The West and Ukraine − and the wars within (FB Ali)

FB Ali - 2 (2010)

Poor Professor Petro! A professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island, he was selected by the US State Department as a Fulbright Research Scholar in 2013 and went to Ukraine on a year's affiliation with a university in Odessa. Thus he happened to have a ringside seat when the troubles began in that country, and presumably watched in horror as the West appeared to misread and mishandle an internal power struggle into an international crisis. Doubtless he sent urgent missives to people he knew who might be able to influence US policy, but to no avail. Finally, he put his warnings into an article (Six Mistakes the West Has Made (and Continues to Make) in Ukraine) and published it on The National Interest.

But Dr Petro is wrong if he thinks the West is simply mistaken. Of course, there are intellectually challenged persons who do seriously misunderstand what is going on (John Kerry and Catherine Ashton, for example, and many media writers and columnists). Others fall into the same category because, though nominally bright, their ideological mindset causes them to seriously misjudge the situation (Susan Rice and Samantha Power, for instance). But the real reason behind the West's policies in Ukraine and Eastern Europe is that there is a strong faction among its policymakers that fully understands what is going on but has deliberately chosen this course of action. There is also a sane element in the West that seeks to impose a sensible policy, but is currently unable to prevail. The future of Ukraine, of relations between Russia and the West, and, indeed, of the world, depends on the struggle that is going on between these two groups, as well as the wider conflict over Ukraine between the West and Russia. To follow the course of these consequential contests it would help to identify who is in the various camps, and what they are trying to do.

The War Party

This is not too strong a title to give them since they believe the West won the Cold War and are angry that Russia has dared to challenge their consequent right to reorder Europe They would like to put Russia in its place (some of them would not even be too averse to starting a shooting war, if that became necessary). The leading elements of this faction are neocons and right-wingers. In the USA the most prominent are the neocons of the State Department (led by Victoria Nuland) and the CIA. Supporting them are the neocons in Congress, the 'think tanks' and the media, as well as the military industry. In Europe such elements are to be found in several governments, militaries and intelligence agencies.



Another element in this party is the NATO lobby. These are political and military leaders and defence industrialists in both the USA and Europe who would like to see a revival of NATO's strength and importance. For them this crisis provides a great opportunity to stop the decline of NATO in both relevance and strength, and hence as a lucrative source of military jobs and money.

A third element is the East European Governments and politicians who still dislike and fear Russia, notably Poland. They wish to see NATO extend its coverage more securely over them (and don't mind giving Russia a jab in the eye in the process).

The most active element of this party, of course, is the current regime in Kiev and its supporters. They know that the political and economic survival of the Ukraine they seek to rule over lies in it becoming the frontline in a new Cold War between the West and Russia.

The War Party wants to force Russia to back down, and let the West incorporate Ukraine into its fold. Since the presently imposed sanctions haven't worked, they want to ratchet them up until it does. Their inability to prove their initial claims about Russian troops being present in East Ukraine has now led them to try and provoke Russia into moving troops across the border by attacking the Russian-speaking areas that will not accept Kiev's rule. This move has not proved successful since Ukrainian troops are showing a marked reluctance to attack their fellow countrymen. This has caused the Kiev regime to create militias from its far right Svoboda supporters, and now there are reports that the CIA, which is instigating and guiding these moves, is bringing in mercenaries to do the dirty work.

The Resolution Party

This group comprises those who wish to resolve the Ukraine crisis in a sensible fashion without letting it lead to a breakdown in relations between the West and Russia. Leading it are those European governments whose countries would suffer the brunt of economic warfare between Russia and the West, prominent among them Germany's Angela Merkel. Supporting these governments are business interests that would be affected, as well as sections of the media. However, they are constrained in their efforts by the need to also maintain their ties with the USA, and not appear to break ranks with it.

In the USA there are undoubtedly members of the policy establishment who adhere to this viewpoint, though they are probably in a minority. I would hazard that the most prominent among them is Gen Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the JCS. This assumption is based not only on his past record of realistic and sensible policy positions but also on the recent evidence from the case of Gen Philip Breedlove. Some time ago the NATO military chief was as loud in his tough anti-Russian talk as his boss, NATO Secy Gen Rasmussen (including advancing some wild scenarios of a likely massive Russian push into Ukraine). Then, while the latter still held forth on an almost daily basis, there was a notable change in Gen Breedlove's public pronouncements (so much so that they are now considered no longer worth reporting in the MSM): while still pushing the need for strengthening NATO, he has dropped his inflammatory anti-Russian rhetoric. As a US military officer and commander of US troops in Europe Breedlove is subject to direction by Dempsey.

The Juggler in the Middle

What of Barack H Obama, President of the United States of America, an office "clothed in immense power"? It seems he is performing his usual act of balancing competing factions while staying uncommitted to any line of action, all the while hoping to come out ahead personally. He probably does not want this situation in Ukraine to blow up into a serious confrontation with Russia, but finds his options limited ever since Ms Nuland and the State Department along with the CIA took the bit between their teeth and set the current events in motion. While publicly acting tough (he also has to worry about his political flank) he is probably trying to slow down the runaway crisis so that it does not erupt into something that would damage whatever plans he has for the remainder of his presidency.

Moscow Centre

On the other side of this crisis is Russia. There are no competing factions there; its policy is completely determined by Vladimir Putin and his small circle of advisers and officials (that is backed, notably, by a huge majority of the country's population). What is their view of the crisis, and what are their aims?

To decipher the mysteries of Moscow we have, in lieu of John LeCarre, a worthy replacement in Alastair Crooke. An alumni of MI6 and a former British and European Union diplomat, he spent five days in Moscow recently and posted his thoughts on Russian perspectives on his blog. Not only is it first-hand reporting by an astute and well-connected professional, it also jives with what any sensible observer of these events would expect.

Some of the highlights of his report are worth noting. Moscow doesn't control events in Ukraine, and fully recognizes that limitation. He found no appetite for intervention in a Ukraine that is considered a "viper's nest" and a "vast economic black hole". Nevertheless, it is recognized that military intervention may at some point become inevitable, especially if there are massacres of ethnic Russians or pro-Russians. It is believed that events have foreclosed the 'loose federation' option; a secession of parts of the East is regarded as inevitable. Russia is not frightened of sanctions, and accepts them as part of a new paradigm of relations between it and the West. There exists in Moscow a very realistic and accurate view of the dynamics currently at play in the West.

The lengthy report (which I highly recommend for full perusal) then goes on to discuss the implications of current events for the future of international relations, and of the Russian policies that are likely to replace those followed since the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Where does the four-party meeting in Geneva on April 17 fit into this picture? In an earlier post here I had advanced the proposition that what had happened there was that the West had essentially "folded". I still hold that view, but it needs some elaboration in this context. What appears to have happened is that, on this occasion, Obama threw his weight behind Merkel and the Resolution Party, allowing them to prevail. The statement of agreement lays down a pathway to a peaceful resolution in Ukraine, but it could not be followed up because neither Obama nor Putin control the players there. The 'federalists' would not abandon the control they had acquired in certain areas of the East without a parallel move in the West, which gave the Kiev regime an excuse to reject any meaningful negotiations. In any case, the people they were listening to (US Ambassador Pyatt and the CIA) were probably telling them to do this, anyway.

The Future

The Donetz and Luhansk regions of Ukraine have held referendums in which big majorities are said to have voted for self-rule. Whatever the limitations of such votes, the reality on the ground is that these regions are outside the control of the Kiev regime. Its attempts to reassert control through military force have failed, and are unlikely to succeed since their populations are largely ethnic Russian or Russian-speaking and have no desire to be ruled by those currently in power in Kiev.

The German foreign minister is now in Kiev to try and revive the Geneva plan for a 'round table' meeting of Ukrainian leaders of different factions under OSCE auspices. He is also likely to travel to East Ukraine in this behalf. Coming as he does from an EU meeting of foreign ministers, it appears that Merkel and her allies have launched a last bid effort to solve the issue through negotiations. This move comes too late for it to have much chances of achieving anything. Positions on both sides have hardened; lives have been lost in supporting them. Neither Obama nor Putin have full control over their Ukraine players; those who do have influence are against such a resolution.

