Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 22, 2021

The Ukraine Crisis Recedes - But A False Narrative Of It Leads To Bad Conclusions

Some two month ago we discussed how the U.S. focus on narratives will let it collide with reality. It is certainly not only the U.S. government that creates narratives, comes to believe in them, and then fails when it is confronted with reality. Carried by think tanks and media the narrative mold has grown throughout the wider 'western' world.

On the danger of this development the above piece quoted Alastair Crooke who wrote:

[B]eing so invested, so immersed, in one particular ‘reality’, others’ ‘truths’ then will not – cannot – be heard. They do not stand out proud above the endless flat plain of consensual discourse. They cannot penetrate the hardened shell of a prevailing narrative bubble, or claim the attention of élites so invested in managing their own version of reality.

The ‘Big Weakness’? The élites come to believe their own narratives – forgetting that the narrative was conceived as an illusion, one among others, created to capture the imagination within their society (not others’).

They lose the ability to stand apart, and see themselves – as others see them. They become so enraptured by the virtue of their version of the world, that they lose all ability to empathise or accept others’ truths. They cannot hear the signals. The point here, is that in that talking past (and not listening) to other states, the latters’ motives and intentions will be mis-construed – sometimes tragically so.

Over the last weeks we passed through a crisis that easily could have had a tragic ending.

Since February the Ukraine built up a force to retake the renegade Donbas region in east-Ukraine by military force. After waiting several week to see the situation more clearly Russia started to assemble a counterforce backed up by statements that were sufficiently strong to deter the Ukraine from continuing its plans. The danger of a Ukrainian assault has now receded.

Today the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave orders for the troops to return to their bases. Much of the equipment though will stay on training grounds near Ukraine until the regular fall maneuvers later this year take place. That minimizes transport costs and gives a little time advantage should someone in the Ukraine again have silly ideas.

Russia has clearly won this round.

But that is not how it looks when seen from the 'western' narrative. In that version the Ukrainian plans and its assembling of heavy weapons and troops near the Donbas border never happened. The narrative says that the whole incident started as a 'Russian aggression' when Russia very publicly showed its potential force.

Only a few analysts on the 'western' side have rejected that narrative and stuck to reality. Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie's Moscow Center is one who got it right:

In February, Zelensky ordered troops (as part of the rotation process) and heavy weapons (as a show of force) to go near to the conflict zone in Donbas. He did not venture out as far as Poroshenko, who dispatched small Ukrainian naval vessels through the Russian-controlled waters near the Kerch Strait in late 2018, but it was enough to get him noticed in Moscow. The fact of the matter is that even if Ukraine cannot seriously hope to win the war in Donbas, it can successfully provoke Russia into action. This, in turn, would produce a knee-jerk reaction from Ukraine’s Western supporters and further aggravate Moscow’s relations, particularly with Europe. One way or another, the fate of Nord Stream II will directly affect Ukraine’s interests. Being seen as a victim of Russian aggression and presenting itself as a frontline state checking Russia’s further advance toward Europe is a major asset of Kyiv’s foreign policy.

Russia intentionally over reacted to Kiev's opening move. It demonstrated its overkill capability and made it clear to Zelensky's western sponsors that any further provocations would have extremely harsh consequences.

As Putin said yesterday:

Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.

Zelensky's plan did not work out. While he did get verbal statements of support from Biden and NATO everyone knew that those were empty promises.

But for people who have fallen for the false narrative the situation looks different.

Consider this reaction to Shoigu's return-to-barracks order today from a member of the European Council On Foreign Relations (a U.S. lobby shop in Europe):

Gustav C. Gressel @GresselGustav - 13:15 UTC · Apr 22, 2021

I have to congratulate (Flag of United States) @JoeBiden to deterence success and crisis management. The right warnings were sent to Moscow, the right intelligence to Ukraine. (Flag of Russia) could not extort concessions, could not provoke. Let's see w. these forces aren't just redeployed to (Flag of Belarus).

Indeed Biden's order last week to pull back two war ships that were supposed to go into the Black Sea to support Ukraine was really great deterrence. But that was not a warning to Moscow. It did not deter Russia from doing anything. But it did end Zelensky's illusions of U.S. support.

But for Gressel, who like others is stuck to the 'western' narrative, the sense is different. He really seems to believe that the U.S. deterred Russia from some nefarious plans which it never had. He ignores that Russia reacted to a Ukrainian provocation in a way that, in the end, has made NATO and the U.S. look weak.

The danger is that Gressel, and other 'political scientists' like him, may once take up government positions and use their learned illusions to handle the next crisis. Stuck in the idea that Russia will retreat if only 'deterred' enough they will lean to measures that are outright hostile to Russia and may have indeed very tragic consequences. To repeat Crooke's warning:

The point here, is that in that talking past (and not listening) to other states, the latters’ motives and intentions will be mis-construed – sometimes tragically so.

Posted by b on April 22, 2021 at 17:25 UTC | Permalink


The Ukraine has now lost any notion of ridicule:

Act of war? Ukraine asks EU to consider cutting off Russia from SWIFT payment system as Kiev seeks more sanctions against Moscow

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2021 17:34 utc | 1

The Russians have only partly gone. Heavy weapons will remain in place which can be reactivated easily. (Particularly in Crimea). However the Russian "Threat" to Zelnsky is still there. Logically he should now have more difficulty in stirring up the EU and US for cash and weapons as the "obvious and visble" threat is diminished. I don't think his troops can stay indefinitely where they are. How can he continue to pay for all his new mercenaries, new arms?

So how is the MSM going to react? They have a lot of "journalists" around there, waiting for something to happen.

One obvious factor is that the supply lines of both are within their own countries (Ukraine for Ukrainians, and Russia for the Russians). Those that have the longest supply lines are NATO, the UK and US.

