Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 19, 2021

Why Washington's Anti-Russian Policies Are Likely To Intensify

Thanks to a monoculture of anti-Russia hawks in U.S. policy institutions relations between the U.S. and Russia are likely to further decline. But some hope might be seen at the horizon.

Scott Ritter predicts the end of a generation of anti-Russian influencers in Washington DC who depict Russia and is policies as being run by just one man:

These “Putin whisperers” infiltrated every aspect of American culture and politics, their writings achieving near-scripture-like reception in the pages of American newspapers and political journals, and the authors of this intellectual dreck being offered prime seats at the table of national security policymaking, either on the National Security Council, or as a National Intelligence Officer.
...
These “Putin Whisperers” thrived during the administration of President Barack Obama, led by the likes of Michael McFaul, and achieved near-critical mass during the Trump administration, empowered by overly politicized claims of collusion with Russia by people in the Trump circle. They continue to play an important role today, filling the airwaves and pages with anti-Putin propaganda whose cumulative effect is to dumb down the American public by demonizing Russia and its president to the point that any accusation will be accepted at face value, regardless of the lack of corroborating evidence or the improbable veracity of its claim; the recent scandal over allegations that Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan serves as an apt illustration of this phenomenon.

Unfortunately the constant demonization of Russia's president by the 'Putin-whisperers' has already led to some tragic consequences:

A children’s author and parish councillor died after a neighbour with mental health issues shot him in the face and stamped on his head, believing he worked for Vladimir Putin and was to blame for the spread of Covid-19, an inquest heard.

But the danger of seeing everything caused by just one man is much greater. It explains the confused policies of the Biden administration which may lead towards war.

Ritter argues that Biden trapped himself:

Biden is a prisoner of his own anti-Russian rhetoric, influenced in large part by the need to be seen as responding to a domestic political prerogative founded on decades of Russia - and Putin-bashing at the hands of the “Putin whisperers” and their ilk. It is one thing to spout off as a candidate for president; it is an altogether different reality to be serving as president, where words and actions have life-or-death consequences.

As the realities set in the people and their policies will have to change:

These are policies pushed and promoted by the “Putin whisperers.” For the moment, their will continues to prevail. But their days are numbered, as realpolitik pragmatists in the White House, Pentagon and Intelligence Community are recognizing the reality that the days of taking for granted US global hegemony are over, and that for the United States to remain relevant, it must adapt to the reality of a multi-polar world, and Russia’s rightful role therein. This will not happen overnight, but it is in the process of happening. In promoting and supporting Biden’s latest round of sanctions, the “Putin whisperers” have reached their high-water mark. From here on out, their influence will begin to ebb as the national security demand for fact-based assessments outstrips the domestic political need for fact-free propaganda.

I am not that optimistic. The Blob is resistant to change because those who are inside it tend to bite away anyone with even a slightly different view.

Consider the case of Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is known as a middle-of-the-road expert of U.S. and Soviet/Russian relations - not a hawk, but also not an appeaser.

Rojansky was supposed to chair the Russia desk in Biden's National Security Council. As soon as that became know the 'Putin Whisperers' came out in force to fight the nomination. Axios led the charge:

Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."
...
  • In 2017, Rojansky decried America's "Cold War style paranoia about the Russian bogeyman," acknowledging that Putin "is a huge problem for the United States" while arguing that escalation carries "unacceptable risks." He has consistently called for managing competition with Russia in a way that protects U.S. interests and minimizes risks.
  • "Russia is not going to go away," Rojansky wrote in a National Interest op-ed last year criticizing what he characterized as the overuse of sanctions. "Peaceful coexistence remains an imperative, no matter how unsavory Putin’s regime might be."

Bad headlines and heavy lobbying against Rojansky followed. Biden hints at Russia appeasement policy wrote the Washington Examiner pointing to Rojansky nomination.

Today we learn that Rojansky has been canceled because his middle-of-the-road position is now deemed 'controversial':

A Russia expert whose bid to join the Biden National Security Council sparked an outcry among prominent critics of the Kremlin is no longer under consideration for the role, according to three people familiar with the matter.
...
Rojansky got far in the hiring process, the people noted, and was being considered for the role for at least six weeks before his name was made public by Axios. That report provoked uproar among well-known Russia hawks, including activists Bill Browder and Garry Kasparov, as well as the largest Ukrainian-American organization in the country. Rojansky’s critics have pointed to the Kennan Institute’s 2015 award to Russian oligarch Petr Aven, and an open letter written by Ukrainian alumni of the Kennan Institute in 2018 that slammed the think tank unit as an “unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference.”

Sane people are aghast about the potential consequences:

Anatol Lieven @LievenAnatol - 12:16 UTC · Apr 19, 2021

This is so depressing. Any open debate on Russia policy within the administration will be eliminated, and huge amounts of inconvenient fact will be suppressed or ignored. Did we not see enough of this sort of thing and its consequences in the run-up to the Vietnam and Iraq wars?

---
Dov H. Levin @dov_levin - 12:26 UTC · Apr 19, 2021
No fan of Putin- but this act by the Blob shows how policy failures happen in US FP. Stage 1: Anyone w/even slightly heterodox opinions on contentious state x is excluded from policymaking. Stage 2: Exclusion causes groupthink that leads to dumb policies towards state x & a disaster
---
Jon Askonas @JonAskonas - 13:25 UTC · Apr 19, 2021

The fix was in the moment Axios and Politico described Rojansky as "controversial", creating a controversy out of thin air. In the Russianist community, Rojansky is known as being almost painfully middle-of-the-road.

---
Mark Ames @MarkAmesExiled - 14:01 UTC · Apr 19, 2021

Biden’s Russia policy hiring subordinate to a vulture capitalist who renounced his US citizenship (Browder), a far-right fellow traveler with Frank Gaffney & Peter Thiel (Kasparov), and a Ukrainian lobby group with deep ties to Nazi collaborators. This is normalcy.

---
Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald - 14:20 UTC · Apr 19, 2021

The Biden Administration was considering hiring a very smart, moderate Russia specialist, @MatthewRojansky, for its National Security Council, but the standard Russia hawks who crave conflict with Putin blocked it on the ground that he's too diplomatic.

The Blob does not self-correct its groupthink. It needs very strong forces to turn the course of the huge foreign policy ship. Change is likely to come only after the current crew has run the ship into ground and turned it into a wreck.

Over the weekend several additional conflict items between Russia and the 'west' sprang up.

Russia exposed a plot to assassinate the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko:

Several people, including two in Russia, have been arrested for allegedly plotting an armed insurrection against the Belarusian president. He claims that the US may have sanctioned the assassination attempt.
...
The existence of an alleged plot to kill Lukashenko, other top Belarusian officials, and even their family members was revealed on Saturday. In Minsk, the national broadcaster ONT ran a story naming suspected conspirators and exposing their plans. The report offered as evidence several clips of what appears to be Zoom meetings between them.

The Czech Republic unreasonably accuses Russia of an 2014 explosion in an ammunition dump:

The Czech authorities are binning Russia’s bid for a nuclear power contract and expelling 18 embassy officials in connection with a fatal explosion seven years ago.
...
The incident in October 2014 at the Vrbětice arms depot was forgotten with great alacrity. A huge explosion of 50 tonnes of munitions killed two workers. Another big blast followed in December. The facility was state-owned, but, in an arrangement of characteristic post-communist Czech opacity, privately managed. Security was sloppy. The clean-up costs were huge, but compensation to nearby residents stingy.

The investigation was lethargic and inconclusive.

After the Czech sent 18 Russia diplomats back to Moscow, Russia ordered 20 Czech diplomats to leave. With that many gone the Czech embassy in Moscow will hardly be able to work. So why did the Czech authorities make such weird claims now and react in such a harsh way?

The most likely explanation is that the Biden administration bumped the Czechs into acting, as part of its efforts to raise international pressure on the Kremlin.

The Czech also used the opportunity to exclude the Russian Rosatom from the tender to expend the Dukovany nuclear power plant. Previously a Chinese company was similarly banned. The only other serious bid is from the U.S. company Westinghouse.

With a monoculture of anti-Russian hardliners in the State Department and National Security Council further U.S. polices towards Russia will likely become even more hostile than they are now. It may indeed need a conflict, and a potentially high number of casualties, before sanity sets in.

Posted by b on April 19, 2021 at 16:38 UTC | Permalink

Comments
« previous page

@William Gruff | Apr 20 2021 14:22 utc | 96

William, If you are only hit by Russian Topol missiles, then you would likely survive. If hit by a Dong Feng 5 from China, then you've got a few seconds to live.

