Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 30, 2021

Talks Between Putin And Biden Continue

Later today U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin will have another video call. The Russian side had requested the call. Putin obviously wants to keep the pressure on the U.S. to agree on the two draft treaties Russia had offered.

He is helped in that by China who's Foreign Minister Wang Yi again emphasized Russian-Chinese cooperation:

On global governance, China and Russia have demonstrated our sense of responsibility. The two countries firmly upheld the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law. We jointly opposed interference in other countries’ internal affairs, unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. Our efforts have helped build a bulwark supporting the practice of true multilateralism and upholding international equity and justice, showing the world how major countries should behave.

We are convinced that as long as China and Russia, as two major countries, stand together shoulder to shoulder and deepen coordination hand in hand, the international order will not fall into disarray, justice in the world will not collapse, and hegemonism will not win.

A preview of the video call from Russia, by Valdai International Discussion Club Research Director Fyodor Lukyanov, is positive:

"High-level impetus is needed ahead of the diplomatic negotiations. In fact, at this time, diplomacy fully depends on efforts at the top level. In the past, diplomats used to prepare an agenda, and then heads of state held meetings but now it’s vice versa: first heads of state reach some agreements and then diplomats make preparations," he pointed out.

According to the expert, since the United States did not reject Russia’s proposals on security guarantees right away, it means that Washington is willing to give a number of concessions. "Clearly, there is an array of positions that are unacceptable and will not be accepted, but this is what talks are for, they are meant to discuss the entire range of things and figure out where the parties can agree," the analyst went on to say.
According to him, the United States cannot accept all of Russia’s proposals because it’s not appropriate for Biden "to engage in a conversation only on the Russian set of proposals." "He needs to make some proposals on his own part, and then negotiating skills will be what matters," Lukyanov emphasized.

I agree that it the U.S. will make a few offers but it is unlikely that the U.S. will agree to the Russia's core demands as it would end its plans to surround Russia to eventual disable it as a competing super power. The U.S. will try to stretch out the talks and will come up with its own mishmash of proposals for solely that purpose.

Putin's call is likely designed to prevent that. Russia had set a rather strict time limit of a few weeks. Putin will emphasize that. It is also possible that Putin will hint at some of the 'military technical measures' which Russia had said it would implement should the U.S. not agree to the necessary measures that enhance Russia's security.

Russia's most important request is to end NATO expansion. The U.S. will have to accept that in some formal way to prevent an escalation. I doubt that it will do so right away.

To set a frame for the talks there was some recent unofficial bluffing from the Russian side:

Russia’s new S-550 air defense system, said to be capable of hitting high-altitude spacecraft and missiles, including hypersonic types, has passed trials and is already in service, TASS has reported.

The Moscow news agency quoted a source, which it said is close to the Defense Ministry, who described the S-550 as “an absolutely new mobile strategic missile defense system, which is unparalleled anywhere in the world and capable of striking spacecraft, warheads of intercontinental ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets.”

“The S-550 air defense system has successfully completed state trials. Its first brigade has already been placed on combat duty,” they continued.

That is obviously nonsense. The beginning of the development of the S-550 was only announced in mid November:

Russia is developing an advanced, never-before-seen S-550 missile system, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.

Reports suggested the model is a revival of a late Soviet project shuttered in a deal with the United States.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the orders came from President Vladimir Putin at a recent meeting with military top brass.

Even Russia can not develop, test, produce and field a new air and space defense missile in just 6 weeks. The TASS piece is bollocks.

Russia has live tested the S-500 missile in July and reportedly fielded a limited number of those. A S-550 fielding is years out.

The U.S. is bluffing too:

A US Air Force E-8C Joint STARS battle management plane has made its maiden flight over eastern Ukraine for a reconnaissance mission to gather information about the situation on the ground, an American official has revealed.

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, US European Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Russ Wolfkiel explained that the aircraft flew on Monday with permission from Ukrainian authorities and did not cross the border of the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republics (LPR), which are currently run as unrecognized states by separatists demanding independence from Kiev. The frontier area is the site of a war between the forces and the Ukrainian military.

Wolfkiel did not reveal the aircraft’s exact route or its scouting information but told CNN that the Pentagon “routinely operates aircraft in the Black Sea region.”

The operational range of the Russian S-400 air defense missile is 400km. The U.S. plane will likely have stayed far away from the Russian and Belorussian border to keep out of their reach.

Talks between Russia and the U.S. will begin on January 10 on the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers. Talks with NATO and with the OSCE will follow a few days later.

So far U.S. foreign policy under Joe Biden has been a continuation of the policies pursued under Trump:

If the Biden administration’s second year is going to be more successful than its first, it will need to take more risks and accept more short-term criticism to advance U.S. interests abroad. Engaging with Russia to defuse the crisis over Ukraine will be controversial in Washington and in some allied capitals, but it is necessary to reduce tensions and avoid worse outcomes.
What the Biden administration must not do is simply maintain Trump-era policies for the next three years because they are afraid of the political backlash from hawks that are going to attack them in the harshest terms no matter what they do.

The U.S. policy of putting out sanctions left and right has continued under Biden.

I doubt that he and the people behind him have the will and the energy to change course. They would have to fight with Congress to get to an agreement with Russia. I therefore expect only little results from the upcoming talks.

The U.S. position will only change if and when Russia makes some really obvious moves and puts Washington DC under an imminent threat. A few hypersonic set up in central or south America should do.

Posted by b on December 30, 2021 at 17:27 UTC | Permalink

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Of course, Russia could have used the development of the S500 defense system as a cover whilst simultaneously developing the S550. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians were NOT bluffing about the introduction into service of both systems at the same time.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Dec 30 2021 17:43 utc | 1

Tho I find b's analysis plausible, his reasonable skepticism about the S-550 field deployment--which surprised Martyanov, who nevertheless did not doubt it--would seem to derive from the announcement of its testing beginning in November. But it's entirely plausible that military research does not necessarily follow the agenda of public announcements.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Dec 30 2021 17:43 utc | 2

Washington Prepares To Fail In Ukraine: Douglas Macgregor, DECEMBER 23, 2021 (The American Conservative)

Posted by: António Ferrão | Dec 30 2021 17:49 utc | 3

I agree with commentators #1 and #2, nothing prevents S-550 from having been deployed. Developing a system in parallel, especially if the primary components are not altogether different, isn't beyond the means of Russia even with its limited funding (relative to the US).

I don't think either side is bluffing in this game. It will remain to be seen who can play the strongest hand this round, and what the next round will bring.

Hopefully a diplomatic solution sooner than later, though this appeals slim in a chaotic "rules-based order" position of the majority of Western powers.

Posted by: MapleLeaf | Dec 30 2021 17:55 utc | 4

We are seeing negotiation with a Might-Makes-Right bully with centuries of experience.

It would seem that Russia is able to force empire to the negotiating table but I believe it will take a demonstration of superior force before we see responsible negotiation from the side of declining empire. They need to have their inferior position proven to them or the ongoing hawks will never buy it and negotiations will be fruitless.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 30 2021 18:03 utc | 5

Thoughts on the recent Israeli airstrikes in Syria and the inability of the Russian S-400 to counter the Israeli warplanes?

Reminds me of the Pantsirs also failing in Syria to shoot down TB2s, in that case Russia blamed inadequate Syrian training, although I suspect Russia has a secret agreement with Israel to not target their jets.

Posted by: SPAMRAAM | Dec 30 2021 18:10 utc | 6

I don't catch why the USA announcement of flight over Ukraine without going too close to Donetsk is a bluff. It's business "as usual" to test and see as close as possible of the Russian frontier, isn't it ?

Moreover, the E8-C is planned to be retired from live action in 2022 (, it is therefore expendable. It would be very interesting for the USAF that somebody try to shoot this plane: a good excuse to bomb the rebels and a live-test of the S-400 or any other modern Russian anti-aircraft system targeting a plane full of electronics to record it.

Posted by: John V. Doe | Dec 30 2021 18:13 utc | 7

Greetings to all. Best for 2022.

I surmise that Putin wants to make sure he serves his ultimatum to the West
personally through Mr. Biden so ¨nul ne puisse en pretendre ignorance¨.

He knows, perfectly well, that the POTUS is unable to take a decision regarding geopolitics. He wants to make sure Russia cannot be portrayed as treasonous or devious.

