Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 07, 2015

More War In Ukraine Needed So Lindsey Graham Can "Feel Better"


There was a lot of stupid talk today at the Munich Security Conference where U.S. hawks are trying to instigate a big war in Europe. Such war would result in a lot of destruction in Europe but the U.S., secured by oceans, would hardly be touched. Especially in the current deflationary environment the destruction of European production capacity would be to the economic advantage of the United States.

The U.S. hawks (and their European puppets) want to deliver more weapons to Ukraine, they want to instigate Russia to harsher reactions to their coup in Kiev and they want to strongly escalate the situation there. That is not in Europe's interest.

The U.S. commander of NATO Breedlove's talk of the "military option" in Ukraine is dangerous nonsense. But even more nonsense came today in Munich from Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He is, together with John McCain and the lunatic editorial boards of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, one of the loudest voices screaming for more war.

Graham has problems justifying any escalation. He admits that pushing more weapons into the Ukraine would not change much. But he says it would make him "feel better". Now that is really good reason to escalate a war? You can see and hear him saying that at 33:40 in this video:

I don’t know how this will end if you give [Ukraine] defensive capability. But I know this: I will feel better because when my nation was needed to stand up to the garbage and to stand by freedom I stood by freedom. They may die, they may lose ...

More war, more death, more destruction so Lindsey Graham "will feel better"? And that is supposed to be a good reason for war?

I doubt that Graham meant that seriously. It is simply his usual neocon sales-talk for more war and while such talk works in certain segments of the U.S. public it is unlikely to win him any following in Europe.

Fortunately some leading figures in Europe have at last recognized what the U.S. wants to do and are now strongly pushing back. The German chancellor Merkel said several times, including today, that "there is no military solution" to the problem and that the only way to go is through negotiations. She, together with the French president Hollande, is just back from long negotiations in Kiev and Moscow. The renewed Minsk agreement they talked about would freeze the war at the current front line and give the eastern parts of Ukraine autonomy.

Moscow would likely agree to that. But it seems that Kiev is the bigger problem because the Ukrainian president Poroshenko is unwilling to adopt the Minsk agreement for a ceasefire to his loosing positions on the actual battlefield. He also spoke out against autonomy for the east or a federalization of the Ukraine. He probably fears to be kicked out of office in another coup if he agrees to compromise. The Ukrainian prime minister Yatsenyuk, the puppet of the U.S. neocons, is an even stronger hawk and could be the one Victoria Nuland wants to use to replace Poroshenko.

The picture above, taken at a side meeting in Munich today, is quite symbolic. Poroshenko is sitting next to Biden and Kerry and the German government, Merkel and Steinmeier, are sitting at the opposite side of the table. It is obvious who's puppet Poroshenko is.

Hollande made clear today that the position Kiev, and the U.S. behind it, hold is the one he does not agree with:

French President Francois Hollande called for “quite strong” autonomy for Ukraine’s eastern regions while speaking on France 2 TV.
The French President also revealed part of the joint document under negotiation between Berlin, Moscow, Paris and Kiev. He said it will feature a 50- to 70-kilometer demilitarized zone on each side of the current line dividing militia-held and Kiev-controlled territories.

The Ukraine is bankrupt, loosing militarily and no amount of "defensive" weapons (which are of course also offensive ones) would change the power relations in the field. The U.S. attempt to push Europe into a wider war has for now failed but it is unlikely that this was the last one. The government in Kiev will have agree to the compromise Merkel and Hollande are pressing for or it will lose even more soldiers, land and money.

Posted by b on February 7, 2015 at 18:49 UTC | Permalink

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The Kolomoisky/Pravy Sektor are intent on a coup to replace Poroshenko. They aren't going to abide by any peace agreement. They have grown more aggressive with each so-called ceasefire. Towards the end of the previous coup, the shelling of Donetsk was harsher than during the offensive period. The Novorossians will be compelled to defend themselves irrespective of any fine words for the gutless Euroshits (apologies for this expression of contempt). The US will be more than happy for arms to trickle in leaving the country as a festering sore on Russia's border. The zombie of Naziism is out of the bottle.