Check out the atomic bomb simulator nukemap. Hopefully, all of this will pass and the MOA banter can continue.

One thing is certain, humans are absolute crap at predicting the future. Anything is possible and tomorrow may well bring welcome surprises.

Cheers

Posted by: JustAnotherAussie | Apr 20 2021 14:45 utc | 101

I could wish it possible to easily repost such material as this to social media. Uou and those commenting have useful lessons for those of us less studious of current affairs.

Posted by: Chris Herz | Apr 20 2021 14:50 utc | 102

Piotr Berman @ 91

So where did you go to school? At my high school it was not bullying for lunch money, it was rape. It was not ad hoc, it was organized.

There is a movie about my school called The Long Green Line. Watch the 2:06 trailer and see a child abuser made into a hero. There would be no need to know more than what is in that trailer, it was a great deal uglier than that. Coach had a harem of young boys for over half a century.

Posted by: oldhippie | Apr 20 2021 14:53 utc | 103

@ William Gruff | Apr 20 2021 14:22 utc | 96

1/4 mile (400 m) could be painless. You need to move close ;-)

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 14:55 utc | 104

Is this real?

Posture Statement Preview: The spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. We must account for the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.

Posted by: Kartoschka | Apr 20 2021 14:05 utc | 93

Well, that depends on what you mean by "real".

The basic attitude is that enemies are not supposed to do unexpected things, we want to engage in theft and extortion, not total war. It's very alarming for the political classes here when enemies start acting up and not following the script "rules". And the other thing I notice is nobody ever actually does anything, it is all depersonalized, completely in contrast for example with how they talk about Russia, which is all about claims Putin himself did something or is likely to.

What I notice is that they state the most obvious things using $100 dollar words and emotional appeals.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 20 2021 15:00 utc | 105

Gruff @ 96

Russian doctrine has always been about decapitation strikes aimed at command and control. US is the one aimed at mass casualties.

Won’t much matter. In any scenario that goes beyond a minor scuffle in Ukraine there will be a full economic collapse. Death will be slower and only evaded by a few. Old folks at this bar won’t have a chance.

Posted by: oldhippie | Apr 20 2021 15:07 utc | 106

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 14:19 utc | 95

Allow me to agree with you in taking notice of Playa Giron. If there is a future history, Fidel/Cuba will be remembered when most of these pipsqueaks who parade before us every day are forgotten and gladly so. He has a few peers, but not many.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 20 2021 15:12 utc | 107

snake | Apr 20 2021 9:23 utc | 80


Thank you Bernard F. @ 74 for
My American Uncle"
but I could not get it to play on my browser. any chance its script is available in english?

Me too this morning ! No complete movie on YT. I need to get my DVD from France. I try to find a trick...
But usefull summary available on Wiki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_American_Uncle?wprov=sfla1

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 15:20 utc | 108

Today The Saker has announced he is 'deplatforming'

SouthFront
NewsFront
The Strategic Culture Foundation
InfoRos

because they were blacklisted by USA and he is based in Wilmington (DE).

Here in Italy we say 'Capisco, tiene famiglia' (I understand, he has a family) when someone is abandoning his principles and political beliefs because he wants to live a quiet life.
But in my country this is NOT a compliment, not at all.

Posted by: Mauro | Apr 20 2021 15:29 utc | 109

@103 Bemildred

I'm trying to wrap my German mind around this English words.

Is it telling me: we may do something so stupid that Russia may nuke something

?

Posted by: Kartoschka | Apr 20 2021 15:32 utc | 110

Piotr Berman @ 91

So where did you go to school? At my high school it was not bullying for lunch money, it was rape. It was not ad hoc, it was organized.
----
My high school was uber geeky with two special math classes. The worst bullying I faced was laughing at my attempts to present a proof on the blackboard, stemming from an incident when I proposed "auxiliary theorem", and then the teacher correctly pointed out that it was not needed. Also, in those times, kids lunch was a sandwich made by your mother, getting cash from kids was almost impossible. But I know about worse situations from Rebel Without a Cause and newer literature etc.

But now we can induce a small kid trying to stay with the cool kids to cough up a few billion dollars (no rape reported).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 20 2021 15:57 utc | 111

@ Posted by: Mauro | Apr 20 2021 15:29 utc | 107

I am subscribed to South Front and Strategic-Culture on Telegram - pretty cool.

Posted by: jared | Apr 20 2021 15:59 utc | 112

@ JustAnotherAussie | Apr 20 2021 13:41 utc | 90
SAC having control of land-based strategic bomber aircraft tweet


the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.

Dr. Strangelove...

One of the communicative consequences of the theory of Prof. Laborie is that the expression most often serves as a cover for behaviours. The SAC cannot be anything else and can only understand others by its own existence.
Nuclear Bombing ! What else do they know?

mirror effect

Carl Gustav Young said of the mirror effect that "everything we see in others is a reflection of ourselves".

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 16:01 utc | 113

If I were in charge of NATO, and I were planning on sending troops into combat in Ukraine, I would need to secure Odessa, as that is the only seaport in the country worth mentioning.

Posted by: Feral Finster | Apr 20 2021 16:10 utc | 114

Kartoschka @108

Russia's "most bad" option is probably doing nothing. A "moderately bad" option for the Russians might be to respond to NATO aggression with only conventional warfare that results in a costly and protracted conflict that bleeds Russia for many months. I can see that a "least bad" option for Russia might be some thermonuclear "Shock & Awe" that gives the Americans and Europeans a taste of where things will end up if they continue to escalate the nonsense.

I think your read on it is accurate, though. Military people tend to be much more realist than political people and they may see that the US is moving into stupidly dangerous territory in trying to force Russia to submit.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 20 2021 16:11 utc | 115

...
that's certainly a fairly safe bet because it's clear Putin is on his way to retirement, so he can't be figurehead for demonize Russia propaganda forever.
...
Posted by: No Thanks | Apr 20 2021 10:38 utc | 81

That conflicts with a "News" report I heard a few weeks ago, that Putin has received approval of the Russian Parliament to run for 2 more 8-year terms. It sounded plausible to me because it matches and reflects the confidence China has in Prez Xi Jinping.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 20 2021 16:12 utc | 116

I'm trying to wrap my German mind around this English words.

Is it telling me: we may do something so stupid that Russia may nuke something

?

Posted by: Kartoschka | Apr 20 2021 15:32 utc | 108

Well, I don't blame you. It's very confusing if you listen to what they say and watch what they do. It took me a while to stop making excuses, and I grew up well aware of the hypocrisy here.

I don't know what they might do. I rely on their self love and their enemies sober view of the world.

I think our enemies (China, Russia, Iran) have been doing a pretty good job of trying to talk us down and back us off, that's about as good as I was hoping for at this point.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 20 2021 16:18 utc | 117

Ramstein, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Mannheim....

All in my near region... Lucky me

Posted by: Kartoschka | Apr 20 2021 16:31 utc | 118

@ oldhippie | Apr 20 2021 15:07 utc | 104 and Bemildred | Apr 20 2021 15:12 utc | 105

In case of economic collapse, Cuba is a good place to stay !
60 years of experience in self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Fish and "Moros y Cristianos" every days (and lobster on Sundays). Ropa Vieja on feast days.
And Cuba Libre al Malecon

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 16:48 utc | 119

jen @58 thanks for a very comprehensive link to a study of the needs of Pacific island countries. However I didn't see the message you claim as far as Australia's realization of the need for large infrastructure projects requiring loans and not grants, but perhaps I missed it due to my own ignorance and the length of the article. What I did see was caution being expressed insofar as the indebtedness of those nations, while at the same time it is said several times that with respect to Chinese loans that does not at present seem a problem. That seems in line with the caution being expressed by the NZ minister.

The following paragraphs seem to me to state the reservations succinctly:

Nine Pacific countries are among the smallest 25 countries in the world.[23] Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu — mid-sized Pacific countries — have populations of only 100 000–300 000 people.[24] Papua New Guinea is the exception, with a population of almost nine million people.[25] In terms of remoteness, the average Pacific country weighted by economic size lies 11 500 kilometres away from the rest of the world, a distance 40 per cent greater than that for the Caribbean islands.[26] Regarding natural disasters, Vanuatu tops the list as the country facing the highest risks in the world.[27] Tonga is considered second. Three other Pacific countries are in the top ten, including Papua New Guinea.

