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

The End of the Rebels in the Ukraine and the Ukraine’s Future

We’re down to street fighting in Donetsk.  The Russian leaders resigned in the last two weeks.  The rebels appear to be done, at least in terms of their conventional military phase (of course, I could be wrong depending on how much stomach Ukrainian troops have for house to house fighting).  It seems like that would only change if Russia decided to actually invade, and that seems unlikely (though predicting Putin’s decisions is always difficult.)

The Eastern Ukraine, bottom line, does not have enough support for joining Russia, nor coherent enough borders to avoid the West and Ukraine running an insurgency in it.  Conquering it would leave Russia controlling territory which could turn into a bleeding ulcer if it didn’t join peacefully (unlike Crimea, where the population overwhelmingly wanted to join, and where the geography is highly defensible.)

I’m not sure this is the “right” decision for Russia, because I can’t see that Ukraine won’t become a NATO member rather soon if Russia’s preferred solution, federalization with anti-NATO guarantees does not happen.

However, Russia does still have leverage: there are enough Eastern Ukrainians who will now hate the central government and want to join Russia, and the border is long enough and porous enough, that Russia can easily support an open ended insurgency within Ukraine.

Likewise, Winter is Coming, and the prospect of turning off the gas to the Ukraine and Europe will become much more effective.  Russia may believe that these two factors will enable it to get its minimal demands.  I doubt it, personally, because NATO expansion to Ukraine is something the US wants desperately, but we’ll see.

We move now to Ukraine’s future.

Dismal. Absolutely dismal.

Ukraine will be the second Greece of Europe, and soon.  Pensions slashed by half, gas prices through the roof, crown jewels sold to Westerners, civil servants slashed to the bone.  Its industry is integrated not with Europe, but with Russia, and Russia will move to get rid of its dependency on Ukrainian factories as fast as it can, especially as some of those factories create key defense equipment, and the Ukraine obviously cannot be counted on to supply them in any time of crisis, going forward.

Those factories are not competitive with Western factories, and when energy prices skyrocket, they won’t even be competitive with Russian factories.

Ukraine has some hydrocarbon reserves (though much will be lost with Crimea); it is an agricultural breadbasket, and that’s about all it has going for it.  Again, the economy will be opened by the IMF to the West, and whatever is worth buying, and throws off actual profits or can be downsized and firesaled, will be sold to Westerners.

Ukrainians, including the Western Ukrainians who think that joining the West will solve their problems, are about to find out that Russia’s deals and treatment were far more kind than anything the IMF will do to them.  Eastern Ukrainians, having lost a war, and being FAR more dependent on Russia, will find their economy devastated within a few years.  (This will make them far more willing to resort to violence again, of course.)

The key thing to watch now will be the negotiations between Russia, Ukraine and Europe to see if there are any NATO guarantees.  If not, well, we’ll see what the Russian response is.  Internally the Russian public does not want to attack Ukraine to take Eastern Ukraine, but that could change if an atrocity occurs or is created.  More likely, support for an insurgency, then the Ukraine building a huge wall across its border, and as noted, economic ruin.

This game isn’t over yet.  In a few years Russia may yet wind up with the East, with its citizens practically begging to join.  Not mostly because of anything Russia does, but because of what the IMF does.

Note also that efforts to de-dollarize the world are ongoing by the BRICS in general, and China in particular, and Russia is moving to decouple as much of its economy as it can from the West. In a few years the West will have far fewer levers to pull to hurt Russia.

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Japanification and the end of the American Dream


Rumors of my demise


  1. TJ

    Well, reading some sources like Vineyard of the Saker it looks like the rebels don’t think they’re losing. They for sure know they’re not winning, not yet anyway.

    If there have been thousands of casualties in eastern Ukraine and the government is shelling hospitals and water supplies you’ve already got a passel of atrocities.

  2. Ian Welsh

    We’ll see. I did, however, modify the original text slightly to indicate that the rebels may hold on. My bad.

  3. grayslady

    A very articulate assessment of the situation. The only thing missing is the level of corruption in Ukraine and how that’s played a part in Ukraine’s slide into a failed state. If that doesn’t change–which I think is unlikely, only because citizens of former Soviet states are all too used to corruption–then Ukraine will remain a financial hot potato that no one wants. No amount of EU money will help Ukraine if it’s all going to be siphoned off at the top. Russia hasn’t even been paid for former gas supplies to Ukraine, so it is unlikely to continue to extend credit to Ukraine. It may only take one cold winter for Western Ukraine to join Eastern Ukraine in fomenting a complete civil war.

  4. Tom

    I’m just waiting to see if Putin decides he needs to invade to cement his point to Ukraine and EU or if he figures counter-sanctioning, declaring sanctions against Iran null and void and signing a strategic partnership with them, followed up by upstaging Obama in the Middle East by dumping a large amount of weaponry in ISF/Peshmerga hands will do the trick better and more cheaply.

  5. john

    It’s pretty clear Russian Special Forces have been helping the Eastern Ukraine resistance effort. It is also pretty clear they have now departed.

    Saker is partisan and has given a partisan view of these changes, though I greatly appreciate his clarity both in his own position and about facts in general.

    Obama was working with Putin on Syria until the Neo-Cons cornered him in Ukraine and the Mearsheimer article Saker just linked to suggests, along with the change in tone at the NYT, some movement in the bowels of deep state.

    I agree Russia is better at the long game and that the Empire of Chaos is alienating the world, not one nation at a time, but now by the hands full!

  6. I don’t think the rebels are done yet. They’re still downing Ukranian fighter jets.

  7. Tsigantes

    re: corruption

    Wherever the IMF goes, its terms instigate corruption. And the EU under the present regime is a neoliberal project creating even further corruption. The EU as a business and financial entity has no social morality and is a major representative of the international financial elites and corporations. Conditions of the EU ‘offer’ to Ukraine in 2013 included the closure of all Ukraine’s industry. Yanukovitch was being patriotic in rejecting the EU offer in favour of Russia’s.

    However Ukraine “accepted” the western offer through means of an unelected government put in place by the US government and EU, by means of a western-instigated coup d’etat. The results of the scheduled elections will no doubt be manipulated to show Ukrainian support for this illegal regime, especially since Ukrainians have yet to experience the full meaning of government cuts.

    Therefore all that remains to be worked out is the terms for oligarchs on all sides.

    I am writing from Athens, Greece, where we are lucky enough to have few desirable assets apart from location.

  8. OldSkeptic

    Ian, “Ukraine will be the second Greece of Europe”. Disagree, I think Greece will be the second Ukraine. As bad as Greece is it is still far better off than the Ukraine.

    As for the Federalists forces. Disagree that they have lost. The Ukrainian Govt forces have put everything into their current attacks and they have nothing left after this. Remember, the eastern areas have all the manufacturing, including weapons.

    The economy is toast. If they can’t feed/arm/etc their conscripted troops now…how are thy going to be able to it in a month, or two or three.

    And the Federalists forces can always fall back on urban guerrilla fighting and just bleed them to death.

    So it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, as they say. Personally I think the Ukrainian Govt forces have just about shot their bolt.

    The fact that tactical control of their forces are now obviously under direct US control helps the Federalists. We saw this in Georgia (etc, etc, etc, many etc) incoherent tactical control under an equally incoherent strategic control.

    May make them feel good for a moment blowing the carp out of civilians, but it is militarily meaningless, simple terrorism, they are just wasting ammunition. Typical US tactics ‘killing’ vs ‘winning’. The US can and does kill real well…but it never ‘wins’.

    With the southern ‘cauldron’ over, thus being able to move forces elsewhere, plus reinforcements…well I’d bet on the Federalist forces. They have proven themselves to be as good as Hezbollah, in some areas even better (eg anti-air a Hezbollah weakness) in a less forgiving environment (ie pretty flat overall), without the massive investment in defences that Hezbollah created over many years.

    These guys are good, the more I find out about them the more I am impressed.

  9. Jeff Wegerson

    @OldSkeptic Disagree with your comparisons with Hezbollah. I doubt that the Ukraine resistance fighters are as motivated as Hezbollah. As for the air, it’s my impression that Russia is effecting a defacto no-fly zone via surveillance info being passed to resistance and some pretty sophisticated weapons. That and of course the junta air force is vastly less capable than the Isreali one.

  10. Richard

    Ian, I believe that you are relying too much on filtered and overly optimistic reports coming from both the US and Ukraine sources. If you take a look at the actual combat in detail you will see a much different picture. The DPR is not finished off and they are effectively organizing from a rabble volunteer army to a well organized well seasoned force. The move of the Russians from leadership positions was an intelligent decision to consolidate leadership using only Ukrainians. The region will never be pacified by force (which every industrialized nation should realize by now) and unless it separates off into a sovereign nation the insurgency fighting could go on for decades. Also there is very clear demoralization within the conscripted Army and the mercenary forces are nearly wiped out now through poor leadership and idiotic decisions. The military leadership has for the large part been removed from command for failing to follow orders. All of this, coupled with the aggressive refusals of ethic Hungarians, Roma, and Romanians in West Ukraine to submit to conscription and you have a potential second front developing in the West. There is also obvious discontent within the administration in Kiev. Winter is coming and the economy of Ukraine is in a shambles. The willingness of the EU to support this madness is wearing thin as well. If, it should come to light, that the MH-17 incident was in fact an act by Ukrainian forces then the support for this administration will collapse which is probably why there is silence now regarding this incident. The atrocities are mounting and there are clear criminal violations by the Kiev regime which will have to be reckoned with at some point. So, I wouldn’t count the DPR army out quite yet. They may actually win if the internal support falters inside Ukraine. The losses appear to be logarithmically higher than being reported which is unsustainable in any country not fully committed to a civil war.

  11. Regarding the Greece analogy — I think it’s spot on. And I think Ukraine is pretty much there right now.

    Difference being, heavily armed country, ultra nationalist groups merged into the army, trained and getting experience as fighters. And oligarchs hold more power over the central government, so they must get a cut if the IMF reforms are enacted. If they don’t, the armed and trained crowd may “spontaneously” turn on its EU creditors.

  12. YY

    Your headline does not represent the content. The rebels do not have an absolute need to hold to any piece of territory. This is why the Ukrainian forces are being routed. Short of total destruction of the cities and population there is nothing that the Kiev government can do to impose its will. The rebels can always take refuge in Russia. So unlike say Sri Lanka where the Tigers needed civilian shields/hostage in absence of escape routes, the rebels here are free to move. The idea that Kiev may somehow regain its influence over the region recedes more and more with the number of civilians killed and destruction brought, as well as what appears to be horrendous casualties that its military is suffering. Unless the West is prepared to support a totally genocidal policy, Kiev can gain nothing from military success in the region. In short they are nuts. The level of political settlement available has already been defined by Russia very early in the game (before it began), whether it is still available is really up to Kiev and its sponsors. Kiev should think seriously before losing more men and hardware in this botched venture.

  13. Johnna

    It is not relevant to either NATO or the United States that Ukraine devolves into a ‘failed’ state. What is important is that it can be occupied militarily and secure bases built. The formal applied ‘chaos theory’ through state terror of American Foreign policy, cares little if degradation and fascism ensues, and that the populace suffers immiseration. The operational modality here is purely military. All the better that rabid Neo-Nazi elements can be recruited for either cannon fodder or grunt work for the overlords. I believe it would be charitable, if not naïve, to entertain the thought that the West is not good with a policy of total genocide: The evidence speaks for itself. Gaza, among others, is a case in point. I hope I am wrong. Russia remains the ‘Holy Grail’ of the American war psychosis. After Snowden and Syria, the American penchant for revenge at all costs is imminent.

  14. S Brennan

    Ian, I don’t know if you are right, still long roe to hoe for the US-backed-NAZI/Ukis,

    …but if you are right, they are successful, the collaborative murder of the 300 souls aboard MH-17 will look pretty righteous to our CiC and the ambitions of his national security apparatus.

    From my post yesterday:

    So…the news of MH-17 is still blacked out in western media outlets, still no evidence presented to bolster President Obama’s astounding accusation that Russia/Russian Rebels shot MH-17down…that’s weird. Britain’s MI-6 who is in possession of the “Black box’s” isn’t saying a single word…that’s weird. You’d think MI-6 would’ve revealed the damming evidence almost immediately…the evidence of a missile strike would be obvious to even the most casual observer…that is, if what we are being told had a grain of truth in it. And then, there’s the other oddity, not a single western reporter is working the story…isn’t that weird?

    I’m not as certain as this fellow about a Uki Mig -29 with a Polish pilot at the stick performing the shootdown/murder, but I know for certain EVERYTHING I have read in the western press has been a very bold lie. I am also certain that the US national security apparatus knew of the shooters intent & ID a prior to it’s occurrence.

    If you have few moments and have a care about the murder of the 300 souls on board, have a gander at this Video. Some reasonable conjecture, with no detectable lies.

  15. Tom

    Hey Ian, will your next post be about the hypocrisy over Foley’s murder and how America showed no outrage when a 16 year old American citizen was drone struck by Obama followed by his father without charges. Or the killing of Muslim children worldwide?

    Or will you focus on the forgotten Kobane front in Syria which is now completely choked off by ISA and is getting pummeled into submission now.

