The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

If I were a Russian Strategist I’d say “invade the Ukraine”

Really.  Too much talk about joining NATO, and that’s too close to Moscow, plus the West’s unremitting hostility to Russia pulling the sort of stunts that the US pulls frequently, indicates that the West is a real danger and that if they waste this opportunity, they won’t get another one.

I’d advise Putin to go.

(For the thick, I hope they don’t, and I’m not a Russian strategist.  Just saying that just as losing Sevastopol and Crimea was something Russia could NOT tolerate, that Ukraine joining NATO is an actual red line.)

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The Prelude to the End of the American Era


Moving this week, so posting will be light


  1. VietnamVet

    The crazies in charge in Washington DC are challenging Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. This gets the war they want and destabilizes Russia, making it all the better to exploit, again. What is insane that they can’t conceive a former KGB officer not learning from Barbarossa and the French Invasion and waiting until chaos descends on Ukraine? Then the Russian Troops will be welcomed in as Peace Keepers.

    This is a replay of 1914 a century later and signals the end of the American Empire. The only question left is will WW III be avoided or are we dead men walking?

  2. I would also close the land route to Afghanistan and make it clear that it will never be reopened. Like you, Ian, I hope they do not do it, but I am wondering why they have not already done it.

  3. markfromireland

    Invade, force finlandisation, but do not occupy beyond the short-term. Be prepared to bitch-slap Georgia again if, as they appear to be doing, they get antsy:

    France and Germany assured Georgia yesterday (24 April) that a deal bringing it closer to the European Union would be sealed within weeks, moving to tighten ties with the ex-Soviet republic as tension mounts between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
    The two core EU nations’ top diplomats affirmed plans to speed up the signing of an Association Agreement (AA) to boost trade and political ties – the same kind of pact whose rejection by Ukraine in November touched off the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War.
    The AA would be similar to the one proposed to Ukraine, which prompted Russia to try to prevent its signature. Having learned the bitter lesson of procrastinating with Ukraine, EU leaders decided last December to put Georgia and Moldova on a fast track to sign theirs by August 2014 [read more]. At their 20-21 March summit, EU leaders decided to sign the AA with Moldova and Georgia no later than June 2014.
    Source: France, Germany reassure Russia on Georgia’s EU association | EurActiv


  4. markfromireland

    @ Bill H April 27, 2014

    I am wondering why they have not already done it.

    Are you familiar with the expression “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”?


  5. Dan H

    Many are lauding the American populace for the pronounced disgust with the Syrian push for war. If there were another terrorist attack, with Russian connections, in this environment, would the populace keep its high ground?

  6. @markfromireland
    I was actually thinking of NATO’s announcement that it would “cease all cooperation with Russian activity,” but that at the same time that it “expected Russian cooperation with Afghanistan supply and drug interdiction to continue.” I’m uncertain why Russia would not respond by saying that those expectations were unrealistic and closing the land route.

    That said, your point is well taken. Obama makes threats which he cannot carry out. Putin says little and merely kicks ass when the time comes to do so.

  7. jonst

    I would argue that if they invade it will be a strategic blunder on the scale of the disastrous Nazi Soviet Pact. If they invade they will scare the living hell out of the rest of the European Nations including Germany. First and foremost, Germany. Followed by Poland. And they will find themselves in a bloody, resource draining, IRA v. the UK like guerrilla war. And that is the BEST scenario. The other one is we stumble into WW III.

  8. markfromireland

    @ Bill H April 27, 2014

    Try thinking this one through through the eyes of a Russian patriot. What my Russian friends and contacts say to me is that what America is doing in Afghanistan is a massive drain on its military and economic capabilities. It’s still early days – the Americans haven’t started to withdraw either personnel or TOE from Afghanistan. The best time to pull the plug would be just before they start. Then sit back and enjoy the show as they realise that they’re trapped in very hostile surroundings and with dwindling supplies. The other ways out are easily closed.