Children on a school trip to a Bandera museum

The future of Ukraine's children

Posted by: Yonatan | Feb 8 2015 21:49 utc | 101

One serious aspect of the Ukraine war is resource grabs by US multinationals. Monsanto wants land, big oil and gas want fracking. Killing off local easterners or running them off enables take over of the land and its riches.
US government officials are ALL paid handsomely to serve corporate masters.
If the long term objective is to bleed Russia through instability in its surround so that eventually a color revolution can be staged, the shorter term objectives are to infiltrate via economic takeovers to enrich multinationals.

Posted by: linda amick | Feb 8 2015 21:58 utc | 102

S-true at 92 --

I prefered the Slavic numbers to the Greek monks, esp. "Nevesta Nenevestnaya," "The Ever-virgin Bride." Is all Orthodox liturgical music a capella?

Elvis may not be to everyone's taste, the Man in Black probably stands taller in a lot of ways.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 8 2015 22:03 utc | 103

As ever, b is too eager to proclaim the empire's failure. While I understand the impulse, there are fundamental geopolitical realities that must be remembered. A year ago, Moscow had good relations with Kiev, a painless lease on Sevastopol and its associated bases, and a robust economy.

Now, as you note, the imperial puppet Poroshenko rules in Kiev, with the even bigger sellout "Yats" in the wings should he ever falter. Russia was only able to save the Crimea with a quasi-clandestine operation, followed by annexation (which will cost even more in the long run). Despite probable majority support on the ground in the Crimea, a diplomatic price has been paid for these measures, a price far greater than the nominal lease payments of before. The operation in Donbass, which seems to have begun as a way for Moscow to pressure Ukraine further and secure the Crimea, took on a life of its own due to the mass popular support for the federalists in the east, as well as the support within Russia among all but the most thoroughly compromised neoliberal upper middle class traitors-in-waiting. The Russian economy is facing severe strain due to the falling price of fossil fuels and other commodities, as well as the attempts by the imperial nations to force a capital flight and collapse in the Russian Federation. And all this just to keep a more precarious version of what seemed secure to Moscow at the beginning of 2014. Make no mistake, this is a massive geopolitical loss for Russia.

No, the Europeans don't want more war. They would be even greater fools and puppets than they are to follow Graham and his ilk into the abyss. Yes, the imperial corporate media companies vastly exaggerate Russia's "isolation" and economic pain. That does not mean they don't exist. No, the Kiev junta has no military means to win this conflict. They don't have to. A "frozen conflict" in the Ukraine serves the empire this time, not Russia. So long as the US and its puppets wish, the Russian hold on Sevastopol will be as illegitimate to the UN and other international bodies as the US hold on Guantanamo Bay. The economic screws can always be tightened. European leaders who won't risk real conflict in order to obey their masters *will* shoot their economies in the foot to curry favor in Washington (see Iran, sanctions on).

Assuming the neocons wanted a coup de main that brought Ukraine into the imperial camp and ended Russian influence in the Med and Mideast by terminating Moscow's lease on Sevastopol, they have failed. In the long term, however, the fascists in west Ukraine and in Kiev are unlikely to lose their grip, and holding Kiev gives the empire the ability to delegitimate the Crimean annexation and hold recognition of it in abeyance for as long as needed. The probable outcome is the eventual Russian loss of Crimea, the Donbass, and any influence in Ukraine for the next generation or two.

Posted by: An Ony Mouse | Feb 9 2015 0:52 utc | 104

The probable outcome is the eventual Russian loss of Crimea, the Donbass, and any influence in Ukraine for the next generation or two.

I imagine before that could happen, Russia would do "a Georgia" on Ukraine. Certainly in Danbass.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 9 2015 2:29 utc | 105

"The Kolomoisky/Pravy Sektor are intent on a coup to replace Poroshenko. They aren't going to abide by any peace agreement. They have grown more aggressive with each so-called ceasefire."

This would be a very good thing, because it would allow the country a chance to rid itself of these groups. Though they are certainly being used as the shock troops in the battle against the East, their support among the people is minimal and for the most part come from a very distinct geographic area.

