Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 28, 2014

The U.S. "Blinked" Over Cuba ... And "Blinks" Over Ukraine

Thomas Friedman continues to be the most dimwitted foreign policy commentator in U.S. media. Today he claims that Putin "blinked" on Ukraine by not invading it, something the Russian Federation never had any interest to do. But worse than such misreading of current foreign affairs events is Friedman's basic misreading of history. Thus his column today starts:

There was a moment at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 when Soviet ships approached to within just a few miles of a U.S. naval blockade and then, at the last minute, turned back — prompting then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk to utter one of the most famous lines from the Cold War: “We’re eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked.”
In the end, it was Putinism versus Obamaism, and I’d like to be the first on my block to declare that the “other fellow” — Putin — “just blinked.”

It was the United States that "blinked" in the Cuban Missile Crisis, not the Soviet Union. It was Kennedy who pulled back not Khrushchev.

In 1959/60 the U.S. planned and in 1961 proceeded to to install nuclear armed ballistic intermediate range missiles in Italy and Turkey. These "Jupiter" missiles could have reached Moscow within minutes and would have given the United States a decapitating first strike capability against the Soviet Union.

In April 1961 a CIA trained and supported force of exiles invaded Cuba. They were defeated and thrown out of Cuba but the incident intensified Cuban desire for protection by the Soviet Union.

Moscow initiated further talks with Cuba and an agreement was found to counter the U.S. missile threat in Europe by installing comparable missiles on Cuba.

The "Cuban Missile Crisis" ensued during which the Soviet Unions demanded the retraction of the Jupiter missiles in exchange for the retraction of its missiles from Cuba. It also demanded that the U.S. refrained from any further invasions of Cuba.

Kennedy "blinked" and agreed to those terms:

Later that night, Robert Kennedy meets secretly with Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. They reach a basic understanding: the Soviet Union will withdraw the missiles from Cuba under United Nations supervision in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba. In an additional secret understanding, the United States agrees to eventually remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey.

With the Jupiter installations in Turkey and Italy the U.S. had gained an advantage. But the Soviet Union countered and in the end the U.S. pulled back. The Jupiter missiles were dismantled and Cuba was never again invaded. The U.S. sold out the interests of its allies Turkey and Italy while the Soviets delivered security assurances for their allies in Havanna.

The crisis in Ukraine, initiated by a U.S./EU instigated coup, is far from over but as of now the Russian Federation has already won a great price. The Crimea and the attached seas with hundreds of billions worth of hydrocarbon reserves are now (again) part of Russia. The Ukraine will continue to depend on Russia for its energy needs and general economic exchange. The United States will not give weapons to Ukraine or enough money to survive, nor will the EU. It will let the new Ukraine government hang as it grapples with its the coming energy crisis. Meanwhile Russia and China formed a new alliance. Medium to long term Russia will get its will in Ukraine and there is no way for the United States, apart from nuking Moscow, to change that perspective.

The Kennedy administration created the myth of the Cuban Missile Crisis - that it was the Soviets who blinked - to cover up its own retreat. Drawing on that false myth Friedman is creating another one. The new myth that Russia "blinked" over Ukraine. That Friedman finds it necessary to create such a new myth can only be explained by the need to cover up the ongoing U.S. retreat over Ukraine.

Posted by b on May 28, 2014 at 10:20 UTC | Permalink

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I'm sorry, my friend, 'that was then, and this is now'.

Joe Biden's son is on the board of the Ukraine Oil & Gas Company, and US-IL has installed a dual-citizen Israeli Oiligarch as Ukrainian President, who intends to keep his dual-citizen Israeli Prime Minister, and together they are engaged in wholesale slaughter in Donetsk, with mercenary forces trained, armed and funded by the US, and led by a US commander.

Fukuyama called it the 'End of Civilization', didn't he, and the PNAC said, "America needs a New Pearl Harbor". 2000 was obvious to the World as a Globalist-Military coup takeover, after Clinton's failed 'Third Way' NeoLiberal policies. Obama is Gorbechev, just an odd parallel to the Soviet Union's own collapse, but collapse America shall.

And in that wreckage, let me tell you a funny anecdote:

International business and politics makes strange bedfellows. In the wreck of the Soviet Union, and my direct involvement in Afghanistan, one thing led to another, bada bing, and I found myself sitting in a Starbucks in Seattle with two Russian businessmen I never met, over a bottle of Russian vodka, with all the Yuppies Gen-X'rs making sneering expressions.

My new Russian associates wanted my expertise in sourcing metal saws. Not the kind you chop up BMWs for resale parts, the kind you break ships with. The kind you sail the last of the Soviet military fleet to Bangladesh with, anchor on the beach, and with giant saws, break the ships into manageable pieces, the way Brazilian leaf-cutter ants raze a corn field.

So long story short, the deal went through, my partners and I got a little taste, and a year or so later I got a Xmas card from my partner, from his Russian friends, telling me that the Soviet nuclear sub fleet had been successfully broken and sold off to Germany, irradiated reactor shielding and all. Those poor Bangladeshis must have died in droves.

"Wait, I said," what happened to all the radioactive stainless steel shielding?"

"The Germans bought it, and mixed it with scrap metal to make into razor blades."

And that, as Snowden would say, is the rest of the story.


"Snowden described himself as a technical expert who has worked for the United States at high levels, including as a lecturer in a counterintelligence academy for the Defense Intelligence Agency and undercover work for the CIA and National Security Agency."

“But I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert,” he said. “I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. I’ve done that at all levels from — from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top.”


?This kid is a college dropout, who has 'worked at all levels from the bottom to the top?
See what I mean? You are stuck in the 'Deep Throat' era with your Kennedy-Cuba analysis, but we're a Million Miles down the Super Highway today.

The US-IL is in Ukraine up to their jack boots, and All Hope is Lost. Mil.Gov.Sci.Edu are the Four Horsemen of Our Interest-Only $T a Year Debt Payment Forever American Apocalpyse

Posted by: chip nikh | May 28 2014 10:47 utc | 1


This is a great site. But you are mistaken:

"Thomas Friedman continues to be the most dimwitted foreign policy commentator in U.S. media."

He is not "dimwitted", he is doing his job, what he's paid for:
cultivate, perpetuate and instill the ideology of the dominate class on the masses - i.e. create public opinion consistent with the objectives of the oligopoly.


Posted by: TomV | May 28 2014 10:59 utc | 2

These juvenile taunts are all part of the US strategy. From the very beginning they have been baiting Putin/Russia, hoping to draw Russia towards direct intervention in Ukraine so that the long-prepared "Putin is the new Hitler" campaign can be ramped up world-wide, and more of their overpriced war toys sold to terrified governments in Europe. I imagine many drawers full of such demonizing articles, caricatures and talking points are still waiting for the right moment to be deployed.

Russia being too smart to fall into the obvious trap (except for grabbing Crimea with blatantly bloodless efficiency), the narrative "Putin blinked" is just another ploy to put domestic pressure on Putin. Such details as the humiliating treatment of the Russian journalists, the absurd sanctions, etc., are all part of the ongoing and escalating provocation, to which Friedman now contributes his mite.

If Putin invades Eastern Ukraine, that is the start to the longed-for wider new war; but as long as he doesn't, he will be mocked and taunted relentlessly, in an attempt to shame and weaken him in the eyes of his supporters.

So while I agree that Friedman is stupid and contemptible, this particular piece of propaganda is not evidence of his stupidity; it ties in too well with neocon objectives.

Posted by: Austrian | May 28 2014 11:40 utc | 3

Thomas Friedman--ha, ha! I call his column, "the Daily Diary of Davos Man."

B, thanks for helping to weaken the hoary old myth that Kennedy "won" the Cuban missile crisis. It was, at best, a draw. The press sure loved that guy... even more than they love Obama.

As far as the Crimean oil/gas deposits are concerned, take a look at this little eye-opener of an article:

It'll give you some idea of just how badly the American Empire's (TM) offensive in Ukraine has failed.

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | May 28 2014 12:03 utc | 4

Fidel showed his true colors when he embraced the Soviet Union in his dispute with America. What he did by overthrowing Batista (and using the CIA in the process) was magnanimous. What he did in the aftermath, not as much. Although, for some of it, he can be excused, but he can't be excused for partnering with the Soviet Union. By doing so, he damned any other possible revolution, bloody or not, in Central and South America. He became the perfect scapegoat example for any liberation movement from a PR standpoint. No sympathy could ever, or will ever be granted by Americans because they'll always remember that Castro was willing to nuke them in the "blink" of an eye.

And for what when it's all said and done sixty years later? So Cuba can become a corrupt Vegas in the Caribbean again (just as Crimea will be a corrupt Russian Vegas on the Black Sea for criminal Russian Oligarchs)? Because that's what Cuba will be in twenty years, if not sooner.

