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The US' Suicidal Strategy On Ukraine

We're alienating allies & risking a much larger war
Thursday, February 12, 2015, 2:27 AM

Ukraine is back in the news cycle and for good reason. The cease-fire has broken, fighting is intensifying, and the western-supported and installed leadership in Kiev is losing the campaign.  At this point, the West's choice is to either double down and bet even more on a badly failing set of policies, or admit it has lost this round and seek to deescalate the situation.

Meanwhile, Europe has finally woken up to the risks and seems to be ready to carve out a different path than the US. A lot hinges on the high level talks that are currently underway between Russia and Europe's leaders.

As the President Hollande of France put it on Feb 7th, "If we don't find not just a compromise but a lasting peace agreement, we know perfectly well what the scenario will be. It has a name, it's called war."

He's not simply referring to an escalation of the factions fighting within Ukraine. He's warning about the real deal:  a wider conflict that could easily spread into Europe, and possibly, the embroil powers across the world.

A Recipe For Unrest

As I've written previously, the West, especially the US, was instrumental in toppling the democratically-elected President of Ukraine back in February 2014. US officials were caught on tape plotting the coup, and then immediately supported the hastily-installed and extremist officials that now occupy the Kiev leadership positions.

In short, the crisis in Ukraine was not the result of Russia's actions, but the West's. Had the prior President, Yanukovych, not been overthrown, it's highly unlikely that Ukraine would be embroiled in a nasty civil war. Relations between Russia and the West would be in far better repair.

Russia, quite predictably and understandably, became alarmed at the rise of fascism and Nazi-sympathetic powers on its border. Remember the repeated statements by Kiev officials recommending extermination of the Russian speakers who make up the majority living in Eastern Ukraine. Were a parallel situation happening in Canada, for example, I would fully expect the US to be similarly and seriously interested and involved in the outcome.

The only people seemingly surprised by this predictable Russian reaction towards protecting its people and border interests are the neocons at the US State Department who instigated the conflict in the first place. In my experience, these are dangerous people principally because they seem to lack perspective and humility.

Ukraine's Civil War

Going Poorly For The Regime

Looking at the state of things, it's not going well militarily for the Kiev regime. Huge losses and persistent reports of low morale among Ukrainian troops tell the tale: Kiev is losing badly. 

Let's begin with the reports of the fighting in Ukraine which have recently intensified:

Ukraine bloodshed intensifies ahead of peace summit

Feb 11, 2015

Kiev (AFP) - Intense fighting in Ukraine, including a devastating rocket strike on Kiev's military headquarters in the east, killed at least 37 people on Tuesday, the eve of a four-way peace summit.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said rockets for the first time hit the military's command centre in Kramatorsk, the government's administrative capital in the region, well behind the frontlines and far from rebel positions.

The latest fighting also saw rebels seek to encircle railway hub Debaltseve and Ukrainian forces launch a counter-offensive around the strategic port of Mariupol.

(Source)

The rebels have encircled and ruined a number of Kiev forces over the past several months in what are called 'cauldrons', where the encircled forces are slowly ground down and destroyed. This appears to have finally happened in Debatlseve, which would be just another in a long string of heavy losses for Kiev.

The losses in prior cauldrons have been staggeringly high, with many analysts concluding that Kiev has been underreporting losses by as much as 90%.

I cannot vouch for all of these sources. But the following is a typical example of reporting coming from the front lines of the Ukraine conflict, which directly contradicts the official Kiev war reports:

Ukraine hides devastating losses as Russia-backed fighters surge forward

Jan 25, 2015

ARTYOMOVSK, Ukraine – An ashen-faced man in a loose-fitting military uniform shuffles past a blood-soaked stretcher propped against the wall. Slowly stirring a cup of tea, he watches Ukrainian military officials announce the day’s casualties – one killed and 20 wounded.

“Don’t believe what they tell you,” he says, checking the door is closed before continuing.

“There are many, many more. At least 280 were injured in just one day last week and 30 or 40 killed. There were many more killed this week, Debaltseve and Konstantinovka are the worst cities now. I take 18 wounded to Kharkiv myself every day.”

The man, who didn’t want to be named, is a medic in Ukraine’s overstretched, under-resourced army. Clearly traumatized, he speaks quietly and hesitantly, barely audible over the low rumble of artillery fire from the outskirts of town.

His words confirm Ukraine’s worst-kept secret - that the Ukrainian army is drastically understating its casualties. But only now is the scale of that understatement starting to become clear.

On Jan. 22, the director of Kostiantynivka hospital told Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors that in the last two weeks that the number of soldiers admitted has “increased dramatically, with figures comparable to those in August and September 2014.”

Between Aug. 10 and Sept. 3, when Russian troops first entered Ukraine in support of a beleaguered rebel force on the brink of defeat, the Kyiv Post estimates at least 200 servicemen were killed.

Many of the recent casualties are coming from areas around the besieged town of Debaltseve, a strategic rail junction between Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are struggling to prevent being surrounded and cut off from Ukrainian lines.

The town’s defenders – and its civilian population - have faced an incessant artillery bombardment from three sides since Russian-backed rebels launched a massive offensive all along the front line last week.

(Source)

I have read enough first-hand reports to suspect that this article is pretty close to the truth. The contradicting numbers in the statements from the Kiev regime about losses are very hard to believe.