An earlier ploy (Attempted violent assasination of Lukashenko and most of the Belarussian parliament), with Georgia and other close by countries getting involved too, is now unlikely. BUT the US is desperate to cut the Russian-Chinese access to Europe by any means. What's next? Plan ....F?

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 22 2021 18:02 utc | 2

The Western narrative was also very clearly visible in the latest printed "Der Spiegel" 16/2021 (News magazine in Germany). They had a 4 page article about Ukraine with the title "On the edge of war". They reported at length about russian troops near the border.

Explicitely they wrote about sabre rattling from russia and generally gave the impression that all action is solely on the russian side and must be seen negatively or with grave concerns.
But they failed completely to mention Ukrainian troop movements, bellicose rhetoric or even the Zelensky's decrete 117/2021 from march 23rd with the translated title "Strategy of de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol".

Posted by: Someone_New | Apr 22 2021 18:18 utc | 3

b... thanks.. yes - narrative and controlling the narrative is what so much of this is about.... people in the west are not told of ukraines role in any of this or how they are encouraged by the west... instead what they are told is how russia is building up along the ukraine border.... in other words only one side of the story is told, and not both..nor is the timing of all of it shared either... people are literally given a script or narrative tailor made for brainwashing.. and indeed it works on most...

for an example of this today - i was listening to cbc radio - national news show ''the currenct''.. the host matt galloway discusses the situation with Mark MacKinnon, senior international correspondent for the Globe and Mail; Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at the New School in New York; and Michael Bociurkiw, global affairs analyst, formerly with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

listen from 22:48" for a good example of script writing and narrative control here... CBC The Current for April 22, 2021

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2021 18:19 utc | 4

I am not so sure that this is over. The Belarus coup was intended to be around May 9. Zelensky has called up the reserves who ever they might be. He just floated the idea of banning Russia from the SWIFT so that it is on everyone's mind when Ukraine claims they were attacked. The NS2 will likely be initially complete in May. The USS Cook and Roosevelt are waiting for the British boats and will likely enter together. They have not yet given notice that I have seen. Two frigates are transiting the Suez to join their fellow yanks. I see a perfect storm yet coming. Shoigu is bright and knows that it looks good to announce the return to barracks, but he has access to my data plus a ton more. He knows that the situation is still fluid and volatile.

Posted by: Nev | Apr 22 2021 18:35 utc | 5

But for Gressel, who like others is stuck to the 'western' narrative, the sense is different. He really seems to believe that the U.S. deterred Russia from some nefarious plans which it never had. He ignores that Russia reacted to a Ukrainian provocation in a way that, in the end, has made NATO and the U.S. look weak.

This delusion reminded me of a retort, from an astute observer, to a dopey remark made by Bush II soon after the start if the Iraq Fake War. Bush said "We're gonna turn EyeRack into fly-paper for ter'rists! To which the observer responded...
"If Iraq was fly-paper then the only bug that got stuck to it was Bush."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 22 2021 18:52 utc | 6

I'm one of the most ardent proponents of the "imbecilization of the West" hypothesis, but this is clearly a diplomatic style face-saving plausible deniability exit by the West.

The West knows time is not on its side in the Ukrainian issue, and its puppet president threw a Hail Mary. Russia correctly didn't swallow the bait, and the West fell back as it knew it would have to, since this was a long shot.

NS-2 is now getting finished, and the Ukraine will consolidate itself more than ever as a black hole of American resources. The West, however, has one last ace in the hole: the German Green Party, which is well positioned to form the next government after the December national elections. The NS-2 certainly won't be finished by then, if the American diplomacy is to do its job properly, and the Greens will have all the tools at hand to implode the project, thus giving the Ukraine some more years to ride on American finance by its gas leverage (over which all its sovereign T-bonds rest at this point).

The key to Ukrainian success is in Germany, not in Russia.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2021 19:14 utc | 7

Thank you b.
More and more interesting links for a great nightshift!

Every body must read in UNZ an interview of Israel Shamir (posted it in the afternoon)

Who cares their narrative? Dummkopft
On the decision level a lot of people know the facts.
And Putin and al. ability to build fact is impressive. A lot more than "1962 Cuba missile crisis".
And Russia got good countermeasures with RT, VK...

And YOU'll be there

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 22 2021 19:18 utc | 8

One advantage that Ukraine has in military terms is the number of people who willingly and enthusiastically want to join the army for the sake of de-occupation (interesting why they invented a replacement of "liberation" that has at least two equivalents with Slavic roots, perhaps they do not like their current occupations). The best proof is that through their democratically elected representatives they voted for a huge increase of punishments for avoiding conscription.

The other proof is that, temporarily at least, Ukrainians abolished the system of rotation in which units were staying on the fortified lines literally dying of boredom and related risk (alcohol poisoning, explosions of stills making moonshine, drug overdoses, suicide, stepping over their own mines, to mention a few), instead the troops to be rotated stayed in place and the other units joined them nearby.

However, Russian conscripts without the advantage of Ukrainian enthusiasm have better weapons. Modernizing Ukrainian military is a tall order. The budget barely supports the troops without modernization, the domestic industry in its better years relied to selling parts to Russia and buying other parts, remnants of industrial integration of Soviet times. Supplying them with NATO weapons would require huge gifts that (a) could be unpopular in the West (b) raise risk of getting the best toys of NATO to Russian in exchange for non-toxic alcohol, fresh Afghan heroin etc. Did I mention mind-killing military service? And with not so best toys, like missile boats that are about to be de-commissioned, say, in Canada, they do not really change the strategic balance.