I keep thinking of Ukraine as a sort of teeter-totter where in the whole middle goes the way of either of the two weights on either end. If one is removed, the the country goes the way of the other. At this point, the East is on the losing end (in terms of having influence over the bulk of the country itself) but a coup could well force Kiev to cut off the extremists in the West from the rest of the country which would improve the situation and probably lead to peace.

One thing is sure, the ultra-nationalists in the Ukraine must be repressed, and severely, as they rightfully are in most every country. Their activities can only lead to violence, either at the level of the street or, if allowed political power, at the level of what one saw during World War Two.

I hope they put attempt a coup in fact, so that they can all be quickly hung. The problem, of course, is that like ISIS, they are seen a "useful" to the US power structure. And though there may be lip-service paid to defeating them, they would likely be allowed to fester so long as they irritate the enemies of the USA, being as it is untouched by any consequences, safe on its side of the ocean.

@103: The comparison of Crimea with Guantanamo Bay - an area that was never a part of the United States, which has no US citizens living there aside from the occupying troops - does not hold. The only person I've heard make this comparison is Chomsky, and he is clear on the point:

To be sure, Russia has a far stronger case. Even apart from strong internal support for the annexation, Crimea is historically Russian; it has Russia's only warm-water port, the home of Russia's fleet; and has enormous strategic significance. The United States has no claim at all to Guantanamo, other than its monopoly of force.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 9 2015 3:41 utc | 106

Why America, in observed future, will not provide Kiev with weapons - Michael Kofman, a Russia specialist at the Kennan Institute spoke to Ukrainian publication “New Time” (

…The US goal is to find a political way (is it?) out of this conflict so that we can actually be able to engage in Ukraine. This conflict gradually destroys the chances of Ukraine to become a new country, to reform and to continue their European path. Most important for the United States and Germany is not to engage in this war with Russia. The war with Russia (what?) on the border with Russia is almost impossible to win. It's absurd. No one in history has ever won a war with Russia on it's border. The plan to simply send weapons to Ukraine and see: may be, there will be some result, doesn't work. There is no strategy…

Russia believes that it made a serious mistake when it signed an agreement in Minsk. Ukraine had no sincere interest to observe Minsk protocol. Plus everyone knows that in addition to this protocol, between Kiev and Moscow, there was the second protocol signed on September 19, where there was a map of control between the UAF and the militia. According to this map Ukraine had to give them Donetsk airport and areas that Ukraine was not going to ever give up. It's all well known. Ukraine was in no way going to give up, despite the fact that it signed the agreement. Nobody wants to go for a real compromise in Ukraine…

Posted by: Fete | Feb 9 2015 5:04 utc | 107

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 8, 2015 4:07:25 PM | 98

The Queen does it for this crusty atheist.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 9 2015 5:15 utc | 108

Posted by: An Ony Mouse | Feb 8, 2015 7:52:33 PM | 103

Your perspective is worthy except for the final prediction, but generally I think you've gone too far the other way. The sanctions and the cut in the oil price do damage Russia a great deal. But the effect of sanctions will gradually recede as the facts on the ground are increasingly worked around with greater ease as the war propaganda drive recedes over the next few years or decade. The takeover of most of Ukraine by the West doesn't hurt Russia economically, it is more a burden for the West. The takeover does damages Russia strategically because Russian forces have to realign defensively against Western forces much closer to the Russia heartland. But, if the unlikely event of a full-scale Eastern European land war does not happen, Russia is still playing a good long game. It will be fine when oil prices go back up and in Europe's lead as the first to closely align itself with China during the Chinese century (2025 - ...). I think it also has to be incredibly reassuring that Russia has found out that China won't desert it when the West is advancing, but instead wants to strengthen their alliance.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 9 2015 5:31 utc | 109

Fairleft at 107 -- no link in the "a href="

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 9 2015 6:11 utc | 110

Sorry! Here's Aretha.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 9 2015 6:16 utc | 111

@ 105 guest77

Frankly, even Chomsky's analysis is kind of silly. The difference between Guantanamo Bay and Crimea is that Crimea has people living there. The only thing that matters, in terms of legitimacy of its becoming part of the Russian Federation, is what the majority of its inhabitants want. All the rest is irrelevant. If the majority of the US Southwest voted in a referendum to become part of Mexico, I'd wish them the best (assuming that Mexico also was cool with it, of course).