    In Hasakah, ISA just seized Jazah and killed a large number of YPG fighters after many got sucked into Iraq to shore up KDP Peshmerga, ISA also captured a female YPG fighter. You can guess her fate.

    There is also the irony that America and EU are dumping weapons on the KDP Pesmerga who ran without fighting, while not giving anything to PUK Peshmerga who stood and fought because they are working with PYD/PKK which are considered terrorist organizations. Iran, however, released PJAK fighters from Jail, gave them tanks and sent them to join PUK.

    Mosul Dam is still not secured, ISA holds the regulatory dam, a vital hill, grouting stopped on the 17th and still has not resumed as engineers fear to return, and the dam is in poor shape. Its very possible by expanding the fight to take the dam to prevent its destruction actually brings it about. IS will not suffer to have that dam in Peshmerga hands, it would give the KRG too much energy and water independence. If the dam fails, the regulatory dam will buy enough time for Mosul to evacuated and it will take three days to reach Baghdad and flood it out of business.

    Lots of bad scenarios playing out in the Islamic State War. I’m starting to think the ISA offensive into Kurdistan was a massive strategic deception that the Kurds, Iraq, and Obama bought into. They yielded far too easily to pinpricks when historical evidence shows they suffered far stronger air attacks and persevered, recently in Syria as Tabqa Airbase has just been seized with the official proclamation to come soon.

  16. Ian this post is completely wrong. The rebels are not losing. They are winning. The Ukies are not winning. They are losing. You need to stop reading the MSM. They are lying so much in this conflict that it would boggle your mind.

    From sources close to the rebels, and a lot of it is corroborated by the Ukies.

  17. JustPlainDave

    Neat as I can tell, absolute best case scenario for the regulatory dam (8 clicks downstream) is that it would buy 1-2 hours. More likely, given what current water levels are, it buys zero time. Operational water height behind the main dam ranges from 40m to 80m (I would guess from the stills I’ve seen in recent coverage that current height is about 70m, but that’s just a WAG) – the regulatory dam is only 10m high (and has its own reservoir behind it – i.e., it doesn’t have an effective height of 10 metres). Unless current levels are very low (I don’t think they are), the flood crest is going to overtop the regulatory dam very, very quickly once failure occurs.

    Mosul is a bit less than 60 clicks downstream – estimated time to flood crest would be about 8 hours, with crest height somewhere between 12 and 22 metres, flooding between about a third to just over half of the city.


    al-Taiee, T.M. and Rasheed, A.M.M. (2009). Simulation Tigris River Flood Wave in Mosul City Due to a Hypothetical Mosul Dam Break. Paper presented at Thirteenth International Water Technology Conference, Hurghada, Egypt.

  18. S Brennan

    My old nemesis from 2002-3 still stinking up the joint, please pass this around…thanks;

    File Under: Who Are the Creeps That Start Wars

    Read the Breathless headline on the link: –


    – By MICHAEL R. GORDON FYI, – [Gordon was/is THE NY Times disinformation specialist of the Iraq Invasion. He was one of the main purveyors of the story that Saddam Hussein would have a nuclear weapon in a matter of months.]

    Now read this line:

    “Since mid-August NATO has received multiple reports of the direct involvement of Russian forces, “including Russian airborne, air defense and special operations forces in Eastern Ukraine,” said Oana Lungescu, a spokeswoman for NATO.”

    I’m sure they’ve received reports of all sorts of things, but I pay a lot of taxes for spy satellites…so why are they not claiming to have verified the reports with aerial reconnaissance?

    “NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, criticized the Russian moves in a statement issued in Brussels on Friday. “I condemn the entry of a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without any involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross,Mr. Rasmussen’s statement said.”

    Clever No? Conflating unsubstantiated [but easily verifiable “reports”] and an unrelated item on humanitarian aide to give the perception of verification of his “source”

    From Wiki:

    “During the first phase of the Iraq war, he was the only newspaper reporter embedded with the allied land command under General Tommy Franks, a position that “granted him unique access to cover the invasion strategy and its enactment””

    “he was the first to report Saddam Hussein’s alleged nuclear weapons program in August 2002 with the article “U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts.”

    As an author, he [wrote] The Generals’ War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf, which covers the 1991 Gulf War,[citation needed] and Cobra II, which covers the Iraq War begun 2003.[4]

    The General’s War won high praise from …Defense Secretary Dick Cheney describing it as “a fascinating account of the war” that he would “recommend”.

  19. JustPlainDave

    FWIW, I’ve always found Gordon useful as a source of insight into what DIA would like people to know it thinks. The biggest problems that I’ve seen are that what DIA thinks is not always correct and what “it” wants publicly known about its thinking is not nearly as diverse as it really is when seen from the inside.

  20. Re: S Brennan’s comment on Gordon,

    Do they say who the direct reports are from? If the reports are from Ukraine, I would point out that Ukraine is in many ways like Russia from the late 1990s, but more corrupt, and at the whims of oligarch influence. But hey, let’s let them steer our policy.

  21. OldSkeptic

    Perceptive analysis by Ray McGovern, on Russia’s incredibly clever move with the humanitarian aid.

    Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’
    August 23, 2014

    Exclusive: Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    “Regardless of this latest geopolitical back-and-forth, it’s clear that Moscow’s decision to send the trucks across the border marked a new stage of the civil war in Ukraine. As Putin prepares to meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko next week in Minsk – and as NATO leaders prepare for their summit on Sept. 4 to 5 in Wales – the Kremlin has put down a marker: there are limits to the amount of suffering that Russia will let Kiev inflict on the anti-coup federalists and ethnic Russian civilians right across the border.

    The Russians’ attitude seems to be that if the relief convoys can be described as an invasion of sovereign territory, so be it. Nor are they alone in the court of public opinion.”

  22. OldSkeptic

    Anders (Fogh of War) Rasmussen pushing his usual piffle, will this idiot ever shut up.

    NATO Reiterates Claims of ‘Alarming’ Russia Build-up Near Ukraine
    NATO Chief: Russian Aid a Violation of International Commitments
    by Jason Ditz, August 22, 2014
    Print This | Share This

    Hardly a day goes by when some NATO official isn’t hyping a Russian military build-up along the Ukrainian border. Today, the honors go to Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who termed the build-up “alarming” in light of Russia’s dispatch of humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine.

    NATO seems to be backing that position, with Rasmussen insisting Russia’s shipment’s are a “blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments,” and Ukrainian sovereignty. He also claimed shipping aid was ‘escalating” the situation.

    NATO has been backing the Ukrainian war against eastern rebels loudly from the beginning, and treating every Russian call for a ceasefire as “interference.” They have been building up military forces across Eastern Europe, nominally to defend them from a Russian invasion, though the invasion has been predicted by Rasmussen et al. for months, and never actually happened.

  23. VietnamVet

    The striking impact of the Ukraine civil war is that it has shown that you cannot trust corporate media. Today’s Washington Post article reported that Russian State TV broadcast images of the convoy being unloaded in Luhansk. But the accompanying graphic shows the city clearly encircled.

    Reports later today indicate that the convoy safely crossed back into Russia. The map is clearly wrong and it is part and parcel of the propaganda campaign that commenced with the takeover of the Ukraine government.

  24. OldSkeptic

    Two themes keep reoccurring.

    (1) Russians are aggressive expansionists who are bent on creating the USSR again.
    (2) They are a doomed society that is terminally stupid and incompetent Of course totally militarily incompetent, NATO, if it wanted, would be in Moscow in a week and the rest of Russia would collapse in a week (well if you believe the US think tanks and Poland) .

    Given those I am genuinely surprised that we haven’t had a story along the lines of: “the Russians are invading, but they are so stupid that they painted their vehicles white before the snows come…ha ha ha, send in NATO to wipe them out and kill Putin”.

  25. Celsius 233

    August 23, 2014
    The striking impact of the Ukraine civil war is that it has shown that you cannot trust corporate media.
    God’s be good; are you just waking up to that “fact”?
    This site is rife with alternatives. Use them for fucks sake!
    Why do you even bother with MSM propaganda/government speak/Pentagon lies/spin-meisters, and downright bullshit?
    Don’t waste electrons on this crap, we already know the real deal here (for the most part).
    That said, you post mostly good stuff…

  26. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Celsius 233 => VietnamVet

    When it comes to any European MSM you might as well abandon all hope of getting unadulterated information as well. Kiss off BBC completely, it’s no longer going over to the dark side – it IS the dark side; followed closely by Al Jazeera (funded by a Gulf state fount of funds); The Guardian has become highly dodgy since its wiki to do; and The Independent has become just another follower of neoliberal fascist fashion; The Times and Times on Sunday are English print analogues of Faux’Snews – same proprietors ~natcherally. French PM Holland is serviced by hard rightwing socialist news organs, and German media has been in general captured by the Overton Window.

    About the only trustworthy outlets come interestingly enough from Russia (RT) or from a few sites on the internet having well informed sources – J. Cole’s Informed Comment isn’t among the commended US sites unless kool-aid is one’s preferred beverages. Avoid any site that uses words, terms or descriptives from MSM derived toolbox of propaganda (e.g. separatists as opposed to federation or referendum seekers, even contra-juntaists has clear accuracy over MSM’s contrived identification). There isn’t that much out there but it’s available. The least trustworthy are the NYTravda on the Hudson or the (W)IzvestiaPost on the Potomac.

  27. VietnamVet

    Celsius 233

    In previous wars the propaganda could only proven false after the fact; the “domino theory” in Vietnam or “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. Today in the Ukraine Civil War the degeneration is complete; the lie is visible on the same page of the same newspaper. The “aggressive” Russians can destroy the United States. NATO cannot be believed. The West is not backing down from its takeover of Ukraine. This is very frightening.

  28. S Brennan

    A little off topic, but in vein of the press carrying water for those who seek war.

    In this* photo, the Ninja outfitted guy appears to be right handed by the way he’s got his weapon holstered…and yet, he’s holding the knife in his left. I find that very difficult to believe. The director probably liked the lighting better with Foley on the left of the screen. Details. I will give a full review of the video in a later comment.


    And on that subject; The claim that “Hamas admits murdering Israeli teenagers” has a very dubious source. Saleh al-Arouri spent 12 year in Israeli prison and was exiled to Turkey. The odds of him being privy to this type of information are less than zero, additionally, his story doesn’t match the known facts uncovered by Israeli police. In all likelihood, a paid agent of Israeli intelligence.

  29. Celsius 233

    @ Formerly T-Bear
    August 24, 2014

    Couldn’t agree more. The garbage runs deep; very, very deep. I find RT to be quite good actually as well. BBC=garbage and Al Jazeera is only slightly better.
    J. Cole? I find your comment true. I gave up on him long ago.

    @ S Brennan
    August 24, 2014

    I find your comment ridiculous. I shoot left handed and use a knife right handed. Either way, it’s very common. What’s your point?

  30. Celsius 233

    @ VV

    This is our world today:
    “War is peace. 
    Freedom is slavery. 
    Ignorance is strength.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

    I suggest you look up George Orwell’s letter to Noel Willmett, written in May 1944.
    It’s very prescient and most important today to understand this very fucked up world.
    Our world has had a polar shift; north is now south…

  31. Tom

    Tabqa Airbase has fallen to ISA. It actually was largely taken on the 21st except for some tunnels, but Twitter banhammered IS official accounts allowing SANA to post ridiculous stories and film from June to show it still had the base while they launched a counter-attack which failed to retake the base. All 28 Mig-21s were either destroyed or captured. Several helicopters as well. It was an utter disaster for SAAF and SAA.

    ISA now is poised to take the vital highway supplying SAA forces around Aleppo in Hama province. Already ISA groups in Homs pulled out and linked up with Hama groups and took a string of villages.

    Not the best map but generally accurate.

    Basically ISA will attack al-Ithriyah to link up with its Hama forces, to the North, they will likely finish off Kweiris Airbase which is a wreck then move along the Turkish Border and trap FSA and Syria forces in a big pocket like they did in Deir Ezzor in late June before flipping all the FSA forces there in mid-July.

    With winter approaching, Assad has little time to save his Aleppo force and Deir Ezzor Force.

    In Iraq, ISA is doing its signature VBIED offensive in Kirkuk, has ceased its, what I now think is a strategic deception, retreat in the face of US Airstrikes and still holds half of what it took from the Peshmerga. The best equipped Peshmerga and ISF forces are now concentrated on and around the Mosul Dam where a dam failure will wipe them out or more likely, ISA will feint, trick them into leaving the dam, retake the Mosul Dam and open the flood gates.

    Also the VBIED offensive in Kirkuk may indicate ISA is planning an offensive soon there.

    Pentagon also keeps saying they are launching airstrikes on ISA forces near Irbil, indicating something is not right.

    Also Arabic youtube channels are being filled with new videos of Peshmerga in ISA hands taken within the last week, indicating again the Kurds are hiding serious losses.

    Clean one relatively speaking, others showcase dead Peshmerga.

    As a fighting force the KDP Peshmerga are useless and ran at the mere word ISA was gunning for them at the start of this month, PUK is better disciplined but because its an Iranian puppet and works with PKK/PYD, its barred from US/NATO aid though Iran has given them substantial hrdware and turned loose PJAK fighters from their jails and Kurdish regulars from IRIA to join PUK along with Tanks and other heavy equipment.

