The Guns of February? Are we really that mad?

Ukraine showing Crimea and the Russian population area in the east.

“Last week, Biden said he had warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country’s invasion of Ukraine would cause Washington to send more troops to the region.

“We’re going to actually increase troop presence in Poland, in Romania, et cetera, if in fact he moves,” Biden said in a news conference, pointing out that the two countries are NATO members.

Ukraine is not a NATO member, and Russia has demanded that it never become one.

Russia has stationed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukraine border, raising fears of an imminent assault on the country. Russia has rejected that it has such plans in store.

While Ukraine boasts mighty military power, Russia’s bigger, more modern army would likely give it the upper hand should the country invade.

The State Department earlier Sunday ordered the departure of diplomats’ families from Ukraine, in a move that officials assured did not signify waning support for the country.”

Comment: Barbara Tuchman would have recognized the present situation. The hysteria sweeping the West is very reminiscent of 1914. American troops injected into the old-old, Russia-Ukraine imbroglio? Madness! Madness! Who are the fools in the US and the UK who think a NATO war against Russia with its 4,000 nuclear weapons is a good idea? These madmen are hiding in the shadows of meetings at places like Camp David and among the web of networks of post imperial angst driven idiots in Britain’s fantasy world of IO and conspiracy. pl

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88 Responses to The Guns of February? Are we really that mad?

  1. jonst says:

    Wondering what the Committee’s view–or, rather, the views of its members are–regarding the 100k MEDIA figure, anyway, of Russian troops ‘on Ukraine’s border’. This may be plenty of troops to focus the attention of the people in Ukraine. And the nuts at Camp David that the Colonel. (note how the hawks have gone over to the side of the Dems…Kagen, Rubin, Krystal, Frum, et al). But 100k, in my take, is not enough, and nowhere near enough, to seize, and hold, the Ukraine, assuming only scattered, unorganized resistance. A significant assumption I would argue. So my figure (to start the bidding) is between 300k-500k, with another 275k in reserve. Close by. So, in summary, 100k is enough to start the media and war hawks squawking, but not enough to mount an ‘invasion’. Thoughts?

    • Wondering what the Committee’s view–or, rather, the views of its members are–regarding the 100k MEDIA figure, anyway, of Russian troops ‘on Ukraine’s border’.

      Most what you read in Western MSM about the situation is a complete crap. Literally made up figures and movements. All this is in preparation of the provocation and cover up for VSU (Ukie Army) concentrating forces at the contact line in LDNR. US needs war badly and is ready to fight Russians to the last… Ukrainian.

      But 100k, in my take, is not enough, and nowhere near enough, to seize, and hold, the Ukraine, assuming only scattered, unorganized resistance.

      Russia can destroy VSU without fielding a single unit, merely supporting LDNR forces all of which are within 100 kilometer range–meaning being under the umbrella of Russian Air Defense and long range artillery and tactical missile systems–but Russia not only doesn’t need Ukraine, Russia radically doesn’t want it.

      (note how the hawks have gone over to the side of the Dems…Kagen, Rubin, Krystal, Frum, et al).

      All of those people are utterly incompetent on any matter of modern war (and society) and wouldn’t know how to draw the fire sectors card for a squad of grunts, forget about planning anything for a division or corps size force. They should have gone not to Dems but tried at least to attend a couple of courses in Operational Research and Planning instead of wasting their pathetic lives on political pseudo-science. But in the end, they need the war to place already mentally feeble EU squarely on the US plate and isolate it in terms of energy (US has it, EU doesn’t) and conduct a strangulation of EU’s grossly energy costly industries to open EU’s market for US goods and, possibly, provide an on-shore flow of EU’s industries to the US, escaping astronomical energy prices, once Russia’s energy connection is severed. In this sense it is a good plan but it still is not going to work because EU’s economic decline will only accelerate (already is accelerating) and the first sign of that is the fact that Russia did decide to sever her ties to the combined West, including Europe.

      • zmajcek says:

        Why is Russia then, instead of issuing a “list of demands” as MSM reports it, not displaying satellite photos of Ukrainian army positions and their plans of attack ?

        • 1. Russia’s still not very good at PR and hasn’t yet understood that the truth doesn’t stop the lies. (eg see Walrus’s piece on how the true picture is cropped to make a false impression) or Bernhard’s latest. It’s hard to argue against people who just make it up.
          2. I don’t think that there really is a “Ukrainian army” in any very meaningful sense of the world. There are more-or-less wretched conscripts and the nazis. The nazis get drunk and pop off a few 120mm mortar bombs into LDNR residential areas. Very hard to stop. So there isn’t much to photograph and the NYT wouldn’t cover it anyway because it’s not “news that fits”.
          3. I strongly suspect that Moscow’s give-a-shit factor is pretty low as regards Western public opinion.
          4. When Russia re-took Crimea the 20K Ukrainian military there were offered 3 choices — take off your uniforms and stay here, join the Russian AF, keep you uniform off and go back to Ukr. Only about 10% took the last choice.
          5. NATO training — oh har har har! Georgia, Iraq, Afghanistan etc etc.

          • zmajcek says:

            I think it was Lavrov or Putin that made the claim that half of the Ukrainian army deployed to the east to prepare for the attack on LPR/DPR. That is tens of thousands of troops and material. Difficult to hide. Instead of hammering on that point (if true) they are feeding the “Russian ultimatum” spin.

          • Leith says:

            zmajcek –

            Russian FM spokeswoman Maria Zakhorova made the accusation about half of the Ukrainian Army deploying towards Donbas & Lugansk breakaways. Back in December she made that claim. But if she said it publicly then Lavrov had to have approved it.

            125K troops she claimed. I’m skeptical, but could be convinced if anyone has better insight. I suspect that right now the Ukrainians are thinking about moving troops (or perhaps long range artillery) to the Kherson Oblast near the Crimea as a counter-threat against a Russian invasion from the east or north. That is what I would do, but then I’m just an 80-year-old armchair generalissimo who never commanded anything bigger than a platoon.

          • zmajcek says:


            All this talk about an invasion makes no sense to me. If Russia wanted to make a land corridor to Crimea they could have done it in 2014. I remember one guy claiming to be Putin’s advisor saying that Russia has about a year before Ukraine’s army grows too strong for an easy Russian victory. If 2014 Russia could have invaded with relatively few casualties. Instead they let the Donbass fight a bloody brawl with Ukie armed formations which led to a lot of tragic civilian casualties and suffering. Now, 7+ years later the cost would be much higher and I don’t see a big enough reason for them to do anything but limited support of the LPR/DPR if Ukie army forgoes diplomatic solution and really attacks in force.

        • Leith says:

          zmajcek –

          Makes no sense to me either. I don’t believe that either Russia or Ukraine (or the US & NATO) wants war. The danger is from some local low-level nutjob on either side starting something.

    • Fred says:


      How big a traffic jam would Ukrainians streaming West create? How many would decide to stay and live under whatever new government came into existence? I’m sure that thought never crossed the minds of the people of color revolution inc.

