Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 23, 2014

Poland Wants Bigger Freeride On U.S. Military Force And Money

Anne Applebaum, neocon Washington Post columnist and wife of Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs, demands a "revitalized NATO":

NATO also needs to become a lot clearer about its goals. Europe has two immediate security issues: the threat from Russia in the east and the threat from Islamic fundamentalism to the south. [...] The basing of troops and equipment needs to be rethought completely: If we were starting from scratch, nobody would put them where they are now. NATO needs to shut down unnecessary commands and legacy bases, and move on.

Move on whereto one might ask and it is clear that Applebaum would love U.S. troops stationed in Poland and the Baltic countries. She also adds this nonsense:

... the United States contributes three-quarters of NATO’s budget ...

That math only works if you attribute the U.S. investment in aircraft carriers in the South China Sea or in  military Golf courses in Hawaii to NATO. Given the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's obviously limited geographic and political function such math is rather stupid.

Another Polish op-ed by one Slawomir Sierakowski in the NYT is more direct in making the point:

Those members who have no NATO bases are simply a gray area of second-class membership. What has become clear is that not all NATO members are equal. First-class members — Britain, Germany, Italy — are those everyone knows would be immediately defended by NATO forces if attacked. Second-class members like Poland and the Baltics would most likely be ravaged for weeks or months before NATO forces made an appearance.

This logic is also revealingly stupid. Polish military forces as well as the Baltic countries' forces are NATO forces. Poland has thereby 120,000 NATO troops stationed within its borders plus some 500,000 NATO reservists. These local NATO troops are in Poland and the Baltics. Would they not defend their countries if those were attacked?

Both Applebaum and Sierakowski do not want "NATO forces" stationed in Poland and elsewhere. They would rather howl at the suggestion of a German tank brigade stationed in Warsaw. What they want is the expensive (for U.S. taxpayers) permanent stationing of United States' military forces. This for rather obvious reasons. With U.S. forces in their backyard they would:

  • get a free ride on U.S. money,
  • have less need to invest in their own forces,
  • achieve more political freedom for aggression against their neighbors because U.S. "tripwire" troops would likely prevent possible blow backs.

For this they would break the NATO treaty with Russia which prohibits permanent foreign NATO military stationing in the former Warsaw Pact states. After the NATO coup in Ukraine Russia would surely regard such a treaty breach as a further act of aggression that requires a forceful response.

If Applebaum and Sierakowski would really fear, as they claim, "Russia's aggression" they therefore would refrain from calling for foreign NATO troops in eastern European countries.

Posted by b on August 23, 2014 at 15:17 UTC | Permalink


applebaum and her inlaws of the land of apples can suck on an apple instead!

Posted by: james | Aug 23 2014 15:38 utc | 1

If Applebaum and Sierakowski would really fear, as they claim, "Russia's aggression" they therefore would refrain from calling for foreign NATO troops in eastern European countries.

And if the US really feared ISIS they wouldn't have created and funded them.

And if Israel really feared Hamas they wouldn't have created funded them.

Yes, the narrative/reality-building is reaching a crescendo on all fronts.

If you are not inundated with the nonsense in regards to the ME then you have to deal with the utter absurdities concerning the EU/Ukraine/Russian.

Again, the most successful export the US has given the world is the craft of reality/narrative creation.

Just look at how many willing minions and whores they have who will not ONLY sell out their own nations/people but - worse - consciously subscribe to a tactic that purposefully erodes humanity's connection to concepts such as truth and shared reality.

"Shameless whores" only scratches at the surface of what scum these people are: they are knowing traitors to mankind.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 23 2014 16:04 utc | 2

Applebaum is an outflung branch of the neocon women's movement. See John Helmer's article @

Now that Sikorski has failed in his bid to become EU Foreign Minister as well as NATO head, Applebaum is busy laying the groundwork for the creation of some similarly high level post as the NATO rep in Poland responsible for overseeing American troops stationed there.

I don't know this for a fact, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 23 2014 16:21 utc | 3

Now that the bank cartel has a firm grip on the economies of the 17-member EU (and plunged them into a second great depression), western elites have decided to transform all of Europe into a garrison state ruled by NATO's primary contributor, Washington.

Not bad for a day's work.

Posted by: plantman | Aug 23 2014 16:23 utc | 4

Another reason for wanting US troops on their soil is the one made memorable by FM BL Montgomery when he was the first NATO commander. He said what Europe needed was an American soldier killed on the first day of a Soviet attack; if necessary he'd go out and shoot one himself! (Or words to that effect).

