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

Putin Looks to Win Both the War & the Peace

So, saw this yesterday:

“Biden said he’s seeking to shield Americans from higher energy costs by exempting energy payments from sanctions…The sanctions didn’t appear targeted at Russian energy, aluminum, and wheat industries…”

Former Bush official McNally called it: “I expect stringent sanctions, but nothing on energy — bankers, ships, and oligarchs. They don’t want to add upward pressure on oil prices — they are absolutely terrified.”

Putin will win the war. He will leave Ukraine, except in the newly recognized republics. Whatever regime is in control of the rest of the Ukraine will now understand the consequences of even thinking of joining NATO. The West egged Ukraine on and then did nothing while Russia invaded it.

The sanctions which are about to hit Russia are serious, but if they don’t include wheat, aluminum, energy, or maritime shipping or hit oligarchs by kicking them out of London and other European capitals, they aren’t really going to matter.

Putin has made fools of the Western elite class again. Yes, the intelligence was right, but it didn’t matter. He’s figured exactly out what the West will and won’t do. He calculated right, they calculated wrong.

Because people are all worked up, I will state, again: This is not a moral judgment. Putin, like every recent US President, is a war criminal who should be hung. But he’s competent, and Western elites are fools.

Putin calculated correctly because, indeed, if Russian oil is cut off from the West, the economic consequences will be huge. He can withstand the loss of customers better than the customers can withstand the loss of oil and natural gas.

I don’t really get it. (I mean, I do; they’re idiots.) If they weren’t going to actually hit Russia with real sanctions & they believed Russia would invade, they should have actually negotiated to avoid the invasion. What here is better than saying “Okay, Ukraine won’t join NATO”?

However, I think there’s still a slight chance Putin has miscalculated. Congress may pass a ban — even if Biden doesn’t want it. But, it looks to me like Putin is fine with his BATNA; he thinks an oil cutoff will hurt the West more than it hurts Russia.

(A BATNA is your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Putin wanted things from the West, they wouldn’t give those things to him, and his BATNA was “Okay, I’ll invade, you’ll hit me with sanctions, and I can live with those sanctions.)

At the end of the day, neglecting to negotiate over whether Ukraine will ever join NATO or is a neutral country will result in Ukraine never joining NATO and a lot of people dying. (I know some people think he would have invaded anyway, but we’ll never know. We didn’t negotiate.)

Negotiation is not based on the notion that “None of the things you want are a starter. We will talk, but nothing you want will happen.” That was the Western stance. Well then, Putin had a BATNA he was willing to use. What was the West’s?

No matter how much I take the sheer incompetence of Western elites into account, I can never keep up. They are always more stupid, more foolish, and more greedy than I can imagine.

Anyway, Putin will win his war. He will probably win his peace; the sanctions are not going to be so large he can’t handle them. Indeed, the way that the West has ratcheted up sanctions over the years has been a favor to him. Do remember that Russia has said that if they are cut out out from SWIFT, they will consider it an act of war, and then ask yourself, “Is Putin bluffing?” Then ask yourself how the assumption that Putin is bluffing and calling his bluffs has worked out for people over the years.

Putin will not let the West choke him out like they did Iran and Venezuela. And it doesn’t look like the West is even going to try.

Meanwhile, China has been crystal clear that they are not going to cut Russia off. China’s foreign ministry statement:

When the US drove five waves of NATO expansion eastward all the way to Russia’s doorstep and deployed advanced offensive strategicweapons in breach of its assurances to Russia, did it ever think about the consequences of pushing a big country to the wall?… Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia when US-led NATO bombed Belgrade?

Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq when it launched military strikes on Baghdad on unwarranted charges? Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan when US drones wantonly killed innocent people in Kabul and other places? Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries when it instigated color revolutions and meddled in their internal affairs all around the world?

It is hoped that the US takes these questions seriously and abandons double standards.


Let’s be clear, China will never let the West choke out Russia because China knows that the US (and increasingly the EU) considers China the real enemy — once Russia is taken out, China’s next. If Russia goes down, China no longer has a secure back, or a secure source of oil, minerals, or food. With Russia, China has a good chance of winning the oncoming Cold War. Without it, China loses that war.