At this point in time, Russia's mind is made to go to the full consequences when its demands are not met by its adversaries.

Most NATO heads are drunk with their perceived collective power.
They will happily lead us down to outright global war, incapable as they are of seeing farther than their noses.

The Rubicon is being crossed. "Alea Jacta est". The boats have been burnt.

The West is behaving like the brain of an amputee. Feels there is strength in legs that are long gone.

No introspection but hubris and more hubris.

Hope the eventual "retorsion" measures announced by President Putin are surgical, to the point and final.

Posted by: CarlD | Dec 30 2021 18:19 utc | 8

@ SPAMRAAM | Dec 30 2021 18:10 utc | 5 with the suggestion of what Russia could do to "kill two birds with one stone".....Eh?

What secret agreement is there?

We are in a civilization war with one side believing in unipolar control and the other side wanting a multipolar world. And, IMO, we are close to an inflection point in that war because the centuries old unipolar empire has lost the ability to maintain/project that global military superiority.

Thankfully so far, the elite have not gone down the nuclear MAD road but seem to have us traveling down a bio-chemical road with MAD potential so not sure of the next step by failing empire.

It seems too early for capitulation because (snark on) not enough people have died yet (snark off) The shit show will continue until it doesn't....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 30 2021 18:25 utc | 9

b wrote:

Russia's most important request is to end NATO expansion. The U.S. will have to accept that in some formal way to prevent an escalation. I doubt that it will do so right away.
I don't see what this premise is based on. Why should an escalation be undesirable for the US?


The operational range of the Russian S-400 air defense missile is 400km. The U.S. plane will likely have stayed far away from the Russian and Belorussian border to keep out of their reach.
b, are you suggesting that NATO refrained from flying within its own border for fear of being shot down?

If nations were to avoid flying into the potential range of neighbouring air defence, not many countries would even have an air force.

Posted by: robin | Dec 30 2021 18:29 utc | 10

"The U.S. position will only change if and when Russia makes some really obvious moves and puts Washington DC under an imminent threat. A few hypersonic set up in central or south America should do."

The only language Americans really understand is this: to get a taste of their own medicine.

Until Americans are fearful of being bombed back to the Stone Age--just as America routinely bombs other nations around the world--the United Snakes of America will continue to do what it does best: lie, cheat, steal, exploit, bomb, invade, rape, and colonize with impunity as it has done since 1776.

Posted by: ak74 | Dec 30 2021 18:31 utc | 11

The key difficulty here, I think, will be to let the Empire retreat without losing face. If some clever Russian diplomat can conjure up a trick to accomplish that PR feat, then there should be hope for a deal.

Posted by: Robert Macaire | Dec 30 2021 18:35 utc | 12

Poor Putin the Pussy, he didn't react in 2014 when US annexed Ukraine because he was afraid his rich buddies will get sanctioned , and he sat on his hand for almost 20 years doing nothing while NATO kept on getting closer to Russia's borders. NOW he complains. It's way too late, Pussy.

Poor Putin the Pussy, this is the list he has to please in order:
1. his rich buddies
2. the jooz
3. The West
4. The Russian people

as you can see Russians are 4th on the list.

poor poor Russia. I really did have some hope for you. Oh well.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Dec 30 2021 18:42 utc | 13

The announcement of the S-550 caught everyone off guard I suspect. However I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss it out of hand.

Whilst it would be totally unrealistic for a completely new defensive system to appear having just started from scratch within such a limited time, it may not be so unrealistic for a pre-existing candidate to be updated or modified to an extended role. (or even just dragged out of mothballs)

The ideal candidate to serve as an extension to the S-500's engagement envelope in this case would possibly be a road mobile A-235 variant. The only downsides as far as I could tell would be the sheer size of the missiles.

However considering all we have is pure guesswork and speculation as to the nature of the system I suggest it may be more prudent to simply wait and see what emerges.

Posted by: S.O. | Dec 30 2021 18:42 utc | 14

Robert Macaire@11
Warm up the deals done at Minsk and sell them as a delicious new feast cooked up by Biden and imposed on Russia to bring the threat of war to an end. "Peace in our time" Joe.
Look at the details of the Cuban missile 'victory' which the US touted as a triumphant combination of diplomatic and military strength, but which actually brought the USSR and Cuba what they wanted.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 30 2021 18:52 utc | 15

who said they started to develop s550 in november b?
oh and spamramm, the reason Syria did NOT shoot down the pharisee rockets have been known a day or 2 now, so 1 you only pretend to not know,and spammed the thread for a reason. 2 you are to lazy and/or only get ur news from richard madcow on msnbc. 3 you cant read, but this is not probable since you typed in a comment.🤷‍♂️

Posted by: Per/Norway | Dec 30 2021 18:57 utc | 16

@5 a Russian plane was landing at Hmeimim airbase the time of the Israeli airstrike on Latakia port and the Israelis used this for cover - as they have in the past - thus the explanation for the stand-down of air defenses.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 30 2021 18:57 utc | 17


There are only two explanations for Israel's ability to conduct regular, unchallenged attacks on Syrian military and civilian infrastructure. Syrian defence is either ineffective or is deliberately limited to parrying incoming missiles.

Now, contrary to the unlikely scenario of Russia taking gratuitous potshots at planes within range, as b has suggested above, Syria certainly has every right to target Israeli platforms, wherever they may be. Even more so as these attacks are regular. Thing is, Syria doesn't appear to even try. So why is that?

Escalation dominance and power balance is the obvious explanation.

Posted by: robin | Dec 30 2021 18:59 utc | 18

So he commented on earlier publications of Western media with reference to a representative of the National Security Council of the White House that the upcoming negotiations will focus on arms control, as well as the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border will be considered.

"This in itself is a very difficult task, given the degree of disagreements between us and the United States, us and NATO on these issues, so diluting it all, diluting it, somehow dispersing the whole thing, is not an approach that we can support," Ryabkov stressed.

"We will conclude in this case that the United States is not ready for a serious conversation. We call for intensive and rapid negotiations. We believe that the issue is not just overdue, it is overripe, " the Deputy minister continued.

"Our leadership has repeatedly said that we can no longer put up with the situation that is developing in the immediate vicinity of our borders, we cannot put up with the expansion of NATO," Ryabkov said.

"We will not just prevent this, we will put a barrier to it. We will seek a sharp reduction in the US and NATO military presence in areas where we have seen negative dynamics in the years since 1997. These are all integral elements of our position. We cannot do without a serious in-depth discussion of this particular topic during the upcoming contacts, " the Deputy Minister said.

"Other things are secondary for us. I am referring to the topics that anonymous representatives of the National Security Service and the State Department designate in the context of upcoming contacts, " Ryabkov added.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Dec 30 2021 19:05 utc | 19

thanks b.... i can't see the titanic changing course.. not at this point... so, i am in agreement with @ psychohistorian | Dec 30 2021 18:03 utc | 4, @CarlD | Dec 30 2021 18:19 utc | 7 and @ ak74 | Dec 30 2021 18:31 utc | 10..

as for the israeli attacks on syria, i agree wtih @ 16 robin - "Escalation dominance and power balance is the obvious explanation." at some point this is going to change too.. as for the S-550... hard to know if that is a bluff or not.. my feeling is the west bluffs all the time and russia doesn't... maybe i am wrong..

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2021 19:14 utc | 20

I have come to think Americans don’t really care about America. They love America in the same illusionary sense of irreality as the American dream, but considering the callous state of affairs - homelessness, income disparities, incarceration rates, violence, lack of healthcare for tens of millions, contaminated drinking water, etc. - there is no real love for anyone other than looking out for number #1.

Sadly, I’m not sure the average American would care about Portland or Minneapolis or San Diego being flattened as long as the local Walmart and MacDonalds remained open, and football coverage on TV was not interrupted.

Posted by: Moses | Dec 30 2021 19:17 utc | 21

Fishing is the only "reel" therapy...

Posted by: Joe | Dec 30 2021 19:33 utc | 22

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 30 2021 18:57 utc | 15 can you tell the source, link if possible?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 30 2021 20:20 utc | 23

"Thoughts on the recent Israeli airstrikes in Syria and the inability of the Russian S-400 to counter the Israeli warplanes"

The Israelis were (again) hiding behind a Russian cargo plane about to land, taking the plane hostage, hence no defence. Try to keep up will you?

