“Ukraine: Failure Of Imagination” by Walrus

Walrus 6
On Saturday February 7, 2009, 173 people died in a series of Bushfires across my State. (Australia)

Black Saturday Bushfires.

The resulting Commission of Inquiry revealed  what I would label "Failure Of Imagination" 

The command and control systems at State level utterly failed to cope with the fast moving fire events, especially fires overlapping brigade boundaries. As far as I can tell no high level "war games" – command post exercises had been conducted, despite the fact that fires are an everyday feature of Australian summer, and their ability to attack the rural fringe of cities had been demonstrated many times – failure of imagination.

And the Leader whose responsibility this was – a former female police chief? She was having her hair done that Saturday and was out of the loop on a declared high fire danger day when prompt action might have saved lives. What can I say?

Failure Of Imagination.

While acknowledging that truth is the first casualty, I note that the "Vineyard Of The Saker" weblog has just posted a video that allegedly demonstrates that the recent deaths of Pro Russian protesters in Odessa was a put up job orchestrated from Kiev. Is this not likely to energise Russian sympathies a little more? How much more of this will Russia take before it intervenes?


One has to ask is Victoria Nuland guilty of a "Failure Of Imagination" over where current Ukraine foreign policy may lead? Where will she be when perhaps a Putin ultimatum expires; in the beauty salon? 

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30 Responses to “Ukraine: Failure Of Imagination” by Walrus

  1. Fred says:

    “One has to ask…”
    I hope the Norwegians are asking “What could possibly go wrong?” Unless they think Anders Breivik is the only neo-nazi who’ll kill fellow Norwegians. Of course the Germans won’t have to ask, they don’t have any neo-nazis, right? Or the French, the Czechoslovakians, the Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians….
    I’m sure the unemployed of Greece and Spain, 25% of the population, is behind expanding NATO and the EU to help out Ukraine. What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Eliot says:

    Imagination is the right word, one needs the imagination to understand the other – to understand the other as they see themselves.
    Our Ukrainian acolytes seem pretty keen on blowing the country up. In their fervor, I don’t think they realize the magnitude of their error. Suppressing the revolt, assuming that they can, it will do little to bring the east into their fold. Indeed, it’s more likely to do just the opposite. The violent deaths of civilians and militants alike will push the fence sitters in active opposition. Kiev will create the very eventuality that they’re trying to prevent.
    God help them all.
    – Eliot

  3. WILL says:

    the forest fires were in Oz, so the poster is the tusked one (Walrus)?

  4. ISL says:

    Thanks Walrus, People who live in a fantasy bubble have a failure to imagine how the world really is and that outcomes other than their fantasy occur.
    out of Norway, a few intelligent ideas (that are too sensible for )
    and a very good point that a civil war in a country with aging nuclear reactors is a recipe for an unimaginable (Chernobyl 2) disaster. Perhaps Germany will tell Obama to go make a mess of his own continent (and since we elected him and congress can impeach him – we will have no one to blame but our dilapidated political system) instead of screwing up their backyard – radioactive fall out is not controllable by NATO.

  5. Valissa says:

    Here’s a another example of a failure of imagination… Hollywood hops on to the anti-Russia propaganda bandwagon. Of course, it has a long history of being a CIA tool.
    Allegiance: New CIA Drama for NBC http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/allegiance-new-cia-drama-for-nbc-32354/
    Allegiance centers on Alex O’Connor, a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, who learns a shocking secret and his close-knit, affluent family is about to be split apart when its revealed that his parents, Mark (Scott Cohen) and Katya (Hope Davis) are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. But today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. border that will bring America to its knees.
    The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television, by Tricia Jenkins http://www.amazon.com/The-CIA-Hollywood-Agency-Television/dp/0292754361

  6. Larry Kart says:

    I hold no brief for Mrs. Donald Kagan (a.k.a. Victoria Nuland), but what’s with “in the beauty salon”? Actually, I would prefer that Nuland spend more time dealing with her personal appearance and less time screwing up U.S. foreign policy. Or is she known for ditching meetings in order to have her nails done?