If, as is likely, this last-ditch effort of the Resolution Party fails, then the present situation will continue along its inevitable path. The Donetsk and Luhansk regions (which have agreed to join together) are likely to effectively secede from Ukraine, though the formal process may take time. It is quite possible that other neighbouring regions may do the same thing. Backed by the War Party the Kiev regime is unlikely to acquiesce in such secessions. They are likely to continue their attempts to reassert control through military action. The Ukrainian military is unlikely to display greater enthusiasm for this task than it has done so far. If the regime tries to use Svoboda militias, mercenaries and heavy weapons to achieve its aim they will likely be neutralized by Russian action, overt or covert. It is unlikely that the secessions can be reversed.

The West is likely to express its unhappiness with these developments by blaming Russia for them and imposing more sanctions on it. The extent to which they will go depends on the internal tussle between the neocons in the USA and Merkel and her allies in Europe, who will bear the brunt of the blowback from them (and, of course, on which way Obama tilts, if he does at all). However, it is already apparent that the reality of the double-edged effect of sanctions is sinking in even among the War Party. As Alastair Crooke points out, Russia is not afraid of sanctions, and this will not alter the course of developments in the Ukraine. All they will lead to is a much more confrontational and insecure world in the future.

With so many critical problems facing humanity (over-population, widespread poverty, global warming, to name a few) this is not a happy prospect.

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125 Responses to The West and Ukraine − and the wars within (FB Ali)

  1. ffintii says:

    Obama “tilts” on narcissism or WW3?

  2. steve says:

    “The Farce Is Complete: Joe Biden’s Son Joins Board Of Largest Ukraine Gas Producer
    Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director.”

  3. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Why does Obama not fire Nuland and her cronies?

  4. VietnamVet says:

    FB Ali,
    This is the best summary of the current situation in Ukraine that I have read.
    One aspect of this crisis I’ve never seen before is the propaganda that is completely divorced from reality and is so vicious. In the Vietnam Era, the domino theory made sense even if it didn’t happen. Stalin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh, also, were worthy opponents deserving the best efforts of the American people not dirty rotten scumbags like Vladimir Putin. In Saigon the Generals were venal and incompetent but they were our Generals. Now, the US Government is supporting Jihadists in Syria and Right Sector in Ukraine who would like do nothing better than to kill Americans.
    This change is due to who is doing the fighting. What we are seeing today are Wars between varying Western and Eastern Plutocrats over scarce resources. The people don’t matter anymore; except, to be kept out of the way, jailed, or killed. Today wars are fought with mercenaries not people’s armies. We are living at the start of the new Dark Ages if mankind survives climate change and a possible nuclear holocaust.

  5. Norbert M Salamon says:

    Thank you for the encompassing ideas and facts surrounding Ukraine, the West and Russia [with Chinese backing-as revealed today].
    I think one issue is unmentioned, to wit, that the Ukraine economy will not survive past a few months [will sink below that of Greece], as neither the US nor EU has the sufficient cash reserves to keep Ukraine above water.
    There is a shortage of analysis in MSM and blogsphere concerning the damages done to EU, US and world economies by the foolish attempt to sanction RF.
    The people of RF are quite willing to make living standard impacts when the security of the Nation is involved. One does not need too much historical analysis to ascertain this fact. The same can not be held for either the EU or the spoiled children of US.
    So my notion is that the “West” may win the battle in the short term, but will loose the war within a year.

  6. walrus says:

    Thank you very much for your appreciation Gen. Ali!
    There are three other factors at play that I am aware of.
    a) Putin is concerned not to tip the Russian economy into recession, it’s currently quite finely balanced.
    b) Putin is aware that truncating Europes gas flow will have permanent negative effects on European gas revenues. Once Europe has found and invested in alternate supplies, they will use them in preference to Russian gas even in the face of future Russian price cuts.
    c) Chinese material support for Russia is not a given. For one thing, there is still bad blood regarding border issues.

  7. Medicine Man says:

    Thank you for the round up, Brigadier Ali. Very informative.

  8. James Patrick says:

    I’ve asked myself the exact same question. The best I can figure is that Obama thinks that by keeping neo-cons in his administration, he can neutralize/co-opt them as a group. “Better to have the camel on the inside of the tent pissing out, rather than on the outside pissing in,” as Lyndon Johnson once said. The trouble with this approach, I think, is that the neo-cons are the type who will go on pissing in the tent even when they’re inside of it! They’re not loyal to any president or party. They are loyal only to their own, mad vision of world domination.

  9. turcopolier says:

    “by keeping neo-cons in his administration, he can neutralize/co-opt them as a group.” IMO Obama is a weak man If I were president, the neocons would be in hiding. pl

  10. burton50 says:

    If being, first and foremost, a Russian patriot makes Putin a “dirty rotten scumbag”, well, then, from the U.S. perspective, I guess that’s how it will fly. The jury is still out, but I think, at least for Russian history, he could end up being one of the great figures. The Russian state collapsed in 1917, and in 1991-1999, it came damn close: the armed forces demoralized and dispersed, tax revenues heading toward zero, the ex-Communist mucky-mucks, the managerial class and the well-connected heading for the exits with all the assets of the old Soviet state, and a rapid flight of political power to the regional oligarchs and their political front men. All this left nothing at all for the ordinary Russian. The entire sequence was tenderly encouraged by “Western advisors” (Jeffrey Sachs and others, the “shock therapists”) for whom Russia was some of laboratory and, of course, the International Monetary Fund with its usual recipes for opening countries to the mercies of the transnational corporations.
    This is the very same process that is playing itself out to a very bitter end in the Ukraine. In twenty three years, the place has been entirely looted by its home-grown oligarchs with little or no thought for the needs of the population. They run the place and its political formations. Not one of them had political (or even human) smarts enough to see the end point of this trend. Not one of them prevailed on their front people (Kuchma, Iushchenko, Timoshenko, Ianukovich and their blocs of Rada deputies) to lay the ethnic “dog whistles” that were the staple of electoral campaigns and to produce a program that would at long last lay the foundation for a single national vision.
    Say what you want about Putin, but in the course of fifteen years he and his team have acted very decisively to limit and reverse the damages of this trend in Russia, rebuilt and re-energized the armed forces, begun the hard work of reconstructing the state’s tax base and its institutional organization, and brutally rehabilitated the state’s capacity to reign in the sort of massive theft and corruption that when on in Yeltsin’s era. The effort has begun to bear fruit in the reversal of the terrible demographic and economic trends unleashed by the collapse of the USSR (it’s to this that Putin’s famous quotation refers). The program was not to be a frontal assault in the Bol’shevik manner: the oligarchs are probably thought of as useful in their own way, but they are carefully supervise and have been warned in no uncertain terms that interference in the affairs of the nation (as in the Ukraine) wouldn’t be tolerated.
    This blog is a daily read for me because the host and many of the commentators are almost reflexively sensitive – often from hands-on experience – to the powerful nuances of national or tribal cultures and their impact on the political situation in the world ( being just another case in point). It is in that same spirit that I try to place the figure of Putin, not in American context (he ain’t no liberal democrat), but in the rather long tradition of the Russian State and its architects: Grand Prince Ivan III Vasilievich (1440-1505), Tsar and Emperor Peter I, Catherine II, Aleksandr II (“the Liberator”).
    Congratulations to FB Ali for a superior analysis.

  11. seydlitz89 says:

    FB Ali-
    Excellent post sir!
    My question would be, does the Kiev element see the Cheneyites as instrumental to their political aspirations? That is do they see themselves as playing the role of a Chalabi?

  12. FB Ali says:

    Thank you!
    I agree with what you say about Vladimir Putin. He saved Russia from a decline into poverty and irrelevance. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he is so detested by the neocons and their supporters.
    I think he is a Russian patriot, and this is his primary motivation in his policies and actions.

  13. Fred says:

    The EU is going to find out the hard way when more unemployed Ukrainians start showing up in Berlin, Rome and Paris looking for work and welfare. The spoiled children in the US – they are being fed a constant barrage of information management that is placing the ‘minimum wage’ as their aspirational target:

  14. Tyler says:

    The neocons are the same as the current crop of neoliberals who think they can export democracy at bayonet point and subscribe fully to blank slate voodoo.
    Why doesn’t he fire them? Because he fully agrees with what they’re doing!

  15. FB Ali says:

    I agree that Putin has these economic compulsions to consider. However, he may well decide to let geopolitical necessities override them in the short term. The fact that his current policy has such huge backing within Russia may allow him quite a bit of room to accept economic pain for such a period.