Part of what plagues Kiev's forces is the age-old problem of fielding an unmotivated force. Not everybody is excited to be fighting against people from within their own country. Moreover, training is poor, equipment and ammunition are in poor shape and supply, and pay is often late in coming if it comes at all. This is a very usual litany of problems that have plagued struggling armies through the centuries.

On the other side of the battle lines, you have people fighting for their homes, their families and their ethnic community, which the Kiev regime has promised to exterminate if and when it's given the chance.

Dubious Reporting

It's interesting to contrast foreign reporting with US reporting on the conflict:

As fighting deepens in eastern Ukraine, casualties rise and truce is all but dead

Jan 20, 2015

MOSCOW — Intensifying battles, mounting death tolls and new accusations of Russian interference in eastern Ukraine have marked some of the worst fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatists since last summer, rendering a months-old cease-fire agreement effectively defunct.

The two sides have been trading heavy fire at the Donetsk airport, a prize that, though more symbolic than strategic, has been at the center of punishing recent attacks that have reduced much of the facility to rubble. Each side has claimed control of the airport at various points, and militia and army fighters there continued to launch strikes against each other over the past several days.

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, bolstered Ukraine’s accusations Tuesday, saying the United States was alarmed by what he called a Russian-provoked military escalation, coupled with the arrival of large quantities of weaponry from Russian territory, according to the Russian Interfax news service. 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told reporters Tuesday that pro-Russian separatists were “taking advantage” of the military’s compliance to seize “very substantial territory — more than 500 square kilometers.”

(Source)

Let's decode this piece of writing from the Washington Post and provide some essential context that is, regrettably, missing far too often from US media sources when reporting on the Ukraine conflict.

To begin, there's the assertion once again that Russia has been supplying "large quantities" of weapons to the separatists.  While this may or may not be true, not one shred of satellite or other imagery or any other evidence has been provided by the US to support that charge.

In this day and age it is literally not possible to move large amounts of heavy weaponry across open land without satellites and/or drones taking pictures of them. 

Furthermore, in this case the charges are being levied by one Geoffrey Pyatt, the infamous US ambassador to Ukraine who was caught on tape discussing the imminent coup of then-President Yanukovych. He also famously tweeted out a crudely doctored photo purporting to show that the missile attack on MH-17 came from the separatists -- evidence that was quickly defrauded by the intelligence community.

Why the Washington Post would report anything from Pyatt as worthy of our serious consideration given his blighted track record so far is a complete mystery to me. It would be like recommending your friend to a doctor you knew had committed gross malpractice multiple times.

Next, the separatists are not 'taking advantage' of a one-sided lull in the fighting to claim territory. They have been winning battle after battle. What they have taken advantage of is the poor training and lackluster military strategy undertaken by Kiev's forces.

It should also be noted that the above article presents the status of the conflict an even match.  There's no indication that one side is winning or losing.

This is par for the course with US media reports these days and it's really a disturbing indication that the shoddy journalistic ethics on display during the horrendously mis-reported weapons of mass destructions lies that led to the most recent US attack on Iraq are still with us today. 

It's quite sad, really. Because when it comes to an issue as important as a potential conflict with Russia, the US owes it to itself to get the facts right. The stakes are worthy of that.

As a final point about the shortcomings of the Washington Post piece above concerns the heavily contested Donetsk airport. Five days prior to the above article's publication, the airport had been clearly reported by other outlets to have already been lost by Kiev forces:

Russia-backed separatists seize Donetsk airport in Ukraine

Jan 15, 2015

Russian-backed separatists announced that they have captured the shattered remains of the Donetsk airport terminal in eastern Ukraine and plan to claw back more territory, further dashing hopes for a lasting peace agreement.

The airport, on the fringes of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, has been at the centre of bitter battles since May. Control over it was split between the separatists and Ukrainian forces, who had held onto the main civilian terminal. Reduced to little more than a shell-strewn wreck, the building is of limited strategic importance but has great symbolic value.

An AP reporter saw a rebel flag hoisted over that building Thursday, although fighting still appeared to be ongoing. Ukraine insisted government troops were holding their positions at the airport.

(Source)

Instead of the airport being up for grabs as the WaPo article implies, it has had the rebel flag flying over it as of five days ago. It's clearly in the hands of one side, the separtists'. That's a huge difference, and is just one more example of heavily slanted writing that passes for news in the US these days. 

But leaving the shoddy reporting aside, the main summary here is that the intense fighting in Ukraine has resulting in mounting losses for Kiev. 

All of which provides the context for this week's hurriedly-brokered 'peace summit' that will involve France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

Splitting Away

Europe has begun the process of splitting away from the US on the matter of Russia and Ukraine. 

What's interesting is that an emergency meeting is being convened amongst several of the top leaders in the world, but looks who's suspiciously absent from the talks:

Merkel and Hollande’s surprise Moscow visit raises hopes of Ukraine deal

Feb 5, 2015

The leaders of Germany and France abruptly announced a summit with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow on Friday in response to overtures from the Kremlin, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the year-old Ukraine conflict.

The sudden and unusual decision by the chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the president, François Hollande, to travel to Moscow, with the French leader talking of decisions of war and peace, increased the stakes in the crisis while also raising suspicions that the Kremlin was seeking to split Europe and the US. Putin was said to have made “initiatives” to the European leaders in recent days.