Thus Zelensky had to be saved from his own rhetoric and gestures -- the aforementioned change in "rotation". Kiev authorities have a good practice in "never mind". For example, they utilize fascist radicals to intimidate opposition, but they are what I call "pet cobras", biting the hand that feeds them is what is programmed into their reptilian minds that do not have circuits for "friends" and "gratitude". And because of some grievances they trashed the Presidential place of work, insulting graffiti, broken windows, a broken and burned door, so three ringleaders got arrested, Parliament spent a few hours being appalled (after thinking for a week what to say), and now one ringleader was let free, with the remainder probably joining him soon (one at the time, I think). See folks: nothing happened.

It is possible that Napoleonic rhetoric and gestures were planned to get a "street cred" with those hoodlums, or that they were discreetly encouraged by an embassy (some people think that UK is the leader here, USA having mental problems and distractions). Or some combination.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 22 2021 19:20 utc | 9

I would like to see some reporting on liability for Germany if the Greens cancel NS2. It seems rather nebulous on Google searches.

Posted by: Eighthman | Apr 22 2021 19:21 utc | 10

"What fools those morons be." - Bugs Bunny

Imagine a drunken red nosed music hall comedian having to be taken so seriously. It really grates that the West has been reduced to this; a Spam headed sham, so pilled up he rattles, as a President of the FSOA. This obvious, self professed clown, Zelensky as head of an SS Totenkopf militia. A tiny appendage of Russia called Europe being a colony of a country based on genocide and slavery, that is reputedly anti-colonial. and a parcel of rogues spanning three continents and two oceans that gobble up lies like dung beetles on excrement lean back on their laurels, ill gotten gains, genocide and lies, and feel themselves morally superior to the victims, actual and future.

Posted by: Benedict Arnold Palm | Apr 22 2021 19:24 utc | 11

Too much narrative, kills the narrative


Even Fox don't buy it

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 22 2021 19:25 utc | 12

Our problem here in the U$A is still the same as always. Mr. Z's announcement on 3/24 about his nation's intentions to take back the Crimea, were NEVER mentioned on our MSM. It's always Russian aggression, or China's aggression. It's NEVER our fault.

Somehow, someway, that scenario MUST change.

Posted by: vetinLA | Apr 22 2021 19:27 utc | 13

listen from 22:48" for a good example of script writing and narrative control here... CBC The Current for April 22, 2021

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2021 18:19 utc | 4

Do you care to take responsibility for our mental health? I did provide a summary of a "narrative control" article once, I can do it once in few months, should we also have some rotation here?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 22 2021 19:28 utc | 14

@ 14 piotr.... for your mental health i recommend unplugging from all western news outlets especially with regard to topics like russia, china, venezuala, syria, ukraine and etc. etc... free! no charge for you piotr! and okay - you're on next shift!

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2021 19:39 utc | 15

Just a couple of notes:
-The Greens, if they "win" will not win with a majority. That means they will need coalition partners. Neither the CDU or the SPD is going to go along with their plan to stop NS2. The Greens, in order to form a govt. will cave in on NS2 and probably other things.

-The Ukies are still fleeing the country to avoid going to the front. The Ukie brass says as much. These are not soldiers. They are farm kids. At the 1st sign of serious war, they will all head for the russians with hands in the air.

-V. Putin handled the western MSM narrative quite well, imo, when he said "Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time." It can't be clearer than that. And that tells me that the ussa is in the crosshairs. This may be the 1st time in history that the oceans will offer no protection for the warmongers that have been at war for 222 years of 237 years of their existence

The comedian is still flaying about and now trying to play the SWIFT card (last week it was nuclear weapons, before that it was...). Which, of course, the west will not honor because it would cripple the west as much or more than RU. I would imagine he needs to change his undershorts on an hourly basis these days. He is literally caught between a rock and a hard spot. No more support from DE, FR, US, NATO, TR except good wishes. And demands from his brain-dead Banderites are only growing more shrill. What's a poor comic to do?

The west is basically done with him and with the show of force by the russians they are more done with him than before. For his sake, i hope his khazarian passport app has been approved.

Another failed state compliments of the khazarians in DC.
And the beat goes on.

Posted by: robert | Apr 22 2021 20:00 utc | 16

Being seen as a victim of Russian aggression and presenting itself as a frontline state checking Russia’s further advance toward Europe is a major asset of Kyiv’s foreign policy.


I think B takes the "administration" too literally -
We know they are lying, they know they are lying, everyone knows they are lying but they are creating a virtual world in which their behavior is rational and justified. I am not sure why exactly such an artificial construct is seen as helpful. I suppose you could blame it on the voting public in the democratic west but we all realize by this point that the west is in no way democratic in a literal, functional sense - they less than do not give a damn what the little people think in fact they could well do with a lot fewer of them and really without the need of actual vote counting.

Possibly to their dog at night under the covers and after many martinis to help them forget what they are, they admit something like their best attempt at the truth.

And anyway, what did really happen to Seth Rich?

Posted by: jared | Apr 22 2021 20:23 utc | 17

Eighthman @10 North Stream 2 will be the last mayor cooperation between Russia and Europe for the next 10, 20 years. If you had to choose where to put your money, would you put it in a gas pipeline to China (Power of Siberia) or a gas pipeline to Europe (North Stream2)?

Putin will be the last Russian president who looked west, to Europe; the next president will look east, to Asia. It's where the money is.

Posted by: passerby | Apr 22 2021 21:17 utc | 18

The militias with their supposed morale — These are the grandkids and great grandkids of WWII collaborators. Middle class and hipsters. In a country where there basically is no middle class. Ukraine’s economy is at African level. Only source of funds for anything is the US embassy. There is no agenda but the agenda of 1945. Any from the 2014 crop who had anything on the ball whatsoever is now my neighbor. What is left in Uke is the dregs. Hipsters do not hang around in failed states.