  16. Clwydshire says:

    Thank you. There are reports of some 400 or so U.S. Academi contractors in the Ukraine, dressed as Ukranian paramilitary police. The report in Der Spiegel begins with a denial and condemnation of the report as a rumor by Academi (formerly Blackwater). A Russian news service is then cited that the U.S. mercenaries are working in eastern Ukraine wearing Ukranian “special” or paramilitary police uniforms. Spiegel then cites the orginal “Bild am Sontag” report. The information is supposed to have come from U.S. intelligence agencies and Spiegel says is is supposed to have been discussed by German officials at their recent regular foreign intelligence meeting. All this is unofficial so the presence of these people is still described as “unconfirmed” in the Spiegel article.
    Presumably if U.S. contractors are serving as special police, they will not be so hesitant to use violence as native police.
    Who, in the American government, really controls these people? The arrogance of the neo-cons is breathtaking.

  17. The Twisted Genius says:

    Brigadier Ali,
    Great analysis. I would add the top Ukrainian oligarchs as a critical part of the government in Kiev. The Maidan thugs immediately saw theoligarchs’ importance to their own continued survival and appointed several of them as governors of the eastern oblasts. The oligarchs have the money, the organization and, most likely, the connections to the “mafiya” needed to create muscle for Kiev. They also have the motivation since they would be toast if Putin had his way. Putin has effectively neutered the Russian oligarchs as a political force. My guess is that the oligarchs are funding the mercenaries from Academi as well as the local police forces still loyal to Kiev. The CIA is probably funding the national guard units being formed from Svoboda and Pravy Sektor hooligans.
    I think General Breedlove’s change of tune is also tempered by a realistic assessment of the military situation in Ukraine. He sees, as do I, that Putin’s polite men in green are sufficient to get the job done. I, too, thought Russian tanks would roll across Ukraine early on. Obviously Putin did a better risk versus gain assessment from Moscow than I could have done from my gazebo. He had his polite men in green to feed him accurate information from Ukraine. I only had the squirrels to advise me.

  18. FB Ali says:

    There is no doubt that the Kiev regime is using those in the West I have labelled the War Party for their own purposes, both in the short term and the long term. These require, as I said above, Ukraine “becoming the frontline in a new Cold War between the West and Russia”.

  19. The Twisted Genius says:

    Vietnam Vet,
    I disagree with your assessment of Putin. He is a skilled adversary worthy of respect. Rather than a dirty rotten scumbag, he is a heard hearted empath and, perhaps, one of the rough men we hear so much about. As Burton50 said, he has politically neutered his one per centers, the Russian oligarchs. Russian history will probably look kindly on the Putin years.

  20. D says:

    Col. and JP: The largest enterprises Obama ever managed prior to the US Executive Branch were a classroom and a Senate office – what’s that? 20-30 people at a time? He has been in office over five years and is just now discovering the sweep of the Executive Order. The Executive Branch had over two years to set up and knock down the Obamacare software procurement and chose a contractor off an IDIQ contract for such a huge project instead of full and open competition – and then botched oversight royally. He sets a policy course, vacillates and then reverses direction. His words often lie about 179 degrees off course from his actions. He is eating the Democratic Party’s seed corn and has left a lot of elected Democrats quietly seething. What I’m saying is this guy has no Washington smarts and is no executive. He has little control over his employees nor much understanding of how to tighten things up. I’m pretty sure there are lots of people around him who like it this way.

  21. Haralambos says:

    With all due respect, Norbert M Salamon, I would quibble with several of your thoughts. I do not think “there is a shortage of analysis.” To cite two: http:/
    as well as this blog and several others.
    In regard to the ability to support the Ukraine, I think our US “involvements” over the past dozen or so years have been supported by mortgaging the future and bailing out the banks. The Fed can just keep printing, while the EU does not have that freedom or apparently so, although they have fudged it and allowed several countries to cook the books and continue to do so, especially Greece. As for the Ukraine and Greece, I have lived in Greece on and off for going on 36 years. The current situation here is indeed serious, but were the Ukraine to enter the EU, I imagine it would add tens or hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Greece and other countries seeking a better life in the EU. I base this on my sandals on the sidewalk here and my observations of the scores of beggars on the streets after the most recent expansion of the freedom of movement and the fact that the Greek state does not have the resources to patrol its huge borders to maintain fortress Europe.

  22. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Can people like you actually win these days or does it take someone like Obama? Is he really ‘weak’ or just playing the game he needs to play?
    ‘… the neocons would be in hiding’ – nice. That’s where they belong.

  23. ToivoS says:

    This a very good summary. I would like to add that it is very unlikely that Obama and Kerry wanted this to happen and they were oblivious to what Nuland was doing in Ukraine. However, Nuland knew exactly what she was doing and had the support of all the other neocons and brzezinski hawks that influence policy. The War Party is a good way to describe them. It is still perplexing that Nuland still has a job, for Kerry can’t be that dumb and not know what she knowingly did.
    Obama erred when he made War Party member Hillary his Sec of State. She is the one who promoted Nuland and also brought in Ann Marie Slaughter.
    Obama and Kerry, even though it will cost them face, really do not have much choice now but to follow Germany’s lead. Though it might be too late. Today’s ambush of that Ukrainian army convoy that killed 8 soldiers and destroyed two APCs might stir up the competitive spirit of the army so they will make stronger efforts to conquer the east.

  24. The Twisted Genius says:

    I think the coup leaders in Kiev see Nuland, Pyatt and the COS in Kiev as visibly and immediately instrumental to their political aspirations, along with the oligarchs they appointed to rule the eastern oblasts.

  25. JohnH says:

    Maybe Obama is leading from behind…
    In other words, not in charge, as in serving as a spokesman rather than a decision maker.

  26. Ingolf says:

    A wonderfully clear and concise overview and an interesting discussion developing in its wake.
    You’re probably right in your unhappy conclusions, Furrukh, but at the same time there does seem to be a very real effort being made in certain quarters to de-escalate matters. The OSCE under Burkhalter is taking a very active role and is making a point of including Putin as a constructive partner in this process. Equally, Russia is giving full backing to the OSCE efforts, including a formal appeal from the Duma to “parliaments of the world and international parliamentary organisations” to work together to avert the looming catastrophe.
    Is it possible that Merkel (and perhaps others) are quietly giving support to the OSCE’s efforts? Using it, if you like, as a front to avoid direct disagreement with the US?

  27. VietnamVet says:

    burton50 and FB Ali
    I apologize that my post was not clear.
    The corporate media in the United States is describing Vladimir Putin by word, facial expressions and clips as the homophobic “scumbag” perpetrator of the Ukraine Crisis. It is patently not true and constitutes “The Big Lie” of the current Western Propaganda barrage. Of all the US TV I’ve watched I never have heard him described as a “Russian Patriot”; although, Professor Stephen Cohen comes close when he explains Russian History.
    It is tragic to watch the Civil Servants who aren’t neo-conservative ideologues try to explain the inexplicable actions of the US Government that have restarted the conflict between the USA and Russia. They express the humiliation one suffers to keep a job and watch the VP’s son grab the golden ring on top of the dead from Ukraine’s incipient civil war.

  28. Norbert M Salamon says:

    I agree with your assessment for a., and possibly c – where the hydrocarbon supply by RF and the transit of other hydrocarbons through her territory makes China an economically partially dependent client.
    Point b is somewhat less valid, for there is a minimum of 4-5 years and in excess of couple hundred billion dollar investment is necessary to get Liquid natural gas — where is the money?? and moreover where is the gas source:
    Not the USA, they are importers -and the fields are depleting
    Not Australia – tied to the far east,
    Not Qatar – does not have enough infrastructure beside regular costumers.
    not Iran – does not have infrastructure
    QED – RF is not in danger for 4-5 years, and by that time they be exporting to China, Japan, N & S Korea

  29. turcopolier says:

    What makes you think I won anything more than local fights? pl

  30. turcopolier says:

    It can only be CIA but they don’t make policy. pl

  31. Fred says:

    You raise those squirrels right in the Old Dominion. To bad they can’t sneak into D.C. to give some of that good advice.

  32. Fred says:

    “he has politically neutered his one per centers”
    That is a fact the western media will not advertise, since it seems the one per centers are working on neutering our own democracy.

  33. Highlander says:

    I agree Putin is a great leader for Russia, a very hard nosed and realistic man.
    A worthy opponent for anyone. I hope,it doesn’t come down to a face off with Obama.
    Thank you FB Ali for the enlightening post.