    On the whole, ISA is cleaning up for winter. I suspect Kobane will fall before the year is done and likely large most of Hasaka will be under ISA control by year end.

    Deir Ezzor pocket I don’t know if ISA will take it this year, its possible, but we’ll have to see. Its actually consists of a network of bases and depots, and each would have to be cleared at once to keep anyone of them from supporting the other. Looking at the area in Wikimapia, taking all those bases would net ISA large amounts of fuel and heavy equipment, destroy another good chunk of Assad’s Airforce, and leave a long uninterrupted supply line into Iraq.

    Either way we are looking at a few years of carnage, and as things stand, ISA will likely win unless the geopolitical messup gets untangled that has all those who can help at each other’s throats.

  32. S Brennan

    “The mixed handed, or ambidextrous comprise less than 1% of the worlds population…usually indicates abnormal brain function…score statistically lower on intelligence test…tend to overestimate their abilities…are easily frustrated…quick to anger”

    Hmmm…maybe you are right C233, maybe you and the sanctimonious Ninja guy on the tape have a lot in common, but you are wrong, ambidextrous is less than a 1/100 chance, not common at all.

  33. Celsius 233

    @ S Brennan
    August 25, 2014

    You really are a moron. I’m not speaking to being ambidextrous.
    No where in my comment did I use or even imply that.
    Don’t put words in my mouth; I generally say exactly what I mean.
    My point still stands…

  34. S Brennan

    Celsius 233 permalink
    August 24, 2014

    [C-233 fluffing Formerly T-Bear comment deleted]

    @ S Brennan
    August 24, 2014

    I find your comment ridiculous. I shoot left handed and use a knife right handed. Either way, it’s very common. What’s your point?

  35. Celsius 233

    The question is; what’s Putin’s next move? What I see is the long game and Putin is far from finished.
    Another convoy is likely on its way to Donetsk and possibly more.
    The reports are very sketchy at this time.
    Interesting times indeed.
    I don’t think Russia is going to lay down for this intervention by the west; major shit to come…

  36. @celcius,
    Putin? He’s going to have a very busy next few months. Magic 8-ball says:

    Send more humanitarian convoys. Keep people in Donbass from freezing to death this coming winter, and at the same time, stick it to the man. All in time for Russian elections in September, and Ukrainian ones in October.

    Try to negotiate with Merkel and Obama (ask for: approval of South Stream, international recognition of Crimean independence and annexation, end of sanctions. Possibly under-the-table quasi-approval (frozen-conflict mode) of Donbass independence. Possibly force them to compromise. Also maybe offer help with IS, provide financial assistance to remaining parts of Ukraine, favorable gas contract, who knows.

    Damage control for Russian financial system. Absorb a nearly a million refugees from Donbass.

    Work out a deal with Akhmetov in Ukraine, if that hasn’t already happened. The current NR offensive approaching Mariupol makes me wonder if it already has.

    Try to save Assad in Syria from being ripped apart by either the US or IS.

    Try not to let any of his more enthusiastic staff members from starting WWIII.

    Try not to let any of Obama’s more enthusiastic staff members from starting WWIII.

  37. OldSkeptic

    peteybee ..yep. Another Russian trying to avoid WW3, without backing off.

    He’s the third I know of. Of course we have the famous Stanislov Petrov in 1983, but also the ‘third man’ in the Russian nuclear sub being depth charged by the USN in 1962, who also disobeyed standing orders and refused to launch (the USSR always had a 3 man policy, while the US only has a 2 man one).

    Of course one day some Russian in a critical position is going to say F**k It and hit the button….

  38. OldSkeptic

    MFI may be able to comment more on this, but watching the German elites going through all sorts of hoops is almost amusing.

    The German business ones going from ‘all the way with LBJ’ too ”no more” is almost funny. From ‘we will pay the price’ to ‘oh it is too much’…. Looks like the Russian economists are far better than the German ones.

    Merkel talking to Kiev is also funny, Germany has zero clout and is meaningless in all this. Kiev will do what the US via Biden (etc) tells them what to do and, in the end so will Germany. Bizarrely the best chance for Kiev to break the US stranglehold on it is if the Right Sector (etc) militias come back overthrow the Govt by force……memo to the US and EU …..they hate both of you….

    Meanwhile, in a masterly Russian stroke the first aid convoy just went in…and the next one is on the way…..and god help the Ukrainian Govt if they attack that aid convoy…..

    And winter gets ever closer…..

    There is a great snippet from Ian M Banks Culture book “Surface Detail” that is so appropriate to all of this, from the Culture Ship/Mind Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints:

    “Don’t you think it is hilarious when people think they are being terribly clever. I know I do. Just as well some of us genuinely fucking are or we’d all be in a hell of a fucking state”

  39. Celsius 233

    @ OldSkeptic

    With the lax security and gross incompetence in our strategic nuclear forces, I think that could easily be the U.S. as well.
    It would certainly cure global warming, no? 😉

  40. Formerly T-Bear

    Nuclear Winter will cure a lot of what ails;
    particularly with that species that conceived a doG,
    and lost the run of themselves.

  41. Celsius 233

    @ Formerly T-Bear
    August 26, 2014

    Yes. my favorite doG’s were the Greek’s doGs (Jason and the Argonauts/Ulysses/Orpheus, etc.).
    They were so human; it’s easy to think of them as our progenitors.
    I like your phrasing; …and lost the run of themselves.
    Fits to a T, IMO.
    In the end, we’ll get the thing we intend. It’s in the understanding of that in which we fail…

  42. OldSkeptic

    Looks like the Federalists have broken the Ukrainian attack and are counter attacking.

    They’ve pinched off and encircled (into what they call cauldrons) many of the Ukrainian attacking fronts.

    If this info is even half true the Ukrainians are facing a shattering defeat. They will either have to pull out a lot of forces to prevent them being encircled, or they will be and then be destroyed.

    As I have mentioned before there, because of the tactics they use, indirect evidence of US strategic (and perhaps even tactical) control of the Ukrainian forces. Standard US tactical mistakes such as their infamous hatred of giving up ground is playing right into the hands of the more mobile and tactically superior Federalists forces.

    Time and time again we see massive attacks driving for a particular target, but because of a lack of concentration of forces (another US fault) they get held, then encircled. Game over at the point because within a short period of time the Ukrainian forces (UF for short) lack the fuel and ammunition to break out. The UF also seem to be committing the cardinal sin of not holding sufficient reserves (yet another US thing) that are able to reinforce a front and/or enable a breakout from encirclement. So when encirclement happens that’s it for them…..

    So this is US playbook stuff. Poor strategic goals, a love of ground and an unwillingness to leave it when things go bad, lack of concentration of forces and a lack of reserves.

    Noting also comments made in the various reports that the UF tend to stick to the roads while the Federalists are mobile right across all ground.

    Playing right into the hands of the Federalist forces that have obviously mastered manoeuvre warfare, thus consistently beating numerically far greater forces.

    The UF were never very good, but their officers will have been trained in basically the old Soviet doctrine which would never make those basic mistakes, hence my suspicion of US direct tactical control.

  43. OldSkeptic

    And from the ‘Dept of You Couldn’t Make This Shit Up’:

    Discussing US bombing ISIS in Syria:
    “In an effort to avoid unintentionally strengthening the Syrian government, the White House could seek to balance strikes against the Islamic State with attacks on Assad regime targets”

    Yep bomb everyone everywhere, the redicio ad adurdum of neo-con ‘strategy’…..

    A better article from Glen Greenwald:

    The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria
    “That’s how the U.S., in less than a year, can get away with depicting involvement in the war in Syria – on opposite sides – as a national imperative. ”

    US ‘strategy’ has gone from incoherence into ‘The Twilight Zone’.

  44. OldSkeptic

    And, in an interesting article, which backs up my thesis that Russia (and Iran) will be trying very hard to ‘point’ ISIS towards Saudi Arabia (if they can of course), just as the US/SA/Israel will be trying to ‘point’ it towards Syria, Lebanon and Iran (also if they can)…

    Russian Intelligence Warns Moscow of US-Led ISIL Threat

    “TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia’s External Intelligence Service (SVR) warned Kremlin that the US is using the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group to create a new front against Russia in the Central Asia.

    “The SVR has warned Kremlin in a report that the US is seeking to lead the ISIL forces in the Caucasus and the Central Asia to create a new front against Russia in the Central Asia in future to implement their plots and policies in the Middle-East,” an informed source, who is close to Kremlin officials and asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of his information, told FNA on Tuesday.

    “Using Saudi Arabia’s facilities, which has shown its capability in transferring terrorists to Syria and Iraq, for recruiting forces in the Central Asia, the US has coaxed the Wahhabi clerics affiliated to Riyadh into attracting fighters from different Central Asian states, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, to prepare them mentally for being sent to Syria and Iraq. Then, they are trained in Kyrgyzstan and transferred to Istanbul and then to Syria and Iraq,” the source said.

    The report warns Russia of the danger of a US-led front run by the ISIL fighters in the Central Asia, stressing that the threat will sooner or later jeopardize the country’s security, he concluded.”

    ” “There is no doubt that the Salafist regimes of the Persian Gulf, primarily Saudi Arabia, have been supporting Islamic terrorism in Russia,” wrote Kirill Benediktov in Izvestiya.

    “Russia is now strong enough to afford unfriendly measures towards the regimes that have been using the Wahhabi fifth column in order to destabilize the situation in our country.””


    ” Auken also said that these events happening just before the Winter Olympic Games renewed the attention to the discussion of Putin and former Saudi intelligence chief Bandar Bin Sultan who is one of the main supporters of rebels in Syria.

    According to a transcript of the discussion leaked to the media, Bandar demanded that the Russian government terminate all support for the Assad regime in Syria. In return, he offered a joint energy strategy to prop up oil prices and other inducements.

    “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year,” said Bandar. “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

    Putin in response said that Russia would strike a massive military blow against terrorist training camps, which many analysts interpreted the remarks as a threat against Saudi Arabia.

    Auken finally concluded that the explosions has raised the question that whether Saudi Arabia is sponsoring the North Caucasus terrorists independently or in collaboration with the US, who both want to take revenge from Russia for their defeats in the Syrian war.

    And media sources eventually announced that a grim memorandum circulating in the Kremlin written by Federal Security Services (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov to outline the new security measures throughout Russia, as ordered by President Putin after the deadly Volgograd terror attacks, has warned that the Russian leader has, in effect, vowed to “destroy” Saudi Arabia as he is blaming Riyadh for this horrific crime against humanity.”

  45. S Brennan

    My old nemesis from 2002-3, still stinking up the joint, today he adds more lies to his incredible career of disinformation:

    MICHAEL R. GORDON FYI, – [Gordon was/is THE NY Times disinformation specialist of the Iraq Invasion. He was one of the main purveyors of the story that Saddam Hussein would have a nuclear weapons in a matter of months.]

    This time, the Headline screams::


    Quoting myself from before: “[Ukraine] reports of all sorts of things, but I pay a lot of taxes for spy satellites…so why isn’t Gordon claiming to have verified the reports with aerial reconnaissance?”

    But it gets worse, the RUSSIAN INVASION Gordon “reports” consists of…wait for it;

    “Ukraine’s military said included five [COUNT ‘EM FIVE] armored personnel carriers”

    Now it’s clear from Gordon, the US armed, funded & led coup forces are having their collective ass kicked in and Gordon has been given the job shifting the blame away from policy makers such as Obama & Hillary’s hand picked nut-job, Nuland and onto Russia & Putin, never mind that Hillary started this by spending $5,000,000,000.00 in taxpayer dollars to support SS wannabees in violent coup.

    A consummate liar, there has to be a special place in hell for Gordon and for that matter, the editors of the NYTimes…and their ilk. The fact of the matter is; the US insisted that the coup leaders, on the US payroll, force hastily conscripted soldiers into a blitzkrieg war, WITHOUT any air support. in spite of superior armor, the supply lines were repeatedly cutoff and rather than beat a hasty retreat to “defensible” positions, they pressed on…just as the Nazis’ did in the original Barbarossa. Read the article through, watch the not so subtle weasel words, the lack of proper attribution, “an American official”, “The United States has photographs that show”, “another photo shows artillery”, not one accusatory sentence has a person’s name, or approximate position attached to the claim. Let me remind you again, Gordon is the guy that warned of Saddam’s nuclear arms being ready to go within months…arms that existed only in his warped fiction writers mind.

    From Wiki:

    “During the first phase of the Iraq war, he was the only newspaper reporter embedded with the allied land command under General Tommy Franks, a position that “granted him unique access to cover the invasion strategy and its enactment””

    “he was the first to report Saddam Hussein’s alleged nuclear weapons program in August 2002 with the article “U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts.”

    As an author, he [wrote] The Generals’ War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf, which covers the 1991 Gulf War,[citation needed] and Cobra II, which covers the Iraq War begun 2003.[4]

    The General’s War won high praise from …Defense Secretary Dick Cheney describing it as “a fascinating account of the war” that he would “recommend”.