But I don't think that # 103 (An Ony Mouse) was trying to make any comparison. He/she was just opining about how its legality would be perceived by global institutions in the future like the UN.

Posted by: ee | Feb 9 2015 6:45 utc | 112

@firleft: "It will be fine when oil prices go back up and in Europe's lead as the first to closely align itself with China during the Chinese century (2025 - ...)."

You are portending the turnaround to normalcy and peace with the Chinese at the center. And rightly - as that's what would occur if things were allowed to proceed naturally and left to develop in their current state.

But you can also be sure that the "Chinese Century" is what a few hundred people in the United States - along with the two or three million people under their direct control, with billions of dollars at their disposal - are tasked with preventing. Like any project (this one named "The Project for A New American Century") there are plans being hatched to prevent the rise of China, just as a plan was hatched to prevent Ukraine from joining the Eurasian Customs Union. The question is, what are these plans, and how much blood and treasure (our blood and treasure, and that of people all over the globe, not part of aforementioned million) is planned to be used in to achieve that goal.

Ultimately, we will cross another point such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the decision to move into the new state of affairs or to spill the blood to maintain the status quo is made. Who, though, is today's Curtis Le May willing to go all the way, and who - if anyone - is the Kennedy willing to say no?

The west is in a state of war, even though most people are too ignorant and too hoodwinked to realize it. The hyperventilating of the western media is shocking. Every opponent is being targeted. Varoufakis being called an "anti-semite"? The pillorying of George Galloway by the UK media - including the deafening silence by it and by other politicians following his being attacked - seems, frankly, to put him in mortal danger. And of course the Putin demonization has reached the point to where we see such articles like "What If Putin Died?" and idiocies suggesting "Putin is Autistic". We're at such a high point of tension that NO dissent is tolerated without some sort of lashing out.

So we're clearly in the shit. We're clearly at the point where our leaders are so convinced of their own greatness (yet so insecure in it as well) that they are going to answer even the most benign move towards a world different from what they see in their "plans" with a spasm of violence.

What's going to break this tension? In other words - how many will the US leaders have to see die - what will have to be taken from them - for them to give up on these hopes of domination and allow peace to return?

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 9 2015 7:14 utc | 113

@rufus magister

I prefered the Slavic numbers to the Greek monks, esp. "Nevesta Nenevestnaya," "The Ever-virgin Bride." Is all Orthodox liturgical music a capella?

Sorry mate, missed your comment last night.
To answer your question - YES - no instruments (other than voices) in Orthodoxy.

If you gonna mention the king, might as well link his best piece...

Posted by: S-true | Feb 9 2015 7:16 utc | 114

@ee Sorry, I wasn't trying to overstate it or be aggressive. But I think the whole last paragraph if is incorrect. IMHO.

I think that this idea that Crimea will return to Ukraine will maybe live on in the dreams of the most vicious hardliners, but other than that - nothing. It is impossible to imagine it returning to the Ukraine without the violent resistance of those living there. It's a bit of a catch-22: The only Ukrainians nationalist enough to demand the return of Russian Crimea to Ukraine would be those Ukrainians too nationalist to ever be acceptable as leaders to the Crimeans!

Nor, for that matter, do I think the existence of the fascists in Kiev will outlast the existence of the tie-eating, Colombia University educated doofus in Georgia. My guess is that they'll both suffer the similar fates somewhere down the road.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 9 2015 7:29 utc | 115

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 9, 2015 2:14:35 AM | 112

I'm just happily surprised about this one "we can't have a war cuz our soldiers won't fight" incident, and short-term optimistic. It's not the last provocation by the US. But as each year comes and goes, the pull of China and the Eurasian century gets stronger. There's a LOT of money to be made and German capitalists want to be insiders.

The media is the media, and CNN has Kanye, Bruce Jenner and something on ISIS at the top of its homepage. The Guardian is fronting an HSBC scandals, the BAFTAs and something about Tsipras. There's pretty much no appetite for real boots-on-the-ground war in the West, however much we've been propagandized to be anti-Russian and anti-Putin.