The West appears unwilling to put in real sanctions because they would hurt the West more than they would hurt Russia. (Note that England’s economy would collapse if they really froze out oligarchs, starting with the London real-estate market. I bet half the richest people in Britain would be bankrupt in six months. Even the central bank might not be able to save them by printing money because, without Russians propping up the City, the pound would collapse.)

We’ll see how this plays out. But I think Putin comes out of this with a win. That’s not a moral judgment, it’s a pragmatic one.



Calm and Perspective About Ukraine


Open Thread


  1. someofparts

    Spotted this morning. Confess to tears of relief that such people, such clarity still walks the earth. Now do the Hamptons.

  2. someofparts

    Noticed this in responses on the M. Ames twitter thread you linked to.

    “The American public can’t seem to bear even slight inconveniences for geopolitical heft. Surely they are no longer a serious force if the population can’t be convinced that some collective pain in a strategic interest might be a legitimate policy option.”

    This is to roflmao. For over forty years US citizens have learned that when we sacrifice They win. When we work They prosper. So now we hear the plaintive voice of some POC clown wafting out from their bubble of self-delusion, wondering why the deplorables won’t keep sacrificing to keep them rich.

  3. jo6pac

    Russia will win, their stocks and the rich took big hit it’s not any different than the last round of stupid from the west. I was wrong on that I didn’t think they would go into ukraine but I do see why they did. I as an Amerika would like this to stop leave China, Russia, Iran, others alone if can’t or won’t try and do business with them. Sadly Amerikas neo-conns run this country.

  4. KT Chong

    It’s not incompetence. It’s sheer arrogance: “We’ll do/report what we want, and you’ll do what we want you to do, and you’ll take it up your arse it and like it.” That has been the attitude of the establishment in the West especially America.

  5. KT Chong

    And that’s not just how the Western establishment and media treat the “lesser” foreign countries, (especially the “brown” countries;) it’s also how they treat the poor and working class in their own countries. However, the mentality of how the Western establishment treat the foreign more or less extend/spill over into the psyche of the poor and working class in the West. So even the poor and working class in the West hold the “I’m better than you and you lesser foreigners listen to/owe us” attitude towards foreign countries and nationals.

  6. ptb

    Re: financial blockade of global energy sector

    Seems to me like it is an unavoidable step for US, if US wants to still be recognized as #1 at the end of the decade rather than China. Oil and natgas are, in addition to the geopolitical premium, also at cyclical peak (boom-bust cycle of capital investment) now. Guessing that’s a significant factor in the “restrained” response. Temporary factor IMO.

  7. George

    I think there is something we are not seeing. There has to be a good reason for the reckless sanctioning of the goods and commodity producers of the world from a country relying on imports from them for its own survival. Especially after allowing inflation run hot enough to tip over into recession. Unless it is our own destruction the pre-determined outcome.

  8. Ian Welsh

    Read up on what Putin did in Chechnya. He also has bombed multiple hospitals, clearly deliberately. He’s a war criminal, has been for decades.

    Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t talk to him if I were in charge or even make deals, plenty of leaders are war criminals. So are the last 5 US presidents. In fact, my main point over the last couple months has been that his demands were worthy of negotiaton: NATO could easily rule out being in the Ukraine and withdrawing troops and missiles from the borders, if Russia did the same, was entirely reasonable and no big deal. There was a deal to be cut which I think would have avoided this war. Some thing he would have invaded anyway, but we’ll never know since we didn’t negotiate seriously.

    I simply note that in an ideal world Putin would be treated as a war criminal along with Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush & Clinton and more than half the US Congress in place when Iraq happened.

  9. GM

    I’m not so sure he will leave.

    They recognized the DPR and LPR as independent republics. They cannot reverse themselves on that, much more likely those will vote to join Russia as two new federal subjects, the way it was done with Crimea.

    So at minimum those pieces of it will be annexed.

    But if you have conquered most of Ukraine, why would you just install another regime that can be again Maidan-ed at any moment, even if it is a puppet regime of yours? You have launched the largest invasion on this planet since that of Poland in 1939, and thus crossed a line from which there is no return. It’s not like it will be all forgotten and put behind us after such a piece deal.