Posted by: FB Ali | Aug 23 2014 16:24 utc | 5

I propose to send a combined German-Russian task force to protect the excitable Poles.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 23 2014 16:34 utc | 6

There are many reasons why the eastern european emigre/right wing governments want US troops on their soil. Their greatest fear is not of Russian "aggression" but of popular uprisings against their corrupt regimes simultaneously making the elite into an wealthy oligarchy and reducing the population to the depths of poverty in which state traffickers and pimps can cream off the most saleable and the rest will be left to their fates.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 23 2014 16:36 utc | 7

The idea Russia would attack Poland is plainly ludicrous. But if it did, there is no way the US will trade Washington for Warsaw. Anyone in Poland who thinks otherwise, and picks a fight with Russia from behind the "safety" of a US tripwire is going to come to grief.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 23 2014 17:03 utc | 8

Let's also add that, according to Sierakowski's speech, France, who closed every single US military base and expelled all US troops from its soil under Charles de Gaulle, is a "second zone" member of the alliance. Yeah, Sure.

Posted by: Rhysa | Aug 23 2014 17:05 utc | 9


The successor to Foreign Affairs commissioner Lady Ashton in the EU hasn't been decided yet, the leaders of 28 states were split early July on the Ukrainian issue and policy towards Russia. The division was between Poland's Radek Sikorski and Italy's Mogherini.

US vs. Germany: The 'Gentleman's Agreement' Is Crumbling

I have been busy collecting background information of a mystery man Radek Sikorski who has participated in the Orange Revolution of Ukraine. He was defense minister of Poland and now is its foreign minister pushing a hardline on the Ukraine and NATO expansion. It appears he was involved with British mercenaries in Angola and was present [!] in Tora Bora in September 1986 to witness the first delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen for their war against the Soviet Union. It appears Sikorski is British SAS, MI6 or CIA.

The Polish defence minister Radislaw Sikorski has compared a planned German-Russian gas pipeline
to the 1939 Hitler-Stalin deal partitioning Poland, the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

In the year 2012, Radek Sikorski held a 'debate' in Warsaw with Dr. Henry Kissinger who was lauded for his magnificent feats to create a new world to America's blueprint liking.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 23 2014 17:15 utc | 10

After the Malaysia MH-17 incident, Dutch PM Mark Rutte spoke as the puppet of Washington in anti-Russia rhetoric. Dutch media invite a slew of Atlanticists or pure right-wing propagandists. Anne Applebaum was invited as an 'unbiased' expert on the crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

Dutch News Uses Anne [Neocon] Applebaum as Putin Expert

Also posted in my diary – "Estonia Celebrates Annual Waffen SS Division Heroes."

Posted by: Oui | Aug 23 2014 17:36 utc | 11

Source: Петро Порошенко @poroshenko

○ Today, the level of public support for the independence of Ukraine is higher than in 1991. We seek peace, and it must come.

○ Merkel plan to restore Donbass - in September at the donors' conference will be formed a special fund, which the EU will provide €500 million.

○ War - not our choice. Brought from outside. Our choice - peace and the peace process!

○ Ukraine has a strict ban on exports of military goods for dual use and with strict control! [nuclear industry?]

○ Instructed the Cabinet to regulate the use of state symbols and order of prohibition symbols of totalitarianism and terrorism.

Chancellor Merkel's visit to Kiev, in preparation for Minsk summit on Tueday.

Merkel's visit: Hope and skepticism in Kyiv – Video | Deutsche Welle |

Heavy shelling of Donetsk, trying to impose gains before a possible cease fire?

Posted by: Oui | Aug 23 2014 18:09 utc | 12

On an slightly related topic if what is being reported right now from Novorossiya related sources Poroshenko along with his not very welcome nazi partners and the group of US paid agents in Kiev will have very little to celebrate tomorrow. The NAF seems to have opened a huge front on the rear of Kiev forces in Donetsk along the Russian frontier to the sea. If they don't have reserve forces that far on their lines even Maripol (rebranded as capital of the Kiev controlled Donetsk oblast) could be in danger.

On the Luhansk side they also seem to be capturing new cities to the north-west.

The Kiev offensive could collapse sooner than anyone expected.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 23 2014 19:50 utc | 13

I am not sure what it takes for two countries to be at "war" or "cold war", but I would assume the completely open adopting of double standards by one side should be a pretty good indication.