If the U.S. were like Russia, Cuba would be annexed tomorrow. The only conclusion one can draw as to why it's not, is Fidel and his Marxist experiment in Cuba is a useful idiot. "See everyone, this is your fate when you embrace Marxism"; An isolated pariah cut off from the rest of Civilization and progress. It worked, and still works to this day.

Posted by: Catcher In The Lie | May 28 2014 12:04 utc | 5

Posted by: TomV | May 28, 2014 6:59:33 AM | 2

Yeah yeah yeah, but he's still dimwitted.

Posted by: fairleft | May 28 2014 12:05 utc | 6

Friedman poses as an "educated and intellectual" journalist proposing inaccuracies, giving absurd advices and making ridiculous predictions. It's been a long time I consider him as a fake journalist.

Posted by: virgile | May 28 2014 12:05 utc | 7

Who is Mr.Friedman?

Posted by: Grim Deadman | May 28 2014 12:08 utc | 8

Who is Mr.Friedman?

One of Fidel's many prodigal, bastard sons.

Posted by: Catcher In The Lie | May 28 2014 12:33 utc | 9

Putin tells Kiev it is ready to bring humanitarian aid to Ukraine... (now, who has blinked! b is totally accurate in his assessment of Friedman)

From the Russian Ministry:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a note to Ukraine, which draws the attention of the Ukrainian side to the fact that the Russian side has received insistent appeals from individuals and organizations in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, where as a result of military actions there are numerous human casualties and victims, asking for urgent humanitarian assistance, especially medical supplies and medicines.

Russian stressed that it is ready to provide the population in these regions with the required assistance, and proposed to the Ukrainian side to promptly take the necessary measures to ensure the immediate delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to the affected regions.

Specific routes and transport conditions of such humanitarian assistance, according to the note, could be agreed in due course through the appropriate Russian and Ukrainian authorities.

Given the urgent nature of the situation, Russia is counting on the fastest possible answer from Ukraine on this request.

h/t to Zerohedge (that site a few of you have smeared - apparently Tyler gets news faster than most)

Posted by: crone | May 28 2014 12:47 utc | 10

Tommty F, known in my parts as the Moustache of Misunderstanding, was a nice middle class Jewish kid from Minneaplis who struck it rich by marrying the daughter of a billionaire developer. In the 80s he did a book on the Middle East on the bais of his conversations with taxi drivers while doing a gig as reprter for the NYT, which no doubt is what got him the gig with the billionaire's daughter. If Samuel Johnson were to write his English dictionary today, the entry for 'fatuous' would be 'like Thomas Friedman'. He and Dvid Brooks, also of the same tribe, are what make the Times the great institution that it is today for the thinking men and women who read one book a month.

Posted by: Knut | May 28 2014 12:49 utc | 11

here's link to Zerohedge:

Posted by: crone | May 28 2014 12:51 utc | 12

"So while I agree that Friedman is stupid and contemptible, this particular piece of propaganda is not evidence of his stupidity; it ties in too well with neocon objectives...."

It is the neocons who, in the last analysis are crude, unsophisticated and, yes, stupid.

This was the point that Anatoly Lieven made best: US foreign policy is dominated by empty heads without any strategic sense. As he put it: it sometimes looks as if US policy is carefully planned by a committee of very wise old men, with a long term plan, who meet in Beijing.
Everything that the US has done, during the Ukrainian crisis, might as well have been calculated to serve China's interests.

China, historically, has always lived under the shadow of invasion from the west, Central Asia. With a firm, long term alliance with Russia this fear will disappear. The various "stans" formerly Soviet Republics, will be squeezed into the SCO and US bases squeezed out of them. The new Sino Russian alliance will stretch from the Ukrainian border to the Pacific. It will be the most secure and efficient trading route in Eurasia. It will be complemented by an Arctic sea route-the north east passage.
Inevitably the EU will fall into this alliance's lap like a ripe plum.

The neo-cons are living in the past. They are still playing the British imperial sea power games. Look at what they are doing in Libya, with a 1000 marines hovering off shore waiting to help the latest coup there-which will inevitably lead, in months or years, to a neo-Ghadaffi restoration.

What has all the ruthlessness, the billions of dollars and the naked alliance with nazis gained the US in Ukraine?
Bad publicity, headaches for decades to come, a job for Joe Biden's feckless child and, on the other hand, unanimous nationalist revulsion in Russia, as well as the consolidation of Iran, Russia, the former Soviet states and China into an unbreakable alliance.
Bye bye, American Pie.

Posted by: bevin | May 28 2014 13:01 utc | 13

Posted by: Catcher In The Lie | May 28, 2014 8:04:43 AM | 5

The US does not occupy Cuba because they fear the immigration. At one stage Fidel got his way by threatening to open borders.

Despite all, they do have a pretty similar life expectancy to the US at a whole less cost, and a very similar literacy rate.

Actually, they are top of life expectancy in the Carribean, better than the Bahamas, whilst US supported Haiti is bottom.

So ...

Posted by: somebody | May 28 2014 13:03 utc | 14

If Friedman thinks Putin blinked, that's a good news.

This Ukrainian crisis is, from the beginning, a reverse chicken game. The goal of the game is not to win, but to lose by letting the other win, going off the cliff.

For the US and the Kiev regime, though they say they want to keep the unity of Ukraine, they want the Russian invasion and/or partition of Ukraine. They want Russian to do the job for them and blamed for it.

For Russia, though they appears to want to invade and partition Ukraine, they really want to preserve the unity of Ukraine. Russia knows that unified Ukraine will never leave the Orbit of Russia.

If the US wants to claim a fake victory, let them have it. It means they lost. But, the problem is they had many fake victories already, and doesn't seem to be satisfied, yet. How many fake victories they want?

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 28 2014 13:28 utc | 15

Stephen Walt also believes that Putin is the winner here

Given these realities, did it make any sense whatsoever to keep expanding missile defenses in Eastern Europe, to take advantage of Russian cooperation in the Security Council to do "regime change" in Libya, and then to back an ill-conceived effort to pull Ukraine into an economic and strategic partnership with the West? The answer is no, because Russia cares a lot more about Ukraine's fate than we do -- with good reason -- and Putin had many ways to thwart our efforts (as indeed he has). And make no mistake, he's been the big winner here: Crimea is now part of Russia, NATO membership for Ukraine is off the table for good, and Ukraine's new president clearly understands that good relations with Moscow are essential, just as Putin wanted.

Posted by: b | May 28 2014 13:43 utc | 16

International business and politics makes strange bedfellows. chip at 1.

Yes! As most of their dealings are kept from the public, this fault-line where power is shared uneasily and in a chaotic fashion, is invisible.

But see Soros. Kurt N. at Infowars:

Soros admits responsibility for coup and mass murder in Ukraine - the title is a bit misleading (link to transcript in the post.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 28 2014 13:57 utc | 17

The MSM is showing images of dead civilians who were presumably shot by Kiev forces as if they were shot by the separatists. But now that the coal miners have taken to the streets to demand an end to the Kiev "punishment" operations, it is way more difficult to spin this. However, they will find a way to do it while continuing to loose readership and credibility. This is a game changer because the West can't whitewash the repression of "terrorists" miners. This is information warfare. This is why independent News staff are targets. Russian News staff have been apprehended, humiliated and deported. But the Italian journalist Andrea is very dead and there is a blockade of on you tube.

Europe is uninterested in more sanctions against Russia and is likely interested in facilitating an end to a civil war at its doorstep. Thus far, Putin has not taken the bait in spite of the goading so the empire is very mad. There seems to be an intensification of the Kiev offensive while Poroshenko admitted to a closing window of time for this belligerent operation to produce the desired effect.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | May 28 2014 14:18 utc | 18

M of A - The U.S. "Blinked" Over Cuba ... And "Blinks" Over Ukraine

It also demanded that the U.S. refrained from any further invasions of Cuba.

If this is true, how did the US come into possession of Quantanamo?

There is so much talk about this "agressive" anection of Crimea which made me think did the US anex Gitmo?

Posted by: Fran | May 28 2014 14:20 utc | 19

Ukraine’s Poroshenko vows to crush unrest in east

Jewish president and his racism against the russians. A blood tale.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 28 2014 14:30 utc | 20

@10, crone: It reads like "If you don't contact us we are going to contact you in a very special way."

Posted by: g_h | May 28 2014 14:31 utc | 21

Catcher in the Lie @ 5

Come on, 'fess up, I can tell by the diagnostic muddled thinking, unhistorical history and the signature misuse of "magnanimous" you're either Friedman himself or his twin. Also your prediction Cuba "could" become a corrupt Vegas in the Caribbean in twenty years" is a perfect Friedmanism -- note the weasel word "could."

"A corrupt Vegas" is also classic Friedman style, as if the All American Vegas, bad as it is, at least isn't corrupt.

Allen Dulles, head of the CIA, board member of United Fruit, and the main force behind the Bay of Pigs invasion, would certainly have been surprised to hear of any CIA assistance for Castro.