    Seems much more rational to just absorb most of the provinces as new federal subjects and put an end to it for good (except for the far West of Ukraine, where Galicia, Bukovina and Volhynia may be left as a rump independent state as it will be too much trouble to control an insurgency there — it already was back in the 1940s and 1950s when they were originally abosrbed) . From then on you start de-Ukrainizing it, reintroducing Russian language in schools and administration, etc., and you try to reverse the process of separation that has been ongoing for a century but really accelerated after the USSR broke up. So that nobody ever gets any ideas of tearing Ukraine off the Russian orbit again.

    We will see.

  10. Ian Welsh

    You leave because you don’t want to be drawn into a guerilla war which goes on for years and which will be heavily supported by the West.

    Of course they’re staying in the Republics, that was never in question.

  11. GM

    No question about the guerilla warfare part, that’s why I said that the Lviv, Ivano-Frankovsk, etc. area will not see Russian occupation. But I am far from sure the new border will be that of the LPR and the DPR rather than to the west of Kirovograd Oblast.

    We will (hopefully) live and see.

  12. Art

    Some chance Sweden, Finland, and Poland are looking more favorably to NATO membership. Of course the timing would have to change. Instead of a very public multi-year fan dance look for quiet diplomacy and secret study groups. Then a public announcement times to coincide with the arrival of several divisions of NATO troops … a live-fire training exercise don’t you know.

    Talking to people and reading between the lines I get a feeling that the invasion of Ukraine was pretty much an all-out effort. Paratroopers, special forces, the best Russia has. That Russia will be hard pressed to make good their losses.

    I’m not saying they don’t have more troops. I am saying that most of those uninvolved are second and third string. I’m also saying that, if the combat and casualty reports are to be believed, the best units Russia has came up against determined resistance and are going to need to be rebuilt, refitted, retrained. And that the heavy equipment, and particularly the aircraft are far dearer than might be otherwise assumed.

    Russia is simply not what it was when the USSR was together. It is smaller, weaker, poorer and while it. presumably still has the moves, and nuclear weapons, it isn’t all that. I have my doubts as to those nuclear arms, Less so the bombs themselves and more the delivery systems.

    The oligarchs simply haven’t spent the money to keep the aerospace industry at cold-was levels of skills and efficiency. From what I read an entire generation of engineers and scientists have aged out or retired and there are no replacements. The elites, the majority that get a good education, aren’t going into science and engineering.

    Imagine being a recruiter for the Russian army. China has it easier simply because they have far fewer foreign adventures and much tighter media and information control. There are reasons why Wagner, or whatever they changed their name to, were used in Chechnya and extensively in Syria. Mercenaries have their uses. As above I see this as a sign they don’t have a deep bench. That financially, materially, and in personnel they are running out of resources.

    So far they have been able to use cash to get what they need and keep their military equipped but it is getting harder. And sanctions won’t help.

  13. Ian Welsh

    I’ve seen savvy observers who seem to think that a lot of it Russia being restrained. I don’t feel like I can really judge, I’m no military analyst and I don’t have the necessary knowledge. If it’s true they asked their allies for troops, of course, that’s a real bad sign (worse, they didn’t get it.)

    We’ll see. When dealing with a country with as many nukes as they have, weakness is almost as scary as strength.

    Agreed on joining NATO.

    But it’s hard to keep those sort of talks actually secret. The FSB isn’t the KGB, but they’re not a joke.

  14. Astrid

    And in an unjust world where your enemies don’t play by the rules and are not agreement capable, playing by the full rule book seems like unilateral disarmament and betrayal of your followers.

    Poland is already in NATO. Along with the Baltic three, they’re its loudest and stupidest component. Finland and Austria are unlikely to be so stupid to join an organization that they did well to stay away from during all of the Cold War. Sweden might, because they’re currently on a stupid neoliberal binge.

    Of course you invade e a country the size of France with hundreds of thousands of soldiers with an all out effort! The question is whether that’s enough. I do think they’re being careful with their methods so far because a light hand in war pays dividends later on and because they’re hoping for a quick negotiated surrender. As for the Chinese non-involvement, can you imagine the howls by their xenophobic enemies (witness Joan’s comment relating European sentiments about Russians as non-European when they are intimately so, imagine if there was concrete evidence of the Eurasian alliance that they fear so much!) if the Chinese were seen giving any direct military aid?

    If Russia plays its cards right, it’s just as likely to show the impotence of NATO to die anything against an enemy that fights back.

