‘model democracy’ the terror of whose example had Putin ‘quaking in his shoes’, is that a rather relevant question for policymakers in Moscow is how one should respond when post-Soviet states on the Russian borders are failed, or failing.

            In the case of Ukraine, at the risk of making an ‘inexpert extrapolation’ from what Patrick has written, it seems to me that there may be an ‘elephant in the room.’

            This is the question of what happens, if either as a result of the destruction of the ‘Azov Regiment’ and its like by ‘stand-off’ Russian capabilities, rather rapidly, or more slowly, as the result of a continuation of present trends towards disintegration, more people want to follow the Donbass example.

            Trying to keep Odessa, which as I have noted was a great centre of Russian, and in particular Russian Jewish, culture, and Lviv, which was never under Russian rule under the Molotov-Ribbbentrop Pact, and in a way is more of a ‘Hapsburg City’ than Vienna itself, in the same country indefinitely was always going to be quite difficult.

            The trends towards disintegration, it seems to me, are likely to have been greatly strengthened by the way that events in Ukraine have clearly demonstrated what some of us have all along thought was a central lesson of the history of the interwar period.

            This is that Western ‘krysha’ can certainly be useful, but that if people in difficult and dangerous parts of the world think it provides a way of escaping hard choices between unattractive options, then they may end up with the ‘most worst’, rather than ‘least worst’ outcome.

            It has long seemed to me that being realistic about decisions about what is ‘the lesser weevil’ – to hark back to the account of how British naval officers used to be taught to think by Patrick O’Brian’ – has been one of Vladimir Putin’s great strengths.

            And I think it is largely because of this that, although he clearly himself feels a ‘divorce’ between Ukraine and Russia with much more ‘personal pain’ than do others, his ‘lesser weevil’ has always been to try to make Minsk work.

            The fact that, rather than seeing the obvious dangers, people in Washington, and London, have gone on ‘fanning the flames’, has, I suspect, created sharp differences of opinion in Moscow. At issue however is not the question of whether an ‘invasion’ is desirable: it is patently obvious that there is a clear consensus that it is not.

            More relevant questions, I think, relate to whether the Western ‘fomenting’ of the internal tensions in Ukraine is simply extending the dilemma created by Strelkov/Girkin’s intervention in the Donbass.

            If, for example, people in Odessa, having been taught a harsh lesson about what reliance on Western ‘krysha’ does for you, want to ‘return to the fold’: is that a reconciliation to be welcomed, or a source of new problems that those who have never left it really need like the proverbial ‘hole in the head’?

            This brings me back to the ‘Azov Regiment.’ Actually, before reading your latest comment, I had found a couple of links which you could possibly usefully introduce into discussions on Dr. North’s blog.

            You may have already have noticed the article by Matt Kennard which appeared yesterday on the ‘Declassified UK’ site. The headline read: ‘UK COMMANDERS IN UKRAINE MET NEO-NAZI-LINKED NATIONAL GUARD TO ‘DEEPEN MILITARY COOPERATION’.

            According to the sub-heading: ‘Ukraine’s National Guard says that in meeting last year the UK military agreed to start training its forces, which include a thousand-strong neo-Nazi unit. The UK Ministry of Defence disputes the claim.’

            (See .)

            It then becomes particularly interesting that the current attempts at the ‘Atlantic Council’ to ‘rehabilitate’ the ‘Azov Regiment’, which Patrick suggested might increase cause for concern about the possibility of a ‘false flag’, directly contradict a piece posted on the same site in March 2020 by one Oleksiy Kuzmenko. This was headlined ‘The Azov Regiment has not depoliticised.’

            (See )

            What makes this all the more ironic is that Kuzmenko apparently works for ‘Bellingcat.’

            I still wonder whether, if the British military seem as happy collaborating with neo-Nazis as they have been with jihadists, one has reason to suspect that some of our ‘false flag’ specialists, like the ‘White Helmets’, may also be involved.

            That said, the Kuzmenko piece raises an interesting question as to whether Eliot Higgins may finally have got a bit disgusted himself, with his role in ‘covering up’ such events.

            Who knows, as the ‘King James Version’ has it:

            ‘I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.’

      • Pat Lang says:

        “It will come from the LPR/DPR side trying to force a reaction.” Why would they do that? I don’t think the Russians want war in Ukraine.

        • TTG says:


          The Russians don’t want a war. The Ukrainians don’t want a war. THE LPR/DPR, or at least their current leadership, desperately want Russia to force the issue. Their current situation is untenable.