That's not to say your prediction won't come true. Although Castro was able to overthrow Batista and crime overlord Meyer Lansky, who together under the benevolent eyes of American business jointly ruled Cuba, there's no reason to blame Castro or Marx or the Soviet Union if today's vastly more powerful, wealthier, more sophisticated, U.S. protected international crime organizations take over Cuba again.

Lansky, by the way, although considered the most powerful international crime boss of his day, head of the "Jewish Mafia," with close connections to the CIA (He was never convicted of any crime and his chief bagman carrying raked-off wealth from Cuba to New Orleans was Jack Rubenstein, later known as Jack Ruby) would no doubt envy the wealth and power of Sheldon Adelson who, if your prediction comes true, will be instrumental in making Cuba Vegas. This time there may not be a young Fidel capable of thwarting it.

Wikipedia:"Cuba ranks high in metrics of health and education, with a high Human Development Index of 0.780 as of 2013. According to data it presents to the United Nations, Cuba was the only nation in the world in 2006 that met the World Wide Fund for Nature's definition of sustainable development, with an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita, 1.5 hectares, and a Human Development Index of over 0.855"

Repeat: The only nation in the world with sustainable development. And just think, it all came about because ten guys went into the sierra to change things.

Posted by: Ken Nari | May 28 2014 14:33 utc | 22

Posted by: b | May 28, 2014 9:43:09 AM | 15

I think Putin hasn't won yet. As long as the unity of Ukraine is preserved, he will win eventually. However, everything will be lost quickly once civil war intensifies and the partition of Ukraine sets in.

What Christopher Hill, a former ambassador to Poland, said at the beginning of this crisis is still valid.

If Russia dismembers Ukraine and grabs the eastern part, they are pretty much assured that the western part will (INAUDIBLE) gallop westward. So I'm not sure that is in Russia's interests. So they may be trying to simply put a heck of a lot of pressure on Kiev to come up with a government that kind of respects sort of Russian interests in this. As they, you know, look to cut the deals with the European Union and other things.

The US and Europe haven't offered that negotiation yet. They only offered hostile rhetoric, more sanctions, and unconditional support for the Kiev regime's terror campaign against the Russian speaking population.

Everything depend on whether the unity of Ukraine will be preserved, and it's not decided, yet.

I think the conclusion from the Nicolai N. Petro article, 'b' linked before, is the key to the solution.

If Russia’s actions are not the root cause of Ukraine’s problem, then chastising it cannot possibly resolve the current crisis. In fact, it compounds the crisis in three reinforcing the notion, popular among some in the interim government in Kiev, that Western backing means there is no need to negotiate with the discontented eastern regions
The next is to apply meaningful pressure on the interim government to do what it has thus far refused to do—establish a government of national unity.

Since any move toward a true government of national unity will have to be taken against the wishes of one of the interim government’s core constituencies, it will require political cover, and this can only be provided by its major supporters—the United States and the EU.

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 28 2014 14:49 utc | 24

b, i agree with others that friedman is essentially a propagandist of the first order. this is like ear candy for the american public and anyone else stupid enough to listen.. sugar sells... bullshit is what substitutes for actual media coverage and good analysis..

the info on soros was discussed back in february. i recall reading an article in the canuck national paper - globe and mail - discussing soros ngo media channel responsible for a similar 'friedmanian' spin on reality. democracy is the code word for bullshit with most of these organizations.

meanwhile we can thank the soros and nulands for the continuation of needless death in parts of ukraine..

Posted by: james | May 28 2014 14:57 utc | 25

@18, see Platt Amendment.

Posted by: ruralito | May 28 2014 15:00 utc | 26

Corn Hole is just a troll. He gets pwned every time he shows up. But does he disappear or apologize? Not on your sweet bippy.

Posted by: ruralito | May 28 2014 15:05 utc | 27

corn hole / catcher in the lie - same troll.. can't be a paid troll as the stupidity is too pronounced.

Posted by: james | May 28 2014 15:08 utc | 28

Glazyev: Poroshenko ordered to 29-30 of may to end punitive operation at any cost

"Petro Poroshenko, who after counting 99,05% of protocols on extraordinary elections of the President of Ukraine is gaining 54.7% of the votes, should stop punitive " operations in the East of the country, to break the circle of lawlessness", said RIA Novosti Advisor to the President of Russia Sergey Glazyev.

According to Glaziev, Poroshenko is trapped "three legitimnosti": illegitimate junta, which brought him to power, illegitimate elections, in which it is declared by the President, and illegitimate use of the army against the people", and to be recognized, "he needs to break this cycle of lawlessness which is happening today in Ukraine".

"The only thing that Poroshenko can do to break this vicious circle of lawlessness in Ukraine, is to halt the use of the armed forces and the punitive operation against the most urbanized region of Ukraine," said the adviser of the President.

He also stressed that Poroshenko can easily do and there is no doubt that the army in this case will return to the barracks.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Poroshenko is now showing just the opposite intention. He called on the military to an escalation of violence. According to the data that we receive, Poroshenko ordered on may 29-30, to complete the operation at any cost, including the use of aircraft, bombers, heavy artillery against the cities and citizens of Donbass", - added Glaziev.

At the same time, he believes that if Poroshenko will become a direct participant in the crime, "there is no doubt that he and other criminals against humanity and the people of Ukraine, waiting for the Tribunal".


Глазьев: Порошенко приказал до 29-30 мая завершить карательную операцию любой ценой

Posted by: scalawag | May 28 2014 15:08 utc | 29

...."waiting for the Tribunal". just like all the other war criminals are waiting for the tribunal... is this a russian news update channel or a place where people offer some of their own ideas?

Posted by: james | May 28 2014 15:11 utc | 30

Ukraine and the Lies of the U.S. Media

"Nowadays, the most accurate news reporting about events in Ukraine comes actually from Russia. The following report includes some of the latest of that, along with background reporting that I have put together from other sources, including links to videos of the actual historical events.

Unlike what you read in The New York Times or the Washington Post, or hear about on NPR, PBS, Fox “News,” MSNBC, NBC, CBS, or ABC — or even read about in New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, the Nation, the New York Review of Books, or Foreign Policy — this is the reality."

Posted by: scalawag | May 28 2014 15:27 utc | 31

Democracy Now had Timothy Snyder on again yesterday:

The reason I'm posting it is simply this: he makes some claims that I would really like to see challenged but I don't have the knowledge to do it and I'm wondering if anyone here does.

The principle claim is that Russia was actually intransigent about Ukraine having to choose between the EU and the customs union. I know Stephen Cohen has claimed exactly the opposite: that Putin offered a trilateral arrangement back in November and was rebuffed. I have read - I think here and elsewhere - that Barosso was the one who gave the ultimatum. I've even seen Kerry make an - off-message - claim that the EU caused crisis by starting the tug of war...

Might seem like an oddly teeny hobby horse to be riding right now but I find the guy kind of sinister (especially because he sounds soooo reasonable) and I think what he's saying needs to be challenged. If anyone can point me to the sources to debunk the claim I'd appreciate it.

Beyond that, he also baldly makes the claim that "what's changed" in Ukraine is the Russian context: they are now on the march. Never seen that claim so boldly made either (it is just assumed and that's good enough for most 'cuz "we're" insanely easy to ride herd on...) Of course I know that most of the readers here are (cough) unsympathetic to that view and I agree. But any detailed thoughts on debunking this specific meme - since, he actually baldly states it - would be welcome.

If anyone has any pointers It'd be welcome.

Posted by: Oddlots | May 28 2014 15:42 utc | 32


Well I can only say you are right, you can google that offering by Russia that was rejected, not sure whats more to add to it?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 28 2014 16:04 utc | 33

@31 Oddlots

I'm sorry, I've read the transcript and I dod not quite get what you meant when you said Russia was "on the march". Did you mean advance or retreat?

Posted by: Grim Deadman | May 28 2014 16:06 utc | 34

Thomas Friedman is what is known as a useful idiot.

To think he's smart enough to play USG shill is to fail to recognize the pathetic set of lies which Friedman is supposed to be known for: Israel/Palestine analysis.

All he's really good for - much like our esteemed present Secretary of State - is to marry a rich woman. Kerry is ketchup gigolo, Friedman is real estate gigolo.

Posted by: c1ue | May 28 2014 16:07 utc | 35

@21 Look at Catchers blog. Its even more damning than his post is.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 28 2014 16:25 utc | 36


How do we know its Cold n Whateverfield? Does it link to the same blog or something? I see no reason to believe it cant be two seperate trolls.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 28 2014 16:28 utc | 37


Im not even sure why you bother watching that fake left nonsense, honestly.

Posted by: Massinissa | May 28 2014 16:35 utc | 38

Were it not for Putin, Russia would be ruled/owned by the likes of Ukrainian dual citizenship "oligarchs". Think Berezovsky, Khodorklepto, Guzinsky, etc, etc. instead of them sitting in the corner like good little boys.

Why the "west" hates Putin. That's why Freedman (Guardian, NYT, WSJ, Independent, etc, etc hate Putin. He snatched the Russian resources candy as they were about to gobble it down in front of their drunk.

