Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 10, 2021

After The Bear Showed Its Teeth The Ukraine Filed For Peace?

First the Ukraine said it would use force to recover the renegade Donbass region as well as Crimea. It then moved heavy troops towards the contact lines. The ceasefire at the contact line was broken multiple times per day. Several Ukrainian soldiers died while attempting to remove a minefield in preparation of an attack.

It became clear that a war in Ukraine's east was likely to soon braek out. A successful war would help Ukraine's president Zelensky with the ever increasing domestic crises. A war would also give the U.S. more influence in Europe. The U.S. and NATO promised "unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty”.

Russia gave several verbal warnings that any Ukrainian attack on the renegade provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk or Crimea would cause a serious Russian intervention. There was never a chance that the U.S. or NATO would intervene in such a war. But it was only after Russia started to move some of its troops around that sanity set in. It dawned on the Ukrainian leadership that the idea of waging war against a nuclear armed superpower was not a good one.

Late yesterday it suddenly decided to file for peace (machine translation):

The Armed Forces ruled out the use of force to "liberate" Donbass

KIEV, April 9 - RIA Novosti. "Liberation" of Donbass by force will lead to mass deaths of civilians and servicemen, and this is unacceptable for Kiev, said Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak.

"Being devoted to universal human values ​​and norms of international humanitarian law, our state puts the lives of its citizens in the first place," the General Staff's press center quoted him as saying.

According to Khomchak, the Ukrainian authorities consider the political and diplomatic way to resolve the situation in Donbass a priority. At the same time, he added that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready for an adequate response both to the escalation of the conflict and to "the complication of the military-political and military-strategic situation around the country."

Zelensky himself chipped in (machine translated):

Zelensky spoke for a truce in Donbass

MOSCOW, April 9 - RIA Novosti. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the need for a new truce in Donbass after visiting the contact line.

The head of state wrote on Facebook that shooting at the front lines had become "a dangerous routine." "After several months of observing a complete and general ceasefire, we returned to the need to establish a truce," Zelensky said.

As the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak emphasized earlier, the use of force to "liberate" Donbass is unacceptable for Kiev, as it is fraught with casualties among the civilian population and military personnel. At the same time, last week he said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will strengthen the grouping of troops in the Donbass and in the Crimean direction - in response to the "build-up" of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine.

It seems that order has come from Washington to stand down - at least for now. U.S. reconnaissance flights near Russia's border continue. One should therefore consider that the sudden call for a renewed ceasefire might be a ruse.

But if it is not why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?

Posted by b on April 10, 2021 at 14:44 UTC | Permalink

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@ S.P. Korolev | Apr 11 2021 5:38 utc | 97 with more depth to the Erdogan/Zelensky meeting...thanks

Maybe humanity is really a failed jag in the evolution of the Cosmos but hopefully something is learned from our mistakes and frailties in our evolutionary path. I know I have learned in the past few years just how much of my relation to the world and others is still reptile/mammal vagus nerve oriented. I learned that what we think of as our cortex gets the signal from outside one and one half seconds after your reptile/mammal body has processed the input and potentially put you into freeze/shit or flight/flight modes.

So what parts of Erdogan reptile/mammal character are driving his geo-political dance? Not humanistic ones from what I can tell but maybe he was abused as a reptile....grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 11 2021 6:12 utc | 101

Lebanon next? From Joshua Landis, twitter. "One of the commanders who briefed Gen. McKenzie (Head US Forces M.E.) told me:

“We’re losing Lebanon. It’s only months away.” After the state, the most powerful institution—politically, militarily, and economically—is Hezbollah."

Iraq withdrawal: "Biden admin indicates that 2,500 US troops will eventually leave Iraq in joint stmt after strategic dialogue with Baghdad. Both sides confirmed US-led mission now focused on training & advising, but timing of US redeployment will be established in technical talks."

I would not be surprised if the illegal occupier states got together to screw Lebanon big time.

So it goes.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 11 2021 6:30 utc | 102

Who blinks first? Preparations for war are over by ROSTISLAV ISHCHENKO. Somebody will have to back down and they will suffer a terrible political defeat.

"Moscow has openly said and shown that it does not intend to retreat. I would like to stress once again that almost all preliminary diplomatic and political actions have been carried out on both sides. There is little room for further tension, without a transition to open conflict. The manoeuvres that can still be undertaken will not ease the tension, and their potential will also be exhausted in the coming weeks."

Relying on the west to back down, to overcome their blind faith in "our way is the only way" is mostly based on our hope that those in charge would like their license to breath continue a bit longer. The stakes are high and I'm not sure if the population in the west realizes how serious things are. I'm pretty sure Russians sense how bad things could get. This is a result of the racist undertones, and not so undertone towards what ever country is up to bat for the two minutes of hate today in the MSM, whereas Russians are exposed to how crazy the west are and then they can make up their minds.

"Russians can read this stuff Nuland's) and form their own opinions. “Putin’s disinformation campaigns” are so clever that they use real information.

We won’t tell you that they’re dangerous idiots;
we’ll let them tell you that they’re dangerous idiots."

From Patrick Armstrong's latest at Strategic Culture.

Posted by: Tom | Apr 11 2021 6:33 utc | 103

US defense attache Col. Brittany Stewart pays tribute to the grave of #Ukraine Right sector DUK #neonazi Slipak

Posted by: Kristof | Apr 11 2021 7:24 utc | 105

@73: "...USA has adjusted capitalism as needed/wanted with socialism (the "welfare state")..."

Meh. "Socialism" is social ownership of the means of production.