  15. someofparts

    If NATO weaponry is unacceptable to the Russians in Ukraine, it’s hard to see how they would be okay with it in Finland.

    I am also surprised that the US seems to have never really learned the lesson the Confederacy demonstrated, which is that a non-industrial nation is no match for an industrial one on the battlefield.

    Also, by way of a minor point, Zelenskey is a coke-head. He does hail from the entertainment industry, so I guess it’s no surprise.

    I am beginning to find this writer indispensable to understanding the Ukraine story –

  16. Astrid

    Another reason for China to stay out is as the moderating influence on the declining US hegemon. Russia and China are rational actors, they don’t want an all out war and they’re not interested in growing their territory (China’s claims on Taiwan was consistent and reaffirmed in the 70s. This is a sovernighty issue for a people that emotively associates disunity with war and decline.)

    Also, I’ve long suspected BRI is just an excuse to use up dollar reserves that will become useless once bipolarity. The longer they’re still in the dollar system, the more they can use it up to buy good will in potential future allies and customers.

  17. Ché Pasa

    Despite our intensity of interest, most of us are in no position at all to know what is really going on. Very little on the ground information is getting out, and what is getting out is heavily propagandized to fit a narrative, mostly the USandNato narrative of PutinMan Bad.

    Well sure. Of course he is. What are we supposed to do about it? The answer for now is nothing. Maybe wave a Ukie flag or something. I don’t know.

    Meanwhile, it’s pretty clear and obvious that there’s been no Ruskie conquest of Ukraine — yet. What little I’ve been able to find from the ground is mostly… enh. Quiet, much quiet. People somewhat furtively going about their business. Yes, there’s been some bombing, some missiles, some helicopters, some tanks. It’s not pretty. Some buildings have been damaged. Some people have been killed and injured. Who and how is not entirely clear. Whatever this is, it is not like the USandNato invasion of, say, Iraq –which was vastly larger and far more destructive than this. It’s not like the invasion of Afghanistan — which was at least initially the work-product of mercenaries and hired local murderers and rebel bands.

    If the Russians succeed in taking Kiev/Kyiv, there will no doubt be an insurgency. This has been prepped for at least since 2014 — when it was widely thought Russia would invade, but didn’t. The fact that Putin held back astonished some observers. The time was ripe and the post Maidan junta was incredibly weak. And yet… except for some aid to Donetsk and Luhansk… nothing from Moscow.

    The Russian and Russian speaking residents of parts of the old Novorossiya seem to have disappeared. Where have they gone? Odessa and Mariupol, among other cities, used to be majority Russian. Now they are not. And according to Ukrainian narratives, they never were.

    Putin seems to have the idea that they are still there and have just been lying low and they will rise up and smite the Ukie Nazis as they did during the Great Patriotic War, but it hasn’t happened. At least not that I’ve seen. In fact, nothing has suggested anything of the sort. Donetsk and Luhansk are basically fighting for their survival. Russian “help” hasn’t been enough. Yet.

    There have been a few reports that suggest that Ukie Nazi death squads are active, but who knows? There have been reports of “Russian infiltrators” among the Ukrainian troops and militias. Maybe. Who can say?

    There have been occasional stories of East European mercenaries (and probably some from the former Blackwater) joining the fray, supplementing the Ukrainian armed forces and perhaps enabling fiercer resistance. And there is an expectation that these mercs will be the core of any insurgency that develops after Russian conquest. If…

    It’s very nasty business. Wisdom says stay out of it. But our elites can’t help themselves. They’re too tied in to the oligarchies in both Russia and Ukraine and they want a winner, which apparently our elites have decided will be Ukraine, Nazis or no. They don’t care. They just want the Russian side of the equation to collapse.

    And then move on to China.

  18. jo6pac

    There are troops from Chechen and Belarus. I do mean a lot troops with Chechen sending even more at this time

  19. rangoon78

    Can’t access Corrente anymore but it’s the one place that lets me blog.
    From some years ago:

    “Is it not clear that as long as capitalist encirclement exists there will be wreckers, spies, diversionists and murderers in our country sent behind our lines by the agents of foreign slates?”

    Joseph Stalin, 1937

    “USSR still lives in antagonistic capitalist encirclement with which in the long run there can be no permanent peaceful coexistence.”