Posted by: mikhas | Dec 30 2021 20:20 utc | 24

I certainly agree with the pessimistic outlook for "talks." Does anyone believe that the blink-nuland gang will engage in anything related to diplomacy. The problem is state dept has no diplomats.

Then the task is to bring in people who can focus on realism-anyone have any ideas who that might be.

Some speculation has centered on the burns visit to Moscow as an attempt to do an end run around the rabid neocons. After the disaster of nuland's visit to Moscow, maybe, but how much support can these realists expect, if any exist in the admin: certainly not from congress, not from the rabid neocons of which there many and embeded, and the white house itself is very weak.

Posted by: Thomas | Dec 30 2021 20:36 utc | 25

Piotr@20 check SouthFront

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 30 2021 20:50 utc | 26

John V. Doe @6 re the expendable nature of the E-8C

Cheers I hadn't thought of that angle. According to the Empire fansite TheWarZone the E-8C was accompanied by a RC-135V Rivet Joint ELINT spyplane, so if the S-400 was deployed the Rivet Joint would be able to record the signals from its main radar and its seeker head. Assuming the Rivet Joint can get close enough to record the signals without coming into range of the S-400 itself...

Re the S-550, perhaps the Russians were inspired to troll by the "Dark Eagle Hypersonics Deployed to Germany" story some NATO spook leaked to The Sun. Turns out Dark Eagle is a paper missle, and all the US is doing is 'deploying' the facilities to provide ice-cream and Wi-Fi for the soldiers who one day might see a Dark Eagle for real.

Posted by: S.P. Korolev | Dec 30 2021 20:58 utc | 27

psychohistorian #4

They need to have their inferior position proven to them or the ongoing hawks will never buy it and negotiations will be fruitless.

Agreed and there will be many months of whack-a-mole to see yet. Confronting the Hegemon and revealing its existence for all to see is the first step. It is Russia's turn to 'bump a mountain' into a UKUSA submarine. The battlegrounds are clear - Ukraine, Syria, Africa. I expect there will soon be acute flight restrictions on all NATO aircraft approaching Russia.

With care and resolute action South America will avoid being drawn in and be free to progress without increased violence.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2021 21:05 utc | 28

I am not as pessimistic about what is likely to happen in Ukraine as some people here. In a few days time, there will be a discussion between Biden and Putin and one assumes that most - if not all - points will have been discussed and agreed at a lower level before the principals talk to each other. I would not be surprised if Ukraine is somewhat re-arranged - probably taking its 1914 borders as a starting point, although Russia must quail at the thought of trying to bring order to that unruly world, not to mention the expense. (A bit like Dublin would feel if asked to take on the Six Counties). I am fairly certain that the part of Ukraine that used be in the Austro-Hungarian Empire will be split off from the rest.

In the meantime, we have greatly enjoyed watching that pompous nobody Borrell being made fun of by Lavrov. (Stoltenberg got off lightly “just an administrator.”)

Posted by: Montreal | Dec 30 2021 21:55 utc | 29

Biden's at the wheel, at the wheel, Biden's at the wheel. He can barely do up his zipper on a good day and VP Cameltoe couldn't point to the US border with Mexico.

Best to call off talks now and begin implementing those strategic plans Russia; in doing so you'll save on carbon credits convening another US circus fest.

Bottom line - when dealing with American sociopaths who'll fire 100 cruise missiles into a Sovereign country, Syria, based on zero evidence, in fact, a false flag White Helmets chemical attack, then what's the fracking point?

Telegram Joe and give him 72 hours to evacuate his military advisors and troops from Ukraine and Syria,

Posted by: WTFUD | Dec 30 2021 22:08 utc | 30

Just read at RT Telegram channel that a kinda liberation guerrilla has just made its appearance in Odessa...of all places...

May be coincidental or not, or that the opressed, pissed and murdered people of Odessa just decided this is their opportunity to rise up...

All the support for the people there in their liberation from the nazi scourge....may their example spread through whole Europe...

Posted by: Black bread | Dec 30 2021 22:12 utc | 31

It isn't necessary to plant missiles in Latin America, which is pretty pervocative but use a more subtle approach. Perhaps stating publicly that nuclear subs with nuclear weapons are sailing near the US Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. This may make little military difference but perhaps enough of a public relations difference to allow US power to negotiate to remove both menacing militaries from near US and Russia borders. I agree that something like this is necessary for effective negotiations.

Posted by: Mathew | Dec 30 2021 22:21 utc | 32

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 30 2021 18:03 utc | 4

It would seem that Russia is able to force empire to the negotiating table but I believe it will take a demonstration of superior force before we see responsible negotiation from the side of declining empire.....

I rather believe the empire will cave-in. Whether we'll be informed that they essentially caved or not, I'm not sure. But the empire has been caving for a few years now. We saw how Trump's trade war petered out; we saw how Hillary's "Syria is already dead" proclamation bit the dusts; we saw how Obama's Asia Pacific pivot flew out the window. We were never told that these clowns failed, but we do witness how the empire is not getting what it wanted more and more frequent. They are used to wimping out without too much fuzz by now, and we'll see Ukraine STFU soon.

The west is prone to just push the envelope these days, hoping they might get something out of their crass babbling. If not, they just turn to another issue and play the same tune again. They got nothing to lose. Their voting public are too stupid to know they failed, how, when and where.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 30 2021 22:31 utc | 33

Let me be the lone voice to point out:

In reality, curbing/trimming-back NATO expansion and rolling-up Obomber/Hillarys God-awful wars in Ukraine/Syria enhances the stability of the US Empire. Though it acts in its own interests, Russia is actually aiding the long term interests of the US [that is, should the political hacks in the Biden administration want to make themselves useful...for once in their pathetic lives]. And yes, I think there is little chance that a bootlicker like Antony Blinken can stop his vainglorious preening long enough to think of the consequences of permanently binding Russia to China.

The reality is, the actions of Hillary/Nuland, under Obomber, further destabilized the US power structure around the world with their egotistical megalomania. Cheney & his sidekick Jr were an awful 8 years of destructive, delusional US policies but, Obomber & Hills crew managed, against all odds, to outdo their predecessors in damaging the long term interests of the US empire. Party labels mean nothing, the denizens of DC are so immersed in their own venality, it would never occur to their collective asses that the morally right thing to do may also be simultaneously, the advice Machiavelli might give to the Prince.

Posted by: S Brennan | Dec 30 2021 22:45 utc | 34

As The Saker / Andrei Raevsky puts it, "the United West is preparing a zoo." It is probably unanimous in Zone B and the Zone B westerners such as Andrei Raevsky, Bernard of Moon of Alabama, Andrei Martyanov, and most vistors of such sites that they want to blabber endlessly and run out Putin & Company's clock. Well, since the whole Union State of Americastan and Israel is now the stage of "New Zoo Revue 2," (or Romper Room 2) brought to you live except the cast is not so much the Xers who were in kindergarten in the '70s, but the earlier two Mickey Mouse generations, what does one expect well before this point??? The Mr. and Mrs. Don't Bes might as well go to the negotiations with their mouse ears if they still have them.

Besides, even in the highly unlikely event that they they prove to be actually serious, only way I can see a treaty passing in the Senate is if someone in a position such as Burns has some men in black suits carrying stuff such as steering columns and ball peen hammers visit the likes of The Turtle, Cotton, and Wicker to have conversations regarding the proposed treaties and the health of themselves and their families.

Posted by: William Haught | Dec 30 2021 22:49 utc | 35

It remains impossible for the Outlaw US Empire to "surround Russia" as Russia owns the Arctic, and could easily own what remains of Europe if that's what it desired. But neither Putin or Xi want to overcome Europe in that manner as it will soon happen geoeconomically--and that's a fate the Outlaw US Empire will be unable to alter. At the outset, b provides the best reason why it will continue to be impossible to surround Russia as Russia is allied with China, and the Outlaw US Empire abandoned its last remaining outpost within Eurasia where it could cause great chaos to the further development of EAEU/BRI, which at this point needs to be seen as one in the same development project.

As with the Arctic, Outer Space has also become the dominion of China and Russia as the Outlaw US Empire lacks the facility to do anything constructive in that arena. I'll also include the Depths of the world ocean thanks to China's first class fleet of submersibles and underwater drones.