And "welfare state" is an attempt to preserve private ownership of the means of production by weakening the class conflict. It's corporatism with a distinct liberal-fascist flavor. And I'm not using the word "fascism" as a swear, but only to note that the defining feature of a "welfare state" is redistribution mandated and organized by the state, from the top-down. The state controls everything, from working conditions and the minimum wage to food stamps and all other kinds of subsistence payments to the poor. Just like Il Duce would have it.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Apr 11 2021 8:03 utc | 106

I don't know what to make of Khromchak's statement.
Good cop / bad cop situation?
I don't think that a war is imminent, and for the time being it looks more like expensive posturing, but this is far from over and the situation can change rapidly at any moment.

Right now, there's another Global Hawk (FORTE11) flying over the Donbass area (yesterday it was FORTE10), and another Poseidon on the way to the Black Sea. I wouldn't be surprised to see more Bayraktars being delivered to Ukraine over the next days and weeks as well. Would they also import islamist fighters from Syria via Turkey?

It will be interesting to hear what Putin has to say on 21st April when he addresses the Federal Assembly.

Posted by: Verdant | Apr 11 2021 8:19 utc | 107

It's a trap, the calls for peace, new negotiations and stuff, it's to create the impression that the West and Ukraine are the good boys.

The next stage will be a heap of accusations that Russia is breaking the peace, makes threatening moves, is poised to take over rUkraine.

This will be followed by an attack on the two Republics, dead bodies everywhere, un indisputable reason to convince the gErmans with to scrap Nord-2.

Posted by: Baron | Apr 11 2021 9:00 utc | 108

But if it is not why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?

The Dark Throne simply does what it always does, and what its minions are trained to do: probe their enemies for weakness--this is formalized doctrine.

Think of Carlsen at the chessboard. He knows he has a great position; now he can't calculate his way to a concrete win 30 moves ahead like the best modern engines, but neither can his opponent. So with his advantages firmly in his grip, he starts testing the other guy: will he weaken his king to shore up his queenside pawns, or the other way round? Or will he play flawlessly for three more hours, only to blunder a piece in time trouble from exhaustion and general psyche-out? King Magnus has done very well grinding his foes like that: he knows he's more to gain than to lose by rejecting quick draws, because he's still the strongest overall.

Could Russia be pushed to make concessions in Syria in exchange for quiet on its own borders? Or might China accept "inspections" in Wuhan and/or Xinjiang in order to keep SWIFT access? As long as you control the narrative and the dollar press, and feel secure you won't get your teeth smashed in, there's no reason not to try.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Apr 11 2021 9:28 utc | 109

Ma Laoshi #109

There have been continuous inspections in Wuhan and Xinjiang. The question is will there be "inspections" in Fort Detrick and the the University of Wisconsin PLUS a Chinese humanitarian mission to Haiti?

It is not for China to concede anything - it is for the USA to end its belligerent global aggression and back off, open its CBW machinery for inspections and crawl back to its cave.

Russia need make no concession in the middle east, least of all Syria - it is fro the illegal occupier to stop stealing wheat and oil, cease training and arming ISIS thugs and killers and to get out of the the Middle East immediately.

It is for the USA to end its illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Diego Garcia.

It is for Israel to end its nuclear weapons threat and invasions of Palestinian and Syrian and Lebanese lands forever!

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 11 2021 9:46 utc | 110

Q: But if it is not why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?
A: It is a ruse to get Ukraines signature as member of Nato. Russia needs to act swift to solve this problem once and for all.

Posted by: A Ruse | Apr 11 2021 9:52 utc | 111

37# snake who wrote:

I do not believe Zelensky has the support of many at the USA (out side of a single department), virtually none from USA governed Americans in America, none from UK governed British citizens in England, and even less from the governed French or the governed Indian citizens.

I think you are right there,sir,mainly because the people you mention have a lot of other problems to consider.However,a false flaf event could change that,wouldn't it?

I remember ,at the time of the Beirut explosion,somebody posted images of a even bigger quantity of ammonitrate stocked under a tin roof in Odessa harbour.Now,if this was true,we could expect a detonation destroying the beautiful city of Odessa,and fabricated images of russian,or donbass missiles being the cause of the explosion.All Europe would gladly be wanting to punish Russia.It's so simple to wake upand direct public outrage these days.Remeber:reality is what MSM dictates,not what politicians state.

Posted by: willie | Apr 11 2021 10:33 utc | 112

"Why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?"

The apparent change in stance is unlikely a ruse because a ruse presumes that Russia would take the bait.

The change is unlikely due to a miscalculation on Ukraine's part because Ukraine was well aware of the strength of the juggernaut just to the east before Ukraine sent men and materiel that way.

The change is unlikely due to a miscalculation on Washington's part because a likely drubbing of Ukraine with Washington sitting on the sidelines would result in a loss of prestige vis a vis Russia and China.

I'd suggest the change -- if there really is such a change -- is more likely the result of Germany, and maybe France, exerting simultaneous pressure on Washington and Kiev, coupled with leading sectors of the bureaucracy in both Washington and Kiev agreeing with Merkel (Washington for its own reasons and Kiev because of Washington's instructions) that a war does not advance their interests.

Washington is in a position similar to that of Britain prior to the Suez Crisis: one loss away from losing its preeminence on the world stage. Losing that position over a conflict involving, essentially, a gas pipeline to Germany is not worth the risk.

It's likely that Washington's apparent stance is symptomatic of significant discord between the Neocons and the less belligerent of the foreign policy establishment. It appears that the Neocons may have lost this round. One can expect the schism to continue to play out over the coming years

Posted by: elephant | Apr 11 2021 11:00 utc | 113

After foreign pressure, several western companies abandoned building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. For example, the pipes are now laid by the Russian ship Fortuna instead of a Swiss one (

I am wondering if this might be an advantage for Russia and other countries in the mid to long term, that their companies are forced to master all the complex technologies involved as fast as possible? Maybe they will even become competitors to their western equivalents?

Usually, when governments decide about big industry projects, they demand that their national companies get some orders to profit from the project. Now, it seems reversed. The German government is still not openly against Nord Stream 2, but it has to be finished without some of the companies originally involved.