    -from The Long Telegram, which Kennan composed in February, 1946

    Today, under the pressure of seemingly insoluble international problems and continuing deadlocks, the tide of American public opinion is again turning against Russia. In this reaction lies one of the dangers to which this letter is addressed.

    -Henry Wallace July 23, 1946

    I always thought Henry Wallace could’ve made a difference as president. Recent events make clear it was a pipe dream, a naïve wish. Hegemonic World capitalism centered in the United States is antithetical to the existence of a countervailing power which Russia (still) represents. Kennan was the clear-eyqwed enforcer of the Realpolitik in which we are still held captive.

    The Wise Men The book identifies six people who were important foreign policy advisors to US presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson and were influential in the development of Cold War era foreign policy for America. The six are:
    Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under President Harry Truman
    Charles E. Bohlen, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, the Philippines, and France
    W. Averell Harriman, special envoy for President Franklin Roosevelt
    George F. Kennan, ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia
    Robert A. Lovett, Truman’s Secretary of Defense
    John J. McCloy, a War Department official and later US High Commissioner for Germany.
    The group helped to create a bipartisan foreign policy based on resistance to the expansion of Soviet power. The authors describe them as the hidden architects behind the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and Cold War containment. Kennan, in particular, is regarded as “the father of containment.”

    George F. Kennan’s Cold War – The New Yorker
    When historians discuss American actions in the Cold War, usually the first texts they cite are the Long Telegram, which Kennan composed in February, 1946, and the so-called X article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” which he published, in Foreign Affairs, a year and a half later. Vietnam seems the lineal offspring of those pieces. Was Kennan misunderstood? The question is at the heart of any assessment of his career.
    Later on in life he planted revisionist comments that were lapped up by willing hagiographers:

    If Kennan had prevailed
    His warnings about Soviet intentions and ideology, he said, were meant as a call to political action, not military build-up. The threat was less the Red Army than the discontent of impoverished peoples who might turn to Communism.

    George Kennan, the wisest of the wise men indeed…

  20. Andrey Subbotin

    US BATNA is turning Ukraine into Russia’s new Afghanistan. They said it out loud.
    Sucks to be Ukrainian after that, but that’s the plan…

  21. Ian Welsh

    Andrey is absolutely right and it’s also exactly the trap Russia (and sensible Ukrainians) should be trying to avoid.

  22. Occasional Poster

    According to the pro-Russian Telegram channel Intel Slava Z Russian forces are delivering the following warning:

    We appeal to the civilian population of Mariupol, Kharkov, Odessa, Kyiv and Severodonetsk

    Citizens, if you have military equipment in your residential area – IMMEDIATELY leave your homes!!!

    Soon all the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, national battalions and territorial defense forces in the cities will be destroyed by artillery and aircraft!

    Save your lives!

    This is not going to be over any time soon.

  23. NR

    Finland may not be part of NATO, but it is part of the EU, and so if Putin attacked it, he would effectively be declaring war on the entire EU. At that point NATO would almost certainly get involved and we’d have World War III, in which Putin would get his ass kicked. At that point he would have to decide whether or not to use nuclear weapons. If he does, it will be the last thing he does. It will be the last thing anyone on Earth does.

  24. Mary Bennett

    Speak for yourself, Mr. Welsh. I can’t say about Europe, or even Canada, but there is very little outside the beltway support for any further military adventuring in the USA.

    A particular faction, and its’ allies, are pushing the Putin is a rabid dog message. My hope is that, finally, that faction can be turfed out of our govt. The problem is that members of this faction believe that laws simply don’t apply to them. In return for having the Democratic nomination handed to him, Biden (or his handlers, if you prefer) gave the State Department to that particular faction.
    I suspect the Secretary of Defense is not nearly so dumb as many suppose and delivered the JCOS message to Biden (and handlers) no we are going to war over someone’s great grandmother’s ancestral village in Ukraine.

    Has anyone considered that the precipating event, the efficient cause, of the Russian incursion might not have come from the USA, or even Europe at all? I think there are perhaps other interested actors here. Maybe President Putin has had enough of being told, “We can make the Americans do whatever we want.” and decided to call someone’s bluff.

  25. Jan Wiklund

    Of course, UK’s economy will survive a freeze-out of Russian oligarchs in London. Perhaps a bubble would burst – but that can be handled. Iceland handled it excellently in 2009.