Merkel and Hollande met the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, in Kiev on Thursday evening but left without making any comment.

EU diplomats and officials said that growing US talk of arming Ukraine was pushing the Russians and Europeans towards a diplomatic deal, with both sides keen to avoid weapons deliveries but also to keep the US on the sidelines of the diplomacy.

(Source)

Note the progression of what transpired, which we can piece together from this and other articles. US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Kiev meeting with the president and prime minister of Ukraine, but did not attend similar meetings with Hollande and Merkel held on the same day. 

Then Hollande and Merkel jet straight off to Moscow for high level talks.

Missing in action from the Germany-France-Ukraine-Russia talks is John Kerry, President Obama, or any other ranking US official. This speaks volumes about where we are in this narrative. 

When the US started down this path of confrontation with Russia, which remains a complete strategic mystery to nearly all thoughtful observers, there were two large possible outcomes: isolating Russia and fracturing its growing ties with Europe, or accidentally fracturing the strong ties between the US and Europe.

Oops. Looks like we've opened Door #2.

I didn't know how serious it was until I read this:

Kerry Insists 'There Is No Split' With Europe on Russia, Ukraine

Feb 8, 2015

MUNICH — Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday denied any divisions between the U.S. and Europe over how to handle Russia, as Germany announced another high-level summit aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine.

Kerry told a security conference in Munich that he wanted to "assure everybody there is no division, there is no split" between Washington and its European allies amid the crisis in Ukraine.

"We are united, we are working closely together," he told the conference following meetings with his French and German counterparts. "We all agree that this challenge will not end through military force. We are united in our diplomacy."

(Source)

It's not terribly hard to read through that diplomatic double-speak here. The US is "united in our diplomacy" with Europe, even though the US was apparently not invited to be part of the biggest gathering of heads of state on what could be the flash point for a major regional war.

Nice try, John. 

There's a saying that news is never official until it's denied. Well, I guess that makes it official: there's an emerging split between the US and Europe over the matter of Russia and Ukraine. And it's about time.

The key issue, apparently, is that the US, true to form, is ready to send in military arms to the Ukraine regime, and Europe thinks that's a bad idea for multiple reasons. I could not agree more.

After all, when has the US arming one side of a regional conflict led to regional peace and a good outcome for the citizens of any particular area? If you can't think of any recent examples, neither can I.  The track record of late is nothing short of being a complete disaster for the people of the various countries involved.  Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and Nicaragua come to mind.

But the people of Ukraine have to be kicking themselves right about now. Not only did they fall for the rosy promises of change and hope peddled by the West, they also believed the West would be a better partner for them than Russia.  Worse, instead of finding a way to have both as partners, they adopted the West's idea that it had to be one or the other. And now their country is being rent apart.

Why We Should Care, Deeply

So what? the average American might ask. Ukraine is half a world away. Who cares what happens there?

Putting aside the humanitarian reasons for not prolonging or intensifying a regional conflict, we risk not just only America's century-long ties with western Europe, but possibly the next world war. We are pushing our agenda and armaments right up against the Russian border -- for reasons that are still completely opaque at this time -- and Russia, understandably, will simply not stand for that.

In Part 2: America Vs Russia: What's At Risk, we explore in depth what's truly at risk here, why a lasting peace agreement in Ukraine is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, and the biggest risks concerned citizens in the West should prepare for right now. 

Click here to access Part 2 of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access)

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26 Comments

kaimu's picture
kaimu
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2013
Posts: 114
TIRED RHETORIC

Aloha! What with the many Obama failures from Ukraine, the Middle East to Obamacare and the InJustice Dept antics I think his regime will go down as one of the worst in history, but what makes the USA worse politically is that the Republican regime really offers nothing better and this continued "tired rhetoric" from both parties is setting the stage for a Third Party takeover. It is setting the stage for a backlash against BIG GOVERNMENT and its usual special interest cronies, especially those of the banking persuasion.

One of the indicators I always look for when I read various news articles at Yahoo Finance or Washington Post or the New York Times or Huffington or Guardian and many other foreign news platforms is the comments section. I always look to see if the comments agree with the author or not. About 80% of the time the comments never agree with the author in these corporate controlled mainstream agencies. I suppose that those paid authors at the Post must do the same as well and read their own comments. Almost never do those authors get involved with the commentators. Those authors rarely defend their writings and I think that is one way to determine if this is just a paid propagandist. If comments consistently disagree with what you write then what sort of person keeps writing misinformation. It must be a true sociopath who is only in it for "fame and fortune"! Who sells out like that? Usually it is very desperate people. Desperate on many human levels other than just money.

Recently there was a news story on how the UK military were engaged in social media trolling operations dedicating the 77th Brigade to take on dissenters. HERE is the story which includes the influence of the Israel Defense Forces. Wow ... with unlimited issuance of US debt and unbridled confiscation of US citizens earnings through corrupt taxation there will be no limits on Big Brother. Once again this corrupt monetary system that is forced on us by government decree is only intended to perpetuate the reign of those who now occupy Congress and the White House. Clearly there are no innocents in government and there are no victims at the voting booth ... we're all volunteers. 