Entire political landscape is now centered on US Embassy. Oligarchs might have some input still, their wealth is out of country and so are they most of time.

Pure political vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum. CIA and their hired actors will fill the stage, journalists will report their antics. They are playing to an empty house. Ukraine could exist in same zone as Libya or Iraq for a long time. In end nothing fills the vacuum but Russian Federation.

Posted by: oldhippie | Apr 22 2021 21:29 utc | 19

Piotr Berman 9

The Russian military's policy is not to use conscripts on the front lines, that role is far too important to trust to what are partially trained soldiers, they are used in support functions. The frontline is manned by professional soldiers.

Zelenski has got $300M of 'stuff' out of Congress this week so that was a result for him.

Russia might be pulling back but the Ukrainians haven't got the message. My understanding is there are 50,000 Ukrainian army and 20,000 Ukrainian security forces normally in the Donbass on the frontlines against 30,000 or so NAF. This crisis came when another 30,000 troops plus heavy weapons were moved into the area. Two days ago OSCE reported that two artillery battalions of self propelled 122mm and 152 guns have been moved up to the front. Then apparently earlier this week, two battalions of the Azov were moved up from Mariupol (their normal area) to the front lines facing Donetsk City. Most of these 20,000 security forces would be your Nazi wannabe's with the Azov unit being the largest. For those of you not watching in 2014/5 Azov are the evil bastards that make the Red Army in WW2 Germany look like angels.

So Kiev is still building an overpowering strike force with a probable objective of a thrust through the center to the Russian border, splitting the two 'rebel' states. Both US and UK and no doubt other advisors are on site. The Global Hawk is sucking up data overhead most days. There is NATO pride on the line here planning and directing. We await a false flag.

I think b is being a bit too optimistic. Somehow they have to stop NS2, in many ways their futures depend on transit gas and, as before, they won't care how many have to die to save their skins and wallets.

Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 22 2021 21:33 utc | 20

@ vk | Apr 22 2021 19:14 utc | 7
I agree
Once again Deutschland:أم كل المعارك

"The Mother of all Battles"

Germany, the biggest Tabaqui, surrounded by many petty tabaquies...
Germany, playing the two side...
Germany, so stark and so weak...
Germany, "So jung und doch so alt"

How long can Germany resist the narrative?
How long before the end of the show?

We must talk about Germania

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 22 2021 22:11 utc | 21

This tweet by circle jerker extraordinaire Anders Aslund, sums up todays essay by b.

"I tend to socialise with the elite in Kyiv (sic)" (not with the deplorables)

Posted by: Tom | Apr 22 2021 22:25 utc | 22

Tom @ 22

Scroll up on that to the original Aslund post. He is talking about his friends getting ready to flee to Western Ukraine (or further). Sounds likely enough. Maybe they know something. And if it is just a routine panic in a failed state amongst a nervous elite, it only repeats so many times before they all do get out of town.

Posted by: Oldhippie | Apr 22 2021 22:35 utc | 23

LOL The greens will not win in Germany. Wait to September and tons of pedophilia scandals to appear on the media about Robert Habeck, and they will be toast

Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 22:46 utc | 24

There's no question that if and when push comes to shove, and the first hints of defeat waft from the frontlines despite all attempts to spin it otherwise, the Ukrainian people will drop any sense of unity, fold like a wet napkin, and demand peace. Only a small sector of the population is highly motivated to fight or turn out the vote for bellicose policy against Russia.

Posted by: Cesare | Apr 22 2021 22:47 utc | 25

Do the Greens have vote in Bavaria, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Eastern Germany? I don't think so. Greens are popular Baden-Württemberg due Kretschmann charisma. If they haven't vote in Bavaria, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Eastern Germany , so they aren't going to win..

I'm seeing a lot of anglo and america media trying to boost these guys. But I have a bad feeling that the child book writer Robert Habeck will get a 'Sebastian Edathy' treatament.

Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 23:00 utc | 26

@ Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 23:00 utc | 26


1) Germany has a proportional representative system. You don't have to win it all to compose the government. The Greens are going to compose the next government; Germany, as a First World country, is socially stable enough so that we can already consider this a fait accompli.

2) Laschet's choice as Merkel's successor apparently backfired. The CSU-CDU will probably lose some 10% more on top of what they're already projected to lose in these next general elections, mostly to the Greens.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2021 23:45 utc | 27

I know how the German system works. Yet I am not seeing the Greens win or compose the next government if they threaten to cancel NS2. The NS2 is not about the CDU/CSU but about the German elite interest. No way they are going to give green light to the Greens. Speaking of someone which city is on the border.

Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 23:52 utc | 28

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 22 2021 19:20 utc

"One advantage that Ukraine has in military terms is the number of people who willingly and enthusiastically want to join the army for the sake of de-occupation "

Not nearly as motivated as Russians who have dealt with Nazi Fascists once before. What happened last time is seared into their heads.

Posted by: arby | Apr 23 2021 0:07 utc | 29

@ Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 23:52 utc | 28

Yeah, but the American elite is stronger than the German elite.

Posted by: vk | Apr 23 2021 0:20 utc | 30

So Annalena Baerbock will be the next US chancellor beacuse the US wants.. haha. Not sure about that these days..

Posted by: Nick | Apr 23 2021 0:27 utc | 31

Russia has closed the Kerch Strait.
It is reported that the two US destroyers which were to have transited the Bosphorus are awaiting a pair of Britsh destroyers intended to join them with the flotilla of 4 ships to enter the Black Sea.
What happens if the UK and US decide on a FONOP which involves a transit of the Kerch Strait to make a port visit to Ukraine on the Sea of Azov?
Does Putin keep the Kerch closed?
If he stops the flotilla does this become "interference with international right of navigation?"
Does this asserted interference then result in Ukraine attack? Or a combined NATO / Ukraine action?