Posted by: Martin | Apr 11 2021 11:07 utc | 114

Verdant | Apr 11 2021 8:19 utc | 107

The answer to your question about Turkish deployment, from Debka link by gfd | Apr 11 2021 6:41 utc | 104.

Erdogan can't get rid of the terrorists he is supporting. First try to send them to Europe (make them try to cross the borders); then get them "settled in" in Idlib and the Northern part of Syria. If not, then send them to Libya, if that fails to kill them off - pay them to go to Ukraine, as he doesn't want them back in Turkey.

Edgy Ukrainian intelligence officers last week voiced their concerns to Turkish officers. Ankara responded on the spot with orders for a first batch of 7,000 mercenaries to stand by for a signal to deploy to Ukraine in an emergency. Secret registration centers were opened to enlist mercenaries ready to go to Ukraine. According to these soldiers for hire, so-called by Turkey the “National Army,” the Ukrainian contract would be more lucrative than the pay they received on the Libyan fronts and more recently, the Karabakh region in Azerbaijan. They could make up to 4,000 dollars, especially welcome since President Tayyip Erdogan had no jobs to offer these mercenaries after those warfronts subsided.

A couple of points about the buildup in Russia.

The OSCE royally summoned Russia to "explain", (without a similar summoning to explain the Ukraniane buildup). They refused naturally, as they are no longer going to be "summoned" by anyone.

The Russian forces are concentrated in two main areas (maybe 3). As was remarked the Northern/west group are too far away from Donbas to be of immediate use in the case of serious fighting. Why? They seem to be better placed (my own opinion) to be able to attack directly overland between Kiev and Donbas. This would put the Belarusssian forces to the North of Kiev and the land based Russian forces between them and Donbas. A scorpion has pincers, poison in the tail and an aversion to being disturbed.

I am NOT saying they would. It's just a possibility. I still think the first move (even a FF) will come, if it comes at all, from the Ukranian side.

Donbas is already well defended against a "surprise" attack, with some support nearby.

Crimea, which has seen mostly "airborne" brgades, really heavy artillery (including 240mm "Tulip" mortars, and tanks) are what could be the most mobile and competant forces in the area. Could be used against Kherson/Odessa or Mariupol.


It is clear that the Ukrainian "back-off" is probably another of those "disinformations" that are the hallmark of the US, NATO and others. Not "agreement capable", and congenital liers to get some small advantage.

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 11 2021 11:25 utc | 115

Posted by: elephant | Apr 11 2021 11:00 utc | 112

Washington is in a position similar to that of Britain prior to the Suez Crisis: one loss away from losing its preeminence on the world stage. Losing that position over a conflict involving, essentially, a gas pipeline to Germany is not worth the risk.

What loss are we talking about here? Seems to me that the necks on the line are strictly of the Eurasian sort. Washington is an ocean away.

Posted by: robin | Apr 11 2021 11:39 utc | 116

Posted by: vk | Apr 10 2021 20:42 utc | 50

It doesn't change the fact that neither Russia nor the Ukraine are presented with the option of "trading" Crimea for LPR-DPR (because, whoever side gets the second is in full condition to take the first

VK, could you expand on this statement? The notion isn't obvious as I look at the map.


steven t johnson, using the third person to address other posters makes it sound like we're in the middle of some family feud.

"And you can tell your mother that if she's hoping to get Crimea back, she better do it herself!"

Posted by: robin | Apr 11 2021 11:41 utc | 117

@Stonebird, thanks for the info! I missed that. Doesn't come as a surprise.

There is another possible important location in the event of an attack, and that is Transnistria.
Tiraspol is not far away from Odessa (+- 100 km, 60 miles).

I also agree with other commentators here in that German and French are against any kind of Ukranian offensive, and are likely exerting pressure on Zelensky, who himself is under pressure from the various Nazi groups.

Posted by: Verdant | Apr 11 2021 12:03 utc | 118

I have a feeling, it's only a feeling right now, that the looted black hole that's Ukranazistan after 7 years of "freedom " is such a drain that the EUNATO gangsters behind the Maidan would love to palm the ruins off to Russia. "Here, you broke it, you own it."

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Apr 11 2021 12:10 utc | 119

@115 robin: "What loss are we talking about here? "
@112 elephant: "Washington is in a position similar to that of Britain prior to the Suez Crisis"

So you already have you answer: a loss similar to that suffered by Britain in the Suez Crisis.

Not a military loss, per se, but a backdown so humiliating that it could not be denied that this supposed-superpower has lost its mojo.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 11 2021 12:22 utc | 120

Khomchak does not want war, which was basically clear from his terrifying speech in the parliament where he proclaimed the military to be "ready for every scenario", and than describing a series of "buts" that prompted a young impressionable deputy from the ruling party to text "Time to get out from Ukraine". It was a vision of "terrible civilian losses in Donbass" and somehow related and strongly implied vision of Russian battalions traipsing along the banks of Dnieper (perhaps even near the capital).

In the last 10 years, Russia modernized her forces, improved morale and got field experience on rotation -- especially the air force. Ukraine -- not so much. Ukraine has numerically impressive army if you compare to NATO countries like Poland, but that is predicated on using cheap weapons, and absolutely not affordable with NATO standards that stress very expensive weapons (thus Poland, with similar military budget as Ukraine, has 3-4 times smaller military). But cheap weapons require domestic production, and not-NATO weapons were produced with many parts from Russia etc. Russia had no huge problem replacing parts from Ukraine using new factories and engineers in part from Ukraine (fluent in Russian and presumably loyal). But Ukraine could not do the reverse.

A sprinkling of NATO standard high tech would not help more than it help in Afghanistan, where locals are armed and trained for nearly 20 years. It seems that NATO standard is a perverse form of disarmament -- high expense, but the military with reduced capabilities. Like Lithuania that valiantly exceeds 2% pledge and cannot afford tanks (or they got several? they had none the last time I checked).

