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

Ukraine and the perils of lack of commitment

The Ukrainian government has essentially admitted that their military is defeated.  The separatists (with Russian backing) are in the ascendent.  NATO countries are being mealy-mouthed about whether or not to send arms.  For now, Putin and Russia appear to have won, and any deal will have to be on their terms.

The protests which caused the crisis by engendering a coup were heavily backed by America, and to a lesser extent by the Europeans (much lesser, Europe was aware of the potential for disaster.)

America spent decades trying to get the Ukraine into the Western, NATO orbit, as a way of making sure that Russia could never rise as a European power again.

Then, having finally gotten a government which would do what it wanted, they blinked (or one hopes they have.)

Why?  Because the Ukraine is far more important to Russia than it is to the West.  They were right: Russia can’t afford to have Ukraine fall into Western hands, let alone join NATO.  Leaving aside the “empire” issue, it would put troops far too close to Moscow.

So Russia gave the separatists the necessary aid to win and America did not give the government the aid it needed.

Hung out to dry.

The game is not over, however.  In particular the results of the coming presidential election in America will matter a great deal.  Hilary Clinton is even more of a hawk than Obama, and has repeatedly insulted Putin.  She is much older than Obama and she grew up in the Cold War.  She seems to genuinely fear the rebirth of a modern version of the USSR or the Russian Empire, and she’s been playing a hawk for so long that I believe she now really is one.

Many of the potential Republican candidates are little better.

I don’t regard this is as necessarily a good thing, both because Russia is unlikely to blink, and because the antagonists are nuclear armed.

But there is a window to make a deal: Ukraine not in NATO, and federalized, with some sort of economic arrangement which acknowledges its dependence on Russia.  Ukraine’s window for this is closing not just because of the possibility of American intervention (which might be in the interests of the government, but is unlikely to be good for the actual population: war on your own soil rarely is), but because Russia is moving to reduce its dependence on pipelines thru the Ukraine to Europe.  Once they no longer need Ukrainian pass-through, they can simply shut the pipelines off.

Ukrainian winters are very cold.  Very.  And much of their industry needs those hydrocarbons.  Getting them from anyone but Russia will be much more expensive, and will come at the cost of massive IMF austerity and foreign buyouts of everything the Ukraine has worth owning.

Let us hope a deal is made, for everyone’s sake.

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Syriza and Greece Seem to Have Been Owned


Did Syriza get owned?


  1. Putin wants all of it, but the Western part doesn’t want to go.

  2. V. Arnold

    Without using nukes, America is an impotent presence in Ukraine. Ukraine’s military is broken.
    Europe is close to fed up with America’s war mongering in their backyard.
    Sanctions will be less effective as time goes on because Russia has ways around them. And besides, the sanctions are hurting Europe more than Russia.
    The U.S government is gutted of people who know anything about Russia, Asia, and most of the rest of the world’s cultures. America has replaced knowledge and wisdom with military dominance and is at a loss when it doesn’t work. Bullets and drones have replaced diplomacy; after all, diplomacy takes skills and knowledge…

  3. I’m not so sure Putin “wants” all of Ukraine, or any part of it other than the seaports, but he is not about to allow NATO to have any part of it. He doesn’t bloviate about “red lines,” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them.

  4. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Sterling N.

    The man. His words. From BBC. Nice try. Hasbara agent?

  5. V. Arnold

    Putin most assuredly does not want Ukraine; just an independent neighbor. Putin, it would seem, is one of the only honest brokers in this stupid play by the U.S.

    All it would take is a little research to understand their historic relationship. Ignorance is driving this insanity; ignorance of culture, language, religion, and regional politics.
    America is run by stupid children playing with powerful toys they don’t understand.

  6. I guess you’ll just the hard way. Suit yourself

  7. V. Arnold

    Oh, we’re deleting comments now? From a known poster/not a troll?
    While I would, and have, put it differently, it’s still a relevant point, no?

  8. Ian Welsh

    Try and make the comments w/o insulting the other posters. There’s usually a way.