Posted by: Sushi | Apr 23 2021 0:40 utc | 32

President Putin consulted with Minster of Defense Shoigu and asks if the troops can be scaled back from the lines of contact without significantly reducing tactical capability. Shoigu runs the numbers and delivers the answer that Putin was looking for.

Putin is offering an olive branch to Zelensky knowing full well his military can roll over the eastern and southern borders of Ukraine with impunity.

Does Zelensky do the same? No, instead he calls up reserve boys to make himself look tough.

A Russian proverb that is most appropriate in this case is this: Дурна́я голова́ нога́м поко́я не даёт. Translation: The stupid head doesn't leave feet in rest or in other words, no rest for the wicked.

Posted by: PokeTheTruth | Apr 23 2021 0:45 utc | 33

Sushi @32
How does Putin close the Kerch strait?
The same way as last time, park a largish ship or two in it.
FONOPS don't work so well as battering rams, and the straight is very narrow.

Posted by: Stephen T Johnson | Apr 23 2021 1:02 utc | 34

Dans l'œil du cyclone

The only antiwar party in Germany is AfD. They don't buy at all the "narrative" Die Linke is only "pacifistes bêlants".

The meeting of German parliament was interesting. Unfortunately, only found german SNA report

About green leadership in west Germany, it was a fake election, no meeting, no campaign...just ridiculous posters in the streets. Massive abstention.

A post Covid-19 election, with young people back, could be surprised. East Germany is to be analyse.

Germany often surprises the world for the better, SS-20 and Pershing II missiles crisis 1978-87 and Mauerfall 1989.

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 23 2021 1:15 utc | 35

this pesky little problem of mud is the cause for the delay/ Russian troops given some rest

Posted by: bill | Apr 23 2021 1:47 utc | 36

If all of this sound and fury is just to cancel North Stream 2, then it strikes me as a demonstration of terrible impotence, using a lot of leverage to achieve a fairly small end. Maybe it is exactly this. But I prefer Rostislav Ischenko's outline of several actions in several neighboring theaters as a concerted attack on Russia - with the objective of levering EU away from Russia. And the note here is that this is not over yet, the game is still afoot.

This larger ploy seems like a far more desirable objective for the US, given the expenditure of resources, rather than simply the NS2. But it still reeks of impotence, given how decisively Russia has countered each move (of the ones that are visible - no telling about the ones beneath the surface).

I have read somewhere, probably here, that if Germany were to cancel NS2 she would owe Russian billions of dollars in penalties. This project is after all, a matter of contract. And Germany must abide by its contracts if it is to remain in the business world. Or so it seems to me. Is Germany going to flout contract obligations with Russia, which supplies it with fuel for its industry and to stay warm in winter? It seems unlikely.

So, while the US acts to try to split Europe away from Russia, Germany is actually taking the least divisive path if it finishes NS2. Because if it is forced to cancel, and then to pay the billions in penalties, surely this causes a far greater split from the US and toward Russia than otherwise? Simply a split that plays out over a longer time, but much more finally.

If the US were capable of thinking all this through, it might understand how it pushes away everything it attempts to grasp. But we have watched for years, with some gladness, to see that this is exactly the fatal weakness of the US now. It simply doesn't understand reality, and simply cannot learn from it. Which I guess is b's point. Agreed.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 23 2021 1:48 utc | 37

@38 bill

Agreed, that Russia is not "withdrawing" troops, simply rotating them away according to the timetable and conditions of the battlefield.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 23 2021 1:52 utc | 38

For whomever may be under any illusion whatsoever,
Do not decieve yourselves,
The truth and the fact of the matter is very readily apparent.
All one must do is look objectively upon the reality of the situation in an honest manner.
Please do so.
Thank you.

Posted by: Joshua | Apr 23 2021 1:57 utc | 39

@Sushi | Apr 23 2021 0:40 utc | 32

The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world and has a maximum depth of 45 feet. An Arleigh Burke destroyer has a draft of 30 feet. Even if somehow NATO ships entered the Sea of Azov, there are not many places that they can go unless they are very small ships.

Posted by: Victor | Apr 23 2021 1:59 utc | 40

Mr. B

The situation around these unplanned military drills reminded me of 8 unplanned military drills by Iran during the last few months of Mr. Trump's government.

A likely preemptive responses, in both cases, to planned acts of aggression, nullifying them. Someone might have alerted them too.

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 2:05 utc | 41

b, thanks for this post and thanks for the link to the excellent Alister Crook SCF article. I am sick of being told what to think and what opinions I should hold by the corporate and public MSM.

Narrative control is even more pervasive these days and the disconnect with the actual reality is more obvious.

How can the Anglo/Zionist captive nations talk about 'our values' while the grotesque horror show and slow motion genocide continues in occupied Palestine?

How can the Anglo/Zionist captive nations politicians talk about 'free trade' and 'liberalised trade'
while enforcing illegal trade embargoes on sovereign nations?

We were told by President Nixon that trade with China was good. Now the BRI railroad is portrayed as a 'threat' and 'controversial.' Ditto the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Europe.

What is threatened is the cushioned pashas position to dictate hegemonic power throughout the world.

Australia is among the worst offenders of this moronic groupthink as shown by distinguished veteran correspondent Hamish McDonald:">">

This from a former Australian diplomat:

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23 2021 2:10 utc | 42

Mr. Bernard F

During the Siege War against Iran, as well as during the hard times of the pandemic, Germany established herself to be of no consequence in the political arena or in the humanitarian one.

I was not surprised.

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 2:10 utc | 43

Mr. JohninMK

If Ukrainian government has indeed mobilized or otherwise has planned a war against Russia, then her life expectancy in her current format or within her current borders will be measured in years and not decades.

