Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 14, 2021

Ukraine - Russia Makes Serious Demands, Warns Of 'Confrontation'

Following unfounded U.S. claims of an imminent Russian invasion of the Ukraine U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin have held a virtual summit. Little has been released about its real content but the Russian follow up shows that the issues they talked about were deadly serious.

On December 10 the Russian Foreign Ministry published a statement that not only sounds like an ultimatum but seems to be meant as one:

We note US President Joseph Biden’s readiness expressed at the December 7, 2021 talks with President Vladimir Putin to establish a serious dialogue on issues related to ensuring the security of the Russian Federation. Such a dialogue is urgently needed today when the relations between Russia and the collective West continue to decay and have approached a critical line. At the same time, numerous loose interpretations of our position have emerged in recent days. In this connection we feel it is necessary to once again clarify the following.

Escalating a confrontation with our country is absolutely unacceptable. As a pretext, the West is using the situation in Ukraine, where it embarked on encouraging Russophobia and justifying the actions of the Kiev regime to undermine the Minsk agreements and prepare for a military scenario in Donbass.

Instead of reigning in their Ukrainian protégés, NATO countries are pushing Kiev towards aggressive steps. There can be no alternative interpretation of the increasing number of unplanned exercises by the United States and its allies in the Black Sea. NATO members’ aircraft, including strategic bombers, regularly make provocative flights and dangerous manoeuvres in close proximity to Russia’s borders. The militarisation of Ukraine’s territory and pumping it with weapons are ongoing.

The course has been chosen of drawing Ukraine into NATO, which is fraught with the deployment of strike missile systems there with a minimal flight time to Central Russia, and other destabilising weapons. Such irresponsible behaviour creates grave military risks for all parties involved, up to and including a large-scale conflict in Europe.

All the NATO action mentioned above directly endangers Russia's security. It has to cease. Some of the steps taken must be reversed and Russia will have to be given guarantees that certain measures will not be taken. The statement includes this list of demands:

  • No more NATO expansion towards Russia's borders. Retraction of the 2008 NATO invitation to Ukraine and Georgia.
  • Legally binding guarantee that no strike systems which could target Moscow will be deployed in countries next to Russia.
  • No NATO or equivalent (UK, U.S., Pl.) 'exercises' near Russian borders.
  • NATO ships, planes to keep certain distances from Russian borders.
  • Regular military-to-military talks.
  • No intermediate-range nukes in Europe.

That the above is not a "pretty please" wishlist has since been emphasized by several Russian authorities:

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday warned of confrontation should the United States and NATO fail to give Russia security guarantees concerning its eastern expansion, the RIA news agency reported.

President Vladimir Putin has demanded legally binding security guarantees that NATO will not expand further east or place its weapons close to Russian territory; Washington has repeatedly said no country can veto Ukraine's NATO hopes.

The confrontation Ryabkov talks about would not be verbal if Russia's red lines get crossed:

We have openly pointed out that there are red lines which we will not allow anyone to cross, and we also have certain requirements, which have been formulated exceedingly clearly.

Russia can of course veto the Ukraine's entry into NATO. It can destroy the Ukrainian military, take the regions of Ukraine where a majority speaks Russian and create a new sovereign state from them.


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The remaining agricultural Banderastan would be left for Poland and Romania to feast on. This would give Russia the strategic depth it needs and it would limit the NATO friendly coastline in the Black Sea to the south western parts.

A Russian attack on the Ukraine is however what western weapon producers and their adjunct think tanks, 'experts' and political hawks, mainly in the U.S., deeply wish for. It would isolate Russia, increase the U.S. role in Europe, justify increasing military budgets and end the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and other Russian export routes.

And that is the reason why Russia will not attack and use alternative measures.

Unless, of course, ...

In a phone call with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson Putin repeated the demands and explained his reasoning:

Like other Western leaders, Boris Johnson expressed concern about Russia’s alleged large-scale troop movements near the Ukrainian border. In this regard, Vladimir Putin provided in-depth and principled assessments of the current situation in Ukraine.