A country being able to adopt double standards is a clear sign a nation is a hegemonic power. Luckily - and for the first time in years - there are challenges being thrown up to this:

The double standards are quite clear:


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. is prepared to help Iraq pursue a federal system that would decentralize power away from Baghdad. [AP]


U.S. fears Russia planning to federalize Ukraine, alarming Congress

"U.S. intelligence officials say Russia plans to force Ukraine to adopt a scheme to federalize and turn its southern neighbor into a quasi-province of the Russian Federation." [Washington Times]

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 23 2014 19:50 utc | 14

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. is prepared to help Iraq pursue a federal system that would decentralize power away from Baghdad. [AP]

guest77 | Aug 23, 2014 3:50:54 PM | 14

Thanks for LOL and wonder if crazy joe would do that for us in the New Amerika?

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 23 2014 21:14 utc | 15

@Oui #12

You said: "I have been busy collecting background information of a mystery man Radek Sikorski who has participated in the Orange Revolution of Ukraine."

I suggest going to and digging out the several articles concerning Applebaum and Sikorski.

For one thing, Sikorski is - or at least was - a British citizen.

I trust this makes things more clear...

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 23 2014 21:22 utc | 16

"And if the US really feared ISIS they wouldn't have created and funded them."

"And if Israel really feared Hamas they wouldn't have created funded them."

The US did not create ISIS and fund it alone. At the time Israel assisted pivotally
in the growth of Hamas it did not fear it either.

Is there any record of the Brits fearing the American settlers would ultimately revolt against the Crown?

Posted by: truthbetold | Aug 23 2014 21:41 utc | 17

"Given the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's obviously limited geographic and political function such math is rather stupid."

Limited function of NATO ? NATO didn't bother about those limitations when it interfered in former Yuogslavia & Afghanistan.

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 23 2014 21:52 utc | 18

has biden got another son who is going to coincidentally be running some oil/gas corp in iraq sometime soon? i think this would help iraq to get more 'democracy and freedom' if that was the case, lol..

Posted by: james | Aug 23 2014 22:31 utc | 19

From DeepResource, an English translation of bits from a Spiegel article about Merkel's visit to Kiev:

The Ukraine likely needs to make concessions to the separatists and Russia soon. Nobody seriously believes that Kiev can win this conflict militarily. For that the support the separatists receive from Russia is too strong. Kiev no longer controls the border, so Moscow can provide the separatists with unlimited people and supplies. Putin has the better cards.

And here is the blogger's comment on this:

this is another breakthrough! The biggest German enemy of Putin, der Spiegel, has just acknowledged defeat! No, Ukraine won’t break up. As things stand now, probably not even the majority of Novorossia wants that to happen. But is looks as if a federal state (Novorossia plus rump Ukraine) is very well possible and that Germany (Merkel and certainly coming man Gabriel) will support such a solution. Perhaps that Kiev now understands that their position is hopeless and could abandon their military actions soon.

Evidently, it is difficult for non-Russian speakers to understand that the Russians have decided that the Ukraine is toast. The only non-Russian speaker who I have seen take the idea that Novorossiya is going to be a new country seriously is an American military blogger. (He seems to be a traditional American conservative, like Pat Buchanan or Paul Craig Roberts.)

Well, at least Der Spiegel now states that nobody expects Kiev to win the civil war. Maybe in a few months, Der Spiegel will admit that the Ukraine was never a viable state, and is going to break apart.

To get on topic: Poland can get some of the territory of the former Ukraine!

Posted by: Demian | Aug 23 2014 22:35 utc | 20

John Mearsheimer: "The Ukraine crisis is the West's fault".

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 23 2014 22:40 utc | 21

For this they would break the NATO treaty with Russia which prohibits permanent foreign NATO military stationing in the former Warsaw Pact states.

Why not? A long time ago, they already abrogated the Malta Conference promise made to Gorbachev, pledging not to bring any former Warsaw Pact states into NATO in the first place. This new outrage would just be the next logical move on Dr. Zbig's 'Grand Chessboard', wouldn't it?

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Aug 23 2014 22:46 utc | 22

the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's obviously limited geographic and political function

NATO has become a device to project US power globally. If NATO is limited geographically, what is it doing in Afghanistan?

Stop NATO: NATO’s Worldwide Expansion in the Post-Cold World Era

One of the most significant developments of the post-Cold War era, and certainly the most ominous, is the transformation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military bloc created by the United States during the genesis of the Cold War in 1949, into one that has grown to encompass the entirety of Europe, has expanded military partnerships throughout the world and has waged war on three continents.