    I wonder what would happen in such a situation if the Russians did to the Americans what the Americans consistently do to everyone else and supplied some deniable weaponry such as a few Surface to Air Missiles to some bribable Afghan fighters. That would shut down Bagram very very quickly indeed. Paying some other people to dynamite the narrow mountain roads into Pakistan over which American troops would then have to evacuated would also be a sensible move.

    Пожалуйста, дайте мне немного попкорна

    (‘Pass the popcorn’ in Russian, in my experience of them Russians set great store by politeness so Пожалуйста, дайте мне немного попкорна translates literally as ‘Please give me some popcorn’ )

    Then again I’m pretty sure that there’s a debate going on in Russia between those who want to inflict pain on America now and are thus arguing for closing the Northern Supply Route immediately and those who like my friends and contacts want to wait a while for the time of maximum effectiveness so that it will hurt Americans far more.


  9. avatar

    all plots r done by the evil english race-read dumas interview-they pass the blame2 jews if turned unpopular.
    England is head of the family. USA is just the loud mouthed son with a fancy car.
    Even after french ex misnter Dumas saying that english planned syrian terrorism years ago-rus talks?
    england is running a WW3 agasint all non anglo nations ofociurse it needs american arms for that.

    Gulf war plotted by witch thatcher, first iraq war by criminal tony blair-this syrian by english rat
    only when wars become unpopular the english stoptaking credit for that nd let blame b placed on Jews
    and stupid people including hitler blamed jews while it was all along the english parasites who loot.
    england lives off protection money from the international criminals whoget asylum in england 4 money.
    biggest money laundering is done by the english race in london calling it service industry
    anglophile kissinger promised british controlled gulf monarchies protection run by the british -usa.

    World war one and two plotted and started by england.
    Napoleaon’s attack on Russia plotted by england(to which the Great Napoleaon himself admitted).
    Considering the extent of the disaster(at battle of Auterlitzs and of Ulm before that in 1805 instigated by england with money stolen from India), The Austrian Emperor said


    The Emperor forgot to mention that the payment is from the victim or some other pople’s wealth.

    And English are too coward to fight on their own-they have never won a single war on their own since boar war in 1899 and that too with all resources of loot from empire.

    The wars in Iraq and Syria were planned in advance as far back as the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union:

    “We screwed up and left Saddam Hussein in power. The president [then George H.W. Bush] believes he’ll be overthrown by his own people, but I rather doubt it,” he quotes Wolfowitz lamenting. “But we did learn one thing that’s very important. With the end of the Cold War, we can now use our military with impunity. The Soviets won’t come in to block us. And we’ve got five, maybe 10, years to clean up these old Soviet surrogate regimes like Iraq and Syria before the next superpower emerges to challenge us … We could have a little more time, but no one really knows.”

  10. avatar

    Washington Drives The World To War — Paul Craig Roberts
    April 14, 2014
    Quote “

    The danger for Russia is that the Russian government will rely on diplomacy, international organizations, international cooperation, and on the common sense and self-interest of German politicians and politicians in other of Washington’s European puppet states.

    For Russia this could be a fatal mistake. There is no good will in Washington, only mendacity. Russian delay provides Washington with time to build up forces on Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea and to demonize Russia with propaganda and whip up the US population into a war frenzy. The latter is already occurring.
    In my opinion, Washington does not want the Ukraine matters settled in a diplomatic and reasonable way. It might be the case that Russia’s best move is immediately to occupy the Russian territories of Ukraine and re-absorb the territories into Russia from whence they came. This should be done before the US and its NATO puppets are prepared for war. It is more difficult for Washington to start a war when the objects of the war have already been lost. Russia will be demonized with endless propaganda from Washington whether or not Russia re-absorbs its traditional territories. If Russia allows these territories to be suppressed by Washington, the prestige and authority of the Russian government will collapse. Perhaps that is what Washington is counting on.
    In my opinion, the Russian and Chinese governments have made serious strategic mistakes by remaining within the US dollar-based international payments system. The BRICS and any others with a brain should instantly desert the dollar system, which is a mechanism for US imperialism. The countries of the BRICS should immediately create their own separate payments system and their own exclusive communications/Internet system.