      NATO has fullfilled its role in defending western Europe from the USSR and the Warsaw pact. The coldwar is over, everybody won because there was no shooting war. We need a giant celebration with a victory parade in the appropriate city. (I suggest Berlin on May 8th so everyone understands what happened.) Then disband the entire organisation and retire all its employees. Otherwise they’ll be happy to create a conflict to justify their jobs. Which is all Stoltenberg, a man who never fought in any war anywhere, is doing now.

      • TTG says:


        Why would the Ukrainians stream west if the Russians aren’t going to attack? If the Russians are as impervious to attack as they and most here claim, why would they fear Ukraine or Ukrainian membership in NATO or even NATO in Ukraine? Sure they would prefer a Moscow leaning government in Kyiv and a pre-1991 NATO. I’m sure they’ll continue to work on that, even in ways we aren’t happy with, but without an invasion, there will be no Ukrainians streaming west. Besides, after our “Yats is our guy” escapade, we don’t have room to bitch about anything Putin does in this area.

        • TTG says:

          The foolish call for preemptive sanctions is bipartisan. A Democratic representative is also call for the sanctions.

          • Fred says:


            The call is the usual suspects: The borg as our host quite correctly labeled them.

            ” without an invasion, there will be no Ukrainians streaming west”

            Precisely, and if there were one who is to do the fighting? nNot the French or Germans or a host of other NATO members. Maybe Turkey will strike through the soft under-belly of the Russian Federation via Georgia, or didn’t the neocons within NATO ask the Turks what they plan on doing when “NATO” goes to ‘defend’ Ukraine? No?

        • walrus says:

          TTG, time of flight.

        • JohninMK says:

          TTG, the Russians probably don’t fear NATO as such. What they do fear is what likely follows; AEGIS ashore installations, as per Romania and Poland, with the ability to have in their MK41 magazines nuclear tipped cruise missiles with a possible flight time to Moscow around 6 minutes or maybe 1-2 minutes if the US gets its hypersonic act together.

          • TTG says:


            That is a legitimate fear worthy of serious and immediate negotiations with the goal of no offensive weapons systems within whatever distance it takes from NATO-Russia borders. Obviously that would include nuclear capable missile and rocket systems. That would probably include the borders of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics and Kaliningrad at least.

            I never agreed with limiting EW and defensive ABM systems. However, given the ease of converting systems like AEGIS into an offensive system with suitably offensive missiles, allowing those EW and ABM systems would require some kind of mutual verification regime. We did it before in Europe. There’s no reason we can’t do it again.

      • Ishmael Zechariah says:

        re: “Maybe Turkey will strike through the soft under-belly of the Russian Federation via Georgia, or didn’t the neocons within NATO ask the Turks what they plan on doing when “NATO” goes to ‘defend’ Ukraine?”

        Maybe you wrote in jest, but there is quite a bit of reality in your statement. My SWAG is that TSK will sit this out. Russia’s “soft underbelly” is not that soft as events in Kazakstan showed, and bad things happen when idiots poke bears:
        Ishmael Zechariah

    • rho says:


      ” But 100k, in my take, is not enough, and nowhere near enough, to seize, and hold, the Ukraine, assuming only scattered, unorganized resistance.”

      What makes you believe that the population in the eastern half of Ukraine would actually want to resist? If the Russians bring bread to their tables and keep the houses warm, they might be very pleased with the invaders and see them as an improvement over the inept and corrupt government that they currently have. There isn’t even a language barrier, many people living in the east are Russian native speakers and Russian and Ukrainian are similar enough as languages.

      • jonst says:

        my estimate–for better or worse—is not predicated on anything the ‘eastern half of Ukraine might, or might do. Rather, it is predicated–for better or worse–on previous Soviet invasions of Hungry and Czechoslovakia. The proffered figures of military used in those actions is far greater than 100k troops they, as we are–constantly–told is ‘preparing to invade Ukraine. And in both those earlier cases the potential forces opposing the Soviet invasions was much less armed than today’s Ukraine. We’re being sold a crock of shit me thinks. however, it seems if our ‘wise men’ are prepared to believe it, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, the Russians seem comfortable–for the moment–to go on having us believe it.

        • JohninMK says:

          Not that I think it likely, apart from in reaction to a stupid move by Kiev, but you are looking at any potential attack using the war manuals of the past.

          In Andrei Martyanov’s, who posted above, blog, there is a video on the effects of concussion and it is that which will play a major part in any assault. With foreknowledge of target location and the quantity, power and accuracy of modern munitions those still standing after say, to be generous, the first hour will not be in a fit state to fight. In recent times look at the US military after the limited Iranian missile assault on al-Asad airbase.

          There is a strongly held view that, certainly if limited to the Donbas, perhaps out to their oblest borders, the highly trained and motivated local DNR/LDR troops are perfectly capable of achieving what is needed with the help of Russian barrel/tube/rocket artillery. It is possible that perhaps only a few hundred Russians would actually cross into Ukraine, certainly not 100,000.

          • jonst says:

            you are absolutely correct if you conclude I am guided by the past regarding what it takes to mount a major operation in Europe (or Iraqi, for that matter) designed to capture AND HOLD a large swath of territory/population. I admit a bias when it comes to the ‘past’, v. PR promises of ‘modern weapons’. Soldiers still have to be fed, cared for, moved about, kept warm, etc. I also admit to a bias when it comes to logistics. It always takes more than the bright lads promise it will take. To hold. Repeat. To hold.

    • Philip Owen says:

      The Russian army has 3 million men. 100k on the Ukrainian border now that there is Western military district is actually a lowermproprtion than I might have expected even in peacetime. Given mass media hysteria some may even be border guards not soldiers.

  2. blue peacock says:

    Iraq WMD redux!

    First claim the other side is going to do something with no evidence. Second, ramp up media propaganda with all kinds of stories. Third, start taking military steps to “prevent” the threat that has been claimed that the other side is going to do something with no evidence. Fourth, create a false flag provocation.

    Who is driving this bus? How does it benefit them?

    • JohninMK says:

      Spot on BP and its certainly not the Russians or the EU Europeans.

      We need to look to the US and UK both of whose leaders could do with a bit of a diversion currently. Normally a country going to war preps their population in advance and, alone, those two are doing that.

      Russia in contrast is doing the reverse, Putin assuring his people, who really want nothing to do with it, that nothing is going to happen in Ukraine unless they attack Donbas first.

      Ironically, if there is an attack and the US and company impose the talked about sanctions the blowback is likely to be worse than the effect on Russia, who has been busy import substituting since 2014.

  3. fotokemist says:

    North Carolina has more the 50,000 US military personnel stationed closer the US border than the Russian troops they are reported to have stationed near their border. How receptive would we be to a demand the 82nd Airborne and other units be moved to Tennessee? How many military personnel do we have stationed within 100 miles of the Mexican border? Would we be willing to move the San Diego naval base away from their border?

  4. Joe100 says:

    My question is – who is actually “in charge/calling the shots” on this madness?? I read a lot (at useful websites) about this situation and pretty much everywhere suggests this looks much like another 1914..