Overall, when assessing the military capabilities of the two allies, they must be seen as a collective whole with each nation focusing more intently on its primary area of expertise. That allows for even greater coverage since over duplication's avoided. The Outlaw US Empire lacks any similar such partner, and it also lacks an extensive domestic economic engine having offshored it all so the Kleptocrats could enrich themselves, which has generated great weakness on the Home Front--weaknesses that neither Russia or China have, although Russia would like a larger population so it can do even more of what it already does.

Looking back to the 2019-2020 holiday finds Russia/China stronger than the Outlaw US Empire by every measure domestically and internationally, which is the fundamental reason for the timing of Russia's proposals. Biden isn't in control but answers to a disparate set of oligarchical factions who rarely come to a consensus outside of the further looting of the USA's citizenry. If those factions are informed by the same "experts" having public faces, then knuckle-dragging is all we ought to expect. So, I expect we'll see more hypersonic missile volleys and other demonstrations showing the West that it's already lost as I wrote a few days ago.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:00 utc | 36

Re: Mathew | Dec 30 2021 22:21 utc | 29

According to Gilbert Doctorow:

The “technical” in the expression is coming from техника, which is the common Russian way of saying “equipment”. Military “tekhnika” means motorized howitzers, personnel carriers, fighter jets, etc. Tekhnika also has common civilian use: the outfitting of a factory is “tekhnika” as in “техническое оснащение.”

He says the original Russian makes it clear that they intend to deploy equipment:

So the iron clad logic is that the Russians would also station their hypersonic cruise missiles just off the US shores as Putin threatened three years ago, when he spoke about Russia’s cutting edge, next generation strategic weapons that had then and today still have no equals in the world.

It would not surprise me if they have something that is a cross between a nuclear submarine, a torpedo, and a ballistic missile, say a weapon that can stay a few hundred kilometers from Americastan's shores, relying on nuclear power, perhaps a nuclear battery will do, or a mini-nuclear power plant, and if activated can come up to / near the surface and launch the ballistic or hypersonic cruise missile part.

Posted by: William Haught | Dec 30 2021 23:14 utc | 37

S Brennan @31--

I've advocated here previously back in the teens that the Outlaw US Empire would be much better off if it consolidated, ridding itself of much fat to avoid the current domestic political situation, while also doing something about the gross levels of corruption that were becoming very obvious. But with the grand escalation of the GCVF and ensuing public pushback, I'm expecting pandemonium in a week come January 6. I expect the Establishment to use that uprising as fuel for very radical, baseless, propaganda pointed at Russia and China as being the instigators that kills the negotiations, or at the very least provides the Establishment with the additional time it craves to try and formulate a different response.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:18 utc | 38

So Mathew, we are in good company

Posted by: William Haught | Dec 30 2021 23:22 utc | 39

William Haught @34--

Russia already possesses such a weapon; it was discussed here a few days ago--Poseidon is its name in Russian.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:27 utc | 40

All of you are out of my class, but when I Google 'why is Russia not in NATO?' I was surprised to discover this was an old topic. ....Seems ripe for a revisit, and would seem to through the west's calculations into a tangle, nyet?

Posted by: Clif | Dec 30 2021 23:30 utc | 41

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:00 utc | 33
"So, I expect we'll see more hypersonic missile volleys and other demonstrations showing the West that it's already lost as I wrote a few days ago. "

Posted by: William Haught | Dec 30 2021 23:14 utc | 34
" Military “tekhnika” means motorized howitzers, personnel carriers, fighter jets, etc."

Totally agree with both above. I look for a statement with some kind of proof that Washington, New York, Chicago, Miami are 10 minutes from turning to dust which Russia would do if their back was against the wall. Locked and loaded. Iran... same thing. Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua have all become more agressive and almost taunting in their tone recently. Venezuela is very close to Iran and all 3 are historically friendly with Russia. I expect resistance countries, led by Russia, China and Iran, to go on offense in 2022, coordinating with each other. The Empire has received offers, now warnings. Next, death by 1000 cuts.

Posted by: migueljose | Dec 30 2021 23:36 utc | 42

Kremlin's readout of phone call ion Russian. What follows is the machine translation:

"The main topic of the conversation was the implementation of the agreement reached during the videoconference on December 7 to launch negotiations on the provision of legal guarantees to ensure Russia's security. Vladimir Putin gave detailed explanations of the fundamental approaches laid down in the basis of the Russian draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America and the Agreement of the Russian Federation with the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was emphasized that the result of joint work should be firm legal guarantees that exclude NATO's advance to the east and the deployment of threatening weapons systems in the immediate vicinity of the Russian borders. It is emphasized that the security of each country can be ensured only on the basis of strict observance of the principle of indivisibility of security.

"Mutual readiness for a serious and meaningful dialogue on the identified issues was expressed. It was confirmed that the talks will take place first in Geneva on January 9-10, and then within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on January 12. Discussions in the OSCE will also begin on January 13. The presidents agreed to keep under personal control the course of discussions on the above-mentioned negotiation tracks and especially in the bilateral format with a view to achieving concrete results as soon as possible.

"In this context, Joseph Biden stressed the special responsibility of Russia and the United States to ensure stability in Europe and the world as a whole, as well as the fact that Washington has no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons on the territory of Ukraine.

"The Russian side gave an exhaustive response to the option of adopting 'large-scale' sanctions against Russia in the event of an escalation of the situation around Ukraine, again mentioned by Joseph Biden. In particular, it is said that this would be a serious mistake, in fact, threatening a complete rupture of Russian-American relations.

"The presidents exchanged New Year's greetings and best wishes.

"In general, the conversation was frank and businesslike and, of course, was useful to both sides. It was agreed to continue regular contacts at the highest level." [My Emphasis]

IMO, an RSVP sort of conversation, although the emphasized passage ups the ante.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:49 utc | 43

Regarding the two bluffs...the underlying basis for the S-550 has been around since Soviet times, but shelved due to treaties/agreements on anti-space weapons and missile defense. The S-550 shares components with the S-500 (the whole S-Series, really) and the A-235. It is entirely possible Russia pushed it into production rapidly. Historically speaking, many nations have made big technological/manufacturing leaps when on war-footing.

My main concern involving Russia isn't their ability to push the technological envelope, but to mass produce new technologies fast enough for them to be difference makes on the battlefield should things get hot in 2022. This is an area a Chinese/Russian collaboration is much needed, Chinese mass production capabilities combined with Russian Tech advances. Maybe that collaboration already exists?

As far as USA/NATO flying surveillance planes over Ukraine, I have no reason to believe that isn't true. Russia isn't just going to shoot down an American plane willy-nilly. If things were already hot in Ukraine, and Russian forces were involved, sure.

Posted by: Haassaan | Dec 30 2021 23:56 utc | 45

@Posted by: S Brennan | Dec 30 2021 22:45 utc | 31

Bringing stability to the US Empire for now is in the interests of both Russia and China, especially if it brings some more caution and humility to the US strategy elites. Better for the US Empire to slowly deflate as Russia+China+Iran continue to grow in strength and gain a peaceful realignment of the world system.

The US is deeply flawed after over 40 years of incredibly destructive neoliberalism, and the destruction of much of the productive capital and middle class. Added to that is the rentier nature of so many of the elite, totally divorced from any understanding of how to maintain a strong nation, with the "woke" attack providing even more social destruction and decline in educational standards. The current US reminds of the decline of the UK, especially as it let the very machine tool industry that it had built up in WW1 fall apart before WW2 - exactly when it needed it. Instead it went bankrupt having to buy abroad what it couldn't make for itself (unlike Germany).

Its good that the Germans understand the need to cut out their neoconservative US-loving foreign minister and EU colleagues, clear realistic heads are required at this time.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 31 2021 0:06 utc | 46

@Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:00 utc | 33

"Biden isn't in control but answers to a disparate set of oligarchical factions who rarely come to a consensus outside of the further looting of the USA's citizenry. If those factions are informed by the same "experts" having public faces, then knuckle-dragging is all we ought to expect."

I disagree, the dominant US capital fraction has been focused on the same thing since the work of the CFR in 1941-42 - opening up the whole world to US capitalist exploitation, the "Open Door" policy. It thought out had completed its task in the 1990s, and is still coming to terms with the fact that that was in fact the peak of its gains. All downhill from there, with a begrudging and slow acceptance from the US.