  34. Bandolero says:

    “The Maidan thugs immediately saw theoligarchs’ importance to their own continued survival and appointed several of them as governors of the eastern oblasts.”
    I would assume the order of events to be the other way round. Some oligarchs organized and paid for the whole party on Maidan. Just look for the roles that people like Igor Kolomoyskyi and Stepan Kubiv played in the background of the Maydan protests. My guess is that many people on the Maidan knew someone rich was paying for that big party, but in all the euphory few were interested to ask for details of who paid for the music and even fewer on the Maidan understood that they were dancing to the tune of Kolomoyskyi’s music.

  35. optimax says:

    Did Ukraine already get our billion? I can see Brennan telling Kiev to spend it on Blackwater Xe Academe. We like circular lending, and they aren’t GI, may not even be All American.

  36. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Maybe that ambush was a false flag designed for just that purpose. Wheels within wheels in Banderastan…

  37. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    burton50 and others,
    I encountered a very good post over at Naked Capitalism in which there is a lot of discussion of the prelude to current deep suspicion of Western motivations and actions by Russia’s leaders arising partly from the looting following the dissolution of the USSR. The topic covered is more general, but the topicality of the Ukraine/Russia crisis provides grist for the mill.
    This points toward the non-trivial power center of Western finance capitalism as a driver, a driver largely insensible to the historical and cultural triggers that are in play in Eastern Europe.

  38. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    steve and others,
    I posted a comment in another blog today that contains some material that may add to your link to Zerohedge.
    Here goes, slightly edited for this forum:
    So get this: Joe Biden’s youngest son, Hunter Biden, has just joined the legal team of Ukraine’s largest private gas company:
    A further post adds some more insight into exactly who the owner of this company is, and illustrates the point about the corrosive effect of off-shoring of illegally expropriated national assets by oligarchs as can be seen in this, Yves’ post. It’s really detailed – a virtue – but that needs to be traversed so that the really startling information can jump out at you as you encounter it.
    Ihor Kolomoisky, the apparent new employer of young Biden, is rumored to be behind a lot of the killing and terrorizing in East Ukraine, collaborating with the junta in Kiev in these activities. When you factor in the idea that the majority of his gas fields are in disputed territory in the East, giving him the worry that they might slip out from under his control, the picture comes into better focus. And gosh (h/t Catherine Ashton…), wasn’t it just such a coincidence that CIA director John Brennan, and then in a further coincidence, VP Joseph Biden, had meetings with the junta just prior to all of the killings?
    At this point, I wish to acknowledge that this information came to my attention via several posters over at Moon of Alabama. A sweeping bow is in order rather than a mere hat tip.
    FB Ali,
    Thank you for your comprehensive and cogent analysis. I always read your posts with great admiration for your diligence in marshaling facts as well as your interpretative insights.

  39. robt willmann says:

    Russia is responding to the sanctions and other activities by the U.S. and others by saying it will no longer let the U.S. use Russian rocket engines to launch satellites into space, and it will cancel the 11 GPS towers that the U.S. has on Russian soil if something is not worked out regarding Russian transmitters on U.S. territory.
    Other reports have stated that the U.S. does not have its own rockets on which to launch its own satellites, and has become dependent on Russian engines. This is astonishing. Part of the taxpayer money wasted on needless “security” and the phony “war on terror” could have been used to develop rocket engines right here.
    steve and JerseyJeffersonian pointed to articles I was going to refer to stating that vice president Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was put on the Board of Directors of Bursima Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer. The Bursima press release states that Hunter Biden “is a counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, a national law firm based in New York, USA….” This deceptive language makes it sound as if Biden the Son is an attorney employed by the law firm. But it appears he is not. The law firm’s web site, with the name (BS Flip!) does not list him as an attorney there–
    The words “a counsel to” or “of counsel to” usually refer to a lawyer who is not an employee of the firm or a partner, and does not even work there full time. Retired judges, usually court of appeals judges, will sometimes appear as “of counsel” to a law firm. In essence, Biden is a hook used in David Boies’s firm to get business.
    FB Ali’s excellent article is substantive and literate as always. I think there is another category and factor affecting the situation in Ukraine, and that is its money and debt. Russia holds high cards in that hand. Time permitting, I will try to say something about it.

  40. James Patrick says:

    Very possible.

  41. ToivoS says:

    One more point. I think you are being unfair with the good prof Petro. I suspect that he is trying to communicate with a larger American public. There are very few Americans that even realize that such a thing as a War Party even exists. Petro is trying to connect with a larger part of our public and is giving the current admin the benefit of doubt that they are making a mistake. This allows him to avoid trying to make the case that there is a conspiracy inside our government. That is a much more difficult case to make. Calling it a mistake allows him to communicate with a larger segment of the American public.

  42. Alba Etie says:

    And Mr R Hunter Biden as Delaware’s State Attorney General was supposed to have been tough on BOA and other bankster for ripping off consumers in the recent real estate meltdown ..Follow the money ,

  43. Imagine says:

    Around October it will start getting colder in the Ukraine. The country can perhaps play games with gas money until then, but it starts getting serious real fast in winter. America will require–what, $15B /year?–in order to keep the Ukraine hobby going, all of which will end up in the back pocket of Russian/Ukrainian/(perhaps American?) oligarchs. So far we’ve offered something like $1B in commitments, inadequate. The economics of the Ukraine are a train wreck in slow motion. Therefore the Ukrainian oligarchs’ survival depends on playing America, with the help of the CIA. This means more dirty tricks; more false flags; and as much action as possible towards fomenting a hot war, IMHO. Unless the oligarchs start an American-backed war, they and the country are toast within six months. America throws money down a rat-hole until it eventually gets sick & tired, then stops, having only postponed the inevitable. A full economic accounting of how much different scenarios are going to cost should be the first and main exercise before any decisions are made. Economics is trumping politics. Surely both State and Capital Hill have competent accountants?

  44. Alba Etie says:

    Do you see President Obama supporting the Victoria Nuland cohorts in the current crisis in Ukraine as the US appears to be propping up Neo Nazis in Kiev ? Or do you see President Obama actively trying to mitigate against the neocon agenda ? I am certainly not a foreign policy expert but simply based on what President Obama has done versus what the neocons really wanted – say in Syria ; this is an open question to me . Would it be counter intuitive to think the CIA Director Brennan went to Kiev to try to mitigate the neocon support of the neo Nazis?
    I ask that question then I see on this blog reports that Biden Jr is now on the board of directors for the big Ukrainian gas company – and we go back to the warring oligarchs theories of ‘why Ukraine ” . And in a domestic context I also wonder if we are not seeing our own Oligarchs starting to systematically loot These United States resources. Citizen’s United decision by SCOTUS opened up the floodgates of money to corrupt our own national politics . For me its getting harder to make sense of trying to instill a neo nazi regime in the Russian Near Abroad – without following the oligarch money trail ..

  45. Alba Etie says:

    FB Ali
    He also has been a champion of endangered wildlife in Siberia and elsewhere.

  46. TTG,
    But why should Putin – or indeed Russia – be an enemy? Why do we still need this kind of ‘you’re either with us or against us’ thinking? Why cannot post-Soviet Russia be accepted as a power with whom the United States has some interests in common, and others which diverge?
    In the comments to which F.B. Ali links, the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke remarks that the aftermath of the Cold War has given rise, in Russia, to ‘a Versailles Treaty type of popular resentment at the consequences of the post-Cold War settlement, and the (unwarranted) unipolar triumphalism (from a Russian perspective).’ A vivid description of this, by a prominent Russian international relations expert, comes in a recent article by Sergei Karaganov, entitled ‘Time to End the Cold War in Europe’, which discusses the ‘Weimar syndrome’ in Russia.
    (See .)
    In a footnote to a paper he wrote back in 2001, on the problems of what he termed the ‘national security paradigm’, which contains an interesting discussion of NATO enlargement, Michael MccGwire, the most significant post-war British analyst of Soviet security policy, commented that:
    “Those who argue that fairness is irrelevant to a ‘realistic’ view of international relations ignore its correlate – resentment. It was German resentment over the terms of the Versailles Treaty that led to the Weimar 1920s and the rise to power of Hitler.”
    (See )
    Thankfully, the ‘Weimar syndrome’ in Russia has not, so far at least, led to the coming to power of an unstable and erratic leadership. What it has done is ensure that even those who were, traditionally, hard-core ‘Westernisers’, like Karaganov, see their country’s future not as being a junior partner in an American-led global political and economic order, but in detaching itself from it and in important respects challenging it.
    It is simply not clear to me what, from the point of view of the United States – let alone Europe, which now has a disintegrating polity on its borders – has been gained from this.