          • Pat Lang says:

            TTG If they sit still, they will acquire Russian protection.

          • zmajcek says:

            It is not untenable. Russia subsidizes them greatly, medicine, humanitarian aid, pensions…
            Almost a million of the inhabitants chose to take Russian passports which gives them options for travel, education, employment etc.
            Also, recently Russia made it possible for companies in LPR/DPR to apply for jobs/contracts in Russia which should improve overall economic situation. If Ukraine choses not to implement Minsk agreements, LPR/DPR will probably go for official independence like Kosovo did.

      • Leith says:

        Colonel Lang – I agree that Russia would prefer not to have war. But no such qualms exist within the breakaways. Beware of provocateurs. There has already been a phony IED discovered in a square in Lugansk. Supposedly discovered by the MoSS and blamed on Zelensky. IMHO it’s an easily seen thru scam by LPR radicals.

        EO – Be my guest.

    • David Habakkuk says:


      I was amused to see that Putin shares my view that Kipling was a great writer – particularly as I found the notion of ‘Bojo’ as a ‘Tabaqui’ pleasing.

      There is a much later story – published in 1924 – which reverts to the animal theme, which I think people in London, and Washington, could read with profit: ‘The Bull that Thought.’

      (See .)

      In particular, they might usefully reflect on the description the chief herdsman gives of the animal at the centre of the story, the bull Apis:

      ‘’He can side-kick as he jumps. Have you seen, too, that he is not deceived by the jacket when a boy waves it? He uses it to find the boy. They think they are feeling him. He is feeling them, always. He thinks, that one.’

      They might also note what happens to the confident young ‘matador’, Villamarti, after he is ‘felt’ by Apis:

      ‘Some of the troupe would have closed in, but Villamarti cried: “If he wants him he will take him. Stand!” They stood. Whether the boy slipped or Apis nosed him over I could not see. But he dropped, sobbing. Apis halted like a car with four brakes, struck a pose, smelt him very completely and turned away. It was dismissal more ignominious than degradation at the head of one’s battalion. The representation was finished. Remained only for Apis to clear his stage of the subordinate characters’.

      A problem alike with ‘Bojo’ and his like here, and their counterparts and collaborators across the Atlantic, is that they are totally in the grip of a ‘heroic myth’ of the Soviet ‘bull’ having, supposed, collapsed and had to be dragged in terror from the ring, as a result of the ‘matador’, together with his ‘picadors’, having ‘flexed their muscles.’

      What they fail to grasp is that, in consequence, they are adopting precisely those strategies which ‘Apis’ has spent a great deal of thought working out how to counter.

      So, we have a situation where the ‘matadors’ are threatening ‘fire and brimstone’, if their target undertakes an invasion of Ukraine, in circumstances where his view is clearly that this is precisely what they want him to do.

      Unsurprisingly, he suspects that a ‘jacket’ will be created, by means of an attempt to reincorporate the breakway provinces by force, quite possibly preceded by a ‘false flag’ incident designed to blame matters on their side.

      However, threatening ‘fire and brimstone’ if he goes after the ‘jacket’ simply maximises the incentives for ‘Apis’ to ‘side-kick as he jumps.’ What are the ‘matadors’ to do, if ‘Apis’ entirely avoids sending any troops beyond the ‘line of contact’, but uses the formidable ‘stand-off’capabilities’ which the Russian military have developed over the years for a massive ‘side-kick’ targeting their Ukrainian counterparts?

      And, if indeed some troops do cross over into Ukraine proper, as it were, what if they discharge their missions and withdraw very rapidly, and what if they are not actually regular troops, but volunteers and/or contractors?

      It seems to me quite likely that a good deal of discussion has gone on in Moscow, with the foreign policy and military people sharing their expertise, to work out a range of ‘targeting’ plans. The likely objective would be to combine military effectiveness with striking at the ‘fault lines’ which have clearly developed in NATO, by driving home the point that ‘Apis’ is a formidable creature when threatened, but has no desire to threaten anybody else.

      Of course, situations like this can easily run out of control. Without wanting to, as it were, count chickens while still in the egg, it seems to me possible that a situation has been created where the ‘escalatory’ possibilities they earlier failed to grasp are going to make the ‘matadors’ much more cautious than they intended to be.

      If so, the only resort left for them will be to claim that an intended Russian ‘invasion’ has been successfully ‘deterred.’ How well that work, however, seems to me something of a moot point.

      Meanwhile, even if one can expect the usual pledges of fealty to the ‘Alliance’, some rather positive steps may have been taken – looking at matters from the Russian point of view – towards persuading the ‘Tabaquis’ in Berlin, and Paris, that it is time to move rather further from their counterparts in London, Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.