So here is a dilemma in the concept of war in Ukraine. It may scare Europeans to abjectly defer to USA and break all trade etc. with Russia, and follow assorted other diktats. But what if they are REALLY scared, and decide that patching up the relations with Russia is the only realistic alternative? EU cannot rely on easy deficit money to the extend that USA can, and even before the pandemic the national budgets were in sorry shape in many countries, I suspect than now even in Germany the picture is grim (Germans have much higher standards concerning the budget than Italians, so to them the picture may look very grim). Pandemic also undermine the trust in the government and, I guess, in USA -- no photo ops of ships from USA bearing huge loads of vaccines...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 11 2021 12:27 utc | 121

I'll throw my 5 cents behind naive optimism, or even wishful thinking, in interpreting the situation as a theatrical performance on the part of the Ukraine, the intent of which was to garner attention from "international allies" who were growing increasingly distant and disinterested. Being recently relegated to a topic rather than participant in discussions between world leaders, and a low-priority one at that, prompted the government to irrationally escalate tensions in order to demonstrate an urgent need of supervision; like a rowdy child feeling neglected by the baby-sitter. Not excluding, of course, that this scheme was hatched by US advisors who themselves stand to benefit from being moved up a notch in the cue of priorities with the US administration, who I don't believe had much interest in navigating a full-blown crisis in the Ukraine at present.

What's left is to talk the suicidal patient down from the roof, with assurances of support in the form of condemnations of Russian aggression, while maintaining, as much as possible, the illusion that the suicidal patient is actually a respectable businessman, that the asylum is a prosperous tech enterprise and that the care-takers haven't lost control of the facility and aren't themselves insane. This doesn't exclude the possibility of the patient jumping, or any number of events taking place that might prompt the "law enforcement agency" to go in and restore order, but I do see this situation more as having put the Maidan-coalition on the back-foot and having to disentangle themselves, rather than a carefully pre-planned and coordinated operation.

Posted by: Skiffer | Apr 11 2021 12:32 utc | 122

Y'know, as part of my monitoring of the enemy a source I regularly follow is the Canadian propagandist Gwynne Dyer. This person - who had been predicting the imminent and inevitable collapse of China from 1989 to circa 2012 and then briefly again in 2020 at the start of the Covid - is among other things a self proclaimed Reagan admirer, a major proponent of the "Navalny poisoning" scam, and thinks billionaires are the best people to lead poor countries because "they are so rich they don't have to steal". So you can probably understand his intelligence isn't particularly high, but since he peddles the standard warmongering propaganda he's useful to monitor to find out what the party line is likely to be. We'll, interesting to see that while he's plugging away against Myanmar (which he insists on calling "Burma", and I'm sure the coup regime is shaking in its shoes from that), and the Emir of Dubai's daughter, he is absolutely, completely, totally silent about Ukranazistan and what's going on there. Yet even two years ago he was all worked up about the Ukranazi ships captured by Russia at the Crimea bridge ("Ukraine is in the right!") and in 2014 he averred that most of the anti coup protestors in Eastern Ukraine were Russian troops in disguise. So it's not as though he doesn't peddle Ukranazi propaganda, yet this time he's totally silent about it. I absolutely do not think that the likes of Dyer ever write anything political without the approval of Amerikastani propaganda agencies (how do you make a living as an occasional opinion columnist, anyway?) so this must be a totally deliberate choice. Since Canada is a Ukranazi hotbed he's probably holding back to accuse Russia of an invasion at the opportune moment.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Apr 11 2021 12:39 utc | 123

@uncle tungsten | Apr 11 2021 9:46 utc | 110

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Apr 11 2021 14:00 utc | 124

vk @Apr11 1:13 #76

... we can infer the death of neoliberalism ... from 2008 onward by the set of policies enforced in the USA, the UK, Japan and other developed European countries ... the rise of MMT through money printing or, in the case of Japan, more T-bond issuance ...

Inferring the end of neoliberal economic paradigm (and the neofeudalist social structure that goes hand-in-hand) is frought. It has been predicted for over a hundred years.

And you've responded to only one part of my comment @Apr11 0:30 #73. On the whole my comment questions your belief that socialism is inevitable and your projection of that belief onto Ukraine. Russia and China have market economies.

FYI, my view is that a multi-lateral world is preferable to a single hierarchical global control structure. Russia has proposed to be a regulator/peacekeeper of the two global competitors (USA/NATO and China/SCO). That sounds reasonable but such an arrangement is novel and USA/NATO is not willing to allow that (yet). They have the advantage (for now) and are (still) pursuing total victory.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 11 2021 14:14 utc | 125


Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries. His new book is 'Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work)'.

On the first sight, he has some weight problem. But he has no problem with Burma, at least when he uses Bangkok Post "The non-violent democratic resistance in Myanmar is living through terrible times, but statistics are on its side: most non-violent movements eventually win. But it’s hard to stay non-violent when you are up against a force as ruthless and brutal as the Tatmadaw." OTOH, I would love to check his statistical tables. Since where there were protests against brutality of American police? And just last week, a military officer (guess the skin color) was pepper sprayed in his face for being insufficiently deferential during a traffic stop with no violation. So it will take a while.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 11 2021 14:20 utc | 126

@uncle tungsten | Apr 11 2021 9:46 utc | 110

Sure dear uncle, I'm with you on most of these; I was merely describing how things look from the US perspective. The point is that we're still a long, long way from Russia and China talking like you just did--and even if they did, what difference would it make when the Dark Throne controls the media that matter. It'd make a lot if sense for me if China'd refuse to sit down with lying trash Blinken until he apologizes for his baseless genocide accusations. Russia might, say, coolly state that if that same Blinken goes too far and the fireworks really begin, the first will be on Jerusalem. Or kidnap some member of the British elite and say they're willing to trade for Yulia Skripal. Or periodically bomb the jihadi training camps in Jordan.