The opening line to Orwell's 1984 is genius ... "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." To put a political bent on that I could restate that sentence and say, "It was a bright cold day in November and the voters were striking thirteen." This idea of two parties is such a farcical concept. A perfect way to control the masses into "striking thirteen"! A monopoly is a monopoly and even "two" is a duopoly! How many more American kids will die in foreign lands "striking thirteen"? Who remembers the "purple thumbs" in Iraq? Remember how the Bush regime touted that victory? Well ... now those thumbs are "red"! Even Rome burned ...

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 4626
I never read/trust comments on mainstream media anymore

I never read/trust comments on mainstream media anymore and here's why...the comments sections are important opinion shaping territory and people will often scroll through to find out if "people" agree or disagree with a particular piece of writing.

For example, at the WSJ I regularly find extremely strong support for all central bank actions, extreme allergic reactions to anything and everything that might be termed a 'conspiracy theory,' and ultra dismissive attitudes towards ideas like PeakOil.

Now some of this is real people expressing what they think are their real, authentic opinions.  But much of these opinions are simply parroting the central tendency of the other commenters...it's a well-known social phenomenon where people willingly, and effortlessly, adopt the dominant narrative as their own.

Thus, the comment sections are important information battlegrounds and, or course, such important real-estate is not left to chance.

New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To 'Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations'

From the and-not-just-terrorists dept

A few weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald, while working with NBC News, revealed some details of a GCHQ presentation concerning how the surveillance organization had a "dirty tricks" group known as JTRIG -- the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group.

Now, over at The Intercept, he's revealed the entire presentation and highlighted more details about how JTRIG would seek to infiltrate different groups online and destroy people's reputations -- going way, way, way beyond just targeting terrorist groups and threats to national security.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.

To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

For years, people have said that the purpose of groups like the NSA and GCHQ were merely "signals intelligence," which were about understanding and decoding signals, not about taking any sort of offensive standpoint. However, as the Snowden docs have repeatedly revealed, the mandate of these organizations has long been much more offensively based, and they seem to have little problem with using questionable tactics to destroy people's lives. As Greenwald notes, is this really a power you trust a totally secretive government agency with almost no real oversight to use without it being abused?

There's a lot more in Greenwald's writeup, which you should read, but just a few of the key slides are worth reading to get a sense of what's going on here. This isn't just about infiltrating terrorist organizations. They seem to be using these kinds of techniques on just about anyone they dislike, which harkens back to the Hoover-era FBI infiltrating and seeking to discredit anti-war groups. It also raises very serious questions about whether these efforts are being used to stifle political expression.

Yes, shaping opinions is a big part of advancing the policies of Big State and everyone should be aware of this new 'feature' of modern life.  It is no different from the subtle product placements that now infect all major movies.

It would be extremely naive to think that something as important as shaping public opinion would be left to chance.

While you should read the whole Greenwald expose on the Snowden leak, here's just one slide showing the level of sophistication and planning that go into disrupting a conversation:

All which is just my way of saying, don't read comment sections in any major news outlet with the intention of finding out "what people are thinking" because if the story is of particular interest (say on the Ukraine situation) you can bet your bottom dollar that the preponderance of the comments are being left by paid and/or automated agents.  

Yes, they even have software that specifically writes and deposits comments...and have had it for years.  It's child's play really...

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
Willful Blindness

Please add  the population's willful blindness to the excellent graphic. Hope is such a cruel illusion.

Assume that the mainstream media is lying until proved otherwise.

Hladini's picture
Hladini
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2011
Posts: 83
Drone Commentaries

Thanks so much for this little snippet of information.  When I do peruse main stream media articles and read the comments,  I regularly suspect that some "comments" were made by a paid troll.  I never knew, nor imagined software existed that writes and deposits comments to mold public opinion!

Hladini's picture
Hladini
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2011
Posts: 83
Playing Footsies with Russia

Another excellent article and analysis on the Ukraine/Russia situation.  After reading your article, I just had to email the Whitehouse with my complaints about how this administration is mishandling the Ukraine situation and un-necessarily provoking Russia.

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2067
RE: I never read/trust comments on mainstream media anymore

I'd say ditto for article read/view counters (MSM, Youtube, etc).  Wow, that thought provoking, introspective, two month old video only has 739 views?  I feel sooo alone...

SailAway's picture
SailAway
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 11 2010
Posts: 398
Russia's new fuel allows cruise missiles to exceed Mach 5

Russian military officials claim they have created a fuel that will allow missiles to fly faster than five times the speed of sound. If true, it would put Russia at the head of the pack in a growing hypersonic arms race, according to the Moscow Times.

http://www.ibtimes.com/new-russian-fuel-would-allow-missiles-fly-faster-...

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2012
Posts: 445
Truth revealed on Ukraine tv show

darturtle's picture
darturtle
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 24 2014
Posts: 29
Strange Thinking

IMHO, Putin's energy policy (or energy strategy) has collided with USA, include his support of Syria. You can surf the web to read Putin's doctoral dissertation on his view of rebuild Russia economy through nature resource. USA is looking a way to remove Putin. Ukraine is only a gesture.

Putin doesn't want a conflict with USA, at least now to derail his economic plan to rebuild Russia via energy industry. Therefore, he openly threats USA with a nuclear war.

I really cannot understand how can so many "experts" think this way - if USA fights Russia economically, Russia will also fight back via non military actions. Let's say, a bugler comes to rub your house with a knife. You have a gun at home. After you asked the bugler to drop his knife and he keeps pushing, you fire at him and he cries fault since he only used a knife.