    Russia and China have stupidly made these strategic mistakes,
    By Paul Craig Roberts

  11. Ian Welsh

    I think Paul Craig is substantially right: just invade sooner rather than later, peel off the Russian areas, finlandize the rest, and get together with the BRICS and create a second payment system.

  12. @markfromireland
    I guess I was not thinking in terms of inflicting maximum harm, since that is the thought process used after war has already begun.

    I was thinking more in terms of stopping the escalation. The longer Putin remains silent, the more his enemy interprets that as weakness and keeps “piling on.” When each poke in the eye is met with a proportional counterpoke, then the enemy has a better sense that he is not dealing with some recalcitrant child, but actually is dealing with something more on the order of a peer and might need to be a bit more restrained in his actions.

    Obama acts like he is certainly not dealing with a peer, the head of a sovreign nation, and his language has been singularly unrestrained and insulting, even for America, which specializes in insulting other nations. “Russia is a regional power,” he says, which “does not want war with us because our conventional weapons are bigger,” which sounds rather like a high school taunt. His top commander announces that we will “cease all cooperation” with Russia while expecting them to continue cooperating with us. I expect Obama at any moment to start expounding about who has the bigger manhood.

    I’m sure Putin knows thr “sticks and stones” thing, but he has got to be getting pretty tired of Obama taunting and belittling him and his nation. I keep having this sinking feeling that the longer he waits to respond, the bigger the response is going to be.

  13. markfromireland

    @ Bill H April 28, 2014 I was thinking in terms of inflicting pain – a lot of it, on America and Americans because that’s the thinking and viewpoint I’m getting from my Russian friends and contacts. From what I’m hearing and for obvious reasons I amn’t being told much in the way of detail about who said what the debate isn’t about whether to do it the debate is about how to do it and how much pain to inflict and just as important how much pain to inflict on those America’s allies in Europe who’ve been egging the Americans on.

    The view I’m getting from these seasoned professionals who include some of the most level-headed and coldly calculating people I’ve ever met is a lot of people in the Russian government and Russian military are convinced that the American ‘peaceful encirclement’ policy having failed that America and Americans now want war with Russia.

    I agree with that assessment.


  14. S Brennan

    Change, “Americans now want war with Russia”, to “DC/Wall-Street elites now want war with Russia” and I think there is truth.

    Barack Obama, [and his fanatical supporters] are the most war-loving group the USA has ever had.

    1] AF-PAK escalation of 18,000 troops to 138,000…ending utter failure.

    2] After the USA tried to de-stabilize Libya, they created a “rebel army”, when that didn’t work…the Libya bombing, 25,000 bombing missions in 8 months, 105 bombing missions a day, ending in utter chaos, with terrorists controlling when oil can be exported. A delightful vignette of Libyan “conquest” was Hillary Clinton giggling at the news of Gaddafi being anal raped with a knife. A charming example of the USA’s “liberal” party.

    3] A false flag “gas attack” operation coordinated to occur just after UN “inspectors” arrive. An attack that killed hundreds of civilians, all designed to allow the USA to bomb Syria back tot he stone age…just like they did in Libya. What’s next, Operation Himmler?

    4] Well, now that I mention it, $5,000,000,000.00 was spent to impose a war threat on the Russian border. Stupidity in underestimating Putin’s response? Possibly, but very reminiscent of Operation Himmler.

    Yes, Barack Obama, [and his fanatical supporters] are the most war-loving group the USA has ever had.

  15. Formerly T-Bear

    @ markfromireland

    Your Russian sources appear impeccably astute, however, the policy of ‘peaceful encirclement’ hasn’t failed and still poses the greatest existential threat to Russia in that any advancement of the encirclement becomes more difficult to counter or reverse. Ukraine’s geographic position is well beyond Russia’s ‘red line’ for state security. Russian memories of WW II are still fresh and well within living memory of the German invasion and its costs.