In 2006 Kurt Volker, at the time with the State Department and two years afterwards U.S. ambassador to NATO, boasted that the year before NATO had been “engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents.”

And here is a telling sentence from a recent Guardian piece on the Russian humanitarian aid to Novorossiya:

Nato, the European Union, Ukraine and the US condemned Russia's decision to send the convoy in without the participation of Kiev or the ICRC.

Why does the Guardian use all caps for ICRC but not NATO? Both are well known acronyms. Because Western zombies are expected to wipe from their minds what the acronym "NATO" stands for. The editors of newspapers in Airstrip One understand this well.

Posted by: Demian | Aug 24 2014 0:26 utc | 23

Firstly, it is not Anne Applebaum's business to meddle in what Poland should or should not do. She is not an elected Polish politician, she is not a Polish citizen. She is an American neocon and she should mind her own business.

Slawomir Sierakowski's op-ed makes me wonder about Polish sovereignty. Poland does have its own army and Sikorski had just bragged about Polish "independent foreign policy." There is an old saying, "You make the bed you sleep in." Poland should not have antagonized Russia by its policies or by its propaganda. Now, Poland has to face the consequences. In any case, you don't need to be afraid of "being attacked", if your foreign policy is peaceful.

Finally, both Applebaum and Sierakowski express the wishes of the US that are not necessarily good for Poland and Poles. If America wants to attack Russia, it should do so with their own means and out of their own territory, without putting at risk Poland, which will be the first victim of any confrontation between NATO and Russia.

Posted by: Lech Biegalski | Aug 24 2014 4:31 utc | 24

@24 lech.. applebaum and many neocons in the usa think it is their god given right to stick their nose in everyone's business.. this is probably a basic viewpoint of neo-con ideology - stick your nose in others business.. if you want to rule the world financially and ideologically - poland will be treated like a pawn on a chess on the board by these freaks.. don't think these neo-con's give a rats ass about real people, polish or otherwise.. if they did they wouldn't be gleefully watching as the bombs drop on innocent people in eastern ukraine or anywhere else for that matter- happily cheering on the murderous madness..

Zbigniew Brzezinski has some say in american foreign policy towards russia.. he probably has some influence on applebaum. here is an article titled Confronting Russian Chauvinism which outlines some of brzezinski's views on russia.. no mention of usa exceptional-ism in any of it which is to be expected, as he's talking about russia.. he's a polish american discussing russia and outlining his view on the direction the usa should take towards russia.. some people listen to him.. applebaum probably worships him, lol..

Posted by: james | Aug 24 2014 5:22 utc | 25

@james #25:

Your link produces this error: "Sorry, no posts matched your criteria." I haven't heard about this article of Brzezinski's and I'd like to read it.

I don't think there is such a thing as "Russian Chauvinism". Russia is a bear, and if rats and mice in its vicinity are not careful, they will get squashed when it rolls over to get into a more comfortable position.

Russians only compare Russia to other Great Powers (державы). This means that they take countries like Britain, Germany, France, and the US seriously, but they don't take little countries seriously, and yes, that includes Poland. So what Brzezinski calls "Russian chauvinism" is nothing more than realism in the sense that that term is used in international relations, and Brzezinski's calling Russia chauvinistic is nothing more than the usual Polish ressentiment.

Posted by: Demian | Aug 24 2014 6:58 utc | 26

Russian Spring

Donetsk. 08/23/2014-20:32

Opinion, Anatoliy El`-Myurid:

If messages from Donetsk are any indication, yet another offensive to encircle the city is about to bust. In area of Ilovaysk another caldron has formed, in which sondercommandos “Shakhtersk” and “Donbass” are finding the inglorious death.

Leaks from today’s meeting of the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine (SNBO) reveal nazi losses during the punitive operation on the East. The pronounced numbers, 12 thousand fallen and 19 thousand wounded, are close to indirect estimates (15 thousand killed and 15 thousand wounded). So, most likely, the SNBO figures are adequate.

The ratio of wounded to killed being lower 2:1 proportion draws attention. This tells of likely disgusting organization of the medical service, the evacuation service, and the military personal being entirely ignorant of providing the first aid. In fact, out of 12 thousand fallen at least 4 thousand could be saved having these services working.