Russia's conventional force is no match to USA. Its economic power is also no match USA yet it has nuclear weapons which can burn USA more than 30 times. What will happen if USA pushes Putin into a corner?

Nexus321's picture
Nexus321
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 12 2015
Posts: 1
US Attitude

The real issue is Washington's attitude and continual interference in other nations internal affairs. China will get everything it wants from Russia via trade. The US wants to subjugate and control as no other nation is an 'equal' rather that negotiate openly with good intent. Washington is perfidious.

The idea that Russia's conventional forces are no match is a delusion. The Russians would be fighting on their own turf and with significant 'force multipliers'. There is no way the US could invade Russia even with full mobilization and conscription. It would be very costly for any attacker- the US can forget the Europeans as they have all run down their militaries. A lot of the US 'defense' budget is wasted on boondoggle projects and supporting global infrastructure (non fighting assets like bases).

Furthermore, a war with Russia would include China and Iran as all three countries have a mutual defense pact - signed in 2008. You final comment is right in terms of Russia's asymmetrical defense strategy. The Russians are going straight to a full on confrontation if they are attacked. Contrary to the deluded fools in Washington there is no defense against Russia's ICBMs. Prodding the bear is no a good idea.

Before the above happens Russia and China could unleash some interesting 'black swans' into the Western financial system.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 4626
China Finally Weighs In

One of the more obvious gaps in the Ukraine narrative has been the near complete silence of China on the matter.

At least diplomatically. Anybody paying the slightest attention has noticed China’s obvious pivot towards Russia with respect toe massive energy deals and the BRICS bank.

Well, that diplomatic silence is over now.

Chinese diplomat tells West to consider Russia's security concerns over Ukraine

Feb 27, 2015

Reuters) - Western powers should take into consideration Russia's legitimate security concerns over Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat has said in an unusually frank and open display of support for Moscow's position in the crisis.

Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, was quoted by state news agency Xinhua late on Thursday as blaming competition between Russia and the West for the Ukraine crisis, urging Western powers to "abandon the zero-sum mentality" with Russia.

He said the "nature and root cause" of the crisis was the "game" between Russia and Western powers, including the United States and the European Union.

He said external intervention by different powers accelerated the crisis and warned that Moscow would feel it was being treated unfairly if the West did not change its approach.

"The West should abandon the zero-sum mentality, and take the real security concerns ofRussia into consideration," Qu was quoted as saying.

His comments were an unusually public show of understanding from China for the Russian position. China and Russia see eye-to-eye on many international diplomatic issues but Beijing has generally not been so willing to back Russia over Ukraine.

It’s pretty obvious to anybody with the slightest bit of impartiality that Russia has very obvious security concerns and interests regarding fascist uprisings and war on its border.

China has come out and said as much. Of course, the US can be expected to react in a hurt and blustery manner to having this pointed out by China.

Which brings us to the punchline of the article:

"The United States is unwilling to see its presence in any part of the world being weakened, but the fact is its resources are limited, and it will be to some extent hard work to sustain its influence in external affairs, " Qu was quoted as saying.

Ouch! That’s just mean…that’s like telling an ageing sports star that his major league playing days are over…on TV.

I’m guessing that China has made such statements privately and has felt that they’ve fallen on deaf ears and is now saying this publicly because, well, the private conversations have not been received.

So much for 'isolating' Russia....the US strategy is backfiring if that was truly one of its main aims.

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 3030
Oh, you did not say that

Qu Xing said publicly what Americans have been afraid to admit for a long time.  Even though we have by far the most powerful military on earth (disregarding nukes) we simply cannot be policeman for the world.  We cannot prevent hunger in all of the third world.  We cannot magically provide water to distant arid lands.  We cannot prevent brush fire wars from erupting.  We cannot create and maintain peace in the ME.  And, we would be foolish to think we can prevent Putin from protecting his borders.  Putin is a classic Russian, tough, doggedly determined and nobody's fool.  Try to intimidate him at your peril.

I think Europeans recognize the nature of Russia and Putin, and are reluctant to back the US play in the region.  They would rather give Ukraine back to Russia if it means keeping their NG flowing.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Joined: Sep 3 2008
Posts: 3471
Russian opposition leader killed in Moscow

Lest we forget what dangers being in opposition to Mr Putin actually brings:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russian-opposition-leader-boris-nemtsov-reported-killed-in-moscow/2015/02/27/972e15f0-becb-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

Nemtsov, a physicist-turned-politician who was seen in the 1990s as a possible heir to President Boris Yeltsin, was one of the loudest voices condemning Russia’s sharp turn toward confrontation with the West in the past year. The killing sent immediate shock waves through Russia, where he became the highest-profile opposition leader to be slain in a nation where such figures are sometimes imprisoned or pushed to emigrate.

Mr Nemtsov was killed within a stone's throw of the Kremlin, reputed to be one of the safest regions in Russia given the large number of security people and an equally large number of CCTV cameras that cover the area.

This brings to mind something that Catherine Austin-Fitts has said repeatedly: the people behind the scenes have been able to kill with impunity for decades now, and this makes organized opposition difficult.  Kennedy was just one example.  Here we have another.