Russia will not tolerate an armed camp of enemy soldiers in Ukraine, she will be neutralized as an independent actor shortly.

The 3 Westernmost oblasts might survive as a rump Ukraine but she is finished now.

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 2:19 utc | 44

Mr. Paul

Everyone knows Australians have been boot lickers of US.

Nothing new there.

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 2:21 utc | 45

Sorry about the bad link at 42. Here is the link:

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 2:21 utc | 45

Yes Fyi, it is shameful. What is not so well known is Australia and the US have a long history of bullying New Zealand with loud megaphone diplomacy on cherished policy issues. One example was when the Muldoon [NZ] government recognised the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people many decades ago. Muldoon told them to F off, diplomatically, of course.

The NZ superannuation fund recently decided to divest from Israeli banks citing 'repetitional damage.' among other relevant things. Another win for BDS but ignored by the MSM. How could they spin that together with the prevailing narrative? So they ignored it.

At least NZ has some self respect intact. In business it is a good idea to speak the language of the buyer. I prefer NZ white wine and Australian red wine, particularly Barossa Valley reds. Now Australia complains about coal fired power stations in China, forgetting it is Australia selling the coal. NZ can sell the wine.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23 2021 3:07 utc | 46

@Sushi | Apr 23 2021 0:40 utc | 32

My guess is that the Russians will create the conditions whereby the US/UK flotilla will be forced to get stuck in the shallow waters of the Azov Sea. Thus they will achieve their objective without firing a shot. The Russians know the spots with shallow waters. US/UK not so much.

Posted by: jiri | Apr 23 2021 3:25 utc | 47

I wrote a long response and it disappeared. Oh well.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Apr 23 2021 3:52 utc | 48

Mr. Paul

I have known, during my life, one single individual from New Zealand. He was the only English-speaker who could pronounce my name at first try. Very fine chap.

I do not know much about that country except that it is populated by serious Anglicans and is currently being led by a real statesman, unlike so many other countries.

I wish that country well, they are trying to do the right thing where larger more powerful countries, such as Germany, UK, or Italy, sold themselves for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 4:05 utc | 49

JohninMK #20

Agreed, your proposition for an immediate fast rush to the Russian border to split the region is just as likely as a stand down. I would never be trusting NATO or FUKUS.

See Libya.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 23 2021 4:44 utc | 50

Hi Fyi,

I am actually an Australian living in New Zealand. Lucky me. The two countries used to have a deal. Now that deal is observed by NZ but not observed by Australia. I tell some Kiwis, sometimes young in cheek, 'I am an Australian refugee boat person, fleeing from an oppressive government.'

As for the population, someone told me years ago ' it doesn't matter which party is in power, the country is always governed by Scottish Presbyterians so it always has some money put away'.

Most people can pick my Australian accent.

Race relations is far better in NZ than Australia. Australia is dysfunctional and utterly corrupt at all three levels of government. My American friend says that is like America. He moved to NZ. Both countries have rotten bureaucracy, perhaps a British hangover.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23 2021 4:51 utc | 51

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 23 2021 1:48 utc | 37
(Germany will not walk away from NS 2)

Thanks for fleshing out the NS 2 'controversy' with additional "inconvenient truths". My confidence that NS 2 will proceed as planned is based 90% on Sarah Kelly's 2020 DW Conflict Zone interview with Niels Annen, Heiko Maas's 2IC. Annen pointed out to (deaf-in-one-ear, can't-hear-with-the-other) Sarah that Germany's trade relationship with Russia is "complicated" but works for both. By the end of the interview it looked as though he felt a bit sorry for Sarah being stuck in the awkward position of being obliged to argue that black is white.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 23 2021 6:52 utc | 52

I thought Zelensky was the Real Deal, a kind of Trump echo. But he ran into the same problem as Trump - a painful collision with the reality that the President is just a figurehead with very little Leadership autonomy, if any.

There's a new post-Trump 3-part BBC documentary series called Trump Takes On The World. Last night, broadcast the first 1-hour Episode. It begins with Theresa May's visit to Trump's Washington. There's a formal meeting to discuss UK-US attitude to NATO. Before the meeting gets into stride, someone in Team Trump mentions that Putin phoned the White House and Team Trump is working out a schedule for the conversation to take place. Trump hits the roof.

"What!!?? Are you telling me that Putin, the only man who can destroy the United States, phoned the White House and you didn't tell me about it!!??"
Trump let's it slide, in deference to the presence of Ms May, but as the implications sink in he can't leave it alone and delves deeper into this weird event, Ms May's presence notwithstanding...

I think Zelensky ran into exactly the same problem - believing that the Prez is in charge of something important but realising that's just theatrical window-dressing. 'Democratic' window-dressing.
And with the Biden family having influence in Regime-changed Ukraine, it's probably safe to assume that the same Swamp Creatures which keep POTUS in check also 'manage' Zelenski's Presidential daydreams.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 23 2021 8:11 utc | 53

An excellent analysis. 'Blinkered' is the word on Washington. John Helmer's latest:

"State Department War Party has Led US Forces into their Worst Defeat Since Saigon - Without Russia Firing a Shot..."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Apr 23 2021 8:15 utc | 54

.. why ..artificial construct ... Passerby @ 18 < deep state reprograms what people remember about events.
planting misinformation 30 year study
Reprogamming what you remember about an event is technology embedded deep in MSM propaganda.

Passerby goes on to say "we all realize ...the west is in no way democratic in a literal,
functional sense - they .. do not give a damn what the little people think .. ..fewer of them .." <=is desirable.