Difficult economic geography in turn drives enormous development financing needs, creating a predictable pressure towards potentially unsustainable fiscal policies and debt accumulation as governments seek to satisfy the needs and demands of local populations. The Pacific is, by some margin, the most aid-dependent region in the world. In 2017, the Pacific received aid equal to 5.2 per cent of its gross national income. By comparison, in Sub-Saharan Africa it was 3 per cent.[28] Even with this aid, the Pacific still faces one of the largest estimated financing gaps in the world. For example, the ADB estimates an infrastructure financing gap of 6.2 per cent of GDP every year, the highest such gap of any sub-region within the Asia-Pacific.[29]

Structurally weak and volatile growth further reduces the ability of Pacific countries to sustainably absorb large amounts of debt. Reflecting their difficult economic geography as well as weak institutions, Pacific countries have struggled to sustain even a modest pace of economic growth over the long term. As Figure 2 shows, economic growth in the Pacific is more volatile than it is fast. Growth accelerations tend to be short-lived and often driven by the transitory stimulus effects of large-scale infrastructure construction.[30] This means many investments struggle to generate an adequate return to justify the cost — even for investments in economic infrastructure that are usually considered to be growth-enhancing, such as roads, ports, and power generation.[31] It also means Pacific countries have limited scope to grow their way out of any debt overhang. Meanwhile, frequent negative shocks risk short-term debt-servicing problems and, in the case of larger shocks, can fundamentally alter debt sustainability prospects.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 20 2021 16:52 utc | 120

Bernard F | Apr 20 2021 9:03 utc | 79

Didn’t Putin say that he learned on the street, as a child, that when a fight is inevitable, it’s better to hit the first one?

Old English proverb: "Twice blest is he whose cause is just. Thrice blest who gets his blow in first!"

Posted by: foolisholdman | Apr 20 2021 17:02 utc | 121

@ William Gruff | Apr 20 2021 16:11 utc | 113


I can see that a "least bad" option for Russia might be some thermonuclear "Shock & Awe" that gives the Americans and Europeans a taste of where things will end up if they continue to escalate the nonsense.

Tactical nuclear weapons with destructive yields of 10 tons of TNT might be used more willingly at times of crisis than warheads with yields of 100 kilotons like Russian OTR-21 Tochka missile. Capable of firing a 100 kiloton nuclear warhead a distance of 185 km.

I read Russia get some thousand

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 17:02 utc | 122

my last post should have been labeled as a response to Posted by: Bernard F | Apr 20 2021 9:03 utc | 81.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Apr 20 2021 17:06 utc | 123

Tactical nuclear weapons with destructive yields of 10 tons of TNT might be used more willingly at times of crisis than warheads with yields of 100 kilotons like Russian OTR-21 Tochka missile. Capable of firing a 100 kiloton nuclear warhead a distance of 185 km.

I read Russia get some thousand

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 20 2021 17:02 utc | 122

I do not know where folks get such blood thirsty fantasies. Nuclear weapons have only one purpose: MAD, finding other applications is futile. On top of it, Russia is probably more sympathetic to the population of east Ukraine, the putative war theatre, then Kiev. That said, military targets may be flattened conventionally. Some sources reported that mobile 240 mm mortars were spotted in the region, these are ground equivalents of bunker thrusters. It seems that their "sweet spots" is against the opponent that holes down with some concrete reinforced fortifications and perhaps tunnels or caves. Would Russia decide for the maneuver type of war, part of the opposing armies would retreat, with some most ideological units attempting brave resistance, like at the Donetsk airport several years ago. Lighter artillery may convince them to dig deeper, and then the heavier shells can bury them.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 20 2021 18:08 utc | 124

Looks like a lefty is going to become president in Peru

"Leftist candidate Pedro Castillo of the ‘Peru Libre’ party came first, despite not featuring among the top five in any polls prior to the vote. "

Who is Pedro Castillo?

Posted by: arby | Apr 20 2021 18:18 utc | 125

MAD only works as a concept if you are 100% prepared to use all your nuclear weapons as quickly as you can to annihilate the enemy and to do so despite being annihilated yourself.

Mutually Assured Destruction, it is a guarantee or it is nothing at all.

The Russians are well aware of this and the Americans at least used to be. It is real and it is why Putin said that a world without Russia is not a world worth having.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Apr 20 2021 18:21 utc | 126

I for one do not feel sad thinking of the prospect of total annihilation of the human species, only the destruction of other species and a habitable earth for possible future evolution with hopefully a better result. Call me a misanthropist if you will, but the damage we humans have already caused to the natural world should have been enough to ostracize us from the cosmos forever. If not by self-annihilation, then by Nature’s Revolution of abrupt climate change that is now upon us.

Posted by: norecovery | Apr 20 2021 18:38 utc | 127

Ms. norecovery

You need religious help. You are a very very sick woman.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 20 2021 18:44 utc | 128

For clarity and in other words I would say that the meaning should at least in part (but maybe the whole) be understood as that a world without Russia will be a world that is guaranteed to be dead.

Correctly so in my own opinion (and the same goes for China and maybe others too).

This is the sanity hidden within MAD which has managed to construct a balance with at the very least no official use of nuclear weapons except for the tests before the "test-ban" treaty and certainly no nuclear war since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And this balance is what at least parts of the US government has been trying to upset and render moot.

(I am of the opinion that they have succeeded but not in the way they envisioned and not to their own advantage and that currently MAD only exists because Russia and China wants it to continue to despite the US having lost their own MAD capability, ie.: Russia and China and maybe others still have MAD capability but the US doesn't but Russia and China are willing to pretend the US still does and to act towards the US as if they still do).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Apr 20 2021 18:46 utc | 129

Another limitation of MAD is that both parties to the doctrine must be rational; that is, neither can be mad. If, on the other hand, one party is mired in a feedback loop of delusion and considers itself to be some kind of global superhero then the capabilities of the MAD doctrine to inhibit war will be diminished.

Thank goodness the empire's leadership is so thoughtful and sensible, eh?

Oh, wait...

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 20 2021 18:47 utc | 130

Mr. Piotr Berman

Yes, the Russians used thermobaric weapons of a certain class in Syria to great effect.

I think it likely that nuclear weapons will be used in some future war, and it will become clear that they are not as useful militarily as expected.

That we are discussing attests the the Fallen Nature of Man - there is no other way of understanding the flaw that runs through Mankind.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 20 2021 18:48 utc | 131

Ms. juliania

There are, roughly, fewer than 20 real countries with state sovereignty on this planet.

Those Pacific Ocean countries are just names on maps. The best that can be done for them is to get them incorporated into another country with better resources.

For example, Iran could annex those places, convert their population to Shia Islam, and run them just like one of Tehran's boroughs.

That way, those poor people will have a future with a culture and religion more suited to them.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 20 2021 18:52 utc | 132

Also: this all ties in with the US biological "research stations" and other attempts at "cheating" and "forgetting" etc. by the US in case anyone wonders. The Russians aren't fooled.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Apr 20 2021 18:55 utc | 133

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/conservative-laschet-will-be-german-ruling-partys-candidate-chancellor-first-post

Greens win - so NS2 gets canceled.

Posted by: Eighthman | Apr 20 2021 19:02 utc | 134

@ Posted by: Eighthman | Apr 20 2021 19:02 utc | 134

All of the resources of the west are focused on stopping that project and Merky is at the center of that focus. I can not imagine the pressure.

Posted by: jared | Apr 20 2021 19:06 utc | 135

While I share b's and others' opinion that Ritter is too optimistic, and the confrontation will rather go on or go worse than subside, it is not to overlook that the neocons are getting desperate. https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2021/04/20/sunbeams-from-cucumbers-the-view-from-the-khanate-of-kaganstan/ tells a lot about both their loss of confidence, and their ongoing if not worsening idiocy.

Posted by: aquadraht | Apr 20 2021 19:14 utc | 136

@ Eightman 134
The election will take place Sep 26, afterwards it will take at least 4-6 weeks for the new government to be elected and in office. If nothing is done against in the next 6 weeks, NS2 will be ready then.

As it is a commercial project, the government does not have the authority to shut it down. Ms Baerboeck, running for chancellor for the Greens, is stupid, incompetent (her technical/environmental prowess: "there is kobold in mobiles"), and fanatically militarist, anti-Russian, and transatlantic, sure. But even if she becomes chancellor (Peter principle) she won't have the authority to shut down NS2.

Posted by: aquadraht | Apr 20 2021 19:30 utc | 137

Piotr Berman | Apr 20 2021 18:08 utc | 124

Those 240mm cannons are called "Tulips" in NATO parlance. I suppose that "he was killed by a tulip" on a death certificate at least sounds original.

****

fyi | Apr 20 2021 18:52 utc | 132

Basically there is nothing to eat on a small Pacific island. Most has to be imported (Exception made for PNG).
One problem in PNG is that Religions do not pay taxes. So there are a surplus of sects. 7dy adventists, Catholics, Jehovas Witnesses etc, all sorts have "trai im luck" and profited from that. (Profit is the correct word).