Because missing in action – most of them either deserted or imprisoned or abandoned killed on battle fields - are not included in the quote, the total loss of the punitive troops grows to a very indecent number. Essentially, the whole fist mobilization has been wacked. The second is already in battle. Which is the answer why the third mobilization is necessary. No servicemen to fight.

So far, a turning point, or a possibility of turning point is immaterial – the combatants fight at the limit of capacity, the resource base of the uprising is extremely scarce. Falling apart local government structures due to fleeing the original ranks of civil officers, and inability of insurgents to rebuild economic management of minimal capacity leads to distracting the combatants to substitute the police, emergency services and tens of other liabilities.

To certain degree, the replacement of prime ministers of Donetsk and Lugansk Republics with military officers reflects the de-facto failure of civil governance.

Nevertheless, Kiev is under pressure - extreme pressure – to facilitate the situation. The latter is catastrophic because the nazis can not stop – the stopping prescribes ultimate collapse. The punitive troops neglected all obvious principles of military management allowing for “blurring” the front lines and creating localized clashes. Such tactic would favor a rapid war: opponent’s territory is dissected, the mobile assault units finish off disoriented isolated groups. In protracted conflict this tactic inevitably causes the advancing side to be trapped in small and not so small “caldrons”; its supply lines get severed; and, pausing advancing, it gets immediately surrounded and annihilated. This is what is currently going on in combat zone.

If Kiev delays the third mobilization and fails to fuel offensive, it will invariably face a catastrophe – the combatants would grind down stuck in “stranded caldrons” leftovers of “ATO” forces, free their units engaged, then strike in any direction overtaking the initiative. This is why the punitive troops are hurried to get to the slaughter given no option to pause and regroup. This is why Kiev generals are hesitant to unblock “caldrons” – the punitive troops in encirclement bind the combatants, though, their own chances to survive are practically nonexistent.

This is why such the catastrophic losses and the appalling mortality among wounded – there is no urgency and will to save soldiers. Why bother of costly arrangements.

All suggests no other solution from Kiev exist. Which means just one thing – the punitive operation will be going on in the same senseless format of depriving lives of all parties including civilians. Yet, even a minuscule chance to win this tactic is unlikely. The impression is that Kiev just reports to the Master not so bothered by the outcome. Presumably, merely such outcome Kiev is demanded. No other sensible explanation comes to the mind.

To imagine that the government people are unable to task and solve problems of, let alone the first grade of a military college, but a military department of some sort of civil institution is simply impossible. However, it seems this way exactly – the Kiev government consists of square imbeciles and morons for whom the price of some human life is not even zero but rather deeply negative (that is, liability).

Posted by: Fete | Aug 24 2014 7:38 utc | 27


there was a space at the end of the url, try this one
Mutual Security on Hold?

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 24 2014 8:05 utc | 28

from FT:
Germany urges Ukraine to accept federal solution with separatists

In the strongest comments yet by Germany to push for a federal solution, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor, said in a newspaper interview that a federal structure in Ukraine was the only option to resolve the crisis. He added that Berlin’s priority was to prevent direct conflict between Russia and its southern neighbour.

Mr Gabriel told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper: “The territorial integrity of Ukraine can only be preserved when one makes an offer to the regions with a Russian majority. A smart concept of federalisation seems to me to be the only way.”

In what appears to be an effort by the German chancellor not to be seen as taking Moscow’s side, Ms Merkel said that what is understood in Germany to be federalisation is recognised as decentralisation in Ukraine, according to Ukrainian media.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24 2014 8:36 utc | 29

dan of steele, thanks for the corrected link. Zbig has a different definition of Chauvinism that lets him get to his point of arming Kiev with "urban warfare" weapons "to stop a Russian invasion", his thinking that Moscow would be less likely to invade if Kiev was well armed for the urban warfare that would be "inevitable".

Zbig is recommending the opposite of Merkel, in the article I linked to above, he's essentially laying out a plan for Russian surrender. I recommend every one to read it - chilling.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24 2014 9:19 utc | 30

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24, 2014 5:19:42 AM | 30

Zbig is clearly planning another Afghanistan. I don't think Russia will make the same mistake twice. Old men should have no influence in politics.

This is Dmitri Trenin's take on the new Russian strategy.

One man's chauvinism is another man's patriotism and national unity.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 24 2014 9:49 utc | 31

And let's remember Zbig is the author of the Green Belt strategy - using radical islam against the Soviet Union.