Not true, the west is ~2.6 billion people [+ .010 billion can understand what you posted], but
<1,000,000 people are in the group you classify as the West. The governed masses are victim to
Oligarch owned nation states. The nation states are 1) tools, Oligarch's use, to compete in the
national and international markets (Article II), 2) each nation states includes a political
system (basically a consumer complaint department) to control the behaviors of the domestic
flocks and to keep the flocks distributed into their respective pastures.

Basically, the legislative and law making nation states are open air prisons that oversee the
domestic masses, but in foreign affairs, the nation states are economic weapons used by Oligarch
to engage in national and international profit making competition.
In other words,the only benefactors of the nation state system are the Oligarchs.

The 21st Century problem humans must resolve: "How to impose democratic principles,
human rights, and self-determination on the nation state system?"
It does not matter if we are talking East or West.
The nation state is the structure that confines the sheep so Oligarch can shear the wool.

A comment elsewhere alleged Lukashenko, of Belarus revealed how the world bank coerced sovereign nations to engage Corona virus lock down and vaccine scenarios; the same comment alleged Lukashenko fined the Soros foundation in Belarus 3.0 million for currency violations, and that the foundation left Belarus?
I am not sure about those claims. Can anyone authenticate those facts or elaborate on them . ?

Posted by: snake | Apr 23 2021 8:20 utc | 55

Biswapriya Purkayast: if the comment isn't the recent one you wrote in the "Kipling" Russia thread it has probably been snagged by the link-checker and will appear later. It happens to everyone once in a while, a good idea to write and save any comment in a text editor before copying and posting it, unless it's short like this one :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Apr 23 2021 9:13 utc | 56

Ukraine was not the target.

All this fuss around Crimea and Donbass was simply meant to distract attention from Belarus. (Did the Americans inform Zelensky or did they just manipulate him?)

The destabilization, collapse, invasion of Belarus failed (When did the Russians understand?), so the players disengage from this point of confrontation to find another one (Where?).

Posted by: Renard | Apr 23 2021 9:37 utc | 57

A key aspect of propaganda is reversing the actual order of cause and effect to make the enemy falsely look like the aggressor. We see this in the recent case of Ukraine. The western pressitutes cynically ignored, and failed to report, the unprovoked Ukrainian military build up on the border, to which the Russian build was a defensive reaction. So that now, as far as the average western consumer of this propaganda is concerned, the Russian 'aggressor' 'bad guys' have been forced to back down. All BS of course.

The anti-imperialist movement needs to establish popular online hubs that aggregate/syndicate the writings of small blogs like this. It is beyond the abilities of any single blogger to keep up with news events to counter imperialist lies in real time but collectively they can do it if their work is made available at bigger hubs.

Posted by: ftmntf | Apr 23 2021 9:58 utc | 58

Posted by: snake | Apr 23 2021 8:20 utc | 55

Searched for some info on that fine but that's an old story, the Soros Fund was fined and expelled from Belarus in '97. But recently there was a debate about the influence in education by the Soros foundations in the former soviet countries. Probably this has a lot to do with the comments made by Putin in his address to the Federal Assembly, he remarked that some history text books do not even mention the Stalingrad Battle while at the same time enhancing the second front influence in WWII outcome. In other words, the foundations might be out, there influence is not, money buys wills, and if anything else is missing in those influence institutions money is not one of them.

Do a machine translation for more info:

Posted by: Paco | Apr 23 2021 10:28 utc | 59

UK was hoping to provoke an incident with its ships in Black Sea.
Russia has unilaterally withdrawn, leaving the British ships to cruise about at their leisure. Pardon me, but might you have any Grey Poupon?

Posted by: jared | Apr 23 2021 13:59 utc | 60

@43 Fyi
To my knowledge Germany has several times delivered medical equipment to Iran during the ongoing pandemic. I`m not familiar with the details, though. Germany is also heavily involved with COVAX which is one of the main sources of vaccines for Iran.

Posted by: m | Apr 23 2021 14:04 utc | 61

It bugs me how even well-informed critics of North Atlanticist regimes and their foreign policies write and talk of them as "western demoracies". The "Founding Fathers" of the USA feared nothing more than 'democracy' -- by which they thought of ancient Athens, or the ancient republic of San Marino or some Swiss Cantons. What they wanted was a republic in the mold of Ancient Rome, Venice, or like the Netherlands before Wilhelm of Orange, i.e. roled by rich men's clubs and throuh inherited wealth, be that from land ownership, slave-holding or from commercial gains and prate privatering -- plus of course exploiting colonies and controlled marketing opium and its derivats (plus cocaine).

None of the present-day Atlanticist nations call themselves "demomracies" in their name or constitutions. Only Greece does -- and only because they don't have the romance word "republic" in their language.

In observation of these linguistic and political facts, the governments of Central Europe east of Nato, China, Viet-Nâm and Chosôn ("North Korea") all called themselves "people's republics" -- as opposed the the states further west that were ruled by the elected representatives of Capital and Big Banking.

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Apr 23 2021 14:22 utc | 62

Mr. m

That is news to me.

I will investigate.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 23 2021 14:42 utc | 63

Mr. Tollef Ås اس طلف

There is a discernible fear of the common man permeating the works of the intellectuals of Islam as well as the Sufis.

One expression of that among Shia is the idea and practice of "Source of Emulation".

The framers of the American Constitution, I understand, were also suspicious of the plebian rule degenerating into mob rule.

So they created a representative republic - which has become the dominant form of governance all over the world.

I personally do not find anything wrong with the theory of such a government.

Any form of government can become corrupt over time since Man is in the State of Fall.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 23 2021 14:48 utc | 64

Mr. m:

So far, I have found an announcement of 5 million Euros of medical aide to Iran from UK, France, and Germany in March of 2020.

Earlier, in April of 2019, Germany donated 4 boats and a number of tents for the victims of floods in Iran.