      I think it possible that, like the ‘matador’ in Kipling’s tale, they may end up looking very foolish.

      As indeed they have been. Incredible as it seems to me, it seems to have been quite widely believed in Washington tht it would be possible, as it were, to deliver the swordthrust through the shoulderblades to ‘Apis’, and then be in a position to go on to take on the obviously rather more potentially formidable Chinese ‘bull.’

      Perhaps one should rechristen the Secretary of State ‘Tony Blinkered.’ How such people react, if they once have to face the fact that the outcome of their efforts is that ‘Apis’ is eagerly collaborating in developing the ‘matador-killing’ skills of his Chinese neighbour, seems to me an interesting question.

      Just possibly, they might begin to realise that economic sanctions can be a ‘double-edged sword’ – in that they maximise the incentives for other countries to collaborate in reducing their vulnerability.

      Of course, a possible strategy for ‘Shere Khan’ is to seek some kind of ‘rapprochement’ with ‘Apis’, and here, an obvious possible approach could be to claim that he does not actually like the taste of ‘bull’, but was ‘led astray’ by the ‘Tabaquis’, who have an ‘unappeasable’ thirst for the meat – with that in London being an obvious candidate for the ‘patsy’ role.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        David Habakkuk

        I enjoyed your excellent analogy with The Bull that Thought.

        Blinkered, yes. It is quite evident to me that State policy towards Russia remains rooted in the hegemonic paradigm which has existed since ‘victory’ in the Cold War. No one, certainly no one with any weight there, seems capable of recognizing that history restarted some time ago and has in fact advanced so far that we now find ourselves in an entirely new paradigm. In this one a resurgent Russia who has gained a superiority in conventional weapons technology is joined at the hip with a risen China. And on February 4th the pair unveiled their formal challenge to Pax Americana. I have not seen Blinken’s view on the February 4th joint statement, has he even read it? Has anyone in Congress?

        I guess it is axiomatic that those steeped in the thinking of an old paradigm are incapable of recognizing the new one without experiencing a tremendous shock of some kind. As to the reaction when the new reality finally does hit home, I think the Kübler-Ross’s model is as good a predictor as any.

        • MILLER says:

          The policy also seems to me to be rooted in the sort of deeply perverted, Neanderthal – shall we say racist? – Russophobia of people like Blinken, Nuland, McFaul or Clapper, for whom “Russi delenda est” would be a fitting slogan. The sentiment always had its modest niche in the American foreign policy establishment ever since 1917 and the onset of the great anti-Communist crusade, but since 2007 has become particularly unhinged, emotional, irrational and detached from reality. These people, at bottom, strike me as “sore losers”, because Russia’s development after 2000 has not gone at all according to their “script”, which assumed, in 1991, a Russian future wholly under the thumb of Western corporate carpetbaggers. Alas! The current Russian President, as the beneficiary of the “strong Presidency” built into the Russian Constitution of 1993 deliberately tailored for the pliable Boris Yeltsin – recall that Western “advisors” had a significant input in its design – decided, not surprisingly, given Russian historical traditions since the reign of Grand Prince Ivan III Vasilievich (1462-1505), to reassert the primacy of the Russian State and its principal obligation, the defense of Russian sovereignty. That project, I would submit, has been a success.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Staying silent on Russian gas is just good diplomatic manners, no?

  6. John Merryman. says:

    It seems the on the ground reality is that all Western influences, embassies, oligarchs, etc, are running to the west side of the country. While I certainly don’t know much about the country, it does seem that by showing their true colors, those much more amenable to cooperating with the Russians are being given an opportunity to pull a switcheroo.

    • Though not exactly a coup, if Zelensky is part of it. Having the American Embassy cutting and running doesn’t seem like a wise move. This rally tomorrow will not have many Western influences to guide it, so where does it go from there?
      At what point do they declare Mission Accomplished and move back to Kiev? Might they find a few checkpoints on the way?

  7. walrus says:

    Read “The Third World War” circa 1984 by British General Sir John Hackett. I’ve lost my copy.

    In the book, this fictional battle between NATO and the USSR was motivated by potential collapse of the Soviet economy. The Russians therefore designed a false flag operation – killing a class of russian children visiting the Kremlin in a bomb blast that was “discovered” to have been executed by West German intelligence spies. In the book that triggers a 24 hour ultimatum to Germany. When that is rejected, as it was designed to be, the Soviets righteously attack.

