I Can’t Dance and I’m Too Fat to Fight

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “Aggression is just when politeness is ignored.”

Too bad that you had to get caught;
That’s not like you to lose face
So sad that you’re not as smart
As you thought you were in the first place…

Doug and the Slugs, from “Too Bad”

“It would be well to realize that the talk of ‘humane methods of warfare’, of the ‘rules of civilized warfare’, and all such homage to the finer sentiments of the race are hypocritical and unreal, and only intended for the consumption of stay-at-homes. There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress… What lover of humanity can view with anything but horror the prospect of this ruthless destruction of human life. Yet this is war: war for which all the jingoes are howling, war to which all the hopes of the world are being sacrificed, war to which a mad ruling class would plunge a mad world.”

James Connolly

The title is a riff on a common phrase from my youth; when asked by a friend, “Want to go down to the tavern for a beer?”, a casually humorous response might be, “Why not? I can’t dance, and I’m too fat to fly”. It suggests that you have nothing better to do and going to the tavern for a beer is as appealing an alternative as any other, considering one’s physical limitations and the options available.

However, the phrase as it appears in the title struck me as a particularly appropriate aphorism for the west’s confusion and flopping about since it was presented with a written list of Russia’s security concerns and the remedies it would accept to allay those concerns. Strongly implied, although not specified in the written summation, is this, paraphrased: you say we are your enemy, and that you wish to fight. You push us further and further, until our backs are against the wall. Very well, then – either agree to the terms as written, propose alternative arrangements for discussion that are not too far from the terms as written…or fight.

The west was plainly not ready for that. Its ‘diplomatic’ behavior since then suggests it has…well…no good options. Before, it was all pressure, and ‘Russia must do this’ and “the rules-based international order calls on Russia to do that’. Now, it’s ‘we need more time’. Although its more hawkish policymakers – not one of whom will have to fight, if it comes to that – have spluttered that all Russia’s demands are absurd and are complete non-starters, nobody seems ready to commit that response to print. And the Russians have insisted on answers in writing which will be legally enforceable.

You know why that is, don’t you? Sure you do. The verbal commitment that if Russia would just let the west have Germany without making a fuss, NATO would advance no further eastward. And you know how that turned out. The west can officially no longer remember anyone making such a promise, although people who were present on the occasion say the Russian description of the deal is accurate. Not Mikhail Gorbachev, naturally; his western pals would never lie. But he claims the subject did not even come up.

“The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. … Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement was made in that context… Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled.”

Well, the ‘not one inch eastward’ commitment was definitely made; official records of the conversation so reflect.

“And the last point. NATO is the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe. If NATO is liquidated, there will be no such mechanism in Europe. We understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”

So the semantics of the argument have shifted – western negotiators for the reunification of Germany never promised that NATO would not expand eastward. No, they promised only that there would be no eastward expansion of NATO’s military jurisdiction. You Russians have to learn to pay attention to context. So now the official western storyline is that while the Russians understood that to mean no eastward expansion of NATO, that was not the promise at all; what you thought you heard was not what I said.

Has NATO expanded its military jurisdiction eastward? You tell me. Are new NATO countries with full membership the subjects of Article 5 – an attack against one is an attack against all, conveying the responsibility of NATO military forces to mount a defense in and around the country which is the object of the attack? They certainly are.

“Membership in the most powerful military alliance in the world has given Poland not only security guarantees in the form of Art. 5 of the Washington Treaty, but has also led to an increase in the position and prestige of our country on the international stage. The need to adapt to NATO standards, the participation of Polish soldiers in missions and exercises, and training with soldiers from other NATO countries, has led our Armed Forces in reaching a high level of interoperability (the ability to interact) with other Alliance Members. Our contribution to and involvement in NATO operations, has made Poland a reliable partner both for our Allies and third countries.”

The foregoing is a somewhat roundabout way of illustrating why Russia now wants its agreements with the west in writing, accepted only after a comprehensive review of the text to ensure there is no leeway for interpretation – if you promise, it must be written, “I promise”. Because no matter what NATO says, it will later say “That’s not what I said at all”. Regardless of what was presented to Gorbachev, I don’t think the casual observer would need to be much of a diplomat to guess the intent of the discussion – Baker was plainly seeking to downplay any threat Russia apprehended from an increase in NATO influence. Had he said “Oh, no: NATO plans to take in every eastern European country that makes the cut, full membership. But you should not view that as threatening.”, I’m pretty sure Russian cooperation would have taken an abrupt downturn. Would that be fair to say?

Anyway, be that as it may – present-day Russia intends to not make the same mistake again. And thanks to a constant buzz of western threats and abuse for going on a decade, the options have now boiled away to two. Agree, in writing, or fight.

What if option two is the way it goes? That’s what we’re here to talk about today.

It likely has escaped nobody’s notice that Russian military forces across the spectrum have been drilling hard for at least the last 5 years, many of them unannounced snap drills requiring short-notice deployment of significant forces, some of those over a considerable distance. A wide variety of scenarios have been rehearsed, and the pace has increased, if anything. In a defense-of-the-homeland scenario, not only is the likelihood of Russia being taken by surprise nearly non-existent, its capability to deliver a powerful counterpunch anywhere on its borders should not be in doubt. Its soldiers train as they mean to fight, with live tests of all weapons systems under realistic conditions and in all weather. It has the strongest air-defense system in the world. More important yet, Russia is a major nuclear power, with a ‘Dead Hand’ secondary-strike capability which can be initiated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) even if Russia’s military forces are completely wiped out. How does it work?

  1. If the system were activated, it would determine whether nuclear weapons were used in the vastness of the USSR;
  2. If this were so, the system would check the communication link with the General Staff;
  3. If there was a connection, the system automatically turned off. After some time – from 15 minutes to 1 hour, which passed without any hints of an attack, it would have assumed that the list of officials capable of giving the order to strike was still in place;
  4. If the General Staff does not respond, the system sends a request to Kazbek. If there is no response there either, the artificial intelligence gives any person in the command bunker the right to make the decision. And only then it starts to act.

Many indications are that the Dead Hand system is still active, and the source I cited suggests it may have been returned to combat duty as recently as 2003. See if you can remember 2003. Okay, maybe not everything, but would you say relations between Russia and NATO were better then, or now? Would Russia be more likely to have need of a secondary-strike capability then, or now? If the Russians were not fools, they would also have updated it to connect new long-range strike capacity to the system as it became available, such as the Sarmat, due to enter service this past year. The hypersonic Khinzal is air-launched and outside the control of Dead Hand, but fitting it in the TU-22M bomber would boost its operational range out to 3000 km, and it is ideally suited to destroy critical European infrastructure as the west has no defense against a Mach 8+ missile.https://wsbuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Putin-answers-West-by-showing-off-his-fearsome-new-Sarmat-hypersonic-missile-in-test-launch-795x385.jpg

But lobbing nuclear warheads back and forth is a doomsday scenario, a how-did-we-get-here desperation play when everything else has failed and utter defeat imminent. A much more likely proving-ground for national mettle, especially in the case of a NATO ground-forces thrust against Russia, will be the performance in battle of the infantry and the mechanized forces; the artillery and armored formations. How do they stack up? Let’s look.

Ooooo….I see a problem right away. Owing to its divergent policies of swaggering and talking smack like a Saturday-night drunk, and paying itself a ‘peace dividend’ in its private confidence that its designated enemies will not fight, NATO has allowed its land forces to erode a little more every year. Those skeptical of my conclusions will point out that this article dates from 2014, but I ask them – has NATO’s land-forces capability improved since then? Especially Europe, where the United States is constantly harassing them to spend more on defense. It wants them to buy American weapons and military equipment, of course, but the point stands. NATO is not ready to repel a Russian attack, never mind mount one against Russia itself. What does this NATO Defense College researcher have to say?

“But many lessons learned over the past two decades of alliance operations lend support to the idea of maintaining credible land capabilities of an appropriate size and with a high level of technological sophistication. As Lieutenant General Frederick Hodges stated when NATO Allied Land Command Izmir (Turkey) became operational: “Our tradition after every war has been repeating the mistake of reducing land forces to save money, believing that we can avoid casualties in future wars by relying more on air and sea power . . . and each time, we are required to hastily rebuild land forces to meet the threats the nation consistently fails to accurately anticipate.”

I’ve already pointed out that the Russian air-defense network is several tiers above anything NATO air forces have ever gone up against; western doctrinal assumption of quickly achieving air superiority is going to have to be rethought before any NATO aircraft are even wheels-up. NATO has been slowly but surely going out of the tank business, and it is critically short of helicopters.

Think tanks like the Rand Institute regularly run computer simulations of NATO forces versus the Russians. Western scenarios for actual whites-of-the-eyes ground combat with Russian forces, for reasons I am unable to fathom, almost invariably center around a Russian lunge to seize the Baltics. Why they would want to subjugate and conquer these pipsqueak noisemakers is difficult to imagine, especially considering it would very likely flare into a larger conflict. Russia already has access to the Baltic through the Gulf of Finland – what would be the strategic payoff for Russia?

Whatever they might be thinking, the Rand study uneasily concluded that NATO forces as deployed at the time would not be able to prevent the Baltics from being overrun. And in not much more time than it takes to make a good batch of barbecue-pit pulled pork.

“After conducting an exhaustive series of wargames wherein “red” (Russian) and “blue” (NATO) forces engaged in a wide range of war scenarios over the Baltic states, a Rand Corporation study called “Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank” determined that a successful NATO defense of the region would require a much larger air-ground force than what is currently deployed…The Rand study maintains that, without a deterrent the size of at least seven brigades, fire and air support protecting Eastern Europe, that Russia cold overrun the Baltic states  as quickly as in 60 hours.”

Obviously, smacking the shit out of Europe would be considerably more challenging than overrunning the tough-talking Baltic sourpusses. So let’s take a look at the numbers.

According to Global Firepower, which I have found to be generally reliable for a non-military site, Russia ranks 2 out of 140 in ability to apply military force. The EU is not ranked as a single entity, but as 25 countries by individual capability. Its index rates 0.0000 as perfect military superiority, and the larger your number, the less capable you are.

Russia’s power-index rating is 0.0501. That of the EU’s strongest military power – France – is 0.1283. Quite a gap. If you feel like a bit of unforced laughter would lighten a somewhat oppressive mood, check out the most hardass of the Baltic buttkickers: Lithuania, at 1.7083. The weakest of all is Estonia, at 2.6527, far past the cutoff where you are a military liability rather than a contributor to collective defense, and I am told in confidence that the recommended military action against Estonia is to just throw a very large wet tissue over it.

Give me a second to get the adding machine out – Darya!!! Where did you put the goddamned calculator?? (Yes, under the box of chocolates, I might have guessed). Okay, let’s see what kind of match-up we would be looking at.

It quickly becomes apparent that the European Union has far more military personnel and reserves than Russia. I hope that’s not a surprise to anyone; it should, the EU has nearly four times the population, although some states have proportionally small military forces and no reserves at all. I’m just going to look at Europe versus Russia here, because if history is any guide, the USA will want to simply send expeditionary forces to assist and keep itself out of the battle, real-estate wise. Also, being far away from the smoke and thunder doesn’t mean as much when your enemy is a major nuclear power, and you might find you want to keep the bulk of your forces closer to home. In case you get a Special Delivery yourself.

So, more soldiers for the EU, more than twice as many. But unless you are going to issue each of them a stick and tell them to look at the uniform first and swing second, equipment is going to be a serious force multiplier. The days of lining both armies up on opposite sides of a big field and yelling “Charge!!!” are gone, and a land war in Europe would be an armor and artillery battle. And it would be in Europe; I would rate the chances of European forces throwing Russia back and penetrating into Russia as none and noner.

Okay; equipment. Land Forces Russia – over 12,000 tanks. I’m not sure how Global Firepower tabulates those, and it’s likely some are older models held in reserve, although they are supposed to be maintained for reactivation. Over 30,000 additional armored vehicles for infantry transport, close combat, bridging and de-mining. Over 6,500 self-propelled artillery pieces. That will do to be getting on with for now, because I can’t find a cumulative number for EU forces and have to add up the individual contributions of each state.

EU Land Forces – Just over 5000 tanks, less than half of Russia’s strength. Armored vehicles, the EU is in good shape with more than double those of Russia, but that comes with a codicil that we will get to in a minute. With 2,731 self-propelled artillery pieces, the EU comes up at less than half Russia’s strength there, too. I’ve looked at only snapshots of overall ability to project power not so that I could cherry-pick areas of overwhelming Russian strength – the ability to project power is a big part of the global ranking, and Global Firepower has done that for us already, ranking Russia number 2 in the world and its closest single EU-state competitor at number 7. But a significant factor in capability assessment, also, is interoperability. I know NATO forces exercise together frequently, and they always strut afterward and tout their ‘interoperability’. But what does that mean, really? If you ran an exercise for the combined army, and ordered the Finns to use the Czechs’ assault rifles, how would that work out? Anybody can learn, of course, but who has time and patience to learn when you’re being shot at? The Finns use the RK-62, chambered in 7.62mm. The Czechs use the CZ-805 BREN. It can shoot either NATO 5.56mm or 7.62mm intermediate, so the two weapons could theoretically use the same ammunition, but to use 7.62mm with the Czech weapon requires changing the barrel, gas tubes, breech block, magazine bay and magazine. They say this can be done quickly, but again, being shot at. And they are essentially a completely different weapon that only the native users are completely familiar with.

I know what would improve interoperability – put Spanish officers in charge of the Romanian soldiers. See where I’m going with this? The NATO forces, in spite of efforts to standardize which meet with resistance wherever individual states want to manufacture their own weapons or contract out for their personal choices, rarely use the same equipment. Their weapons are different, they frequently cannot use each other’s ammunition if they are running low, the controls for their armored equipment are different and the labeling that might help is in a variety of foreign languages. They all speak English, don’t they? Well, yes and no; to varying degrees of fluency.

The Russians all speak the same language, although it is a second language for some, to be sure. They use Russian in their communications, which not all NATO listeners speak or understand. They all use the same equipment, and they train together frequently with soldiers from other districts, often in snap drills which are announced with little warning and might see them deployed to a far republic of a huge country. They all use the same ammunition. Their national tactics and battle plans are all the same.

Finally – and I don’t want to be insensitive – we need to take a look at warrior culture. And its cultural opposite, Wokeness.