    But some speculators will take a blow. Which would be all to the best. Perhaps that would relieve the real economy – like it did in Iceland.

  26. different clue

    Perhaps the US Intelligence Community and the DC FedRegime spokesfolk in general might think about why so few people believed them. They have lied so proud and so loud and so long about every single important thing that when they were telling the truth this time, either on purpose or by accident, few people believed them. I didn’t believe them.

    A big danger now is that people will think that since they were telling the truth this one time, that they will tell the truth in the future, and they know that , and they will try getting away with lying proud, loud and long for the next few years. And what will we believe them about when we shouldn’t?

    I agree with someofpart up above that whoever wrote that comment about “Americans are not serious people and are not willing to sacrifice” is mostly wrong and if even a tiny bit right, is right for the wrong reasons. Give us something to sacrifice for and we might well sacrifice. What would be worth sacrificing for? A movement to round up and physically liquidate the American governing classes and economic upper classes. And physically liquidate every single person who believes in Free Trade. That would be an achievement worth achieving.

  27. Lex

    US intelligence didn’t predict anything. There are only so many way to attack Russia via Ukraine or attack Ukraine from Russia. I guarantee that their prediction was a “traditional” Russian attack style of overwhelming force against everything. (See, Grozny) If they actually saw this coming they would have negotiated.

    The best info I’ve been able to find suggests that Russian boots on the ground are <60K. They have a lot of escalation flexibility. If there were large scale and indiscriminate attacks on civilian centers we’d know about them.

    I agree with you, Ian. Putin is no better than bush, Obama et al. And the second Chechen war was a crime against humanity. But he’s smart and methodical. I agree with the analysis that Russia’s calculation was mostly about the cost of this action increasing with time. Much more waiting and it wouldn’t be possible with NATO troops in Ukraine. That’s why he was so adamant about the security “demands”. The US was bluffing and thought he was too. He wasn’t.

  28. KT Chong

    I do not think Putin has won anything: war, peace, other otherwise. Frankly, all the cards that were dealt to him were bad, and he chose the least bad option.

    The US and NATO were planning to integrate Ukraine, and then park military and missile bases all along the Russo-Ukrainian borders. That threat would have forced Russia to counter and greatly increase its defense spending on border security. Along with the economic sanctions that have been placed on Russia, that would have bankrupted, destabilized and destroyed Russia in the medium-to-long game. That is why the West has refused to discuss with Putin to ensure Ukraine will become a non-NATO neutral buffer country, because the aim has always been to bankrupt and destroy Russia.

    The other choice (for Russia) is just to take down Ukraine, install a puppet regime, and turn Ukraine into a buffer zone between Russia and NATO. That is the least bad option for Russia to avoid the other outcome.

  29. Z

    The drone bomber is always willing to pitch in some of his moral clarity …

    Former President Obama on Thursday slammed Russia’s “brazen attack” on Ukraine as a violation of international law and the “basic principles of human decency.”

    “Russia did so not because Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, but because the people of Ukraine chose a path of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy,” Obama said.

    Mind you that it was when the Head PR Man for the Point Zero One Percent Obama was playing president and Let Them Eat Shit Mitch’s Handie Man Biden was doing his VP bit and trying to find his son Hunter a summer job that the Maidan revolution happened and the democratically elected Ukrainian president and government was overthrown. That didn’t happen solely due to Ukrainian popular demand and the CIA was certainly involved in some significant capacity and without their help it probably wouldn’t have went down at all.

    Victoria Nuland, who is now part of the Zionist trio (Tony Blinken and Avril Haines are the other two) that fronts the U.S. State Department, was intimately involved in the aftermath, dictating to the Ukrainians who was going to be appointed president. Haines was in the CIA at the time and Blinken in the National Security Council.

    Shortly after Biden took office Putin started building forces along the Ukraine border. He probably figured that with that State Department it was best to act quickly before they had time to do their handiwork and make Ukraine stronger militarily.

    The more I think about how Putin got into power, on the recommendations of Yeltsin to Corporate Lapdawg Clinton, the more I think that that was Yeltsin’s fuck you to the U.S. for financially raping his country.