This here a clear eyed view from the Iranian opposition from 2009

The complexity of the situation is not that the U.S. just wants a simple corridor, for it has the means to help the Iranian people to overthrow the Mullahs and in exchange get access to Iran for its trading purposes. Washington also wishes to have the Mullahs as regional allies. The heirs of Khomeini are venerated by Muslims around the globe for their anti-Zionist stands, and could encourage the Muslims of the Western Chinese region of Xian Jiang to move towards independence from China and deprive Beijing of a region rich in natural resources. Washington could give a fatal blow to its new economic rival China. ....

The actual American policy regarding Iran is a failure, for it is a renewed version of Brzezinski’s old doctrine of the green belt that has also failed in the instrumentation of radical Islam with the objective of agitating the Muslim regions of Communist USSR and China and lead them to their demise.

Brzezinski first initiated his doctrine in 1977 in Pakistan with an Islamic coup against the progressive Bhutto, followed in 78 in Iran and 79 in Afghanistan. In Iran he proposed the idea of an Islamic revolution to topple the Shah, who’s preference for a secular system, his industrialization projects and his refusal to reconduct the petrol agreement with a multinational consortium composed of American, British and French [1] oil companies in 1979.

But Brzezinski broke an established order in the region and his doctrine did not achieve the results hoped for. In Afghanistan the U.S. lost the control of the Taliban monster it had created. And in Iran, the Mullahs who were not initially destined to holding on power, kept it by sweeping aside the pro-American Islamo-Nationalist Iranians

Despite the failures, Brzezinski has remained influential, for he was one of the first to predict in the 1970’s the extraordinary Chinese economic leap and to imagine a manner of preventing it. But today China has become an economic giant and Washington is still applying Brzezinski’s preventive doctrine imagining that the control of Central Asia would push China to attack Russia to take over Siberia’s resources : the two former Communist nations confronting each other for the pure pleasure of Washington !

Meanwhile, whilst the Brzezinski doctrine has remained unchanged despite a few modifications after repeated failures, the Russians who in the past because of an anti-Chinese jealousy had delayed the construction of a Siberia-China pipeline, signed the construction of one in 2008, making it operational in 2010.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 24 2014 10:06 utc | 32

Well Dmitri Trenin's article has some valid points but I disagree with the first two sentences in the paragraph, and agree with the last:

Essentially, the Kremlin sees Russia’s future as separate from the rest of Europe’s. Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a greater Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok, cold-shouldered by many in the EU, has now been finally withdrawn by its author. Instead, Russia will largely rely on its own resources as it seeks to develop its economy, consolidate its political system, and build a strong military.

I think Putin and civil society in Russia, do not want to give up on Europe as either trade partners or having friendly relations. Undoubtedly, there will be a long working-out period between EU and Russia, but eventually they will become "cooperative" - they have lttle choice. Once the EU has discovered how they've seriously shot themselves in the foot going along with US aggression/sanctions against Russia, calmer heads will prevail. It's possible, even, that the meeting in Minsk Tuesday will produce a good result as brokered by Germany.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24 2014 10:20 utc | 33

@dan of steele #28:

Thanks for the link!

@okie farmer #30:

Zbig's talk is not really all that chilling. Zbig says that the (former) Ukraine should not become a member of NATO.

What is disturbing to me about Zbig's talk is that it got published in something called "The American Interest", whereas what Zbig says has nothing to do with actual American interests, but is just the usual Polish resentment against Russia. Hello! Russia spans two continents! You Poles can't do anything about that! You are lucky to have your own country, which was created by the Treaty of Versailles, leading to World War II and the death of 50 million people.

To get back to the Ukraine, Zbig speaks about the "Ukrainian problem". The actual Ukrainian problem is that a "Ukrainian" state was created upon the collapse of the USSR.

Posted by: Demian | Aug 24 2014 10:36 utc | 34

The polish foreign minister once called Poland the whore of the US. "The relationship with the US feels like giveing the US a blowjob".


Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 24 2014 11:10 utc | 35

@ Demian 34,

While I'm in total agreement that Polish foreign policy, its antagonism towards Russia and the way it constantly tries to ingratiate itself to the US is sickening and can only lead to disaster, I have to say your attitude towards it is not at all positive. I'm hoping for a multipolar world so that all countries have a stake in preserving international law and respecting the sovereignty of other countries. I really don't want to see more of "strong nations do what they will, weak nations bear what they must." Just because Poland is smaller and weaker than Russia doesn't mean it doesn't have rights.