  9. V. Arnold

    @ Ian

    Careful there; don’t hurt yourself.
    I and many others have lauded your liberal censorship policies. Yes, things get nasty at times; but over the years, I have seen that they work things out in the end.
    Censorship is a road unseen with destinations unknown; careful there…

  10. S Brennan

    Early on, when listening to some idiot in Seattle prattle on how Obama was “going to teach Putin a lesson”, I’d ask “do you even know where the Ukraine is…have you ever looked at map…do you have a clue about the logistics of war”?

    If Putin wanted all of Ukraine, there simply nothing the US [& it’s minions…sometimes called “the west”] could do about it Stirling. Nothing. Putin is a Russian nationalist and is doing what all nationalist do, putting Russians first. Not world domination, but a strong, independent Russia.

    Hell, Putin knows Russia doesn’t have a population big enough for it’s present borders, China would be it’s natural enemy were it not for the US insistence for a Russia-China military alliance. People in DC are delusional idiots and Obama doesn’t know enough, care enough about the world to doubt their “wisdom”, he just wants his payout for fellating power.

    Back to reality, after all of Obama induced bloodshed, a united Ukraine is now impossible, two independent states need to exist [see outline in link below]…and in time will, because of the logistics of the situation.

  11. Dsj

    Stirling is correct. By “all” Putin wants a solidly aligned eastern Ukraine and a failed state Western Ukraine that is a net drain on the West and Nato rather than a benefit. There is neither a need nor a desire in the modern version of power politics to blatantly show your hand by directly annexing territory. This is why the need for “hidden in plain site” military forces helping the Eastern Rebels. This is also why bleeding the Ukraine is more in Putin’s interest than the outright victory that has always been in reach for Russia militarily.

  12. Da. It was happening – a goat was eating up a wolf.

  13. nihil obstet

    There’s a window to make a deal? Why would anyone expect the West to abide by the terms of a deal? After fostering a coup replacing a corrupt but legally elected government with an equally corrupt set of opponents, the West would appear to be untrustworthy. Would a deal simply be a cease fire for a while? Any time not spent shooting is probably an improvement, but still, what’s the point?

  14. thepanzer

    Actually I think Russia’s top choice would be to put humpty-dumpty back together again and have Ukraine reset to where it was two years ago. Since that is no longer feasible then the debate is whether they’d prefer a broken western half or a stable western half. (a stable eastern chunk in Russian orbit is a given).

    It’s hard to say either way but at a guess I think Russia would actually prefer a stable western chunk, nazis and all, rather than a failed state adjoining novorussia. There’s just no upside to a failed state in Western Ukraine, between refugees, crime, the potential for extremists to take advantage of the chaos, and a whole host of other reasons. Even the nazis are semi-preferable to Libya style chaos with eastern European flavor.

    On the Russian as agressor topic, that’s more western projection than anything else. As other posters have noted, Russia has more land than it knows how to handle and has no serious strategic ambitions in it’s near abroad other than the typical red-lines any nation state would have in its situation. Most of it’s conflicts have been due to the continuing dry heaves of the post-soviet breakup or due to western instigation more than anything else. In no way do Russian actions get anywhere close to the level of US overt military action over just the last decade. Not even close. So it’s more than a little cognitive dissonant to read so many western writers talking about Russian agression and the desire for a new USSR.

    Putin actually believes in world order, international law, and the benefits of a multi-polar world. The winter olympics were supposed to be his coming out party as an equal in the western world and diplomatic peer in international standing along with China and the US. The western instigated coup in Ukraine and resulting hullaballoo have completely shredded that dream. Russia’s realization that the west will never accept it as a peer, and actively wants it looted via more Yeltsin style neo-liberalism, is a huge geopolitical change. Russia’s realignment to the east and baby steps towards developing an alternative fiance system are huge, huge moves.

  15. thepanzer

    One more thing, agree on Hillary and the rest of the presidential field. The US public should buckle up for another 6 to 10 years of useless and counter-productive war…

  16. Dsj

    I think Putin is willing to accept a failed state in the west or stability but clearly he’s not going to pay for any of it. At this point the EU and US have to own the mess in the west. Putting the US and the EU in the position of dealing with the failed Ukraine and keeping it that way makes stabilizing the situation a negotiating chip over sanctions and any future actions against Russian interests. The more it costs the better the future leverage and Putin is in a position to keep pressure or release it, so long as the rebels remain within Russian limits on their actions.