Their only real strength is the US$ (why shutting Russia off from SWIFT may be extremely counter-productive), their military (useless against Russia and China, and their control of global value chains (GVCs) through intellectual property dominance and organizational/institutional control. The latter is why the US reacted so badly to Huawei, they could see their GVC dominance being put in peril. Without that control, no more massive profit flows to the likes of Apple. When that starts to happen on a significant level, the US is finished, with less and less surplus stolen from the rest of the world to keep their deindustrialized economy and military afloat.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 31 2021 0:21 utc | 47

Alastair Crooke has ended his holiday silence with a new essay, "America’s Malaise and Its ‘Failure of National Purpose’–-‘Things Are Not Getting Better’". Crooke senses chaos reigns within the Outlaw US Empire. I agree and expect it to merge with political anger to become a pandemonium as I wrote above. But our time is very different from that of Jimmy Carter's USA in 1979 when he delivered what was later called his "Malaise Speech." Instead, conditions now are far worse; Gerson's column Crooke cites is quite apt. But this time there's even more:

"The American crisis today stems from a joint political stance taken by the Russia-China axis which baldly has told NATO to take its tanks and missiles off Russia and China’s front lawn, and to keep off it, for good. At the moment, this quasi-ultimatum is open to political resolution. But not for long. Then the conversation will be conducted in military-technical idiom."

The Outlaw US Empire stricken with a domestic cancer that can now be felt and seen is now confronted with the need to make some very serious decisions, but are the variety of puppets, marionets, and ventriloquist dummies capable of doing what's right for the nation's interest for a change?

There's lots more room for commentary on Crooke's essay, but that must await another day. The cited and linked segment by Darel Paul merits an essay in response. All the years of using Divide and Rule to retain control has reached the point where the nation will indeed divide and become something else completely. Humpty Dumpty fell and broke in 1972 and the patch job done then and added to in subsequent years is now coming unglued.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 31 2021 0:22 utc | 48

I think the problem here is understanding what an S-300, S-400, S-500 or S-550 actually *is*

It would be a huge mistake to believe the S-550 is just a bigger truck for a longer range missile. The S series no doubt inspired by AEGIS, which is to say, is a collection of sensors (sensors, radars, IR, whatever), C3I nodes, and the network mesh that ties them together. You can hit N nodes but the thing still functions. Does anyone here doubt that the NUDOL is tied in with the S series at this point? Calling a system "the S-550" may simply be a software upgrade, or the addition on a particular sensor or a particular missile, or a longer truck to haul selected parts of it around.

As an analog, consider the F35 sold by the US MIC. It is a big mistake to think of this as just a fighter - it is actually a thing with wings, a motor, and a whole bunch of support equipment, a particular set of weapons and avioncis, and even the training it takes to operate and maintain it.

It is a system, not a component. Saying the S-550 was announced as "being developed" as implying that is when it started is misdirection - simply a matter of semantics and a mistake in grammar - nowhere I've seen that Shoigu said they *started* to develop it in November. Saying that it is "completely new" would also be a lie for the reasons outlined above.

All of this is Cripps flashing their MAC-80s while the Bloods flash their UZIs.

Posted by: Simplicius | Dec 31 2021 0:31 utc | 49

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2021 23:49 utc | 40:

Thank you karlof1 for this transcript. If the machine translation is faithful to the spirit of the conversation, then I see that the west has caved. Talks in January is to comply with Russia's demand to address Russia's security needs seriously. Biden seem to concur with that need, and committed to the 'special responsibility to ensure stability in Europe and the world as a whole'. In other words, he is committed to find ways to save face while ensuring Russia security.

Washington has no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons on the territories of Ukraine. When did Washington replaced NATO as the driver of this issue? LOL! I hope b will alert us barflies here when the mercenaries presently partying in Kiev start packing to leave Ukraine.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 31 2021 0:38 utc | 50

b says:

“it is unlikely that the U.S. will agree to the Russia's core demands as it would end its plans to surround Russia
Russia had set a rather strict time limit of a few weeks.”

I can’t believe that the offer is flexible . I guess that after all the war gaming and whatevs the Russian/Chinese gambit is well thought out. I can’t believe that includes living anyone in any doubt about what they really mean.

I quote some sentences from one of b’s links to back up my view.

We witnessed the U.S. Capitol riot, the Kabul Moment, vaccine nationalism, resurgence of the Cold War mentality, and many other turmoils. The world is entering a period of turbulence and transformation at a faster pace.
strategic communication with foreign leaders to build consensus and promote cooperation across the globe, thus drawing up the grand blueprint and forming strong synergy for building
building a community with a shared future for mankind.
It has enabled China to build a more comprehensive and solid global partnership network.  
Maintaining a global vision is the original aspiration of China’s diplomacy. While pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the CPC is also committed to promoting human progress and world harmony.
Standing up for ourselves is a distinctive character of China’s diplomacy.
In our interactions with the world, we can clearly feel that the international community is paying more attention to the CPC,
Some elements in the world still deem themselves superior,
Certain countries, while chanting slogans about multilateralism in rhetoric, are building exclusive blocs in action.
We have stressed that there is but one international system in the world, i.e. the international system with the UN at its core.
A small number of countries talk about a so-called “rules-based order”.

The rest of it is a perusal and the guy is being presented as someone who could take over from xi.

Posted by: D.G. | Dec 31 2021 1:00 utc | 51


if ever "the message is the medium..", nothing but talk of weapons...

Posted by: Clif | Dec 31 2021 1:03 utc | 52

The prospect of superior Russian weapon systems has one major drawback for anyone who wants the end of the American Empires. As a US taxpayer, I'm looking at history that has proven even perceived inferiority leads to larger and larger military R & D budgets. Indeed, even if it's known to be a lie (JFK's missile gap) it's still the occasion for floods of tax money flowing the way of the MIC.

Posted by: jhill | Dec 31 2021 1:35 utc | 53 error of imagination, just ash Werhner von Braun.

Posted by: Clif | Dec 31 2021 1:41 utc | 54

Below is a posting beginning sentence that is all us unReutered get of the recent propaganda piece

WILMINGTON, Del./MOSCOW, Dec 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday exchanged warnings over Ukraine but conveyed some optimism that diplomatic talks in January could ease spiraling tensions.

".....exchanged warnings over Ukraine" sounds like loaded phrasing w/o detail but still making them sound like equals in the exchange...

Something tells me that we will have a serious geo political event before negotiations get to another level proposed for January 10th....and it won't be more sanctions.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 31 2021 1:48 utc | 55

When Russia sells the S-500 that's when they have produced the next level of air defense system.

Google earth captured a stealth B-2 bomber. It means spy satellites can very easily track it. B-2 is not stealthy at all. At most it can evade radar detection but there are other means of tracking it down and shooting it to death.

Posted by: Jason | Dec 31 2021 2:12 utc | 56

...on the bright side, maybe the drama in the Donbass is to distract us from realizing how incredibly dull we are?

good news!

Posted by: Clif | Dec 31 2021 2:34 utc | 57

Can anyone recommend links or resources to shed light on the situation in Mali? 10 year old war, coup d'etat twice in two years, geographic backdoor to Algeria, but what is the significance motivating international involvement?

Posted by: ptb | Dec 31 2021 2:57 utc | 58

Seriously? a resource proxy as geopolitical intrigue? can somebody get me a gin and tonic?

Posted by: Clif | Dec 31 2021 3:20 utc | 59

Yo. I guess everyone else is asleep or writing up defense contracts for Juan Guido, maybe this will help-

Posted by: Clif | Dec 31 2021 3:45 utc | 60

bevin | Dec 30 2021 18:52 utc | 14

A distinct possibility. Technically, the US is not a part of the Minsk agreement, so it would be totally logical/plausible for the US to take the contents of the agreement and present it as a US proposal to be implemented by the US. The US can then honestly claim that it forced Putin to implement the Minsk agreement.

It would be hailed as a US victory and Biden would be presented as having brought Putin down a peg or two and made him eat crow.

Posted by: jiri | Dec 31 2021 4:07 utc | 61

whatever the Cyrillic is for "OMG", now's the time...

Posted by: Clif | Dec 31 2021 4:15 utc | 62

@53 Jason I would assume that a B-2 bomber is very un-stealthy to a satellite-based radar looking down on it from above.

That’s a massive wing area, with little in the way of opportunity to shape the surface to deflect the radar waves to the side.