Specific examples of Kiev's destructive course on derailing the Minsk agreements, which are the only viable path towards resolving the internal Ukraine crisis, were given. It was also pointed out that the Ukrainian authorities are purposefully aggravating the situation on the line of contact and are using heavy weapons and attack drones, which are prohibited by the Minsk Package of Measures in the conflict zone. Ukraine’s policy of discrimination against Russian-speaking people was pointed out as well.

It was emphasised that all this is happening amid the active military “exploration” of Ukraine’s territory by NATO, something that poses a direct threat to Russia’s security.

With this in mind, Vladimir Putin stated the need to immediately begin talks in order to develop clear international legal agreements that can preclude NATO’s further eastward advance and the deployment of weapons that pose a threat to Russia in neighbouring states, primarily Ukraine. Russia will present draft documents to this end.

The NATO countries which push for further moves against Russia, mostly the Baltic 3 and Poland, see all their dreams endangered. They will resist any move towards a fulfillment of Russia's demands. They are however not the ones that count.

It is the U.S., Germany and France that Russia is counting on to get some senses. The upcoming winter, which is predicted to be somewhat harsh, is a good opportunity to apply a little pressure to Europe and to show that it is Russia, not the U.S., which provides Europe energy security. The new Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer understands that:

In an interview published on Tuesday in the German newspaper Die Welt, Nehammer, who was elected chancellor earlier this month, was asked if the Austrian government will continue to support Nord Stream 2. He replied, “Of course,” adding that he expects the pipeline to begin operating soon.

“I don’t consider it necessary to connect Nord Stream 2 with Russia’s behavior in Ukraine,” he went on, referencing a recent political standoff between Moscow and Kiev. “The EU can only hurt itself by doing so. Nord Stream 2 doesn’t only serve Russia’s interests – Germany, Austria, and other EU countries will profit from it. Nord Stream 2 is a European project, which shouldn’t be used as a tool to pressure Moscow.”

This winter Russia will use its market power to press for a fulfillment of its demands. Russia has stopped to provide natural gas to the European spot markets. It continues to deliver in full to customers who have long term contracts. This will squeeze Poland and a few others who depend on the spot market in times of peak demand. Russia hopes that those countries learn that their excessive hostility towards it can have serious consequences.

As Russia has no direct tool to squeeze the U.S. it will need a different strategy to push Biden to change course. The current main foreign policy concern in the U.S. is China. Russia is therefore coordinating its strategy with it:

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss "aggressive" language from the U.S. and NATO during their virtual meeting later this week, according to the Kremlin.

"The situation in international affairs, especially on the European continent, is very, very tense right now and requires discussion between allies," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to a Reuters report. "We see very, very aggressive rhetoric on the NATO and U.S. side, and this requires discussion between us and the Chinese."

Notice Peskov's use of the word "allies". This is, as far as I know, new. There is no formal treaty between Russia and China that makes them 'allies' so the use of the word is highly significant.

This is a concern for an Asia pundit who fears that any Russian move on Ukraine would be accompanied by a Chinese move on Taiwan. To prevent that she urges the U.S. to end the endless confrontation with Russia and to concentrate on the far east.

We can only hope that Biden understands such reasoning, finally shuts up the Russia hawks and ends the conflict with Moscow.

Otherwise we will all be in for some interesting times.

Posted by b on December 14, 2021 at 18:39 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Now i know it's serious.

Posted by: Keith Granger | Dec 14 2021 19:08 utc | 1

Than U for all this information.
I should love to know whether an what our dear "B" has ever gleaned of infomation from the ""Institut für Asiankunde" in Hamburg: I had several former friends there who vwer very good at gleening information about political establishments east of the Elbe and document their gleenings of information --- just to warp it in their final so-called conclutions. Have you ever been sttioned in Hamburg, our dear ""u"?