  30. anon y'mouse

    so will Europe cling on to it’s idiot abusive spouse, or plight a new troth with its geographical husbear?

    enquiring minds want to know. we already know what boat UK has chosen when they somewhat re-merged with us when our robber baron heiresses married unhappily into the aristo lines bringing dowries to bail out their poor cousins at the end of the 1800s, regardless of their personal wishes about such marriages.

  31. different clue

    I mentioned before that Beau of the Fifth Column guessed right what Putin would in fact do. He puts up more videos than I have time to follow them and follow the other things I also try to follow.

    I would say this: his most recent video on Ukraine-Russia action starts with him reading a reader message about how ” you called it exactly” and him saying ” well, I actually did not, in that it has happened rather different than I predicted in some important ways.” He goes on from there.

    I think it is worth a listenwatch. Its called ” Lets talk about shifting landscapes in Ukraine . . . ” Here is the link.

  32. different clue

    Now that I have finished the Beau video I mentioned just above, my feeling is that Beau is not cheerleading one side or the other. He is trying to analyze separately from which side he may feel more sympathy with . . . or not.

    And having finished the video, an intuitive question occurs to me, way prematurely.
    In the very unlikely event that Putin eventually comes to feel that he has stuck his d**k in a garbage disposal, how will he respond to that feeling? The question will almost certainly not come up at all in the longest run, but since it occurred to me anyway, I thought I would ask it at the purely hypotheoretical level.

  33. different clue

    Muh feelz the West will be awfully conflicted about viewing China as ” the Enemy”. Maybe with the geopolitical half of its brain, the West will think of China as the Great Enemy 2.0 in the coming Cold War 2.0. But with the Neoliberal Free Trade half of its brain, the West regards China as the Sacred World Temple of Free Trade and the Corporate Globalonial Plantation. How will the West reconcile those two conflicting views . . . . geopolitical fear versus Free Trade desire?

    Since the International Free Trade Conspirators have their agents in every hall of power, perhaps the Western Leaderships will find a way to combine the worst of both goals.

  34. VietnamVet

    The Western Empire’s war baiting worked. Russia invading Ukraine. But, by not being restrained and snapping out, Russia has started World War III.

    A new Iron Curtain has been drawn across Europe. Seeing the video on Reddit of a Ukrainian ambush of a Russian tank column, this a European War, not a 3rd-world child soldier skirmish. Either Russia backs down or a guerrilla war of liberation will engulf Western Ukraine and the encircled cities resupplied by the West. If Russia masses in response to invade Bulgaria and Poland to cut off supplies, NATO will use tactical nuclear weapons which inevitably will escalate into igniting all 3200 nuclear bombs deployed on both sides. That will kill neoliberalism and everything else.

    If the Ukraine Russia War continues without an Apocalypse, the West will be in dire straits with energy and food shortages, unrest, coronavirus pandemic, collapsing economies and climate change disasters without working governments to address them since they had all been privatized to enrich western oligarchs.

  35. Z

    I think that Putin has been fairly restrained and by that I mean being careful about targeting civilians and not wantonly dropping bombs like the U.S. did in Iraq.

    He’s given Ukraine a taste of what can happen and Zelensky an opportunity to come to an agreement without losing face and saving hundreds of thousands Ukrainian lives, if not millions.

    Still many dangerous and volatile aspects to this situation though. I hope Ukraine is able to find an agreeable settlement.


  36. Z

    If Russia and Ukraine are able to reach an agreement to stop fighting that Ukraine can live with, I’d say it’s a win for the majority of the people in the world. Our rulers are our worse enemies than Russia, they undeniably do more damage to us, and if this situation creates another cold war it might also mean that our supply chains get more re-established in the U.S. which means more jobs and greater labor power.

    Life for the average person was a lot better during the Cold War days than they were afterwards.

    I’m rooting for a settlement between Russia and the Ukraine, as I’d imagine many of you are. The ones that would come out the worst in that are our rulers and they deserve a kick in the teeth to their imperial ambitions.


  37. Z

    I’d also get much enjoyment out of seeing President he/bipartisan Biden’s Administration taking another reputation hit in front of the U.S. populace and see Weekend at Biden’s hit a new low in its viewers’ ratings.

    That old political stage whore was probably looking forward to that profile shot on the cover of Time he’s been jonesing for for being a strong, wise leader, the one he thought he might get for pulling out of Afghanistan, but didn’t.