None of these are conceivable so far. Even as Russia reels from American sanctions, Moscow goes out of its way to stress they're being good boys in compliance with whatever unilateral, extraterritorial sanctions idiocy Washington thinks up against Venezuela. In the context of the "Russian bounties" hoax, Putin rushed to declare he'd never hurt good American boys; a man might have said "So what, as long as American actions are getting Russians killed in Syria?" The Navalny hoax is something in which Germany lectures without paying any price, and Russia is on the defensive; sending, say, five million Ukie refugees in mama Merkel's direction would ... clarify things, but this isn't even remotely on the table.

My point is that Russia and China put up with a ton of double standards, as long as the Dark Throne controls the world's oceans and the international financial system. Only very recently do we see gradual change. Personally, I think that none of these actors deserve to be idealized. Russia and China are quite capable of playing rough too--they just reserve it for parties much weaker than themselves.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Apr 11 2021 14:47 utc | 127

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 11 2021 14:14 utc | 125

Market economy doesn't define capitalism. Markets existed long before capitalism was born (since at least the Bronze Age).

This is another myth of capitalism: that, without capitalism, humanity would suddenly plunge into a world of darkness where people would suddenly stop moving and stop exchanging between themselves ("Neo-feudalism" hypothesis; "Communist darkness" hypothesis). This is utterly false: not only exchange would remain in socialism, it would actually rise in volume and intensity.

Posted by: vk | Apr 11 2021 14:48 utc | 128

To be precise (or maybe pedantic, in some people's view?) there is one market that does define capitalism: The capital market, where capital is some form of money that must be invested for profit and only profit, lest it be diminished in relation to other units of capital. The larger the capitals, the more numerous they are, the more widely dispersed throughout the national market and the more pervasive the profit motive is in determining the nature, even amount of social production, the more capitalistic a society is. China is not yet a genuine capitalist country. The claim that it is is largely, as near as I can tell, due to the desire of pro-capitalists to attribute its great successes to capitalism. This is idiocy, as India has always had more capitalism. If capitalism was they key to China's successes, India would be outshining it. (That's why Kim Stanley Robinson in his recent novel The Ministry for the Future daydreams about India outpacing China!)

The state serves to establish a national market with a national currency and defend the owners against other states. The state has a quasi-independent function because it acts as the political arena of class struggle, trying to moderate a class collaboration of the nation against other nations, defending the ruling class property against other states. That's why a "multi-polar world" is calling for a return to 1899, when the world was multi-polar. Except for the childish belief that great powers can rule by consensus, devising a permanent hierarchy of nations. This is as delusional as thinking that anti-trust can keep markets "free" so that the petty bourgeois can grow forever, without being swallowed up by the haute bourgeoisie, or worse, going broke.

The highest levels of the Chinese government repeatedly announce they are intent on expanding the capital market. They apparently believe that capitalism not only has a future but that it can be fully restored peacefully and remake society to fit its needs while they personally still preside over the political apparatus. At some point I suppose they will no longer be satisfied with taking a salary but want the titles to property, formal ownership, so that their children will be born rulers. The existence of the Soviet Union meant that the early phases of Chinese socialization were not so desperate. And the decay of imperialism meant that the Bukharinist/NEP phase could continue for a longer period than the USSR. But nothing lasts forever, and the capitalist phase of socialism with Chinese characteristics won't last forever either. At some point, the frustrated lesser capitalists, the desperate petty bourgeois layers convinced that it is the Party that ruins their prosperity, the losers in the struggle for advancement in the Party allied with capitalists and those who have made the so-called middle classes their milieu will need state power. I believe capitalist restoration in China will be even more violent and destructive to the population at large than in Russia.

Somebody upthread had some nonsense about how capitalism is permanent. Of course it isn't. What isn't 100% guaranteed is not the fall of capitalism but the nature of what replaces it. Most importantly, capitalism, imperialism, won't fall by itself. It must be overthrown. People who keep begging the imperialists for a fair deal in divvying up the world are frustrated collaborators, not the gravediggers of empire. Second, the anarchy of production that is capitalism means there will never be any stable way of confronting the consequences of capitalism's abuse of nature. Imperialism loots the biosphere in pursuit of cheaper constant capital, which includes raw materials, that is, for profit. So, what is also 100% guaranteed is that there will be a massive decline in human population and a subsequent revision in all social formations because the old divisions of property and forms of labor extraction will be impossible. It is unlikely all humanity will be destroyed, I think.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Apr 11 2021 15:29 utc | 129

@ Biswapriya Purkayast #123

You might not be wrong about oddly quiet neocon propagandists. I recently read a pretty well written piece which postulated that these propaganda operations are highly coordinated, and that they seem to often dial back their attacks a bit shortly before a renewed campaign, as if to ensure maximum effect when they launch their new one.

Posted by: J Swift | Apr 11 2021 15:56 utc | 130

Biswapriya Purkayast | Apr 11 2021 12:39 utc | 123... i share your viewpoint and feel much the same.. thanks for articulating all that... it is highly likely it is a as j. swift says - these propaganda operations are highly coordinated... they give all the appearance of this without having solid verification of it..

Posted by: james | Apr 11 2021 16:27 utc | 131

@ Posted by: steven t johnson | Apr 11 2021 15:29 utc | 129

Yeah, sure, capital markets (capital accounts) are a unique feature of capitalism (that's how the USA is able to comfortably dominate the rest of the world and consume more than what it produces). But even in the primitive stages of socialism capital markets will still exist, because most of the world would still be capitalist (as is contemporary China's case). What conditions the existence of capital markets is not the economic system of the nation individually, but the fact that capitalism is the dominant system in the entire world.

Posted by: vk | Apr 11 2021 16:36 utc | 132

elephant @113: "...significant discord between the Neocons and the less belligerent..."