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Dec 14 2021 19:11 utc | 2

Good to have ur analysis after the unavoidable break.
Hopefully ur medical issues have been sorted out and no further complications will arise.
As I said before u r the best analyst who brings brilliant rebuttal backs up by facts that destroy the prevailing narratives so we kinda need u to keep going

Posted by: A.z | Dec 14 2021 19:14 utc | 3

Thanks for taking the baton on European developments, b! Your article helps to extend my discussion on the week in review thread, which I added to this morning. I will note that Russia still has some tools to employ, specifically Putin's agreement that Genocide is occurring in Donbass but has yet to be included in the diplomatic exchanges--an omission I don't expect to last much longer. Also the fact the Minsk-2 is a UNSCR, has yet to be fully employed and as such it's the duty of UNSC members to ensure compliance. I'm curious to see what proposals Lavrov has cooked up for the immediate negotiations and suggest everyone read Crooke's latest, "Never a More Unsettling Strategic Landscape."

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 19:18 utc | 4

It doesn't look like NS2 is happening anyway, with the current government it Germany. Giant contractors like Siemens collect their money, the pipe is there as a backup option for an extreme emergency, but that's about it.

Ukraine will keep pushing the limits regardless. Maybe they'll send some of the right-wing militias to get killed to make some publicity. I doubt they attempt a serious attack in Donbass.

The effect IMO will be a multi-year one, as EU industry and agriculture adapts to higher energy cost. Direct competition with the Pacific market in bidding for the seaborne LNG becoming a permanent reality, countries outside EU with both cheap gas and cheap labor will initially benefit from cheap energy, but I'd expect this is addressed with protectionist measures - likely a "carbon tax" border adjustment mechanism. EU is a big enough bloc that it can operate in isolation. How the rich/poor divide is managed between member countries remains an issue, as always.

The world will continue to turn East.

Posted by: ptb | Dec 14 2021 19:18 utc | 5

From earlier today, "Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock". And a very short, terse statement it is:

"The foreign ministers focused on the exchange of views on the status and prospects for developing bilateral relations after the elections in both countries. The Russian diplomat emphasised the desire to develop a dialogue with the new German government that would promote bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both nations and in the interests of ensuring security and stability in the pan-European and global dimensions.

"During the discussion of current international issues, Mr Lavrov underscored the need to give Russia security guarantees in the form of legal commitments on NATO’s renunciation of its eastward expansion and establishing military infrastructure near Russian borders. The new German foreign minister received a detailed explanation on the lack of any alternative to the Minsk agreements on settling Ukraine’s domestic crisis and their implementation by Kiev. Mr Lavrov also emphasised the significance of the influence that Germany can have on the Ukrainian authorities as a participant in the Normandy format."

IMO, everything will need to be emphasized with this German rookie. Note the omission of NS2 from the report. Unfortunately, my appraisal of Baerbock is not very flattering as she comes across as an Imperial lackey with very visible strings.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 19:29 utc | 6

Russia is holding better cards than the west :
1) It now is the BIGGEST exporterof oil to the U.S.
2) It exports gas to the U.S.
3) It exports Diesel fuel to the U.S.
4) Nordstream to is a German initiated project. Russia would have no problems selling the gas to Asia for a greater profit.
5) If the ‘ nuclear ‘ sanction of cutting Russia off from SWIFT was enacted, it is Europe who would suffer far more as they would find it very difficult to pay for the gas supplies that come through other pipelines.
6) As the U.S. has ruled out military action in support of Ukraine, it is slowly dawning on western policy makers that Russia should be heeded, not that NATO could do anything to stop Ukraine being defeated.
7) It has been officially admited by senior Russian officials that if it kicks off in Ukraine, China will utilse that situation to take action regarding Taiwan.
8) The fact that learsI is stiring the pot for military action, means that a 3rd front might kick off. The U.S.A. cannot deal with a two front war, let alone one with 3.

It will be very ‘ entertaining ‘ to see where the west goes next.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Dec 14 2021 19:31 utc | 7

Funny thing about these idiots is the more they snarl at Russia, the more the gas price and electricity price spikes.

The gas market does not like your "russia invasion" stupidities you use to brainwash your own population, and now you will pay the price for that - gas at 1400 $ for Europe.

I even have the feeling Russia likes your stupidity. So keep making hysterias about "russian invasion" and keep watching how energy prices are jumping in response to that.

Its your own uncontrollable animalistic hatred making you harm yourself.