    It is hard to see what benefit the “Biden” administration is getting out of all of this?? And I hope this is not a situation where the administration is so disorganized that no one (certainly no grown up) is in charge..

    And I see good pieces on this situation showing up on rational web sites that typically don’t cover foreign affairs.

  5. Deap says:

    Also Barbara Tuchman’s “March of Folly” analysis of totally dumb and unnecessary defeats.

    Her conclusion was “woodenheadedness”, a unique stubbornness and resistance to fact when choosing to march into known disaster. Ironically, the Charge of the Light Brigade took place in Ukraine.

    • the Charge of the Light Brigade took place in Ukraine.

      1. Ukraine didn’t exist then.
      2. The action happened during the Battle of Balaklava which is n Crimea which was a part of Russian Empire and of Tavrida Governorship.

      • Deap says:

        Right you are – in Sept 2013 when our tour bus passed this historic location, it was still Ukraine – on our way from the Sebastopol port to visit Yalta (Trigger warning: English place name spellings):

        Winds of change were indeed blowing at that time. While the Russian flag was already waving over their rented Russian navy port facilities in sovereign Ukraine at the same time.

  6. Deap says:

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!” he said.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not though the soldier knew
    Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    Flashed all their sabres bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wondered.
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right through the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reeled from the sabre stroke
    Shattered and sundered.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell.
    They that had fought so well
    Came through the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.

    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honour the charge they made!
    Honour the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred!

  7. Schmuckatelli says:

    I’m now left to assume that any politician who is beating war drums has taken dirty money from Ukraine.

    How cynical of me.

    • Joe100 says:

      Speaking of dirty Ukraine money – it goes way beyond the Hunter Biden stuff. John Helmer has covered this for years. Among other observations, he did several posts several years back about Victor Pinchuk’s annual party that was a “must attend” for people like Tony Blair and the Clintons. Given how much wealth the Ukraine oligarchs accumulated (stole) and how corrupt the country is – what a great pathway to large amounts of dirty money..

      So corrupt money flows may have contributed to the current political hysteria

  8. akaPatience says:

    I saw a clip of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on CNBC this AM, beating the drum of imposing sanctions on Russia, asserting that the US should “fight for Democracy” in Ukraine.

    • Carey says:

      > ..asserting that the US should “fight for Democracy” in Ukraine. <

      Maybe we should fight for Democracy here in the exceptional™ nation, first..
      Hint: The UniParty and its donors dislike democracy, and they're running the show- for their own small-minded benefit.

    • I saw a clip of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on CNBC this AM, beating the drum of imposing sanctions on Russia, asserting that the US should “fight for Democracy” in Ukraine.

      I would suggest this former Lt. Colonel from National Guard re-enroll (re-enlist) and go fight Russia in Ukraine. Let this “officer’ turn Senator learn what real war is. I am sure she will enjoy it. I am sure she is ready to give her life for “democracy”. I am not sure that she has a grasp what operational and strategic depth is.

  9. d74 says:

    1- Very pleased you name Barbara Tuchman. She is a talented historian.
    And yes this is almost 1914 madness again. Almost. The rise to the extremes that no one wants and that happens anyway. I hope that the CIA or whatever is controlling his Ukrainian clowns well enough to curb their warlike enthusiasm.

    2- A french man living in Russia near Ukraine border again say there is no Russia forces deployment on spot. It seems very unlikely to me that he is working for Russian bodies.

    • A big difference. All the great powers in 1914 had huge armies with (as they thought) lots of ammo and supplies. How many filled-up and ready-to-go brigade groups does the USA have? The UK has one fully-manned inf bn. Etc etc across the hordes of NATO paper pussycats. And no big reserves anywhere. For years NATO has been bombing helpless people from great heights, kicking in doors and driving down roads hoping there are no IEDs. And losing. Not, as it happens, very good practice for a real war.
      Russia, on the other hand…

  10. akaPatience says:

    I just saw another Republican saber rattler — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) on a video clip. I read a tweet by a CNN Congressional correspondent that reports Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) wants the WH to take pre-emptive action in Ukraine. I saw another tweet by retired Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) piling on as well — and it’s not as though I’m going out of my way to find these pronouncements. Sheesh.

    I hope to God the Republicans are just taking the opportunity to dump on the Biden administration but will eventually stop short of provocation that goes too far. But while I was glad the recently-proposed legislation to sanction Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) failed, I fear GOP support doesn’t bode well for de-escalation. I’m not saying the US should ignore geopolitics, but we’ve got a LOT of problems at home that need attention. SMH, what a stupid mess…

    • blue peacock says:

      Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum are two sides of the same Deep State/Borgist/Party of Davos coin. But we insist on voting the “lesser evil” and engage in partisan flame wars. We are the epitome of Einstein’s insanity definition.

  11. Rodney says:

    Speaking of Barbara Tuchman, this is my favorite read.
    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century

    • Pat Lang says:


      Mine is “The Proud Tower.”

      • Johnb says:

        Absolutely, that’s the volume I have bookmarked. Not only the sweep of history but the detail that made it and the understanding of the forces at work. One reason I read the Colonel’s Turcopolier is to use the experience of its contributors in trying to grasp the forces at work in our own times. Another is the simple enjoyment of the writing and ideas.

      • Rodney says:

        I’ll check it out. I did my BA history thesis on US labor movements of the late 1800’s, and one of my best papers (grade wise) was on the build-up to WWI, so I’m very interested.

        • Deap says:

          Agree, Tuchman’s Proud Tower is the best of the bunch – haunting in how it delved into the soul of the times.

  12. Joe100 says:

    Speaking of dirty Ukraine money – it goes way beyond the Hunter Biden stuff. John Helmer has covered this for years. Among other observations, he did several posts several years back about Victor Pinchuk’s annual party that was a “must attend” for people like Tony Blair and the Clintons. Given how much wealth the Ukraine oligarchs accumulated (stole) and how corrupt the country is – what a great pathway to large amounts of dirty money..

    So corrupt money flows may have contributed to the current political hysteria

  13. Sam says:

    10 years ago, former Justice Souter made a prediction that keeps me up at night. It is spot on.

    Authoritarianism has been on the march for sometime. The covidians have unmasked it. There’s no ambiguity or plausible deniability anymore. Justice Souter saw it a decade ago. Do we already have the Imperator? Is he in the Shadows? Or are they a Committee? The Politburo.

    • irf520 says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about “democracy”. The majority of the population can be convinced to believe anything, however absurd; the last two years should stand as sufficient proof of that, if it wasn’t apparent before. Given that, it is apparent that “democracy” can never be any more than a sham.

  14. Sam says:

    Millions of views of my speeches in the EP show how much the politicians in power in many countries have betrayed their own citizens, science and common sense. It’s my pleasure that, in addition to the citizens of Croatia, I can also represent millions of you around the world.

    For more than two centuries we have been building democracy and scientific principles, just to witness how they are collapsing in less than two years. The campaign of fear and greed they are waging against the citizens will lose in the end.