  46. OldSkeptic

    This interesting analysis of Q&A session with Putin after the Kiev talks and the implications: (got via MoA comment by Grieved).

    ” 2. On the gas talks Putin said the following:

    “It is no big secret that Gazprom has advanced payment for the transit of our gas to Europe. Ukraine’s Naftogaz has returned that advance payment. The transit of our gas to European consumers was just about suspended. What will happen next? This is a question that awaits painstaking investigation by our European and Ukrainian partners. We are fulfilling all the terms of the contract in full. Right now, we cannot even accept any suggestions regarding preferential terms, given that Ukraine has appealed to the Arbitration Court. Any of our actions to provide preferential terms can be used in the court. We were deprived of this opportunity, even if we had wanted it, although we already tried to meet them halfway and reduced the price by $100″.

    [Mercouris comment] The importance of these words have been ignored and they confirm that a major crisis is looming. We are looking at a gas war with pan European implications. The Ukrainians have been trying to force Gazprom to lower its gas price by threatening to cut off Russian gas to Europe. Putin has rejected that blackmail and has rejected any suggestion that Gazprom grant Naftogaz even a temporary discount pointing out that the Ukrainians would treat it as an admission in the legal proceedings in Stockholm that the existing contractual price is too high (people constantly harp on Putin’s KGB background. They forget that he is also a trained lawyer). What that means in effect is that there is or will shortly be no Russian transit gas going through the Ukraine to Europe. Unless the Ukrainians change course a cold winter looms not just for the Ukraine but for Europe as well.”

    [Mercouris final comment] “In summary, Putin took an unyielding line on every issue. The Europeans and the Ukrainians got nowhere and they now have a growing crisis on their hands. No wonder Poroshenko couldn’t bring himself to speak to the waiting reporters and rushed to talk to Ashton instead. Not surprisingly in light of the failure to agree on any substantive issue the Minsk summit ended with no final communique

    Back to: “Don’t you think it is hilarious when people think they are being terribly clever. I know I do. Just as well some of us (like Putin) genuinely fucking are or we’d all be in a hell of a fucking state”

  47. OldSkeptic

    This may be optimistic, but seems to be fairly close to the currently known facts:

    “The situation is turning from bad to worse in Ukraine for that country’s government. Its policy of flashy pincer movements to try and capture high profile objectives for media consumption has come to its natural conclusion – utter failure. As I wrote one month ago – The Mouse Trap – NAF forces were sucking the Ukraine army east to lure them into battle within the strategically convenient, and plausibly deniable, Russian guns. Since that time Ukraine has lost most of its operational air force to missiles, and has seen entire brigades of men wiped out along salients located near the Russian border.”

    “….The result of that somewhat reckless decision is now the same result Hitler found – encircled forces. At the time of this post there are 9 encircled formations of Ukraine troops with an estimated total strength of 20,000. For an army the size of Ukraine’s, this number represents a decisive loss. What makes matters worse is the knowledge that the units now trapped, and the ones trapped prior to this and already eliminated, represent the entire core of Ukraine’s professional army.”

    This is his speculation on the next moves, interesting but possible?

    “That brings us to today, and tomorrow. Having tied up a large percentage of Ukraine troops at the north and central fronts, and with Ukraine thus far refusing to withdraw to positions more defensible with fewer troops, the NAF has moved in the South. Essentially, the move came from near the Russian border two days ago, including an amphibious landing just east of Mariupol on Ukraine’s south coast. Simultaneously, NAF units in Donetsk city counterattacked toward the South. The resulting squeeze caused a large Ukraine retreat, but not before two more large pockets of trapped troops were created. At the time of this post Mariupol is surrounded on two sides, with the western resupply/escape route being rapidly closed. NAF units are fanning along the north of Mariupol in an attempt to block Ukraine units from moving south to intercept advancing NAF forces. The goal appears to be the City of Melitopol. From there the NAF have quick access to the Crimean border (Russia) and the Dnieper River cities to the north.”

  48. Celsius 233

    It seems things are moving very quickly in Ukraine;

    It seems things are looking up for Donetsk and very bad for Ukraine.
    Now, if only we can cure Washington’s psychotic behavior towards Putin/Russia…
    That may be forced in the near future (if we don’t nuke ourselves first)…

  49. OldSkeptic

    I think there is a probability (nothing is certain in war of course) that the Federalists forces are on the verge of a stunning military victory, essentially eliminating, unless they retreat real fast, the core (ie the trained part) of the Ukrainian forces.

    If you look at the maps and see how many UF are encircled and cut off you wonder what they can do.

    In modern warfare unless you immediately try a break out then you very quickly run out of the fuel and ammo needed to get out. In which case your only hope is that another force can come to your aid. But the UF have no credible reserves to do so. Airpower can help, but most of the UF’s airforce has been destroyed and the air around there is lethal, so no chance of CAS or supply drops, etc.

    The fact that the UF seem wedded to roads only makes their situation worse.

    This could go down in the annuls of military history as a ‘multiple Stalingrad’.

  50. OldSkeptic

    Noting also that I am the only person that has commented here for ages…..

  51. Formerly T-Bear

    @ OldSkeptic 28 August 2014

    It appears you’re the only one with uncontaminated information resources amongst …

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Oh! Noes! The BBC has gotten its knickers in another twist – ‘There are Russians in the Ukraine!’. How on earth can BBC tell? Did they survey passports or something? Did ol’ ‘Fogghy’ Rassmussum tell them – evidence to be as forthcoming as disclosure about the final minutes of MH17? Of course it’s state secrets when all and sundry are caught out in their blatant lies. The Guardian is not to be outdone by vacuous vassals at BBC in their own misrepresentations.

    Deconstructing slightly: Ukraine was part and parcel of the USSR, armed by the USSR, clothed by the USSR, inhabitants citizens of the USSR, speaking the language of the USSR both officially as well as traditionally in many homes and exhibiting cultural affinities effectively similar to those of the USSR. When the USSR collapsed as a political entity, these characteristics were not changed; of course the tanks, the armoured personnel carriers, the guns, the uniforms and all apparent appearances were not changed any more than captured weaponry changes appearances under a differing command, and a lot of weaponry (not destroyed) has changed hands in eastern Ukraine, those vaunted ‘Ukrainian Forces’ are primarily fascist private forces under the command, not of the Ukrainian military, but of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry and the oligarchs that fund them. These militias for all intents and purposes are what private warlords control, the failing Ukrainian government is tolerated as camouflage to obtain and receive support from Brussels and NATO without arousing great public outcry, such is the persuasion of modern media.

    Keep up the brilliant writing (and educating the informationally deprived) OldSkeptic. Thanks!

  52. Tom

    And Hamas has won the war. Israel agreed along with Egypt to lift the blockade and negotiate further over the seaport. Hamas holds two dead bodies and will get their prisoners back, PA is utterly discredited, and now Hamas will become even stronger having proved once again that Palestinians only have rights when enforced by the gun.

    ISA retook Tel Keppe from the Peshmerga in Iraq and YPG is slowly losing ground.

  53. OldSkeptic

    Now we move into the real danger period. With the Novorossiya forces winning there has to be some US/UK/EU/etc reaction….which so far has been panic…but, the ‘smart’ ones, the ‘clever’ ones (see my Ian M Banks quote above), ie the neo-cons will use this panic to try to get what they want.

    Anyone else thinking that it is awfully convenient to have ‘photos’ of a ‘Russian invasion’ just as the Ukrainian forces are getting thumped? Never mind the US State Dept says so and the BBC, Guardian, et al, mindlessly parrot it. Heck even the Australian ABC has it…so it must be ‘true’.

    This is after weeks of mainstream media reports that the Kiev was ‘winning’ and pushing out the Federalists (now called the Army of Novorossiya, it seems that the federalist boat has sailed) …oops, how do they explain than now..oh right a ‘Russian invasion’ …or ‘incursion’ or whatever.

    So what now? More sanctions?

    I’ve said right from the beginning of this that the US #1 aim has been, one way or another, to end Russian gas sales to the EU. I think that we can now take that as a given. If there is no other way then Kiev will end the gas transhipment through its country (it has taken several steps in that direction already). But getting the EU to ‘voluntarily’ end gas purchases would be far better.

    See this for an overview of some of the ‘behind the scenes’ moves:

    The other and far more dangerous issue (than moronic EU countries freezing this winter) is if/when are NATO troops going into the Ukraine and starting fighting? Remember there is a planned NATO/Ukraine ‘exercise’, originally for July then put back to early Sept, so NATO troops will be arriving real soon now.

    So the first attempt at aim #2 is ending, that is: Kiev hasn’t managed to crush/ethnically cleanse the western Ukraine and then attack Crimea. Their airforce is gone, their army is crumbling, the Army of Novorossiya might even be able to grab continuous territory from the Russian border to Crimea. This is despite Kiev being supplied by large numbers of arms (inc aircraft and tanks) from Poland, Hungary, etc even, some reports say, from Germany.

    So what will they do? Drop aim #2 and just settle for #1?

    Now US has just said “The United States expects to agree on a further round of economic sanctions against Russia during meetings with European allies next week, but has ruled out any military intervention to deter further attacks on Ukraine.”.

    That is perfectly in line with aim #1. But there is incredible pressure within the US Govt (as well as Congress) and NATO and the EU to go further and keep on trying for aim #2.

    Interesting times indeed.

  54. OldSkeptic

    For a good laugh have a read of this:

    A real toe curler:

    “US President Barack Obama has accused Russia of being responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. He said the fighting was not the result of a home-grown indigenous uprising but of “deep Russian involvement”. ”

    “Russia is reinforcing and resupplying separatist forces in a blatant attempt to change the momentum of the fighting, which is currently favouring the Ukrainian military.”

    “Ukraine confirmed on Thursday that Novoazovsk had been captured by the rebels, whom they described as “Russian troops”. It said it had withdrawn its armed forces to save lives, and that Ukrainian soldiers were now reinforcing the defences of the strategic port city of Mariupol.”

    “Pro-Russian fighters have been trying for weeks to break out of an area further north in the Donetsk region where they are almost encircled.”

    War is peace, white is black and defeat is victory….

    As a counterpoint: Former German defense secretary Willy Wimmer and 33 year CDU member of the Bundestag (German parliament) speaks out against the policies of the West/NATO. “People in Germany are fed up with NATO lies and wars organized by the US, ‘here, there and everywhere’… We will be all happy if the NATO secretary-general (Rasmussen) will have left office. ”

  55. VietnamVet


    Thanks for keeping this post going with the latest information.

    Does the President and his hanger-ons really believe what they are saying? I think so rather than admitting how incompetent they are and how addicted they are to power and wealth. Reality awaits till they hit rock bottom. The problem is how many people they will take down with them when they crash.

    Until Ukraine settles down and new borders are drawn, there will be incredible pressure to intervene to preserve the western plutocrat’s grab for shale gas and wheat land. If Poland intervenes or NATO declares a no fly zone; a shooting war with Russia has just started. Just how dangerous the Balkans are right now is indicated by India and Pakistan where once they acquired nuclear weapons not one incidence has escalated into a shooting war including the 2008 Pakistani attack on Mumbai because the war will inevitability end with a nuclear exchange.

  56. Tom

    Latest IS film pretty clean with only one execution which they edited a bit.

    Basically aimed at the Kurds and essentially says, you think you are safe with America? Nay we are coming for you!

    ISA has already retaken Tel Keppe and has now thrown the Peshmerga out of Sadiya after three months of fighting. YPG’s attempt to retake Sinjar failed. PKK is posting blatant photoshopped pictures of them driving captured ISA Tanks and vehicles on twitter and all Kurdish Groups keep posting non-credible kill counts of ISA fighters killed/captured/wounded.

  57. par4

    Ooops. Seems you read the tea leaves wrong. Don’t feel too bad, Yves Smith wrote a post saying we need more lawyers. Just remember it’s hard to predict things like the future.

  58. Formerly T-Bear

    What an amazing and marvellous display of faith the public has; puts the proverbial mustard seed’s into its shade.

    That the public trusts those which have shown their incapacity to manage the economy,
    are now willing to entrust conduct of a war to the very same hands. It is now necessary to have a change; either of those in charge of governing, or the public who put them there.

  59. OldSkeptic

    Great quote from Llargi at the Automatic Earth:

    “What I do think should stand out from all of what we’ve seen recently is that there’s not a single news source in the Anglo Saxon world, or in what I read in the German, French and Dutch press, that’s even remotely trustworthy. And that’s still, no matter how long this has been going on, a pretty scary conclusion to draw. “

    And this backs up something I have long harped on about the total US ‘ownership’ of the UK/EU/Australian/etc/etc elites, especially the media ones.

    The uniformity of the coverage is actually scary. Now some of the editors and journalists must know what they publish is piffle, but on they go. And the unrelenting anti-Russian hostility is astonishing, plus (even more scary) just about all of them advocate ‘tougher’ actions against Russia, to the point of advocating military actions/support.

    Take this Guardian editorial:

    The Guardian view on new Russian incursions into Ukraine
    Lies and deception have characterised Russia’s intervention in Ukraine but the new incursions are less deniable

    This is how it starts, with an astonishing rant:
    “Listening to Vladimir Putin, at a press conference earlier this year, solemnly deny that Russian troops had occupied parts of Crimea, the novelist Andrey Kurkov noted tersely in his diary: “He lies easily, uses humour.” From the beginning the Ukraine crisis has been characterised by bare-faced lying by the Russian president and his officials, often accompanied by tiresome jokes, on a scale beggaring belief.