The warrior culture is rooted in the unrelenting and brutal application of violence, steadily escalating until the objective is achieved and the enemy’s resistance is overcome. There is no room in it for negotiation, for no-fairsies.  Negotiation was meant to preclude violence, and had negotiation worked, violence would not have ensued. There is no room in it for weakness, because in order to apply sustained and steadily-increasing pressure against armed  resistance, you must be fit and strong and committed.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Elnzcym0TfU/maxresdefault.jpgWokeness, by way of contrast, is more or less the Bible of no-fairsies. If you didn’t get a chance to run a company because you’re not a man, no fair. The Man is keeping you down, and if you had exactly the same training, education and opportunities, you could succeed as well as anyone else. And that’s more or less true, for applications which rely more or less exclusively on brainpower, instinct and adaptability. These are important in the military, too, but in combat they come far behind the capacity to hit and keep on hitting until whatever you’re hitting goes down.

Let’s look for a moment at some other opinions; I’m not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but I like women and I like to think I am fair in my relationships with them. I’ve worked with women in the military for years, I’ve worked for women I thought were airheads who couldn’t be 2 I/C of a blank file, and I’ve worked for women I thought were inspirational leaders. The LGBTQ+++ crowd have been less prominent in my experience because they are generally more circumspect, let’s say, but I don’t really have a problem with them, either. However, I have an immediate and abiding dislike for activists. But I’d rather not get bogged down in self-justification – it doesn’t matter what I think, but what I can substantiate. So let’s see what some other people think.

Let’s look at what the author at The Palace Intrigue has to say. First, he or she (I’m guessing he) subheads the site “an alternative to propaganda”. If you’re going to take that position, better be ready to support your conclusions. You can judge for yourself.

Anyway, he quotes Macron – who always looked to me like a bit of a lightweight and always came across as preoccupied with silliness – as complaining that imported American ‘woke’ culture is “racializing France and creating division among minorities”. Not to keep on about it, but France is supposed to be the strongest military power in the EU.

“That’s all by design. You don’t just go from a historical norm of 2-3% of the population being gay to 17% in one generation. There’s a concerted effort by Hollywood and the Masters of Culture to make it “trendy” to be LGBT, and it’s aimed directly at the young generation, who are the most impressionable and receptive.”

That’s actually true enough; here’s an extract from “Norming and Reforming: Challenging Heteronormativity in Educational Policy Discourses”, by Catherine McGregor of the University of Victoria, just down the road from here.

“More recently in British Columbia, (BC) the Ministry of Education and provincial legislators have mandated a number of policy and programmatic changes, including the introduction of the Safe Schools Act, a new Social Justice 12 curriculum, and the Making Space, Giving Voice (2007) diversity guide for teachers k-12. Such actions are seen as positive progress towards genuine inclusion for all LGBTTIQQ children, youth and their families. On the other hand, evidence gathered around from around BC by the Safe Schools Task Force during 2003 made clear that homophobic language is pervasive in schools, and that much school based bullying is a product of homophobia (Facing our Fears, 2003). Gerald Walton, in his recently completed PhD dissertation No fags allowed, also reported that safe school and anti bullying initiatives typically fail to address homophobia, and that even where anti-homophobic policies are in place, there is a gap between policy and practice in schools (as cited by Kittelberg, 2006).”

That’s ‘diversity guide for teachers K-12’, meaning ‘Kindergarten through Grade 12’. Sexual diversity is part of the educational process, by mandate, starting in kindergarten. Nothing wrong with that, some will say. And maybe there isn’t. But it teaches children, from the dawning of understanding, that inclusion means allowances will be made for the ‘different’ in all fields of endeavor, including the military.

That will involve, of a necessity, the lowering of physical standards to accommodate women – historically lighter and with less upper-body strength than men. I didn’t make that up; it’s just woke reality.

“While it may be difficult for a 120-pound woman to lift or drag 250 pounds, the Army cannot artificially absolve women of that responsibility; it may still exist on the battlefield,” Griest wrote in an essay published Thursday by the Modern War Institute at West Point. “The entire purpose of creating a gender-neutral test was to acknowledge the reality that each job has objective physical standards to which all soldiers should be held, regardless of gender.”

When the modified FORCE (Fitness for Operational Requirements of Canadian Armed Forces Employment) test was introduced, the sandbag drag was demonstrated for my group by a woman who could not have weighed more than 120 pounds. Here is a video demonstration of each requirement. It can be done. But not by everyone. There’s a major disconnect between ‘not by everyone’ and ‘inclusive’ that wokeness will not tolerate.

Again, don’t take my word for it; listen to the US Army.

“Over the last decade or so, we have begun to accept substandard performance in order to make numbers for missions,” he said. “By retaining those soldiers, it basically leads to a consensus that physical training isn’t important, that being in shape isn’t important…In a report released as part of a nationwide effort, the generals found that 69 percent of Minnesota’s youth could not serve in the military. For example, one out of ten of the youth would be disqualified because they suffer from asthma. The report also pointed out that 40 percent of the state’s ninth graders received no physical education.”

It would be wrong to infer the problem is unique to North American military; the problems of indulgence and leverage through activism has spread to Europe. According to this just-last-summer story, nearly 6000 British soldiers received the lowest scores in military fitness tests, which were modified in 2019 from must-pass to can’t-fail. If you are rated ‘unconditioned’, you go on a remedial-training roster until you can pass. Ten times as many women as men were rated ‘unconditioned’, although there are fewer women than men in the military, which might skew the results. It’s still hard to get away from the conclusion that women are less physically able to maintain an unadjusted military standard, and that more soldiers overall in western military forces are unfit for the demands of active service in combat. Or the possibility that your unit might be called to serve in a combat theatre, and that you would go with them even though you are rated ‘unconditioned’.

Is this an accident? Hardly. Again, don’t take my word for it. Check out Walter McDougall’s The Feminization of the American Military. Here are his credentials, lest you imagine he is just some unlettered male-chauvinist oinker responsible for pickled-egg quality control down at Porky’s Pub.

Walter A. McDougall is the Ginsburg-Satell Chair of FPRI’s Center for the Study of America and the West. He is also the Co-Chair of FPRI’s Madeleine and W.W. Keen Butcher History Institute, Chairman of FPRI Board of Advisors, and sits on the Board of Editors for FPRI’s journal, Orbis. He is the Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

FPRI is the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Startlingly, McDougall reckoned the feminization of the American military was well-advanced already. Startling because he wrote that report 21 years ago.

“How ought Americans of both sexes to think about their co-educational military and the prospects for women in combat? No doubt many unreconstructed male chauvinists would agree with Nietzsche that “Man shall be framed for War, Woman for the entertainment of the Warrior, and all else is folly.” But one need not be a caveman to argue that objections may be made against women in combat on some basis other than bias, for instance: common sense; the empirical evidence of the past twenty years; and the universal experience of the human race. As former Secretary of the Navy James Webb attests, military institutions must be coercive, hierarchical, and self-sacrificial, and as such they depend on a rigid code of fairness with regard to conduct, performance, and deportment, promotion on merit, and egalitarian treatment that by its nature cannot be gender- neutral. For as soon as the sexes are mixed in close quarters, especially for prolonged and tense intervals, the jealousies, courtships, and favoritism that are bound to erupt must corrode fairness and discipline.”

Military service implies the possibility of being called to fight in a foreign land, perhaps for an extended period lasting months or even years. It is not like other fields of employment. Yet it is a juicy target for woke activists. Why? Because the military does as it is told. That’s its job – to obey orders. So the only ones you have to sell on wokeness are the top leadership. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the military thinks. Very senior military officers are often indistinguishable from politicians, while some owe their very positions to wokeness.

I would not be surprised if many analysts believe Russia has chosen its time very carefully to call a halt to western bullying and demagoguery. The west is divided on many issues, its military forces have been allowed to run down and degrade – especially in Europe – and its accumulated debt burden argues against it being able to mount a costly and sustained joint military effort. Some of its military personnel are on the low end of the readiness scale, and those who are not are demoralized and resentful owing to social-engineering tinkering by the woke folk. By contrast, you will not find too many fat Russian soldiers with purple hair and body piercings. The Russian ground forces are mostly made up of fit young men, the supply constantly replenished through conscription, some with considerable combat experience already and all of them honed by rigorous training with snap inspections and drills for verification of their readiness. Woke ‘values’ are mostly unknown in Russia, at least among the military, and liberalism is mostly restricted to the pampered children of the intelligentsia and a few angry ideologues. Even the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace grudgingly allows that the modernized Russian military is pretty good at its job, and although it tries to argue that it is less capable because it is much smaller than it was, its heart is just not in it.

Which brings us to the question of China and its position vis-a-vis Russia. Western analysts have resisted any discussion of a formal military alliance between the two, long after I would have said the reality stood out like a cockroach on a wedding cake. Now, apparently, assessment is reluctantly coming around to the possibility that they might be a little more than just friends. You probably saw why that’s important, right away, but I’ll point it out for any readers who might work part-time for western think-tanks: uh huh, an active-duty military numbering 2 million strong, ranked number 3 in the world, right behind Russia, with a global power-projection rating of 0.0511. Another 5,000 tanks, 35,000 armored vehicles and 4,000 self-propelled artillery pieces.

“While U.S. officials have long been skeptical of a unified threat from the two countries, some are now changing their tune. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported that Beijing and Moscow are now more aligned than at any point in the past 60 years…Yet U.S. steps to contain the two countries have driven them into a marriage of convenience, giving the previously contentious rivals an incentive to marshal resources and intelligence against a common adversary, according to analysts and U.S. officials. China and Russia are eager to restrain U.S. influence as well as its military and financial potency, which they believe more likely if they work in tandem, according to analysts.”

There’s also the consideration that Russia is China’s primary source of energy imports, which it needs to maintain its development, support its trade ambitions and expand its influence. What might happen to those energy imports if Russia were conquered by the western powers? I think China can imagine just fine, extrapolating from American hostility and the eagerness with which its allies scramble to obey its directions.

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things…the relentless tread of marching boots, the overthrow of kings.

What’s it going to be, Washington? The pen…or the sword?

 

436 thoughts on “I Can’t Dance and I’m Too Fat to Fight

  1. Euractiv: European NATO source: De-escalation with Russia is possible ‘tomorrow’
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/european-nato-source-de-escalation-with-russia-is-possible-tomorrow/

    The Americans “really want” an immediate de-escalation with Russia, but dialogue is not possible with thousands of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border, a senior NATO source representing an EU member state in Brussels told EURACTIV.

    Bla bla bla blaaaa (to Beethoven’s Fifth)…

    …At the same time, the source added, it may be a good idea if the West also “pulled Ukraine’s ear a bit”, as some in Kyiv were causing needless provocations.

    “There are also problems in Ukraine, who is in power, who has the upper hand in the army…”..

    …The NATO source explained that the point is to create a set of guarantees in order for both sides not to feel threatened…

    …Suggesting a possible trade-off between irritants for both sides, the NATO source cited the example of the Aegis missile defence system in Poland and in Romania, which Moscow fears could be fitted with nuclear warheads, as well as the Russian Iskander missile system from Kaliningrad, which has a range of 5,000-6,000 km and can hit targets as far as Paris.

    He also suggested other possible advancements.

    “For example, to decide when and if we fly over the Baltic so that there is no case of accident […] Exercises of large army groups not to be close to borders, at specific distances, eg 500 km.”…
    ####

    I seem to recall that Russia asked a long time ago for NATO to stop rubbing itself against Russia but the response was ‘FO!’

    Now it looks to me that there is some sort of basic agreement. Whether the west will uphold their end is neither here nor there but I see that key media is being seeded (the article above) so the west has ‘won’ and it is ‘working to reduce tensions’ and none of it from weakness or panic as NATO will not withdraw from members who have joined since 1997, which I think was deliberate by Mosocow to give the westards an easy and meaningless ‘win.’

    As for Germany threatening to shoot themselves in the head by cancelling NordStream II, curiously they are not offering to kill the original NordStream. I Guess the Hawks in Berlin need a PR win almost as much as Washington, however counter-intuitive and retarded their logic is.

    Like

    1. Meanwhile, from the British State Controlled Broadcaster (Motto: “Let NationThe British Government Speak unto Nation”):

      Ukraine crisis: UK ‘not optimistic’ Russian invasion can be stopped
      By Jonathan Beale
      Defence correspondent, BBC News
      1 day ago

      That is to say, the invasion that is not going to happen cannot be stopped: they cannot stop it not happening?

      Oh well, that’s good news!

      With the above article, two wonderful photographs:


      Wallace met the new German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht

      Woden save us!

      A fucking German woman provincial lawyer and Ben Wallace, a former captain in the Scots Guards!


      Ben Wallace

      Scots Wha Hae?

      I think not! Born in Hampshire in the deepest south of England and educated in the Somerset, in the south west of England, having graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in the south of England of course, Wallace was commissioned into the Scots Guards, cos he’s a real Sweaty Sick, see!

      Oops! Wrong photo above: this is Wallace below, the fiery Scot who is Her Majesty’s secretary of State for Defence and he who’s not gonna take no lip off that jumped up little squirt Putin and his slanty-eyed Asiatic Minister of Defence Shoigu:

      Accompanying the article, the BBC throws in this photo and subtitle:


      Russian TV has shown pictures of tank exercises close to the border with Ukraine

      How fucking “close” you arseholes?

      On manoeuvres in Belorussia perhaps? Or near Voronezh, maybe? So close to the border that the Yukies can see the whites of their Orcish eyes?

      Go to hell!

      Like

      1. Typo!

        Not “Sweaty Sick” above but Sweaty Sock, which is mocking (London) English rhyming slang for “Jock”, which in its turn is Scots for “Jack”.

        I don’t call Jocks “Sweaty Socks”: never have done.

        Like

        1. And the USA has spoken about European energy policy:

          “I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward,” US state department spokesman Ned Price told NPR.

          Yes sir! Message received and understood, sir!

          See: Ukraine crisis: Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be axed, US warns
          7 hours ago

          And that nice Annalena throws in her two pfennigs’ worth:

          The country’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, told parliament that Western allies were “working on a strong package of sanctions” covering aspects “including Nord Stream 2”.

          But she added that she would prefer to “continue the dialogue” with Moscow.

          Her comments came after the German ambassador to the US Emily Haber tweeted that “nothing will be off the table, including Nord Stream 2” if Russia violated “Ukraine’s sovereignty”.

          Welche Überraschung!!!

          Like

  2. Vinyard the Saker via Martynov: Reassessing LDNR military capabilities
    https://thesaker.is/reassessing-ldnr-military-capabilities/

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about the current tensions around the eastern Ukraine, so we have everything, anything and its opposite. All presented with great gravitas as undisputed facts. I won’t deal with all of these facts here, but I will address a few misconceptions.