    Voices like those of Mislav Kolakusic will be remembered as the lonely voices against authoritarianism in the early 21st century. The appeasers should also be remembered.

  15. Philip Owen says:

    Russia recently reoganized its military districts including a much strengthened western military district including the Ukrainian border. Some of these troops movements would originaly have been simple reordering of the army positions to comply with the new command structure. Russia held exercises in April including a propaganda flood. You may have noticed.

    There seems to have been a Ukrainian propaganda flood in the last month or so. The targets seem to have been North Stream 2 and a bid for more (free) weapons. Many unsupported assertions of Russian intent flooded out of various think tanks and their pet journalists. So many that Russia, after a pause started back itself but supporting the propaganda with military movements.

    There is some danger of accidental war.

  16. Razumov says:

    Sources: Fort Bragg troops deploying to Europe in next 72 hours amid Russia-Ukraine tensions

    “sources have told WRAL News’ Fayetteville reporter, Gilbert Baez, that Fort Bragg troops will be going to Europe. The public affairs officers for Fort Bragg’s 18th Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division said the White House will have to confirm any deployments.”

  17. Sam says:

    From almost the moment the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in the city of Wuhan, the medical-research establishment in Washington and London insisted that the virus had emerged naturally. Only conspiracy theorists, they said, would give credence to the idea that the virus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
    Now a string of unearthed emails—the most recent being a batch viewed by the House Oversight and Reform Committee and referred to in its January 11, 2022 letter—is making it seem increasingly likely that there was, in fact, a conspiracy, its aim being to suppress the notion that the virus had emerged from research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed by Anthony Fauci.

    The fact that Tony, Collins, et al are not testifying to a grand jury investigating genocide speaks louder than words. From at least Iraq WMD on we’ve seen the leadership of our institutions blatantly lie and mislead. And then we know since at least the Church committee investigation that our intelligence apparatus has conducted operations within the US in violation of the precepts in our Constitution.

    Why are Tony & Collins being protected? And considering the loss of liberty and the millions harmed by this engineered virus and the lockdowns and mandates it engendered why aren’t this lot in front of a Nuremberg tribunal?

  18. Deap says:

    Tomorrow the book “RedHanded” will be out, tracing tangled trails between Chinese money and major US players.

    Same author who wrote Clinton Cash – charging the Clinton Foundation “donations” were used as vehicles for laundering global influence peddling. Coincidence of course is not causation, but one must guard against even suspicions of conflict of interests when serving in the public realm.

  19. Sam says:

    Absolutely amazing that George W. Bush’s Iraq War and “Axis of Evil” White House speechwriter is now one of the most prominent, beloved and influential voices on American war and imperialism among American liberals. He’s a perfect reflection of their movement and politics:

    Then again, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s WH spokesperson and campaign spokesman — @NicolleDWallace — is one of the most beloved-by-liberals MSNBC hosts because, like Frum, she, too, is a perfect representation of modern-day US liberal political culture.

    The neocons move seamlessly between conservatives and liberals. Between GOP and Democrats. And so do market monopolists.

    What does that say?

    • IMHO the principal achievement of the Obama years (other than benefitting the three Bs — bomb makers, banker and billionaires) was marrying the liberals to the neocons.

      • Pat Lang says:

        One plausible theory is that the left-liberals and the neocons are both Trotskyite in their ancestry and the marriage was an easy one.

      • blue peacock says:


        I would argue that it happened with Bill Clinton. Recall Madeleine Albright and her “what’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”. Clinton kept defense contractors nicely greased with bombings all over the world from Afghanistan, Iraq & Serbia.

        Then of course Bill had Wall St run everything. Bob Rubin & Larry Summers. They worked with the Republican majority in Congress to gut Glass-Steagal, “de-regulated” speculative finance and had Republican Greenspan shift the focus of the Fed to both goosing & backstopping Wall St speculation.

        IMO, Bill brought about the merger of the Democratic & Republican parties into the service of Wall St speculative finance, Big Business market consolidation and the MIC/neocon axis.

        It has been a one way street ever since no matter which party is in power. There’s an illusion of policy opposition between the parties which give us theatrics with impeachments and other such partisan rancor. But the bottom line is always the same. The best example is the nice handoff from Bush to Obama. From Hank Paulson to Tim Geithner. From Bernanke to Bernanke. And the looting of future generations of Americans with the bailout of Wall St speculative financial losses.

  20. Sam says:

    The neocons/warmongers have spent years stoking the new cold war with Russia and have now brought us to the brink in Ukraine—this serves their own interests, and lines the pocket of the Military Industrial Complex with trillion$. Let’s not be sheep.

    Tulsi is consistent. She was labeled an Assad apologist for meeting with him while he was fighting the head choppers in Syria. More folks should vote for people like her who go against the grain of the duopoly.

  21. English Outsider says:

    I wouldn’t have thought Biden can lose on this one. If the Russians go ahead with their “military-technical” measures he gets the EU sanctions he’s after. If the Russians manage to get their key demands met, there will be no such action and Biden gets the credit for standing firm against the Russian threat.

    The first assumes that Scholz is really prepared to give the neocons the sanctions they want. Presumably he’s hoping not to be put to the test.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      Are you serious? If the Russians manage to get their key demands met (a rollback of NATO) Biden will be crucified by the Russia hawks for caving in to the “Russia threat”. And as you note, EU sanctions will be deeply unpopular in parts of Europe. I read somewhere that Germany has less than 3 weeks supply of LNG and in the absence of Russian supply would be obliged to buy ‘freedom gas’ at much higher prices, thus damaging the economy. That is the fast track to the end of Scholz’ stint as chancellor.

      One of the most dangerous aspects of this crisis is the seeming lack of realization that the ultimatum represents a burning of bridges by Russia (as Alastair Crooke describes it). Having issued the demands in ultimatum form, Putin has deliberately ensured that the NATOization of Ukraine would lead to his own crucifixion domestically. He cannot retreat. Yet the groupthinktank consensus is that the Russian position is merely “initial bargaining positions” (quote from the link David Habakkuk provided to the Quincy Institute working group on the crisis – see below). They clearly don’t get that this is not mere ‘positioning’ and that Russia’s red lines are just that.

      I have been proceeding under the assumption that Russia’s plan must have something in the way of a golden bridge Biden can take so as to avoid putting his back against the wall. There is an alternative possibility that is truly fearsome to contemplate; Russia (now in alliance with China & Iran) has chosen this moment to break NATO, humiliate the US and usher in the multi-polar era – assuming we all live to see it.

      • Barbara, the pivot of this whole situation is Russia’s decision (which was made some time ago) to break off with the combined West. Add here a background of a spiraling out of control economic and, in a larger sense, existential crisis of the combined West and everything becomes very clear. But the bottom line which “brains” in D.C. and London failed to grasp in time and now are absolutely desperate after (late) realization of this fact–Russia not only doesn’t need Ukraine. Russia doesn’t want her. But one is bound to make such a strategic mistake (among many other strategic blunders) when Russian history and geopolitics is taught in the West by likes as late Zbig and the former and current crop of “experts”. But then again, I write about this for many years now–the problem is systemic and metaphysical.