    Mr Putin does the big lies, while his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, trudges on a treadmill of deception that never stops. He was labouring along as usual yesterday, dismissing reports that Russian regular troops were fighting in Ukraine as “conjectures”. Not once, he continued in his po-faced way, “have any facts been presented to us”. Why Europe and America have to some extent gone along with this chicanery is not that mysterious.”

    Then this, which cleverly combines 2 lies together:
    But whereas before Russian soldiers came in as advisers and irregulars, some of them now seem to be on the ground as formed regular units. The reason is not difficult to conjecture, to use Mr Lavrov’s word. The rebels in eastern Ukraine were on the way to being defeated by Ukrainian government forces.

    Lets parse this. Firstly Russian volunteers and ‘volunteers’ have been joining the Novorossiya forces (NF) for ages now. This is no secret and never has been. Just like the US/CIA/etc military ‘advisors’ and mercenaries that have been aiding Kiev are no secret. Plus many others like Polish volunteers and ‘volunteers’ and even people like Swedish neo-nazis. And of course, the never mentioned flows of military equipment from places like Poland and perhaps even Germany where they have been emptying out their old stocks of USSR stuff and shipping it east.

    So same old, same old. Nothing new here at all. So why make a song and dance about it and risk retaliation in the form of embarrassing counter stories of US/EU military involvement?

    Well firstly no western media will report those things, so it is a ‘lie free’ zone for them. No other western media will correct them, rather they can make up piffle and have 100% confidence that the other media will pick it up and run with it. The epitome of this was the Guardian/Telegraph ‘eye witness’ reports of Russian forces going in the Ukraine.

    The key to all this is the second part “rebels in eastern Ukraine were on the way to being defeated” . The official narrative of the west for ages now. Lovely (imaginary) maps being put up by the BBC showing Kiev ‘winning’ all over the place (while usually not commenting on the deliberate bombing of civilians and infrastructure, or if they did being even more careful not to blame Kiev). They all missed the fact of the disaster for Kiev of the southern ‘cauldron’, which when it was ended freed a lot of the NF forces to respond to the attacks in the North wast, which they did in their usual masterful way, creating not just one, but several new cauldrons (for the military buffs, 3rd gen warfare vs 2nd gen, outnumbered 10:1 contest).

    This is where the ‘echo chamber’ is so dangerous. Someone like the State dept says something, media echo it and expand on it, State dept then uses those stories to back up its original narrative. I am sure many in the US/UK/etc Govts have actually ended up believing the nonsense that they originally created and then read back.

    You now have a self reinforcing reality free zone.

    So now the shock of reality hits them and they panic and do, what they do best…up the lies. And the media backs it all up even adding to it.

    But this creates an ‘escalation machine’ with no limiter except nukes flying…Though the Guardian editorial doesn’t actually say it, it hints broadly that NATO ‘must do something’.

    Therefore we can conclude that the old ‘conspiracy buffs’, long derided for their claims of a media totally subservient to Govts…were right all along.

  60. OldSkeptic

    Oops, sorry about the Bold…missed an ‘end Bold’ somewhere”. Need a preview option here.

  61. Formerly T-Bear

    @ OldSkeptic 29 August 2014 #64546 above

    It seems your missed (/b) was needed after all, that is the sort of information that calls for the most brazen script to get peoples attention. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever seen such unanimity amongst papers of such differing political outlook particularly to each using exactly the same wording as well as the same phrasing, it is frightening the absolute control of the media that is being exercised, particularly over those sources of the traditional left.

    Again I’d suggest there will be war by October, it is unlikely such aggression can be conducted by this stageful of charlatans for such a length of time without one of their company crossing some obvious trip-line. It is indeed the time to affect a change of governments and the personnel in them. It’s going to be a quite nasty little affray. It would be so much better getting rid of the turd in the WH punchbowl for starters, maybe the other ladrones will get some manners put on them.

  62. Formerly T-Bear

    My bad:

    …(/b) wasn’t needed …

    oh for an edit or preview function when the (self)editor runs afoul.

  63. Celsius 233

    Putin speaking at a pro-Kremlin youth camp:
    “Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he said at the camp on the banks of Lake Seliger.”We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.
    “Russia’s partners… should understand it’s best not to mess with us,” said Putin, dressed casually in a grey sweater and light blue jeans.

    “Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

  64. Celsius 233

    We’re losing the war against the wackos within. I thought this was an Onion report, but alas, it’s for real or surreal…

    It’s an interview with an ex-CIA agent.
    Scotty, beam me up for the love of doG…

  65. Tom

    YPG propaganda getting more pathetic: Said to have been taken yesterday.

    The Chick in it, she is KIA: The full photo set from the aftermath of Jazza’ah battles.

    YPG is losing and resorting to inflated kill counts and false bravado videos as blatant as SANA’s. Problem is IS records its deeds ad reveals them false.

    Amirli in Iraq was relieved by ISF forces that punched a 16 kilometer corridor to the town. The Peshmerga who were 3 kilometers away failed to make any headway despite US Airstrikes.

  66. OldSkeptic

    My earlier post:” …..With the southern ‘cauldron’ over, thus being able to move forces elsewhere, plus reinforcements…well I’d bet on the Federalist forces. They have proven themselves to be as good as Hezbollah, in some areas even better (eg anti-air a Hezbollah weakness) in a less forgiving environment (ie pretty flat overall), without the massive investment in defences that Hezbollah created over many years.

    These guys are good, the more I find out about them the more I am impressed.”

    This is what pretty much has happened. Plus the various militias have organised themselves in a proper coordinated army. They have received extra troops, early untrained local volunteers now coming on line after training. Some more trained (and probably some untrained) volunteers from Russia, so their number are up, though probably only up to a max of around 10,000 front line plus support people (and likely less than that), pitiful compared the the Ukrainian army (UA) numbers.

    Poor strategy, poor tactics and poor training by the UA has led them repeatedly into being cut off into cauldrons by the far more mobile (all terrain), far better motivated and far, far better led/trained militias.

    A crushing military victory that should go down in the history books as how a far smaller forces can crush a far larger one.

    In many way far more impressive than what Hezbollah did in 2006. They had the advantage of being long prepared for many years and set themselves up into well defendable areas with well stocked equipment and ammunition. They were well organised with communicition and command networks.

    The eastern Ukrainian militias started out with literally nothing and had to build everything (including organisation) from scratch while still fighting fiercely. A remarkable achievement by any standards. They have also shown themselves to be masters of anti-air tactics and have essentially wiped out the Ukrainian air force.

    So now the game has changed. Yes the UA is still mobilising but it has already lost its core, best trained, troops. Raggedy poorly motivated, even more poorly trained conscripts are not going to make much difference for offensive operations, though they may be barely acceptable for defensive ones.

    The political dimensions, after the Ukrainian/US/EU/NATO/etc panic are going to be interesting to say the least.

  67. S Brennan


    1] It’s SKILLED blue collar guys going up against, swarmey “urbane” NAZI’s and their slave conscripts.

    2] Led by US commanders with a Napoleon/Nazi complex on a tight deadline to “finish the job” before winter. The result of which, was the complete inability to retreat/withdraw to protect their supply lines.

    3] Yes, these indigenous fighters did an amazing job, [I thought they would be slaughtered], but credit should be given to the coup leaders supine obsequiousness to the foolishness of their US paymasters[4-5].

    4] Who will join the Napoleons & Nazis for overrating their “superiority” and underestimating Slavic peoples persistence to persevere under fire.

    5] I don’t know what they are teaching at West Point nowadays, but apparently, military history, is no longer part of the curriculum.

  68. Celsius 233

    If this is true (UK has a plan to cut off Russia from the Swift banking transaction system), then we have seen the coming fracture of the EU. Cameron going to propose this to the coming meeting in Brussels on Saturday.
    I just don’t see the EU going for that severe a sanction. They might just as well declare war against Russia and be done with it.

    Walks away shaking head…

  69. thepanzer

    One tweak to S Brennan’s post on point #5:

    “5] I don’t know what they are teaching at West Point nowadays, but apparently, military history, is no longer part of the curriculum.”

    Should read:

    I don’t know what they are teaching in the West nowadays, but apparently, history, is no longer part of the curriculum.

  70. Gee

    Looks like someone at the FT got the memo :

    — Ukraine’s defence minister, also announced that the country’s “operation to liberate [eastern Ukraine] from militants is over, Ukraine must defend itself against Russia””

    yeah, abandoning the airport and running from a tank battalion, mhm.

    “Mr Poroshenko, under political pressure not to give ground to the rebels,” – uh huh. How did John Turturo say it in the Big Lebowski??? (Laughable!)

  71. S Brennan

    dePanzer, I stand corrected.

  72. Celsius 233

    Apparently there has been a non-disclosure agreement sighed regarding MH-17 black box information. Why in the world would “they” agree to that?
    …unless Ukraine did it. It’s the only thing that makes any sense…
    I do hope there is a *Snowden* out there…

  73. OldSkeptic

    Interestingly some claims that the NF have around 30,000 troops.

    From Posted by: Demian | Sep 2, 2014 4:01:18 PM | 34 over at MoA

    “Colonel Cassad has put up a new report on the situation in Donbass. Not yet at the English site. Here’s the wrap-up of the military situation (Yandex tr.; no link because of spam filter):

    Today, against the 29-33 thousand soldiers that Novorossia has, the junta, in light of its losses, can bring out no more than 40,000 soldiers (of not the best quality). Vehicles number at best for the junta not more than double or less. In aviation, the junta continues to suffer catastrophic losses. In general, in two months of the advance of the junta, it lost its overwhelming superiority in men and materiel, lost air supremacy, and the militia has almost achieved parity to the junta in the number of tube and rocket artillery.

    At current trends, the collapse of the southern front and its consequences will lead to the liberation of the greater part of the Donetsk National Republic and deployment of hostilities on the territory of Zaporizhzhya Region. That is, one will gradually start talking about the transfer of combat operations to enemy territory, which was originally not under the control of the DPR and LPR.”

    Personally I think that is a bit of a stretch. Might possibly be true if you include all non fighting forces, plus those in training, etc. But of you think that only a month or so ago they were struggling to find enough people to cover both the southern cauldron and Donetsk I somewhat doubt it. Even if, somehow, they had those numbers how would they equip them?

    I’ll stick to my 10,000 max estimate. Maybe an attempt to bluff the UF to keep retreating

  74. OldSkeptic

    Not bad overview article:

    Though I love Dimtri Orlov’s (yet another) snarky article:

    How can you tell whether Russia has invaded Ukraine?

    “……..Because if Russia invaded on Thursday morning, this is what the situation on the ground would look like by Saturday afternoon.”


    “10. Kiev has surrendered. There are Russian tanks on the Maidan Square. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of Ukraine’s National Guard. A curfew has been announced. The operation to take Kiev resembled “Shock and Awe” in Baghdad: a few loud bangs and then a whimper.”

  75. The Gambit

    Looks like it’s all over today…a 7 point plan agreed upon by putin and kiev has been vocally acknowledged. this looks too weird…after 7 months of conflict, 2 rounds of sanctions, and reputational damage…something smells rotten.

  76. Gee

    “Looks like it’s all over today” — Reallllly?

    So they agreed to a laundry list of things that must happen that they know won’t happen. This is just one tiny move in a long series of tactics that are part of a strategy that dare not speak its name. Only Obama gets to talk strategy out loud, aka, “we dont have a strategy.”

  77. The Gambit

    To Gee:

    a failed attempt at sarcasm on my part

  78. Gee

    @ the Gambit : No worries – would be easier if we had a snark missile icon.

  79. Tom

    ISA is tearing SAA forces in Deir Ezzor apart. They pulled several thousand troops out of Iraq and accepted some loss ground and the cut off of forces south of the Diyala river to mass 20,000 troops around Deir Ezzor with lots of Tanks, AFVs, and artillery, plus massed 10,000 more troops in Hasakah province to wipe out YPG and SAA forces there. ISA is looking at nothing less than complete control of the main highways from Raqqa to Iraq so that whatever US Airstrikes do, they are strategically irrelevant. Once ISA wins its fight in those provinces they will have complete freedom of maneuver and YPG/PKK will essentially be destroyed along with a good chunk of Assad’s Airforce.

  80. OldSkeptic

    The question is will the US (NATO and the EU will do what it says) ‘double down’ on failure and escalate things?

    Now if my thesis is correct (they have 2 aims #1 to end Russian gas sales to the EU and #2 get the Ukraine plus Crimea into NATO) then they will. They haven’t even (yet) managed #1 yet. To do so means they need a big ‘event’ of some kind to justify it, ie a real Russian invasion.

    So how can they ‘double down’? They have already tried atrocities against civilians but Russia still didn’t move in. The Ukrainian Army (and air force) have been decisively beaten on the battlefield and Donetsk (etc) should be clear of shelling soon.