EU, at the same time, stated aide to Iran of 1.2 million Euros.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 23 2021 14:54 utc | 65

@7 vk
I don't know how you come to that conclusion:

he West, however, has one last ace in the hole: the German Green Party, which is well positioned to form the next government after the December national elections. The NS-2 certainly won't be finished by then ..

In fact, the elections will take place Sep 26. The newly elected parliament will gather fist time ("constituting") 3-4 weeks after that date, so end of October. After that, coalition agreement has to be negotiated, usually taking 6 weeks or more (last time, it was nearly 5 months). If the outcome is as the polls indicate at the moment, with the Greens as the strongest faction, they will get the task to strike a coalition deal, negotioting probably with CDU, and SPD plus FDP, for a couple of weeks. A new government, elected by the Bundestag, is not to be expected before end of December.

Before anybody could act upon NS2, it will be 2022. If the project is not stopped at the last kilometres, it will be finished by May, 2021. Once operational, the government does not have much leverage to shut it down.

Posted by: aquadraht | Apr 23 2021 14:55 utc | 66

Mr. Paul:

Yes, I can confirm reports of Australian racism against Indians, Iranians, Lebanese, Chinese, and Greeks.

One person told me that she was reluctant to travel to the United States because she had feared similar treatment there.

On the other hand, I know of a case of an abandoned Sikh mother & child (by her husband) in New Zealand - the social services stepped right in and helped stabilize their lives.

I think all of these evils start from the top.

The late General MacArthur tolerated racism and the African-Americans under his command suffered.

Some other Flag Rank officers did not tolerate racism and that made a huge difference to the experience of the African-American soldiers and sailors under their commands.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 23 2021 15:01 utc | 67

Addenda to Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 23 2021 8:11 utc | 53
(BBC doco Trump takes On The World)

Episode 1 spans events from Ms May's Trump White House visit, to Helsinki and Trump's 'betrayal' of AmeriKKKa in his private meeting with Putin.
During the closing moments of the doco (minute 55 - no ads on ABC) a bloke who looks like Mitch McConnell (R) Kentucky/Tel Aviv, says "That'll be the lar-yest time we ever have a President meet a foreign leader in private."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 23 2021 17:26 utc | 68

Russia has not been idle as the US and allies have been pumping plane loads of weaponry to the ukropa army, this 'training deployment' was an opportunity for Russia to check, train and equip the Donbass militia. I would assume that an operation room is already setup, with spetnaz remaining in place to monitor the lines.
Nato is stumped at both the heavy response and language used by Russia, they are a paper tiger, and many of their members, would have opted out. The 'Belarus attempted coup' is another Red line for Russia, thus VVP stressed that Russia has the resources to put a stop to it.
The Czech hyenas have started walking-back(US State department word) accusations about the 2014 explosions

@B could you look into the issue of the Damona explosion, I believe a poster somewhere mention a retaliatory attack by Iran on missile factories in Jerusalem, I also doubt it was a stray AA missile.

Posted by: MrLenin | Apr 23 2021 17:26 utc | 69

MrLenin 69

All the open source evidence does indeed point to it being an S-200/SA-5 missile.

The Israeli Defense Minister Beni Gantz has officially acknowledged that the attempt to shoot down the S-200PMT missile failed. Saying that 4 US and 6 Israeli Patriot SAMs & 2 Israeli SAMs "David Sling" missed the S-200 at 17 km.

So, not just IAF but US operated systems as well by the look of it.

This is now a huge problem for the US. At least when the Yeminis hit Saudi the US can mutter about the quality of the Saudi AD crews but here, in Israel they will be skilled and well trained crews from both countries i.e. the 'best'. This is very embarrassing for the US MIC. Their SAMs couldn't even down a Soviet era errant SAM.

No doubt today many countries will be re-evaluating their Patriot AD systems. Indeed, should existing customers be demanding their money back as the system is clearly shown to be faulty (it has to be a fault, it can't possibly be a design error)? Turkey and India must be feeling pleased.

Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 23 2021 19:43 utc | 70

I meant to say that for a while now the Syrian rules of engagement have changed and they are now able to 'chase the launcher aircraft' home. Before that they were only targeting the incoming munitions. Putin confirmed the change.

The radars attached to the Syrian S-300s, plus freestanding units, give them a very good view of where the IAF aircraft are. Even better if they are plugged into the Russians IAD.

In a way this was a very good warning shot. It did no real damage so no excuse for Israel to seek revenge yet it must be giving the IAF second thoughts about their current attack strategy.

Sometimes accidents can be really beneficial.

Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 23 2021 19:54 utc | 71

@ JohnMK... thanks for your comments on these matters... i appreciate it..

Posted by: james | Apr 23 2021 20:11 utc | 72

Update on the Ukraine situation:

When will they ever learn?

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23 2021 20:38 utc | 73

I think along with Pres Putin address credit is also due to Lavrov's statement that Ukraine would cease to exist....a real dose of blunt sober reality.

Posted by: Jo | Apr 23 2021 21:17 utc | 74

Here come the englanders turn Zelensky into David the Goliath killer. He will be all fired up by the British Embassy squad. Black Sea battle next week.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 24 2021 10:11 utc | 75


When will they ever learn?

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23 2021 20:38 utc | 73

The Mouse That Roared redux?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 24 2021 14:52 utc | 76

Speaking of dangerous narratives... this is what scares the hell out of me...

"the plan which had been first described publicly in America’s two most prestigious international relations journals, as being a suitable replacement for “M.A.D.”: “Nuclear Primacy”. That’s the goal for America to blitz-nuclear attack Russia so quickly that Russia won’t have enough time to launch a retaliatory response."

... that there are people who are so deluded they actually believe a nuclear war can be "won."

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