One more religion is probably NOT the answer.

As an aside, the most religiously tolerant people were supposed to be the barbarians. If one barbarian saw that someone else's god was working better than his - he could change. So it was unwise to insult or denigrate another persons god as he/it/them might be useful.

****

Eighthman | Apr 20 2021 19:02 utc | 134

I followed a suggestion about the fortuna as below. Apparently they have been more or less going backwards and forwards over the same trace for several days. Either they have a technical problem, have got stuck in a deep spot, they have "dropped" the pipe, or there was some sabotage.

The latter, is a possibility and might explain why Russia has now gone so far in Ukraine. The timing fits. Sabotage would be an act of war. It also would "motivate" Zelensky to play hardball - thinking the Russians would have no alternative but to be nice to the transUkraine pipeline. (He would be forgetting that Russia no longer needs to sell gas to the EU as they have a big market in China).
Pure speculation on my part as NOTHING has been said why the Fortuna has been covering it's tracks.

Original post by: Das Kommentariat | Apr 20 2021 8:30 utc | 78
I have followed Fortuna (Russian pipe laying ship in the Baltic) on marinetraffic.com. For the last 2 weeks no movement whatsoever. Has anyone any news on this?

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 20 2021 19:39 utc | 138

Piotr Berman @ 124

Who has the bloodthirsty fantasies is the weapons designers and the military brass/politicians who direct them. The standard weapon in the US arsenal is the B61 with adjustable yield of 0.3 to 340 kilotons. At the low end that is equivalent to a mere 300 tons of conventional high explosives. Or what could be carried by nine B52 airplanes. That is not a MAD yield. It is a tactical weapon.

Any remotely modern nuke has been engineered to reduce radiation effects to a minimum and to maximize blast effects. The idea is that troops may possibly be moving in right behind the bombs. Yes, they think this way. Yes, atomic weapons are part of war fighting strategies, not merely suicide devices. Yes, they are that crazy.

Posted by: oldhippie | Apr 20 2021 19:40 utc | 139

Just an addition about eating on islands. There are improvements to the diet by new fruits species being added to the total. I was specifically talking about the smallest islands. BUT, even cattle in PNG suffered from a form of foot rot as the soils lacked something (not sure what - potassium?).

A vegetarians paradise ? Maybe. Highland people in PNG have an extra meter of intestines to enable them to extract the "protein" from vegetables. I could not live on the same diet for long.

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 20 2021 19:48 utc | 140

Those Pacific Ocean countries are just names on maps. The best that can be done for them is to get them incorporated into another country with better resources.

For example, Iran could annex those places, convert their population to Shia Islam, and run them just like one of Tehran's boroughs.

That way, those poor people will have a future with a culture and religion more suited to them.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 20 2021 18:52 utc | 132


There is a 4 legged obstacle to your fantasy, fyi. The pig! People throughout the Pacific 'love' pig.

But in NZ there are about 10,000 Maori muslims. So who knows what the future will be?

Posted by: tucenz | Apr 20 2021 20:04 utc | 141

Update: Russia's upper house of the parliament has been summoned for emergency meeting on 23rd. Putin wants "quick implementation".

They have a limited "mandate". Martial Law, Introduction of a state of emergency, or using Military forces outside Russian territory.

****

Another hypothesis is the joining of Belarus and Russia in some way. (ie Military as well?)

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 20 2021 21:03 utc | 142

Nr. tucenz

Excellent news about the Maroi Muslim. Too bad they are not Shia.

But, on the broader point, we could hope that they could begin to enjoy lamb.

This is a minor inconvenience, they would be part of a larger civilization the members of which had never had any problem marrying People of Color - in contradistinction to the Western peoples.

In a few centuries, there would be no distinctions.

Posted by: fyi | Apr 20 2021 21:32 utc | 143

Juliania @ 120:

Here is the relevant passage from the Rajah, Dayant and Pryke article at that Lowy Institute link:

... Australia is also looking to become an important lender in the Pacific. While Australia has long been the dominant aid provider to the region, its development financing had been provided only in the form of grants rather than loans. In November 2018, the Australian Government launched its Pacific ‘step-up’. This included a new $2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) — comprising $1.5 billion in loans and $0.5 billion in grants — as well as another $1 billion in callable capital for Export Finance Australia (EFA) ... and an expanded remit for EFA to finance overseas infrastructure projects ... These initiatives are in the early stages of operation. Still, there are concerns that in seeking to compete directly with loans from China, Australia might simply exacerbate existing debt sustainability problems in the Pacific ...

Further down in the article under the heading "For Australia", the article suggests that Australia should consider providing concessional loans (loans with more generous terms than the Pacific Island nations can obtain otherwise by borrowing at market rates through bond issues or from the IMF):

... Australia, like China, needs to avoid lending to countries that are already facing a high risk of debt distress, and provide more concessional financing instead. The AIFFP appears to have adopted rules along these lines, with the AIFFP Design Document indicating the facility will not lend to countries already assessed by the IMF to be at high risk of debt distress. It will also follow the debt limit policies of the World Bank and IMF in other cases where potentially unsustainable borrowing is a concern ... Meanwhile, EFA already adheres to such rules through its commitments to OECD sustainable lending rules for export credit agencies ...

Protecting debt sustainability in Pacific countries will also require Australian loans to be as concessional as possible, given elevated debt risks and the often limited economic viability of many infrastructure projects in the Pacific. This reinforces that the EFA’s role in the region should remain relatively niche, given its commercial nature, and that it should direct its focus to Asia.

That would leave the AIFFP to play the primary role in the Pacific. According to the AIFFP Design Document, AIFFP financing terms will include pure loans, grants only, or a mixture of both (effectively blending the two together to create a more concessional loan). For sovereign lending, the terms of the pure AIFFP loans will be benchmarked against the non-concessional loan terms of the MDBs. As discussed above, given low global interest rates at present, this would mean a grant element of around 50 per cent — technically well above the OECD minimum for concessional loans. This, however, means AIFFP loans could be marginally more expensive than equivalent Chinese concessional EXIM loans, depending on the specific loan terms used for individual projects. The exception is where loans are blended with grants, although the AIFFP design indicates this will not be in all cases ...

While it's true that the Pacific Island nations are heavily dependent on aid, the authors of the article omit to mention (perhaps because this was beyond their scope and knowledge as economists to cover) the historical context in which Pacific Island people were exploited by Australia for their labour in agricultural and resource extraction industries since the 19th century with very little thanks or reward for their efforts: a context which might also help explain the Pacific Island nations' eagerness to be part of China's BRI project and their naivety in dealing with Chinese state and private firms.

... Australia’s horticulture relies heavily on exploiting low-paid temporary migrants such as working holidaymakers, people here on bridging visas and seasonal worker permit holders from Pacific countries. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Harvest Trail campaign revealed over half of employers in the industry were found in breach of workplace laws, with more than 40% failing to pay workers properly.

Pacific Islander workers are particular targets for exploitation and particularly serious abuse. As leader of the [National Party of Australia, the junior party in the current governing coalition in Canberra], [Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack] knows what he’s talking about when he sees the glittering future of a foreign work force for the Nationals’ horticulture sector supporters.

Of course, Australia’s mass-scale abduction, deception and exploitation of tens of thousands of Pacific Islander people for cheap agricultural labour throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries is infamous. So-called “blackbirding” is a core part of Australia’s historical engagement with the Pacific.

From the early 19th century, Australia’s interaction with Pacific peoples has been via exploitation of labour, resource exploitation on Nauru and in PNG, commodity exploitation by [CSR Limited] or the maintenance of dominance of Australian firms in small national markets. And a key part of Australia’s economic imperialism in the Pacific was a long campaign to keep larger powers out — whether Germans, the French or the Japanese. Our current “Stepping Up” campaign against China is simply the continuation of the long-running mechanism of Australia’s Pacific imperialism: dominate the region, subordinate its interests to our own, prevent other, greater powers from establishing influence ...

Australia's abuse of Pacific Island people for their labour, in schemes condoned or even approved by Canberra that amount to treating them as guest worker slaves, is unfortunately too well documented.

I do not know what the situation in New Zealand was in the past but I doubt that New Zealand has had a much more enlightened attitude than we on the other side of the ditch have ever had. One thing for sure though, both our nations will still keep fighting to exploit Pacific Islanders for their rugby-playing skills.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 21 2021 0:24 utc | 144


Nuclear weapons have only one purpose: MAD, finding other applications is futile.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 20 2021 18:08 utc | 124

Since 1961.