Full disclosure: I lived in Poland for a number of years and grew to like the country and its people. I do hate its neoconservative government and its slavish devotion NATO/EU and the Anglo-Zionist collective.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 24 2014 14:01 utc | 36

I would add that the Kremlin has been bending over backwards to AVOID any sign of bullying smaller countries and has been arguing for a law based international system. I don't see any sign at all that Russia wants to impose itself on Poland, or even the weaker Baltic states. It has not even invaded Ukraine despite enormous provocations.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 24 2014 14:23 utc | 37

One comment - the author wrote:

"This logic is also revealingly stupid. Polish military forces as well as the Baltic countries' forces are NATO forces. Poland has thereby 120,000 NATO troops stationed within its borders plus some 500,000 NATO reservists. These local NATO troops are in Poland and the Baltics. Would they not defend their countries if those were attacked?"

Simple logic behind Polish national interest is as follows:

Presuming NATO has deployed its sophisticated critical infrastructure in Poland, Poles would be more eager to believe in some form of collective military answer in case of the conflict. Unfortunately, within current circumstances, Poland is like a "ground to be scorched" prior first class NATO members re-group and prepare to protect THEMSELVES rather than Poland. That is why Poland opts for enhanced NATO presence on its teritorry. IMHO that makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: Ziggi | Aug 24 2014 14:27 utc | 38

Bhadrakumar is as hopeful as me about the summit Tuesday.

When I wrote in an earlier blog last Sunday, here, that Russia and the European Union were exchanging glances, frankly, I couldn’t visualize that a dalliance could be beginning so soon. But the expected gathering in Minsk coming Tuesday of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko, and the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton signifies that traction has developed in the search for peace in Ukraine.

Earlier, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine had met in Berlin a week ago where “all aspects of the crisis in Ukraine” were discussed and the top diplomats almost “managed to reach some sort of common interpretation of things on paper,” as Russian FM Sergey Lavrov summed up while briefing the media.
Clearly, the backdrop to all this would have been the sustained one-on-one consultations between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. To recap, the exclusive report by Britain’s Independent newspaper on July 31 regarding a Russian-German understanding on Ukraine and a “secret plan” having been reached but got stalled amidst the brouhaha over the (mysterious) downing of the Malaysian aircraft over eastern Ukraine, appears to have had some solid basis. (Interestingly, the report has not been denied by any quarter so far.)
It’s a reasonable surmise that now that the anti-Russia propaganda war over the Malaysian aircraft tragedy has died down, Moscow and Berlin quietly tiptoed back to the drawing board. Merkel made an important speech at Riga on August 18 where she essentially called for a balancing of the interests of the West and Russia over Ukraine and ruled out a permanent NATO presence in the region close to Russia’s borders. These are core issues of concern for Russia on the Ukraine chessboard, which the West has been fighting shy of acknowledging so far.
Merkel is now traveling to Kiev on Saturday (which, by a strange coincidence also happens to be the 75th anniversary of the famous Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact of August 23, 1939.) There could be some political symbolism here.
As of now, it remains unclear whether Merkel is piloting a German (or at best German-French) initiative on Ukraine or would have the tacit backing of the Barack Obama administration. Indeed, right-wing opinion in the US seems upset at Merkel.
The AP caustically noted that Merkel’s efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis “underlines Germany’s increasing ambition to transform itself from economic power to diplomatic heavyweight… as many European nations (read Britain) focus on domestic troubles and the US is engaged in crises elsewhere.” (here).
Arguably, the US’s new preoccupations in the Middle East (following the killing of American photojournalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) could mean that Ukraine — like the US’ pivot strategy in Asia — would get overtaken in Obama’s foreign-policy priorities. Maybe, that’s wishful thinking on my part, being an incorrigible optimist; maybe, not. At any rate, the right-wing necocons are clamoring for a full-bodied US intervention in Iraq and Syria. See Zalmay Khalilzad’s article titled A Five-Step Plan to Destroy the Islamic State.
Now, assuming Obama doesn’t walk into that neocon trap, he’d begin to sense at some point soon enough that the US-Russia ties need mending if Moscow’s cooperation were to be elicited for the upcoming new war on terror, which is no doubt fraught with great dangers to the US’ ‘homeland security’, directed against the ISIL (which Obama himself has just described as a “cancer” threatening the entire Middle East and has no place in the 21st century.)
Suffice to say, a defining moment is appearing in the global power dynamic. The outcome of the gathering of statesmen in Belarus coming Tuesday will give a fair clue as to the way the great winds are blowing, modulating the co-relation of forces in global politics.
So, what is it that is possibly on the anvil as regards Ukraine? It stands to reason that Russia will seek an immediate halt to the military crackdown on the separatists in eastern Ukraine. So far Washington has been urging Kiev to the operations relentlessly. But that may be about to change. This is one thing.
If that happens, Russia and Germany would get a breathing space to insert the peace track, which Putin and Merkel would have been finessing. So far Washington has made it a point to systematically undermine any nascent attempt leading to an intra-Ukrainian dialogue. But that sort of ‘rejectionism’ also may no longer be sustainable, as Germany throws its weight behind the process leading to dialogue.
In sum, if we listen keenly, we may be hearing the faint sounds of the beating of the retreat by Uncle Sam. The well-known Russian strategic thinker Boris Kagarlitsky has a column, in his characteristically provocative style, here, giving insight into the incredibly complex maneuverings in eastern Ukraine, and how they would have created the gravitas for the upcoming meet in Minsk next Tuesday. After all, Kremlin did keep the trump cards.
Posted in Diplomacy, Politics, Uncategorized.