  7. The Twisted Genius says:

    I think this failure of imagination is far more than a laziness in thought. It is the product of an aggressively cocksure faith in the tenets of one’s culture and/or world view. It is an inability and unwillingness to entertain any questions that may challenge those tenets. These are the true believers who simply cannot fathom the possibility that the “other” or their views are even worthy of contemplation, much less compassion. It must take an enormous amount of energy to maintain this cocksureness in the face of the complicated and shifting reality that surrounds us.

  8. Haralmbos says:

    The translation of Aristotle’s description of the effect of viewing tragedy portrayed on stage was the combined emotions of fear and pity. I have often felt that this translation limps badly, especially the use of “fear” to render what in the ancient Greek were words based on φρίσσω meaning “shuddering horror” or “hair-raising horror.” The element of fear relates to the viewers’ fear that they too might fall into the pitiable situation of the protagonist of such an event, an Oedipus blinding himself at the horror of what he has done and unable to bear the sight of others’ reaction or Ajax killing himself because he cannot face his fellow warriors after his delusional mistake of slaying sheep and cattle thinking that they were his fellow warriors who had awarded Achilles’ armor to Odysseus. (The word used to translate the final line of _Apocalypse Now_ (“the horror”) into Modern Greek is φρίκη.)
    I believe most people have experienced such emotions in their lives both in witnessing staged tragedies and those in their lives as lived and not merely re-enacted on stage. One element in the required imagination noted here I suggest involves an understanding such as staged tragedy can offer.

  9. Norbert M Salamon says:

    Appears that Mr. Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian force from the Ukraine border – no doubt upsetting certain war mongers

  10. no one says:

    Walrus, I think Nuland’s imagination has failed because she is so drunk on power that she can’t think straight. Just look at the video wherein she is bragging about spending $5 billion to, basically, foment revolution in the Ukraine. The silly wench is practically orgasmic over the idea that her nefarious plans are coming to fruition. This is an unbalanced personality and yes, she’d be best in the role of the kept woman passing time in the salon.

  11. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Thank you for this.
    There are questions that demand answers. Without those questions, and without their answers, our Misleaders operate without consequences for themselves, and by God, that would be not only unjust, but also an indictment against us as citizens of the nation.
    Now, our Misleaders lie fluently and persistently, and take comfort under the cover of the Big Lie; lie before you act, lie about what you did, and rely upon the power of the media narrative that echoes and amplifies those lies to cover your tracks. Truth then straggles behind, struggling to be heard.
    In the Odessa horror, there is evidence of what likely was done to set it in motion, as seen in the above mentioned video documentation and analysis:
    The translated transcript is below the video.
    As to the result, here it is. This is graphic, and horrifying, yet the analysis applied to the visual evidence is of consequence, so steel yourselves:
    This is what Nazis do. I’m sure you recall seeing documentary films and photographs from World War II of their calculated savagery. I myself recall a nightmare-haunted night after viewing a graphic documentary concerning death camps when I was a child. Never again? Yes, this is what Nazis do; but who gave them the mandate to do it?
    Question: What were the purposes behind the visits to Kiev by Brennan and Biden?
    Question: Is this what you want to be done in your name?