      • English Outsider says:

        Barbara Ann – serious looking at it from the point of view of the politicians. Johnson’s on the same tack as Biden. He’s made such a fuss about Russia taking the Ukraine that when it doesn’t happen he gets the credit for warning Putin off.

        If Russia does take “military technical” measures of any significance then, like Biden, he gets the heavy sanctions he’s after. Wins either way.

        I characterise Johnson as Biden’s sheepdog with the job of bringing the Euros into the fold.

        Only thing is, Scholz doesn’t much like the fold we’re trying to shepherd him into. I don’t believe he wants heavy sanctions at any price. So I believe the USA has been forced into negotiation though behind the scenes. I’m supported in that belief by Stoltenberg suggesting recently that the negotiations be conducted away from publicity.

        If those negotiations are successful then Biden and Johnson get credit for having warned Putin off. “I looked into his eyes and he blinked”.

        Though if the Russians want an explicit treaty then as you indicate, all bets are off. Such a treaty could not be ratified. But as you say, they might have a “Golden Bridge” ready, so they can get the agreement they want without it having to be acknowledged publicly. Maybe a Minsk 2 type agreement as well. That could certainly be sold as a Biden breakthrough and few would point out that it was what the Russians wanted all along.

    • JohninMK says:

      It seems to me that the US is on thin ice here.

      The sanctions you mention are not just EU but the US and beyond too, at least those that will go along with them. Given the time of year, winter, and what the Russian reaction is (they hit EU agriculture hard in 2014) the impact outside Russia may be worse than in Russia who have very large foreign currency reserves and little debt.

      As its virtually certain that Russia would crush whatever it chose in Ukraine. Having spent a few months shouting how important allies Ukraine to the US/UK (mustn’t forget our Gov in the UK) they will be standing next to the smoking ruins exposed to the rest of the World as impotent in saving an ally. Add this to the Afghanistan debacle and it don’t look good. Could make Taiwan twitch.

      A definite bullet in each foot potential here.

      • zmajcek says:

        Maybe they just don’t care all that much. Afghanistan is already half forgotten. If they can get Russia embroiled in a prolonged, costly and bloody conflict and disrupt it’s economic ties with Europe, it is for them job well done.

        EU will eventually recover, and as for Ukraine, oh well…

        • JerseyJeffersonian says:

          No, the Afghanistan debacle is not almost forgotten, it is just that the “Media” are studiedly not reporting about it, or the knock-on problems that a chaotic jihadi state with borders with so many other central Asian nations most likely will bring. Think Pakistani Kashmir, and the problems it has caused as a refuge for the very worst jihadis. Throw into the bargain any pot-stirring by the CIA, MI-6, or the Pakistani intelligence agencies directing similar actions originating in Afghanistan against their neighbors, or the southern tier of Russia, and this is far from over, albeit you won’t hear a peep about it from western state-controlled media.

    • David Habakkuk says:


      I originally drafted what follows as a rejoinder to the response by ‘zmajcek’ to Andrei Martyanov.

      However, thinking about what ‘Barbara Ann’ suggested in earlier exchanges has been making me contemplate the possibility that the Russians might resort to ‘military-technical’ measures in circumstances which could be something of a disaster for the United States, as also for us. I see that she has also questioned your view, but particularly as I am about to ‘clock off’ for the evening, it seems sensible to post what I had written without taking her observations into account.

      This is only a ‘possible scenario’, but I think it should be ‘open for discussion.’ So – and in particular as we are both ‘Brits’, you probably a bit more ‘English’ than me – it has also seemed sensible to post my – admittedly tentative, and perhaps muddled – thoughts as a response to you.

      What ‘zmajcek’ had asked was why, if the Russians have evidence of ‘Ukie’ preparations to attack the breakaway republics, they did not produce it – rather than ‘a list of demands.’

      This prompted me to reflect on what the Russian side could be expected to do, if Andrei Martyanov’s account gives an accurate picture of their thinking.

      To think it worthwhile to ‘explore the possibilities’, one does not need to make one’s mind up, one way or the other, on the issue of whether important elements in the U.S. – which would almost certainly also imply in the U.K. – are dolts enough to get involved in planning a ‘false flag’, designed to facilitate a ‘Ukie’ offensive against the breakaway republics.

      A generation ago, I would have thought this inconceivable, but, alas, my – always qualified, but by no means non-existent – confidence in our ‘éIites’ has disintegrated. It may be, this is a result of having known too many ‘meritocrats.’

      Obviously, even if there is not a projected ‘false flag’, but even more if there is, it would appear likely that the Russian side would have a great deal of ‘intelligence’ about plans for military, and other forms, of action by the ‘Ukies’. against the breakaway republics and Crimea.

      However, a moment’s thought should make clear that the last thing they could be expected to do would be to ‘show their hand’ publicly, at this stage.

      As I noted on an earlier thread, Lavrov and his colleagues are now in a situation which would have been familiar to ‘logothetes’ in Constantinople, a millennium ago. In their ‘dual-track strategy’, the preferred outcome is one in threats of a resort to force by the ‘strategoi’, as deployed with ‘finesse’ by the ‘logothetes’, can be deployed to ensure a satisfactory agreement, without these having to be implemented.

      (Contrary to what Madeleine Albright once suggested, for very much of the time, the point of having a well-functioning military is to get what one wants without using it.)

      Given that they cannot take for granted that ‘leaving the sword in the scabbard’ will be possible, in this case, however, the Moscow ‘logothetes’ must also give a lot of thought to what happens if it is not. They must try to shape the negotiations, so as to create conditions which are as helpful as possible for the ‘strategoi.’

      In relation to your suggestion that Biden may be in a ‘win-win’ suggestion, however, a key point is that military successes may certainly have thoroughly adverse political effects – such as a consolidation of European support for the U.S. However, the Moscow ‘logothetes’ are likely to be thinking both about how to avoid these – and perhaps, can see how they might ‘turn the tables’ on the Americans (and us!)

      It is quite clear that technical military issues are at the heart of the negotiations which have started. So – particularly as the equivalent of the ‘logothetes’ on the U.S. side, are, precisely as Andrei suggests, not well-versed in these matters ¬(LOL!) – discussions among representatives of the ‘strategoi’, on both sides, are not only going to be proceeding ‘in tandem’ with those among the ‘logothetes’, but will be critical.

      It seems to me quite possible that, at the moment, Lavrov thinks that his colleagues among the ‘strategoi’ have it rather ‘cushy’, as we might say in England. So, not only are the ‘roots’ of people like Antony Blinken and Victoria Nuland among the ‘insulted and injured’ of the former Russian and Soviet empires – they also, like their British equivalents, combine sanctimoniousness with stupidity. It is liable to be a ‘hard row to hoe’, negotiating with such people.

      The position among the U.S. ‘strategoi’ is much more complex, particularly when one goes further down the ‘hierarchy.’