This isn't what liberals and the faux left want to hear, but Trump was the representative of the "less belligerent" faction in the imperial establishment. The discord that Trump represented has been decisively resolved within the establishment (though within the population is a different story). There will be war. That is in fact the chief reason why Trump was removed. There is no way that Trump could launch a new war and make it look like the victims' fault, so he had to be replaced with a figurehead that looked more apologetic when ordering mass murder.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 11 2021 16:51 utc | 133

Promising over and over to increase the role of capital markets in determining social production and begging for a partnership in the world capitalist system is *not* advancing socialism, but staking everything on the progressive mission and (apparently) eternal necessity of capitalism. I believe capitalism no longer has a progressive mission, and that it is assiduously undermining the physical foundations of civilization in general, so I think such a policy is folly at best. But that's just me, apparently.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Apr 11 2021 16:52 utc | 134

@ dh Comment 77
Drunk nazis have a lot to do with it. Get some vodka, an 82mm mortar, three mortar bombs, take a drink, roughly aim at a settlement, remembering that the pointed end is up pop off the three quickly (minute and a half max, pack up, run away and have another drink. Very hard to stop except with snipers and some luck at seeing them set up.
That accounts for most of "the fighting" that has been reported.
The rest is positioning things, Ze in a metal hat visiting what looks like a garbage dump and tough talk.
The tough talk seems to be stopping, which is good.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Apr 11 2021 17:01 utc | 135

RE: Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 11 2021 9:46 utc | 110

All very well, so WHO is going to FORCE all these pie-in-the-sky dreams you've enunciated to happen?

If you can't answer that your list is fairly useless.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 11 2021 17:03 utc | 136

@ Posted by: steven t johnson | Apr 11 2021 16:52 utc | 134

It is because China needs to break the American/capitalist financial blockade, and also because the CPC still has ultimate control over foreign trade.

Posted by: vk | Apr 11 2021 17:20 utc | 137

@ 135. Sitting in a dugout is boring. Not much to do except drink. I doubt if their officers will say much if they fire of a few rounds at the Moskals.

So they wait for the arrival of the 6th. Fleet in Odessa where it will be greeted by Ukrainian maidens with flowers in their hair (looking for husbands).

Posted by: dh | Apr 11 2021 17:52 utc | 138

It's the wrong time for war anyway, ground is still too soft. Late May early June is best so maybe we can expect a revival around then? I think NATO are holding some war games in the area at that time, more posturing from the West. The reality is they haven't got the capability to deal with Russia and neither the taste for brutal deadly warfare which will kill hundreds of thousands. Still that never stopped the US fighting to the death using other peoples troops! NS2 must be stopped! ... at all costs?

Posted by: Gerald | Apr 11 2021 20:53 utc | 139

Saker's latest from Martyanov is a must-read. One can imagine Milley's reaction to Gerasimov's little reminder of what awaits any invading force..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 12 2021 1:30 utc | 140

Best way to self-destruct NATO: support warmonger Zelenskyy too much: even the EU sheeple won't swallow that. They are stupid but not THAT stupid.

Posted by: Antonym | Apr 12 2021 2:11 utc | 141

Ecuador's election: I was wrong. Bankster Lasso wins. very few details. Doesn't seem right to me but I'm not there.

Looks like a left candidate leads in Peru but i think they go to another round.

Posted by: migueljose | Apr 12 2021 3:27 utc | 142

Below is the latest I have read about Ukraine

MOSCOW, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia does not seek a war with Ukraine but is concerned for the Russian-speaking population in the country's eastern Donbass region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday.

"No one is going to move towards a war, and no one at all accepts any possibility of such a war," Peskov told a Russian TV program.

"Russia has never been a party to this conflict (between Kiev and insurgents in Donbass). But Russia has always said that it will not remain indifferent to the fate of Russian speakers who live in the southeast of Ukraine," he added.

According to the spokesman, Kiev refuses to fulfill its responsibilities under the Minsk agreements on a Donbass settlement, with government forces intensifying "provocative actions" in the region.

Russia, Germany and France are "bewildered" by Kiev's recent claims that the Minsk agreements are useless, Peskov said, adding that there are no alternatives to the pacts for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Political advisers of the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders are working towards holding a summit on eastern Ukraine, he said.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 12 2021 4:49 utc | 143

Skiffer #122

but I do see this situation more as having put the Maidan-coalition on the back-foot and having to disentangle themselves, rather than a carefully pre-planned and coordinated operation.

Thank you and I humourously appreciated your allusions to the asylum that has captured Ukraine. The Maidan Murder Coalition has discovered its karma that was always lying in wait. These villainous rsoles will seriously collapse under the weight of it all, particularly the sniper trick shooters on the Maidan crowds.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 12 2021 8:14 utc | 144

Lozion #140

Thank you. Martyanov is direct and unambiguous in the main. I take it that this was the item at the Vineyard of the Saker you cited?

I loved this line: "Everyone can recall a wide-spread (spread most likely by some overly zealous, but not very literate, Russian “patriots”) rumor about DDG-75 USS Donald Cook having her electronics “burned” by a couple of intrepid Russian Su-24s in April of 2014, who allegedly forced this American ship to fast return to Constanta, where, allegedly some of her crew expressed a desire to abandon the ship. NYT and other US media, not without justification, called those rumors to be Russian “propaganda”. They have a point."

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 12 2021 8:44 utc | 145

Alright so I read that as 'After the Bear Showed its Tits'. It appears to me that the situation is in flux: parties pushing to increase tension, parties just trying to sell their goods, parties wanting war, others wanting to cool down things. I don't know if Zelensky has a clear plan on where he does want this to go or whether he is feeling his way through it, which could be interpreted as going with the flow.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 12 2021 9:15 utc | 146

Which seems as good a moment as any to plug my new product (!!). Since that picture of Col. Brittany visiting Donbass in uniform of 72th mechanized division with a prominent skull badge reminded me so of the sketch 'Are we the Baddies' it is time to market my new velcro badges with rainbows and BLM logos. Stick them anywhere to show you're part of the right camp! If you shoulder badges may offend leftist softies, just stick these badges on top of them for the perfect photo op! HTS already ordered a large batch. Now 20% off and buy two get one free!