Mt blind cat knows this.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | May 28 2014 16:40 utc | 39

Fran @18

Gitmo was part of the permanent prize seized by the USA during the 1898 American-Spanish War, where the US Empire also gained the Philippines and subsequently slaughtered about a million as the natives wanted REAL independence not subordination to another colonial master.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 28 2014 16:44 utc | 40

@ 32 - yes indeed... workin on it

@ 33 - this was the passage:

TIMOTHY SNYDER: Because Russia is no longer Russia. Russia is now also an integration project. That’s the big thing that changed, and it surprised elites in the European Union as well as elites in Ukraine, and certainly we are now just coming to terms with it. The traditional Ukrainian foreign policy has been precisely to balance between east and west, to go west as far as you can, then when that doesn’t work out, go back east, and then when that doesn’t work out, go back west. Every Ukrainian president down to Yanukovych, in fact, has done that in one form or another. The reason that that is no longer possible is that Russia is no longer a state. Russia is also an integration process, called Eurasia. And the reason why we had the revolution that we had from November to March of last year and this year is that Russia became an exclusive alternative.

@ 37:

Errr... to hear Stephen Cohen's perspective? (On Ukraine) Or Michael Hudson's? Or Matt Taibbi's? Etc...

Posted by: Oddlots | May 28 2014 16:53 utc | 41

@36 - same site, regardless of what name he/she wants to write in the name field..

Posted by: james | May 28 2014 16:54 utc | 42

Interesting article on the importance to Russia of Ukraine's arms industry: Ukraine: A military-industrial complex to die for

Readers may remember the apocalyptic Hollywood thriller, 2012, and the Russian tycoon who owned an enormous jet loaded with exotic sports cars, boasting of the plane, "It's Russian". Well, the truth is, it wasn't Russian. It was Ukrainian. It was an Antonov AN225, the world's largest airplane. Antonov, based near Kiev, also designed and manufactures a medium-size transport plane, the AN70, a series of gliders like the AN15, a regional jet (the AN148), and a series of advanced jet engines. In fact, the Russian president's office owns two AN148-100Es... It also designed, manufactured and today still services Russia's main intercontinental ballistic missile, the deadly SS18.

Posted by: Frank | May 28 2014 17:16 utc | 43

Frank @42

The Saker has already provided a response to this article. Referring to the examples given by Moore, he states.

"The problem is that all the examples Moore gives are Soviet-era systems. Even the T-84 is nothing but an upgraded T-80. The Ukraine, just like Russia, has inherited a lot of top-quality Soviet technologies. These technologies were, in fact, so good, that both the Ukraine and Russia could literally "coast" for almost 20 years on that technological basis without really developing any truly new systems. A good example of that is the SS-18 missile which is still one of the most powerful ones on the planet. But it's design is really late 1950s early 1960s technology and it runs on liquid fuel. And yet the Russian Ministry of Defense recently wanted to purchase more of these missile. Why? Money: the Ukrainians were willing to sell them cheap. Now the deal appears dead, much to the delight of the Russian military which did not want that missile to begin with, but which had been told that it was the cheaper solution to a more expensive but also more modern purely Russian alternative."

Posted by: Yonatan | May 28 2014 17:31 utc | 44

@40 Oddlots

Well, I can direct you to a couple of different blogs (most of which will undoubtedly be familiar to you), but the problem is that the passage is so abstract that on the topic it discusses there can be an infinite number of takes. Apart from the obvious absurdity that it is an exclusive alternative, the question boils down to "What is Modern Russia?", and that's where the fun begins because nobody really knows. The possible answers range from kleptocracy to empire and from gas station to last European nation state. All of those mentioned and those inbetween are certainly subject to criticism of various degrees of constructiveness, but none but for the most absurd ones can be refuted entirely. So depending on whom you read you can get different takes on your second question.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | May 28 2014 18:03 utc | 45

@40 My apologies, I didnt even realize they had Hudson and Taibi on that show ^_^

Posted by: Massinissa | May 28 2014 18:21 utc | 46

The US is now openly training and providing (with Russian weapons!)the 'moderate' rebels in Syria.
The guy says they've even been trained abroad in "finishing off soldiers still alive after an ambush". How nice and humane!
Syria and Ukraine will remain the perfect ways for the US to exert pressure on Europe, now that the European population are overwhelmingly against the Transatlantic trade negociations.

Posted by: Mina | May 28 2014 18:22 utc | 47

@ Fran #18--

Fran, Guantanamo Naval Base was a concession the US acquired from Cuba long before Castro's revolution and overthrow of Batista.

Being something of a realist, Castro never tried to throw the US out of Guantanamo.


Posted by: Gaianne | May 28 2014 18:49 utc | 48

AFTER the 1993 attack and a crystal clear letter sent to the NYT explaining the motive which said in part:
1 - Stop all military, economical, and political aid to Israel.
2 - All diplomatic relations with Israel must stop.
3 - Not to interfere with any of the Middle East countries interior affairs.
and after statements from Osama bin Laden like this from a 1997 interview:

REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, you've declared a jihad against the United States. Can you tell us why? And is the jihad directed against the US government or the United States' troops in Arabia? What about US civilians in Arabia or the people of the United States?
BIN LADIN: We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation of the Prophet's Night Travel Land (Palestine). And we believe the US is directly responsible for those who were killed in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. The mention of the US reminds us before everything else of those innocent children who were dismembered, their heads and arms cut off in the recent explosion that took place in Qana (in Lebanon). This US government abandoned even humanitarian feelings by these hideous crimes. It transgressed all bounds and behaved in a way not witnessed before by any power or any imperialist power in the world.

The NYT's Thomas Friedman denied that there were specific demands. Terrorists, he wrote in 1998, "have no specific ideological program or demands. Rather, they are driven by a generalized hatred of the US, Israel and other supposed enemies of Islam."

Then, after the 9/11 attacks, Friedman had the audacity to continue to lie. Friedman claimed, "the fact is that bin Laden never focused on this issue. He only started talking about "Palestine" after September 11, when he sensed that he might be losing the support of the Arab street. " (p311 of Longitudes & Attitudes ) and " Osama bin Laden never mentioned the Palestinian cause as motivating his actions until he felt he was losing support in the Arab world. " (p361-362 of Longitudes & Attitudes ) What Friedman has written is a flat out lie. To give just one example that disproves what Friedman wrote: "Your position against Muslims in Palestine is despicable and disgraceful. America has no shame. " - Osama bin Laden May 1998

Friedman has abused his position as one or, or the top, elite opinion writers, to serve Israel's agenda at the expense of the American people.

""Friedman is truly one of the most frivolous, dishonest, and morally bankrupt public intellectuals burdening this country"

Posted by: Tom Murphy | May 28 2014 19:00 utc | 49

A winners/losers who-blinked-first paradigm is not particularly illuminating in this case. The real losers here are the Ukrainian people themselves.

The real story of the Cuban Missile Crisis is that both Kennedy and Krushchev came to realize that the hardliners on either side were prepared to take the entire planet into an unthinkable catastrophe. The U.S, military, for example, had developed a first-strike policy which was predicated on the total destruction of both the Soviet Union and China - and if any shooting broke out over Cuba there was a high probability that this policy would have been put in action. Members of the Joint Chiefs were advocating a first strike even in the absence of any flash point. The severity of the Missile Crisis forced the civilian leaders of US and USSR to back away from winner/loser paradigms. JFK didn:t lose the Jupiter missiles - it was a gesture to Krushchev to help rein in the hawks on the USSR side. In that context, we could say that everyone on the planet were the winners.

Talk of winners/losers and who blinked first is sandbox stuff, and reveals the emotional maturity of children. It is shocking that so many high up the food chain in US national security establishment and its associated courtiers presume this blunted maturity.

Posted by: jayc | May 28 2014 19:09 utc | 50

As Mike Whitney - a person I've lambasted before but who seems to be seeing the true gravity of the situation as of late - correctly writes, the "failure" of Iraq has recently/finally - after 11 years - become the cash cow that the US/Western PTB - read: oil companies in this case - wanted it to be THE ENTIRE TIME and people here think that after just getting started in Libya, Syria and Ukraine that this shit is OVER? That the US is down for defeat?

Sure, the US as a WHOLE may suffer but if people retardly think that US PTB don't have the American peons subjugated/brainwashed to such an extant that this shit can't continue on for AT LEAST another 20 years - and until the fruits of their "investments" in chaos pay off - they're effing stupid/brainwashed themselves.

There is NOTHING on the US PTB landscape/horizon that threatens their position right now. NOT AN EFFING THING.

What is so hard that people CANNOT understand this fact. Report after report after study after study shows that the US is NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY!!! HELLO?!! BUELLER?!!! Anyone care to take the time to understand what that fucking means? I mean really understand what that fucking means?