I think it's a good strategy for Putin to take a one thing at a time approach, and to keep his responses measured, including keeping Novorossiyan responses to provocations measured. That's how we'll get through the ten year transition to a China-centered world economy. Whether we'll make it is a hard open question. One day at a time.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 9 2015 8:24 utc | 116

Video: Town of Velikaya Znamenka speaking against the war - Zaporozhie, Ukraine (Eng subs)

A Ukrainian official, with incredible pomposity, reads a statement explaining why more men need to be drafted for the cause of a "united Ukraine" in front of a crowd. A woman with a very strong voice interrupts him with an articulate tirade.

(h/t to DeepResource)

Posted by: Demian | Feb 9 2015 8:40 utc | 117

#103 There is no question that Crimea will remain with Russia. The only question is whether the rest of Ukraine will remain intact. It has been reasonably clear that Russia does not want to see Ukraine disintegrate further. If the eastern half of the country broke away then the rump state of Galicia would almost certainly end up in Nato. It is not in Russia's interest to see Nato troops stationed along the Dniepr River. However, if forced Russia will never allow the Eastern part of Ukraine be in Nato.

Therefore it seems to me the junta regime in Ukraine has two choices right now. They can accept Putin's proposal made last year and agree to the federaized solution whereby the people of Donbas will have the right to elect their own governor, organize their own militia and control their own border. One the other hand they can expand the war and watch Russian troops remove the entire left bank of the Dniepr River plus the oblasts of Kherson, Nikolaev and Odessa. This would meaning losing half of the city of Kiev to the new breakaway provinces. What remained of Ukraine would be entirely landlocked with a total GDP below Slovakia. They would be subservient to Poland. But they would be proud of being occupied by Nato troops. Russia has no desire to see the second scenario come to pass. But if forced they will make it happen.

The sanctions are clearly hurting Russia today but they will survive in the long term. If forced to endure the sanctions for many years they will emerge with a stronger economy that is not dependent on European imports. This may seem paradoxical but it is not.

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 9 2015 8:41 utc | 118

Posted by: An Ony Mouse | Feb 8, 2015 7:52:33 PM | 103

You describe the US game fallacy well - that damaging a competitor advances your own position. It doesn't. Whilst you are doing it others in the game proceed.

The US has managed to achieve a strategic and economic union between China, Iran, India and Russia. Have a look at the map! Yes, Russia is not the dominant force in that union. And yes,Russia's position versus China was weakened.

The US position has worsened, too.

On Ukraine, it seems Lithuania is going to "supply weapons". It will end with a Lithuanian, Polish partition of Ukraine.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 8:44 utc | 119

OSCE reports people from Easter Ukraine escaping in panic from the nazis:

The SMM then observed the evacuation of civilians from heavily shelled government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM patrols were dispatched to Debaltseve after all sides had agreed to an eight-hour temporary truce. They observed that several hundred civilians, including at least 100 children, were able to leave Debaltseve during the truce.

People were given choice to leave either to DNR controlled cities or government controlled cities:

The SMM followed approximately 50 buses coming from Donetsk and Kramatorsk, which, after entering Debaltseve, collected civilians at assembly points in the city. Those who wanted to leave the city were given the choice between two destinations.

Now, wait a minute...

The buses that were bound for areas within “DPR” had about 40 people on board, whereas about 766 people were leaving to government-controlled territory, according to figures provided by the JCCC.

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9 2015 9:23 utc | 120

@117 "will emerge with a stronger economy that is not dependent on European imports"

You don't understand Russian economy, do you? Russia is dependent on imports not because it has chosen to be, but because it doesn't have sufficient farming and industry on its own. And it doesn't have it not because it has chosen so, but because of the widespread corruption and no rule of law. People aren't investing in land, because the land can be taken from them at any moment if someone with "krysha" wants it.

And before you start your boring mantra about me "hating the Russia": it's not those who complain about corruption who "hate" it. It's those who steal and break the law who prevented decent farming and entrepreneurship, making Russia economically weak and dependent on others. If you're after "Russia haters", go and condemn them not me.