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 12 2021 9:20 utc | 147

Turkey wants to build on its successes in Nagorno Karabach to sell its weapon systems to Ukraine. Whether they also explicitly wish the conflict to explode is less clear.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 12 2021 9:41 utc | 148

Tuyzentfloot #148

Turkey was not alone in Azerbaijan. Its mate Israel was supplying toys and tricks as well as I recall.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 12 2021 10:11 utc | 149

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 12 2021 9:41 utc | 148

Erdogan needs money, cash. The same seems to be true of most if not all Western politicians. But some, like Erdogan and Bibi, need lots of money.

Putin on the other hand, does not need cash. He has a healthy fiat currency at his disposal and sells a lot of food, oil, lumber, weapons etc. internationally.

I don't think Ukraine is going to be a good source of cash for Erdogan, or Bibi. They need a lot of cash too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 12 2021 11:26 utc | 150

So there is a massive build-up on both sides in Ukraine? (The following comment was provoked by info from a tweet that the Ukrainians have "found" a secret plan by the Kremlin for a union with Donbas .. unconfirmed)

What if......?
... The Russians and the Dondbas/Luhansk actually DO declare a union with Russia? There is no "need" for the Russians to physically "invade" the area. They can just sit there and wait for the Ukrainians to do something. Then IF Zelensky decides, it is he who has to "start" the conflict. As a plan it is the perfect reversal of the usual Russian "aggression".

Zelensky's bluff called?

A "union" is just another way of saying "it is ours EVEN IF the title is nominally someone elses, stuff you".

The massive forces on the "frontlines" are there to remind the Ukes and their backers what "might" happen, IF they "invade" Donbas/Luhansk. What can they do about it? Make rude noises in the background?

The US, Israel and Turkey are all examples of one country simply "taking over" parts of another country - without any legality whatsoever. US in NE Syria, Turkey with it's advance of 32km all along a new frontline, with a wall between itself and Syria. Israel with the Golan. None of them have the slightest legal reason to be there. (Chinese claim the Spratleys, which is a legal fig-leaf).

Lateral thinking by Putin? Would he even need a legal fig-leaf?

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 12 2021 12:47 utc | 151

What if......?
... The Russians and the Dondbas/Luhansk actually DO declare a union with Russia?

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 12 2021 12:47 utc | 151

It is an interesting idea, and I would not want to say it will not happen, but it seems un-Putin-like to me based on past performance. He's been very comfortable with frozen conflicts in the past. And I think he probably still wants Ukraine as a buffer, friendly but not Russia, and to keep it whole minus Crimea.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 12 2021 14:26 utc | 152

Don't mess with Russia, not if you're smart. Russia can and will 'bring the noise'.

Posted by: Bert33 | Apr 12 2021 15:12 utc | 153

The North Americans are cowardly shits.

They believe that they can fight Russia ... to the last Ukrainian.

And this will be another war halfway around the world that they can jabber about, while they are safe in the Western Hemisphere--just like the vast majority of American wars of aggression like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.


The North Americans will discover the hard way what real war is about--when it is fought on their own soil and they live in mortal fear of bombs dropping on their heads.

This sense of American "safety" must be ended.

That is the only way American imperial impunity to wage wars "over there" will be defeated.

Posted by: ak74 | Apr 12 2021 16:12 utc | 154

Bemildred | Apr 12 2021 14:26 utc | 152

This way he would still "keep" Ukraine on a tether, and avoid being accused of aggression.

OK, it may go that way but the silence (from Putin) and the refusal of the Russians to give more than vague reasons for their actions, does mean that the west's MSM have nothing to froth at the mouth about- Let Zelensky stew in his own juice.

As well as the regular Army and volunteers, He is going to end up with seven thousand ex-jihadists employees, multiple "mercenaries" from the US and the other parts of the world, orders for Drones, arms etc. BUT he is losing $3 billion revenue from gas (the transit of which has been "slowing down") since the 1st April. I don't know what he has contracted to supply to those futher along the pipeline. Plus the debts to the WB and IMF.

So how long can he keep up the expense of having a standing army of 105'000 or more at the ready?

The Russians can wait them out. If they just don't "talk" or give any PR leeway to the west, then with the attention span of the goldfish in the EU and US citizens, it will drop once again from view. (20 seconds for a goldfish otherwise they would get bored going round and round in a bowl ?)

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 12 2021 16:45 utc | 155

Diesen in his book, Russia's Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia, provides the rationale for the Outlaw US Empire's actions in Ukraine, that are actually aimed at NATO members, which it fears will be enticed by Russia and fracture the alliance:

"This susceptibility to outside sabotage of regional unity [NATO] can be mitigated by centralizing power by, for example, instigating more overt military tensions to strengthen alliance unity." [Pg. 22]

This also serves to provide additional energy to the Russophobic Narrative and the unfounded rationale for anti-Russian sanctions. The Empire must at all costs continue NATO's viability for that ensures the Empire's geoeconomic and geopolitical control of the EU. The same is true in East Asia where the anti-China narrative must be continued to keep Japan and South Korea under the Empire's thumb, although South Korea is slowly slipping away.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 12 2021 18:07 utc | 156

@ karlof1 | Apr 12 2021 18:07 utc | 156 with a short month trip....?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 12 2021 18:58 utc | 157

psychohistorian @157--

Howsit!?I'm in Falls Mill, Virginia which is just next to Bluefield, a very important King Coal town that straddles the border with West Virginia. Explored an excellent cavern yesterday and an exhibition coal mine the day before. Today is my first computer usage since 2 April. Still on track to be back home by April 30. I see there's lots of material to catch up with, but I've also found time to read some key books I brought along. Now, back to catching-up!