It means that these war criminals are not GOING ANYWHERE ANYTIME SOON. That's what it means. Jesus Christ, every one seems to read those reports/studies of the US being a non-democratic/war criminal/rogue state yet they STILL think they're dealing with a nation that can right itself, a nation where the populace has the means by which the can actually change things. All the Americans on Facebook and Youtube I see are sooo cute and friendly, though, right? Stupid.

There is ZERO ZILCH NADA ZIP means by which anything is going to change politically in the US. Zero. Especially as the election laws are even more egregiously rewritten to further entrench the elite war criminal class.

So what if they suffer "setbacks", the US elite have ALL THE TIME AND COMPLIANT CANNON FODDER that they could possible hope for near, middle and long term to wait it out and turn events their way once again.

What, people DON'T think these crazy MFers wouldn't nuke the fucking planet before giving up the reins of power?

Really? And why not? Please point me to the data of the US war criminal elite abiding by ANY SENSE of decency/humanity/morality over the last 4 decades. Really, I'd love to see the evidence that supports contentions that the US war criminal elite are worried about moral hangups vis a vis the maintenance of their stations because I really don't see it at all.

The neocons = the neoliberals = every single elected official/Establishment member in the US. This is a fact. I mean, if NO ONE in the US Establishment can even call out/prosecute/mention the commission of MILLIONS of obvious fucking war crimes why do people persist in trying to divide the homogeneity?

These war criminals are not stupid or fucking incompetent but as Lysander - I think - said it best earlier: they are contemplating/putting into action plans that are - to sane/grounded/moral people - unthinkable but which to themselves are necessary and mandatory. They are brilliantly insane and there is NO ONE stating otherwise here. It's much easier to comprehend ineptitude and oversight.

There is, thus, ZERO reason for any of us to think that the worst is behind us, that the US war crimes are going to ebb, that the needless slaughters will subside because if anything they will only increase if the US PTB do actually begin to feel threatened.

Why the incessant need on the part of some people to exhort people to NOT err on the side of caution especially as this letting our defenses fall has given us Obama, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine as additions to the war crimes list that goes on for decades?

A serial killer can no longer kill until he is dead. Until that time - but ESPECIALLY when he/she hasn't even been apprehended - there is no time for congratulations and pats on the butt for jobs "well done".

I can think of hundreds of scenarios by which the US could continue on its current trajectory - e.g., we haven't had a nice epidemic for a while, have we? knock on wood! - but I can't see one that points to the US slowing down or stopping. Look to how little the US PTB care for their own citizens and then you'll see that there is not a moral hangup standing in their way.

Hmmm, save the city of Detroit for >$2 billion or spend $5 billion on needlessly causing more murder and mayhem in Ukraine?

These and other no-brainers are what should give the people of the world pause before proclaiming the premature end of the American empire.

Posted by: JSorrentine | May 28 2014 19:24 utc | 51

b's essay on how the myth of the Cuban missile crisis continues to poison US thinking is also discussed in an essay by Alistair Crooke that is posted by the Leverett's at goingtotehran

The fact is that the US promised to not invade Cuba and promised to remove those Jupiter missiles in Turkey in order to defuse that crisis. However, these details were kept officially secret (though the left wing media reported on this at the time). Alastair argues that US leaders continue to believe the myth and as a result keep on using it as a precedence that prevents them from engaging in give and take negotiations.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 28 2014 19:31 utc | 52

Thrasyboulos @ 38.

Thanks. Nice thumbnail. And - sigh - beyond better informed I'm sure your cat is also cuter

Honestly I don''t know the background on Putin's taming of the oligarchs. Playing catchup here.

Posted by: Oddlots | May 28 2014 20:24 utc | 53

The American and Russian leaders in the 1962 were sane, bucked the establishment, and had control of their governments. This is not true today.

Vladimir Putin hasn’t won anything as the civil war engulfs Eastern Ukraine.

If the Eastern Provinces nationalize the Oligarchs’ holdings, as promised, the Fascist National Security Organizations in Kiev will get all the arms and mercenaries they want paid for by Western Plutocrats intent on wiping out socialism.

If Vladimir Putin sends in Russian troops, NATO troops will counter invade the Western Ukraine. If he does nothing, ultra-nationalists will overthrow his government and send in the troops to protect fellow Russians from western vandals.

The world will be one trigger happy soldier away from starting WWIII. The only way to prevent a nuclear holocaust is to neuter the neoliberal/neoconservative cabal that is starting the wars across the globe and negotiate a peaceful settlement to the Ukraine Crisis.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 28 2014 20:41 utc | 54

@ 53
Correct..."obamaism" (jesus what is that ?!! I hope I never find out) and its press agents at the new York times have been trying to goad Russia into invading Ukraine for months, to justify a NATO presence there. Russia for its part has resisted this while declaring any unilateral NATO encroachment in Ukraine would lead to , um , something unpleasant and they must believe Russia because they haven't deployed so much a 1 NATO helicopter so far. The only way to "neuter" The neolib/neocon regime which is starting wars and wrecking economies and environments across the globe, is for the working class to overthrow them. Short of a working class revolution Monopoly capitalism will continue to rot the planet like the malignant dick mouth and brain cancer that it is, until it collapses of its own dead weight and or were are all dead.

Posted by: Marc | May 28 2014 20:55 utc | 55

@VietnamVet #53:

I think that time is on Russia's side. The anti-fascist insurgency is not going to go away. The Ukies have to deal with fourth generation warfare. If Russia sent in troops, it would have to maintain control of the territory in which its troops were present, so in that case, Russia would have to deal with an insurgency. It does not want that.

Kyiv, including Poroshenko, seems to be laboring under the delusion that it can destroy the insurgency. It can't. (There are reports in the Russian blogosphere of Chechens coming to fight on the side of the anti-fascists, although I don't know what to make of them.)

As I think you've stated yourself, Russia will not tolerate having a virulently anti-Russian regime in Kiev controlling all of what is presently known as the Ukraine. Only if such a regime remains in place, with a "unified" Ukraine, does Russia lose.

Also, NATO troops are not going to enter any part of Ukraine as combatants, no matter what Russia does. I think we have been over this before.

Posted by: Demian | May 28 2014 21:05 utc | 56

@ 50
I get the urgency of your feeling in that post, and its true they can make it a lot worse before they cant, and they might glass the planet before that happens BUT, unless they get their claws into Eurasia they are, in the long run, most definitely finished. They are trying to brow beat Germany and its satellites into paying more for the upkeep of the war machine, NATO and that's not going very far very fast, or rather, if the German public pays more it will demand more in return and that's already being seen. Germany is not a natural ally of the US and wont remain one except here and there out of convenience, for another 70 years. Except for its nukes the US does not, has never had and never will have, the power to take hold and keep "Eurasia" except by paying bribes and making and breaking twisted little alliances as in Uzbekistan and Dagestan (which have become money pits for the US yielding very little strategic return) which is very expensive and the US is not going to be able to afford that kind of imperial largesse much longer (40, 50 or 60 years out). Long before we get to be some kind of end-of-the-world showdown between the US and the powers of Eurasia, US capitalists are going to bail. They are in it for the candy and they will kiss the ass of whoever holds the keys to the candy store. The US is an evil empire and at present it seems invincible but time is not on its side. In fact the American people , as they always have, hold the keys to the future in their hands. The conflict between financialized American capital and the American working class is sharpening and will continue to. The American people have not yet decapitated financialized American capital, but not because they are stupid. Its because they are still, for the most part well fed. The American people are less stupid than they are completely depoliticized and therefore apathetic. Take away their social security and watch how fast they become re-politicized. When political conflict finally hits the US, its global imperial designs will evaporate.

Posted by: Marc | May 28 2014 21:23 utc | 57

In his graduation speech at West Point today, Obama said this:

This leads to my second point: For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism. But a strategy that involves invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naïve and unsustainable. I believe we must shift our counterterrorism strategy -- drawing on the successes and shortcomings of our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.

But he also said this:

A critical focus of this effort will be the ongoing crisis in Syria. As frustrating as it is, there are no easy answers, no military solution that can eliminate the terrible suffering anytime soon. As President, I made a decision that we should not put American troops into the middle of this increasingly sectarian war, and I believe that is the right decision. But that does not mean we shouldn’t help the Syrian people stand up against a dictator who bombs and starves his own people. And in helping those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own future, we are also pushing back against the growing number of extremists who find safe haven in the chaos.

Does he really not realize that toppling Assad is what will bring terrorists to power in Syria?

Posted by: lysias | May 28 2014 21:24 utc | 58

Posted by: Demian | May 28, 2014 5:05:51 PM | 55

I have to disagree.

You said the Kiev regime wants to destroy the insurgents. I don't think they want that. They created the insurgents by their provocative actions and they want to keep it maintained.

Also I think that Ultra-nationalist and anti-Russian regime in a unified Ukraine will be short-lived. Therefore they want to lose the Russian speaking half of the country.

I already explained my hypothesis.

Read the post #10

What's your opinion?