She also suggested that a large number of lesser-known people that have tried to stand up against the systemic corruption both here in the US, and other places, have met with fatal accidents over the years.

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Posts: 1170
So US is not suicidal but cynically pushing war

http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/36116/Ron-Holland-10-Reasons-Washington-Has-War-Fever/

Conspiracy theorists prefer to see the world in black and white with no gray areas and keep it simple by criticizing secret groups or powerful interests for every problem but I believe the real situation is far more complicated. But everyone should realize the free America we grew up in has been long dead and buried with only the institutions and slogans remaining to lull the dumbed down public into apathy and acceptance. Our leaders are not omnipotent and certainly do not have all the answers and I suggest they have few answers and are actually making everything up as they go along, hence why I fear they will ultimately choose war as a solution to their problems...

1. Wars can provide a crisis and justification to continue sovereign debt issuance and currency expansion for the duration of the conflict. 2. War would allow the politicians to blame Russia and China for the coming end to the dollar as the world reserve currency as well as the looming dollar and debt crisis. 3. The Federal Reserve and their global central banking cartel have really destroyed the economy of the West through excessive debt issuance, money creation and borrowing. A war would allow the blame to be transferred to the enemy nations for public consumption. 4. War would allow the US to regain control over the European Union, individual European nations and NATO. Today, Germany, France and other nations are wavering in the lockstep support for US policies and war plans in the Ukraine. 5. War would stifle secession movements in Spain and Scotland, Greece and Italy threats to withdraw from the EU and the common euro currency. 6. A war would provide the excuse for the US to reestablish elite control over news and opinion from foreign news organizations and alternative Internet news competition. 7. A war against Russia and Iran would safeguard competition from Russian and Iranian oil and gas delivery pipelines as well as allow us to control Middle East production and continue the Petrodollar system for years to come. 8. As in both world wars, a major war would allow the government to terminate all domestic political movements and adversaries except for "approved" controlled opposition candidates from the two major parties. 9. A successful war against allies of China would delay the global power challenge from a resurgent China for a few years. 10. Finally, during a wartime crisis situation, politicians can always get away with attacks on civil liberties, freedom of the press and wealth confiscation to a degree never possible during peacetime and here lies the ultimate war threat to the majority of the American people. The much hyped and often undercover agent driven fake terror plots designed to keep the citizens living in fear and willing to give up liberties for safety simply does not work any longer now 14 years after 9/11. But a real war would provide the crisis excuse to confiscate your gold and "excess" retirement plan and IRA assets, reduce or curtail your social security benefits, dramatically raise taxes and institute total exchange controls while curtailing your remaining freedoms and ability to resist for the duration of the crisis. I'll be speaking on wars, conflicts and why you should have a safe haven residence at the upcoming High Alert Investment Management Conference in May.

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Jbarney
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Agree with Dave

If these are the consequences of going against Putin....maybe we should examine Ukraine/Crimea a little differently.  

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cmartenson
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Best to reserve judgement for now...

Jbarney wrote:

If these are the consequences of going against Putin....maybe we should examine Ukraine/Crimea a little differently.  

Well, when it comes to shadowy assassinations, I think it’s pretty clear that such things can be accomplished by a wide variety of actors for a wide variety of reasons.

Could this have been Putin? Sure. Could it have been assassins from Kiev? Sure.

Could it have been Mossad or CIA with the intent of putting pressure on Putin? Sure.

In the scheme of things, I rather doubt Putin would have authorized such a public hit on such a public figure. It would have been stupid. He could have simply disappeared instead, is how I think Putin would have ordered it if that were his intent.

Let’s not forget…when it comes to statecraft, murdering completely innocent people is just part of the game:

US pushing Israel to stop assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists

Mar 1, 2014

Although Israel has never acknowledged it, the country's famed espionage agency - the Mossad - ran an assassination campaign for several years aimed at Iran's top nuclear scientists. The purpose was to slow the progress made by Iran, which Israel feels certain is aimed at developing nuclear weapons; and to deter trained and educated Iranians from joining their country's nuclear program.

At least five Iranian scientists were murdered, most of them by bombs planted on their cars as they drove to work in the morning. Remarkably, the Israeli assassins were never caught - obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran - although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed.

In addition to strong signals from the Obama Administration that the U.S. did not want Israel to continue the assassinations, Mossad officials concluded that the campaign had gotten too dangerous. They did not want their best combatants - Israel's term for its most talented and experienced spies - captured and hanged.

These were scientists working in their own country on things Israel deemed to be against their interests, so they killed them. These were people with families, kids, the whole nine yards.

Did Obama come out with statements of outrage about the horrible nature of these killings and that the perpetrators must be brought to justice?

Nope.

He asked them to stop, but that's about it.

So before we get too wrapped up in the certain waves of Western indignation aimed at Putin over this killing, I think it best to ask Qui Bono.

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Jbarney
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I'm Willing To Go Along

I'm willing to go along and think about alternative narratives when it comes to a lot of these things, Putin is a snake.

If you dig deep enough, yes it is clear that western influence had a lot to do with the Ukrainian uprising.  And from my perspective, the people of eastern Ukraine, if they have a slant that is pro-Russian, and they don't want to go along with the rest of the Ukraine as they coddle with the west, fine.   I've always thought the revolution within Ukraine was multi-faceted and impossible to understand just based on representations from the western press.

And no, Putin is not Hitler.