  17. Lisa

    Russia has zero interest in ‘owning’ the whole of Ukraine, the economic cost alone wuld bankrupt it. That being said, anyone who thought that Russia would allow the Crimea (and the associated all important naval base) to fall into NATO hands should restart their meds. You have to congratulate Russa for incorporating it so peacefully, but, make no mistake, if they had to Russia would have pulled out all military stops to keep it.

    Equally, over and above the NATO threat, Russa would never have allowed the ethnic cleansing of eastern Ukraine, which was pretty much on the cards. Absorbing a million refugees is one thing, but several million more?

    Being cynical you could just see the western press going on about how bad it was for those ‘Russians’ in the east costing Kiev so much money by getting in the road of all those bullets and that it was all a Putin Plot. I can see the Guardian headlines now, “Putin forces grandmothers to die for propaganda reasons”, as the nazi militias created a reign of terror.

    By and large the trajectory of all this is ever more economic collapse for Kiev, more military support and ‘egging onwards’ by the US on them, with more and US/NATO troops covertly fighting (then finally overtly). De-facto (and sometime in the future actual) merging of Eastern Ukraine with Russia. Amost certainly an even more right wing/nazi coup in Kiev. Quite possibly more ‘break away’ regions, again leaning more towards Russia.

    None of this is Russia’s favoured option, they would prefer a neutral, federalised and fairly properous and stable Ukraine on their border (duh), but they will have their contigency plans. Plan B for them will be accepting a steady breakup of the Ukraine, slowing it as much as they can but allowing the US to push it to destruction. Essentially accepting the inevitable while managing it as best as they can and pushing the costs onto the US and the EU as much as they can, hoping against hope, that some sanity will eventually prevail..

    Sadly I doubt it. The US is not going to stop escalating, the EU bureaucrats are totally behind the US and France and Germany will huff and puff a bit then fall totally into line. So it is up to Russia to somehow avoid the ‘big mistake’ and the nukes flying, because no one in the west is going to do that, their elites are pretty united on a showdown.

  18. Lisa

    Well that was quick, right on schedule:


    ” British military personnel are to be deployed to Ukraine for the first time in the next few weeks to provide advice and training to government troops, David Cameron announced before a committee of MPs.

    The prime minister said Britain would be “the strongest pole in the tent”, and argued for tougher sanctions against Moscow if Russian-backed militias in eastern Ukraine failed to observe the provisions of a ceasefire agreement reached this month with the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko.

    The Ministry of Defence said up to 75 personnel would begin to deploy to Ukraine from next month as part of the training mission… for up to six months.

    Cameron said Europe listened to Britain on how to implement sanctions, and he said the level of sanctions “might become materially different” in the future . He held out the possibility of excluding Russia from the international Swift banking payments system, saying there was a logic to such a move if Moscow continued trying to “dismember” Ukraine.”

  19. Lisa

    And more:

    Showing that he is no Montgomery*:

    “Russian expansionist ambitions could quickly become “an obvious existential threat to our whole being”, the most senior British military officer in Nato has said in a strongly worded speech.

    General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, appointed last year as Nato’s deputy commander of forces in Europe, said the alliance needed to develop both fast-reacting conventional forces and capacities to counter Russian efforts at coercion and propaganda, as seen in Ukraine.”

    And this chilling quote:
    “His strongest words came during a section of the speech introducing other threats faced by Nato, including that from Islamic State. He said: “While the threat from Russia, together with the risk it brings of a miscalculation resulting in a slide into strategic conflict, however unlikely we see that as being right now, represents an obvious existential threat to our whole being, we of course face threats from Isis and other instabilities to our way of life and the security of our loved ones.””

    They are so desperate to go to war with Russia. Unreal.

    * I’d argue the greatest general of any side in WW2 and said “One of the great laws of war is Never Invade Russia.”

  20. markfromireland

    Ian I’m by no means convinced that the US has blinked and the outsourcing of weapon supply to the UAE solves all sorts of problems for them including any possible operational sovereignty objections.


  21. markfromireland

    Oh and while I think of it Clinton’s hawkishness is merely her reverting to type as she herself admitted she started off as one of the Young Republicans and was a “Goldwater girl”.


  22. Lisa

    MFI: “US has blinked”. Not a chance, they are not going to stop escalating.