      Here, also, it is easy enough to find people in the grip of old hatreds – the Vindman brothers being a good example, as also, some contributors to this blog. But there are also clearly very many who are fed up with wars which appear to be entered into without serious thought of the consequences, not least for those who do the actual fighting, and can only be linked to any coherent conception of ‘national interest’ with the help of questionable arguments that have not ‘worn well.’

      Also, although the U.S. military and intelligence ‘establishments’ have their fair share of fools, they also have a lot of highly intelligent people. The fact that these tend to hit a ‘glass ceiling’, unlike some of the fools, may be much less relevant, when it comes to the kind of technical discussions which will be crucial at the moment.

      What one can also safely assume – in part because many of the Russian ‘logothetes’ are ‘disillusioned Americanophiles’ – is that these will be very well aware of the constraints which American politics creates for any President, and the particular need for Biden to ‘save face.’

      How far, and how, the – clearly real – political constraints on Putin, and the difficulties involved if he is seen to ‘climb down’, enter into their calculations, I find it hard to assess.

      Looking at what the Moscow ‘logothetes’ need, in concrete rather than ‘headline’ terms, one can I think suggest several things. One is implicit in what Andrei Martanyov has said. The United States and its allies must, at the minimum, stop doing things which encourage ‘Ukies’ down the line which taken by Mikhail Saakashvili back in 2008.

      Another relates to what appears to have been the response, alike in the U.S. and U.K., to the failure of plans for a formal incorporation of Ukraine, as also Georgia, in NATO – simply going ahead and providing military equipment, including missiles which could be used on targets in the Russian heartland, the Black Sea, etc. Here, the naval agreements signed by the British with the Ukrainian government are clearly seen as a ‘thin end of the wedge.’

      The appropriate ‘counter-threat’ to these developments is, rather obviously, not to send the tanks rolling towards Kiev. It is that, if there is not serious effort to accommodate Russian concerns, the ‘standoff’ missile capabilities of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Navy, coordination between which is being practised in the current exercises, will be used.

      Obvious targets are the units and facilities which would be critical to military action against the breakaway republics, and also the naval bases which the British are constructing, in particular that at Berdyansk – which is why I think ‘Bojo’, in his ‘ineffable unwisdom’, may just have painted a ‘bulls-eye’ on our people. Whether there are some targets where commando and ‘spetsnaz’ forces would be deemed appropriate is a matter I cannot judge.

      Any serious discussion of what the Russians see as the threats they face, what they might do about them, and what the United States may do, would, rather obviously have to be conducted away from the ‘glare of publicity.’

      Even however in situations where they can afford to be relatively candid, it would seem to me likely that the Russian side may need to ‘finesse’ tensions between conflicting objectives.

      In relation to preparations for possible attacks on the breakaway republics, actual satellite imagery of what has already been done may well be only a small part of the total available ‘intelligence.’

      Although ‘sources and methods’ arguments are not infrequently used to conceal the dissemination of disinformation, in this case, they may be cogent. Particularly as there is a lot of reason to suspect that many in Ukraine have been playing ‘double games’, there may be a very substantial body of ‘HUMINT’, as well as ‘SIGINT’, which has to be handled very carefully.

      Another tension may be between the need to make threats ‘credible’, and the need to be cautious about providing the kind of information about the targets one is thinking of striking which makes countermeasures easier.

      Also involved here is likely to be the fact that, for the Russian ‘strategoi’, in developing, and discussing, their contingency plans for what to do if the negotiations fail, there has to be an inherent tension. Military effectiveness commonly puts a premium on surprise. However, ‘escalation control’ is much easier if there are common understandings of how each side might act, and react, in a range of different situations, so excessive surprise, and the ‘panicky reactions’ it is liable to precipitate, are to be avoided.

      All these considerations bring me back to the thought that Lavrov, who has to deal with Blinken, a ‘stuffed shirt’ if there ever was one, who appears to believe his own ‘propaganda’, and is reporting to a President who is patently ‘gaga’, may well feel that the life of a ‘logothete’ is not an easy one, and envy the ‘strategoi.’

      However, precisely the stupidity of those with whom he is dealing may mean that he can see a ‘dual-track strategy’ which could work reasonably well, alike if the Americans will offer an agreement on terms he sees as acceptable, and if they do not.

      If the way that the ‘military-technical’ means are used points clearly towards the conclusion that everything that has been claimed about Russian aspirations to, as it were, ‘have a second helping’ of Ukraine, and ‘reconstruct the Soviet Union’, is the most complete ‘BS’, it might be that continental Europeans would not ‘fall into line.’

      This, moreover, might be even less likely, if the military operation was accompanied by publication of detailed ‘intelligence’ vindicating the choice of targets, and also establishing that no serious attempt had been made by American negotiatiors to respond to clearly ‘legitimate’ concerns.

      A possibility which may – or may not – be occurring to people on the Western side is that if indeed no effort is made to accommodate Russian concerns, it is very far from impossible to see a resort to military action which could, from their part of view, be as much a disaster from the ‘information operations’ perspective as from the military one.

      Something that people Blinken and Liz Truss, also Biden and ‘Bojo’, find it impossible to imagine may be an ultimate irony – that, while ‘Brezhnevism’ appears to be triumphant in Washington, and London, the contemporary equivalents of ‘logothetes’ and ‘strategoi’ in Moscow, at least for the time, are really quite bright.

      Accordingly, people in Washington, and London, simply cannot contemplate the possibility that figures like Lavrov, and Shoigu, and Gerasimov, are now united in believing that they have been pushed into a situation where ‘retreat’ is not possible.

      If the kind of approach I have suggested is what they have in mind, it can be expected that they will be quite aware that matters could go disastrously wrong. But, before the ‘list of demands’ to which ‘zmajcek’ referred was issued, a great deal of rather good quality thinking is likely to have been deployed, in ‘working through’ scenarios of how the situation could develop – and be used to their advantage.

      • English Outsider says:

        Mr Habakkuk,

        I took the liberty – or rather I hope it wasn’t a liberty! – of quoting verbatim some of your remarks in some comments I submitted to Dr North’s site when the subject of the Ukraine came up. I don’t think it’s generally known that we have UK service personnel over there who would be at risk in some of the scenarios mentioned. Also I do believe there’s a fair chance of a negotiated settlement. The quotes were on those two subjects.

        The knee-jerk Russophobia one sees in the English press leads me to wonder whether this could work – “This, moreover, might be even less likely, if the military operation was accompanied by publication of detailed ‘intelligence’ vindicating the choice of targets, and also establishing that no serious attempt had been made by American negotiatiors to respond to clearly ‘legitimate’ concerns.”

        I don’t think it would work because as things are, Lavrov could walk the length and breadth of Eastern Europe carrying a white flag and it would still be instanced by the English media and politicians as proof of Russian aggression.

        I should say that when it comes to a negotiated settlement, I don’t hold a lot of hope of London or Washington doing more than working out the PR impact of their moves with the respective home electorates. I do believe that Scholz might have a little more sense. I also agree that the Russians haven’t chosen this time to make their stand against what you describe as “salami slicing” without working out possible scenarios for expected responses.