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 28 2014 21:36 utc | 59

@PuppetMaster #58:

Yes, I am aware of the hypothesis that the Kyiv fascists want to split up the Ukraine so that the remaining western part is unreservedly Russia-hating. Hence, all the provocations. The Saker put forward this theory: commit atrocities until Russia is forced to intervene, at which point Russia can be blamed for the breakup of the artificial state Ukraine, instead of the putschists.

My difficulty here is that I can't understand a Ukie nationalist as a rational actor in any sense of the term. So it is not really possible for me to figure out what the intentions of the junta, which now includes Poroshenko, might be, outside of what their American masters tell them to do.

In that intercepted telephone conversation in which Timoshenko called for the nuking of Russians, she also expressed regret that the Crimea was freed and reunited with its motherland. That makes me think that many Ukie nationalists want to keep all the territory that the legal fiction commonly referred to as the Ukraine now has. Thus, my intuition is that the reason that the fascists are pursuing their "anti-terrorist" operation is simply because they want to kill Russians and because they believe that the sheer "essence" of the Ukie people is enough to overcome the anti-fascist resistance (the Nazis made exactly the same error), not because they want to create a rump Banderistan that they would find it easier to control.

Posted by: Demian | May 28 2014 22:00 utc | 60

Thomas Friedman's IQ, ethical levels, education, etc. are irrelevant. He is doing his job well, or else he wouldn't be doing it for so many years. He may be writing it even though he disagrees with it, on any of the categories above. His writings resemble those of old Soviet editorials in Pravda and Izvestia. A good political joke from those times , that offers a succinct view, goes as follows: There is not much pravda (truth) in Izvestia (news) and not much izvestia in Pravda.

Posted by: Igor Najfeld | May 28 2014 22:34 utc | 61

As a follow up to the recent posts, I agree that the Western Ukraine run Kiev government wants civil war and partition. It is the only way for them to survive. I bet they even admit it among themselves; but, to their patrons they spout freedom, liberty, democracy, and unity. The Kiev government will get lots of money and arms to kill the Eastern “commies”.

The “known unknown” is whether the ethnic Russians have the will, skill, armament and training to effectively combat the goons and mercenaries thrown at them. Hezbollah could, but, I still think that is a special case born and bred through occupation and war for decades on the Israeli border. I do not think the Eastern Ukrainians can throw the westerners and mercenaries out quickly or easily. Any people defending their homes, especially Russians, will fight to the bloody end. I think it will be a forever war that sooner or later will draw their fellow Russians into the conflict.

In addition, I think that if Russia invades Eastern Ukraine, NATO will counter invade the Western Ukraine. Poland, Hungary and the Baltic States will be hysterical. The neo-cons and the GOP will force an American response. Germany could hold its troops back in attempt to have it both ways; but, the American, Polish, and Hungarian troops in Western Ukraine will be identified as a NATO Ukraine Task Force (UFOR).

WWIII won’t be too far away.

This would all be avoided if there was any sanity left in the West and a negotiated settlement was reached.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 28 2014 22:38 utc | 62

Friedman is a fantasist, a carnival barker calling his readers forever to sample the delicious fruits of predatory capitalism in this gee-whiz super-techno U.S. dominated flat world of ours. But he doesn't even take the time to read his own newspaper. (If he does, he rarely shows it.) The column that he published today, the one that argued that Putin blinked because

Putin got pretty much everything wrong in Ukraine. He thought the world was still shaped by “spheres of influence” dictated from the top down, when Ukraine was all about the emergence of “people of influence” — The Square People, organized from the bottom up and eager to join their own sphere: the world of liberty and free markets represented by the European Union.
Well, he should have read about how the citizens of "the world of liberty and free markets represented by the European Union" voted resoundingly over the weekend to distance themselves from the mainstream parties that trade in Friedman-think. Both the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) of Britain and France's National Front kicked ass and took names. A large source of their appeal was anti-EU sentiment. Voters cannot support the European Union when it is relaunching the Cold War. Now, in order to entice UKIP voters to turn out for the Conservatives, Cameron is promising Britain an in-or-out referendum on EU membership in 2017.

So who blinked?

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 28 2014 22:50 utc | 63

@VietnamVet #61:

if Russia invades Eastern Ukraine, NATO will counter invade the Western Ukraine.

Ground Troops to Ukraine, Really Mr. Ambassador?

Thanks to the last 12 years of superb political and military leadership, what forces the United States once had were squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today’s wheeled Army constabulary forces along with Army and Marine light infantry are incapable of challenging Russian ground forces anywhere in Central or Eastern Europe without risking certain annihilation.

Posted by: Demian | May 28 2014 22:59 utc | 64

Posted by: Demian | May 28, 2014 6:00:52 PM | 59

Not everyone has to be a rational actor. Some will acts for a plan, some for profit, and some for passion. However when mixed together, in spite of chaotic appearances, the whole may form a discernible form and direction. And someone's unintended consequences could be somebody else's intended and expected consequences. To move a boulder, you don't always have to pushed it. Sometimes, removing few pebbles makes it move by itself.

We don't know who is aware of and agree to the plan, and if there is really a plan. But I think one thing is quite clear. They say they want to conquer and pacify the volatile eastern provinces. But they are incapable of it. To do that, you have to secure as much political support you can get and mobilize an overwhelming force. However they took care of it by completely alienating the Russian speaking population and destroying the Ukrainian army and the police.

The most probable result is a stalemate, and a stalemate means the partition of Ukraine.

The question is who will benefit. And when the result can be so easily predicted and there is no sign of actions to correct the course of events, either from within the Kiev regime or its external supporters, is it really unintended consequences?

I strongly doubt it.

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 28 2014 23:09 utc | 65

I think one outcome that is certain, regardless of whether Ukraine is cracked, which seems more and more likely due to the indiscriminate attacks on Donbass civilians, is the expansion of NATO into the former Warsaw Pact countries of Poland, the Baltics, Slovakia, Bulgaria, etc. With Afghanistan ("Out of Area or Out of Business") winding down, we can expect a sizable U.S. service bootprint all around Ukraine. VietnamVet is right. The possibility of WWIII won't be far away.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 28 2014 23:24 utc | 66

@PuppetMaster #64:

Yes, it is quite possible that USG wants the Ukraine to break apart, so that it can use that as a pretext for splitting ties between the EU and Russia.

But as far as I can understand Ukrainian nationalism, Uki nationalists are at least as crazy as the craziest of the original Nazis were (the Nazis were at least correct about there being such a thing as the German Reich, whereas there is no such thing as a Ukrainian nation). Therefore, few Uki nationalists want the Ukraine to be reduced to those regions in which a virulent Russophobia can be expected to continually fester.

Also, let us not lose sight of the fact that the original USG plan was to grab all of the Ukraine, including the Crimea and Sevastopol. There is no doubt about that. Since the original plan was to get all of the Ukraine, it is to be expected that some Western planners are still attached to the idea of getting all of the Ukraine, sans the Crimea.

But evidence in favor of your position is that Poroshenko says that he wants to get the Crimea back. That ridiculous position can be seen as nothing but a thuggish refusal to negotiate with Moscow.

Posted by: Demian | May 28 2014 23:37 utc | 67

@Mike Maloney #65:

The possibility of WWIII won't be far away.

So, you believe that the US has nuclear primacy? I wouldn't bet on that.

Posted by: Demian | May 28 2014 23:44 utc | 68

Neither the US nor Russia have seen real combat since in WWII. Afghanistan was hit and run and special forces delirium. Iraq war was initially like shooting fish in a barrel. Likewise, Crimea was taken without firing a shot and the Georgian counter attack was short lived. History doesn't give enough credit to the Ossetian fierce resistance.

You could say that both America and Russia have experienced defeat against a supposedly less capable foe in Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq respectively.

Any advantage that Russia may have for a battle in its own back yard is neutered by assistance to America by Western Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics. The equalizer for the Russians is the feared winter. This and logistics killed Hitler's and Napoleon's assault on Russia. Belarus is an unknown number. Finland could sit on the fence until it is clear who the winner would be.

The asymmetric advantage for Russia is to deploy before the West can do anything about it. The West could use it as propaganda to demonize it. Damn if you do, damn if you don't.

Obama is going to war. If he said at West point that the hammer is not the only tool expect the opposite. War is in the offing.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | May 28 2014 23:49 utc | 69

I think that Putin's actions are more a wink than a blink. His promise to protect the Russian citizens of E Ukraine was a hollow pledge that the hundreds of dead and wounded illustrates clearly.

The People's uprising in the east is what he truly fears not the machinations of the Anglo/Zionists which he can effectively counter. The real threat to Putin's Russia is the idea that regular citizens can organize and overthrow the Oligarchs in not only Ukraine but in Russia as well, this can not be allowed.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 28 2014 23:50 utc | 70

Posted by: Demian | May 28, 2014 7:37:41 PM | 66

I am not so sure about that. Who will declare publicly that destroying Ukraine is their intended goal? They want to blame Russia for that. Even if that is their goal, they can't say that.