While the Army conducted dozens of live-fire tests of the Davy Crockett with training rounds, only two live M388 atomic projectiles were detonated. The first occurred on 7 July 1962 at the Nevada Test Site when an M388 suspended in the air by wires was detonated a few feet off the ground in the Little Feller II weapons shot. Ten days later, in the Little Feller I shot, an Army crew fired a live M388 from an M29 launcher. The warhead detonated at a height of approximately twenty feet and at a distance of 1.7 miles from the launcher.

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 21 2021 0:26 utc | 145

@ Kartoschka | Apr 20 2021 16:31 utc | 118

Don't worry for survival Neandertaler and Heidelberger were there à long time ago.
"frisch Luft und Wasser. Wildschwein in Odenwald. A lot of Stein."

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 21 2021 0:31 utc | 146

@ Kartoschka


Homo Neandertalis and Homo Heidelbergensis

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 21 2021 0:47 utc | 147

FYI @ 132, Stonebird @ 140, Tucenz @ 141 and others:

Several Pacific Island territories are already part of other nations: Easter Island / Rapanui belongs to Chile and the Society Islands, the Marquesas and the Tuamotu Islands all belong to France, and American Samoa belongs to the US among others. The fortunes of those islands rise and fall with the fortunes of the nations that own them and (in the case of France) subsidise their economies. The extent to which FYI's suggestion works depends very much on the relationship between the Pacific Island peoples and the nations that govern them and what Chile, France, the US and others want out of that relationship.

Muslims in Melanesia (part of the Pacific Island region: Papua, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu) get around most Islamic prohibitions concerning pigs by breeding them for various purposes (meeting social obligations, counting them as wealth, paying bride price, resolving conflicts) but not eating their meat.

Cattle, sheep and goats wouldn't thrive well in tropical Pacific Island environments: cattle are temperate-climate animals that need flat grassland areas and sheep and goats require drier environments. The nearest equivalents that could do well on larger islands like Papua are water buffalo and possibly anoa (a species of dwarf buffalo) that could be domesticated. For small islands where land might be at a premium, and soils and ecosystems cannot accommodate large animals, keeping animals no larger than chickens might be the limit.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 21 2021 1:00 utc | 148

Zelensky invitES Putin to a meeting in Donbass..

https://twitter.com/theragex/status/1384588890741301248?s=21

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 21 2021 1:14 utc | 149

Ms. Jen

The islanders from such places as Fiji or Vanuatu could relocate to Southern Iran and Iranian islands.

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 21 2021 2:00 utc | 150

@ Lozion | Apr 21 2021 1:14 utc | 149 with the report of Zelensky inviting Putin to a meeting in Donbass

Thanks for that.

I smell a rat out to kill Putin or the whining of a losing hand....how many more days does Zelensky have before his empire shelf life expires?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 21 2021 2:17 utc | 151

What a surprise... not:

Dozen Megadonors Gave $3.4 Billion, One in Every 13 Dollars, Since 2009

Posted by: vk | Apr 21 2021 2:30 utc | 152

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 21 2021 2:17 utc | 151

I smell a rat out to kill Putin or the whining of a losing hand... Zelensky...

I suspect Biden too may have been planning to kill Putin when he called Putin to suggest a face-to-face meeting after he found out his Belarusian murder plot had failed.

Putin spoke to Biden about the failed coup in Minsk - Anti-Spiegel, April 19, 2021

I would really like to play my mouse on phone calls like this, as this explains Putin's reluctant reaction to Biden's suggestion for a face-to-face meeting. The reason is not just the new US sanctions or Biden's personal insult to Putin's address , but the general question of what Putin should talk about with someone who supports an attempted coup on a Russian ally who the head of state, Putin has known personally for decades to be murdered. For a conversation to make sense, there has to be a certain basic trust, but that is hardly the case with such behavior from Biden or the USA.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Apr 21 2021 3:31 utc | 153

I half expect Ukraine to be a Belarus UN/SCO protectorate or similar with strong Russian support (possibly only from within Belarus) before Friday is over (the "Ukrainians" better get those trains moving again all across to the other side of their "country"), and if that guess should happen to be correct I would then also half suspect that Putin told Biden about the details of this in advance when they talked just so that the US and NATO wouldn't be too spooked by the hammer coming down …and maybe Poland was asked if they wanted to trade places with Ukraine, an offer they politely declined.

Maybe too imaginative :D

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Apr 21 2021 3:52 utc | 154

@Hoarsewhisperer "a "News" report I heard a few weeks ago, that Putin has received approval of the Russian Parliament to run for 2 more 8-year terms. It sounded plausible to me because it matches and reflects the confidence China has in Prez Xi Jinping."

I don't believe that conflicts with my statement, other than being superfluous within broader context of specific legal and political background, distinct from media pastiche of image and narrative. Putin is an aging man as is clear from any photo today compared to his speech in Munich, so expecting he will never retire is simply detached from reality. And the simple fact is if he simply wished to extend his "rule" further, no changes would be needed: Just repeat the Presidency-PM-Presidency shuffle he did with Medvedev to enjoy another 2 terms in Presidency before doing it again hypothetically. Just an extension of status quo also doesn't explain the other structural changes in government included in the constitutional reform (which was approved by referendum, not just act of Parliament whose approval was procedural: additional guarantees for social benefits being added to referendum to increase it's popularity). Those changes amount to spreading the institutional levers of power, e.g. significant powers of veto/recall vested in council of elder statesmen to include former Presidents (not enitrely dissimilar to other states such as France, Italy, or Ireland to name ones in EU), which would be irrelevant in "permanent one man rule" scenario but make alot of sense to safeguard continuity thru change. Also strengthening requirements for office to exclude foreign influenced persons, which again is irrelevant to Putin's personal situation.

The changes to Presidential term limits are truly aimed at preventing future leaders (including Putin himself if he did run 2 more times) from doing the same Presidency-PM-Presidency shuffle, and that the new limits were not retroactively applied (which is completely normal lawmaking in most countries) is often understood as preventing Putin from being "lame duck" with no influence over his succession i.e. as contingent threat but not necessary to actually use, certainly not both 2 terms. It may possibly happen that Putin could serve one more term, or even two, but still that approaches his inevitable retirement by new Constitutional rules which didn't exist previously, so the changes are definitely not about some purely ego-centric "one leader man forever" perspective.

Posted by: No Way | Apr 21 2021 4:40 utc | 155

The ranting about "Pacific Islanders" is cringe inducing, and the claim Indonesia imposes Islam as state religion is just not true: although they have had tendency to demand at least superficial adherence to "monotheism" even that isn't absolute. But beyond the details, why this insane invocation of hyperspecific situations and fantasy theories which are clearly not relevant to the poster personally? As some gratuitously excessive effort to deflect from own ignorance and impotance? What is the need and purpose? It's insulting to everybody involved. One can oppose an empire or government without putting forth some megalomanical omniscient theory of everything. If you don't know much about a topic, don't act like you do based on a few scraps of info and imagery you can manage to find. Be real in who you are, not a sick clown.

Posted by: No Way | Apr 21 2021 5:04 utc | 156

No Way @ 156:

If you don't like some of the discussions here on the MoA thread, and the link to Vlad Sokhin's website that I made @ 148, you can at least refrain from the name-calling. Sokhin's opinions and statements about Indonesia and Islam are not mine.

Some of us like to speculate and if we come up with outlandish hypothetical situations and theories, what is the harm in that? They are there to be discussed and the fact that someone takes up the situation and theory (even if to shoot it down) shows that there is interest in it.

If my ranting about the way Australia has treated Pacific Islander workers disturbs you, that is not my problem but yours.

BTW the Russian Constitution allows the Russian President to serve up to a maximum of two consecutive 6-year terms (not 8-year terms). Putin has been allowed by the Russian legislature to run again for the Presidency in 2024 and (if he wants to) in 2030.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 21 2021 6:50 utc | 157

Hilariously, Russia did not just expel some diplomats, they also made it illegal for Russian citizens to work in foreign embassies (in Russia).

What does this mean? Few people realize that most of the "big" embassies (USA, UK, etc) are almost entirely staffed by locals. Besides the CIA and lobbying stuff, the only thing (non-local) embassy staff do is approve/deny visas for local applicants to enter the home country (USA/UK, etc), where all the paperwork is in English, etc.

Ironically, this means that when an American goes to the US embassy in Moscow, the only people they deal with are Russians. Locals work for less money, speak the local language(s), and are very obedient, so no Americans ever want those lowly jobs.