  47. Alba Etie says:

    Norbert M Salamon
    Do you believe that there will be a German brokered deal to end this stand off ? If so will this give the RF foreign policy in places like Syria more EU support ? The more I try to understand the neocons
    mucking about in the Russian Near Abroad the more Putin looks like the adult at the table – as we begin to de-escalate from a shooting war over a neocon supported putsche in Kiev.

  48. Fred, Haralambos,
    There is not a cat in hell’s chance of Ukraine being admitted to the EU — this is a case of a cruel raising of expectations bound to be dashed.
    How far ‘fortress UK’ can be maintained is perhaps a moot point. I was told some years back that in Stryy in West Ukraine, where some members of my extended family come from, there was a sophisticated passport-forging industry, which for the right price would turn you out a first-class Polish passport. Whether technology has developed so as to make such forgeries detectable I do not know.

  49. Norbert M Salamon says:

    Thank you for your reply. I was referring to MSM and sanction analysis. I started reading Saker a while ago and other blogs – they try to cover the issue.
    There is no chance in H**l that Ukraine will be part of Euro, even less being part of NATO.
    The economic collapse will be due to restructuring via the IMF, problems of export to RF, and gas prices.

  50. Norbert M Salamon says:

    My opinion is that the plan of BRIC and EURO area [not EU] will get together as foretold by LEAP 2000 as a necessary economic union of sorts combining natural resources, high end technology and mass market trade.
    There may be a hic-up for the near term due to US interference, but that shall be overcome.
    Please recall that it was US/UK banking cartels which tried to destroy the EU, through attack on banking debts [sovereign and private] when the two antagonist [US/UK] were the main source of the 2008 crash – with their total debt greatly surpassing in ratio to GDP that of the Euro area.

  51. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Haralambos @ 13 May 2014 at 07:10 PM
    With the greatest possible respect to you a few blogs the two whose URIs you quote directly, together with this one, together with “several others” as you put it does not even remotely add up to a sufficiency of available analysis or to be more precise counter-analysis to the prevailing orthodoxy.
    Three blogs plus “several others” isn’t quite as bad making general deductions based on a statistical sample of one but it’s not far off.
    As to the notion of Ukraine joining the EU, joining the EU can be thought of as a six-step process I’ll walk you through them one by one:
    Step 1 – Ukraine makes a formal application to join the EU.
    Step 2 – The European Commission “screens” Ukrainian law to see if the country is compatible with EU membership – I invite you to think long and hard about this step because the EU has been burnt before by not carrying out this step in detail. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, and Romania to give some examples.
    Step 3 – EU governments decide whether to the application. Each and every EU state has a veto. I’ll repeat that – each and every EU state has a veto.
    Step 4 – The EU and Ukriane begin negotiations over individual EU policy areas. There are now 35 very very very detailed “accession chapters” as they are called covering everything from the euro to employment law to the EU budget. Each each and every EU state has a veto over the decision to both open and then to close each and every chapter.
    Step 5 – Only when each and every EU member agrees that the requirements of each and every chapter have been met in full can the process of negotiating the Accession Treaty specifying the terms under which Ukraine will be allowed entry begin. In fact The Commission may not even begin drafting the treaty until each and every EU member agrees that the requirements of each and every chapter have been met in full.
    Step 6 – The Accession Treaty having been drafted and negotiated it must then be ratified by the Parliaments of each and every EU member AND the European Parliament. If even ONE national parliament or the EU parliament votes “no”, the deal falls.
    The Ukraine is not going to join the EU. There is no prospect of it now, there was never any prospect of it in the past, there is no prospect of it for the foreseeable future.
    It’s just not going to happen.

  52. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Norbert M Salamon 13 May 2014 at 08:45 PM
    Precisely, thank you.

  53. Dubhaltach says:

    Two words “General Winter”.
    The gentleman has always fought on the Russian side.

  54. The Twisted Genius says:

    David Habakkuk,
    “But why should Putin – or indeed Russia – be an enemy?”
    You’re right. I’d prefer we view Putin and Russia as potential allies or at least friendly rivals. My point was that if we foolishly choose to view them as enemies, we should respect them as formidable and honorable enemies.

  55. SteveG says:

    Don’t forget the good
    old US of A as far as
    the new arrivals are
    concerned. Local news
    stories,MN, have extend-
    ed family already here.
    More on the way

  56. The Twisted Genius says:

    The relationship between the Maidan thugs and the oligarchs is now a symbiotic one. However, I believe the oligarchs only interest is in increasing their wealth and power and in insulating themselves from Putin’s desire to rein in the powers of the oligarchs. Yatsenyuk, Turchynov and the others are just useful and disposable tools. People like Igor Kolomoyskyi and Stepan Kubiv probably used/controlled more of Nuland’s famed five billion dollars to insure conditions conducive to their activities than their own money. Alter all, they are biznesmen.

  57. Tyler says:

    Iirc its Beau, not Hunter, who is Delaware’s AG.

  58. Tyler says:

    Why can’t we be friends? Because of World War Gay and the fact that Russia offers an alternative to soulless hedonism which is the West’s primary export now.

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They have another choice, to stay on the current course.
    I suspect the escalation path will be chosen and implemented and the next next next president of the United States would re-visit this train wreck.

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Europe has no alternate supply to replace Russian gas – not now and not ever.

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    But why should Putin – or indeed Russia – be an enemy?
    You might as well ask:
    Why China be an enemy?
    Why Iran?
    Why Syria?

  62. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Competent accountants may certainly be had, but that’s not where the problem lies. Just as in Iraq and Afghanistan, Team Fraud will be deployed to rip off enormous piles of money. But the fundamental issue is whether our Elites are so disconnected from reality and hag-ridden by their hubristic conceits that they will never focus their alleged minds on a rational assessment of the situation. Triumphalist hoo-hah in all its varied forms seems to have been the order of the day for 20 some years, and since they dwell in an echo chamber wherein they only talk to and listen to one another, it is difficult to see how this will change. They’ve been in the business of making their own “reality” so long, and leaving it to us peons to judiciously analyze what they have done (h/t Karl Rove), that it is questionable what will rope them down absent gross disaster. They screw up and act with criminal intent, and make everyone else pay for it. Impunity from consequence seems to be a highly intoxicating drug, and since rule of law (like truth during wartime) seems to have been the first casualty, what’s not to like for them? They skate away, while the rest of the world flounders in the icy water of war, ecological degradation, and financial collapse.
    In my work, I clerk the intake of government documents at a law library. Over time, I have watched as on issue after issue, the few among our leaders who have had the vision to identify and attempt to address systemic issues relevant to the well-being of the nation have been ignored and thwarted by the beady-eyed and greedy. It is not an edifying spectacle.

  63. Anna-Marina says:

    The product the neocons and neoliberals are trying to export is not democracy. The moneyed class is not interested in the “biomass” (general population).
    The insatiable thirst for profits and power makes the “deciders” insane

  64. Anna-Marina says:

    “The people of RF are quite willing to make living standard impacts when the security of the Nation is involved.” — This is very true.

  65. fanto says:

    Alba – I have been thinking for a long time that the apt paraphrase of the slogan of Socialist Internationale would be the “Capitalist Internationale” slogan – OLIGARCHS OF THE WORLD – UNITE ;
    Excellent post by FB Ali and excellent comments.

  66. Burton50 says:

    Alba Etie:
    Obama is way in over his head. I really wonder, though: who among the current crop of presidential aspirants would have not only the experience, but the wisdom in this situation?

  67. Charles I says:

    It was interesting to me that while in Canada consulting True Believer PM Harper, Breedlove was all “new cold war”, “permanent troop deployment may be required”, then basically did a 180 as oon as he left.