And a big radar reflection moving at high-subsonic speed across the landscape is going to be detectable from background clutter, even at treetop level. Not easily, of course, but much more do-able than a slow moving or stationary object of the same size.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Dec 31 2021 4:35 utc | 63

We can infer from its name, S-550, the veracity of its existence!

The name indicates functional branching of the S-500 system to adapt to a specific theatre of operations - earth's orbit.

Russia does not do vaporware; Russia does not bluff!

Posted by: nudge | Dec 31 2021 5:11 utc | 64

@ Oriental Voice | Dec 30 2021 22:31 utc | 30 quote - " I rather believe the empire will cave-in. "

that is a more optimistic viewpoint and i share it in someways as well... i hope you are correct... thanks for your posts..

Posted by: james | Dec 31 2021 5:22 utc | 65

Is it possible that the Russians and Chinese might try to trigger a financial collapse in the US. The US economy seems to exist on money printing, share buybacks and bitcoin. Is everyone confident that the US financial system is robust against a concerted attack?

Posted by: RZ | Dec 31 2021 6:11 utc | 66

I believe that the Murican + Vassal Citizenry neec to be reminded that:

*Biden&Son are bought by Burisma. The Lives of Murican+NATO Troops and Civilians in Potential Conflict Zones are At Risk because Biden is Batting for his Owners.

*Schumer is an UKRanian Tribal who Protected Biden+Burisma Under Trump.

*Nudelman-Khagan is an UKRanian Tribal - forever in a Khazari-Ashkenazi Tribal Ethnic War of Subjugation. USA, GBR+Commonwealth, FRA, DEU(WWI+WWII), Old_RUS_Empire, Old_CHN - have been Directly/Indirectly and/or are Still Subjugated by the Plutarchy heavily weighted with Tribals.

*Kiev are Fail-Stating.

*Murica+GBRittania are now Directly Harassing RUS+CHN via:
**NavalFreedomofNavigation, **Separatists_Support, and
**Military Encroachment.
***RUS can Destroy the Militaries+CivilInfrastructures of Europe AND Murica with Conventional Weapons.
***CHN can Destroy the Deployed Forces of AUKUS AND Take Over KOR, TWN, PHL, AUS, and NZL to Rid Most of Asia+Oceania of Muricans and GBRiTards with Conventional Weapons and Troops.

-No Telling if PRK will start something if RUS Engages. PRK has much support from SUN/RUS.

Both RUS+CHN have no problems escalating into usage of TacNukes - or further into Strategic Class Megaton+ Nukes if Provoked.

Sanctions "Jumped the Shark" against RUS, CHN, IRN, and PRK.

Biden and Nudelman-Khagan need to be Impeached/Dismissed/Removed for their Personal Involvement and Pay2Play Burisma Scams.

Stakes are Too High.

Posted by: IronForge | Dec 31 2021 6:27 utc | 67

Clif | 59

whatever the Cyrillic is for "OMG", now's the time...

Based on my limited knowledge of Russian — I speak Serbian, a somewhat related language — it would be:
Боже мой (My God!)
a relatively common expression (I've heard several different nationalities of Slav mutter it), so the initialism would be: Бм

Posted by: Kukulkan | Dec 31 2021 6:37 utc | 68

The U.S. plane will likely have stayed far away from the Russian and Belorussian border to keep out of their reach.
Nope. It was the most watched flight globally on 24flightradar as it looped and lapped a toenail off the Sevastopol coast. As it flew to land in Italy, the UK arrived on the scene to keep up the bear baiting. >24flightradar = RRR7216 Royal Air Force AIRCRAFT TYPE(R135) Boeing RC-135E REGISTRATION ZZ665

Posted by: Melaleuca | Dec 31 2021 7:40 utc | 69

S550: upgrade S500 systems with faster missiles. Totally feasible especially given Russia's focus on hypersonic systems.
"military technical": 3 or 4 Russian subs surfacing 200 miles off the US East/West Coast and firing hypersonic missiles away from the US into targets in international waters would be an excellent way to demonstrate the reality of Russian capabilities. There would be a call 15 minutes before this to the US JCS to warn them that such tests were about to start, that would be it.
Poseidon would be a nice test but I don't see any way anyone is going to tolerate the detonation of a nuclear weapon, and resulting tidal wave, as in any way safe.
There have been rumors for quite some time that Russia has developed ways to jam and otherwise reduce effectiveness of US electronic systems - a couple demonstrations of that would also not hurt.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 31 2021 7:45 utc | 70

They just want Minsk to be implemented, they want us to pressure Ukraine to a accept Minsk and Minsk takes care of Russia's major demands and then in the down low they want fast attack systems removed from their bordering nato states.
Us delivers these two things it's done

Posted by: A.z | Dec 31 2021 8:22 utc | 71

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -Frederick Douglass

make it good, Russia, make it good.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Dec 31 2021 8:23 utc | 72

Re: S550

How long would it take the Russians to integrate and field Chinese mass produced hypersonics?

Russian titanium pressure forged in China?

Posted by: too scents | Dec 31 2021 8:25 utc | 73

>> personally through Mr. Biden so ¨nul ne puisse en pretendre ignorance¨.

But, the United West anticipated Russia’s diplomatic move by installing a demented Biden, who can credibly pretend ignorance on all matters and at all times, as their frontman. Advantage to the West!

@ migueljose: I sure hope your prediction proves correct.

Posted by: son of spam | Dec 31 2021 9:20 utc | 74

@Clif (59) & @Kukulkan (65)
In terms of Cyrillic, specifically, OMG would become ОМГ. If that answers Clif's question. I'm not sure if Clif was asking for any specific language's translation (if you're reading this, let me know).

Posted by: joey_n | Dec 31 2021 10:43 utc | 75

Thank you karlof1 for this transcript. If the machine translation is faithful to the spirit of the conversation, then I see that the west has caved.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 31 2021 0:38 utc | 47

I share your hunch. I've had a hunch Biden wants to attempt to address problems at home rather than go the Bush/Cheney route. The question is will he get his way? I think he may, but not a done deal. Politics here is not just crazy but obscured, hidden.

I give high praise for Putin/Lavrov approach to the problem, the timing. Adept.

Psychohistorian's notion that some "patriotic" people may try to freelance themselves a conflict is certainly consistent with past experience, but things have not been going their way lately, perhaps not. At some point the bluster fades and native cowardice takes over.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 31 2021 11:32 utc | 76

A little more about the phone call that I don't think is covered in the Kremlin readout.
".The Kremlin has demanded a firm guarantee that Ukraine will never join NATO and the alliance will not position military equipment in former Soviet states, including Georgia.

Putin told Biden that Russia would act in the same fashion as the US if weapons were deployed close to its own borders.

But the Biden administration has rejected the demands.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.”

The US president added that his country was ready to exact substantial economic pain through sanctions should Putin decide to take military action in Ukraine.

Putin responded by saying that “would be a mistake that our ancestors would see as a grave error. A lot of mistakes have been made over the past 30 years, and we would better avoid more such mistakes in this situation,” his foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said."

In his 2019 speech to the federal assembly Putin spoke about the US pulling out of thge intermediate missile treaty.
"How are we evaluating the situation in this context? I have already said this and I want to repeat: Russia does not intend – this is very important, I am repeating this on purpose – Russia does not intend to deploy such missiles in Europe first. If they really are built and delivered to the European continent, and the United States has plans for this, at least we have not heard otherwise, it will dramatically exacerbate the international security situation, and create a serious threat to Russia, because some of these missiles can reach Moscow in just 10–12 minutes. This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced, I would like to emphasise this, we will be forced to respond with mirror or asymmetric actions. What does this mean?

I am saying this directly and openly now, so that no one can blame us later, so that it will be clear to everyone in advance what is being said here. Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only in the areas we are directly threatened from, but also in areas that contain decision-making centres for the missile systems threatening us.

What is important in this regard? There is some new information. These weapons will fully correspond to the threats directed against Russia in their technical specifications, including flight times to these decision-making centres.

We know how to do this and will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the threats to us become real. I do not think we need any further, irresponsible exacerbation of the current international situation. We do not want this."