    Looking forward to that clown’s State of the Union address. They better get the “Joe Biden”, the ever-changing cocktail of drugs they need to administer to him to get him to semi-credibly play president before a viewing audience, juuuuuust right before that.


  38. Mary Bennett

    VietnamVet, IDK about anyone else here, but I don’t take to kindly to being threatened.

    Some of us are already working out ways to deal with less stuff, less energy and so on. Oh, and those ways don’t include your friends being able to go on making money off of us. Too bad, so sad.

    Thanks for the warning.

  39. bruce wilder

    I do not think Putin will the war or the peace.

    He has been losing steadily for at least a decade and that is why he appears so frustrated and is lashing out.

    In some respects — on some issues of shared international concern and order — I wish Putin could and would win out, but I am not optimistic.

    I think this is the beginning of the end for the Putin regime. He will lose face with a large part of the always grumbling Russian public. Even if Ukrainians do not identify with Russia, Russian identify with Ukrainians and this will be a very unpopular war indeed. And, ultimately the economic costs and likely unsatisfactory political results will undermine support for Putin. If he does not actually retire in 2024, he will be put out one way or another.

  40. different clue


    Look on the bright side. The collapse you predict for the West could lead to significant reduction in carbon skyflooding. It might slow the future further onrush of even more global warming.

    If the EuRussia-China bloc can achieve a similar level of economic crash-cramdown within its own sphere, one way or another, then the problem of carbon skyflooding will be significantly relieved for a while.

  41. Synoptocon

    Looks to me like the costs are mounting. Invoking a special weapons token 96 hours into a border conflict and failure of operations at depth 100 clicks in from a friendly launch point has a certain “stable genius” aroma…

  42. Z

    Wouldn’t it be wild if the Chinese announce that they are pegging the ruble’s value to some set amount of Yuan thereby cushioning any currency crises that Russia might be tossed into within our rulers’ rigged financial markets? I don’t know if they can do that, but if so it would be a way of supporting the ruble.

    Being tossed off of SWIFT was something that Russia must have been prepared for though and it’s hard to imagine that China is going to sit around and watch Russia be economically destroyed without intervening in some manner by buying bonds, currency, and/or whatever else is needed to stabilize their economy.

    A lot of folks whose opinions I respect and people who I have agreed with often in the past seem to be believe that Putin has overstepped his bounds in this situation and is going to personally pay for it. Certainly possible, and to be seen, but he’s been pretty wise up to this point and even if his military is having troubles on the ground there’s always the air strikes and missiles, which Russia has not used much thus far. I’d imagine that Putin plans on reminding the Ukraine of that during their talks tomorrow.

    Many folks have been praising Zelensky on his courageousness and leadership and most of that seems to be centered on his supposed refusal to take up the U.S.’s offer to fly him out of the country for his own personal safety. But, if the U.S. even offered him this and this isn’t some kabuki bullshit (((I thing it is kabuki bullshit))) all it was was an offer for a disgraceful public exit: fleeing the country he is supposed to be leading at the first signs of struggle. Did it really require uncommon bravery for him to stay? Or just some common pride?

    I’m rooting heavily for Ukraine to come to an agreement that it can live with and gives Russia the W over our rulers. I’m rooting for Putin over our corrupt rulers who don’t give a damn about us anyway and are trying to push millions of primarily innocent people into either emigrating on the run, if they can, or living with the fears of missiles and guerilla warfare.

    I’d imagine that our rulers are heavily pressing on Zelensky in various ways to hold out and fight. But if he does that he’s not brave IMO, he’s just a corrupt and vain fool who is willing to sacrifice his people and country for his own personal interests.


  43. Z

    From the CIA’s soon to released hagiography entitled The Making of Zelensky:

    We offered to fly him first class. Told him he could have two wines during the trip with a full meal and snacks on both ends of it. Headrest, pillow, Dolby headphones and a selection of one of five movies. The works. And the man simply would not waver.

    No, he said. I must fight for my country!


  44. different clue

    Beau of the Fifth Column thinks that nuclear exchange is so unlikely that there is no real need to talk about it. But so many people have sent him questions about it that he has done a video on surviving a nuclear blast in your area anyway, just to set the audience’s mind at slightly-more-ease that they will now know what to do.

    It’s called ” let’s talk about fallout from the unthinkable . . . ” . Here is the link.

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