    The majority of the book is then military technobabble (reforger, M – whatsit missile attack helicopters shooting up russian T378 tanks, etc.) until the false flag is unmasked, Russian people see the error of their ways, the communist government falls and sweetness and light break out in NATO victory.

    I suspect something like this is in the fever dreams of the Neocons.

    Me? I believe in not poking bears. If that belief becomes commonplace in Europe then NATO is unnecessary.

  8. Jim S says:

    Forgive me if I missed you discussing it elsewhere, but would you comment on goings-on in Syria? With Turkey’s economy in dire straits, is Russia looking to help the SAA clean up?

  9. zmajcek says:

    A refreshing view from Colonel Douglas Macgregor, former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration.

  10. Philip Owen says:

    I can’t say I’m sure the intelligence operations of either side are up to much.

    The UK and US intelligence ‘leaks’ about puppet rulers or dates of invasion seem on the surface to be deliberate stupidity to cover their real knowledge. But then Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan or Weapons of Mass Destruction … The GRU couriers did not cover themselves in glory in the Skripal case either. If the Donbass terrorist leaders were killed by the SBU rather than the GRU, then the GRU wasn’t up to scratch either. Lavrov tells it like it isn’t too, to shield his boss from saying anything not indisputably factual.

    Are they all really secretly clever? Do they recruit paranoid personalities overwhelmed with confirmation bias?

    NATO itself doesn’t have an independent inteligence capability. It relies on members or worse yet, ‘allies’ like Ukraine. Thus NATO spokesmen regurgitate any rubbish and are totally unreliable.

    Journalists and Think Tankers are paid to be stupid for the cause. Spies ought to do better.

  11. Pat,
    I would say it’s not the job of the foreign service to shoot, but it should be in their job description to be well acquainted with whatever culture and political structure they’ve been assigned. Yet it seems the primary view being held is to simply understand nothing compares to American exceptionalism and they should all bow down to it. Then we align ourselves with the most corrupt, because they are the easiest to buy.
    It does seem increasingly public knowledge this Ukraine situation is not just about keeping the Russians down, but giving a boost to Biden. That once the Olympics are over and the Russians finish their exercises, he can give a speech about how he faced them down.
    So what if Zelensky has to go to Moscow the next day and clear up a few details. Then we get pictures of him sitting across a very small table from Putin and talking about the various security and economic agreements they just signed, in order to get Ukraine back on its feet and let bygones be bygones. At about that time, the various heavies we left in country to keep things straight stop answering their phones.
    I’ve read in a number of sources, about how there are a fair number of Russian nationals in the Ukrainian army, like it’s proof of how corrupt Russia is and how nobody really likes them. We seem to have this tendency to interpret everything like the world revolves around us, but it seems like we might be setting ourselves up for a fall.
    It’s like the comment by Putin a few weeks ago, where he talked about when Russian businessmen negotiate, everyone shows up armed to the teeth, but then everyone understands the various positions and there is not a lot of bullshit. We, on the other hand, seem to be at the point we believe our own bullshit.

  12. Deap says:

    America First makes foreign policy decisions so much simpler – is something good for America or not. Takes all the games playing out of this other foreign intrigue alternative trying to out guess the other guy.

    Does something work for America, or does it not. Trump was right again – don’t play defense; be offense. Which does not mean be offensive.

  13. Here is an interesting article on the situation on the ground;
    Think of Russia as high tech Taliban, or Viet Cong. No wonder the people on the ground seem to think they will win, but not immediately invade.

  14. Barbara Ann says:

    Patrick, Colonel, All

    As the consensus view here seems to be that Russia will not invade Ukraine (TTG & a few others excepted) I’d recommend, if for no other reason than for Devil’s advocacy reasons, Anatoly Karlin’s analysis (link below). Karlin’s thesis is that Putin will invade Ukraine in the immediate future.

    It is a well reasoned analysis including military, geopolitical and game theory arguments. But perhaps most importantly Karlin makes an effort to understand Putin’s thinking. His conclusion is that Putin absolutely intends to rebuild a world-civilization in the form of a “..“Russian World” that unites Russians, Belorussians, and Ukrainians under one banner in a Slavic superpower of 200 million people stretching from Brest to Vladivostok”. An increasingly anti-Russian Ukraine is anathema to this world view.

    Karlin makes reference to Putin’s July 2021 essay “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“, which I have already read and which I’d recommend to anyone seriously interested in understanding Putin’s thinking on this subject. As I mentioned before, this text became required reading for all Russian service personnel and I’ve seen it suggested that the essay may form the basis of a “why we fight” in any coming conflict.