But the track record isn't great.  And the reality is another vocal critic of Putin is gone.  Dead.  Putin's enemies have a way of disappearing.  I'm sure there are alternate scenarios we are all willing to investigate, but....from the BBC.....  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31669061

At the bottom of the article is a list of Putin critics who are no longer "vocal".

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sand_puppy
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Looks more like a psy-op to me

My first reaction on hearing of the assassination was to have my blood boil against "that jerk Putin."

But then I started to think a bit...

This does not seem to me to be a simple removal of a political adversary.  That would be better done in other more subtle ways:

1.  suiciding (like the lead Charlie Hebdo police investigator)

2.  blackmail with sex photos

3.  promotion into the inner circle (golden hand cuffs)

4.  Accidents with nail-guns, falls from tall buildings, car crashes, hot tubs....

5.  A near miss accident where a child or wife is "almost" killed, followed by quietly retiring from public life.

To me, this looks much more like a psychological operation, a "psy-op," aimed at affecting public thinking more than simply removing an adversary.  A shooting on a public street, right near the Kremlin!  This is a high drama event, not a quiet but effective neutering of a political threat.

And, lets think about the context.  It looks to me that the US/NATO is trying very hard to start a war with Russia and set the psychological climate for that.  Recent dirty-tricks:

1.  Unsupported statement from western countries that "Russian has invaded Ukraine."  No evidence provided.  Russia denies this.  Chris covered this in detail.

2.  The shooting down of MH-17 over Ukraine with Russia (and Russian backed separatists) immediately being blamed.  All with no solid evidence off offered.  (Only a tweet of a photoshoped picture with a line put on it!!)   And lots of evidence that would clarify the true situation withheld from public view:  the black boxes which were sent to the Netherlands (an "impartial country") for analysis which were then NOT analyzed and NOT released to the public, the sealing of the crash site to international observers, the absence of clear photographs, the confiscation of the air-traffic control tapes so the last minute changes of course instructions given to the aircraft could not be carefully analyzed, and video record of two Ukrainian fighters near the airliner would not be documented converging on the airliner (as described in some witness reports). There are BIG problems with the story that the ethnic Russian separatists even had the BUK Russian missile systems blamed.  We actually do not even know if the airliner was shot up by cannons fired from fighter jets or blown up by a bomb or missile.  An utter blackout of real information.

So the context is a major western effort to vilify Putin specifically (to incite a coup) and develop the beliefs and attitudes in the western population so they will get behind a war with Russia (to crush evil and fight for freedom and democracy).

Just an opinion, of course.  And I reserve the right to change it as more information becomes available.

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Doug
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no war

I agree there is a lot of stuff going on that is intended to smear Putin, but to start a war?  I think not.  For what purpose?  Nobody wants Ukraine that badly and NATO is not going to invade Russia.  We know how that works out.  Defeat in the Steppes in the middle of winter.  Besides, Europe will not go along with it.  As I said above, they would rather have the NG.

I think this whole charade was just to gain a little influence with the Baltic states.  We should cut our losses and make nice with Putin.  As I read it, what he really wants is a land corridor to Crimea.  He'll probably be able to live with whatever cretin runs western Ukraine...and so will we.

Doug

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sand_puppy
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Vineyard of the Saker's take: A False Flag

I don't know who this writer is, but I have been impressed by his intelligence a number of times.

Breaking news: FALSE FLAG IN MOSCOW!

Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in Moscow.  He was one of the most charismatic leaders of the “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition in Russia (please understand that in the Russian context “liberal” and “democratic” means pro-US or even CIA-run, while “non-system” means too small to even get a single deputy in the Duma).  He was shot just a few days before the announced demonstration of the very same “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition scheduled for March 1st.

As I have already explained many times on this blog, the “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition in Russia has a popular support somewhere in the range of 5% (max). In other words, it is politically *dead*

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HughK
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No, liberal and democratic does not equal pro-US in Russia

sand_puppy wrote:
 (Actually, sand_puppy quoted...)

(please understand that in the Russian context “liberal” and “democratic” means pro-US or even CIA-run, while “non-system” means too small to even get a single deputy in the Duma)

As I have already explained many times on this blog, the “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition in Russia has a popular support somewhere in the range of 5% (max). In other words, it is politically *dead*

It may very well be that this murder was a false flag.  And it may very well be that it was the siloviki* themselves.

The Putin regime's record on transparency is so abysmal that it would be quite hard to figure out where this bullet came from.  There is certainly a well-established pattern of the killing and brutal beating of journalists and other critics of Putin, and often the police just aren't able to find the perpetrators.  

This lack of accountability, and pattern of anonymous murders and beatings means that even if this was a CIA-false-flag-hit that Putin will have no basis to defend his regime, as there are so many other similar unpunished crimes, which, like the trail of polonium used to kill Litvinenko, lead back towards the Kremlin.

Anna Politkovskaya, perhaps Putin's most erudite critic, was shot dead by her apartment on the Russian President's birthday.  She was not pro-US, and she was certainly pro-democracy.  And she was not the only one. (Also see here.)

There are actually people in Russia who would like to enjoy their human rights.  Unfortunately for them, Putin's extreme nationalism and statism can make this difficult.

Putin plays the same game that authoritarians in the West do:  focusing on internal enemies and external enemies = more power for the state.  