Besides, getting Ukraine as a whole for "democracy, Europe, economic prosperity(plunder?) or whatever" could be a bait to get people onboard who would otherwise wouldn't.

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 28 2014 23:54 utc | 71

The west needs conflict in the Ukraine, just like they do in Afghanistan. Notice the troops of the west's head flunky, the USA, wont be leaving Afghanistan now. Without some kind of conflict, it is difficult to keep the home population enthralled with their slavery. Without "hotspots" on "the enemy's" borders, it's a lot more difficult to send the west's terrorists. Now the western fascists got their bitch boy asking them for military assistance from head flunky USA. The repellant mafia sod already has that, his military is basically a western merc force(the bandera nazis are traditional western lead death squads). PoroUSheado's "request" is essentially a western slight of hand to involve the USA (possibly NATO too) directly and overtly in the Ukraine terror ops.

Poroshenko stated the need for direct military assistance from the USA

"Leading in the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine Piotr Poroshenko in his interview to The Washington Post stated the need for direct military assistance from the USA.

Future national leader called for the conclusion, with Washington's new security Treaty.

"We must cooperate in the military-technical sphere, us military advisers, we are ready to fight for independence and we need to create the armed forces of Ukraine", - added "chocolate king".

Doubtful the western fascists will "send in the troops", but they likely use this request to increase their terror troops operations, something like they do in Syria, only using nazis instead of "al Cia-da", and doing this from the position of "insiders" as opposed to being "outsiders".

The Russians and Chinese, and those they are allied with, know what's going on. They realize the west wants to (needs to) draw them into conflict. To bring things to a "head", the west's population control requires it, to keep the dupes noticing how buttsore they are. The "east" has different ideas. Their strategy is essentially how to bring down "nazi Germany" without causing massive war. They know not all the western oligarchs are hell bent on a "masada" scenario of all or nothing for world dominance, that there are western oligarchs who realize there are ways to keep their position, more or less, through compromise, rather than conquest or crude domination. Those that can live in a multipolar plutocracy. These are the western oligarchs the "east" is working on empowering.

Looking at how Russia approached the American threats against Syria last year gives an indication of the strategy (the CW gambit). They offer a face saving "out" to those oligarchs needing justification and support to counter the "full spectrum dominance" wing of the western fascist plutocracy. Many of these western oligarchs are into maintaining their local fiefdoms (it's what capitalism is about) and realize that the sort of conflicts the NWO freaks will need to maintain dominance are not sustainable in the long run. These people are just as greedy, but they are not masada complex fanatical about it. They will compromise to keep what they have. It is these the Russians, Chinese and allies are working on influencing. This is the approach of people who have experience war personally and realize that violence is not an answer to problems, but an exacerbation of those problems.

Posted by: scalawag | May 28 2014 23:55 utc | 72

Thanks for the link, Demian. I'll have to read the Foreign Affairs piece before I can comment. My chiming in with VietnamVet on the WWIII thing was more in terms of a generalized "existential threat," which is critically important for U.S. policymakers since Al Qaeda is more and more seen as an ally of the West by a significant segment of the voting public on both the Left and Right.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 28 2014 23:55 utc | 73


You could say that both America and Russia have experienced defeat against a supposedly less capable foe in Vietnam (and also in Iraq & Afghanistan) and Afghanistan respectively.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | May 28 2014 23:56 utc | 74

"to keep the dupes noticing how buttsore they are."

To keep the dupes FROM noticing how buttsore they are.

Posted by: scalawag | May 29 2014 0:07 utc | 75

@Mike Maloney #72:

I didn't mean to recommend that Foreign Affairs article. I have just skimmed it myself. It seems to be more about China's nuclear capability than Russia's.

I only linked to it because it seems to be the source of the myth that is apparently circulated in some circles that Mutually Assured Destruction no longer applies. (Ironically, I found out about the article from a post by a Russian at the Saker.)

Posted by: Demian | May 29 2014 0:12 utc | 76

Posted by: Demian | May 28, 2014 7:44:10 PM | 67

Ah that one by That Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press piece! It now needs to be supplemented by an Amitai Etzioni piece.

Yale Journal of International Affairs, June 12, 2013
Who Authorized Preparations for War with China?
By Amitai Etzioni

Joshua Rovner of the U.S. Naval War College notes that deep inland strikes could be mistakenly perceived by the Chinese as preemptive at­tempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into “a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma.” That is, ASB is prone to lead to nuclear war.

The imagined result of ASB is the ability to end a conflict with China in much the same way the United States ended WWII: The U.S. military defeats China and dictates the surrender terms.

ASB requires that the United States be able to take the war to the mainland with the goal of defeating China, which quite likely would require striking first. Such a strategy is nothing short of a hegemonic intervention.

The ASB(Air Sea Battle) is another brainchild of Andrew Marshal who gave us missile defense, drone warfare and RMA(Revolution in Military Affairs).

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 29 2014 0:18 utc | 77


The military knows the conditions of its troops and the U.S. volunteer army is way too small to fight a conventional war with the Russian Federation. Still, units of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which I served a year with in Vietnam, have already been moved to Poland and the Baltic States to serve as tripwires. There are reports that there will be NATO military exercises held in Ukraine this summer. There is no way, if Russia invades Eastern Ukraine, that the Brigade wouldn’t be moved into Western Ukraine to stop Russia from invading even farther.

The movie “They Were Expendable” comes to mind. “Restrepo” is a good documentary showing the counter insurgency war the Brigade fought in Afghanistan. But, in no way are they able by themselves to halt an Army of Battle Tanks; maybe, if NATO won air superiority, or the tanks stopped before the tripwire. If not, tactical nuclear weapons would be used by the side in danger of being overrun. WWIII would then escalate to a strategic nuclear exchange.

We are sitting on the sidelines watching two nuclear powers play a game of chicken. Granted, the Russia Federation is being dragged into this very very reluctantly. Until now no nuclear nation has got into a shooting war with another nuclear power because there is no way it would not escalate to a nuclear war.

The crazies who brought us Austerity and Privatization along with Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Uganda and Syria want to give it a try in order to destabilize Russia and loot it again.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 29 2014 0:21 utc | 78

@56 marc. nice post to which i am in agreement with.

@57 lysias. thanks for sharing those quotes. regarding this part :" But that does not mean we shouldn’t help the Syrian people stand up against a dictator who bombs and starves his own people." the usa gov't under obama is responsible for much of the murder and mayhem. but then it is always easy to justify the military / cia funding to overthrow a dictator, as opposed to looking in the mirror and seeing the murder one is directly responsible for, which is the case with the bullshit peace prize winner..

@65 mike maloney quote "With Afghanistan ("Out of Area or Out of Business") winding down, we can expect a sizable U.S. service bootprint all around Ukraine." one has to ask why is afgan winding down, or out of business? i think it's the usa playing musical chairs on the titanic myself.. they can move over to the ukraine as you say and cause more suffering and mayhem there too.. at this point it seems very indiscriminate and just any area to do war will do.. i don't know that i am as pessimistic as vietnam vet on the quick arrival of ww3..that said, it doesn't look great when you have a country that is as fucked up as the usa is at this point, while the people are quite content as none of it has touched their own shores and they are well fed as marc points out @56.. until that changes - and it could very quickly if they really want to bring on ww3 - i think the same shit is going to continue on in some haphazard slow manner..

Posted by: james | May 29 2014 0:24 utc | 79

The western puppets of the moment compared, side by side. Now and then.

Say goodbye, nazi freak

Posted by: scalawag | May 29 2014 0:25 utc | 80

@scalawag #79:

You are too kind. I think comparison with a certain Goa'uld is more appropriate.

The Goa'uld are parasites from the planet P3X-888, integrated within a host, most of the time a human. The resulting creatures are a powerful race bent on galactic conquest and domination, largely without pity, compassion or remorse.

Is Obama Apophis?

Posted by: Demian | May 29 2014 1:28 utc | 81

I wonder if fat-boy freidman, that part human, part walrus, part dick , that prognostigator of prognoostidigi -taters has had several hours to read this yet...

probably not, its less than a month old. China is slowly and politely warning the UPSA (united police state of America) to fuck off...In response Obama will probably send another garbage scowl to the Black Sea and wag his long, waggy finger on TV

Posted by: Marc | May 29 2014 1:40 utc | 82

Oh yes Amitai Etzioni. He was a member of the Palmach in the war that established the state of Israel. About 5 years ago I had an opportunity to ask him if he ever apologized for the Nakba or ever made any attempt to apologize to those Palestinians he drove into exile. He was extremely offended by my question and refused to respond. In the context it was me, not him, who was being unreasonable. Since then I have not taken him seriously -- he is an unrepentant Zionist and whatever he might say on other matters just don't matter.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29 2014 2:23 utc | 83

A HREF="">Russian Spring

Slaviansk. Strelkov:

Round-ups no more, kamarady (comrads). Compelling reasons to halt. One more thing – having been bombarded. Afternoon was the city, now their howitzers pound “Semenovka”, quite a while, 2 hours by now. Returning them fire or not, they do not care. Must have believed Russia will not intervene. So the impunity.