    One element of the US ‘elites’ surprises me though, the armed forces. Now when you look at how reluctant they were to get involved in Syria (and worked behind the scenes to sabotage it) why are they so gung ho about war with Russia?

    I suspect an element of the Wehrmacht thinking. Ater the Battle of Britain and Hitler gave his plans invading Russia, one of the senior generals said “at last a real war’.

    I think there is an element of that sort of thinkng here. After getting kicked around all over the place, the prospect of a ‘real war’ must give some of them wet dreams, all that yummy equipment to use, ‘our drones are better than theirs, so we will win”, and so on.

    Personally after seeing Russian forces n Georgia and what the Novarussians have done (with a lot of leadership help) I suspect Russia would go through NATO like a dose of salts.

    What far too many military ‘analysist’ never looked at was the old USSR moved to high mobility (3rd generaton warfare, 3GW) a long time ago and Russia looks like it has got even better at it. Analysts got mesmerised by the huge conscipt army, forgetting the more full time elite forces. Those poor conscripts were to follow behind, surround the ‘cauldrons’ created and make defensive lines, freeing the ‘elites’ to keep moving on, hammering the key areas and forces and bypassing and cutting off the less important stuff.

    Western military (except for a short time by the British and Canadians in late WW2 under Monty) has never managed (or accept for the US Marines even attempted) 3GW. Attritional force has been the US mantra since the Civil War and it hasn’t changed since. Part of the issue is cultural, to do 3GW successfully you have to delegate effectively (mission command) and that is just alien to, particularly, Anglo Saxon culture (let alone its military culture).

    Heck I suspect the 1940 Wehrmact, with 1940 equipment, would go through NATO like a dose of salts.

    Monty, ever a realist and number #2 in NATO for many years, realised that it was impossible hence he pushed for a nuke doctrine, where NATO would use ‘tactical’ nukes right away…otherwise the Soviets would be at the Channel in a couple of weeks. As for attacking Russia? His number #1 rule of warfare was “don’t attack Russia”.

    So watching the NATO military build up (and by their standards this is significant), their ‘quick reaction forces’, logistic and the air build up…well Monty would laugh and then be horrified. There is zero chance of NATO sucessfully defending against, let alone attacking, Russia without using nukes straight away.

    I love Dimtri Orlov, he hits the nail on the head sometimes and his snarky article on “How to know if Russia attacks the Ukraine”, #10 was Russian troops direct traffic in Kiev at about day 5…..

    But these clowns are going to do it if they can. You can see the momentum building, bit like being in 1912 or 1937.

  23. markfromireland

    Lisa February 25, 2015 @ Lisa – as I wrote above I am by no means convinced they have blinked and the fact that they’ve gone down the road of outsourcing to the UAE is in my opinion rather strong evidence that they intend to continue.

    why are they so gung ho about war with Russia?

    Because that’s what they’ve trained for. That’s what they’re there for. Everything else is just extra-frothy Santorum.

    What far too many military ‘analysist’ never looked at was the old USSR moved to high mobility (3rd generaton warfare, 3GW) a long time ago and Russia looks like it has got even better at it.

    You’re close but not quite there – what they’re good at, what their doctrine is, is highly integrated combined arms attack and response. The difference is important.



  24. S Brennan

    I have to agree with this:

    “a bit like 1912 or 1937”

    Hagel was Secretary of Defense, having already seen combats lasting charms at the enlisted level, he was a reluctant for needless war and he was dismissed by Obama’s handlers…for a guy who’s all too eager to order others off to war…meanwhile, Joe Bidden tries to boff the armchair warrior’s wife. Our empire’s “leadership” is truly lost…and I believe they will drag everybody down with them when their collective failures cause the empire to fall.

  25. Lisa

    You can get an idea into the mindset of the US foreign police ‘elite’ at (by the Council on Foreign Relations).

    It is amazing, the endless anti-Putin articles, plus those how bad Russia is and ready to collapse at any point. A huge amount of total piffle, totally divorced from reality. Neo-con 101 “we are an empire now and we make our own reality”. But dangerous, because it seems these clowns actually believe their own propaganda. Hence justifies their actions.