  68. F.B. Ali,
    Thanks for that very lucid, well-informed and humane overview, which provides a great deal of food for thought.
    As someone who has come to have a deep scepticism about the competence of MI6, the incisiveness of Alastair Crooke’s comments comes as a pleasant surprise. But then he may have been a ‘black sheep’, cast out of the fold.
    There is, however, one critical argument you make about whose validity I am uncertain:
    “But the real reason behind the West’s policies in Ukraine and Eastern Europe is that there is a strong faction among its policymakers that fully understands what is going on but has deliberately chosen this course of action.”
    Back in 2008 Nicholas Gvosdev, now a professor at the Naval War College, discussed on his blog a document from an organisation called ‘the Atlantic Community’, which argued that ‘Ukraine belongs to Europe’, and went on to suggest that ‘Ukraine needs to be integrated into Western alliances without undermining Western-Russian relations.’
    It seemed at the time setting out in some detail why the notion that one could essentially split Ukraine from Russia ‘without undermining Western-Russian relations’ was poppycock – as also an assertion like ‘Ukraine belongs to Europe’, which is fatuous in relation to what is a society deeply divided in complex ways.
    My anticipations of the catastrophic consequences of acting on these delusions do not, I think, look so badly off the mark in retrospect.
    (See .)
    It seems to me that the fundamental problem is that the retreat and collapse of Soviet power left Western elites suffused with a combination of unquestioning faith in their own omnipotence, and also a parallel unquestioning faith in their own righteousness.
    These convictions in turn generated a third – that the use of military force, overt ‘democracy promotion’ organisations like the NED, or covert operations, or a combination of these elements, could produce, in each and every situation, ‘democratic’ outcomes favourable to ‘Western interests’ as perceived by these elites.
    If John Brennan, or indeed Victoria Nuland, were to face up to the extend of the misjudgements they have made about Ukraine, the conclusion would be inescapable – they should not hold the jobs they hold. This is a conclusion they are never going to accept, so they are likely to continue doubling down, and reinforcing failure.

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You wrote:
    “…combination of unquestioning faith in their own omnipotence, and also a parallel unquestioning faith in their own righteousness…”
    Iranian leaders call it “Global Arrogance”.

  70. Tyler,
    I think there are many reasons for this nonsense.
    However, part of the problem in the UK is certainly that self-professed ‘conservatives’ have brought into what are patent absurdities.
    So the ‘Telegraph’ features an article by a dotty American woman in support of the patently ludicrous notion that women should be allowed into the SAS.
    (See .)
    And then, look at an article in the ‘Telegraph’ by their columnist Christina Odone, entitled, ‘The Bearded Lady’s victory is one in the eye for Putin.’
    (See .)
    An odd element about this is that many people here are perfectly happy to accept that women can do all kind of jobs as well as men – without going on to the ludicrous suggestion that roles quite patently demand superior ‘upper body strength’, as I think you once put it, can be done by women.
    And at the same time, there is the complete lack of interest in how cultures of warriors actually work. A curious kind of provincialism, indeed one might say provincial arrogance, takes over.
    Again, there are very many people here who have no desire to discriminate against or persecute gays, but who prefer to stay with the traditional notion that a marriage between a man and woman, with the intention of producing children, is the ‘normal’ state of affairs.

  71. Medicine Man says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time (in recent memory).
    The explanation I find most convincing is that Obama is just too green regarding the mechanisms of Washington, DC to keep track of an manage all the disparate agendas of the government’s many agencies and factions. To some extent having another green president was a desired state of affairs for many in the capitol.

  72. Medicine Man says:

    I take it as an indication that our PM is not important enough to be treated honestly — just placate him so he keeps quacking in the chorus and move on.
    While I’ve found some of our past Prime Ministers embarrassingly unstatesmanlike, Harper’s servility in service of dubious international goals is something else entirely.

  73. Tyler says:

    True, badly worded. Let’s say they want to export consumerism at bayonet point, with all of the values of decadent hedonism.

  74. Norbert M Salamon says:

    agreed, Harper is a buffoon personalized [though more inappropriate words would do more justice to our PM]

  75. Babak Makkinejad,

  76. zanzibar says:

    Yes, for these inveterate gamblers doubling down is the only course. Unfortunately, the gamblers dominate not only in foreign policy but also in economic & financial policy.
    The real question is when does coming up snake eyes matter?

  77. VietnamVet says:

    robt willmann
    This is shocking; the Space Program crippled without Russian rockets. In addition, the Astronauts on the International Space Station require the Russians to land. I bet some Air Force light colonel thought outsourcing rocket engines was not in the national interest but didn’t say anything fearing he’d lose his future stars and industry consulting job after retirement. Clearly more wealth is accumulated by the 0.01% using Russian rockets than manufacturing them in the USA.
    Government has ceased to work for the good of the nation. The plutocrats and Ideologues together pushed for the putsch in Kiev to add more land, fracking gas, and people to exploit. They couldn’t conceive that Russia would push back. The White House has lost its grip on reality. The political leaders can’t face the humiliation of backing down and agreeing to a neutral federated Ukraine and losing all that new money. The VP’s son’s was just awarded his new job with the Ukraine Gas Company.
    No one is thinking ahead. Grab the money now before it is too late.

  78. zanzibar says:

    Thanks for articulating the current lay of the land with respect to the larger power play.
    What is your opinion on the seemingly growing geo-political instability with the Chinese now starting to probe their limits by exerting themselves in the south china seas. How far will Japan and Vietnam push back? And does this coalesce with our overt competition with the Russians?

  79. Burton50 says:

    FB Ali:
    Petro is actually a good specialist. He has an article out somewhere on the interaction of state institutions and local citizen groups in Russia (the Novgorod Oblast’) that suggests that “civil society” is in fact quite active on the local level in the practical matters of governance, that “democracy” with a small “d” has a vital place on that level.

  80. Thomas says:

    In today’s newspaper, the resident Republican correspondent uses the term War Party to label the neo-con influence on conservatism and the party and how Walter Jones fought and withstood their attack.
    So here in the US we are aware of the War Party, we just use neo-cons, neo-wilsonians, R2Pers, etc. as terms of detestation to their specific faction within it. Editorial control of the MSM has kept this awareness and resentment to a minimum of exposure, though it is becoming more difficult.

  81. Thomas says:

    Jersey Jeffersonian,
    The way it has been reported, it looks like former soldiers in the local militia gave a lesson that previously learned service skills still remain to the newly established “Special Brigades”.

  82. Norbert M Salamon says:

    The Guardian has reported that the Ukrainian PM has accepted the Swiss report, sand will meet with the leaders of the separatists.

  83. Mark Logan says:

    If I may interject, look at his resume. How can he be anything but be “weak”? Much of this takes a long time to learn, he must start from scratch on much. IMO, to a great extent Obama is at the mercy of his advisers, perhaps more so than Bush was. W at least had his dad and his dad’s friends.

  84. Alba Etie says:

    Right as rain Tyler thanks ..

  85. FB Ali says:

    David Habakkuk,
    “There is, however, one critical argument you make about whose validity I am uncertain”.
    I made the statement you refer to in the context of Dr Petro’s argument about “mistakes”. There is no doubt that there are policymakers in the West who are making the mistakes he points out since they do not know much about Ukraine’s history or the current conditions there. What I meant to convey was that the real drivers of the West’s policy are aware of these realities while deliberately disregarding them in pursuit of their goal of bringing Ukraine into the West’s fold.
    I advisedly used the title War Party for this latter group. While in the present context they are not averse to starting another Cold War with Russia, their long-term aims go much farther. These are the people who started the open-ended Great War on Terror. Their goal is an unending state of wardom for the United States, which requires a constant supply of “enemies”. Now that the “wars against al Qaeda” in Iraq and Afghanistan are ending, a new enemy is needed, and Russia is a convenient one as the successor of the “Commie” Soviet Union. Meanwhile, “AQ terrorism” is bubbling along merrily in Africa and the ME, while China is being groomed for a starring role in the future. Another ongoing aspect of perpetual wardom is the preparation of the home base, with the NSA and militarized police forces ensuring its security against internal subversion and attack.
    All this is being fuelled by the busy printing presses of the Federal Reserve. Alastair Crooke has hinted on the antidote to this that is obviously considered by Russia and others: “The answer to this question may well hinge on how far the antagonism between Russia and the West is allowed – or even encouraged – to escalate. Only then might it become more apparent how many, and who, is thinking of seceding from the global order (including from the Federal Reserve controlled financial system)”.
    The exchanges on the Gvosdev blog (that you mentioned) make for fascinating reading. You certainly deserve to be highly complimented for the clear vision you displayed in 2008 on the likely consequences of the stupid policy being advocated by the Atlantic Community and Gvosdev on the basis that “Ukraine belongs to Europe. Ukraine needs to be integrated into Western alliances without undermining Western-Russian relations.” I would lump these people in the intellectually challenged category.

  86. Alba Etie says:

    Makes me nostalgic for President George Herbert Walker Bush . There was a CV for President , shot down in WW 2 , CIA Director, Ambassador to China, Congressman .

  87. FB Ali says:

    I think the answer to your questions will be found in my reply to David’s post above.
    It is quite likely that Japan and Vietnam, backed by the US, will push back against China, but that may be toned down while the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine continues. The USA will not want to push China closer to Russia for now.