    But first, a caveat. What follows is a much over-simplified model and the reality of tactics, operational art and strategy involves much more complexity. Please keep that in mind when reading what follows.

    But let’s begin by a couple of maps:…
    ####

    Us regulars probably are reading this anyway, but it’s good to have it here too.

    Like

  3. If the German coalition falls apart for any reason in the near future, I would use the picture of Annalena Baerbock in Washington behind the US lectern as ‘A vote for America!’ You wouldn’t even have to fake anything, but she (or advisors) would then need to burnish their national credentials while claiming not to be stung, though the reaction proves the point.

    Like

  4. al-Beeb s’Allah: Lithuania-China row: EU escalates trade dispute with Beijing
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-60140561

    The EU has accused China of “illegal” trade practices as it launched an official dispute on behalf of one of its smallest member states.

    …Lithuania’s president has since said the name was a mistake with reports a “modification” is being considered.

    Valdis Dombrovskis said: “The EU is respecting the One-China policy and our assessment is that steps taken by Lithuania do not step out of the One-China policy framework.” ..

    …An EU diplomat told the BBC: “While China completely overreacted, there’s some irritation that Lithuania has dragged the EU into this dispute.” …

    …In the short-term, Noah Barkin says European countries should do more to help mitigate the economic impacts for Lithuania.

    “If European companies pull out of Lithuania because of this Chinese coercion, then Beijing will have won and the lesson it will draw from this is that it can pressure European countries to tow its red lines.”
    #####

    Maybe that self-same diplomat tells his wife/husband/partner that they are overreacting when he says he though she/he/whatever ‘understood’ that their ‘other needs’ needed to be taken care of? It’s typical colonial arrogance and gas-lighting.

    The fact that Brussels is backing Vilnius after dragging it in to a s/tstorm of its own making and now applying circular logic, the self-licking icecream. That’s no different from the fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here logic of blowing up other countries.

    So it looks like the lesson learned is Brussels has got your back whatever you do, which means it will happen again.

    A ‘united’ EU. In stupidity and self-destructive action.

    Like

  5. ‘Outrageous source of emissions’: Truss took private jet to Australia at cost of £500,000 to taxpayer


    See ya, you stupid fuckers!

    In Australia, she sang the praises of the Ukraine.

    During her speech, Truss happened to mention that Ukraine, “a proud country with a long history”, has weathered a lot of invasions – “from the Mongols to the Tatars”. The British foreign secretary did not specify whether she referred to Tatar-Mongol Yoke that took place in the 13th century or any other kind of invasion by these peoples.

    Responding to Truss’ statement, Zakharova wondered exactly how many years the foreign secretary believes passed between the two invasions – that by Tatars and another one by Mongols. The Russian FM spokeswoman was also curious about why Truss omitted other misfortunes weathered by the Ukrainian people . . .

    Truss delivered her speech in Australia on Friday, pondering how the UK and Australia can respond to “threats to freedom, democracy and the rule of law”. Despite her ambiguity when it came to the historical references, she accused the Kremlin of failing to learn “the lessons of history”, speaking about the tense situation on the Ukrainian border.

    [The Ukrainians] suffered through the state-sponsored famine. Their resilience runs deep. If they have to, Ukrainians will fight to defend their country,” Truss said, proceeding to recall Afghanistan and Chechnya.

    “Invasion will only lead to a quagmire, as we know from the Soviet-Afghan war or the conflict in Chechnya,” she added.

    She also announced a new package of weapons offered by the UK to support Ukraine, and said that London is “pushing for alternatives in energy supply, so that nations are less reliant on Russia for their gas”.

    source

    Recall that the other week she cost the taxpayers £3,000 for a working “lunch” that she had in some posh joint in London:

    Liz Truss asked for public money to cover £3,000 lunch


    My, that was tasty!

    At “5 Hertford Street”, Truss and her companions reportedly drank two bottles of Pazo Barrantes Albarinño, a Spanish white wine, and three bottles of the French red Coudoulet de Beaucastel, at a total cost of £283; and two measures of dry gin.

    Leaked correspondence has revealed the foreign secretary “refused to consider anywhere else” and asked that public funds should pay for a £3,000 event with Joe Biden’s trade representative.

    Is she taking the piss or what?

    Like

  6. BBC getting all in a sweat!

    Ukraine crisis: Biden warns Russia may invade next month
    2 hours ago

    And here we go again — at the head of the article, a photo of Russian tanks allegedly poised for the attack:

    The BBC doesn’t say where they are or when the Reuters phot was taken, but beneath the photo there is the ominous statement:

    Warnings Russia might invade Ukraine follow tens of thousands of Russian troops massing on the border,

    followed by:

    US President Joe Biden has warned there is a “distinct possibility” Russia might invade Ukraine next month, the White House says..

    So in the headline there is a “may invade”, then in the article a ” ‘distinct possibility’ Russia might invade Ukraine next month”.

    What, a no “highly likely” yet?

    Like

  7. Exclusive kp.ru
    January 27, 2022 14: 53
    View from Kiev by Mikhail Pogrebinsky: Americans are showing panic
    Pogrebinsky, director of the Kiev Centre for Political Studies and Conflictology, believes that a large-scale conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is unlikely.

    “I DON’T READ ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS”

    — Mikhail Borisovich, if you look at the news about the Ukraine, it seems that every Ukrainian is already ready to fight against Russia with weapons in their hands. Many even buy it… You are in Kiev, you can see it live, right?

    — If you read the English papers at lunch, you can probably get that idea. I don’t read English newspapers at lunch. And when I go to the shops, I don’t see any tension at all: no empty shelves. Some kind of half-asleep atmosphere of winter weather.

    Many people call me, asking if there will be a war. Our leaders have already stated that everything is under control, calm, nothing will happen. Some people find this reassuring. But there are also mentally weak comrades who just need to say: don’t buy salt and matches, and people will rush out to buy them immediately.

    — In Kiev, maybe not everyone notices? But you can see things better from London and Washington?

    — I think it’s a big blow to the Anglo-Saxons. [For Woden’s sake! Those “Anglo-Saxons” again!!! — ME] I think they have just got into a stupid situation, which, rather causes an ironic smile. If the president, the Defence Minister, or the head of the National Security and Defence Council of the Ukraine say that we do not see any signs of an imminent attack, and then some fool, the White House press secretary, says that you are looking in the wrong direction, it seems that the Americans have invented this story, as a way out of a difficult situation in which they have found themselves after the “Putin ultimatum”. We will now intimidate everyone with Moscow. And then we will sort of agree. And let’s say: but we saved Ukraine from the treacherous Putin.

    “THE GENERALS WILL SORT IT OUT”

    — For the first time I see Zelensky contradicting Washington. The US escalates, and he says: There is no reason to panic.

    — I think this is because he is under pressure to fulfill the Minsk agreements. And they are not guaranteeing that nothing will happen to him for doing this. He would not mind doing it, but then the Americans should say to him: we will take care of Poroshenko, Avakov and others: they will not harm you, there will be no capitulation.

    — Do you think the Americans are forcing him to fulfill the Minsk agreement, and not to try and take the Donbass by force?

    — They won’t gain anything from this war! By the way, it is not a fact that there will be a tough response from Russia. It could be very localized. And it will stop any provocation. Chief of the Russian General Staff Gerasimov will just call the US Joint Staff and say: You will have to figure it out there, otherwise it will be bad for everyone. And I think the generals will sort it out.

    — Why does the West escalate so much-hysteria in the media about arms supplies, evacuation of embassies?…

    — I think they’re panicking. They behave as if they don’t understand what will happen tomorrow. It is no coincidence that they have asked that their response not be published in Moscow. Even the fact that they have agreed to a written response is an example of panic, not rejection. Look at Blinken. It is clear that the person is frightened. Putin’s main trick, which puzzles them and makes them tremble, is that he does not say how he will respond if they reject his “ultimatum”. This is the most dangerous thing. Therefore, they come up with all sorts of garbage, such as the occupation government of Murayev and so on.

    — And how do you like this version, by the way?

    — Complete nonsense! Funny. And these are also elements of panic. The US could have come up with a more plausible composition of a “puppet government”. But no — a 45-year-old guy who looks like an 18-year-old, who can only deceive exalted women. And there are a lot of them, almost 5% of his rating. But it’s still funny.

    “FEED 40 MILLION PEOPLE? WHY?”

    — Many people are discussing options: What if Russia really conducts some kind of “limited” military operation, calling it” peacekeeping” or “peace enforcement”, as in 2008 in Georgia. How much resistance could Russia then face in the Ukraine?

    — I think that competent people who advise the Kremlin should explain that quite a lot of people will actively oppose the Russian military. They are really motivated. Why does Putin need it? He needs to solve the problem of the Ukraine, but in a different way.

    — And how, in your opinion, will this aggravation end?

    — It seems to me that it will end if not immediately after the next meeting between Blinken and Lavrov, then next week. They will say that they have reached some kind of compromise. And the points should be put by the first persons: Putin and Biden.

    — So you don’t believe in the scenario of a war between Russia and the Ukraine?

    — I don’t believe it. I understand that we have a lot of freaks who would like to warm their hands when it’s not their children who are going to die. But I just think that there is no desire or interest in Russia to get involved in this shit, which simply cannot be resolved. If we had an opposition that could seize power, solve all the most difficult problems that exist now, so that, as Putin said, anti-Russia was not built on the historical lands of Russia, then the picture would be different. The country would potentially have a chance. But there is no such opposition in the Ukraine right now. Change one bad thing for another? Occupy the country in order to feed 40 million people (the population of Ukraine. – Ed.)? What for?

    —And the Ukrainian authorities could arrange a military provocation without the go-ahead from the United States?

    — That’s possible. And, maybe, someone in America is ready to goad them to do so. There are also different people and forces there. Do you remember how it was in Georgia in 2008? But I hope that the chiefs of staff of Russia and the United States will negotiate and settle this so as not to get such a big war, which neither Moscow nor Washington really needs.

    Like

    1. “Do you think the Americans are forcing him to fulfill the Minsk agreement, and not to try and take the Donbass by force?”

      Ummm….no….that’d be the Russians. And the latter option is my guess for the likely reason there are thousands of Russian troops ready to roll just across the line. To prevent just such an effort – which, whether it succeeded or failed, would bring great loss of lives in the Donbas.

      Like

  8. The United States will immediately respond to the deployment of Russian military personnel in Cuba, if Moscow decides to take such a step. This was stated by US State Department spokesman Ned Price at a briefing on January 27. . .

    The Russian Foreign Ministry called the reaction to the possible deployment of Russian troops in Latin America “hysterical”. “Isn’t this evidence of arrogantly thinking in the spirit: “Everything is possible for us, but nothing for Russia”, the ministry said. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the possibility of such a decision, stressed that Moscow is considering ensuring its security, which is why “different scenarios” are being considered.

    source

    Like

    1. ‘Immediately respond’ how? Last time I looked, Cuba was an island. If the Russians have already landed troops there, scratch the option of landing on the island itself, as defenses will almost certainly have been established early to prevent that. So…what? Send ships to ring it with steel, and maintain the blockade for months and months? Good luck with that.

      Like

  9. What is curious here is how close Russia is keeping its cards to its chest in response to all the threats coming from the west. There’s certainly a good reason for that.

    Curiously there has been little or no speculation as to how Russia would or could respond which off the top of my head (short of war) for example could be breaking diplomatic relations with the USA, UK & the Netherlands; declaring NordStream I&II are unseparable; suspending or canceling treaties; declaring that it will not extend its part of the International Space Station. The point is that Russia would not necessarily have to follow through as the mere declarations would cause turmoil. China in support could simply slow down shipping. The western economies based on magic numbers and fairy dust would take a pasting, all without a shot being fired.

    All that presupposes what the USA has given ground on. In the western press we are given the impression that we have the upper hand when we do not. It really is poor theater.

    Like

  10. Paul Craig Roberts: 10 million Russian soldiers don’t give NATO a single chance
    Today, 11: 03

    The Russians initiated security negotiations involving the United States and NATO. They clearly explained that security is a common cause, and it can only be built if each of the parties feels protected, writes on the personal page of a former assistant in the administration of Ronald Reagan, political analyst Paul Craig Roberts.

    The CIA hastily prepared new charges against Russia. The National Security Adviser personally read out the scenario to the public: Russia intends to attack its own troops under a “false flag” so that it has a pretext for invading Ukraine. The national Security adviser is so stupid that it doesn’t even occur to him that if Russia really wants to invade Ukraine, it will. Russia needs no excuses, and no one in Washington or NATO can stop it.

    Russians on their fingers explained that they do not feel safe. They are constantly demonized, punished with sanctions only on the basis of some publications in the Western press, and their president is insulted. Military maneuvers are being conducted on their borders, and US Navy ships are almost constantly in the Black Sea, where they have absolutely nothing to do. Washington broke its promise to Gorbachev and not only moved NATO closer to Russia’s borders, but also deployed missile defense forces in Poland and Romania. Washington overthrew the legitimate Ukrainian government with the further goal of depriving Russia of its naval base in Crimea, installed puppet politicians hostile to Moscow and the Russian population of Eastern Ukraine at the helm in Kiev, and is gradually taking over the former Soviet republic militarily.

    By its intentions to sooner or later include Ukraine and Georgia in the NATO bloc, the West only proves its aspirations to surround Russia with military bases in preparation for a large-scale war.

    The Kremlin is making it clear that the country’s security situation is taking a threatening turn, which is unacceptable. During the Cold War, the two powerful powers sought to reduce tensions, but in the twenty-first century, Washington disavowed all previous arms control agreements and became more aggressive.

    Russia tells us that it will no longer tolerate the creation of new US and NATO bases on its borders, and certainly will not allow Ukraine and Georgia to become members of the Alliance. Any move by the West in this direction will lead to ” terrible consequences.”

    As a direct participant in the Cold War, as a member of the secret presidential committee that helped Ronald Reagan put an end to the confrontation with the USSR, I can tell you that I am amazed at Washington’s decision to ignore everything that the Russians are rightly trying to convey to the United States.

    If such signals had come from Moscow in the 1980s, we would have advised President Reagan to acknowledge them and reduce tensions. Today, the situation has changed so much that the consequences of the actions of the American authorities are extremely frightening to me. The lunatics in Washington, confronted by a much more powerful Russia armed with weapons we can only dream of, pretend that they are not afraid of anything. The capital of the United States has become a gathering place for the most stupid and arrogant people on the planet, who put human life at unspeakable risk, believing in their own unsurpassed power. This is already a sign of insanity.