Good luck finding even five people in America who can speak Russian who are willing to work in Moscow :)))

Posted by: Sam | Apr 21 2021 7:16 utc | 158

Jen | Apr 21 2021 1:00 utc | 148

I wonder if "Mutiny on the Bounty" would have played out in the same manner, if all the local girls had been clothed from head to foot in Black in a "modest" manner.

*****

No Way | Apr 21 2021 5:04 utc | 156

In spite of the flippancy, there are serious questions about the Chinese in the Pacific, Relious impact on original populations, Australian "benevolence" in it's erstwhile territories, Basic needs (food), all of which can be discussed using an unusual theory by Fyi as the starting point.

1). The Chinese (particularly Han) have already been integrated into local culture for several generations . They work to a purpose and use ethnic "discipline" to enforce individuals to conform to the system. I have quoted elsewhere a couple of examples I have seen personally. Suffice it to say that Many Chinese now own the "trade stores" in communities. (Make no mistake they work for it, you could still see elderly Chinese women at the back sewing "Meri blouses" to sell - even if they didn't need to. or another who now owns a cargo ship and a factory - whose grandfather came as an indentured worker) That is "low level" infiltration.
2) Daru, (PNG) is going to be the scene of a large Chinese investment, it just so happens to be close to Oz, and command the Torres Strait between E and W oz. AND the seaward end of a planned gas pipeline.
Big investment, not loan as far as I know. (There are several pointers to reaction against the plan)
3) Religion: The seventh day adventists also do not allow their adepts to eat pig. Long pig is no longer served on gastronomic menus, and it had a ritual significance anyway.

A bit of a joke helps the pill go down, but it is in the details that you can see (or not see) the seriousness of a situation.

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 21 2021 8:17 utc | 159

JustAnotherAussie #101

One thing is certain, humans are absolute crap at predicting the future. Anything is possible and tomorrow may well bring welcome surprises.

Thank you and now for a Ventusky weather prediction for the Donbass. WET and more to come in the week ahead. Snow in the west of Ukraine so the Galician SS families at home will be freezing. How's that gas pipeline screw up going Nazis?

Will Ventusky get an A for Prediction 101?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 8:23 utc | 160

Sam #158

Thank you for that post and I am reminded that Julia Skripal once worked in the US embassy in Moscow. That was a point made by a commenter at theblogmire.com some years back.

I think that is a great idea to prohibit locals being employed in US embassies. It will achieve a few things, it will make it vastly expensive to bring trained recruits over, it will immediately remove a considerable body of knowledge that only an indigenous Russian could have and that the US embassy staff likely fully exploit and never pay for. It will also make it difficult to hone an indigenous Russian into being a helpful tool in colour revolution practice and execution.

You need skilled sociologists with years of immersion in the culture to fully appreciate the subtlety of how you might be received and therefore how to perfect the pitch. A low paid staffer will give very valuable insight into how things are received without even realising they are being exploited for a skill that is not on their pay grade.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 8:35 utc | 161

Stonebird #159

The Australian 'contribution' to South Pacific peoples is not benevolent. It is quid pro quo. The Aussies take the forests that are not taken by the Malaysians. The Timorese can tell you about how the poorest, newest country was liberated from Indonesia only to discover the Australians were taking some of its largest offshore oil fields.

The Australian government gave the Clinton Foundation $30Million to conduct a non existent AIDS program. They didn't do that. AIDS is ravaging PNG. Solomons likewise... the forests just stripped like sheaves of wheat.

Maybe China will be no worse??? Look at it from a local islander perspective.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 8:54 utc | 162

Petri Krohn #153

Putin spoke to Biden about the failed coup in Minsk - Anti-Spiegel, April 19, 2021

I would really like to play my mouse on phone calls like this, as this explains Putin's reluctant reaction to Biden's suggestion for a face-to-face meeting. The reason is not just the new US sanctions or Biden's personal insult to Putin's address , but the general question of what Putin should talk about with someone who supports an attempted coup on a Russian ally who the head of state, Putin has known personally for decades to be murdered. For a conversation to make sense, there has to be a certain basic trust, but that is hardly the case with such behavior from Biden or the USA.

Vielen Dank für diese Verbindung to anti-spiegel. (I trust my machine translator got that right :))

Thatassassination botch was mighty injurious to Biden and his entire gangster outfit.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 9:08 utc | 163

Lozion #149

Zelensky invitES Putin to a meeting in Donbass..

https://twitter.com/theragex/status/1384588890741301248?s=21

Fat chance, ridiculous, leaders would never meet where the war front is at explosion point.

That would really suit the assassin Biden and his nasty little Galician SS at the front line: kill two nuisance birds with one stone. Zelensky is no bait for Putin in fact it is quite clear that the President of the USA is not only agreement incapable but also fancies himself as a Doge - free to kill whoever he wishes.

No world leader could ever trust the word of the USA again after the Belarus assassination plot. They have totally f#ked it up. It is abundantly clear that any mental deficiency is not with Biden, it infects the entire idiot USA administration. They have been chewing on cycad nuts since their youth.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 9:46 utc | 164

The Skripal and Czeck ammo storage heros have done it again.

Powerful explosion rocks sensitive Israeli defence factory.

Probably so sensitive that just their appearance on the facility cctv triggered the blast.

Well done comrades ;)) These guys are on a mission to Make Russia Great Again.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 9:57 utc | 165

uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 8:54 utc | 162

The Pacific generally is being ripped off. Not just by the Aussies. I'm not "blaming" the Chinese, just saying that they have been there for some time.

There is a lot of "local corruption" by politicians although it is not perceived as such a "crime". (PNG: get elected and you have "five years in which to get rich", as I was once told, although changes of Gov. usually meant less). What could be expected from a society which had nothing to start with? Charity begins at home.

Maybe China will be no worse??? Look at it from a local islander perspective.

Agreed, they could even be better as they have had the time to understand the mentalities. (your post 161 also applies here. You need skilled sociologists with years of immersion in the culture to fully appreciate the subtlety of how you might be received and therefore how to perfect the pitch)

The societal changes necessary for long term development need to be introduced over generations. As ingrained habits and cultural "resistance" combine to delay any changes in the anterior "status Quo". Some of which changes are not beneficial anyway. (Drugs, in the Highlands of PNG. Helicopters picking up local produced crops. I don't know if that still happens. Probably.)

Fishing rights, (US, Japanese, Indonesian et al manage to get round the interdiction of fishing close to reefs by employing locals to do it and then take their catch to the mother ship). Wood clear cutting and exporting whole logs rather than enabling local woodyards to add value by sawing etc., Mining where "available", but the worst is still to come as the mineral mining in deep water (Nodules) will provoke a free-for-all.

....and tax havens? Solomons, Nauru..... it isn't the locals who benefit.

Then there are the "political" and military takeovers. US new port Lombrum on Manus island.

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 21 2021 10:05 utc | 166

The Skripal and Czeck ammo storage heros have done it again.

Powerful explosion rocks sensitive Israeli defence factory.

Probably so sensitive that just their appearance on the facility cctv triggered the blast.

Well done comrades ;)) These guys are on a mission to Make Russia Great Again.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 10:14 utc | 167

Stonebird @ 159:

You just reminded me with your mention of Han Chinese having been in the Pacific region for several generations: my grandparents on my mum's side used to run a small trading store in Rabaul on New Britain in the late 1930s / early 1940s after coming out from Guangdong. After the Japanese arrived in 1942 and killed their house boy, the family (parents, my mum and two small sisters) took refuge with other families in the forest for several months. Small sister no 3 was born during the period of refuge and was almost abandoned because people were afraid her cries would alert the Japanese. The family came out of the jungle some time in 1943 and was on a raft on the sea when picked up by an Allied warship. My grandmother and all four daughters were taken to Melbourne and later reunited with my grandfather in Sydney.

My family never went back to Rabaul. I think the town was buried under volcanic lava and ash in 2011. My mother does not really like to talk about her experiences in the jungle. She has had nightmares in the past about that time. I suggested once she see a counsellor but she refused.

There are many Chinese living in Sydney who have or had family or business links in PNG though they are dwindling in number as they age.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 21 2021 10:43 utc | 168

Uncle T @ 167:

Naaah, must have been that other well-travelled dastardly pair Kovtun and Lugovoy who poisoned Litvinenko back in 2006 and left a trail of radiation behind including in the taxicab that Litvienko (not they) rode on his fateful trip to the hotel to meet the pair.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 21 2021 10:50 utc | 169

Jen #169

Thank you I was unaware of that little twist in the story. I guess the Russians can actually time travel and that is what makes their poisons much less effective as the molecules are too volatile to reassemble in the past. They are greatly effective 'going forward' as the USA deems it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 11:13 utc | 170

Rabaul? I remember it well. (before the volcano). I was at Kerevat, (then other places in PNG, but that is a different story.)