The fact that the American government has made his job easier is regrettable, but the US is not to blame for most of Russia's troubles, any more than Putin or ISIS are to blame for the vast majority of troubles of Americans or America.  While a different argument may be made for El Salvador, Ukraine, Chechnya, or Tibet, the superpowers make their own beds, for the most part.

Cheers,

Hugh

*For anyone here that styles themselves to be someone who knows something about what's happening in Russia and doesn't know what siloviki means...well, that's a sign that more research may be needed.

 
davefairtex's picture
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sometimes things are exactly what they seem

Cui bono, indeed.

My simple-minded analysis suggests that if the vast number of evidence-collecting cameras in the area alongside the army of security personnel are not able to identify and hunt down the perpetrators, its likely there is only one reason: the murder was officially sanctioned, if not ahead of time, then after the fact by the power structure in place.

If this were a CIA hit, then presumably Mr Putin and team would be incentivized to move heaven and earth to find the killer(s).  The investigation would be large, effective, and no stone would remain unexamined.

If this were an official (or semi-official/condoned-after-the-fact) act, the investigation will be perfunctory, and the assassins will remain at large.

My guess is, we'll see the second scenario unfold.

"We put our second-best guy on the job, he looked into for a few hours - why, it turns out the cameras malfunctioned, guards at the bridge were on break, some more called in sick, and as a result nobody saw it go down.  A tragic mystery.  Or a CIA plot.  Yawn."

We're still idiots for being involved with the Ukraine, but anyone who imagines that living in Russia and organizing opposition to the regime is a safe activity is simply deluded.  I encourage everyone to study Putin's conduct of the war in Chechnya to understand more about the man and his approach to conflict.  That war is how he became popular in Russia.

If I'm wrong, and a huge and effective investigation is launched - it will be interesting indeed.  But I think that's an unlikely outcome.

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Jbarney
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Caveman Joe's picture
Caveman Joe
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WW 3

USA and Nato are in for a big surprise if they start WW 3, all the Western countries are miscalculating Russia's strength and capability and with help from China and Iran and N-Korea they will totally destroy the US/UK and ANY EU country that will involve itself in this war?

If Russia is backed into a corner she will react with full Nuclear weapons.  They are not flying their Bombers all around the world to play, but show they are ready and waiting for the first missile to go of, and both Russia and China have their Sub's circuling the US and UK, they can cover the World with ease?

Like Nexus 321 said;  Russia and China could unleash some interesting 'black swans' into the Western financial system.             Prodding the bear is not a good idea.

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Ukraine and Western bias

If you are interested in the situation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, this may be of interest and helpful.

My wife’s cousin, Malcolm Jones, is a former professor dealing with Slavic / Russian languages and literature at the Nottingham University.

Yesterday he sent me an email providing the following information:

... some time ago we corresponded briefly about the situation in Ukraine.
 
I thought you might like to know of a recent well-informed and balanced account of an extremely complex situation.
 
I have met the author several times and I have every reason (both professional and personal) to have confidence in his analysis. I hope that it will be widely read by policy-makers and opinion-shapers in the US and Europe.
 
The book is by Richard Sakwa: Frontline Ukraine, crisis in the borderlands, I. B. Tauris, London, 2015.

I undertook a search on the internet and found 2 articles on The Guardian, one by Sakwa himself. As Malcolm wrote, it is a very complex situation, and Sakwa offers insight that is very enlightening. I was already aware of the problem created by NATO’s continued expansion right up to the Russian border which is in contravention to the agreement reached in 1989 when the USSR dissolved. However, the numerous other insights that he presents are essential for us to understand the reality of the situation that exists in the Ukraine conflict; western media sources present only the usual bias that it’s Putin and Russia causing the instability etc. It is much larger and more complex than that.

Here are the two Guardian links so that you can read the articles.

Frontline Ukraine: 'How Europe failed to slay the demons of war'

In an extract from his new book, historian Richard Sakwa argues that the current conflict has its roots in the exclusion of Russia from genuine partnerships since the end of the cold war

Richard Sakwa

Tuesday 10 March 2015 21.14 AEDT

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/10/ukraine-russia-richard-sakwa-extract

Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands by Richard Sakwa

Review by Jonathon Steele – an unrivalled account

At last, a balanced assessment of the Ukrainian conflict – the problems go far beyond Vladimir Putin

Jonathan Steele

Thursday 19 February 2015 21.29 AEDT

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/19/frontline-ukraine-crisis-in-borderlands-richard-sakwa-review-account

Ross Flint

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Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Caveman Joe wrote:If Russia

Caveman Joe wrote:

If Russia is backed into a corner she will react with full Nuclear weapons.  They are not flying their Bombers all around the world to play, but show they are ready and waiting for the first missile to go of, and both Russia and China have their Sub's circuling the US and UK, they can cover the World with ease?

The recent bomber interactions have been the TU-142 variant of the TU-95 BEAR aircraft.  While the TU-95 is capable of long range strategic operations, the TU-142s recently intercepted are maritime patrol variants.

My sentiment regarding your assertion that Russian and Chinese submarines are "circling the US and UK" is reflected in the embedded picture.

That your post had a question mark following "cover the world with ease?" leads me to simply answer, "No, they cannot."

Now as to "chernyy lebed'"?

Yes, they can.

But will they?

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