    Another major atrocity, eg poison gas? Or an attack into the eastern areas which have not been involved in any combat yet? Missile fire towards Moscow? A crude nuclear dirty bomb? A ‘false flag’ attack on Kiev, or even the NATO forces when they arrive? They have lots of options and are usually quite imaginative and totally ruthless at such things.

    One thing that will give them confidence is that the western media will print whatever they are told to print, so they can be confident of (say) a poison gas attack wont be reported, but a resulting Russian attack will.

    Despite my hopes that there would be a ‘cracking’ of the total western media support for Kiev, that has not happened, in fact that support has gotten stronger if anything. Everything that Kiev says (no matter how absurd) is printed as gospel truth, even if it contradicts what they said the day before (oh those poor BBC/Guardian/etc writers twisting and turning all the time).

    Germany wriggles, but is still behind NATO all the way, France has caved and the eastern NATO nations grow ever more belligerent. Plus looks like Finland and Sweden are coming into NATO. So there is no cracking of NATO (or the EU) either.

    So, if they are going to escalate (my best guess) then as their ‘panic’ over their defeat settles down we can expect some totally hairbrained, absurd, counterproductive and cruel ‘event’ to happen. Probably around the time the NATO troops arrive for their exercises with the (surviving) Ukrainian forces.

    Note the role of the UK as the ‘attack dog’. Typically it floats an idea against Russia to gauge the response, then if that goes down well then they implement it. When the UK floats banning Russia from SWIFT ( a financial ‘nuclear’ option basically) then that is a pretty good indication that US/NATO/etc are not going to back down now.

  81. OldSkeptic

    Whatever we think Russia is keeping itself on a continually high military and nuclear alert level.

    Russia’s strategic nuclear forces to hold major exercise this month.

    This is just the latest on a whole series of military exercises (and the 2nd nuclear one). So they are keeping themselves ready for anything.

    If we make the (fair) hypothesis that Russia had good intelligence penetration of the Ukraine and NATO then they will know far more about what is really going on than is apparent to us. Have they got a ‘heads up’ on something (event, false flag, etc) happening this month?

    I’ll take credit for predicting (though not the exact details) MH17 a long time ago. I predicted an ‘event’ of some kind would happen. I’m getting that feeling again, something is going to happen, something superficially ‘clever’ to, at least, justify the US’s aim #1. The UK ‘floating’ the idea of banning Russia from SWIFT means they will have worked out the details already, maybe confiscation of Russian money too (ah lah Iran), that would keep the City of London happy at least.

    The fact that this is their second nuclear exercise in just a few months is really concerning, this means they are keeping their nukes on very, very high alert, these people will be wired. You don’t do this stuff unless you have real concerns.

    Don’t forget Russia will be tracking all US forces, especially their nuclear ones. Have the USN Aegis AMD ships moved to different stations? Are there more of their boomers at sea than usual? Nuclear cruise missile armed planes moved station as well? More B-52, B-1s and B-2s moved to the UK (etc) than is usual? What about all the ‘tactical’ B-61 nuclear bombs in Europe, have they been moved from storage to active points for easy aircraft loading? Have their cruise missile launching attack subs been re-armed with nuclear ones?

    Something is going on. As I said long before, this is ’83 all over again.

  82. OldSkeptic

    Is this a hint of an ‘event coming up? They couldn’t be that stupid could they?

    Ukraine PM says Russia ‘terrorist state,’ energy supplies hit.

    “Yatseniuk also told a televised cabinet meeting that pro-Russian separatists were deliberately targeting energy infrastructure in eastern Ukraine and he detailed plans to compensate lost supplies of both natural gas and coal.”

    ““The Russian bandits and terrorists are deliberately destroying the energy system of Ukraine, knowing that restoring it will cost billions,” he said.

    Ukraine’s security council said on Wednesday the separatists also posed a threat to Europe’s imports of Russian gas.”

    ‘False flag’ to take out gas transit pipes then blame it on the “The Russian bandits and terrorists “?

    Ok lets think like neo-cons, stupid but superficially ‘clever’ for a moment (IQ drops a lot temporarily).
    (1) False Flag damage to the gas transit pipelines.
    (2) Blame the “The Russian bandits and terrorists “.
    (3) Gas cut off (or at least a large reduction) to the EU.
    (4) Call for help from NATO.
    (5) NATO troops go into ‘protecting the pipelines’ from ‘terrorists’, funnily enough the majority pf their ‘protection’ actions will be in Eastern Ukraine.
    (6) Total sanctions against Russia, banned from SWIFT and all overseas money confiscated.

    Win-win. Aim #1 achieved. Aim #2 started.

    Western media. That is fine, they will all print that Russia and its ‘terrorists’ attacked the pipelines to hurt the EU, some of the most reliable to the ‘powers that be’ might already being given a heads up so they can get their stories ready. Therefore watch what they say over the next week or so.

    Also watch worldwide gas/oil prices speculation. The US being the US then favoured banks and speculators will be given a heads up so they can make a killing when prices go through the roof and protect themselves from a possible (though not guaranteed given endless Govt support) stock market crash.

    Western politicians. Ditto.
    EU people and economies…who gives a shit.

    So no downside there from their point of view. The western elites and its media will be 100% behind such a thing and it is such a neo-con thing to do.

    I’m being paranoid…. I hope…….

  83. OldSkeptic

    Than again….

    “According to a confidential three page document, seen by the Telegraph, all state-controlled Russian oil and defence companies will be banned from raising funds in European capital markets, cutting key sectors of Russia’s stalling economy off from investment. ”

    ” As well as economic measures, the EU is to take tough new political sanctions, first revealed by this newspaper last week, to ostracise President Putin and to teach him that Russia will become a pariah on the international stage unless he stops military intervention in Ukraine.

    “Beside economic measures, thought could be given to taking coordinated action within the G7 and beyond to recommend suspension of Russian participation in high profile international cultural, economic or sports events (Formula One races, UEFA football competitions, 2018 World Cup etc),” said the secret draft paper. ”

    ” While holding back at present from targeting Russia’s huge gas industry, the investment ban will hit Rosneft, which is Russia’s largest oil producer, in a warning of the broader energy sanctions that will follow unless Mr Putin backs down.

    The measure is expected to have a direct impact on BP because the British energy company owns 20 per cent of the Russian oil giant. As well as losing access to Western investment Russia’s oil prospectors will also be banned from access to exploration, production and refinery services.

    “Measures could be extended… to provision of future associated services (such as seismic campaign-related services, drilling, well testing, logging and completion services, supply of floating vessels etc) for deep water, oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production or shale oil projects in Russia,” said the paper.

    “Prohibiting the provision of new additional technologies, for instance refining technologies needed to upgrade crude oil to EURO 4 standards.”

  84. Celsius 233

    So, is this how the powers in charge will stop global warming?
    Nuclear winter would certainly be effective, no?
    The rabid behavior coming from Obama is beyond the pale. And we’ll pay the price in the end.
    Hope is gone…

  85. OldSkeptic

    Celsius 233 I posted here, long time ago, on another thread, that you could argue that the best hope humanity has as a technological species is nuclear war.

    If you read the Archdruid’s ( excellent and thought provoking articles, then it is going to end soon anyway. Dimtri Orlov is another to check out.

    And the survivors will revert to a pre fossil fuel, pre technological society, with a ruined environment. And a heck of lot less people.

    A nuclear war offers the chance (just a chance) of a ‘reset’. Much lower population (say 1-2 billion at the end), repairs a lot of the damage to the climate (though with terrible short term impacts), still a lot of resources left, still scientific/technology centres (eg Australia) left.

    Gives a chance for humanity to rebuild in a more rational and sustainable way, because there is no other real hope that I can think of.

    As I said check out the Archdruid’s arguments, he demolishes (mostly) any deux ex machine saving the humanity. We might have pulled it off if we had got serious about it in the 70’s but it is too late now. We threw that chance away.

    Basically it comes down to energy in vs the energy gained. Fossil fuels gives us huge ratios, though that is declining as the easy stuff runs out. Depending on how you estimate it is 7 (or even 10):1 that will sustain a high tech society.

    Now the best that a combination of nuclear/hydro/solar/etc can give us (overall that is, inc the manufacturing cost) is about 4:1 (roughly, maybe even as low as 3:1). Now, this is where I disagree with him (his weakness is he is American and thinks in those wasteful terms), you can build a pretty good and sustainable society on that ratio with very low fossil fuel usage. But you have to rip up our current tech and economics and invest a heck of a lot to do it and that also takes time….which we have ran out of. And there is zero will for it, anywhere.

    In fact every, and I mean every, trend in the world is towards using more fossil fuels particularly coal (even in so called ‘green’ Germany as they open more brown coal power plants).

    We hit worldwide peak oil awhile ago, getting near peak gas worldwide, though Europe (ex Russia) and the US did awhile ago. We have hit peak fresh water. Peak phosphorus too. Looks like peak topsoil as well. Peak many essential metals and minerals. We’ve even managed peak fish. And climate change is now relentless.

    So we are into the decline stage in a big way in all dimensions. Actually right on track with the ‘business as usual’ scenario the Club of Rome simulations made all that time ago.

    In terms of the ‘nuclear war might save us’ scenario, it would be better if it is a fairly successful Russian pre emptive strike, so that it receives minimal damage, because of all the multiple and huge resources that are there. The survivors will want to able to access them within a reasonable period (say 50-100 years or so).

    Love to see a way out of this, but I can’t and no one else seems to able to either (except by using magical thinking).

    Hope died in 1980….

  86. Celsius 233

    @ OldSkeptic

    Can’t really argue with your post.
    As to a reset, yes, that would be good. But, until and unless there is a fundamental change in human nature, a reset would only be temporary.
    Our history is a broken record going round and round…

  87. Tejas Nate

    Where’s Ian?

  88. OldSkeptic

    Yes, where is he? I think this could be a dead site for whatever personal/professional reasons that have come up.

    Hope he (and his family, etc) are well and ok, smart person who I respect very deeply.

  89. OldSkeptic

    I should add, not trying be all doom and gloom all the time, I think in probabilities.

    Therefore I think the most probable course is what I have painted, but realistically it is a 70-80% based on past data. Here is, my estimate, a 10% chance of the ‘Porky’ ceasefire holding…but it is more likely he will be ran out of town or killed (SOP US practice).

    Will Obama, who at times is an ‘adult’ do a ‘Syria’ on this…10%, he seems to me to be in a ‘setting myself up to earn lots of money post President time’ mode and doesn’t want another fight internally. He is/was/has ever been a Wall St person and as such has done his job of protecting them. Zero interest in foreign affair except at it suits Wall St. I think he has had his fill and is happy to let the neo-cons go.

    Things change, plus the time element. The German opposition, underground at the moment, the neo-cons have totally out manouevered them, will they respond as per MFI argues (another person I respect deeply)?

    Yes, I agree with MFI on this, but when? In a year or two, probably, where I disagree with him is that the crisis is now. Increasing probabilities, now 10%, next year 20%, year after 50%…and so on. But too late to affect US neo-con aim #1 at least and probably US aim #2.

    Apparently McCain is in Kiev right now and not happy about the ‘ceasefire”. I’d give it 90% that ‘Porky’ will get the flick, or a bullet real soon (this week?) .

    The US, now dominated by the neo-cons, does NOT want peace.

  90. Formerly T-Bear

    Truly interesting times afoot.
    Just think, from those folks who are absolutely unable to manage an economy;
    are now presuming they’ve the ability to conduct a war.

    Just wonder how that will turn out.

    = = = = = = =>

    Duhmerica, your President has gone full bonkers, like in the rabid dog or englishmen in noonday sahara sun insane. There is no apparent connection with reality from reading european MSM headlines. You need to find a minder for the fellow PDQ, or remove his finger from active boxes – either removing the finger or the box would do. Only when production of verifiable evidence should he be allowed access to any public address facility and then only after he is shown to be certifiably clean of all drugs. Beware the fellow is (allegedly) legally trained and may attempt to pass off hearsay as fact, he is notorious for that trick. 😉

  91. hvd

    OS, though I generally agree with you I think you are wrong about O’s obeisance to Wall Street. His administration is largely purged of the Wall Streeters and now seems to be dominated by the cowboys who hate NYC and Boston almost as much as they hate dark-hued and slavic people. That also explains the US foreign policy attempt to blow up the current dollar/pound international banking regime and to isolate Europe from oil sources other than the U.S.

  92. Celsius 233

    @ hvd

    You got anything to back that up?

  93. Q. Shtik

    Tejas Nate asks “Where’s Ian?”


    He has taken a break to ponder whether he should continue, or give up, referring to that country above the Black Sea as “the” Ukraine. The only reason he hasn’t thus far is that I pointed out the error of his ways and he found that deeply offensive.

  94. hvd

    Celsius 233-

    No. It is rank speculation. Well not quite rank in that the rivalry between the cowboys/south and bankers/north is a sort of staple of American history.

    It is very very difficult to understand why the bankers would want to hasten the downfall of the current banking regime by excluding Russia and forcing them into a regime of their own creation together with the world outside the euro, pound and dollar banking system. The escalating sanctions against Russia seem to me to be an extraordinary waging of war by financial means which we have specialized in at least since our war against Japan in the 30’s and especially since our sanctions regimes against Cuba, Iraq and now Iran.