    Karlin concedes that the enormous military buildup (now apparently including Kinzhal-equipped MiG’s deployed in Kaliningrad and Syria) could all be an enormous bluff, but still commits himself to a bold prediction that it is not. That commitment alone makes his view noteworthy IMO.

    • Sam says:

      I wrote from the start that Putin is not a gambler & would not try to invade Europe’s largest country with 130,000 soldiers. The “Intelligence community” disagreed, causing hysterical responses. Unsurprised: in the 17 or 18 (I forget) “intelligence agencies” v few read Pushkin

      Barbara Ann,

      I don’t know anything about Edward Luttwak, however I’ve been reading his posts on strategic military affairs relative to China. He believes CCP is expansionist under Xi and is amassing forces in southern Tibet and across the border from NE India. In his opinion the strategy to counter CCP adventurism is not military, instead should be to blockade all shipping traffic to China.

      As far as the Ukraine “hoax” is concerned his hypothesis from the very beginning is that Russia didn’t have the forces to take & hold all of Ukraine. That it would turn into a quagmire and so Putin wouldn’t invade with the goal to occupy.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        “In his opinion the strategy to counter CCP adventurism is not military, instead should be to blockade all shipping traffic to China”

        In what way is “blockade” not “military”?

        After all, “naval blockades” are conducted by “navies”, are they not?

      • Barbara Ann says:


        Karlin’s view is that there would be no need to “hold” Ukraine and that the concept of an insurgency is “too ridiculous to comment [on]”. I am in no position to judge this either way, but if an invasion does transpire I’d expect it to have the limited goal of ‘freeing’ Ukrainians from the “forced change of identity” Putin refers to in his essay. A new Kiev government, purge of what remains of Ukraine’s military, induction of Ukraine into the Union State & CSTO and then withdrawal?

    • Barbara Ann,
      Do you want a date? March 1st. That is when Biden gives his State of the Union speech and it’s safe to say that any mention of foreign policy will be dominated by how he stared down Putin. Given the state of the union, that might well be the centerpiece.
      Now consider the situation in Ukraine. One of the very first actions the United States did, after the coup in 14, was to ship all the gold out of their central bank to New York, for “safe keeping.” Do you think the Ukrainians have forgotten, just because it doesn’t get any mention in our press? If you consider the situation over there, they are basically in the same situation as Russia was, back in the 90’s, with a bunch of Western spooks and local oligarchs stealing everything blind. Do you think they don’t realize this and if they didn’t, the Russians are not taking every opportunity to remind them?
      What are the odds that by March 1st, there isn’t a Russian gun pointed at the head of the Nazi hold the gun to Zelenisky’s head?
      Then we discover we have invested all remaining foreign policy credibility in the hands of a Ukrainian comedian.

      • Leith says:

        John Merryman –

        Many of the Ukrainian oligarchs you mention are pro-Putin. For certain the richest one, Rinat Akhmetov who recently fled Ukraine, is definitely for closer UKR/RUS involvement. Ditto for the second richest, Victor Pinchuk, who also flew out. There are more whose business interests are more tied to Russia.

        BTW – There are plenty of oligarchs in Russia. Their numbers and their collective wealth dwarfs that of Ukrainian oligarchs.

        Zelensky has been putting pressure on all of his country’s oligarchs, no matter whether they are pro-Western or pro-Moscow. He has been trying to block their political power ever since he took office. Perhaps that is another reason for Putin’s aggressive moves? There is a lot of linkage between Russian and Ukrainian tycoon billionaires.

        • Philip Owen says:

          Pinchuk is not pro Putin. He has funded the Clintons to the tune of $12m, Blair to $0.5m, #100,000s to various ex Swedish and Israeli PMs. Anders Andersen is still on his payroll (was Petersen Institute, now I think the Brookings Institute). EU officials also received lesser sums to their favourite charities etc.

          Add to Pinchuk, Russian anti-Putin oligarchs. The late Boris Beresovsky (Skripal was fencing poison to murder a Beresovsky associate), Khordokhovsky, Browder just to name the front rank.

          There is massive Russian influence on UK politics but not from pro Putinists. It’s the antis who are distorting our view of Russia.

          The US and especially Canada are different. Generations of emigrants from the Baltics, Poland, White and Little Russia (maybe Ruthenia is the right term?), Armenia and Circassia whether Catholic, Jew or even Orthodox hate Russia with an Irish fervour.

    • Philip Owen says:

      In October, Shoigu said that the Kinzhal brigades were yet to be formed.

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