One of the best periods of my life. What me worry? Nogat.

About going back, you can never really do that. After five years it has all changed, people do not remember you. Later on in the EU, I once thought of buying a plantation, as my wife and I were interested in Vanilla and/or nuts. So I returned and found myself at five in the morning on an empty plantation, half way along New Ireland, miles from the nearest village, thinking "what the h*ll am I doing here?". Went home.

You have to realise that a plantation owner gets up at five to give daily "orders" to about 30 people and is responsible for their welfare (medical), amusement (films), trade store and shelter as well as running the plantation itself. One plantation manager that we knew applied for a job while in Sydney, they asked about his qualifications, he said that he was a light-weight boxing champion. Got the job on the spot.

By the time I got there, the Chinese had reinstalled themselves (very well), and I learnt a lot from my neighbour who had the local trade store/petrol pumps/billiard table. He was excluded from the "diaspora" as he had married very beautiful local girl. He "should" have married someone from the mainland.

The Japanese were considered mad even by the locals.

PS, don't buy a plantation as the joke is on you; They sell it to you with 51% local ownership (usually a politician or similar), you invest and get it running and after a couple of years they no longer give you a visa. You then have to "sell" your part back or give it to your local "partner".

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 21 2021 11:55 utc | 171

My post at 171 is a reply to
Jen | Apr 21 2021 10:43 utc | 168

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 21 2021 11:57 utc | 172


Re: Ukraine's Zelensky Invites Putin To Meet In War-Torn East: "Million Lives At Stake"

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ukraines-zelensky-invites-putin-meet-war-torn-east-million-lives-are-stake


There is obviously ZERO POINT Putin meeting Zelensky. Putin should say so, tell the world there is NO POINT meeting a clown and a puppet - it is only worth his time to meet Zelensky's BOSS - whoever that is..

Is it Biden? No - Biden is also a puppet.

Is it Ihor Kolomoisky? Maybe - he's the guy that funds Zelensky.

Putin should put it on the record.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 21 2021 12:19 utc | 173

Re: Zelensky's invitation to Putin

Almost like Zelensky is asserting his relevance.

Faux-Prezzz Biden already made a head-fake invitation for "later"
to Putin to negotiate the fate of Ukraine.

The fate of Ukraine is handled by the Ukrainian's masters in Washington,
so the hair-in-the-pudding Zelensky is attempting to take to the stage.

Wonder what Putin's response is going to be.
And Washington's.

---

I can't help but wonder if the gnomes in Washington are relying on Magical Thinking
as relates to Ukraine.

Is this their formula?

1) Gnomes create mischief and MSM reports real source of mischief is Putin/Russia

3) Think tanks of Washington urge more military spending for Western ideals

Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 12:28 utc | 174

@librul | Apr 21 2021 12:28 utc | 174

Wonder what Putin's response is going to be.

If anything, he should just say that Donbass is an internal Ukrainian problem, not an international one. Therefore, go and talk to the leaders of Lugansk & Donetsk, as you agreed in Minsk 2.

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 21 2021 13:03 utc | 175

@Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 21 2021 13:03 utc | 175

That looks like it would be a good chess move on Putin's part.

Washington's response (via the compliant MSM) will be to say,
Headline: Putin spurns Ukraine's bid for peace

Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 13:30 utc | 176

Posted by: vetinLA | Apr 19 2021 19:18 utc | 27

The definition of "liberal" that you posted has US blinders on. Liberalism, to most of the world, is pretty much synonymous with the Washington Consensus, Chicago-school approach, which - when you strip away all the bullsh*t about a "free market" and a "level playing field" and "lifting people out of poverty" - boils down to commodification of all human activity and privatisation of all essential goods, tangible and intangible, including health, education, and housing. And, come to think of it, freedom of movement in the post-CoViD era...

Posted by: Gene Poole | Apr 21 2021 15:05 utc | 177

I haven't read every single comment on this thread, but a majority of them. My comment here concerns US propaganda and just what "at this point" is, referring to a comment above by Bemildred.

Here in the insane asylum once known as the USA all mainstream news sources repeat basically the same lines about the Russian forces build-up all along Russia's western border with Ukraine down to the Sea of Azov. Few if any of those msm sources report on the declaration in March by Ukraine's comedian turned president intent to retake control of the regions in rebellion in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, nor do they repeat Biden's remarks in January of US support for that initiative.

But the most blatant and dishonest absence of reporting - for US consumption - regards the joint US-NATO, et. al. exercise Defender Europe '21 which has always been scheduled for late spring/early summer 2021. I've just brought myself up to speed on this "exercise" and the military planners explicitly state that this year (Defender Europe is now an annual event) the focus is to shift from the Baltic to the Black Sea region and surrounding environs.

The absence of reporting in the US press/news concerning this operation is fundamental in portraying the Russian forces build-up as "un-provoked," "ominous," and "dangerous."

To borrow from and paraphrase psychohistorian: It is "just an exercise" until it isn't.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 16:29 utc | 178

@ uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 10:14 utc | 167

Does " Petrov and Boshirov" deliver the gift in order to acquere Iranian citizenship?

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 21 2021 16:44 utc | 179

@ vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 16:29 utc | 178

as you can see from the usa state dept press briefing yesterday, the usa press will be delivering the same message they have been delivering non stop.. nothing changes.. essentially ignorance is bliss until it isn't...

https://www.state.gov/briefings/department-press-briefing-april-20-2021/#post-236525-RUSSIA

Posted by: james | Apr 21 2021 17:03 utc | 180

@ vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 16:29 utc | 178 with
"
To borrow from and paraphrase psychohistorian: It is "just an exercise" until it isn't.
"

@ james | Apr 21 2021 17:03 utc | 180 with
"
the usa press will be delivering the same message they have been delivering non stop.. nothing changes.. essentially ignorance is bliss until it isn't...
"

I'm flattered....the shit show continues until it doesn't and what a shit show we have here....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 21 2021 17:10 utc | 181

@Posted by: vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 16:29 utc | 178

Your reference to a military "exercise"
triggered a significant memory.

The day of 9/11 the US military was waging an "exercise".

Make that two (or more?) exercises.

This just came up as a search result to the question of how many:
http://www.physics911.net/pdf/jacobs.
It says "six or more *exercises* were scheduled for Sept 11, 2001.
(I haven't read more than a couple of paragraphs of the article.)

One of the "other" exercises that day (actually Sept 12th) was a bio-warfare exercise (Tripod II).
Prep for the exercise scheduled to run Sept 12th would have been the days before that, including Sept 11th.

I have always wondered what the 9/11 insiders had as a contingency plan had it been necessary
to pull the plug on, or postpone, 9/11 - how are you going to remove explosive charges and thermite devices
from the towers without the public seeing. Perhaps they planned to explain that there had been a mix-up
with the inactivated anthrax used in Tripod II.
---
note that it was happening:

"For over a decade, the U.S. military shipped a deadly biological agent around the globe. But the Pentagon can’t find a single ‘root cause’ for this monumental goof."
https://www.thedailybeast.com/pentagon-blames-anthrax-fiasco-on-no-one
"The report finds that Dugway failed to use enough radiation to kill anthrax and it did not correctly conduct subsequent tests to confirm the anthrax was dead."
---
And what they had believed was deactivated anthrax was actually live and dangerous. So they would tell us. And where do you suppose Tripod II
would have planted, as an exercise, inactivated anthrax? I would say that they would have put it wherever necessary.
They could explain that they had put what they thought was inactivated anthrax in the Twin Towers and thus is would be necessary to evacuate the towers until "decontamination" was assured.

Tripod II - an "exercise".

Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 17:34 utc | 182

uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 9:46 utc | 164

uncle tungsten, the Doge didn't have the power you claim - except maybe according sources like the booklets of Rick Steves tours.

Alberto

Posted by: Alberto | Apr 21 2021 18:08 utc | 183

Posted by: vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 16:29 utc | 178

Nice to hear from you.

RE: "at this point"

I stopped reading western media some time back, for being useless as news sources, what is not outright bullshit is narrowly restricted to what does not interfere with the current party line, as you mention.

Well it's been an exciting few years of late. Lots of noise and violence in the bushes, but so far just enough pushback so our Looney Leaders decide to back off. I am aware of the various provocations you mention, the "exercises", a favorite trick in Korea during harvest time. Piling up an army on their side of the border seems like a good Russian response to me.