    I think I would look for motive of the Washington-New York-Downing St.(-Tel Aviv) axis of evil in what ISN’T being talked about either publicly or privately. My suspicion is it has become widely understood in the mentioned circles of this axis that their economic policies have utterly failed and have started unraveling at increasing velocity, there being estimates of months left until the economic structures lay in ruins. The drumbeats for war from these quarters are uniform and unrelenting – there will be war – to divert public attention from the bankrupt economics they have promulgated. War (bloodletting) is the historic antidote for the results of conservative doctrine of ‘sound money’ and has worked every time. It is wondrous how it diverts attention from economic malaise. This is only my opinion though, YMMV.

  16. OldSkeptic_2

    @ markfromireland

    Great sources as usual (how do you do that, you should have your own blog).
    But I suspect there is another big game in town, Germany.

    Wedging Germany from the US would have to be a major strategic goal for Russia.

    Speculating…an ideal option for Russia would be for the US to expand sanctions to where they really hurt Germany, oh they will hurt Russia too but they can handle it far better. In fact if I was Russian I’d be trying to pull it off as hard as I could.

    The US hawks, in their casual arrogant way, would love to hit Gazprom real hard and kill their gas trade to Europe and the Europeans would just have to ‘suck it up’ as good little satraps.

    Obama is, as usual, trying to navigate between his hawks and ‘lesser hawks’ (there are no doves in the USA administration). The ‘lesser hawks’ want to hammer Russia just as much as the hawks, but they want to have the UK/major EU come along more or less willingly which means not damaging Germany or the City of London too much (though they are expected to take some damage for ‘the team’ of course, but they can always cut their health systems or something, to compensate).

    The UK is a given supporter and in the end will happily self destruct, but Germany is staring at an economic abyss if things go to far. And while the Germans are quite happy to do a ‘Greece’ to well, Greece, Spain, etc. The last thing they want is a ‘Greece’ been done to them.

    And don’t underestimate France in all this, I suspect their own calculations are that major anti-Russian sanctions is to their benefit overall. Hammers the UK and Germany but, if they are smart they can ride that out fairly well. So I suspect they will be very hawkish all the time in this.

    So again time is on Putin’s side though his administration is going to have to be very busy, concentrating on winning the ‘moral’ war internationally and putting in the alternate international payment system (a number #1 issue) to win the economic war.

    I think things will come to a head in about 2 months, barring accidents this should just trickle on until then. The reason is that I think Obama will be able to hold off his hawks and stick with the ‘lesser hawks’ path until he finally caves in to them and the US goes too far. By that time Russia (if they have been smart) should have had enough time to put everything else (inc Afghanistan and maybe Germany) into place.

  17. Celsius 233

    For those who remember the real history of WWII; it was the strangulation of Japan through trade embargoes that triggered the *hostilities*.
    Interesting times, these…

  18. Jerome Armstrong

    Just as a expectation, it does look like Russia will expand into eastern Ukraine. All the way to the Dnieper? Do they take Odessa and leave western Ukraine landlocked? the US is not going to do anything alone, NATO would likely protect Kiev. Timing, ahead of the election?

    As for the election, the “Ukraine is turning facist” claimers look pretty foolish now, with Poroshenko pushing on 50% and Svoboda clinging to 2 percent.

  19. OldSkeptic_2

    Celsius 233 , very scary stuff. I;’m old enough to remember the two times it nearly went all up, ’62 and ’83, with ’83 being the worst because no one knew in the west (except me apparently) just how close we came. I think it was a year after that western ‘intelligence’ found out how frightened the USSR was and how close we came to disaster.

    The USSR was fightened for both rational and irrational reasons. The US had moved into a commanding first strike position with the introduction of trident, cruise missiles and the all important Pershing missiles. All along with heavy western aggressive rhetoric from Regan and Thatcher.

    Personally if I’d been the Soviets I’d have put down an ultimatum that the Pershings were not allowed in German (or anywhere else close to the USSR), and if they were deployed they’d be taken out. Instead, this is the irrational part, the Soviets didn’t and then spent months panicking, convinced that they were about to be attacked by NATO, especially with the planned exercises in the Summer and were on hair trigger alert all the time.

    If Stanislov Petrov hadn’t disobeyed the standing orders, that quite probably would have been it.