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 12 2021 19:14 utc | 158

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 12 2021 16:45 utc | 155

Yes, like that. It's very Putin-like. But mind you, I'm not saying you're wrong either. I think he would prefer to keep it the way it is for a while if he can, until "conditions" are better.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 12 2021 22:08 utc | 159

Stonebird @ 155

The new 2020/2024 Russia/Ukraine transit gas contract is 'pump or pay' in that Russia pays $7B over 5 years regardless of whether gas is shipped or not. So it doesn't matter if the volume drops. I am actually surprised that it has given the still harsh weather in Europe.

Meanwhile more figures are out on NS2 and it looks, given good weather, that both Fortuna and AC could finish pipe laying in both Danish and German waters by the end of May. So operational by the end as of year as stated by Gazprom looks on the cards, if not earlier.

Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 12 2021 22:42 utc | 160

@vk "Yeah, sure, capital markets (capital accounts) are a unique feature of capitalism"

Hmm. I'm not sure it's true. A building full of steam-powered looming machines in Great Britain vs a pottery workshop full of slaves in Rome. Seems like the same thing, conceptually.

Perhaps what's unique for capitalism is labor market. Buying muscle power vs owning it.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Apr 13 2021 8:54 utc | 161

@ Mao Cheng Ji

What really changes with capitalism (17th or 18th century) is that industry has advanced to the point where human labor isn't even necessary or pivotal to make goods anymore, machines can make goods all days all nights.

Yet prices continue to rise, and only a select few individuals have a hold of these machineries.

What should be a future where people have everything they want due to this level of production, we have the present where corporations compete with each other to fleece the mass the best way they can.

Posted by: Smith | Apr 13 2021 9:16 utc | 162

Nah, machines can't produce stuff by themselves. Machines multiply the productivity of labor.

Where (or when), as you describe, machines, owned by few, produce goods for sale without any hired labor, that's not capitalism anymore. It's more like feudalism, methinks.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Apr 13 2021 9:45 utc | 163

@ Mao Cheng Ji

When workers use machine to make stuff and stuff aren't handmade anymore, that's another level. This wasn't in Imperial Rome or Imperial China where even their swords and exotic goods were still handmade.

And no, capitalism rises with the notion of factory owners owning multiple machines (i.e. means of productions), the workers are just hired to operate the machine, and we come to the part where factory owners own more machines than the state and bend the state to its will using money.

Feudalism has a lot of common with capitalism because it also upholds the rule that a duke/count can hold a lot of land with all the farmers included, similar to what a corporation does nowadays, except nowadays said corporation can actually own more than the king himself.

Posted by: Smith | Apr 13 2021 10:18 utc | 164

Smith @164

No swords were ever "handmade". It may seem pedantic to you but tools were always employed in the manufacture of swords. A hammer and a highly automated assembly line are both tools, with the only economic difference between them being the amount of human labor crystallized into the production of the tool itself. The value of this crystallized human labor gradually transfers to the end product being produced as the tool is employed and wears out. The tool itself can never produce more value than was invested in its own creation.

Capitalism exists to extract profit from the production process. You cannot extract production profit from a tool all by itself, regardless of how sophisticated that tool might be. This is because a competitor in the "Free Market" will employ the same kind of tool to compete for market share, driving prices down to the cost of production. Of course, with only your nifty super-sophisticated tool as the sole requirement for production, the cost of production becomes the operating and maintenance costs of the tool; costs that are firmly fixed and totally inelastic. It is a violation of the laws of physics to "underpay" a machine.

To realize a profit there must exist within the production process something that on the "Free Market" costs less than the value of what it produces. Human labor is the only thing that can fulfill that requirement. Capitalism cannot exist in an economy where the production process is totally automated.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 13 2021 15:31 utc | 165

aquadraht | Apr 18 2021 7:29 utc | 94

Your ignorance is astonishing! The Roman Empire was much more than just a "predatory culture". "Predatory" is rather the culture producing mindsets like yours! The Roman civilzation was based on assimilation, not predation. Have you any idea how many Roman emperors were of non-Roman birth? You would be surprised! How many examples can you quote of Russian, Mongol, Han, or Manchu, or Bantu emperors of non-Russian, non-Mongol, non-Han, or non-Manchu, or non-Bantu birth? The world, its architecture, its liberal arts, its law, its literature would not be the same without the Roman influence! Go see London, Washington D.C., St Petersburg and you will find everywere traces of its influence in the architecture. True, land was routinely allotted to the veteran legionars, but this did not entail the replacement of the native. Do you seriously think that all people living within the range of the former Roman Empire are descendants of legionars?
Old Christian Orthodox Russian Empire practised serfdom. Different word, same slavery. "By the eighteenth century, the practice of selling serfs without land had become commonplace. Owners had absolute control over their serfs' lives, and could buy, sell and trade them at will, giving them as much power over serfs as Americans had over chattel slaves." Their official number was about 20.900.000 in 1861, when serfdom was abolished in Russia.
American natives were mostly wiped by smallpox, not forced labor.
The Muslim-Arab slave trade in Africa dated from the very beginning of the islamization of the continent. It lasted for thirtheen centuries (7th-20th C) without interruption and resulted in the killing, castration or enslavement of 17 millions of black Africans (Tidiane N’Diaye, Le Génocide voilé, 2008).
Current estimates are that about 12 million to 12.8 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic over a span of 400 years (Ronald Segal, The Black Diaspora, 1995). The number purchased by the traders was considerably higher, but your figure of +400 millions is overly ridiculous.


Posted by: Alberto | Apr 18 2021 14:38 utc | 166

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