Tagged with Crimea, New Cold War, Ukraine.

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By M K Bhadrakumar – August 22, 2014

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24 2014 14:44 utc | 39

Boris Kagarlitsky's article is the one I linked to the other day.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24 2014 14:52 utc | 40

Saturday, August 23, 2014
Ukraine: Red militia fighter 'Artem': 'We did not go to war, the war came to us!'

A militiaman with the call sign "Artem" is my old comrade from Union Borotba (Struggle).
Before the war, he organized working-class youth of Donbass in the struggle against fascism and capitalism, and built a local cell organization.
When the war started, he could not stand aside and joined the ranks of the militia. Now "Artem" is wounded in the hospital and I was able to talk to him. 

Comrade, tell me how you got into the militia? 

When the events began on Maidan Square, I had a feeling that this time the rightist opposition had reached a more dangerous stage. Compared with the "Orange" revolution in 2004, in 2014 there were already many organized, prepared nationalist youth with good financing.
Ultra-nationalist groups had grown and matured. Therefore, it was a feeling brewing that this time things would reach the brink of civil war. The split in society existed before, but it was, so to speak, a moral civil war, and now the nationalists had a real opportunity to beat, maim and kill dissident people, and do it under the guise of the state.

When I saw the death of innocent civilians, and the approving mood of a few local "pro-Ukrainian" patriots, I realized that we all had to choose.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 24 2014 15:15 utc | 41

@26 demian.. glad dan of steele @28 was able to provide a link.

personally my impression is the west - mostly the usa - have worked very hard to promote an anti russian attitude - call it russophobia - that is out of touch with reality. malooga made a good post the other day (@77) on the differences on the topic of gay rights between russia and the usa. for anyone who was unaware of this propaganda campaign against russia that was initiated around the time of the sochi winter games - it is more of the same bs that comes from the usa.. zbiggy is about more of the same - perhaps more nuanced, but the same end goal is in mind - isolate russia and cut russia off from making closer links to the rest of europe..

i really think much of the usa's attitude as represented by people like zbiggy is one of projecting on russia what the usa is actually quite guilty of - meddling in other countries all the time. this is what i see in the usa's involvement in the ukraine, and it is no different in most every other place around the globe.. getting the ukraine to accept imf money means opening ukraine up to corporations like monsanto, dupont and etc.. it is really nothing about the people of the ukraine. i feel the same about the usa's relationship towards canada where i live too.. our neo con politicians - harper - don't help, but it is much the same.. we are supposed to buy into a type of world where corporations are legal entities given full legal rights, while people essentially have none.

as for poland - i imagine the usa's concern for poland in relation to russia is one of the usa projecting what it would be doing if it was a country with poland next door.. usa foreign policy is all about self will be cloaked in some sort of rationale that paints others a certain way but it is pure self interest where lying and outright deception are the norm, as opposed to the exception.

Posted by: james | Aug 24 2014 16:31 utc | 42

The Zionists who back all this nonsense might just be the most cynical manipulators in history.I read a story about the American Israeli soldier who died in the latest brutal incursion of Gaza was motivated on a trip to Aushwitz? when Poles on the sidewalk gave his bus the nazi salute.
Yeah,they care.(not one whit for the people,only for the gold.)

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 25 2014 16:45 utc | 43

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