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9 2015 9:33 utc | 121

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9, 2015 4:33:22 AM | 120

not even the Financial Times claims what you are claiming.

Just that agriculture is not the best/easiest way to make money in Russia.

Russia will come out of this with different trade partners, that's all.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 10:47 utc | 122

@121 Actually, no legitimate business is "the best/easiest" way to make money in Russia because of the bureaucracy, corruption and lack of rule of law. Russia is far down in ranking like Doing Business (62. position, behind Belarus or Romania) or Corruption Perception Index (136. position, behind Belarus, Romania or China). And as it comes to the "different trade partners", ITAR-TASS has just reported that trade between Russia and China has fallen by 36%.

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9 2015 11:25 utc | 123


' Like any project (this one named "The Project for A New American Century") there are plans being hatched to prevent the rise of China, just as a plan was hatched to prevent Ukraine from joining the Eurasian Customs Union. ... What's going to break this tension? In other words - how many will the US leaders have to see die - what will have to be taken from them - for them to give up on these hopes of domination and allow peace to return?

The gangsters in the US can see untold millions die ... 5 million in N. Korea, 1.5 million in Indonesia, 3 million in Vietnam, at least a million in Iraq. at least a million others in Cambodia, Syria, Afghanistan, Yougoslavia, Libya ... means less than nothing to them.

The only thing that means anything to them is their ill-gotten wealth.

I think that the only thing that can break the tension is China, Russia, the SCO, the others of the BRICS, to just irrevocably pull the rug out from under the dollar. Yeah, it'll hurt for a minute, relatively speaking. The alternative is living in pain with one eye over your shoulder for the rest of your life.

It is not only Ukraine for which there is 'no military solution'. The gangsters in the US have weaponized finance and it must be hoist on its own petard.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 9 2015 11:31 utc | 124


' It will end with a Lithuanian, Polish partition of Ukraine. '

Wow. That's not impossible, is it? The landlocked rump. Shorn of any seaport at all.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 9 2015 11:37 utc | 125

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9, 2015 6:25:54 AM | 122

:-)) in January due to long holidays in the Chinese New Year? As with all Chinese trade partners?

I will talk to you again when you are serious.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 12:07 utc | 126

Posted by: jfl | Feb 9, 2015 6:37:13 AM | 124

That would be the logical outcome if serious amounts of weapons and mercenaries were sent via Poland/Lithuania. It would also be direct involvement of NATO States in the war, which is probably why Germany has freaked out.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 12:14 utc | 127

Ulster at 119 --

I think the no. of Ukrainian draftees that have fled to Russia to avoid conscription is a much more interesting data point. That's running, what, 500K? I believe I saw a figure saying only 20 pct. of conscripts in this 4th. mobilization are actually showing up.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 9 2015 12:39 utc | 128


So this will be the third World War that starts in Europe, but the first started by the United States in Europe? Or the third World War started by Germany, with help from the USA?

The USA is the only nation that consistently 'wins' wars in Europe. How many more World Wars before the Europeans notice that?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 9 2015 12:58 utc | 129


' It will end with a Lithuanian, Polish partition of Ukraine. '

That you need to explain.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 9 2015 13:33 utc | 130

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 9, 2015 8:33:54 AM | 129

Escalation. Ukraine is not the Kyiv government.

The "nationalists" who are crazy enough to fight are part of the Polish side of the partition. Business people with exports to Russia will be forced to take sides (yes, there are still exports to Russia from Dnepropetrovsk though the business environment is not good).

Basically, you get a split of interest between the industrialized and non industrialized parts of Ukraine - that is the Polish partition.

Russia is hardly doing anything at present. If there is escalation they will get serious about it.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 14:12 utc | 131

Like we knew, Germany didnt dare going against its masters.

Germany threat more sanctions if not Russia support...Germany's view.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 9 2015 14:22 utc | 132

The European investing class _should_ be unhappy, handed all the losses while the US oil/gas industry and military-industrial complex makes all the gains, as this comment at summarizes very well:

The Invisible Hand 22 hours ago

... From a European point of view the sanctions appear to be a failure, as Russia is still supporting "Novorossiya" and still owns the Crimea, while EU economies are losing a major client.