        If so, can one then hope that this becomes an Agadir rather than a Sarajevo? That’s what I’m putting my money on.

        • David Habakkuk says:


          Could you give me a link to Dr North’s site? I am afraid that in recent years, it has come to seem to me that not just HMG but British ‘élites’ in general are so locked in impenetrable intellectual ‘bubbles’ that any attempt at ‘rational’ argument produces near hysteria. As a result I have largely given up attempting to contribute to arguments here.

          Some interesting insight onto the scale of the disjunction between common Western ‘narra-tives’ and reality is provided, I think, by the full English translation which has just appeared on Sergei Karaganov’s website of the interview he gave on 19 January to ‘Argumenty y Fakty’, a ‘Googlish’ version of the conclusion of which I quoted on an earlier thread.
          The headline is: ‘NATO is Cancer. Will We Cure It?’, the sub-heading, “Russia definitely should not fight for Ukraine till the last Ukrainian.”

          (See .)

          In making sense of how the Russians may be ‘playing’ the current situation, it may be useful to read this interview in conjunction with an earlier one headlined ‘Three in a Boat, to Say Nothing of Europe’ Karaganov gave to the ‘Military-Industrial Courier’ back in November.

          This, to my mind, is a quite interesting illustration of a conversation between the modern-day Russian equivalents of the Byzantine ‘logothetes’ and ‘strategoi’ – bringing out the way that, for the moment at least, they are very much working ‘in tandem.’

          (See .)

          The evaluation by Lavrov of the written response to the Russian proposal provided by the U.S. and NATO is that while they contain ‘no positive reaction on the main issue’, a ‘reaction there that allows us to count on the beginning of a serious conversation, but on secondary topics’, has been given, seems to me to ‘mesh’ with what Karaganov has been saying.

          It does indeed look as though much of the real ‘action’ is going to be in ‘military-to-military dialogues’ – his term.

          Also of interest, I think, is the way in which Karaganov’s arguments appear to be ‘underpinned’ by some – actually rather interesting – views on the way that ‘success’, very commonly, leads to ‘hubris’, which can then undermine the prospects of future ‘success.’

          At this risk of making our exchange too parochially ‘British’, I think it may be useful to bring into the picture the classic ‘spoof’ of school history teaching ‘1066 and All That’, published in 1930 by two erstwhile First World War ‘subalterns’, W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman, who had met as Oxford students after the war.

          The conclusion of the book anticipates, with some interesting irony, the response to the ‘legitimacy crisis’ of the Soviet system by Francis Fukuyama in the article he produced in the ‘National Interest’ in 1989, headlined ‘The End of History?’

          The account given by Sellar and Yeatman of how history had, supposedly, ended in 1918, after the ‘Great War to End War’ which ‘lasted three years or the duration, with the Americans being 100% victorious’, had produced ‘The Peace to End Peace’, is, of course, replete with irony.

          So too, I suspect, may have been the conclusion of the ‘COMPULSORY PREFACE’, subtitled, ‘(This Means You)’, which reads ‘History is now at an end (see p. 123); this History is therefore final.’

          Actually, if ‘history’ was what Sellar and Yeatman were studying, when they met at Oriel College, which seems to me likely, although I cannot be sure, I think they are a much better advertisement for the Oxford ‘history school’ than some more recent ‘alumni’: Dominic Cummings, for example.

          It sounds to me as though both had grasped that a rewriting of ‘the past’ to make sense of the ‘present’ is always happening, and will continue. And I think they were also articulating a perception – common at that time, and not self-evidently stupid – that ‘rubbing a defeated enemy’s nose in it’ – along the lines advocated by the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, among others, in relation to Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union – might lay up problems for the future.

          As it happens, I think it would have been helpful if people making policy in Washington, and London, over the past decades, had read ‘1066 and All That’, and reflected on the rather clear suggestion that the ‘euphoria’ which accompanied the defeat of the ‘Central Powers’ had had consequences which promised rather more ‘history’, in the none-too-distant future.

          The explanation that, as a result of the war, ‘AMERICA was thus clearly top nation, and history came to . (the sign for a full stop, in the U.K., or a period, in the U.S.) comes under the headline ‘A Bad Thing.’

          Whether this should be taken as a manifestation of British ‘Anti-Americanism’ I cannot say.

          What complicates matters here is that much of the point of the jokes about ‘top nation’, and ‘A Bad/Good Thing, Bad/Good Man, and Bad/Good King’ around which ‘1066 and All That’ is structured, is as a kind of ‘piss-take’ of notions of ‘History’ as a process naturally heading in some kind of direction, seen as benevolent.

          If you pay some attention to the complexities of the Karaganov interviews – particularly if you have read other writings by him – you may I think see that his thinking is underpinned by a similar disillusion with ideas of history having a ‘direction.’ At the risk of being fanciful, there are traces of a kind of ‘cyclical’ view, in which successes are liable to lead to ‘hubris’, which all too often leads to ‘nemesis.’

          As an ‘Oxford classicist’, one might perhaps have expected that Boris Johnson would have learned something at least about arguments about ‘hubris’ and ‘nemesis’.

          But, then, one needs I think to keep in mind that the ‘Bullingdon Club’ features, under the name of ‘Bollinger’ in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Decline and Fall’, published two years before ‘1066 and All That’, and in my view, one of his best novels. It also appears, without a name, in ‘Brideshead Revisited’ – a very inferior work, in my view.

          There is a ‘school of thought’ which says that, if you end up with as Prime Minister someone who, as a student, was attempting to imitate ‘Sebastian Flyte’ – a member of what I sometimes call the ‘Teddy Bear Tendency – then, all you can realistically expect is that your ‘hubris’ will be followed by ‘nemesis.’

          It might have helped had people recalled that, when ‘1066 and All That’, and ‘Decline and Fall’, were written, ‘democracy’, if one wants to consider it in terms of a ‘stock’, was in a severe ‘bear market.’

          In 1945, what one might call a long ‘bull market’ began. However, it is a very peculiar form of ‘hubris’ that leads people to believe that, if in Britain the alternatives offered are a representative of the ‘Teddy Bear Tendency’, and a largely unreconstructed ‘Eighties vintage ‘fake proletarian’, and in the United States, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the ‘stock’ has the ‘support’ it had thirty years ago.

          These are not, I think, propitious circumstances to enter into a ‘New Cold War’, premised on the ability of ‘democracy’ to defeat ‘autocracy.’

          • English Outsider says:

            David Habakkuk – I also found Brideshead, ultimately, a shoddy piece of work. Must be rough for a gifted writer to reach into himself for the Great Novel and find nothing much there. I wonder whether he himself was fully aware of that.

            I quoted your observations here – ( . The risk to UK personnel resulting from our assisting with building bases was mentioned under later articles.

            You say, “I am afraid that in recent years, it has come to seem to me that not just HMG but British ‘élites’ in general are so locked in impenetrable intellectual ‘bubbles’ that any attempt at ‘rational’ argument produces near hysteria.”