Posted by: Fete | May 29 2014 2:53 utc | 84

Probably something of an analysis should be made of the trajectory of this oddball breed of billionaire, that is to say, the Chocolate Gore Factory's proprietor, the newly minted Ukrainian president, Poroshenko.

We arrive at the grim limits of our degenerate civilization, in a condition which is personified by the billionaire president. Here is something new, an entity that has heretofore shrunk from the light. Those who have, in former times. produced the global snuff film, (and watched the credits roll, at exclusive private screenings), now make so bold as to front and represent, and issue executive commands as heads of state. for cities to be put under siege, for populations to be bombed and shelled.

Billionaire hands are seen orchestrating the burning alive of protesters, as well as the strangling and torturing to death of those who survived the flames. Poroshenko must feel awfully lucky, bulletproof, and invulnerable, to tempt the Russians; for after all, who is to say that they won't hang him, after they bag him, and try him for his crimes against the Ukrainian people. Provided that he follows through with his recent threats.

Does Poroshenko personify the cast (or caste) of leaders to come, in the terminal phase of the empire? Is he in the mold of Galtian Superman, trampling out the vintage, projecting the longest, most lunatic death wish of them all?--the spark into a tinderbox?

Posted by: Copeland | May 29 2014 3:13 utc | 85

@ToivoS #82:

Thanks for that; I had no idea. I never took Etzioni seriously either, including his "socio-economics", so it's nice to know that my instinct was correct.

@Fete #83:

Yes, it is a very sad situation. Russia is approaching this geopolitically, so it calculates how much blood needs to be spilled to justify an intervention. (Also, as the Saker has pointed out more than once, just about any military intervention is going to take innocent lives (a fact that anglo interventionists studiously ignore), so you have to weigh how many lives are likely to be lost if you intervene compared to if you do nothing. Crimea was an easy, special case.)

Posted by: Demian | May 29 2014 3:14 utc | 86

For perspective, reading this old MOA post on the Iran Nuclear hype and posturing circa 2011 was fascinating.

A lot of speculation about motives, including the possible motives of this character, Dr. Vyacheslav Danilenko,were bandied about. Who has spoken to the old buzzard, what did he mean, what did he say, really and what are the possible consequences of his connections to Iran..In fact the doctor is (or was I don't know if he's still alive) a Ukrainian, and in light of subsequent events (and events that were occurring even then which we knew little or nothing about) probably he was cooperating knowingly with the US and with stories planted in the corporate media all along. Just saying, that in this big brother world we live in its so very hard to make an informed decision. Not that we aren't obligated to try, but......

Posted by: Marc | May 29 2014 3:41 utc | 87

Great post. I think, yes. Poroshenko is a "galtian ubermensch" in that he came by his fortune the way 99.9% of them have. He won some kind of lottery . Lottery of birth. Lottery of time and place. Corrupt political hack in 1991? Factory Manager same year? Nephew of one of those people?.Remember it matters not where it came from, all that matter is having it! "property has its own logic" ;)..the Bilderberg meeting will be utterly completely full of these Oligarch/Warlords who all think they are "self made". Their Press kits all say they are!!!Poroshenko also represents the fraud of western capitalism -"democracy" fulfilling its own brutal logic. Billionaire-Presidents not only make sense under the present Monopoly Capitalist regime they are the only kind of President which makes sense. Apparently not that many Ukrainians showed up for their 1 every 6 years "chance to be heard" ( I would laugh if the whole fraud weren't painfully crushing my soul at the moment), but even so Ill bet there were decent people, who only want to trust in the countrymen and have hope for the best, who said, "Poroshenko isn't perfect, but he seems like a good man.." With that though, Im done. Thanks for the space to have been. Maybe ill just croak tonight, I wont be missing anything good.

Posted by: Marc | May 29 2014 4:28 utc | 88

Our troll friend, Cotton A. Lie, really pushes his fake reality far past anything believable.

The US waged war on social reform in Latin America and the Caribbean - viciously attacking people who lived into the 1960s it is no exaggeration to say, like medieval serfs. And the US did this long before Castro ever sent a diplomatic note to the Soviet Union, and is still doing it long after the Soviet Union has ceased to exist.

You're a fraud, Corn E. Horseshit.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29 2014 4:30 utc | 89

Another great Douglas Valentine interview, this time with Ry Dawson.

A lot of info on how the USA works with gangsters and criminals to keep countries destabilized and under their thumb - exactly the scenario we are seeing in the Ukraine today.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29 2014 4:32 utc | 90

The US did not "blink" by removing the Jupiter missiles. The Navy had dropped the missile six or seven years earlier in favor of the Polaris, and the Air Force hated the damned thing. It was never deployed anywhere other than in Italy and Turkey. It was liquid fueled and only medium range, and by 1962 was obsolete and scheduled to be discarded anyway. Kennedy gave it us as a gesture to Kruschev, but it was meaningless to the US.

Posted by: Bill H | May 29 2014 5:50 utc | 91

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 28, 2014 5:36:02 PM | 58

Posted by: Demian | May 28, 2014 6:00:52 PM | 59

You both make good points and likely we'll never know. But it doesn't matter to Kremlin planners whether this is a deliberate effort to split Ukraine or just fascists in love with the power of brute force to get done whatever their perfect final solution is. Russia needs patience and 'non-official' assistance to the federalists/separatists, in pursuit of what I think is inevitable, a neutral, very federalist (Switzerland-like) Ukraine. And yeah it may take 10 or 12 years, though I don't think the West has staying power past about 5 (conditions have changed in disfavor of the West since the time of the Afghanistan invasion).

If it were 2020 or 2025 and not 2014 Russia might just say 'screw it' and directly intervene. That's not very far away, so patience will be the word for a little while longer. IMHO.

Posted by: fairleft | May 29 2014 6:20 utc | 92

Unrelated and very painful to watch. This is the Monster that the West, Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have created in Syria and Iraq:

Posted by: Amar | May 29 2014 6:22 utc | 93

80 Ukrainian soldiers surrender to self-defense forces in Lugansk

"All of the 80 Ukrainian troops holed up at a Lugansk military base have surrendered to self-defense forces who stormed the military installation hosting the Ukrainian National Guard.

The initial assault lasted for 10-15 minutes with almost unceasing gunfire, witnesses say. A video reportedly filmed near the attacked facility has appeared on YouTube.

There are conflicting reports on casualties and the outcome of the attack, which took place on the territory of an Air Force academy. Earlier, at least one Ukrainian soldier was reported to be seriously injured.

According to RT’s Paula Slier, one anti-government protester was killed in the gunfight and there have been several injures on both sides.

All of the 80 Ukrainian soldiers holed up at the base surrendered, reported RIA Novosti. The servicemen were escorted out of the building as the other side applauded.

Self-defense commander Gennady Tsepkalo also confirmed to journalists that all troops have surrendered. He promised that all soldiers will be sent home shortly.

It had earlier been reported that only ten troops surrendered and others barricaded themselves inside the base, with some of the soldiers saying that their captain had orbidden them from surrendering.

These events come as Kiev has intensified military operations in eastern Ukraine. On Wednesday, Kiev mortar shells hit a school and a kindergarten in Slavyansk, injuring at least nine civilians."

A couple videos, also.

Posted by: scalawag | May 29 2014 7:11 utc | 94


"He promised that all soldiers will be sent home shortly."

A stupid move by the self defence forces.

Posted by: Anoynmous | May 29 2014 7:47 utc | 95

Oh God Merkel is so pathetic.

Posted by: Anoynmous | May 29 2014 7:50 utc | 96

May 29, '14
The future visible in St Petersburg
By Pepe Escobar

Posted by: Paty Kerry | May 29 2014 8:13 utc | 97

Ukrainian army chopper downed as shelling of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk begins

Ukraine’s army has started shelling the eastern Ukraine cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, therby resuming its massive military operation in the East of the country, local news outlets report.

“A full-scale military operation has begun in Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. BM-21 launch vehicle “Grad” are being used,” Donbas-based Ostrov agency says.

Anti-government protesters in Slavyansk have downed a Ukrainian forces helicopter in the south-east of Slavyansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, a local witness told Itar-Tass.

“Intensive shooting has been heard in the region, and thick black smoke seen,” he added.

Posted by: scalawag | May 29 2014 10:03 utc | 99

Information about the shelling of Slavyansk "Grad", reported by a number of Russian media, not true

"About "Russian Spring" the eyewitnesses of the events:

"Indeed, there was massive art attack, hollowed by the district or guns, or from self-propelled gun, but no Grad sure wasn't. Still allowed missiles and fired from helicopters, and for the residential sector. One that's already dollarsa (hit by a militia - PB). Now it was quiet".

Posted by: scalawag | May 29 2014 10:15 utc | 100

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