    Russia is moving as many as four armies from the Far East to its western borders. These four armies, even without the ones already in the region, are enough to instantly destroy any force that NATO and the United States can quickly assemble. This army can capture the whole of Eastern Europe in a matter of days.

    Moreover, the Pentagon is well aware that Russia can quickly mobilize up to 10 million soldiers. NATO, despite all the boasts of its crazy Secretary General Stoltenberg, has no chance of opposing Russia even in a non-nuclear war.

    This means, and the Kremlin knows it, that to save face, Washington will have to resort to nuclear weapons. This will mean the complete destruction of the United States and Europe – they will simply cease to exist.

    For Russia, with its layered missile defenses and extensive network of nuclear bunkers, such a war would undoubtedly be disastrous, but Russia will survive, unlike us.

    Russia does not want such a war. Russia doesn’t want to attack anyone, not even Ukraine. The Russians only want to ensure their own security. That’s all.

    If we face Armageddon, it will only be because Washington has denied Moscow security guarantees.

    Author: Paul Craig Roberts

    Like

    1. There are a couple of important points in there, one that most people have forgotten and one that regularly is not considered when the balance of forces is weighed up. The first is that a primary objective of the Kiev coup was to displace the Russians from Sevastopol, and that failed. The Russians are still there, in strength, and now with the additional motivation of defending Russian national territory. The second is the suggestion of mobilizing the reserves. I would say 10 million is stretching it, but it is true that while Russia continues moving toward an all-volunteer military, it continues to use the military conscription service and to train millions of young men in military discipline and the use and operation of basic military equipment. Even if the numbers were something like half that at 5 million, that would still be twice the size of the Chinese standing forces, and China. too, has huge reserves of trained soldiers not typically counted in orders of battle calculations. Both countries have ample supplies of infantry weapons and vehicles to accommodate and outfit the reserves.

      Whereas the western democracies have maintained all-volunteer forces since the last great war, and while they have some reserves, they also are those who chose a partial military career, and are fewer in numbers than the standing forces. If you handed an assault rifle to the average guy on the street in Canada and said “There you are, Jean-Claude; off you go”, you might as well have handed him a fly rod or a weed-whacker. In Russia you would probably have a one-in-five chance that he would check the magazine and the safety, prove the weapon safe and ask for directions to the assembly point.

      Like

      1. Yep, my Vova is one who’s down for military service. He’s 22 now, graduated and married last year, but he’s due to appear in front of the local draft board next month. He once ignored a letter to appear before the board when he was 18 just before he entered university. Next thing you know, an army sergeant accompanied by his pet gorilla paid us a visit.

        Like

  11. CNN: Biden’s conversation with the President of Ukraine “failed”. But Zelensky thinks otherwise

    President of the Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter that during a phone conversation he had discussed with US President Joe Biden diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and joint actions, as well as the possibility of financial support for the Ukraine.

    “I had a long phone conversation with the US president. We discussed current diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict and agreed on joint actions for the future. He thanked President Joe Biden for continuing military assistance. They also discussed the possibility of financial support for Ukraine”, Zelensky wrote.

    Meanwhile, a CNN political commentator has reported, citing an unnamed “senior Ukrainian official,” that Biden allegedly told Zelensky the following: Russia has already decided to attack the Ukraine, including Kiev.

    The US president warned his Ukrainian counterpart that a Russian invasion was now almost inevitable. According to the source, Kiev may be “looted”, Russian troops may try to occupy it and it is necessary to “prepare for a strike”.

    In response, Zelensky called on his American counterpart to “take such reports more calmly”, warning of the economic consequences of panic. He also said that the Ukrainian intelligence service sees the threat from Russia differently.

    Later, the White House and Zelensky’s Office denied the information provided by CNN journalist Alexander Marquardt. This was reported on Twitter by White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne.

    “That’s not true. President Biden said there is a real possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has previously stated this publicly, and we have been warning about it for several months. Reports of anything more or different from this are completely false”, Horn wrote.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive!

    Like

  12. DW

    Behold, the two chief pricks in the German government and Green Party!

    German Green Party elects new leaders at volatile moment
    The leaders of Germany’s Green Party have faced some tough tests in their first weeks in office. Now they have to manage the expectations of their young members at a party conference.


    Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck are set to be replaced as party co-chairs

    It’s been a long time since Germany’s Green Party could look forward to a party conference with such confidence. Having reentered government in December for the first time in nearly two decades, the party with an environmentalist bent has been making eye-catching headlines in its first two months in office.

    Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock, now Germany’s first-ever female foreign minister, earned some good press during her crisis meetings in Ukraine and Russia, with commentators praising her preparation and poise as she faced her imposing Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

    Meanwhile, her colleague, Economy and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck was seen asserting his party’s climate plans during his own diplomatic trip to Bavaria, to try to persuade conservative State Premier Markus Söder to alter the southern state’s wind farm regulations.

    Her “preparation and poise”?

    At the end of her and Lavrov’s address in Moscow, she simply walked off stage with neither a word nor a glance at Lavrov.

    And her pal Habeck has been down at the Bavarian wind farms promoting his Green Party renewable energy policies that have sent Germany energywise right up shit creek..

    Like

    1. Perhaps Habeck should give some advice to Maia Sandu, the President of Moldova, who recently stated that because of its lack of investment in “renewables”, the previous government of that state had caused the energy crisis there.

      Like

  13. Euractiv mit Neuters: Ukrainian minister faults Germany, says Russia may want GDR revived
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/ukrainian-minister-faults-germany-says-russia-may-want-gdr-revived/

    Ukraine’s defence minister said on Friday (28 January) Berlin’s reluctance to supply Kyiv with weapons encourages Russian aggression, and suggested Moscow may hope to revive the German Democratic Republic in eastern Germany.

    …Ukraine’s defence minister said on Friday (28 January) Berlin’s reluctance to supply Kyiv with weapons encourages Russian aggression, and suggested Moscow may hope to revive the German Democratic Republic in eastern Germany…
    ####

    Keep it coming Ukietards! Still missing the Thrid Reich when you were free?

    Like

    1. Desperation. Desperation and bewilderment, as it tries to maintain twin and competing narratives – the invasion might be today, and there is no reason to get excited and make bad decisions.

      The subtext is, we are being pushed into agitation by our western partners, and have decided to put our own spin on it by using the crisis to shill for money.

      Like

      1. Yes! And Galitsia can go back to being a “Kronland” in the former Hapsburg domains, where its oafish shitkicker serfs can be in earthly paradise again, kneeling before Polish “Pans” and German lords, not to mention their being part of the Holy Father in Rome’s flock again.

        Like

  14. Euractiv mit Neuters: Putin says West has not addressed key concerns in Ukraine standoff
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/putin-says-west-has-not-addressed-key-concerns-in-ukraine-standoff/

    President Vladimir Putin said on Friday (28 January) the United States and NATO had not addressed Russia’s main security demands in their standoff over Ukraine but that Moscow was ready to keep talking.

    ….blah blah blah….

    ….Lavrov said he expected to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again in the next couple of weeks. Their last meeting, in Geneva on Jan.21, produced no breakthrough but both sides agreed to keep talking.

    Lavrov said, without giving details, that the US counter-proposals were better than NATO’s. Russia was studying them and Putin would decide how to respond…
    ####

    Lavrov’s a funny guy.

    Like

  15. Get fucked, Euro-Shitwits1

    Russia has extended the list of EU representatives who are banned from entering the country

    Moscow, January 28 – AIF-Moscow.
    Moscow has decided to lengthen the list of representatives of EU countries who are banned from entering Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said on its website.

    The European Union continues its illegal, destructive and senseless policy of unilateral restrictions on Russians and Russian organizations, the Ministry said. It is noted that the basis for taking such restrictive measures are unsubstantiated, and sometimes even absurd accusations.

    The Ministry recalled that Russia has repeatedly warned the EU against using the tools of unilateral restrictions that are illegitimate in international law. In addition, Moscow has openly warned that it reserves the right to retaliate.

    “In this regard, the Russian side, guided by the principle of reciprocity and parity, decided to extend the response list of representatives of EU member states and institutions who are banned from entering the territory of the Russian Federation”, the message reads.

    It is specified that the ban applies to the heads of European Private Military Organizations and representatives of those authorities personally responsible for anti-Russian policy. The Russian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the EU delegation in Moscow regarding the extension of the response blacklist.

    “We suggest that Brussels listen to the voices of sane Europeans who call for abandoning the sanctions policy that undermines international law and is deliberately deadlocked against Russia and its allies”, the ministry concluded.

    Earlier, Bloomberg, citing sources, spoke about the plans of the European Union to impose sanctions against Russia in case of the “restriction of gas supplies”. The package of measures, presumably, may include restrictions on currency conversion, as well as a ban on import and export, restriction of access to SWIFT.

    Like

    1. Kiev’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko also poured scorn on the move and accused Lambrecht of not fully grasping that Kiev is “dealing with a perfectly equipped Russian army that can start further invading Ukraine at any time. “5,000 helmets are an absolute joke,” he said. “What will Germany send in support next? Pillows?”

      Not to mention Kuh-yiv’s Mayor Klitschko, who has been in his negotiated post lo these many years. 5000 helmets is peanuts, you can barely sell them for anything and they are not a hot-ticket item for terrorist militias around the world, for whom standing and fighting is not in the tactics book. Ukraine’s vaunted Javelins, which armchair strategists predicted would ‘turn the tide’ and send the Russians screaming to the negotiating table for mercy, have made no difference at all, but I bet they bring a tidy sum on the black market. They’d like more, please. On the one hand they keep swaggering and boasting that if the Russians attack, they will be stopped in their tracks when they meet the iron wall of the Ukrainian Army, which would seem to suggest they have all they need. On the other, their territorial militias drill for the cameras with wooden guns and they pretend to be almost defenseless.

      I’m sure they’d love to be outfitted with Abrams tanks and F-35’s and lots of Hummers, including a special blue-and-yellow-painted one to take Mayor Klitschko to his office every day, all gratis courtesy of the US gub’mint, naturally; never mind the Nazi symbols, it’s just a little light-hearted letting off steam, doesn’t mean a thing – boys will be boys. Ukraine was left a legacy of tons of Soviet weaponry, which other east-European nations managed to maintain in working condition so that the authors of the Clark-Karber Report begged for those countries to send their weapons to their Ukie brothers post-haste. Not Ukraine, which let tanks rust away in the hundreds at ‘tank dumps’ such as those recently pictured here. For example:

      Just one more example of Ukraine attempting to strum the heartstrings of the west and slide a sly hand into its pockets. When ‘the invasion’ that the simpleminded Russians cannot seem to get together – despite having more than 100,000 troops and their associated armor assembled on ‘Ukraine’s doorstep’ for months – does not happen, of course it does not expect to have to give those kind donations back.

      Excellent scam – so long as Russia is next door to Ukraine, its ‘perfectly equipped army’ could invade any time, at the snap of fingers. Don’t bother putting your wallets away, westerners.

      Like

          1. The problem though is that the Yukies would be selling the weapons – especially the F-35s or parts thereof (I doubt they would be able to sell F-35s in their entirety) – at a fraction of the price they originally paid. Even if they sold F-35 parts, they would still end up making a loss. Way to go, Yukies!

            Like

          2. I was offered the chance to buy two tanks back around 1997/8 by a young lady from Ukraine (true story). Just exactly what I needed for life in a suburb of Glasgow – there was this one neighbour who didn’t know how lucky he was I had nowhere to park them….

            She came into the category once known as “Adventuress” having married some poor sap in London to get UK resident status, traded him in for the prosperous guy who paid for her legal studies (where I met her) and, on graduation, promptly dumped hubby #2 and buggered off back to London fishing for a sugar daddy.

            Like

        1. Be awful painful though if they got strangled blue and black by the edges of the snazzy swimsuit.

          At least you’d know she has truly broken free when her voice suddenly jumps up from bass to soprano when she screams.

          Like

  16. As promised by Copenhagen, F-16s arrive in Estonia
    As promised by Copenhagen, four Danish F-16 fighters arrived in Estonia (27.01) as part of the strengthening of NATO’s Baltic air policing programme.
    2022-01-29 09: 26: 00


    Born in Stockholm (1953), raised in the USA, former Estonian president (2006 – 2016) Toomas Hendrik Ilves(left), who, on his own admission, speaks Estonian with a strong American accent, shakes hands with Danish piece of shit, former NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen

    The day before, six F-15E fighters of the US Air Force landed at the Estonian Ämari Air Base, which according to the American command, are also meant for strengthening the above-mentioned programme.

    Therefore the number of combat aircraft in Lithuania and Estonia has now increased to 18, breaking the record of the previous year, when their maximum number was 15.

    At first glance, it might appear that this is the same strengthening of the NATO eastern flank “for the Ukraine” that Stoltenberg was proud to announce.

    However, there is one significant “but”.

    The American F-15s will tentatively be in the republic for only a week, until 4 February. After that the number of fighters deployed in the Baltic will again be reduced to the usual 12. In addition, there is every reason to believe that the arrival of the Americans is the implementation of plans approved long before the whole affair, including Denmark’s announcement of the dispatch of its planes. And it has nothing to do with their response to the Ukraine. The Americans have long had such an idea — to place their aircraft in Eastern European countries for a short period of time.

    Therefore, there is still no need to talk about any new NATO military response in the Baltic in the light of Ukrainian hysteria. It is still the same spectacle that was written about the other day: traditional activities are presented as something never seen before (which, of course, still does not cancel out the unfriendliness of what is happening).

    More attention now needs to be paid to the south-east.

    Defensive measures taken by the purely defensive alliance, see, and nothing at all to do with a USA “Anaconda” plan to encircle the “Evil Empire”.

    Like

        1. Yes; you know, that contains a very significant point, and one that is consistently ignored in modern foreign-policy discussion – the west’s existential quarrel was with the Communist regime of the Soviet Union. And that was gone long before the breakup of the Soviet Union. What was the people’s reward for the ‘bloodless revolution’ that overthrew the Communists? Overbearing marginalization and assumption of the moral high ground, plus foreign policy which acted as if no change had come about, and growing more adamant every year, demanding more and more ‘proof of reform’ and loyalty tests.

          It is really remarkable, the existence of so much sound advice in western foreign policy which is deliberately papered over in favour of intrigue and one-upmanship and ‘leverage’.

          You know, there’s a lot to the tale of the Tower of Babel, and the ‘origin myth’ of why the world’s tribes speak different languages. If the Russians were native English speakers, their diplomats could eviscerate most western arguments in minutes. It’s somehow not the same when it comes from a translator.