            For you, close to it, it must be irritating. Silly fools are so locked in there’s no hope for them.

            I don’t think it’s just an English thing though. I’ve become more aware of Brussels recently. Their mixture of Soapy Sam and ineffable righteousness reminds one of the last days of the Raj. As Putin said there’s no talking to them. Raise one point and they glide off effortlessly into another.

            Presumably why the Euros have been sidelined and the Russians are insisting on direct talks with the Americans and forget the rest. In that connection this looks promising:-

            “It does indeed look as though much of the real ‘action’ is going to be in ‘military-to-military dialogues’ – his term.”

            That’d do, would it not? Get the Russian security demands met and then the PR merchants could dress it up as a great victory for Biden et al? Ending up with Agadir rather than the guns of February.

            Thank you for some most illuminating references.

  22. Barbara Ann says:

    The Croats are out, who is next?

    “The Croatian authorities will recall all troops from NATO forces in eastern Europe in case of a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President Zoran Milanovic said on television on Tuesday”

    • zmajcek says:

      Milanovic is a narcissistic loudmouth. Don’t pay much attention to what he says.
      One phone call from the Boss and he will change his tune.

      • scanalyse says:

        However, this narcissist is the most popular Croatian politician with 44% support. He often goes against official Government policies and all polls demonstrate that Croatian people agree far more with the President than with the PM. This puts Government on a very thin ice which has so far forced several U-turns or workarounds/delays in announced plans.
        So, some sort of compromise has to be achieved here. Still better than President being 100% for Croatian military involvement in NATO adventures on Russian border.
        Cheers from Croatia.

  23. Lasttruebeliever says:

    My vote for a historian is Arnold Toynbee. He used dialectic like uncle Karl but he didn’t throw out the baby with the bath water: he had a spiritual take on history and remembered the most high.

  24. John Merryman. says:

    It’s interesting that that the one place the Russians have actually gone well outside their territory, Syria, is not being mentioned in the wall to wall coverage.
    Could that be that once the stabilized Assad, they have been extremely cautious and patient? They left Idlib to the Turks, ignored the oil being trucked out of the East and stayed out of the way of the Israelis shooting at Iranians.
    Given Putin is going to the opening of the Olympics and signing various deals with the Chinese, it seems obvious they don’t want any distractions.
    So will there be some sort of false flag, that France and Germany would not appreciate, or is it just the little boy crying wolf, until people start to get bored? In which case, it’s another big hole in NATO.
    These people should never be allowed around a game of poker, unless they are only using their own money.

    • JohninMK says:

      Good points there John.

      How about if all the Russian actions around NATO is just glitter to attract attention? What if the real target is Idlib or even east of the Euphrates in Syria. Maybe the six Russian large landing craft, probably about to enter the Med, are carrying the best part of 4000 tons of mixed ‘stuff’ from reserves in Kaliningrad of Baltic Russia to Syria, not as many think to the Black Sea?

      There is definite change in Syria, the Russian and Syrian airforces yesterday began patrolling together for the first time, starting, to apparently the surprise of the IAF, with the Golan and today in NE Syria.

      • I suspect the best Russian strategy is simply to wait. we are the ones running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Why waste the energy and stress when the other side is self destructing.
        This should have been evident with Russiagate. When you consider how much they could dig up, of what any possible Russian might have spent in the vicinity of the election, it seems likely the Nigerians probably spent more. Frankly we should be embarrassed the Russians don’t care any more than that, who gets elected in this country.
        As for this current fiasco, the more we are freaking out, the less it behooves the Russians to actually do anything, then we just look silly. You would think the Russians are paying Blinken off, to be such a stooge.

      • As for Syria, there are things they could do, but waiting for Turkey and the West to spiral further into economic purgatory would also be more efficient. Israel seems to be burning through a lot of their good will as well, not to mention political stability, so it’s a wait and see.

        • JerseyJeffersonian says:

          Well, just supplying the Turks, Israelis, and the western meddlers more things to factor into their plotting, potentially giving them well-deserved agita could be worth a toss. Given all of the crap that THEY have ladled onto the Syrians’ and Russians’ plates these last few years, this would be richly deserved.

  25. Sam says:

    House Dems want to expedite a floor vote on a massive Ukraine defense bill that would dramatically increase US security assistance and lay groundwork for major sanctions on Russia — hastening a much more aggressive posture w/o much room for debate.

    Contrast with this.

    The Biden Administration is ready to go to war with Russia to save Ukraine’s corrupt so-called “democracy” while destroying our own democracy here at home.

    And the majority of Republicans in Congress will jump to support the Democrats on this. When it comes to down to it both parties have a similar take on the most important issues. More imperialistic hubris. More market concentration. More support for financialization. More erosion of Liberty.

    And the majority of Americans are caught up in partisan and left/right battles as the rug keeps getting pulled under them.

    • Carey says:

      Good comment.

      “Dems”: “More War, Now!”

      “Reps”: “More War, Now!”

      About the only difference I can see is that the “Dems” want to take away any
      personal freedom one might have (not damn much, these days), at all.

      I no longer vote, because it’s just an elite-benefitting charade, whatever one does.

      • JerseyJeffersonian says:

        As George Wallace said, lo these many years ago, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republican and Democrat parties”.

  26. Deap says:

    Ukraine quote down playing any threat of war: “It is safer on the streets of Kyiv right now, than it is on the streets of Los Angeles.”

    Indicates they know more about the US, than we probably know about them.

  27. Leith says:

    No, we are not that crazy. And neither is Putin.

    • Pat Lang says:

      IMO the current government of the US is staging a diversion. Sme for UK.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        Colonel, I’ve just seen your comment about the US & UK governments staging a diversion. Given Walrus’ latest post the Aussies seem to on board too. In your opinion what is the purpose of the diversion and are the Russians in on it?

        • Pat Lang says:

          Barbara Ann
          No. The Russians are being used as unwitting tools in this effort to divert attention from Joe’s many failures and BoJo’s desperation.

  28. Martin Oline says:

    It is a shame that the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California did not “contribute” to the Biden Family LLC fund before 2020. Ukraine had the foresight to help the family and Joe swears their borders are worth defending against the supposed massing of 100,000 Russian troops inside Russia. It is unfortunate that he does not feel the same about our southern border, where over 2,000,000 illegal aliens have crossed in the first year of his administration. That is a ratio of 20 to one. Didn’t he take an oath to protect the United States?

  29. Yeah, Right says:

    Ukrainian officials seem to have finally realized that Joe Biden intends to use them as the meat in the sandwich, and even the NYT is now starting to give column inches to their now rather desperate “No, no. No sign of a Russian invasion as far as we can see!!!”

    As you would expect: nobody looks forward to the prospect of a thorough beating, and nobody likes being pushed from behind when there is a bully in front of you.

    But, still, interesting that the American MSM is giving them some space.

    I mean, after all, they are just the in the middle of all this, so who cares what they have to say…..

  30. Deap says:

    Mussgorgsky – The Great Gate of Kiev (Pictures at an Exhibition)

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