    The story goes: Russa is an unstable, broke country ruled by a mad dictator (what elections and Parliament?). Put pressure on Russia and the mob will rise up and overthrow Putin tomorrow and a new Russia Govt will cozy up to the west (leaving the Ukraine and Crimea of course).

    This could be called ‘talking yourself into war’. I’ve never seen this sort of thing before, a demonificaiton of this level, in many ways far worse than it was for Hussian. The problem is that if you actually believe it then you have no logical alternative but war.

    This from one article by By Alexander J. Motyl, in which I couldn’t find one thing that was factually correct (except the 85% approval rate) snippets:
    “The longer the Russian war against Ukraine continues, the more likely it is that President Vladimir Putin’s regime will collapse.”
    “All signs point to the eventual collapse of Putin’s regime.
    Although 85 percent of Russians currently support the president, an Orange Revolution in Moscow…..”
    “The Russian war in eastern Ukraine has killed Russians by the thousands.”
    “He started the war in Ukraine, and now it’s up to him to bring about some satisfactory conclusion, even though it’s clear from his erratic behavior that he lacks a strategy. He has no way to crush Ukraine without unleashing a global conflict. He has no way to erode Ukraine’s economy without simultaneously destroying Russia’s. Ironically, the one thing Putin could do easily—declare victory in the Donbas and withdraw his troops—is off limits for him, not because it’s politically unfeasible (most Russians would be delighted to get out of this mess),”
    “A coup d’état is another possibility. The siloviki, like all Praetorian guards, are a mixed blessing.”

    “Even if Putin is not ousted by popular revolution or by a coup, he will be crippled by unrest in Russia’s non-Russian regions.”
    “Putin’s successor, whenever he takes power, is likely to be a hardliner; even so, his first priority will have to be to clean the mess created by Putin. Chances are that the new president will be more inclined to end the war and more likely to adopt a conciliatory tone vis-à-vis the rest of the world. ”

    “In the meantime, the West should do all it can now to support Ukraine and encourage Putin to deescalate the war. The West can also limit the fallout from a possible regime collapse by supporting Russia’s neighbors—especially Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine—economically, diplomatically, and militarily. When the rotten Russian dam breaks, as it inevitably will, only strong and stable non-Russian states will be able to contain the flooding, shielding the rest of the world from Putin’s disastrous legacy of ruin.”

    Then we have “The Resistible Rise of Vladimir Putin” by Stephen Kotkin, which basically says the same thing. And other articles like “Putin’s Brain”……

  26. Xco

    So I scroll to the bottom of the Foreign Affairs home page…

    What accounts for the continuity of racial inequality in a postracist America? The fact that an earlier era’s racism was built into the structure of various economic, social, and political institutions, so that even their race-neutral operations today produce imbalanced outcomes.

    Dammit, Lisa, now I’m going to need a new desk.

  27. Lisa

    Ian, can you delete the previous post, my comments didn’t come through (my fault). This one should be ok.

    More on how the US foreign policy elite ‘thinking’ (if you can call it that), from the Council on Foreign Relations. Several interesting points, one I love is how ready they are to shove US unconventional oil production under a bus.

    Some key snippets, with my comments in italics

    Session Three: What Low Oil Prices Mean for Geopolitics

    Speaker: Michael Gfoeller, Advisor, The Chertoff Group; Former Ambassador, U.S. Department of State
    Author: David L. Goldwyn, President, Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC.; Chair, Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group; Former Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, U.S. Department of State
    Speaker: Angela E. Stent, Professor and Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian, and Eastern European Studies, Georgetown University; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
    Presider: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

    First there is the de-facto admission that low oil prices have been manufactured, or at least approved, by the US to hurt Russia and Iran
    “Angela, I’m going to go straight to you. If you look at the geopolitical headlines that have come out of the oil price collapse over the last six months, they have been dominated by Russia. Has Vladimir Putin been forced to change anything about his international strategy so far because of the drop in oil prices?”

    The meme repeated, Russan economy is rubbish
    “STENT: Well, the short and the long answer to that is no. And it’s not just the oil prices. I mean, Russia has been hit by a trifecta of blows. The first one was that this is a poorly managed economy. It was spiraling downward even before the Ukraine crisis. It’s manual control, as the Russians like to call it.