          Like

          1. The claim was always that they were fighting Communism, not Russia per se. However, the reality was it was about who should be in charge – like it always is. Anyone who doesn’t want to take orders from Washington is marked down as ‘evil’, regardless of what form of government, political system or economic system they have.

            Like

            1. Few remember now the dissolvement of the Comintern by “Evil One No. 1” in 1943.

              The Communist International (Comintern), headed by the “Empire of Evil” was to “struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state”, and its actions, therefore, led to intensive searching under beds worldwide for “Commies”

              In 1943, so as to avoid antagonizing his allies in the later years of World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom, Stalin shut down Comintern. However, I for one, fail to understand why: in 1943 the USSR was well on its way to totally defeating the what is now considered to be the “Not-Really-All-That-Bad-Regime” of Nazi Germany (the question after the Battle of Kursk in July 1943, was not who would be the victor, but when will the hostilities end), which, in fact, was much less worse than that of the USSR, which, as everyone knows, was responsible for far more deaths than were those nice Nazis.

              Also, don’t forget the Soviet Union’s attempted the genocide of the glorious, heroic Ukrainian nation, which had existed for millenia and had created the greatest of civilizations known to mankind and Orcs.

              The fact is though — in my opinion at least — that even if the western allies, who, some believe, won the war and saved the USSR, had not launched their “Second Front”, the Orcs still would have won and no doubt, conquered the whole of Nazi Germany.

              It is clear now that the Communist International was never really dissolved, nor was the USSR, which has evolved into the present Russian Federation.

              It is also clear now, that peace on earth shall reign amongst mankind only after Russia has dissolved itself and all the Orcs therein have commit mass suicide.

              Like

  17. Apparently there has been a cyberattack on Belarus’s railway system, by ‘non-state actors’ of course coz only the other side carries out state attacks by hiding behind others.

    Like

  18. Another good post by HappyVisas

    He doubts that there will be a war over the Ukraine and provides compelling reasons.

    Like

    1. If Ukraine launches a full-scale attack against Donbass with Western and Turkish support what options Russia has in that situation? Donbass would not be able to defend itself without Russian intervention and lots of civilians would die nonetheless.

      This is what the West (at least UK/US) wants because it would put huge pressure on Germany (and France and Italy) to cut ties and trade with Russia, including Nord Stream II. Some Ukrainians probably also calculate that this could end up benefiting Ukraine as Russia would be more isolated and weakened after total isolation from the West.

      What Russia should do in my opinion is to make it clear to Ukraine that if they attack Donbass the cost for them will be higher than all the benefits put together. Russia should not only repel Ukrainian attack, but destroy enough critical infrastructure to push Ukraine back several decades in development. Hopefully cooler and more sane heads in Ukraine would prevail. The West cares nothing of Ukraine and only use Ukraine to hurt Russia, so it is up to Ukrainians to realize this.

      Like

        1. There is not going to be a war – at least for a week or so

          I know this because Boris Johnson – British prime minister has announced a visit to Ukraine.

          I think he forgot the narrative that the Russians are going to invade at any moment – or it could be he is so desperate to change the focus from his lockdown party antics – to Russia Russia Russia.

          Like

          1. Ah but . . .

            Ukraine: Boris Johnson considers doubling UK troops deployed to eastern Europe amid Russia invasion threat
            ‘Ukraine must be free to choose its own future,’ PM says
            3 hours ago

            This package would send a clear message to the Kremlin – we will not tolerate their destabilising activity, and we will always stand with our NATO allies in the face Russian hostility.

            I have ordered our Armed Forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring we are able to support our NATO allies on land, at sea and in the air,

            Johnson has stated.

            He went on further, saying that should Russian President Vladimir Putin choose “a path of bloodshed and destruction”, then that would result in a “tragedy” for the whole European continent.

            source

            Tough talk from Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson!

            Like

            1. All this support for “Independent Ukraine” jabbering is total crap!

              It is all about stopping NS2, continuing gas transit via the Ukraine and gaining Sevastopol as a USN Black Sea Fleet base.

              Nothing else!

              Nothing to do with Europe or the Ukraine.

              It’s all about US power projection, the encirclement of Russia and China.

              And why?

              Because in my opinion, in the American psyche, being a “loser” in anything is deeply shameful, and, in the words of a former US President: “America’s business is business!”

              And business is competitive: that means there are “winners” and “losers in business”.

              I teach “Business English” to Russians. They notice that in idiomatic English — specifically in United States business English idioms — militaristic expressions are very often used.

              Sounds “tough” and “determined”, see — to Americans at least: sounds childish to me. I suspect it does to Russians as well.

              The project manager took most of the flak for the project failing to meet the deadline, but I also think the rest of the team should take some of the flak as well for their inefficiency,

              If he does it again he’ll be given his marching orders.

              Our team leader has taken a lot of flak recently, we should close ranks with him and show that we believe in his ideas.

              Many companies were caught off guard when the financial crisis struck in 2008.

              We’re fighting an uphill battle with this low budget we have been given.

              Despite our best efforts, the delays in implementing the new software has meant that we’ve lost precious ground against our competitors.

              The marketing team is always the first casualty in the cutbacks.

              George Soros made a killing on the British pound in 1992 which led Britain to leave the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

              And on and on and on . . .

              American idiomatic business English also uses many sport idioms: sport is competitive and “You just godda win, not just play . . . .”

              I remember how, once, a class of mine was perplexed when they heard: “Well, I can give you a ballpark figure .. ” and: “It’s time to step up to the plate”.

              Two other aggressive American English idioms, and not necessarily business English ones, amuse me, namely: “Kill those lights!” and “Hit ‘start’!” rather than: “Turn those lights out!” and “Press ‘start’!'”

              Like

                1. And then the Western media swung into action with its propaganda, creating along its way an “iconic image” of a stupid young Kiev woman, standing on the Maidan and holding a hastily made placard, on which was written: “I am a girl! I do not want to be in the CU! [Customs Union — ME] I want lacy panties and the EU!


                  Ебаная идиотка!

                  No lacy panties in the Ukraine then, see! Only Soviet baggy bloomers.

                  Like

                2. I think Olga Znachkova must have started something. Her Maidan lace-panties protest took place in autumn 2013, and then some 6 months later:

                  Panty Protest: Kazakhstan Women Outraged by Lace Underwear Ban
                  Feb. 17, 2014


                  On Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, women protest the ban of lace underwear in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

                  source

                  And then in 2015, guess what?

                  Kiev woman who demanded lace panties and the EU on the Maidan is looking for a job in the Russian Federation
                  Корреспондент.net, 27 March 2015, 15: 29

                  Kiev woman who demanded lace panties and the EU on the Maidan is looking for a job in the Russian Federation

                  Ukrainian Olga Znachkova is looking for a job as an actress in Russia.
                  The girl became famous in autumn 2013. Then, at the very beginning of Euromaidan, she stood on the central square of Kiev with a placard: “I’m a girl! I don’t want to join the CU! I want lace panties and EU!”

                  However, now Znachkova is looking for a job in Russia. In particular, the girl posted her profile on the website “Actor Online” – a recruitment portal for Russian theatre and film actors.

                  “Flighty, charismatic, charming, assertive. I really like to communicate. I love change. I am constantly engaged in self-education, “she wrote in the column “about me”.

                  Znachkova emphasizes in her resumé that she is ready to move.

                  And clearly her resumé was in Russian and she speaks Russian fluently and Russian may very likely be her mother tongue.

                  Like

                3. A slip the EU has plainly either forgotten, or decided to act as if it forgot.

                  The Russians, or whoever recorded that conversation, must have stared at each other in stunned amazement at their luck, when Nuland reverted to gutter vernacular – surely Europe would never tolerate such insolent contempt. But Europe just blinked the spittle out of its eyes, and went on as if it had never happened. And now it is back to groveling on its belly and damaging its own interests in order to advance those of Washington. America may be in irreversible decline, but the second-last to know it will be Europe.

                  Like

                4. As is Vaginova; I know someone by that name. And that’s her married name, so his must be Vaginov.

                  But she was single at the time, and had a boyfriend whose name was Viktor Zadkov. ‘Zad’ is ‘ass’ in Russian, so some mothers must have had an odd sense of humour.

                  Like

            2. The Ukrainians would certainly agree with Johnson that they should be ‘free’ to choose their own future – and that’s how they intend to get it: free. With the western taxpayer pickling up the tab. Build my industries. Outfit and train my armed forces. Buy my products. Protect my commerce. You owe me.

              Like

      1. No gas nor oil to Europe from Russia will crush the European economy – the instinct of self-preservation will be enough to prevent a general war. If the US goads Ukraine to attack the Donbass, Russia should e able to stop the advance with precision missile strikes and artillery attacks along with Spetsnaz forces and detailed military intelligence. It would be a demonstration of superior Russian weapons and tactics amply demonstrated in Syria. Rest easy Karl.

        Like

      2. This, I believe, is what the purpose is of the assembled Russian forces in the region – a standing warning to Zelensky and the nationalist goons that a ‘surprise strike’ on the Donbas will not succeed, and will be tremendously costly. I disagree, though, that Russia wants to take control of Ukraine in any way, which is the way it is portrayed in western rhetoric and which is probably projection and wishful thinking. The west would like nothing better than for Russia to seize Ukraine – it would provide fodder for endless western financing of ‘resistance movements’ and destabilization, and the west would know enough now to never make a second attempt to take it back. It would be satisfied with endless intrigues, while I doubt there is enough money in the whole of the Russian sovereign wealth fund to bring Ukraine back to the state it was before the coup. The west wants someone else to take responsibility for its slow-motion train wreck.

        Russia knows better -l if it were offered Ukraine as an associated state with the proviso that Russia would make good all damage, it would not take it. Russia would have been quite happy with a Ukraine which traded with both Europe and Russia, while it remained customs-associated with Russia as a member of the EaU. That’s the deal Yanukovych offered Fule – a Ukraine which was an economic bridge between the EaU and the EU. And Fule contemptuously blew it off. I believed at the time that the neoconservatives seriously thought they could turn Ukraine into a ‘prosperous western-leaning market democracy’, that they actually intended to try again with the model that had already failed over and over. But maybe they never intended to even try. Perhaps that was just fluff for the think tanks, and the real intent was to completely ruin it so as to create a catastrophically-failed state on Russia’s doorstep. It’s win-win for the west: if such a failed state is allowed to stumble along, it will be a constant funnel of crime and contraband draining into Russia. If Russia takes it over with the intent of restoring it, the treasury will be bled white.

        Russia is probably taking the best course available at present, remaining as Ukraine’s largest foreign investor. That way, when it collapses, Russia will at least end up owning most of its industry.

        Like

    1. I think what is just as significant is that like many of his fellow Serbs Novak Djokovic opposed the construction and operation of a lithium mine in western Serbia by the Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto and other mining giants are a significant political lobby group in Australian politics. Djokovic’s opposition would not have gone unnoticed in Canberra.

      Another thing highlighted by Djokovic’s detention was our shameful treatment of Afghan refugees stuck in the same shitty Melbourne hotel where Djokovic was forced to stay while awaiting the Immigration Minister’s decision. The refugees are still imprisoned in the hotel.

      Like

    2. Still a win for the Coronas, as they have succeeded in dividing the world’s population into those who believe, and embrace a public-health dictatorship because it makes them ‘feel safe’, and those who reject measures that remove their freedom of choice. And those people will dislike and distrust each other, likely, for the rest of their lives. It was always divide and conquer, and if you believe anything about media reporting, the Quislings are a majority.

      Djokovic is indeed a hero, because he forswore world-record achievement in order to still have the freedom to make choices. If he had capitulated and won, he would forever after be ‘their’ champion. And, it need hardly be said, a powerful symbol for the Vaxxers. Now he’s that for us.

      Like

    1. I can see some use for these F-35s as kamikaze jets, as long as the pilots are able to eject in time. Perhaps more attention and money should be invested in improving that part of the fighter jets’ construction: making sure the hatch opens when the pilot presses the Eject switch.

      Like

    2. Carrier landings are incredibly dangerous, and accidents – sometimes fatal – abound in all models. I wouldn’t hold that against the F-35, although I still think it is a shit aircraft overall. A Carrier deck looks awfully tiny from the pilot’s perspective, and fixed-wing aircraft still need a considerable roll distance to stop. It would be impossible for fixed-wing jets if not for the arrestor wires.

      I will be away for a couple of days, so don’t be alarmed (like my Mom, who thinks I have been killed in a car crash every time I am more than 15 minutes late for something).

      Like

    3. This does not look very desirable now that Washington has threatened to ban exports of the plane to countries unless they rip out all Chinese-made equipment from their telecom systems.

      Like

      1. Are you even kidding me? What kind of sweetener is that??? Replace your telecom tech with last-generation crud from Nokia, or I won’t let you spend a king’s ransom to purchase a plane that flies like a cast-iron skillet?? How stupid must the countries you speak of be? It sounds like a God-given excuse to blow off a horrible deal to me.

        Like

  19. BMPD: Головной новый паром «Маршал Рокоссовский» для линии Усть-Луга – Балтийск прибыл на Балтику
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/4476909.html#cutid1

    Как сообщила пресс-служба Правительства Калининградской области, 29 января 2022 года в Калининградскую область прибыл из Турции головной новый железнодорожный паром «Маршал Рокоссовский», ошвартовавшийся у железнодорожно-паромного комплекса в Балтийске. Паром проекта проекта CNF19M является головным из двух новых судов для линии Усть-Луга (Ленинградская область) – Балтийск (Калининградская область) в Балтийском море….
    ####

    A lot more at the link.

    Impressive hardware! 200m rail ferries for the Ust-Luga – Kaliningrad trips powered by LNG or low-sulfur diesel. Dodgy contracts included too.

    Like

    1. Sure to annoy the Polacks because old Marshal Rokossovskiy was a Pole and a bloody good general, about whom you hardly hear much in the West. He got banged up during the pre-war Stalin purge of the Red Army, but when the shit hit the fan in 1941, he was set free and served steadfastly and successfully for Mother Russia.

      Like

      1. My Polish 75% tells me that he was famous for having prominent arched eyebrows. Also that some people in Poland when they drank tea with sugar or whatever would leave the spoon in and when they drank the end of the tea spoon would push up their eyebrows and call the result a ‘Rokossovskiy.’

        Like

  20. KP.ru

    NATO and the EU cannot agree on a common opinion on Russia
    This was stated by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg and Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki.