  12. Eliot,
    From a description of the behaviour of the pro-Kiev people in Odessa last Friday, in the ‘New York Times’:
    ‘They also hurled a new taunt: “Colorado” for the Colorado potato beetle, striped red and black like the pro-Russian ribbons. Those outside chanted “burn Colorado, burn,” witnesses said.’
    (See http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/05/world/europe/kievs-reins-weaken-as-chaos spreads.html?hpw&rref=world )
    The ‘pro-Russian’ ribbons, the St. George’s Ribbons, are a classic symbol of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. And this war, it is important to recall, was a war initiated by Nazi Germany, aimed at the annihilation and enslavement of Slav peoples – including Ukrainians.
    But probably State Department people with PhD’s in political science find all that a bit difficult to understand.
    From the State Department’s 13 April release, entitled ‘Russian Fiction the Sequel: 10 More False Claims About Ukraine’, two things seem clear. One is that the State Department does not do intelligence, in any conventional sense.
    As indeed their spokesperson, the ineffable Jen Psaki, made clear, when asked if the Department had any ‘independent sources’ other than the new Ukrainian authorities on what was going on in the country, they simply take what their clients tell them at face value.
    (See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/04/224477.htm .)
    The other is that – with Ukraine, as with Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Syria and it seems indeed practically everywhere – the State Department will never surrender the assumption that they are dealing with some cohesive ‘people’ or ‘nation’, even where the reality is quite patently that these societies are deeply and bitterly divided.
    The nemesis of this folly is that people like Nuland moved from the – correct – premise that rather few people in the East and South of Ukraine, let alone Kiev, wanted to be back under the control of Moscow, to the – borderline insane – belief that they could empower the heirs of Stefan Bandera without adverse consequences.
    It is quite possible, moreover, that the adverse consequences may go significantly further.
    As you obviously know, two days after Nazi Germany unleashed the assault on the Soviet Union in which the ‘Banderistas’ were fully complicit, a not very well known senator from Missouri was quoted suggesting that ‘if we see that Germany is willing we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible.’
    In the days of the Soviet ‘muffled zone’, Russians had what I have always thought likely to have been a hardly very deeply considered remark thrust down their throats – and, unsurprisingly, many concluded they were being fed lies.
    If however people like John Brennan continue to act as apologists for those who chant ‘burn Colorado, burn,’ then not only Russians, but quite a few ethnic Ukrainians, are liable to conclude that Harry Truman expressed the reality of American policy.
    In saying this, I should perhaps stress, I am not trying to replace one simple Manichean vision with another. Indeed, as my own personal links – through members of my extended family and the wife of an old family friend – are with Western Ukraine rather than East, I have reason to be conscious of the reasons why people in Lviv are liable to hate Russia.
    But then, as my brother-in-law’s stepdaughter, who comes from Lviv, put it when we were talking about these matters some years ago, there are wounds that don’t need scratching.

  13. Valissa says:

    When I read the translated Fursov lecture on the events in the Ukraine, which was discussed here a few days ago in the comments ( https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:Battleground_Ukraine ) I tried to imagine ways to present some of this material to an American TV audience to get their attention and maybe even get them thinking.
    About the Ukrainian oligarchs… perhaps a soap opera “All My Oligarchs” or a reality TV show “The Real Oligarchs of Ukraine” or even a Ukrainian version of Dallas.
    Then there was the fact of all the different intelligence agencies that operate in the Ukraine. Many dramatic and humorous possibilities there. I can imagine a high class Game of Thrones type series on that, with the various intelligence agencies competing for power and control of Ukraine. Or maybe a “Get Smart” meets “F Troop” meets “Mash” (their cynical attitude towards gov’t& bureaucracy) style sitcom.
    A Doonesbury-esque cartoon strip on the Ukrainian situation could also be very subversively educational.

  14. Rd. says:

    Perhaps the failure of imagination drives from the hegemonic crowds attempting to pull an Afghanistan (ala 70’s) in response to Vietnam. To force Russia to move into Ukraine and drain their resources, in response for what the hegemony crowd have accomplished (failed) in Iraq/afghan (2000s), Libya, Syria, etc.. a drained US financially, morally, etc..
    For that, they are willing to have the locals slaughtered (collateral damage). That will have further UN-intended consequences for US hegemony plans (ala Iraqi collateral damage).

  15. VietnamVet says:

    I am awaiting the Colonel’s analysis of Vladimir Putin’s statement that the Russian troops are being moved back from the Ukraine border.
    It is striking that the White House immediately countered that it had no evidence of a troop pullout. Also, there has been no statement of condolence or offer to aid an impartial investigation into the Odessa Horror. This is worse than anything I remember from the First Cold War. The White House is acting and speaking as if the USA is in a hot war with Russia.
    The pull back, thank god, lessens the risk of nuclear exchange. However, if a diplomatic plan for a neutral federated Ukraine isn’t agreed to soon, the century’s old conflict between the East and West will expand a dangerous nationwide civil war. There are 15 working nuclear reactors in Ukraine and 4 Chernobyl tombs that could melt down and release radioactive fallout if not maintained due to the fighting.