  88. Alba Etie says:

    Yes someday before I die ( turned sixty one years young today ) I would like to see some banksters – any banksters sent to jail for the economic cromes they have committed -LIBOR manipulation , globally would be a good place to start..

  89. Tyler says:

    A sign of the times:
    The 82nd Airborne is having problems getting ammo for training but the Pentagon is super concerned with making sure Bradley Manning can get his junk lopped off.

  90. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to David Habakkuk @ 14 May 2014 at 03:03 PM
    No, something far worse than stupidity – folly. In the Tuchmanian sense of that word.

  91. TTG, Bandolero, JerseyJeffersonian,
    Evidence of the involvement both of Kolomoisky and ‘Pravy Sektor’ in violence in the East has just emerged in a report in ‘Paris Match’.
    It opens:
    ‘Members of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist group Pravy Sektor took part in a commando-style raid against the Donbass referendum last Sunday, killing two unarmed civilians in the town of Krasnoarmeysk, an investigation by Paris Match has found.’
    The report contains photographs of Andrey Denisenko, supposedly a ‘Pravy Sektor’ leader, at the scene, and quotes witnesses saying that the minivans in which the gunmen arrived were from Kolomoisky’s ‘PrivatBank’.
    For what it is worth, both witnesses and also one of the French photographers suggested indications of foreign involvement:
    “Several witness also said they heard some of the gunmen speaking with strong western Ukraine accents. They also noticed that some of the gunmen appeared to come from the Caucasus area, possibly mercenaries from Chechnya. Other gunmen never spoke a word and seemed foreign to the region. French war photographer Jerome Sessini spent about an hour face to face with the gunmen before they opened fire. ‘I found that their general attitude and their very precise techniques gave off the impression that they were American mercenaries, or people trained by American mercenaries’ said Sessini.”
    (See .)

  92. steve says:

    You’re sure those two items are related?

  93. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    I guess it would be safe to say that it runs in the family, though. Sigh.
    Comfort the comfortable, afflict the afflicted.

  94. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    More news concerning the nexus of Pravy Sektor thugs and mercenaries:
    And from that post, here is the second to last link leading to a story concerning the strangely fortuitous circumstance of the simultaneous hiring of Joe Biden’s youngest son and Devon Archer, former national finance co-chair for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign by a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma:
    A lot at stake for Burisma, considering that permits for drilling that they hold are largely in areas that are in revolt against the Kiev putsch. And then along come the thugs.
    Things that make you go, hmm…

  95. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Upon further evidence, I suspect that you may be correct.

  96. Tyler says:

    Mr. Habakkuk,
    The Left likes to claim its the party of science, at least until science and reality conflict with their insane worldview. Then everything becomes a “social construct”. The Left and its fellow travelers have a complete disconnect with reality, as demonstrated in the links above. So much hand waving of biology, for what purpose? And the singing man thing was a “poke in the eye” towards Putin?
    These people are literally insane it seems. If anything the unwarranted crowing about Eurovision tells Putin he is dealing with a fundamentally unserious people who have no idea what the stakes are. We can see this mentality over and over with the Left, neo liberals, and their enablers. Most recently we were treated to the spectacle of idiots holding up the hash tag about the Nigerian girls. How can they possibly think this do anything? It would be hilarious if it wasn’t all so frightfully serious.
    By the way, I’m glad to see UKIP making strides over there. Perhaps you will get your country back yet.

  97. Alba Etie says:

    Except the time they invaded Finland .

  98. Alba Etie says:

    EWWWWWW !!! ( that’s a hard image to get rid of in my poor mind’s eye )

  99. nick b says:

    Interesting article on Russia, China and gas imports today on Quartz.

  100. nick b says:

    Not ever is a long time. During this decade the Leviathan, Tamar and Aphrodite gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean will come on line. It may not be an alternate for the exclusion of Russian gas to Europe, but it will surely increase the diversification of suppliers, thus driving down Russian market share.

  101. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Alba Etie @ 15 May 2014 at 11:10 AM
    A good point and well taken – although I think it was a combination of Red Army ineffectiveness coupled with brilliant fighting by the Finns.
    How does:
    “The gentleman has always fought on the Russian side except for that one occasion when the Finns talked him into fighting for them” sound to you?

  102. Anna-Marina says:

    A pertinent post on Gardian from a reader:
    “The neo-fascist elements in the Ukraine government are the ministers from both Svoboda and Right Sector:
    Dmitry Yarosh, second in command of National Defence and Security Council, Right Sector Commander.
    Andriy Parubiy, so-founder of Social National Party, renamed Svoboda, commander of the National Defence and Security Council.
    Igor Tenyukh, Svoboda, Minister of Defence, Svoboda
    Oleksandr Sych, Vice Prime Minister, Svoboda.
    Oleg Manitsky, Prosecutor-General, Svoboda.
    They control most of the senior positions that relate to internal security in that government. They are supporting and promoting these paramilitary death squads, rather than disarming them…. With the CIA and FBI setting up offices in Kiev, and with Akademi having 400 troops in Ukraine, it is truer to say that the US is stoking the ethnic pot in Ukraine. I predict many more ‘false flags’ and ‘incidences’ of ethnic cleansing in east Ukraine.”
    And this is really heart-wrenching:
    “I fear for the Ukrainians, the children, women, the sick, the disabled all of them. … Follow the money.”

  103. Tyler says:

    The Pentagon has money to blow on indulging in a traitor’s mental illness versus troop training.
    I think its pretty obvious the Pentagon has chosen appeasing social justice warriors over combat readiness.

  104. Ingolf says:

    Putin has once again written to European leaders about the looming gas crisis:
    “Given the circumstances, the Russian company has issued an advance invoice for gas deliveries to Ukraine, which is completely in accordance with the contract, and after June 1 gas deliveries will be limited to the amount prepaid by the Ukrainian company.
    I would like to emphasise once again that we were forced to make this decision. The Russian Federation is still open to continue consultations and work together with European countries in order to normalise the situation. We also hope that the European Commission will more actively engage in the dialogue in order to work out specific and fair solutions that will help stabilise the Ukrainian economy.”

  105. Fred says:

    He didn’t have balls enough to do his duty, why care if he doesn’t keep ‘m? But we should make him pay his for his own cosmetic surgery though.

  106. Bandolero says:

    There is more.
    RT had just a report based on a leaked phone call saying Kolomoisky informed PoR lawmaker Oleg Tsarev after Kolomoisky’s guys failed in a deadly raid in Mariupol that a million Dollar bounty was put on the lawmakers head and his close people will be killed if they stay around. And, RT informed on a second leaked call from two other guys what strongly indicates Kolomoisky had a strong hand in bloodsheds in Odessa, too. Read yourself:
    The Kolomoisky-Tsarev phone leak video RT used was deleted by Youtube, however other copies exist:
    What I find astonishing is that Kolomoisky seems to completely lost control over himself, not only that he phoned Tsarev himself to threaten him and his friends and family with murder, but also that he used in almost every second sentence dirty language like the four-letter-word starting with f and ending with k. Kolomoisky seems to have completely forgotten, that his current role is the Gouverneur of the Dnepropetrovsk province, since he was appointed to this post by the new Kiev powers – and not mafia boss like his language suggests.
    Voice of Russia has put an english translation of the leaked phone call online, where it just put stars instead of the dirty language:
    In the Rada even some of those PoR parliamentarians who helped ousting Yanukovich started openly accusing the current Kiev powers of being guilty of terrorism camoufalged as an anti-terrorism-operation, and said they start proceedings to bring the current Kiev powers before international courts on charges of bloody provocations, deliberately killing civilians and war crimes.