And this in reply to a sky news journalist at the recent press conference.
"Regarding your question about guarantees or whether things depend on the negotiations, our actions will not depend on the negotiation process, but rather on unconditional guarantees for Russia’s security today and in the historical perspective.
In this connection, we have made it clear that any further movement of NATO to the East is unacceptable. Is there anything unclear about this? Are we deploying missiles near the US border? No, we are not. It is the United States that has come to our home with its missiles and is already standing at our doorstep. Is it going too far to demand that no strike systems be placed near our home? What is so unusual about this?"
"And you are demanding guarantees from me. It is you who must give us guarantees, and you must do it immediately, right now, instead of talking about it for decades and doing what you want, while talking quietly about the need for security guarantees to everyone. This is the point. Are we threatening anyone?"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Dec 31 2021 12:09 utc | 77

Even Russia can not develop, test, produce and field a new air and space defense missile in just 6 weeks. The TASS piece is bollocks.

Russia has live tested the S-500 missile in July and reportedly fielded a limited number of those. A S-550 fielding is years out.

With all this meddling in medicine and finance, b, you are losing your touch!

The S-550 was known about long before November, and was no doubt already under development long before the S-500 was fully developed. Martyanov believes an S-600 is also in advanced stages of development.

Russia develops different generations of new technology systems in parallel, not serially starting one after the other is completed. It has for some time been perfectly clear that Russia has plenty of other weapons systems secrets up her sleeve (and recently Putin hinted at this). Most of these will be keppt secret until the day they are first fired. Some, but only some, will from time to time be uncovered, for their strategic deterrant value (and sales value, but in downgraded form). I am sure we'll see a few other spectacularly groundbreaking breakthroughs revealed in the next one or two months in the course of the posturing over Russia's strategic treaties - but even that will only be the tip of the iceberg of Russia's new technology.

Posted by: BM | Dec 31 2021 13:45 utc | 78

jhill @50: "...even perceived inferiority leads to larger and larger military R & D budgets. Indeed, even if it's known to be a lie (JFK's missile gap) it's still the occasion for floods of tax money flowing the way of the MIC."

My post is not at all intended to single out jhill here as the economic misunderstanding behind the post is actually pervasive in the West, even among those in leadership positions who should know better. The post by jhill is just a convenient one in this thread to work from.

The delusion in America is that the condition the country is in is just a matter of inadequate willpower and motivation. It is imagined that Americans will get off their couches and perform miracles again like their grandparents did and all it will take is a suitable challenge. The necessary motivation and willpower will be exemplified by the mountains of cash printed up to throw at the challenge. This notion that spending lots of money can revitalize the American military and make it the unassailably dominant force on the planet is delusion, though. Unless one intends to bomb the empire's adversaries with pallet-loads of cash, the challenge the empire faces cannot be met with finance.

Only industry counts in total war.

You cannot wish industry into existence, particularly not in a market economy, and the capitalist market economy is the single most important aspect of the current empire. Capitalist control is not negotiable. Capitalism is the heart and soul of the American empire. Everything else, such as "Muh Freedums!", the middle class, and "Democracy™" is expendable. Whenever you hear people in the empire say things like "We should..." or "All we have to do is..." they are talking about economic planning, which is impossible on fundamental levels in the empire. You simply cannot accomplish that kind of economic development with a market economy.

The problems arising from industrial decline are far more extensive than just not having factories to build weapon systems with. The lack of domestic supply chains to feed those factories isn't even the biggest problem. A far more intractable problem is that after generations of industrial decline the underlying psychology of the population is no longer based in the creation of tangible goods, but rather in buying those goods. This is where the pervasive delusion that it is just about money comes from, and with the massive printing of money since the 2008 finance meltdown the last connections between perceived money value and physical reality have been severed. Basically, the American population, from school children to the President, no longer have a worldview conducive to industrialization. It would be generations before America could reindustrialize even with a crash program and massive subsidies to accomplish it.

Why is this important? Doesn't America have more and better ships than Russia? Don't we have more airplanes? America's current military far outclasses Russia's right now, so what is the big deal?

The big deal is that in a major war between large near-peer adversaries like the US and Russia the war will not end with the same ships and aircraft and other hardware that it started with. That hardware will all be smoldering piles of scrap littering the landscape or seafloor. The weapons that the war ends with will be built during the war. Now ask yourself, if the need arises, who could build more ships and planes and missiles? America has more ships than Russia right now but that is only because the US has been building them non-stop since WWII. In tonnage and supply chains, Russia's shipbuilding capacity dwarfs Americas. Russia has lots of industry that can be repurposed for armaments, and so they can quickly ramp up production. The industry available in America for military production is already running pretty much flat out. America has little commodity industrial capacity that can be repurposed for a war effort.

In a drawn out military slugfest between the US and Russia, Russia wins easily, even without the advantages of the brilliant Soviet era economic planning.

And we have not even factored in the impact of China throwing their economic weight around in a major conflict.

The point here is that money doesn't count in a big war. Finance becomes irrelevant and industry wins the day. When you compare Russia and the US with that in mind the advantages of the Empire of Chaos do not look quite so impressive.

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 31 2021 15:17 utc | 79

I've noticed that Russia is pumping out AA systems fairly rapidly. Therefore, I have a question the folks here might be able to answer.

For instance: Is the Russian s-300 domestic use system better then the s-400 export version ? Is the domestic s-400 better then the s-500 export version ? I'm confused on the operational differences.

Posted by: The Watcher | Dec 31 2021 16:01 utc | 80

@Montreal 29, the largest most productive shipyard in the world, not to mention a Mullusk tire plant that outperformed all other company owned plants worldwide .....the Six Counties can take care of themselves.


Posted by: sean the leprechaun | Dec 31 2021 16:01 utc | 81

" Now, contrary to the unlikely scenario of Russia taking gratuitous potshots at planes within range, as b has suggested above, Syria certainly has every right to target Israeli platforms, wherever they may be. Even more so as these attacks are regular. Thing is, Syria doesn't appear to even try. So why is that? "

Very simple answer. You dont mess with a Rothschild established colony.

Posted by: The Watcher | Dec 31 2021 16:03 utc | 82

" The Israelis were (again) hiding behind a Russian cargo plane about to land, taking the plane hostage, hence no defence. Try to keep up will you?

Posted by: mikhas | Dec 30 2021 20:20 utc | 24 "

No need to be a condescending prick. Didnt Russia also warn Israel not to do that again ? Yet here we are.

Posted by: The Watcher | Dec 31 2021 16:06 utc | 83

Russia Might Defend Israel If Iran Launched Missile Strikes Against It

Posted by: MG | Dec 31 2021 16:08 utc | 84

Posted by: ptb | Dec 31 2021 2:57 utc

Can anyone recommend links or resources to shed light on the situation in Mali?

In the Open Thread 2021-102 (#1) I translated Bernard Lugan's latest article on Mali, which did not fail to surprise one of my compatriots. I therefore point out once again that when you read Bernard Lugan, you should wear a mask, disinfect your hands, and if he invites you to dinner, take a spoon with a very long handle. However, I still think that he is the French historian who knows the most about Africa today.

Here is a link to his website. His other articles on Mali can be easily translated thanks to Deepl, just copy and paste.

And since we are talking about Mali, I hope you are interested in its music. If not, start with Fatoumata Diawara, on YouTube...

Posted by: Leuk | Dec 31 2021 16:54 utc | 85

# 21 sorry.

Posted by: Leuk | Dec 31 2021 16:55 utc | 86

@85 Leuk - thanks. Another post-colonial intervention disaster, but that is sadly just confirmation of a safe assumption. The link looks like a good starting point for research in the many details, appreciate your re-posting it.
Yes a lot of the West African music is fantastic. Will look up that suggestion.

Posted by: ptb | Dec 31 2021 17:48 utc | 87

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 31 2021 7:45 utc | 70:

There have been rumors for quite some time that Russia has developed ways to jam and otherwise reduce effectiveness of US electronic systems - a couple demonstrations of that would also not hurt.

Here is an example they have done so already. They demonstrated such capability during the Syrian conflict too.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 31 2021 18:20 utc | 88

Forgot to post the link:

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 31 2021 18:21 utc | 89

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 31 2021 15:17 utc | 79

Thanks for taking the time to develop that POV. I concur.
Behind that the question about just where any conflict takes place is a factor. Can the US again avoid a war on their own soil?
What about the will of the people? In WWII my preacher father worked a 6 day shift in a military warehouse and preached on Sundays. My mother sewed sleeping bags for the troops 6 days a week. My Norwegian immigrant grandmother had a huge victory garden. 15 year-olds lied about their age and joined up. That kind of committment today ain’t happenin’. People won’t fight very hard for smart phones and Big Macs. Moses @ | Dec 30 2021 19:17 utc | 21 already said it.