When your enemy is working very hard to get you to do something, that seems like a good time to think it over to me, so I commend Putin/Russia for patience/restraint, it is what I would do too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 21 2021 19:55 utc | 184

@Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 17:34 utc | 182

For clarify I wish that I had ended the sentence thus:


They could explain that they had put what they thought was inactivated anthrax in the Twin Towers and thus is would be necessary to evacuate the towers until "decontamination" was assured, and thus provide themselves with cover while they removed the explosive charges and thermite.

Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 21:07 utc | 185

wth!

For *clarity* (not clarify) I wish that I had ended the sentence thus:
...
and thus *it* (not is) would be necessary

how annoyig     :-)

Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 21:16 utc | 186

"Change is likely to come only after the current crew has run the ship into ground and turned it into a wreck."

Actually, no change even then. The Blob will declare that in fact there was a sneak attack on the ship by a mobile island with Putin spotted at the steering wheel.

Posted by: LJ | Apr 21 2021 21:24 utc | 187

@Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 12:28 utc | 174

Somewhat tongue in cheek I referred to the underpants gnomes in Washington
using Magic Thinking
in order to "win" in Ukraine.

1) Do some mischief in Ukraine
2) Magic
3) Win

Of course the true victory for the MIC is a fatter budget.
Lo and behold today the Senate voted for more money to the war profiteers.

Headline: Senate Committee Passes Bill To Ramp Up Lethal Aid To Ukraine

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/senate-committee-passes-bill-ramp-lethal-aid-ukraine


Russia hawks in Congress just escalated already soaring tensions along the Ukraine-Russia border, on Wednesday passing a bill which boosts "lethal assistance" in the form of additional military hardware as well as training for Ukrainian troops.

Posted by: librul | Apr 21 2021 21:29 utc | 188

juliania re pacific island peoples

The varied cultures of the pacific are truly extraordinary and I appreciate your defence of them.

Fyi they would have no time for the colonising, patronising, erasing drivel put forth by some as a 'cure' for their position. I see that even today, some remnant idiot adherents to shia islam have Churchilian fantasies as to the merit of their 'unifying' theories of theocracy. Most shia believers are tolerant of difference and the religion and cuture of others and that is what sets them aside from their sunni deviants.

However it is clear from the derogatory statement put forth by some here, that intolerance and supremacist foolishness still dwells in the minds of one or two believers. Thankfully blind religious and social intolerance could well be on the decline and in the pacific island nations was non existent prior to all those clowns in fancy sailing ships came to visit. They could have shown the shia merchants a thing or two about tolerance and anti-colonial thinking.

Thats why at the bar of excommunicated souls we have a spittoon dedicated to religious supremacists and colonial minded fools.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 21:39 utc | 189

Bemildred | Apr 21 2021 19:55 utc | 184

Though I read much of what gets posted here on a regular basis I don't have any underlying need to comment on everything. Your earlier post was in keeping with most of your other sober analyses. As in Russia's action to secure Sevastopol ("annexing" Crimea) it was the least bad choice (for them) of few options. In this case mobilizing and saying simply "we're ready" was the least bad option. As most other stable temperate persons do, I hope for peace, but like many others I'm frightened down to my shoes.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 21:39 utc | 190

Alberto #183

Good to hear that the Doge would never abuse their power and resort to murder of those that offended them or the kingdom ;)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 21 2021 21:53 utc | 191

librul | Apr 21 2021 17:34 utc | 182

Interesting remarks @182. I'm not a structural or materials engineer but spent quite a lot of time in heavy construction of all types and have designed and built much on my own (less grandiose and more mundane.) It has always been my opinion that the towers could have collapsed without the use of set demolition charges. This does not mean that my mind has not settled around the idea of a conspiracy. I believe - rightly or wrongly - the hijackers were allowed to proceed and succeed. Without 9/11 what excuse for invading Iraq and all of the similar military adventurism by the US?

Beginning with the invasion and occupation of Iraq I've regarded US actions in the ME as "the consolidation of the spoils to the victor of the cold war." That ended of course when Russia caught its breath and intervened in Syria.

Beyond the single reference in the ca. 2000 PNAC document "Rebuilding America's Defenses" of the possible need for another Pearl Harbor type event to realize the authors' desires (the capture of the lion's share of US government largesse,) that whole document laid out the trajectory and path the US has been on since 9/11. And, of little remark so far, the next US defense budget is being formulated and - surprise of surprises - it is again larger than the one before, and the one before that, and the one before that...

I wasn't sure how to respond to your post, but figured I should, out of courtesy.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 22:11 utc | 192

Posted by: vinnieoh | Apr 21 2021 21:39 utc | 190

Yes, I try to keep up, and not to comment unless I do, and to suppress that urge to just correct something.

I have found waiting to be a good strategy most of the time, few things in modern life demand that you panic as your best choice, and usually they involve driving. As one of the friends I knew back in the sawmill days said: "It's just amazing how many problems will go away if you ignore them long enough."

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 21 2021 22:23 utc | 193

librul @Apr21 17:34 #182

Seems plausible. IMO it's difficult to be too cynical about Deep State machinations.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 21 2021 22:44 utc | 194

Surprised that Julia Ioffe hasn't been more forthcoming on Putin. He's been doing some of his best work and we can't understand how! She could be a font of insight into what is making him not give up.

She has definitely been downgraded as a political prognosticator.

Posted by: Kevin Quinn | Apr 22 2021 15:04 utc | 195

All these comments above are truthfully intresting. BUt to me it seems that they avioiD the KROX OF THESE MATTERS ITEM EST; How to supppport the Arab Palestians?
BY THE WAY:
1: Golda Meiyir referred to the Jew settlers in the Palesine as "the Palstinians"and to the 'others' as "the Arabs" or "The Syeians" --how true!
2: Protojewish/insently, the Military Command calls the "Occupied Territories" "Judea and Samaria. "Samaria" was only a small stretch of land a few k´miles north of Jerusalem. The rest of the remaining areas belonged to the Northern Kingdom of Israë (never really reaching into the Galillee nor to Damascus! (Tha caime is due onlu to the Temple in Yesushalaîm's control of finances in the Eastern Medditerainian -- Sppata relied on al-Quds to pay its mecanairies agains Athens -- Most Jewish settlers settled in the areas in ancient history belonging to the Phoenicans and the "Sea People" -- neither in Izraêl Nor eithe in Samaria nor in Judea proper (aside fro some in Hebbron and agrical settlements aliúng g´the Jordan creek)-
In other wAll these comments above are truthfully intresting. BUt to me it seems that they avioiD the KROX OF THESE MATTERS ITEM EST; How to supppport the Arab Palestians?
BY THE WAY:
1: Golda Meiyir referred to the Jew settlers in the Palesine as "the Palstinians"and to the 'others' as "the Arabs" or "The Syeians" --how true!
2: Protojewish/insently, the Military Command calls the "Occupied Territories" "Judea and Samaria. "Samaria" was only a small stretch of land a few k´miles north of Jerusalem. The rest of the remaining areas belonged to the Northern Kingdom of Israë (never really reaching into the Galillee nor to Damascus! (Tha caime is due onlu to the Temple in Yesushalaîm's control of finances in the Eastern Medditerainian -- Sppata relied on al-Quds to pay its mecanairies agains Athens -- Most Jewish settlers settled in the areas in ancient history belonging to the Phoenicans and the "Sea People" -- neither in Izraêl Nor eithe in Samaria nor in Judea proper (aside fro some in Hebbron and agrical settlements aliúng g´the Jordan creek)-
In other words: Jews arriving after 1946 have no more right to be there than into Europe (where they rightfully belong), Perdia or USA. They must be saved thru' a major airlift from of all their parent state up from the airport in Eilath. Most in any case have at least to passports.
But the greates untruth was to call that state "Izraël) whwn most Jews livvéd and occupoíed the coast of the phailistines -- whenceforth Gola Meyir proclaimed her Russia-nPolish-Yiddish-Germanian Ariyans and (a welter of ) Turkish Khazars to be her"rightful retakers" of that land on behalf of British and later US raceistic geo-politics
ords: Jews arriving after 1946 have no more right to be there than into Europe (where they rightfully belong), Perdia or USA. They must be saved thru' a major airlift from of all their parent state up from the airport in Eilath. Most in any case have at least to passports.
But the greates untruth was to call that state "Izraël) whwn most Jews livvéd and occupoíed the coast of the phailistines -- whencefort Gola Meyir proclaimed her Russia-nPolish-Yiddish-Germanian Ariyans and (a welter of ) Turkish Khazars to be her"rightful retakers" of that land on behalf of British and later US raceistic geo-politics

Posted by: Theopilos Oros/ תיצפ | May 14 2021 19:52 utc | 196

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