  107. Valissa says:

    Wise old Aesop explains…
    “You may explode in rage, but men will still go on doing what they have always done.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

  108. turcopolier says:

    This story is often told in the ME. I prefer the thing sbout belling the cat. pl

  109. Anna-Marina,
    One ‘neo-fascist’ elements in the current Ukrainian government, a piece by David Hendrickson in the ‘National Interest’ in March, entitled ‘The West’s Illusions about Ukraine’ in March is of interest.
    (See .)
    On the historical background, a couple of pieces by historians of the Holocaust and related matters are relevant. After President Yushchenko awarded the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’ to the wartime Ukrainian nationalist leader Stefan Bandera in 2010, Norman Goda provided a concise account of some relevant history. An excerpt:
    “Historian Karel Berkhoff, among others, has shown that Bandera, his deputies, and the Nazis shared a key obsession, namely the notion that the Jews in Ukraine were behind Communism and Stalinist imperialism and must be destroyed. ‘The Jews of the Soviet Union,’ read a Banderist statement, ‘are the most loyal supporters of the Bolshevik Regime and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in the Ukraine.’ When the Germans invaded the USSR in June 1941 and captured the East Galician capital of Lvov, Bandera’s lieutenants issued a declaration of independence in his name. They further promised to work closely with Hitler, then helped to launch a pogrom that killed four thousand Lvov Jews in a few days, using weapons ranging from guns to metal poles. ‘We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet,’ a Banderist pamphlet proclaimed to Ukrainian Jews.”
    (See .)
    Of course, this may simply be ancient history – and from West Ukrainians I have known well, I can say that one can have a somewhat roseate view of Bandera without necessarily being anti-Semitic.
    However, in a 2007 interview in ‘The Forward’ about his study ‘Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine’, the Israeli-born historian Omer Bartov argued that past attitudes commonly lingered. The opening exchange:
    “Joshua Cohen: ‘Erased’ is part travelogue and part history-on-the-fly, a biographical dictionary of destroyed Jewish communities in Ukraine and a tragic encyclopedia of how Jewish life (and death) has been misrepresented under Soviet and post-Soviet rule. Why is antisemitism still rife in a Ukraine with so few Jews? What can explain such hatred for a people that no longer shares Ukrainian nationality or land?
    “Omer Bartov: Antisemitism is especially strong in those parts of Ukraine where there are the lowest numbers of Jews and where complicity in the eradication of Jewish communities was greatest – that is, in the regions where the collaborators in the genocide were also those who were seen then, and are seen again now, following the collapse of communism, as the national heroes and liberators of Ukraine. So antisemitism is linked intimately to the absence of Jews rather than to their presence. This is most of all the case in Western Ukraine, the former Eastern Galicia, which was the cradle of Ukrainian nationalism, and from which the Jews were most systematically eradicated with particularly close collaboration from Ukrainian nationalists, who dreamed of a Ukraine free of Jews and Poles. Indeed, the main antisemitic argument in Western Ukraine today is that the government in Kiev is controlled by the Jews, and by their alleged ‘Jew-oligarchs’ from Russia.”
    (See .)
    Also relevant to the current situation is likely to be the fact that both British and German intelligence collaborated with Bandera after the war – the CIA, according to Norman Goda, used some of his ‘former cronies’, but ‘never used Bandera himself, owing to Bandera’s infatuation with his own legend.’

  110. Karim says:

    Alba Etie,
    Happy Birthday! In the fourth paragraph of this article
    you will find an example of the swift hammer of US justice falling on a banker. You can now rest in peace, knowing that your country’s justice system is in good hands…

  111. LJ says:

    David, of course, I 100% agree with you. I thought that what you are arguing is exactly what FB Ali was putting forth. Aren’t you both in agreement? Would you mind clearing things up for me?

  112. Tyler says:

    I get what you’re saying but I find the dichotomy extraordinary in this day and age.
    There’s a lengthy thread about the failing VA system here but the Pentagon has resources to indulge in this fool’s mental illness? I can only imagine how future generations are going to look at this dark age.

  113. Tyler,
    I think ‘literally insane’ is in rather a lot of cases not that far off the mark.
    What you write provokes odd thoughts. At the start of his story ‘The Drums of the Fore and Aft’, Kipling wrote that ‘speaking roughly, you must employ either blackguards or gentlemen, or, best of all, blackguards commanded by gentlemen, to do butcher’s work with efficiency and dispatch.’
    Ironically, perhaps, although the U.S. Army was quite different from the British Indian Army, quite a few of the ‘blackguards’ to whom Kipling was referring were Catholic Irish, like the parents of ‘Kim’ – they could have been the cousins of those who appear, mythologised, in the John Ford ‘cavalry’ films.
    What hasn’t disappeared, and isn’t going to, is the need for people who can ‘do butcher’s work with efficiency and dispatch.’
    We now have a situation where – perhaps in the United States even more than in Britain – the ‘gentlemen’ no longer serve, but are enthusiastic about sending those they regard as their social inferiors to fight the kind of wars which yesterday’s ‘gentlemen’ often had the good sense to try to avoid.
    At the same time, they simply do not understand that lack of concern for the fighting efficiency of one’s military can involve serious risks – and would not dream of asking people who have relevant practical experience for their views on the matter.
    It is all sheer madness.
    On one point, however, I disagree with you. These pathologies do not simply belong to ‘Left.’ The reports to which I linked were not in the ‘Guardian’, but the ‘Telegraph’ – traditionally the newspapers from which conservative people here imbibed their news and opinions.
    It was Christina Odone, former editor of the ‘Catholic Herald’ who wrote:
    ‘For the majority of Eurovision fans, Conchita deserved her crown because she offered living proof that when it comes to sex, anything goes.’
    If one wants an example of the complex forms of moral corruption in contemporary Britain, a passage from Odone’s description of arguments involving her husband, Edward Lucas, is instructive:
    ‘By dint of marrying a professional Putin-basher, I was out of step with this collective oligarch-o-philia. My husband, a former Moscow correspondent, had written bleak (but with hindsight, prescient) polemics about Kremlin corruption and its tentacles in the West. We paid the price for his warnings in social terms, becoming personae non gratae at some smart parties. It turned out lots of people we knew owed their living to the new Russians: lawyers, journalists, boutique-owners… Those who kept us on their guest list would issue very clear instructions. I remember the hostess at a grand drinks party sailing towards us and hissing at my husband, “don’t go on about Putin, we have an oligarch here!” It so happened the oligarch in question was the late Boris Berezovsky, who hated the Russian leader even more than Edward did; they spent the rest of the garden party exchanging gloomy predictions about Putin’s insatiable appetite for power.
    ‘They have been vindicated. (Though the hapless Berezovsky, who, debt-ridden and desperate, committed suicide last year, did not live to see it.) Just as in F Scott Fitzgerald’s book, money had blinded people to the truth: the Gatsbys of this world are never quite what they seem.’
    It is difficult to work out whether the British scum who sucked up to the current Russian authorities, or those – like Edward Lucas – who sucked up to Berezovsky, are the most awful: the notion that Berezovsky’s money, when he had it, did not ‘blind people to the truth’ is comic.
    My own preference is for the former kind of scum, but then, I look back to dim and distant days when quite a few people in this country valued their own independence of judgement.
    (For Odone’s comments, see .)

  114. Fred says:

    The Pentagon is responding the the LGBT polical pressure. Virtually none of them (LGBTs) are or will ever be veterans regardless of being able to serve ‘out of the closet’. The army didn’t make Manning that way – he was, to quote the bard, ‘born this way’. Sadly Hagel doesn’t have the balls to tell the LGBT community he/she has to pay for the surgery since it sure ain’t a service connected disability.

  115. turcopolier says:

    “Virtually none of them (LGBTs) are or will ever be veterans regardless of being able to serve ‘out of the closet’.” I dunno. When I was a PL in B 2/2 inf as a kid my pl sergeant had three SS from Korea, and had twice won the 8th Army best rifle platoon leader annual contest due to a lack of officers. He was in E 27th Inf’s company strength bayonet charge. He was Millet’s radio operator. He was as queer as a three dollar bill, but he took his personal business off post. A nicer guy you will never meet. I just don’t know… pl

  116. Fred says:

    Yes, I knew a couple in the submarine force. “he took his personal business off post” That’s the way the best men (and women) I’ve worked with have handled things whether it was in the service or in the civilian world. My appologies for venting my frustrations.

  117. Alba Etie says:

    I used to subscribe to counterpunch perhaps I should again ..

  118. Alba Etie says:

    Nicely done ..

  119. bth says:

    Col Lang and FB Ali would you consider creating a separate thread leading with Ali’s thoughts on future Pak, Afghan and US relations with India after this week’s election results.

  120. FB Ali says:

    That’s a good topic, but it’s a bit early even for any informed speculation on the matter. I’ll keep it in mind and if I have something useful to share, will certainly do so.

  121. General Ali! Could you provide commentary on today’s [May22nd] election results in the Ukraine? And perhaps elections in South Asia? No rush of course!

  122. JJ! Thanks for the link and US involvement in looting in Soviet Union state assets never much discussed anywhere.
    The last sentence of you comment outstanding IMO!

  123. A brilliant comment and thanks for your walk around [about]observations.

  124. This great comment accurately describes past events IMO! The cause is not in dispute and effects continue worldwide! And domestically. Geithner’s book was ghost written BTW!

  125. TTG! Great comment IMO and very accurate!

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