But viewed from the US, which initiated the Ukraine upheaval and the resulting sanctions, it has been a major success. The sanctions have driven an irreversible wedge between the EU and Russia, weakening both potential economic and trade rivals, at modest cost to the Americans. It is reasonable to expect more US arms and technology exports to Europe and increased market share for US oil majors in the European market, as the EU-Russia relationship deteriorates to hostility. The UK Trident program can no longer be cancelled.

Belatedly Frau Merkel has wised up and is trying to reverse the brilliant Nuland masterplan, but it is probably too late.

Sanctions are a success for the US, at least until they consolidate the Sino-Russian "axis of evil" that they have started. Only then will people start asking who lost Russia.

It's not an irreversible wedge though, is it?

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 9 2015 14:47 utc | 133

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 9, 2015 9:22:54 AM | 131

That was the game before, telling Europeans either sanctions or the US would escalate militarily. I am not sure this bluff is working anymore.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 14:48 utc | 134

@131 The report 'cited unnamed Western officials'. OK that's good enough for me.

Posted by: dh | Feb 9 2015 15:16 utc | 135

Posted by: dh | Feb 9, 2015 10:16:31 AM | 135

You mean the one about the likely Putch against Poroshenko? Well, all it means is that someone in the US wants to spread the rumour, doesn't it? I always heard those rumours were spread by Russians to destabilize the place ...

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 15:36 utc | 136

@136 Sorry. I was responding to #132. I was thinking of Merkel's threat of more sanctions as 'cited by unnamed Western officials'.

Posted by: dh | Feb 9 2015 15:44 utc | 137

@126 International trade doesn't decline "because of holidays".

@128 I had a reliable OSCE source for the numbers. You took these 500k from where? From yet another rogue English-language blog translating rogue blog of a rogue republic?

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9 2015 16:35 utc | 138

Ulster you are close to being correct about the corruption in Russia and the lack of a legal framework to allow a free market expansion of agriculture and industry. However, if you look at China the same problems persist there to this day. That did not stop their industrialization, expansion of their economy and growth of largest middle class in the world. I have read a few articles by Russian economists and intellectuals that have addressed this problem. They are acutely aware that they have a problem and something needs to be done to fix it. I suspect they are working on it now.

One thing that will help them build their economy is the sanctions that will give their businesses more room to grow without competition from the west. I doubt you ever read about the growth of the US into an industrial power but for the first century of our existence US manufacturers were protected from European competition by very high tariffs. But the beginning of the 20th century we were independent enough to become major advocates of free trade to allow us to become a major exporting power.

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 9 2015 18:28 utc | 139

Ah, another comment disappeared. Unsurprising.

Posted by: An Ony Mouse | Feb 9 2015 20:18 utc | 140

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 9, 2015 11:35:01 AM | 138

You can have Reuters on the same phenomenon

The think it may be a slowdown of the Chinese economy, but

Chinese economic indicators in January and February are typically viewed with caution given the distortions caused by the shifting week-long Lunar New Year holiday, and while the analyst median estimate was for a rise, the range of estimates was extremely wide.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 9 2015 21:48 utc | 141

Ulster at 138 --

My figures were just a guess drawn from my current reading, dashed off before work. But not unfair.

I seem to recall a no. of comments and links here detailing the poor response to the fourth mobilization. But I think I got some fresh stuff for you.

Just recently at Fort Russ they detailed a proposal to criminalize of those protesting the mobilization or the war.

Considerable sections of public opinion seem to share a low opinion of the mobilization. I liked this account in particular about a leading business journalist's opposition, "If Ukrainians have an ounce of common sense left, I doubt this mobilization will succeed.” Translator J. Hawk says that Anton Podlutskiy's "views are likely a reflection of the sentiment of a large segment of the business elite, which cannot view the growing lawlessness, or the potential implications of martial law, with equanimity." He is chief editor at RBK Ukraine, which Hawk calls "one of the country’s foremost economy and business news portals."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Ruslan Katsaba has been arrested and charged with treason for opposing Kiev's fratricidal civil war. "I find it easier to serve in prison two to five years, than going to the civil war, to kill or assist in killing of my compatriots who live in the East. Even if they think different and believe that the Kiev government is not worthy to be obeyed...."