    The only problem is that this technique used against Russia is likely to end the current banking regime. I cannot understand how the bankers would support this. On the other hand I can understand how the cowboy/oilmen could see this as a good thing. And most of the Clinton people (bankers) are now gone from the Administration leaving the cowboys.

    I have been puzzling over the seeming deathwish of the bankers and could only explain our current policy in terms of a cowboy desire to cut Europe off from all other sources of energy, see Pepe Escobar on Pipelanistan in general. We are doing that by creating the war with Russian and ISIS cutting off pipeline routes. We will further do that by enforcing non-trade regimes and eventually by not permitting trade in anything but approved currencies giving the cowboys a virtual monopoly on limited energy resources.

    To the extent that the bankers lose out the cowboys are empowered domestically as well.

    Again this is meant as beginning speculation that better minds than mine (Ian where are you) could either make something of or refute or of course ignore. I’m happy with any result.

  95. Celsius 233

    Ian’s fine, taking a break. Be back soon.

  96. Celsius 233

    @ hvd

    Thanks. It’s out there for all to see now; America has declared itself as supreme Poobah of the world.
    The problem is the rest of the world, as I’m thinking *they* will increasingly not go along.
    Ironically the U.S. may find it self isolated/shunned. We’ll see…
    The real wildcard is Putin, IMO.
    I keep having visions of Orwell’s tripartite world of eternal war…

  97. OldSkeptic

    HVD re “It is very very difficult to understand why the bankers would want to hasten the downfall of the current banking regime by excluding Russia”.

    I’ve thought about that too, I just put it down to them being 100% confident that they will be bailed out, they can’t lose no matter what. A fair bet given past history.

    I’m sure there has been a lot of conversations between Cameron and the City of London about this. Equally I am sure a lot of guarantees have been made under the table.

    This is an inference that comes from their current quietness. At the beginning they made a lot of noise (though not publicaly) about the impacts of Russian sanctions on them, remember the famous ‘no go’ areas that the City had given to the British Govt (and seen by a perceptive reporter).

    The fact that Cameron even mentioned the idea of banning Russia from SWIFT is incredible and it would have had to be cleared with the Treasury/BoE/etc/etc first.

  98. Jeff Wegerson

    @hvd Germany currently and China coming on strong are leaving the dirty fossil fuel shackles of the Saud house of Cowboyistan. So it’s not just dollar regimes that are under assault here. Actually Texas is pretty hip to the change in the wind., but it’s always risky to generalize people into categories. Still as far as the cowboys and bankers go think Romney and Rove missing the message so obvious to those people reading 538.

    @Climate Change Apocalypsers – Well sure this may be the end. But the idea of a nuclear winter being our only survival is not worth thinking about. We are climate doomed or we are not, that one is like our personal deaths, again not worth spending a lot of brain effort on. Our job is to proceed as if we can and will come out the other side one way or another and to work for the one way rather than the other. Which means we work for clean energy and damn the torpedoes. So no no one is going to go down the first strike, nuclear winter path as far as we are concerned.

    So the good news out of Ukraine (The) is that a cease fire has actually started. It’s my belief that it is because the Ukies lost bad enough that their incompetent leadership was forced to notice that they had lost. Someone somewhere said that cognitive dissonance often only gets resolved on a battlefield. Not saying U.S. neocons or neolibs got theirs resolved, but it appears that quite a few Ukie Nazis may have and certainly the Poro guy and his minion.

    So now the discussions about the so-called legal framework for Novorossia begin. The only thing that will matter is that they keep their defacto army intact enough to deter a future aggression by their not-so-friendly neighbors to the west. As long as they do that it matters not if they are in Ukraine (The) or not. Actually if they play their cards right and get the entire current Lugansk and Donbass Oblasts within their autonomous zone then they get a bunch of cities included without a fight. Then later with the next failure of the Kiev government they can do their independent statehood thing.

    As for Ian, glad he’s gone hiking or whatever. I just got back from an 80 miler in the Weminuche Wilderness. I am near my age limit for the one and two thousand foot uphillers but so glad I still could.

  99. Celsius 233

    @ Jeff Wegerson

    But the idea of a nuclear winter being our only survival is not worth thinking about.
    I offered that as a tongue-deeply-in-cheek benefit of a nuclear conflagration; and it sure looks like we may go there.
    The U.S. is quick to sanction for the same policies that it has done with hubris and impunity.
    Sanctions can be construed as an act of war. Best to talk, no?
    It’s also good to know history; maybe regarding pre-Pearl Harbor and our sanctions against Japan.
    In my 70th year, I can’t recall a more dangerous time other than the Cuban debacle…

  100. JustPlainDave

    You folks need to stop listening only to the echo chamber. Tense, yes. More dangerous than everything but the Cuban Missile Crisis? Not so much. Berlin, Suez, Able Archer, Afghanistan – those all rank much higher than this. Hell, most any given day when the alert birds were airborne and the strat types debated instance 1,437 of whether one could afford the luxury of strategies other than launch on warning was probably more dangerous than this.

    When the 2i/c of NATO gets up before God and everybody and says that he can’t think of a redline that Russia could possibly go past to spark direct kinetics over Ukraine and folks have to make up fantasy scenarios like nuking Warsaw out of whole cloth, that’s a sign that the commentariat rhetoric is way out of whack.

  101. Celsius 233

    @ JustPlainDave

    Oft you’re a good foil to hyperbole, but, I think you forget; Putin/Russia has said if confronted by overwhelming force they would go nuclear (tactical).
    Russia reportedly has thousands of tactical nukes and the U.S. about 500.
    Obama is pushing very hard with propaganda and outright lies to rally NATO into stupid, aggressive moves, directed at Moscow via Ukraine and the puppet Poroshenko.
    I’d like to be comforted by your POV, but it seems wrong.
    I would only add that Putin is one smart guy, but he’ll not back off what he believes is his right and his sphere of influence within which we are severely fucking with him…
    Very bad juju…

  102. JustPlainDave

    The important element lacking here is “if confronted by overwhelming force”. NATO just said they don’t intend to use any directly and current reporting says the ceasefire is holding (nor, even if it weren’t, can the Ukrainians be considered overwhelming force [nanowhelming might be the more apt descriptor]).

    Even support for Ukraine is distinctly unimpressive – we [Canada] just gave them one meeeellion dollars (meanwhile, we kicked in three whole million for the Baltics – which are the real area of concern – while JTF-2 and the int people are actually deploying to Iraq [I look forward to hearing the squeals when folks realize how this isn’t the first time], which is the real area of national interest).

  103. Celsius 233

    @ JustPlainDave

    But of course Ukraine couldn’t overwhelm; but NATO backed by the U.S. could potentially.
    Screw Ukraine, they’re lame and driven, transparently, by the U.S.
    Surprised that doesn’t register much with you.
    Remember Russia in Cuba? What’s the difference here?

  104. JustPlainDave

    The big difference here is that Soviet strategic and conventional forces were actually *in* Cuba. Neither of those is true of US (or NATO) forces and Ukraine and all of the messaging is vocally to the effect of “ain’t gonna happen”. When the hot air around the US aid promised is full of buzzwords like “non-lethal” and “territorial integrity” and it notably hasn’t broken $75 million this far in – having *started* at $50 million back in the spring, that doesn’t say “precipitous escalation” to me. Based on what I’m seeing reported, it looks to me that our spending in the Baltics dwarfs spending in Ukraine – which is appropriate and shows where the real interest lies.

  105. Celsius 233

    But, but, American forces are *in* Ukraine. It’s been widely reported American special forces are there and have been for weeks as an adjunct training force.
    What the heck are you talking about?
    Look, Nuland was pretty direct about what was really going on and U.S.’s involvement.
    If you’re okay with that then we really don’t have much to discuss, yes?

  106. JustPlainDave

    There’s a wee bit of a difference between deploying 200 guys to do non-kinetic training far from the front (and no, they’re not there yet) and 43,000 conventional forces, backed by tactical nuclear weapons.

    If there’s an undisclosed American line SF component there (which I doubt very much), I have to say they haven’t really been super effective. Moreover, I have a pretty detailed knowledge of the FID / MTT mission and it ain’t a game changer in this context on this timescale. If there’s a Tier I component there doing more than observing (a handful of observers is somewhat plausible), again it ain’t amounting to much and we’ve seen none of the signature that would be associated (Ukrainian C3I has conspicuously sucked ass).

    That impulse to the effect of having nothing to discuss if others don’t accept all of one’s particular set of facts and never accepting others that potentially falsify one’s favourites, well, that explains why the commentariat’s analysis is so bad.

  107. OldSkeptic

    Something has gone technically funny I can see only a small number of comments. Anybody else having problems?

  108. Formerly T-Bear

    @ OldSkeptic, 6 Sept 2014

    You will find the 100 prior comments at the ‘Newer Comments’ link at the end of the current comments displayed. It might be less confusing if that were ‘Older Comments’, but that is what we have.

  109. OldSkeptic

    T-Bear, when I do that only the first 3 comments appear.

  110. OldSkeptic

    Interesting article from the always excellent Philip Giraldi in the American Conservative (which despite its name I recommend checking out from time to time, some interesting stuff turns up there):

    In it he notes the disconnect from the ‘policy makers’ and the rank and file intelligence people, which now seems endemic (as per Iraq and facts being fitted around the policy).

    Does the CIA Believe Obama?
    Intelligence pros are far more skeptical of government claims than their bosses let on.

    “A basic understanding of how big bureaucracies operate is essential. Very few individuals in any large government bureaucracy are actually involved in what one might describe as policy issues. This is why insiders refer to places like the “seventh floor” at CIA and State or the E-Ring at the Pentagon, because that is where the movers and shakers have their offices. They are the public faces of their organizations and everyone else is little more than supporting cast. Indeed, many of those on the top executive level have little in common with the other employees at all, as they are themselves political appointees, designated to provide largely uncritical support for the policies being promoted by the White House even when the institutions they head are dubious.”

    “That means that the Chuck Hagels, John Kerrys, and John Brennans of this world probably are only dimly aware of what is occurring on the lower floors of their own buildings. ”

    “It might actually be that the cabinet truly believes in what it is peddling, but that is a thought too frightening to contemplate.”

    “But not everyone agrees with their bosses. Indeed, I know of no former or current intelligence official who believes that the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe was a good idea, that toppling Bashar al-Assad would bring anything but chaos, or that bombing ISIS will actually accomplish anything. Given the current national security environment, I think I can state with some certainty that a solid majority of lower and mid-level employees would regard the administration responses to the ongoing series of crises, including both Ukraine and ISIS, as poorly conceived and executed. In the case of Ukraine the judgment would be somewhat stronger than that, bordering on perceptions that what we are experiencing is an abuse of the intelligence process to serve a political agenda, that the Cold War-style tension is both unnecessary and contrived. Many regard the dubious intelligence that has been produced to implicate Moscow in Crimean developments as both cherry picked and unreliable.”

    ” Intelligence work makes one naturally cynical but the rank and file are now becoming generally suspicious of and even hostile to what is going on.”

    “So the short answer to whether those engaged at the working level in national security actually believe what their bosses are saying is, “Probably not.””

  111. OldSkeptic

    Seems ok now…que?

    Off topic but from the “Dept of I am Not Surprised”:

    From the always excellent Gareth Porter
    Exclusive: Israel’s Video Justifying Destruction of a Gaza Hospital Was From 2009

    “A video distributed by the Israeli military in July suggesting that Palestinian fighters had fired from the Al Wafa Rehabilitation and Geriatric Hospital in Gaza City was not shot during the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, and both audio and video clips were manipulated to cover up the fact that they were from entirely different incidents, a Truthout investigation has revealed.

    The video, released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on July 23, the same day Israeli airstrikes destroyed Al Wafa, was widely reported by pro-Israeli publications and websites as proving that the hospital was destroyed because Hamas had turned the hospital into a military facility. But the video clip showing apparent firing from an annex to the hospital was actually shot during Israel’s 2008-09 “Operation Cast Lead,” and the audio clip accompanying it was from an incident unrelated to Al Wafa.

    The misleading video was only the last in a series of IDF dissimulations about Al Wafa hospital that included false claims that Hamas rockets had been launched from the hospital grounds, or very near it, and that the hospital had been damaged by an attack on the launching site.

    The IDF began to prepare the ground for the destruction of Al Wafa hospital well before Israeli ground troops entered Gaza on July 17. On July 11, the IDF fired four warning rockets on the fourth floor of Al Wafa, making a large hole in the ceiling – the standard IDF signal that a building was going to be destroyed by an airstrike.”

    Oh well at least Israel is consistent…they always lie. Which actually makes it easier to work out what they really mean…just take what they say and turn it 180 degrees.

  112. OldSkeptic

    Related to the previous discussion about global limits.

    Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse

    Paper at:

    Now if you look at the ‘first world’ we can see this clearly. Incomes have stagnated or are declining in the US/UK/EU. Yes there are some rises in the ’emerging countries’, but for how long?

    Another simple example, oil companies are now ‘cash negative’, in that the capital cost of exploration and development exceed their incomes now as the remaining oil is insanely expensive to find and extract.

    So we are, globally though various regions will differ in their timings, into the decline stage. Papering over the cracks with insane debt levels and money printing can only disguise things for so long.