    Secondly, you then have the oil price precipitous fall, which then led to precipitous devaluation of the ruble, falling the value of the ruble, which is half of what it was a year ago.

    Finally an admission that US unofficial sanctions are far more comprehensive than the MSM admits, Russia companies have been cut off from the western money markets
    And then you have the Western financial sanctions which have basically cut Russia off, more or less, from international financial markets. Plus the Western sanctions have targeted the energy industry.”

    De-facto admission again
    “LEVI: So Michael, when people started trying to sort out the consequences of the price drop, Russia was the first country they turned to, Iran was the second. These are the two oil-exporting countries that the United States is in acute confrontations with right now. What impact do you see of the oil price plunge on Iran’s willingness and ability to engage in the ongoing negotiations with the United States?”

    Wet Dream time, but it shows that the US, following SA and Israel is now totally backing Sunni extremists, Shia are now the enemy
    “I think it’ll have a much bigger impact on Iran’s regional policy and its ability to fund non-state actors like Hezbollah, like the Iraqi Shi’a militias, like the Shi’a militias operating on its behalf in Syria right now.”

    Escalate, of course
    “STENT: Well, this is now vis-a-vis Russia, which is, I think, a slightly different case. I think it’s very important. We can see the economic pain that Russia is experiencing. It’s probably the oil prices, it’s probably the sanctions. And even though that hasn’t led so far to a change really in Russian foreign policy, I think we have to keep the sanctions regime there. If possible, we may have to broaden it if there’s more violence and if the Russian-backed separatists try and take more cities in the region.”

    US OIL
    Now this is interesting, why the foreign policy elites are happy to throw US unconventional oil production under a bus to get at Russia and Iran. If was a Texan I’d be pushing for secession. An incredible mixture of fantasy and stupidity
    “But I think the world has changed for the U.S. I think we now have this ability to deploy capital quickly, to revive production quickly, because the nature of shale production is just not as long a cycle as deepwater or other kinds of production.”

    And the US still imports huge amounts of oil? So how are they going to export…reduce US citizens to rationing? This is so far from reality it is stunning
    “So we have this, you know, this reserve ability to respond within a reasonable period of time to global market signals. So I would like to see us in a world where we are connected to the market and where we use this as a source of foreign policy power, where we can use our strategic reserves to export oil to others or we can tell the Japanese or the Koreans they can rely long term on U.S. supply if they want to buy it from us, and where we are when we are looking for other countries to reject Iranian supply, and we’re talking the Indians and the Chinese, we can say, you know, we’re not just telling you don’t, we’re telling you we’re going to contribute to the solution by exporting.”

    “LEVI: More production gives us more leverage, in your view, and at some level may be worth a slightly higher price to sustain. Is that…”

    Love this. The truth comes out, Syria is another target from low oil prices. De-Facto admisison that IS are ‘our boys’, as I have long argued
    “So which of the parties to the conflict can deal with the circumstance the best? It’s the Islamic state actually and the Islamist militias that are aligned with it, because their operations are inherently more cost-effective and cheaper than, you know, foreign aid programs for one militant group or another being around from a distance.

    The other party negatively affected, of course, is the Assad regime because they’ve been so reliant on subsidies from both Iraq and Iran, largely Iran, of course, but some from Iraq in the form of oil shipments and cash transfers.

    IS & AN totally mixed up, ignorance or they see them as the same thing, along with a heap of wet dream thinking. Their knees must tremble in excitement at IS/AN getting into Damascus. But it shows what they really think about IS and what they want them to do
    So one can see this already in the performance of Assad’s military machine on the ground. The Islamic state, which is doing better in relative terms, is now in the suburbs of Damascus, they were not there before, they’re making progress near Aleppo. Assad is falling back on both fronts. He’s having trouble paying for diesel for his armored vehicles, jeeps and such. He’s having trouble manufacturing or buying kerosene for the (sweep ?) line or fleet.

    So at the end of the day, he’s holding ground, but falling back. And so in net terms, it’s still a long, bloody civil war. There’s not going to be a dramatic shift on the ground at this point. But one can see the Islamic state doing better against the regime and one can see the Gulf states having more difficulty funding.”