  20. Celsius 233

    @ OldSkeptic_2

    I was 12 when Sputnik was launched. The more things change, the more they stay the same (as the old saw goes); but the one thing that won’t change is human nature.
    I’d guess we’re at about 50/50 now whether, or not, there will be shooting of whatever intensity…
    Putin seems to be keeping his cool and was very calm during an interview today. Contingency plans are apparently already under way regarding the sanctions.
    I’m more concerned with our own resident moroon…

  21. Celsius 233

    Oops, that should have been maroon… 😉

  22. erichwwk

    Update on Paul Craig Roberts

    Moving Closer to War

    Also of interest, Stephen Cohen and Walt Mersheimer on RT’s Crosstalk,

    and finally, what reconcile make of these reports with Russia’s red line?

    Hagel Reassured by Russian Counterpart on Ukraine

    By Nick Simeone
    American Forces Press Service
    WASHINGTON, April 28, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone today with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu and received assurances that Moscow has no plans to invade Ukraine, a Pentagon spokesman said.
    In a statement issued after the call, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Hagel emphasized to his Russian counterpart how dangerous the situation in Ukraine remains and that Shoygu “reiterated his assurance that Russian forces would not invade.”

    And finally, could this all be merely an attempt to divert attention from a declining empire and buy time? Or are such assertions merely another diversion from military action?

  23. VietnamVet

    Erichwwk. Thanks for the last link. It is weird to be quoted as an example of silly hysteria. I wish it were so. The real problem with old age besides the aches and pains is that you’ve seen this all before. The unit I served I spent a year with in Vietnam is again on the front lines in Poland and the Baltic States; just not in firefights, yet.

    The United States imposed sanctions on Japan, North Vietnam, Iraq, Serbia, Libya and Panama and ended up in wars against each them. Except, Russia actually has weapons of mass destruction that if ignited will destroy the world. There never has been a hot war between two nuclear powers thanks to Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). It is insane to ignore MAD and attempt a regime change in Moscow. If there is the slightest risk of a nuclear war from the Ukraine Crisis, settle it.

    A federated neutral prosperous Ukraine is in mankind’s best interests. The Davos Elite whose wealth is tied to US dollars, military contractors, and true believers are pushing the world towards Armageddon.

  24. Celsius 233

    Pepe Escobar seems to have the U.S. strategy (if one can call it that) towards Russia pretty well figured out.
    Here’s a link to his latest in Asia Times;

  25. OldSkeptic_2

    Some interesting news from the periphery, already the US sanction are hurting European business:

    United States prohibit Europeans from using Russian launchers

    And as a back story to the Biden visit to Kiev more contempt shown to EU poodles …sorry ‘leaders’:

    De-escalation in Ukraine as seen by Joe Biden (Hint: he wants more escalation, lots more)

    Key snippet: “America does not care about the opinion of European allies. It had not come into the Vice-President’s head to hold preliminary consultations with the European Union’s partners. “

  26. OldSkeptic_2

    Having studied the neo-cons for a very long time now, what a heck of a lot of people don;t get that the EU is just a big a target for them as Russian, China, et al. Anything that weakens it is also considered a good outcome (“no peer competitors” and all that).

    Yes there is a contradiction there since they also want NATO as US ‘private army’, but no one has ever accused the neo-cons of intelligence or logic (empire that creates it’s own reality…..and so on).

    So getting the EU to cut gas imports from Russia is a major policy aim for them as they see it as a win-win (for them that is), economically hurts Russia and does the same to the EU. Perfect. And hammering the City of London is again seen as a win-win, since it aids Wall Street.

    So you will see (with far more undercover) tremendous pressure on their UK/EU satraps to self destruct (take one for the gipper and all that). Of course their own economic elites are not so happy about that idea, so there is going to be a lot of manoeuvring behind the scenes in the UK, Germany, etc. Could even lead to an EU leader or two being thrown under the bus. I mean can Cameron shaft the City of London without him getting the boot? Can Merkel sacrifice German manufacturing?

    And I always say: watch the ‘dogs that don’t bark’, where are France and Israel (both smallish but still significant players) in all this?

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