    Personally I think the western ‘elites’ saw this coming since the ’90s and have been positioning themselves for it, albeit in a very stupid way. Taking the US as an example they have long been preparing themselves for a class based civil war and are betting the farm that they can suppress dissent and keep the proles down as their living standard collapses and the remaining resources are kept for the elites. Interesting bet.

    So we are right on track and have been for awhile now. LTG projections have often been checked over the years and we just keep on the same path. If we started changing in 1980 or even 1990 we might have avoided, or at least mitigated, this. But it is too late now.

    If you just take electricity production, to move to a more sustainable path we would have to move to a massive increase in non fossil fuel based production. More than most think, because we would have to substitute a lot of transport to becoming electricity based and huge increase in recycling (another energy hog).

    So total replacement of all existing fossil fuel electricity generation, plus the extra needed for the new transport, plus the extra needed for moving to a (near) 100% recycling society.

    The capital cost, resources and time required are immense and in most countries it is now too late to do it.

    We can never build enough nuclear/wind/tidal/solar/etc/etc to do it in time. Plus the massive investment in new transport and recycling infrastructure required. That’s a 30 year full on program.

    Most western countries went backwards from that direction since 1980, which was about the latest we needed to start.

    Take the example of the UK. After being a world leader in nuclear power plant manufacturing (and their AGR design is far better and far safer than the US PWR design everyone now uses) they lack the skills to make one now. They pissed their oil/gas windfall which could have funded that into the wind… Nothing can save them now.

  113. Celsius 233

    @ JPD

    That impulse to the effect of having nothing to discuss if others don’t accept all of one’s particular set of facts and never accepting others that potentially falsify one’s favourites, well, that explains why the commentariat’s analysis is so bad.
    I have no expectation anybody will accept *all* of my opinions. I’ll discuss until the cows come home if there is anything to gain; but circular discussions are fruitless.

    I am aware of who and what was in Cuba and we almost went nuclear over that. Nuland made it pretty clear she (U.S. proxy) was running the coup and its candidate, Yats (as she called him), with the clear intention of bringing Ukraine into NATO and the EU’s economic zone.
    I can only imagine what the ultimate outcome of that would have been. I think it would be naive to believe weapons wouldn’t have followed. The encirclement of Russia and the blatant demonizing of Putin is a desperate attempt by the U.S. at empire.
    I have visions of Orwell’s tripartite world of eternal war.
    The real kicker in all of this is MH-17. The findings (black boxes) are deliberately withheld from the public and I’d bet it’s because Ukrainian Mig-25’s shot it down. Logically there can be no other reason, IMO.

  114. OldSkeptic

    51% for Scottish independence…great news….

  115. JustPlainDave

    Celsius, I guess it depends on what it is that you hope to gain via discourse. I’ve always found that consensus is significantly less useful to me than disagreement grounded in fact. Disagreement grounded in conviction, without reference to fact, is significantly less useful.

    Personally, I find that the current state of discourse on open, non-specialist sites these days is one of self-balkanization. A high degree of uniformity of opinion, founded on a narrow range of accepted facts – only some of which can be externally verified and very few of which are at all contextualized- appears to be the norm. Things that come from “approved” sources are accepted pretty much without question (e.g., the “always excellent” sources above – no source is “always excellent”, not one) whereas material that comes from sources that have been judged unacceptable (e.g., Michael Gordon – boo, hiss, knashing of teeth) is never accepted. Data points are selected and fitted around pre-selected interpretations, rather than folks going where the evidence leads or deliberately seeking to look at it through a range of alternative lenses. It’s not a recipe for an informed, engaged populace.

  116. kyria

    But…but…who’s counting the votes?

  117. DMC

    MiG-25’s have air-to-air capacity now? Last I’d heard they were strictly ground attack aircraft. Also it should be noted that essentialy 100% of new energy investment in the U.S. is in renewables. Solar(both solar-voltaic and solar thermal) is going to get progressively cheaper at an accelerating pace as production/installation ramps up, such that even coal will be too expensisve to bother with sometime before 2020. For all the shouting about carbon taxes and mandates, it will be supply and demand that brings about the transition to the cheap electricity economy.

  118. DMC

    My mistake. I was thinking Su-25. Frogfoot not Foxbat. Duh!

  119. Formerly T-Bear

    You’ve just demonstrated something none now in power can accomplish let alone conceive – to self-correct.

    Had the Titanic self-corrected and headed directly at the iceberg instead of attempting to veer away, only the front few watertight compartments would have been damaged and left the ship in seaworthy state instead of a breach under the waterline of the majority of its watertight compartments, sending the ship to its grave. Another wonderful fact of 20/20 hindsight.

    Additionally, has anyone noticed how complexity is now completely beyond control? There is no-one capable at the helm, either in the EU, London, Wall St. or Washington. Such systems developed through rational design have an uncanny ability to fail when not under rational control. That may go a long way to explain why President Putin has prevailed in the NATO inspired assault upon Russia. The coming winter looks to be long and cold. Some of that Libyan gas might come in handy if stability is restored to those suppliers. Can you spell: blowback?

  120. OldSkeptic

    Well US Aim #1 is well on the way, the new sanctions, though they currently exclude gas, are a ‘nuclear’ option to hit Russia’s oil industry (because oil is so plentiful and cheap around the world obviously). They are storing gas like bandits:

    Here Is Why Europe Just Launched The “Nuclear Option” Against Russia

    “Europe’s leaders, we assume under pressure from Washington, appear to be making a big weather-related bet with their taxpayers’ lives this winter. As they unleash funding sanctions on Russia’s big energy producers, Europe has pumped a record volume of natural gas into underground inventories in an effort to ‘outlast’ Russia and mitigate any Napoleonic “Winter War” scenario. The plan appears to be to starve Russian energy firms of cashflow – as flows to Europe are already plunging – and remove their funding ability, potentially forcing severe hardship on Russia’s key economic drivers. There appears to be 3 potential problems with this plan…

    So Europe is stocking-up – which makes perfect sense – just in case Russia pulls the plug… but has now taken the situation to “11” on the Spinal Tap amplifier of escalating tensions by planning sanctions on Russia’s energy providers.

    The plan appears clear:
    stock-up now (to survive the winter)…
    starve Russian firms of cashflow (thanks to stockpiles)…
    cut off their funding source (sanctions)…
    force Putin’s economy into a tailspin…
    Putin folds and it all ends happily ever after

  121. Formerly T-Bear


    I think this report found at The Automatic Earth probably has a foretaste of what the response to sanctions will be.

    titled: Medvedev: Energy, Finance Sanctions Against Russia May Provoke ‘Asymmetric Response’
    primarily stating: MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) – New Sanctions against Russia in energy or finance sectors could trigger an asymmetric response from Moscow, such as closing its airspace, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the Vedomosti newspaper in an interview released Monday.

    Notice how no threat was made but a suggestion of what actions could be taken should applied sanctions not be thoroughly thought through. A fine display of diplomacy in action as opposed to the west’s sanctions being an ignorant and blatant act of economic warfare.

  122. OldSkeptic

    Formerly T-Bear “west’s sanctions being an ignorant and blatant act of economic warfare.”

    Disagree that it is ignorant, just another step in achieving US Aim #1. I think it is pretty well thought out. Obviously the US wants the full end of gas sales now, but the EU is dragging its heels a little bit, so we have this step by step ratcheting up process.

    Maybe next month when the gas reserves are full they will put the final sanctions on, because Putin’s socks are the wrong colour or something. They will find a reason, an outright lie or false flag or something.

    As I said there is no backing down now, this is it to the death….of the EU that is, though Russia will be hurt badly economically the EU will be hammered.

    There are no countervailing, in the short term at least, political forces within the EU to stop it. Bit of grizzling here and there, but nothing large enough to push back against what the US wants.

    So all we see is a bit of political theatre going on.

    Basically their overall strategy now is to ‘bet on a queen high’, in that the damage to the Russian economy will cause an overthrow of Putin (and US agents in there will be working real hard as well), with a nice tame oligarch ran Govt being put in power. The US will also be talking to Russian oligarchs about how much money they will get if they do it, as per the IMF allowing the Ukrainian oligarchs to siphon of most of the loan money into their pockets…$3.1 billion, now that is a real bribe.

    So the US, and its poodles, are going ‘all in’, yes they have suffered a setback but they will just put Aim #2 back a little bit and concentrate on #1 for now. Though #2 won’t be given up on. they will just need to set things up a bit more before they can go at it again.

  123. Celsius 233

    September 8, 2014
    MiG-25′s have air-to-air capacity now?

    Yes, always have had…

  124. Celsius 233

    Well, my bad, it was an SU-25, not a MIG-25 that is alleged to have shot down MH-17.
    The later variants of the SU-25 are equipped with A to A radar and missiles as well as 30mm cannon(s).
    Both weapons are alleged to have been used to down the aircraft.
    A preliminary report on the black boxes is due out today, Tuesday the 9th.

  125. OldSkeptic

    Well what can they say, since they have signed a well leaked agreement that the Ukraine, Netherlands and Australia (think there was the UK too) all have vetoes on what is reported….

    Might just say “the plane flew, until it didn’t”…

  126. Celsius 233

    MH-17 was broken up by external forces comprising high energy objects.
    I’m underwhelmed by their lack of candor and any meaningful information.
    Met my expectations exactly…

  127. Formerly T-Bear

    @OldSkeptic 8 Sept. 2014 #64655

    I still stand by ignorant. I am not one who entertains neoliberal/neocon philosophy as valid. I maintain ignorant as the operative in my statement from understanding Sun Tzu’s dictum – Know Your Enemy. These intellectual non-entities obviously don’t know Russia from their elbows. That view is held by others as well. See:

    Should one suspect you approve of a nice nuclear winter scenario? This ends my participation on this subject. Cheers …

  128. Celsius 233

    Formerly T-Bear
    I still stand by ignorant.
    Yes, I agree. Ignorance isn’t stupidity; it’s lacking knowledge or information.
    A very important distinction, IMO.
    And clearly, that is missing in America’s actions.
    Actions based on ignorance, possibly willful, which is most disturbing…

  129. OldSkeptic

    Formerly T-Bear, I should have clarified what I meant more accurately, apologies.

    I agree with you totally that from a reality based point of view that they are being insanely stupid.

    But from within their own mind set (or mental model, whatever) they think they are being very clever and that the risks are negligible (or manageable) and that they will win. ‘Creating their own reality’ sort of thing, though I prefer my Iain M Banks quote to describe it.

    This mind set is reinforced by the groups they belong to, where to join and be accepted you have to acquiesce to their dominant ideology.

    You have hit on another very good point as well, the nexus between neo-liberal ‘economics’
    and neo-conservative militarism. Both are essentially ideologies (or states of mind) that require a decoupling from reality as neither stand up to objective facts. Both also systematically underestimate risk as a factor, often by orders of magnitude.

    I have noticed that people steeped in neo-liberalism do more easily jump to the neo-con point of view. After all, if you have spent your live in a fantasy land, what difference is another fantasy land…. plus there is an inherent authoritarianism within neo-liberal thought, how do you control the proles when you throw them under an economic bus?

    Neo-conservatism is very much the ‘hard edge’ of neo-liberalism too, if you don’t willingly accept a neo-liberal economic ideology…it will be forced on you . We saw this in Iraq, after the invasion, neo-liberals took over the running of the country and systematically destroyed it economically.

    The first case of this was of course Chile where Milton Friedman and his acolytes went to in droves. With those pesky unions, etc, killed or banged up in torture central they could run riot. Never heard any of them shed a single tear for the loss of democracy and freedom, or all the torture and death, it was a great success they claim.

    Plus ever heard of a mainstream neo-liberal economist bemoaning the huge spending on the military and ‘national security’, never, rather they whine endlessly about some granny somewhere who still has a few gold fillings left that haven’t yet been ripped out to pay for a loaf of bread.

    As for nuclear winter, just because I can’t see an long term alternative for technological humanity, doesn’t mean there isn’t one…plus let’s not do it this week I’ve got some things planned.

  130. OldSkeptic

    Two superb article.

    One by Dimtri Orlov about Russia and the west (reprint from earlier, still a a must read).

    Second from Peter Lee on ISIS (US, Turkey, SA, Syria, etc). Another superb analysis from him, a must, must read.

  131. Formerly T-Bear

    @OldSkeptic 9 Sept. 2014 #64671

    Nice and concise encapsulation of the Neo-Thought-Collective (Ersatz Theology). An interesting exposé of the NTC can be found in Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown ISBN-13: 978-1-78168-079-7. In conjunction with Nassim Nicholas Taleb The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable ISBN 978-1-1410-3459-1 almost assures the collapse of the Neo-Regime now constitutionally enshrouded in power. Systemic collapse (the black swan) is about the only way to remove or discredit the ideology from the public domain; a costly enterprise but less so than civil hostilities would produce. The NTC are destroyers, incapable of developing or maintaining complex systems; they demonstrate no ability to restore the economic system they are responsible for managing, yet they insist on conducting warfare upon their perceived competition. The NTC demonstrate no ability to self-correct. This promises to end poorly, but it will end the ability of the hegemon to rule.

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