The Russian people know their history and the sacrifices their ancestors made to defend their country. They won’t get rolled.
In China Kai Shek had all the planes and guns while Mao and Chu Teh had the people and sticks and still it was no contest. Further, the Chinese are well aware of their ‘century of humiliation’ and will not allow it again.
Plus there are plenty of smaller nations who have been abused just waiting to kick the bully should it stumble.

No America, Rambo and the Terminator are old and John Wayne is dead.
Best you shut up your Tom Cottons and find your place.

Posted by: waynorinorway | Dec 31 2021 18:25 utc | 90

Roger 46, William Gruff 79; Point correctly at the US problem, it is our state of INDUSTRY and the INDUSTRIAL supply chain.

In a protracted war, thanks to the efforts of 5th columns in DC-NYC-WestCoast-Cities the USA will lose. For a protracted war to occur, the US must face a near technological foe, with a significant industrial capability capable of near-term mobilization, also the foe[s] must have a large enough land mass on which to distribute the initial blows.

The Dunderheads of DC, in their infinite foolishness have rebuilt the Soviet era INDUSTRY of Russia through their endless sanctions & threats-of-sanctions. The US policy has deliberately, at least it seems, created a near foe out of the ashes of the Soviet Empire. If I didn't live in and love the USA, I would have to laugh at the sheer stupidity of DC's "leadership". Everything DC has done to harm Russia has made it stronger. It seems while they decry efforts to "make America great again" they have done their utmost to "build Russia back better".

But wait there's more. NYC [an abbreviation for US financial interests] have insisted, for over four decades on denuding US industry, transferring, not just the production lines of US industry but, the trade-secrets, the processes, the industrial know-how, machine tools and the whole gambit of modern production to China's open arms. Silicon Valley/Seattle's efforts to secure financial support to create financial moguls from copyright monopolies have also ensured a constant stream of technological development kept China abreast of the latest developments.

But wait there's more. In what could only be called the greatest in foreign policy blunder in the history of the human species, Hill-Bill/Cheney&Jr/Obomber-Hill-Nuland were convinced that uniting China and Russia was a brilliant, 7th dimension chess move! And here we stand, on the brink of a dark-age brought about by the tiniest sliver of elitists that has ever ruled over a population.

Americans are not stupid, they have been lied to, humiliated, physically and mentally bludgeoned by an ultra-elitist class [and their minions in media]. The ultra-elitists class lack even a fig leaf of decency or true patriotism. Yes, the elitist class [and their minions in media] endlessly virtue signal and proudly wave the flag but, when it matters, they ALWAYS put their money, their power & their prestige before country. The American citizenry know this and still the vast majority would gladly sacrifice all to bring the USA back in balance, back on track, while there is still time. Sadly, the fifth columns that saturate DC, NYC & WestCoastCities seem determined to run out the redemption clock...all the while denigrating decent people who seek to save the country from it's leadership.

Posted by: S Brennan | Dec 31 2021 18:41 utc | 91

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 31 2021 15:17 utc | 79:

The delusion in America is that the condition the country is in is just a matter of inadequate willpower and motivation. It is imagined that Americans will get off their couches and perform miracles again like their grandparents did and all it will take is a suitable challenge. The necessary motivation and willpower will be exemplified by the mountains of cash printed up to throw at the challenge. This notion that spending lots of money can revitalize the American military and make it the unassailably dominant force on the planet is delusion, though. Unless one intends to bomb the empire's adversaries with pallet-loads of cash, the challenge the empire faces cannot be met with finance.

You nailed it!!!

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 31 2021 18:46 utc | 92


Thank you for the link (which doesn't work, but there are other ways...) The post is a good one, going as it does back to other writings by precious journalists and truth-tellers - in deference to brevity I will just record here the opening paragraph then say a little bit about my thoughts generated by the article (well presented as usual by Alistair Crooke.)

Former thrice-time U.S. Presidential candidate and now political commentator, Pat Buchanan, writes: The present mood of America at Christmas 2021 seems better captured by Jimmy Carter in his ‘malaise speech’ in July of 1979, several days before he cashiered half of his Cabinet. “The threat” to America, said Carter, “is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation”...

Further down, in other quotes, Crooke questions 'the glue of America', what it is that holds the US together as a union of separate states. It rather reminded me of Russia's renewal consisting of making itself smaller, and the problems since with Nato encroaching on those borderline states. This year's crisis. Might we find ourselves faced with a similar necessity in order not to be considered, as karlof1 describes us, an Outlaw Empire? Might we also have to relinquish states on this country's periphery in order to establish a new cohesion that doesn't threaten the rest of the world? I ask this from one of the states which could very well move out of the empirical orbit, having entered it in historical memory during the time of Abraham Lincoln.

Would that be so bad? After all, Biden has already bowed his head to leave Covid to state governance. Is that the beginning of something new?

Posted by: juliania | Dec 31 2021 18:51 utc | 93

@William Gruff, #79:

You also pointed out succinctly that one cannot wish industry into existence. One has to build it, brick by brick, human y human. The buildup for America today will be harder than the grandpa days. Then they had only one goal in mind to do and live better. They didn't know any better otherwise. Today, new builders will be distracted by memories of luxuries and easy life inertia. It would be so much easier to just give up when the back hurts and accountability can be deflected elsewhere. It would take dogged determination and patience to accomplish.

The uphill climb is steep and treacherous. Are you ready Uncle Sam???

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 31 2021 18:57 utc | 94

totally agree with William Gruff | Dec 31 2021 15:17 utc | 79
Just look how the USA during the height of the pandemic last year could even make masks.

Posted by: dp | Dec 31 2021 19:02 utc | 95

Oriental Voice @89

The link is from April 2018. So, looks like Russia jammed drones in Syria a little over 3-1/2 years ago. They also jammed the USS Donald Cook a few years back IIRC. Can Russia effectively jam US military systems today?

Posted by: spudski | Dec 31 2021 19:16 utc | 96

@ Peter AU1 / 77
I’ve watched that clip of that western blonde female ‘ journalist ‘ with the oh so correct English accent and her disrespectful attitude. The expression of stony silence on her face as she was put in her place suggests she hadn’t been warned of the way V.V.Putin deals with conceited fools. I doubt if she has the intelligence or the humility to learn anything from her international dressing down though.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Dec 31 2021 19:23 utc | 97

Beibdnn 97

Putin's reaction was a little different this time. The idiot journalist is a was of time but Putin's answer and and the tone were worth noting. He was speaking to the US west as much as to the journalist. The US missile base in Poland is coming online very shortly and even for subsonic Tomahawks, it is only a few minutes flight time to Kalingrad and not much further to the border of Russia. If US does not pull back, Russian missiles will be set up equal flight time distance from US political and military command centers. Putin understands the danger of the situation but the American crazies do not.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Dec 31 2021 19:48 utc | 98


Borrell’s claim concerning the EU’s hypothetical contribution to the discussion of security guarantees in Europe looks very strange against this background. Probably, the head of European diplomacy simply forgot what was said about the 21 EU countries that are NATO members: “Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation”. This is a direct quotation from article 42.7 of the Treaty on the EU. In the two joint declarations with NATO signed since 2016, the EU even agreed to use its defence capabilities in the interests of NATO. EU Brussels has ceded the lion’s share of its military sovereignty to NATO Brussels. This sacrificial offering of its own sovereignty was done not only to NATO. The US also received such a gift. In this context, it is difficult to understand the emotional stress of the head of European diplomacy, which is caused by the EU’s non-participation in the discussion of security guarantees in Europe. You did this of your own free will. Nobody was forcing you to do this. You voluntarily agreed to lose your sovereign rights to allow the US to make decisions single-handedly or under NATO’s umbrella where the US is the primary decision-maker anyway.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Dec 31 2021 19:51 utc | 99

@ Peter AU1 | Dec 31 2021 12:09 utc | 77 with the quotes from Putin about the lines being drawn and the counter threats being made

Thanks for that. I expect that Russia could station manned subs close to US/EU shores but I expect they have unmanned ones by now as well. Making that threat clear to the public in the West is the challenge and I expect we will see some show of that potential force as part of this standoff.

The American public is totally oblivious to what is going on in the world, so their waking up to this show of potential force will be interesting to watch and see how manipulated.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 31 2021 20:14 utc | 100

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