Russia Insider has a number of relevant pieces. In fact, today's Young Ukrainians Flee to "Aggressor" Russia to Avoid Draft quotes the Russian immigration agency as saying "About 2.5 million Ukrainians, including 1.193 million of conscription age, are currently staying on the Russian territory...." About 1/3 of that total is from the southeast, so roughly 670K conscripts are out of the area controlled by Kiev. It reports, apparently citing official figures from Kiev, that the current conscription summoned 78,000 to report, but only 45,000 reported. "Poroshenko admitted that out of the currently needed 50 thousand men only 2.5 thousand went as volunteers." So they caught about 1/2, they say.

An item reposted on RI from Counterpunch (where I saw it), by Liva activist Dmitry Kolesnik on Ukrainians Who Are Choosing Not to Kill and Die in Donbass War reports some relevant stats. Voluntary reporting declined from 20 pct. in the first wave to six pct. this year. Despite threats of legal action, many villages are still turning the press gangs away.

Do you wonder why? I doubt you'll like Kolesnik's answers.

They don’t necessarily see foreign (ie Russian) aggression. They only know that... it is a compatriot, a fellow Ukrainian, who appears in the gunsight.

Secondly, many people don’t want to die for the current government which they view as composed of extreme nationalists and neoliberals. They are unwilling to be cannon fodder dying for the interests of Ukrainian oligarchs whose only apparent interest is to pursue a civil war, siphon Western financial aid and suppress opposition to their rule....

Last but not least, many ordinary workers and farmers, (contrary to middle-class, urban dwellers), preserve entrenched, regional identities. They consider their homeland to be a region such as Donbas, Bukovyna, Transkarpathia or Volhynia as much as, or perhaps even more importantly, it is the entity called ‘Ukraine’. It is harder to sell to such people the war’s patriotic, pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia message.

The piece on "Young Ukrainians Flee" also notes "Reports about the low competence of the Ukrainian commanding officers, which last year led to lots of disasters, including the destruction of several hundred Ukrainian servicemen near the border town of Ilovaisk (on the Russian-Ukrainian border), do not add to the draftees’ enthusiasm.... Yes, now one can only agree with the authorities — or be labeled a traitor, a deserter and (most likely) a draft dodger."

I hope this is sufficient detail to support my contention -- Kiev has a serious morale and recruitment problem.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 10 2015 0:58 utc | 142


Global Debt Conflagration

As you look at the chart of debt growth, you immediately notice the US government is the single largest contribution to global debt, and since Defense is now 3/4th of all contract spending, US Defense/DHS/CIA/NSA debt growth at 7.3% per year exceeds China's GDP growth in it's best year. Defense is the largest monopoly in all of human history, one that is devoted solely to Death, never needs to make a profit because it Loots for its needs, and is now the biggest runaway contributor to the global debt conflagration.

Further down you notice that the one nation on earth where debt-to-GDP is decreasing the fastest is Israel, chief beneficiary of it's Janus policy to push for global economic sanctions against Iran and Russia, at the same time as it openly offers Special Discount Free Trade Zones to ...Iran and Russia~! Now comes Bibi to lecture Great Satan. Spend more!

Posted by: ChipNikh | Feb 10 2015 11:59 utc | 143

Lindsey Graham’s war lie: Bigger than Richard Blumenthal’s

Back in the '90s, and even after he was caught in the fib, he led people to believe he'd served in the Gulf War


Posted by: erichwwk | Feb 10 2015 18:45 utc | 144

Here's how Ukrainians are feeling about the U.S. sponsored coup and war:

Posted by: Murican | Feb 11 2015 5:38 utc | 145

Hello moa, glad to see yall still giving 110% fighting the warmongers and insanely ignorant amongst us. I am also happy to see Chancellor Merkel and the French looking for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis. Now I feel better about the Ukrainian situation. With the Germans, the French and the Russians working toward a peaceful solution tragedy and WWIII will be averted.

Posted by: really | Feb 25 2015 23:26 utc | 146

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