    There is no unity amongst NATO member states on the need to help the Ukraine

    If there is a lack of unity in terms of countries because of economic reasons – some are ready to shoot themselves in the foot, others are capable of shooting themselves in the head, and still others just want to stand on the sidelines, then among the NATO member countries there is no such unity in the issue of the need to help the Ukraine. And this was admitted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an interview with the newspaper “Pais”.

    “I think that the NATO allies are obliged to offer support to the Ukraine. We provide political support, practical support, we help them modernize their defence institutions, we help them fight corruption, we help them create cyber defence mechanisms. As for defensive weapons, the allies have different views”, Stoltenberg admitted. Apparently, although he did not directly admit it, the members of the alliance also have great differences on the issue of Ukraine accession to NATO. At the same time, it seems that Moscow’s latest negotiating initiatives have only reinforced these differences.

    “Russia wants to sign a legally binding treaty that would block any future NATO membership. We must respect the decision of the Ukraine, regardless of whether it is in favour of joining or not”, Stoltenberg said and explained the reasons why he does not speak on this topic in more detail. “We never conduct negotiations in public, so the response that we sent to Moscow is confidential. Confidentiality is a precondition for diplomatic progress. But the freedom of choice of each country is a fundamental principle.

    We hear about the freedom of choice of each country all the time. From the same State Department, for example, which never tires of repeating this thesis in relation to Georgia and the Ukraine, but as soon as we talk about a completely hypothetical cooperation between Cuba or Venezuela and Russia in the military or military-technical field, the State Department instantly explodes, spraying out their indignant snot on both sides of the Atlantic.

    “If we see something like this coming to fruition, we will respond decisively”, Ned Price, the official representative of the US State Department, responding to a question about such cooperation from an American journalist. In Moscow, this reaction was quite reasonably called hysteria.

    And today, Brazil had to moderate the appetites of the State Department in connection with the upcoming visit of President Jair Bolsonaro to Moscow in February. The State Department was outraged that the United States learnt about the upcoming visit of the head of Brazil to Russia from open sources, and not through diplomatic channels, and stated that “Brazil has a responsibility to protect democratic principles and a rule-based order, and should convey this message to Russia at every opportunity”. Simply put, Washington simply dictated to the Brazilian president what, when and how he should talk in Moscow. The Brazilian Foreign Ministry commented on Washington’s claims, noting that ” Brazil does not need permission from other states to conduct its own foreign policy”.

    But this, as you understand, does not bother any of the American politicians. As opposed to disagreements on the main issue that has arisen before them – what to do with Russia, what sanctions to apply to it. Although Washington has clearly not read the fables of “Grandfather Krylov” and does not know what happens “when there is no agreement amongst the comrades”, what is happening now clearly inspires uncertainty in the US administration.

    Not everyone is still ready to turn inside out to satisfy the American wish list. And this is one of the main current disappointments of the United States.

    NOTE:
    Ivan Krylov (1769 to 1844) published in 1809 a collection of 22 fables. From 1812 to 1844 he was curator of Russian Books at the Imperial Library, a very non-demanding job that allowed him the freedom to write full time. He began to write more and more stories and he was a huge success. In 1838 he was given a pension by the Tsar. He was a friend of Pushkin and was greatly honoured during his lifetime. Most of Krylov’s stories were sort of Russian versions of Aesop or La Fontaine Fables. His work can be seen as a good natured satire of the corruption and inefficiency of Russian society in the first half of the 19th century.

    Ivan Krylov fable: “The Swan, the Pike and the Crayfish“

    When partners cannot agree
    Their dealings come to naught
    And trouble is the only fruit of their Labour.

    Once a crayfish, a swan and a pike
    Set out to pull a loaded cart,
    And all together they settled into the traces;
    They pulled with all their might, but still the cart refused to budge!
    The load it seemed was not too much for them:
    Yet the crayfish scrambled backwards,
    The swan strained upwards towards the sky, and the pike pulled towards the sea.
    Who is guilty here and who is right is not for us to say —
    But anyway, the cart is still there today
    .

    Like

    1. What is this ‘rules-based order’ the State Department keeps chinning about? Is the United States part of it?

      “Anyone who slogs through the diplomatic verbiage generated by President Biden’s inaugural overseas trip earlier this month will notice one phrase again and again: “rules-based.” It appears twice in Mr. Biden’s joint statement with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, four times each in the communiqués the United States issued with the governments of the Group of 7 and the European Union, and six times in the manifesto produced by NATO.

      That’s no surprise: “Rules-based order” (or sometimes, “rules-based system”) is among the Biden administration’s favorite terms. It has become what “free world” was during the Cold War. Especially among Democrats, it’s the slogan that explains what America is fighting to defend.

      Too bad. Because the “rules-based order” is a decoy. It’s a way of sidestepping the question Democrats should be asking: Why isn’t America defending international law?”

      Like

  21. And the delaying tactics continue unabated:

    2 hours ago
    The German regulator has called into question the certification of Nord Stream-2 before the end of June

    The German Federal Grid Agency (BNA) has not yet received all the necessary documents for certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, head of the department Jochen Noman said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

    “The company required for certification has been established and registered in the register. But no further steps have been taken yet. We are waiting for Nord Stream 2 to submit all the necessary documents. Only when we have them all, can we resume certification”, Noman said (quoted by RIA Novosti).

    According to Noman, the completion of the Nord Stream 2 certification process “can hardly be expected in the first half of the year”.

    The operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG, has established a German subsidiary, “Gas for Europe GmbH”, which is required for project certification in Germany, Gazprom’s press service reported earlier.

    The head office of the subsidiary is located in the German city of Schwerin, Gazprom said. Thus, Nord Stream 2 AG has fulfilled the requirement of the German regulator.

    On November 16 last year, the German Federal Grid Agency announced that the certification of Nord Stream 2 AG was temporarily suspended. The regulator justified this by the requirements of the country’s legislation, according to which a company can be certified only when it is “organized in a legal form” in accordance with the legal norms of the state.

    Like

    1. First half of the year, last half of the year….early next year, whatever. The pipeline is built now and all the infrastructure is in place to start transferring gas. The public knows it, and no inducements are going to make Russia sign a fat gas contract with Ukraine and agree to transit a minimum of 90 BcM through its pipeline system. And those who suggest Russia can simply play a waiting game are correct; the Ukrainian gas transit system has gone past where it could be upgraded and repaired. Estimates for such cost were done years ago, and the figure the estimators came up with was €10 billion.

      “As far as the repair and maintenance of the Ukrainian GTS is concerned, even the most modest assessments by Western experts say it will take €3 billion to “patch up the holes.” A fullscale renovation of Ukraine’s gas transmission infrastructure will require €10 billion. Accepting the likelihood that Russian gas transit volumes will fall, even by 50%, any investment would prove senseless as the system will still become unprofitable.”

      https://energy-europe.eu/oil-and-gas-en/ukraines-gas-transmission-system-last-days-of-pompeii/

      Initial cost estimates for the brand-new Nord Stream II were €9 Billion. It probably ran over that figure with all the delays and work-arounds the United States was able to make its lackeys impose, but even if its cost were doubled, Russia would recoup the losses in less than 10 years by eli9minating the transit fees it paid Ukraine.

      “A vicious circle is forming, warns Mark Goichman. On the one hand, without enormous investment in the GTS, it will inevitably become completely unfit for use within a few years. On the other, such investment will probably not happen, as Kiev has no domestic resources, and previous external credits for the GTS were spent mainly on other purposes – or simply stolen. It is precisely the sorry state of the GTS that for purely technical reasons creates a perceptible and constant threat of interruptions to the gas supply to the EU through Ukraine. Therefore, Europe is hardly likely to turn down alternative options in the medium term; these include Nord Stream 2, whose construction is now nearly complete, and which will have a capacity of 55 bcm a year. “

      Not everyone is skeptical that Ukaine liked having a pipeline full of Russian gas spanning it because it considered it as an opportunity to augment its own supplies free of charge.

      “The lamentable result of previous financing for the modernization of the Ukrainian gas pipeline networks is precisely what is causing doubt about the effectiveness of further investment. The Europeans would perhaps be happy to invest more money in Ukraine, in order once more to spite Vladimir Putin, but his Ukrainian opposite number, Petro Poroshenko, is about to face presidential elections and does not seem to know himself what he wants. The state Naftogaz company would otherwise be behaving differently. It is however avoiding providing its European partners with detailed information about the real state and limits of the operational resources of the national GTS. In this context, many experts are linking the company’s unwillingness to carry out complex testing of the system with the widespread practice of illegal tapping into gas pipelines.”

      A hint that Ukraine is fairly desperate to secure long-term transit from its declared enemy, despite its tough talk, is seen in its unpublicized offer to cut transit fees in half.

      “The European Commission told Platts it was working to secure long-term transit through Ukraine beyond the accord’s 2024 expiry date and Ukraine asked Gazprom to extend the deal for a further 15 years, even offering to cut transit fees in half.

      “The key issue is geopolitical, not financial,” Chris Miller, assistant professor of international history at Tufts University, told DW.

      “The Russia-Ukraine contract is a controversial gas contract because of the risk that Russia stops gas transit through Ukraine after the contract expires,” Miller said.

      Sergiy Makogon, CEO of GTSOU, told BNE last year that if Russia stopped using Ukraine as a transit route after 2024, Ukraine might have to decommission much of its network, as it would be too expensive to maintain. Russia would reportedly have to transit at least 30 bcm via Ukraine each year to keep the domestic pipe network viable commercially.”

      https://www.dw.com/en/can-ukraine-do-without-russian-gas-transit-fees/a-60552279

      A minimum of 30 BcM annually just to keep the system operational. And we know that at that transit volume, Ukraine is still losing money; it needs 60 BcM a year to break even. Ukraine’s western partners are crawling to Russia, trying to strike a long-term deal even as their press services are yelling that Russia is on the brink of invading and the more hysterical insist it has already begun, the pipeline likely will never be profitable again and its replacement is already built. I wouldn’t want that assignment.

      “Kyiv recently had an idea to sell part of the GTS assets to the Americans. But it did not find support in the American community, because who will buy an outdated GTS, who needs it?” reminds Kapitonov.

      European partners have been negotiating for several years to just give some money to Naftogaz to repair the pipe. In particular, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are talking about issuing a loan for the modernization of the GTS for a total of 300 million euros.””

      I probably don’t have to tell you how far €300 Million would go toward upgrading a system that needs €3 Billion just for patches – you could barely replace the carpeting in Naftogaz’s offices for €300 Million . It should remind everyone of Stefan Fule’s fussy offer to Yanukovych of €600 Million in loans to switch allegiances and sign the European Association Agreement. That was meant to replace about €40 Billion in lost trade with Russia. Even economics-trained Europeans still think Ukrainians – and Russians – will fuck your brains out for a pair of nylons, or an orange. Memo to Europe – Big Two ended a long time ago.

      The bottom line is it is impossible to reason with the irredeemably bullheaded, and the principals already have their minds made up. Que sera, sera. Ukraine is NOT going to get an 11th-hour long-term agreement, its gas-transit system IS going to collapse and most likely be sold off for scrap, and Nord Stream II WILL go into operation as a gas-transit replacement. When is irrelevant, as we have already seen that rising gas prices will compensate Russia for reduced volumes while Washington twists Europe’s underwear and Europe squeals in pain. There is zero likelihood that ‘renewables’ will surge to replace the energy once provided by gas – at least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this – and minus-zero likelihood that America’s Molecules Of Freedom (I might use that name for a rock band) will enter to save the day as gas-tanker traffic ramps up to where you could walk from Sabine Pass to Portsmouth, England on their decks. Those are silly dreams, but there are apparently no realists left in politics, so the dreamers must have their day, and it will all end in tears when the dream cannot be made to endure.

      Like

  22. BBC piling it on thick:

    In eastern Ukraine, war-weary soldiers and civilians await Russia’s next move
    3 hours ago


    Maria is stationed on Ukraine’s eastern frontline. “We are standing our ground,” she said

    At least 13,000 people have been killed, both combatants and civilians. Now Western leaders are warning of something much worse – a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. If it comes, the eastern front would be an easy place to start, with the pro-Russian rebels here paving the way.

    Maria was trying not to stress about all that. The 26-year-old Ukrainian soldier, talkative and slight, was in her trench, armed with a Kalashnikov and a perfect manicure.

    13, 000 killed by whom?

    2014: Luhansk air attack by Banderastan warplane:

    “There were no Ukrainian airstrikes on Lugansk because the Ministry of Defense did now allow it,” Mr Sergeyev said, adding that the explosion was caused by the misuse of a grenade by “terrorists”.

    UKRAINIAN DIPLOMAT BLATANTLY LIES ABOUT AIRSTRIKE

    Even RFE/RL couldn’t cover the truth:

    Despite Denials, All Evidence For Deadly Explosion Points To Kyiv
    June 04, 2014 15:07 GMT

    On June 2 an explosion ripped through the Luhansk state administration building.

    Before anyone knew what had happened, graphic video from the scene began to appear online. A dazed woman with her legs blown off and seemingly near death stared blankly into a camera amid rubble and lifeless bodies.

    Just as soon, rumors began to spread about what had taken place.

    As is happening more and more frequently, both the pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian sides were quick to latch onto stories that fit comfortably into their narrative of events on the ground.

    Separatist supporters reported almost immediately that the attack came from a Ukrainian fighter jet.

    From Ukrainian officials, the denials were swift. “The most likely cause of the explosion was careless and inept handling of small arms and explosives,” Oleksandr Dmytrashevskyy, a Ukrainian military spokesman, told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service.

    Andriy Senchenko, deputy chief of staff for acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, declared that a heat-seeking missile fired by pro-Russian separatists had mistakenly targeted an air-conditioning unit on the fourth floor of the administration building.

    Remember the woman in the red dress with her legs blown off?

    See if you can find pictures of her now on the web.

    And the linked “graphic video” in the RFE/RL article above has sort of “disappeared”.

    Like

      1. I shall save the above links.

        I searched for quite a while to find photos of that unfortunate woman in the red dress. There was also a video of her speaking shortly before she died. Vanished!

        As regards the line that even RFE/RL mentioned with some doubt, I suspect, as regards its veracity, namely that “terrorists” had caused the deaths by stupidly trying to launch a grenade launcher out of the Luhansk administration building first floor window at the attacking Ukraine air force warplane (To the Heroes, Glory!) the very fact that a Ukraine air force warplane was attacking a civilian target in the Ukraine is quietly brushed away.

        I recall that a certain Harding of the Guardian UK was one who put forward this “It was the terrorists wot done it!” line in his report of the incident.