  16. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Well, they were happy to think that Sudan and Serbia were not nations (while Bosnia was). I don’t know if they really think through their own propaganda with any kind of logical consistency.
    One of the problems is that advanced degrees are distributed a little too freely. Too many people come into graduate schools, even PhD programs, with the expectation that they are tickets for engaging in political advocacy, not as pathways for learning and scholarship. Their impact on academia itself is, to a large degree, anti-intellectual, poisonous, and destructive–which is why they tend to be moved into policy schools, think tanks, or governments, unfortunately. And ultimately, not helpful for academia either–their antics reinforce the notion that academia is useless, but, unfortunately, this reverberates back to academia via calls for academics to become more “relevant,” which often means producing even more people who just want to do politics and not engage in scholarship (even if they might or might have different goals they want to pursue–this becomes tricky since everyone who wants to be “relevant,” whatever their political leanings, wind up being bloodthirsty interventionists anyways.)
    Honestly, I tend to think the real solution to this problem is not to belittle academics but let them do their own thing and not burden them with these crazy anti-academics who wear academic skin to play politics.

  17. Anna-Marina says:

    And this is the best hope of the US State Department?
    The silence from AIPAC and J–STREET is deafening. Should not be there some direct questions to Kagans and Nudelman and Michael Kassen (the prez of AIPAC)? At least, some Israelis recognize the current rise of neonazis in Ukraine (under the aegis of State Dept.)
    Mr. Brennan made quite a strong connection between the CIA and the actions of Kiev’s putschists and their strongest supporters, the neonazis, in Eastern Ukraine.

  18. Anna-Marina says:

    Thank god we still have the freedom of information on the Internet, so that the incompetence, stupidity, and vicious thirst for power become exposed for posterity.
    Here are the names of some perspective dissertations: AIPAC and neonazis; Obama and habeas corpus; Bush and his puppeteers; Cheney, mass graves, and corporate profits.

  19. turcopolier says:

    It is an excellent question that you ask concerning the silence of Jewish groups in the US regarding American and Israeli policy that favors the rebels in Syria. These rebels are dominated by various jihadi groups who hate Israel in particular and the West in general. A rebel victory in Syria will produce IMO a jihadi emirate on Israel’s border. Are Jewish Americans so slavishly in thrall to Natanyahu’s policy that they have no independent voice? And then there is the issue of the political identity of the Kievan state. Does AIPAC really think the Nuland/Kagan dream should be AIPAC’s dream? pl

  20. Colonel Lang,
    ‘A rebel victory in Syria will produce IMO a jihadi emirate on Israel’s border.’
    I just came across comments supposedly made by the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas on a French TV programme in June last year. From the version on the Iranian PressTV site:
    ‘A former French foreign minister says Britain had been planning a war against Syria some two years before to the unrest broke out in the Arab country.
    ‘The statement by Roland Dumas came during a recent interview with French Parliamentary TV network, LCP.
    ‘“I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria,” said Dumas.
    ‘He continued by saying, “This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.”
    ‘Responding to a question on the motive behind inciting violence in Syria, Dumas said, “Very simple! With the very simple aim! To overthrow the Syrian government, because in the region, it’s important to understand, that the Syrian regime makes anti-Israeli talk,” said Dumas.
    ‘The former foreign minister added that he had been told by an Israeli prime minister a long time ago that Tel Aviv would seek to “destroy” any country that did not “get along” with it in the region.’
    (http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/06/16/309276/uk-planned-war-on-syria-before-unrest/ )
    I cannot trace a French original of this, so am not in a position to be sure of its authenticity, and also do not know how reliable a source Dumas is.
    If however this is an accurate report of him telling the truth, it would seem to imply that the Israelis have managed to draw not only the organised American Jewish community but the British government along with their suicidal lunacy.
    If anyone could trace a French original of the report, I would be grateful.

  21. Karim,
    Very many thanks for that.
    Although I am a poor linguist, my French is good enough to see that the PressTV translation is accurate.
    A couple of questions:
    1. Is Dumas a reliable source? My hunch would be that he would be likely to be so, but there is so much disinformation around that unless one knows someone’s credentials it is prudent to be cautious.
    2. Assuming that he is, can we legitimately infer that the driving force behind the destabilisation, at least on the Western side, was British? It is sometimes difficult to know whether initiatives apparently coming out of London do so because they are actually start here, or because having them appear to do so gives convenient ‘deniability’ to elements in the United States.