    Translated, ‘our boys’ are more ‘efficient’ than Syria, therefore they will win
    “So to sum it all up, all parties in the conflict are operating with reduced budgets. The Islamic state is operating more efficiently than Assad at this point and is gaining ground against them in Syria. And the Peshmerga are operating with very high level efficiency despite the budgetary stringency they’re operating under.”

    Bland agreement that China is the major beneficiary of the oil ‘policy’, it hurts our enemies (Russia, etc) , our friends (SA etc) and themselves US…but it helps China…WTF
    “So I would say this. You know, and the other thing, however, is that the Russians have been turning to Chinese to try and help bail them out, again, because of the fall of the ruble and all of their economic problems. And the Chinese have given them some financial relief since, again, Russia doesn’t have access to these international capital markets, but they haven’t given Russia nearly as much as Russia would like. And I think the Chinese obviously are very hard bargainers and they’ll help Russia out to some extent, but not nearly as much as Russia probably needs.”

    Somehow the US, which despite shale/fracking imports huge amounts of gas and oil is going to be able to export gas to Mexico…despite the price collapse in oil and gas. .Ga-ga land thinking
    “Mexico is interesting. They are doing really remarkable things. I think we’re looking at closer gas integration because Mexico will not succeed in the unconventional gas production in the next few years and they’re already shrinking that (bid ?) around. They’re planning on a lot of U.S. gas.”

    So this is what passes for an ‘elite’. The levels of ignorance (such as about their own oil/gas industry), their hubris, their wet dream thinking. Admissions that IS/AN are our boys and the soonr they win in Syria the better, the US now anti-Shia (along with SA and Israel), Russia is the number #1 target and the US has effectively financially totally sanctioned them and so on.

  28. markfromireland

    Curioser and curioser first they were and now they’re not but might in the future:

    The United Arab Emirates on Friday said it wasn’t providing weapons to Ukraine under a wider defense agreement struck this week.

    The agreement “does not include any arms deals,” said Ambassador Faris Al Mazrouei, the U.A.E.’s assistant foreign minister for security and military affairs.

    Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, speaking on Tuesday at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, said he had struck deals to bolster supplies of defensive equipment, as well as strengthen his country’s arms industry. He didn’t disclose details of the deals struck at the arms expo but said they were for “defensive weapons.”

    The U.A.E.’s Mr. Al Mazrouei said: “This agreement is a part of a future cooperation framework between the two countries in this respect.”

    Kiev, which had no immediate comment to the U.A.E.’s statement on Friday, has been looking to boost its supply of weapons as it battles pro-Russian insurgents in the east of the country. Western states have offered assistance but stopped short of shipping arms.

    Me. Poroshenko said he had used his visit to the U.A.E. to meet with high ranking U.A.E. officials and talk to western arms makers.

    Source: U.A.E. Won’t Supply Weapons to Ukraine – WSJ

    And like many I got the man’s name wrong it was Heraschenko not Poroshenko should have checked more thoroughly. Sorry Ian.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Ukrainian parliament deputy, advisor to the Ukrainian interior minister Anton Heraschenko said.

    “The sides agreed on cooperation with the United Arab Emirates in the delivery of certain types of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine. As you understand, types and scopes of the deliveries cannot be disclosed on Facebook,” Heraschenko wrote on his Facebook page.

    The Ukrainian president is paying an official visit to the UAE.

    Source: Poroshenko, UAE agree on arms deliveries – Kyiv


  29. markfromireland

    Aaaaargh – meant to include this from the WSJ which was the story I originally picked up on:

    Ukraine said it would buy what it called defensive weapons from the United Arab Emirates, bypassing the West’s reluctance to provide arms to help Kiev’s forces against Russia-backed rebels.

    President Petro Poroshenko, speaking Tuesday at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, didn’t specify what type of equipment Ukraine would buy or in what quantities, but said they would help Ukraine protect its territory from the separatists.

    The U.A.E. Defense Ministry couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. It didn’t include any Ukraine-related arms deals in its daily contract update for the exposition.

    Ukraine has for months requested lethal weapons from its backers in the West, but run into stiff resistance especially from Germany, France and Britain, which fear an escalation in the nearly yearlong conflict.

    Read in full: Ukraine to Buy ‘Defensive’ Weapons in U.A.E., President Says – WSJ

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