        Like

        1. But a CNN investigation – and the link is still active, I checked – as quoted on the linked post from the old blog found;

          “…clear evidence that whatever detonations hit the building and the adjoining park came from the air. The tops of trees were splintered, and a series of small craters — about a dozen — had been blasted in a straight line, starting in the park and reaching the walls of the building, blowing out many of its windows and spraying the area with jagged shrapnel. That’s what appears to have killed most of the victims and injured 20 more.

          The pattern of the craters clearly indicated some sort of strafing, according to a munitions expert at the scene with CNN. Their size suggested 30-millimeter ordnance, he said, which is standard equipment on the Su-25, a ground attack fighter, and the Su-27 — both combat aircraft operated by Ukraine.”

          The ‘surface-to-air missile the terrorists fired out a window which hit an air conditioner on the administration building’ was the kind of obvious, arrogant lie posited by people who do not expect you to check, or to even have a functioning brain. If you were going to fire a surface-to-air missile from a window, the room behind it better be an auditorium with an asbestos floor; a jet of flame about 15 feet long comes out the back during launch.

          https://external-preview.redd.it/3fGS9XBlyf7ry3_xe8aNmUzHnDOuQ79gO_U4YStudtM.jpg?auto=webp&s=3aeaa7d2b92a9b71e3aa29c0c55ba4a367bde815

          Also, the Stinger and other such missiles are line-of-sight, where you select a target and lock on the missile until you are satisfied it has acquired the desired target, announced by an audible tone – they all work similarly. What kind of failure rebel would you be if you couldn’t tell the difference between a fighter aircraft and an air conditioner in your direct line of sight? Comes to that, why would you even be launching a surface-to-air missile if there were no aircraft around? Kuh-yiv immediately said that none of its military aviation were airborne over or near Luhansk at the time, and the rebel forces had no aircraft. While we’re on the subject, how would a launch from a window that mistakenly hit the building directly opposite tear off treetops and leave a line of impact craters through the park all the way up to the building that was hit?

          Nope, it was a bare-faced lie, and the Ukies got away with it with no repercussions whatsoever; the pilot probably got whatever tin star Ukraine was giving away to its heroes for ‘conspicuous gallan’try’ at the time. He should be cooked alive over a slow fire. Instead, the USA sends the Murderer State more weapons and calls it its good friend and ally.

          Like

    1. They look quite a bit like Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, with longer legs. I can see why the latter became popular as pets; baby pigs are my very favourite animal, I think the babies are cuter than puppies. One of my daughter’s friends has a pig as a house pet; similar to the wild boars, dark grey or black in colour and probably a bit smaller. His name is Bean, and he’s extremely smart and personable, at least as much as a dog. Their hair is very coarse, though.

      Like

        1. Yes, Bean is about the size of the pig in the top photo on that site, about as tall as a medium-sized dog, although considerably heavier. But he lives with a kind of hippie-ish family and has the run of the house, which is part of a kind of small hobby farm, with a chicken run and a sizeable garden. It’s in Cordova Bay, which must have different – more liberal – zoning rules than Victoria proper, where they will let you keep chickens under only the strictest regulations unless you are a bona-fide farm, and there aren’t many of those inside city limits. Bean seems to think he’s a dog, and sometimes likes to clamber into your lap with accompanying grunts of satisfaction. This process is often precluded by his sharp trotters and coarse back hair. He likes dog biscuits as a snack.

          Like

  23. This just in: Russia to guarantee pensions of Donbas residents who have taken Russian citizenship.

    https://anti-empire.com/huge-russia-to-start-paying-out-pensions-of-donbass-retirees/

    Previously Donbas residents who elected Russian citizenship only qualified for pension payments if they became permanent residents in Russia.

    Marko also offers solid reasoning for Russia to do it now, but it still seems to me like a deliberate soft escalation. Not anything Kuh-yiv can directly do anything about without looking like fools, but they could wail “Wahhh!! Russia is making us look bad!”. And there’s really no spin the west can put on it to make Russia look bad. Oh, they could – and probably will – huff that Russia is ‘buying votes in East Ukraine’, but how will they explain away that Kuh-yiv insists they are still Ukrainian citizens but won’t pay them their pensions which were earned before the conflict ever started?

    Marko opines that it could be a ruse to offer that there’s no money left to take over East Ukraine as a subject, but he also points out the pension payout will be a drop in the bucket. In my personal opinion, it makes it more likely Russia will eventually accept East Ukraine’s petitions for inclusion within the Federation.

    Like

  24. British Government Broadcasting Corporation:

    It’s that “highly likely” time again folks!

    Ukraine-Russia tensions: British troops ‘unlikely’ to fight – Truss
    Published 15 hours ago

    There is a “real threat” of Russia invading Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned, but it is “very unlikely” British soldiers would be deployed to fight in any conflict.

    Instead, she said the UK was sending weapons to Ukraine and “strengthening” its sanction system so oligarchs close to the Kremlin had “nowhere to hide”.

    She said the UK was also offering extra support to nearby Nato allies.

    Any invasion would be “terrible for Europe”, Ms Truss told the BBC.

    Russia has placed about 100,000 troops, tanks, artillery and missiles near Ukraine’s border, but denies it plans to invade the former Soviet republic, which borders both Russia and the EU.

    But Ms Truss said it was “highly likely” that President Vladimir Putin was looking to invade.

    Why this Ms/i> Truss shite?

    Shes a married woman, for fuck’s sake! Its no secret. And she makes no secret of it. She has two daughters, and her name is Mrs. O’Leary!

    By the way, when Truss was a student — from a British “Liberal” middle-class background: father a professor of pure maths lecturer at Leeds University, mother a teacher — Truss was a right “Young Liberal” tearaway, and most definitely not a Tory. She is now though, and flies charter to Oz and knocks back wine during business lunches at 300 quid a bottle.

    Like

  25. Independent UK

    Ukraine news – live: Kiev fears the worst but army is ready to take on Russia, says defence minister
    Volunteer forces of ‘great importance’ in case of invasion, says general

    Ukraine fears the worst in the current stand-off with Russia but its army is prepared for an invasion, a defence minister has said.

    General Yulia Laputina said although “the situation is very serious now” Ukraine’s army has learned to cope with Russia through experience.

    Thousands of volunteers have entered intense training for the Ukrainian military recently as Russia built-up troops at the border.

    Gen Laputina said the volunteer force could play a vital role in the case of an invasion.

    She said: “Even in the worst case scenario, if command and control is badly damaged, if logistics are badly damaged, [the volunteers] can be effective in protecting and liberating our territories.” This was the case in the 2014 invasion, she said.

    Meanwhile, the UK is considering doubling the troops it will deploy to eastern Europe in a bid to bolster Nato’s response to the stand-off.

    Boris Johnson said the offer of more troops would “send a clear message to the Kremlin” that the UK will “not tolerate their destabilising activity”, adding that an invasion would be a “tragedy”.

    The general referred to above is a major general in the Yukie SBU:

    Yulia Laputina

    Since April 2014 – participation in the anti-terror operation.

    From September to December 2014, the commander of the SBU task force on a rotational basis in the anti-terror operation.

    So she has participated in military actions against Ukraine civilians, or “terrorists” as she would, no doubt, prefer to say.

    Here she is “at the front”:

    She is still in possession of her lower limbs, unlike some Ukrainian women who have been at the receiving end of “anti-terror operations” such as those in which General Laputina has been involved.

    Like

    1. Oh, well; jolly good, then. Ukraine doesn’t need any help. No need for alarm – if there really is an invasion, the combined Ukrainian Army and eager territorials will soon see the Russian off.

      Such braggadocio is cheap, because Ukraine’s ‘leaders’ know full well Russia has no real plans to invade. Conversely, the Russian forces are likely to remain where they are in some strength so long as Russia believes Zelensky might launch an unalerted strike to take back the Donbas. So Ukraine is taking advantage of the opportunity to strut and boast about prowess it will not have to exhibit.

      Like

  26. ////USA making sure all its vassals are on message: what a wimp Olaf Sholz is – he has clearly been summoned

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to meet President Joe Biden at the White House

    Olaf Scholz is set to meet the US president for the first time since becoming chancellor. The White House said the two leaders would discuss the ongoing tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
    US President Joe Biden will host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on February 7, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday, confirming earlier media reports on either side of the Atlantic.
    The two leaders will discuss Russian “aggression against Ukraine,” Psaki said, adding that the visit “provides an opportunity to affirm the deep and enduring ties between the United States and Germany.”
    “They will also discuss the importance of continued close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security,” Psaki said.

    /// no good ever comes from talking to these people:
    Two treaties for discussion gets spun by the USA and UK into threats of sanctions and world war 3.

    Like

  27. Brian Peckford, former Canadian Minister of Mines and Energy and Premier of Newfoundland for 10 years, announces he is launching a lawsuit against the Federal Government of Canada for its infringement on the freedoms of Canadians.

    Like

  28. On Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that Europe diversify its energy supply.

    We are concerned about the energy situation in Europe because it demonstrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on one supplier of natural gas and that’s the reason why NATO allies agree that we need to work and focus on diversification of supplies.

    The North Atlantic Economy Organization?

    source

    Like

    1. This gets trotted out as regularly as a pet pony – Europe must diversify its energy sources. Its economy depends upon it, because it would not do to be too dependent on a single supplier. And when this novel concept is announced, all present nod and look wise, as if some priceless pearl of perspicacity had been unveiled, out of the sight of clods who could not understand it.

      Let’s look at it, hopefully with fresh eyes although we have done so many, many times before. Does buying the bulk of your supply from a single vendor constitute vulnerability? Well, obviously it can – look at the example of Venezuela. It became dependent – despite the best efforts of its former leader – on imports of foodstuffs from America, under a monopoly achieved by one of its pro-democracy elites. And then, suddenly – you would almost think it was on command – the people of Venezuela could not buy their preferred imports at any price; the supply dried up. So, then, we have learned that the character and reliability of the supplier have a direct impact on the security of supply.

      Price, now. Because this was supposed to be an economics question in the first place. Again using Venezuela as an example, the reason the former leader, Hugo Chavez, failed in his attempt to get the people to grow and process their own food was that nobody could be bothered to work so hard when imports were so cheap. So value is also important.

      Now let’s look at Russia as a gas supplier. Europe would have to agree that the price of gas from Russian pipelines is the least-expensive available, and that has to be a consideration because the Anglosphere is allergic to subsidies, so costs must be passed on to the consumer. The consumer is also the voter, and both want low prices because they would prefer to spend their money on diversion rather than some stuffy concept of proud sovereignty. The supply from Russia, then, is the cheapest, and it is also very reliable – the only occasions in which there have been interruptions of supply were when the Ukrainians, over whose territory much of the pipeline gas is transited, decided to tap off some of the supply bound for Europe for themselves, free of charge. It would not be stretching things too much to say that Russia did its European customers a favour, as it could have easily formed a thieving alliance with Ukraine which allowed it to fatten itself at Europe’s expense.

      So, the Russian supply is both reliable and inexpensive. But European leaders want to ‘diversify’ with supplies which will be definitely more costly and probably less reliable, since the preference seems to be shipborne LNG. It is perfectly within Russia’s remit to suggest if that is done, its price will be raised to just under that of alternate supplies, and to so specify in its contracts, since the other occasion on which Europe ran short is because it did not order enough. If Europe wants to play that game, it could be easily managed.

      Like

  29. Euractiv: Finnish diplomats fall victim to cyber espionage
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/finnish-diplomats-fall-victim-to-cyber-espionage/

    Finnish diplomats working on missions abroad have been targeted with the Pegasus spyware developed by Israeli company NSO Group. The malware has infected Apple or Android phones without users noticing or taking action, the foreign ministry said.

    …Finnish diplomats working on missions abroad have been targeted with the Pegasus spyware developed by Israeli company NSO Group. The malware has infected Apple or Android phones without users noticing or taking action, the foreign ministry said…

    …Both Mikko Hyppönen, a security expert from the company F-Secure, and Antti Pelttari from the Finnish Security and Intelligence Services said in separate interviews that a state organisation has probably been behind the spying…
    ####

    The reason Finland is silent is because it was deployed by an ally.

    Like

  30. MAKAREVICH, AKHEDZHAKOVA AND CHUBAIS DELIVER AN ULTIMATUM TO THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES
    An amazing petition has been issued by the so-called “Congress of Intellectuals”, which now calls itself the “Anti-War Party”. It is symptomatic that this petition is being replicated in the Ukraine as sensational. An ultimatum to the Russian authorities in the text of the document is presented by Andrey Makarevich, Liya Akhedzhakova and others, for example, Igor Chubais.

    In the Russian media community, this petition has been replicated in all seriousness only by “Ekho Moskvy”. And then in the “Blogs” section, where the editors are not responsible for what is said. But for the Ukrainian mass media, the statement of the so-called “Congress of Intellectuals” has become a sensation. They publish it with fanfare: as if the Russian authorities want war, but the unfortunate intellectuals resist and even threaten.

    We will do everything possible to prevent and, if necessary, stop the war,

    says the text of the petition.

    The petition was signed by musician Andrey Makarevich, TV presenter Tatyana Lazareva and, for example, People’s Artist of Russia Liya Akhedzhakova. Philosopher Igor Chubais also signed, by the-by the way, the elder brother of the notorious Anatoly Chubais, as well as director Vladimir Mirzoev, politician Leonid Gozman … In short, the company is familiar and already well-known.

    Not a word in the petition says that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine exists only in the headlines of Western media and statements of Western politicians. Even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week urged US President Joe Biden to stop talking about a Russian invasion, as this is not true. But the “Congress of Intellectuals” does not care. They probably have their own objectives. Therefore, Makarevich, Akhedzhakova, Chubais and company are issuing an ultimatum to the Russian authorities, demanding that a war that is not even planned be stopped.


    Akhedzhakova: “Forgive us!”

    Like

  31. THE US HAS PREPARED A SPECIAL LIST OF “PUTIN’S FRIENDS” IN CASE OF WAR
    The United States plans to impose sanctions on people from a so-called “friends of Putin” list. However, so far the initiative just looks something tossed into the sanctions junket that is part of the usual war rhetoric.

    The United States, together with its allies, has prepared a list of people allegedly closest to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In relation to the participants of this improvised rating, they plan to impose sanctions, as journalists of the Financial Times (FT) newspaper write, citing sources in the United States. The sanctions are tied to the “situation around the Ukraine” — that is to say, the fictional war that has been invented in the West.