  22. Lars Moller-Rasmussen says:

    David Habakkuk,
    A brief search on Google in French shows that Dumas has, over the past few years, made several statements critical of Israel, including the interview you refer to. This is remarkable given his background as the Foreign Minister of President Francois Mitterrand who was relatively friendly with Israel.
    People who know more than I do about French politics and Mr. Dumas may be able to judge whether this is another example of a former insider now trumpeting his regret over past deeds. However, on the most basic point I do share your scepticism. It is hard to believe that the British government all by itself (or even in collusion with the French) arrived at a decision to try to topple the government of Syria.
    The rather conspiracy-minded French website Voltairenet said of the interview that it confirmed their own theory that a British-French decision to undermine the Syrian government was reached in connection with the “Lancaster House Agreement” in October 2010. See:

  23. Karim says:

    Dumas has only been involved in three or so corruption scandals, so he is oozing with integrity by French politicians’ standards.
    He conducted a lot of secret diplomacy on behalf of the French gov. in the ME and Africa (some of the corruption cases were related to this activity). Given that, I would take whatever he says with a small grain of salt. Note that he is exceedingly vague about the nature of his British interlocutors.
    However, I think it very likely that such a plan existed. After all, the Israelis have since the 1950s had a plan (a poster mentioned it here recently, but I have forgotten its name) to divide the Middle East into ethnic/sectarian statelets. People in the Israeli gov. have pulled it off the shelf and tried to implement it every now and then whenever they thought the conditions were ripe. Eventually it found its way, through the “Clean Break” paper and the PNAC, into US circles and presumably also UK neo-con circles.
    So plans probably did exist. As to who the driver was, it was probably a trans-Atlantic affair. After all, if I recall correctly a cable from the US embassy in Jordan, released by Wikileaks, quotes King Abdallah as telling the US ambasador something along the lines of “we are ready, we have prepared our networks among the tribes in Syria” (that would probably be the tribes around Daraa, where the uprising eventually started). This was also a couple of years before the uprising.
    Still, this was probably just planning rather than actual preparation. I would imagine that a trans-Atlantic clique of neo-cons was working hard to convince both governments to turn these plans into action (and eventually succeeded some years later). The “driving force” would therefore have been on both sides of the Atlantic. I certainly find it quite unlikely that Brits would on their own plan to destabilise Syria while US troops were still in Iraq.

  24. Anna-Marina says:

    Some impressions from a conversation with the people living in Russia:
    1. They are horrified by the possibility of another major war
    2. They do not believe that the highly cynical US-EU politics in Ukraine can be initiated by the governments and suggest that there are some supra-governmental forces in action, which are completely unaccountable and irresponsible to popular opinion.
    3. Obama seems more and more as a puppet in somebody’s hands.
    The Day of Victory over fascism coincided with the days of horrors in Odessa where the civilians (including 8-month pregnant woman) were burnt alive by the Ukrainian neonazis. The US has been supporting the neonazis during the putsch in Kiev and it seems that Brennan personally provided guidance to them during his visit to Kiev (the visit followed by the initiation of a civil war).
    Since among the main ideologists of the ongoing civil war in Ukraine are certain prominent neocons, the silence from both AIPAC and J street appears as an endorsement of the neonazis.

  25. Anna-Marina says:

    And now this:
    “About 400 elite commandos of a notorious US private security firm, Academi [former Blackwater], are involved in a punitive operation mounted by Ukraine’s new government against federalization supporters in eastern Ukraine, the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.”

  26. Bandolero says:

    New news from the Donetsk region:
    Armed men in eastern Ukraine open fire on crowd

  27. Anna-Marina says:

    Perhaps this is not a failure of imagination but a plan to start a civil war in Ukraine by any means, followed by dismembering of the Russian Federation. Millions dead people be damn; the State Dept. and their handlers do not care. The Ukrainian events look for now as a successful attempt to weaken Europe as well. Basically, the oligarchs, who run the show in Ukraine, think about humanity in one word – biomass (courtesy Yulia Timoshenko). These subhumans-in-power have an illusion (due to their psychopathic carelessness and the believe that there are always other people ready to save the world) that the nuclear arsenal can be controlled and that the nuclear confrontation between the Western oligarchy and the rest could be resolved into a situation when the planet will be still a livable place. Lunatics.

  28. Fred says:

    I doubt that private security firm employees enjoy the protection of a status of forces agreement. They can’t be cheap to hire either. I’m wondering who’s really footing that bill?

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