    The FT authors do not disclose the list itself. They only note that the list includes officials, high-ranking government officials, as well as members of the boards of directors of state-owned companies along with their families. A US government source gave the FT the following comment on the situation, but did not want to be named:

    The individuals we have identified belong to or are close to the Kremlin inner circle and play a role in government decision-making, or at least are involved in the destabilizing behaviour of the Kremlin.

    The list of names available to American journalists is not available because they do not want to publish personal data. The fact is that the source in the government itself found it difficult to name names: the source only noted that many on the list may find themselves in a vulnerable position “because of deep financial ties with the West”.

    It is worth noting that earlier, the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov had already said that the threats of sanctions from the United States both against Vladimir Putin himself and against other top officials of the country look strange. After all, they would not affect the politicians in any way, since officials of this rank cannot have financial ties with the West, which is illegal. And the United States, trying to target those with such ties, simply does not know about the current legislation in our country. And this is sad: it turns out that decision makers do not turn to be specialists in Russian matters.

    Zakharova has tweeted Mrs. O’Leary (aka “Liz Truss’), Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, that as regards a list of Russian oligarchs who have financial ties with with the West, the British Foreign Office already has one, namely a list of Russian oligarchs who are on a Russian wanted list and should stand trial in Russia. For some reason, the British government has consistently refused that these alleged criminals be extradited for trial in Russia, despite repeated requests from the Russian government that this be done.

    Like

    1. The west expects to be taken absolutely seriously with its sanctions game, and for the object of its machinations to be terrified and beg for mercy. But when counter-sanctions become inconvenient; say, when Madame Nuland cannot be present in person in Moscow for important discussions because she is forbidden to enter Russia, the west acts as if it is all a silly jape and Russia was the only one to not get the joke, silly Russians, we was jes’ funnin’.

      Like

  32. No, not tweeted Truss: she used her Telegram channel to criticize Truss.

    “Twitter” must be so passé now.

    Zakharova gave advice to the British Foreign Secretary after her words about Russian oligarchs

    MOSCOW, 31 January – RIA Novosti.Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has reacted ironically to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s remarks about confiscating property from Russian oligarchs living in London.

    On Sunday, Truss said that the United Kingdom was allowing for such a possibility as part of a tougher sanctions regime against Russia in the event of an escalation around the Ukraine. Asked whether this could also hit British investors, the Foreign Office chief said that “democracy and freedom are more important than immediate financial interests”.

    “Most importantly, don’t take one step back, Mrs. Truss! We have high hopes for you. No momentary British financial interests are more important than democracy and freedom! If you get your message across, you will qualify for a “For Cooperation” medal. Do your best. Oh, by the way. Have you got that list there of those corrupt officials that Russia has asked that they be extradited?” Zakharova wrote in her Telegram channel.

    https://t.me/MariaVladimirovnaZakharova/1796

    It’s Mrs. O’Leary, as a matter of fact, Maria Vladimirovna.


    Medal “For Cooperation” — a departmental medal of The Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation

    Nice gong!

    Like

    1. I wonder what Shell and BP are thinking? It’s not like they’re close to the British state or important. They might be thinking of divesting their share of various Russian projects to another country’s energy company/s before it is too late.

      As for the US, is there any point in going along with the sancitons game? Why not just pull the plug? If there’s a time to do it it is probably now or the very near future. ‘US diplomacy’ is like their porn starts, they f/k everyting they see. Someone else cleans up the mess.

      There seems to be this delusion that this game can be played forever, that the other side will ignore it in practicle terms as long as it is words not action. But both Russia and China have said last year that ‘The gloves are off.’ In english too.

      Like

  33. Antiwar.com: So Much for Transparency: Navy Unwilling To Release Report on Red Hill Contamination
    https://original.antiwar.com/Ann_Wright/2022/01/30/so-much-for-transparency-navy-unwilling-to-release-report-on-red-hill-contamination/

    Hawaii’s Governor Gets Wishy-Washy about Permanent Shut Down of Jet Fuel Tanks

    August 1 is the earliest De-Fuel Tanks Could Begin, a Wait of 8 months

    Teachers Speak of Trauma of Children from Military Families

    We knew the U.S. Navy would slow roll the process of complying with the State of Hawaii to defuel the leaking 80-year-old jet fuel tanks that contaminated the drinking water of over 93,000 residents of O’ahu. The majority of the 93,000 were the military’s own families….

    …On January 18, 2022, the Department of Defense announced that work has begun on a $270 million jet fuel tank farm near the port at Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia that will have 11 aboveground jet fuel tanks that will hold a total of 300 million liters or 80 million gallons of military jet fuel to support US military operations in Australian and the Western Pacific. There are a little over double that amount – 180 million gallons – currently in Red Hill storage tanks.

    The September 2021 winning bid on the project was Crowley Solutions, a Florida logistics company. US military fuel will be brought into the port at Darwin, Australia by ocean tankers and then trucked to the tank farm and on to military bases in Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territories….
    ####

    Notional Security, innit?

    As you can see, the US is intent on making Australia a prime military target for foreign missiles. Does the Auz public understand this?

    Like

  34. Sverdlovsk authorities bowed to Yeltsin
    1 February 2022

    Today, the leaders of the Ural Federal District, Yekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk Region laid flowers at the monument to Boris Yeltsin in honor of the 91st anniversary of the birth of the first president of the Russian Federation.

    The ceremony was attended by Presidential Envoy to the Ural Federal District Vladimir Yakushev, Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev, Mayor of Yekaterinburg Alexey Orlov, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Russian Federation Lyudmila Babushkina, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on State Construction and Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov.

    Boris Yeltsin has forever written his name in the history of the country. He made a great contribution to the development of the Urals and Western Siberia regions. We honor the memory of Boris Nikolaevich and pay tribute to his steadfastness and humanity, ” the press service of the embassy quotes Vladimir Yakushev.

    Members of Boris Yeltsin’s family did not attend the flower-laying ceremony this time.

    Because many of them are probably living abroad on the money that the Yeltsin clan and its pals had stolen from the state.

    Like

  35. https://t.me/MariaVladimirovnaZakharova/1797

    Maria Zakharova

    When you listen to American politicians, consume Anglo-Saxon media, and listen to those who perform their backing vocals in our country, remember this speech by the “four-star ” retired General of the US Army (ground forces), commander of the General Staff of the Allied States of Europe from 1997 to 2000, Wesley Clark at the California Commonwealth Club in 2007 with a talk on “Time for Leadership: in the name of duty, honor, and country”:

    “I was at the Pentagon once, and a General Staff representative called me into his office and said he wanted me to know that we were going to attack Iraq. I asked why. He replied: ‘We don’t know’. I asked if they would link Saddam to September 11. I went back to the Pentagon six weeks later and saw him. I asked him why we were attacking Iraq. Will we continue to attack it? He said it was even worse. He took a piece of paper from his desk and said that he had just received this memo from the Ministry of Defense. It says that we will attack and destroy governments in 7 states within five years. We will start with Iraq, continue in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. This is amazing! The task of the military is to start wars, change governments, and not prevent conflicts. We will invade other countries… I was confused. I took a break. Power in this country [the United States] had been seized by a group of people through a coup in the field of public policy. Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and you can name a dozen other collaborators from the New American Century project. They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East. They turned everything upside down. They took it under our control.”

    So, cynically and rudely, they go around the world, breaking destinies and leaving behind death and chaos. The Kiev regime should understand that even if its leaders really do want to become accomplices in this extreme ugliness, they are not assigned this role by their curators either. In the credits of the next world blockbuster, shot according to Hollywood rules, the term “collateral damage” will be used in the context of the Ukraine.

    Like

    1. Yes, honourable Wesley Clark, the Great Man. He did have a brief turn there where he was appalled to think the United States Government would use the military to force its will upon those who would not accept it by other means. But he soon came around; as I have mentioned before now, he was co-author of the Clark-Karber Report with ‘Dr.’ Phillip Karber. It recommended, among other things, immediate solicitation of aircraft, tanks and artillery pieces from NATO countries who had ‘compatible’ equipment, namely former-Soviet or Russian-made. On the one hand it made sense, because the Ukrainians could use it right away, being already familiar with it. On the other, it could be used to confuse the picture and create scenarios in which the Russians were attacking Ukraine, since one T-72 looks pretty much like another.

      At this paragraph, who do you think he was talking about?

      “The Administration needs to immediately appoint a high-level official with military experience and a ‘get it done’ attitude – armed with Presidential authority to cut across the bureaucracy and (sic) insure prioritization and timely delivery of all non-lethal military assistance it is possible for the US to provide to Ukraine.”

      The Clark-Karber Report is available in its entirety here

      https://archive.org/details/pdfy-uzRFVkkzmphI4ees/page/n1/mode/2up

      although it is a little tedious to read in the format it is presented; it’s an archived document and you have to blow it up to read it. It is probably available somewhere as a PDF in full-page format, this is just the first thing that came up on a search for ‘Clark Karber Report full text’.

      Phillip Karber was, of course, head of the delegation which included Semen Semenchenko and assorted Ukrainian nationalists, and went before the Senate Armed Services Committee to plead for lethal-weapon donations using egregious fake photos to support its case. They included the now-famous one of a long column of idling tanks, ostensibly entering Ukraine but actually in Georgia six years previously.

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  36. Bear in mind, there are many here, and I include myself amongst them, who are not that pleased with the Russian mass media:

    News of the day. Of the New Year, even!

    Anastasia Volochkova has broken up with her lover, who has been put on the wanted list.

    Russian ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has broken up with her lover Sergey Kuznetsov. She announced the breakup on her Instagram account.

    [I must say, though, that for an EX-ballerina, her’s a bonny lass! Always thought so — ME]

    Fucking hell, you fucking cnuts! And this “news” is at the top of Yandex News feeder, which positions its feed as a federal news channel. And the others aren’t any better either. Not only are the media of this “young, democratic country” purely secondary and mainly engaged in compiling and copyrighting notes from Western tabloids (where there is at least some mention of Russia), which doesn’t give a fuck about anyone in the West at all, but their domestic “news” is pretty much fucking well like this too.

    The only thing cooler is the “pro-sports” news, which covers at least one third of all news feeds — all about how some arsehole has moved from one football club to another and on TV, “Urgent to the Editorial Office”, for fuck’s sake, is exactly the same fucking thing [“Urgent to the Editorial Office”: a TV series about a journalist working for a provincial magazine — ME], and the whole federal channel, MatchTV, the Andrey Malakhov show, and there is Putin, Putin, Putin…

    But we shall limit your access to independent search and the distribution of toxic information content as much as possible.

    Do you seriously think that this sad shit of yours is interesting to anyone? Or is there something else? I’ve heard this story somewhere before…

    For the lowdown on La Volochkova’s woes and tribulations . . .

    From Lenta.ru, under “Culture”:

    15: 00, January 31, 2022
    Anastasia Volochkova has broken up with her wanted lover

    Ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has announced her separation from Sergey Kuznetsov.

    Russian ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has broken up with her lover Sergey Kuznetsov. She announced the breakup on her Instagram account.

    La Volochkova having a good cry with her cat on a dilapidated divan in her hovel

    “Hypocrisy and betrayal are very ugly qualities in a person. I feel the hardest disappointment in the people I believed in and opened my soul to”, the artist wrote.

    In response to a comment from the singer Slava, Volochkova said that “what happened was to be expected”. She added that she considered the man’s desire to publicize himself at someone else’s expense a disgrace. She gave no other details about the breakup.

    Earlier, it became known that ballerina Anastasia Volochkova’s new lover Sergei Kuznetsov was wanted for an act of terrorism in the Ukraine. During the “Let them talk” programme, the man admitted that he had been involved in organising the rallies.

    The ballerina later interceded for Kuznetsov. “Look, you can dig up any kind of dirt on anyone. Nobody is without guilt. I’ve done a lot of ridiculous things in my life too. So? I’m not hiding it”, Volochkova wrote.

    It is known that she met Kuznetsov on the set of the show “Let’s Get Married!” Soon after starting their relationship, the couple went to the Maldives together.

    Other news of considerably lesser importance: massed Russian armies are poised in Russia to invade the Ukraine — sometime or other.

    Like

  37. War the day after tomorrow?


    When are they gonna attack???

    It’s no secret that thousands of experts are thinking about whether and if so, when the war between Ukraine and Russia will start. Let’s try to calculate it with arguments.

    First, under no circumstances will Russia attack the Ukraine. Actions on the part of Russia can only be retaliatory (protection of the residents of the Donbass and, possibly, a counter-terrorist operation). But the fact is that Russia has put itself in such circumstances that the conditional “button” for its entry into the war is not in Moscow, but in Washington/Kiev.

    When Putin, responding to a question from Zakhar Prilepin, said that if the Ukraine attacked the Donbass, the Ukraine would lose its statehood; when Defence Minister Shoigu, and then Chief of the General Staff Gerasimov, confirmed that Russia would respond militarily to a provocation from the Ukraine, the most “far-sighted” strategists in Washington began to rub their hands, because they realized that it was now possible to provoke Russia to military action “at once”. It is only necessary to force Kiev to launch an attack against the Donbass (and if they really want to make it scary, then at least shell the centre of Donetsk, for example).

    Therefore, we assume that the real cause of war can only be a provocation on the part of the Ukraine, and all the hysteria about an ” invasion” on the part of Russia has been hyped up in the Western media and should supposedly give grounds for then blaming Russia anyway.

    And this is the second thing. Time is running out, because: 1. Putin flies to Beijing on February 4 and is likely to give an answer there (what is Putin silent about?!) the Americans ‘ reaction to our December ultimatum; it is important that he gives an answer standing next to Xi Jinping, which doubles the power of the answer; 2. After the Olympics, Washington’s nightmare may come true — China’s synchronized solution to the “Taiwan problem” and Russia’s “Ukraine problem”. That is, we must hurry. And from ” dividends”: 1. Russian-American negotiations on security guarantees are disrupted and postponed indefinitely (so the Americans may think); 2. The “Minsk agreements” are reset, and Kiev has a chance to” jump out” of the trap, etc.

    And then-thirdly: the Ukraine can repeat the “feat” of Georgia and start a provocation simultaneously with the opening of the Olympics, that is, on February 4. At the same time, the Chinese “spoil the holiday” to the delight of American bosses. By the way, I have long written about the “binding” of a possible provocation to the Olympics, and now officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry agree with this.

    But let’s think about whether there are more “optimal” ones for the US and others? There are. Of course, the Americans / Ukrainians can abandon the provocation right now, but there must be very strong counterarguments for this, since the first days of February are the most optimal time. I am sure that Moscow is also aware of this and is ready to respond, but the agenda that we are currently dictating may be thwarted. And we, of course, will be blamed for this.

    Like

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