Posted by: Passer by | Dec 14 2021 19:35 utc | 8

A small language-related note; "Ukraino/Ukraine"" means "the borderland. Russian and Ukrainian language makes no difference beteen tefinite and indefinite cathegories, but English does. So in English, the country's (or presumptive Sate's) name must be "The Ukkraine (or The Ukainova" to be true both to itself and to history.
I believe hir´s is also true to how the name should be in Frenc and German .. and in Finnish Swedish and Icelantic, In Chinese, there are few national names that need a definite article, but "Nèige/Suŏwèide Wūkèlán" will beatufully do the job -- especiallhy when the next PRC ambassador presents his credentials and some strange táianese purports to want to take his place.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Dec 14 2021 19:38 utc | 9

@karlof1 @6

Baerbock is an airhead filled with U.S. sourced liberal interventionist nonsense.

This, however, is Germany and the constitution says: "The chancellor determines the guidelines of policies".

Foreign policy in Germany is cooked in the chancellory. The foreign minister has the task to serve it to the customer. She can spit into the soup but can not change its ingredients.

Posted by: b | Dec 14 2021 19:38 utc | 10

This whole situation could be diffused if European countries didn't take their cue from the USA and its bully boy club Nato which they are a member off. Threating Russia has no benefits for the EU, it only benefits the USA, which wants Europeans countries to buy it more expensive gas. Post the second world war the US promised Russia that Nato wouldn't talk one East, then again the US promised China that it would never look upon Taiwan as a separate entity.

Although Putin doesn't want to see flash points or skirmishes, if the USA compels its scapegoat Ukraine to invade Russian territory, what option would Putin have but to retaliate, the US would then be calling for severe sanction at the very least.

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Dec 14 2021 19:39 utc | 11

UK also closed their gas storage and relies on market price "just in time", hence the energy crisis in the UK and electricity prices there being even higher than in the EU.

Funny to see gas/energy prices in the UK spiking just as the country is urging closure of NS-2. Do these idiots even realise that they are directly affected by that? I see that Johnson's rating is tanking pretty fast.

Posted by: Passer by | Dec 14 2021 19:57 utc | 12

@ karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 19:18 utc | 4

I rate Crooke's articles very highly and that one is well worth reading (as was this one by b)

Posted by: MarkU | Dec 14 2021 20:07 utc | 13

Posted by: ptb | Dec 14 2021 19:18 utc | 5

Actually the EU is more reliant on foreign trade than the US or even China. This isn't the US, where exports are relatively small.

High energy prices plus high input prices due to carbon tarrifs means EU exports kaput, hello Chinese products everywhere.

Posted by: Passer by | Dec 14 2021 20:09 utc | 14

from this good artcle out of the Hamburger "Instiut für Asiankinde":
"This winter Russia will use its market power to press for a fulfillment of its demands. Russia has stopped to provide natural gas to the European spot markets. It continues to deliver in full to customers who have long term contracts. This will squeeze Poland and a few others who depend on the spot market in times of peak demand. Russia hopes that those countries learn that their excessive hostility towards it can have serious consequences."
What is there more than to be said? - "Your husband is dead/ the will's to be said" crie all the north atlantisit minor states north of the Hanseatic states (Like Lübek and Hambirg) --- Som more "to be saidi"!
Indeed, their US of North A husband is now dead.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Dec 14 2021 20:26 utc | 15

The Russian demands are so far off from reality that they don`t even stand a chance to be taken seriously. On just has to imagine the situation reversed: Instead of Russia demanding legally binding assurances from NATO to not conclude alliances or to move troops within NATO territory unless approved by Moscow it would be NATO demanding from Russia legally binding assurances that Russia doesn not conclude alliance with other countries or move troops within Russia unless approved by NATO.

This is just never going to happen.

Russia should try to establish a cease fire with Ukraine. That would immediately sooth the tensions in Eastern Europea and while it doesn`t solve all problems at once it is at least a realistic goal.


As of Nord Stream 2, that`s in my opinion next to dead by now. For decades by now opponents of that project have been arguing that Russia would use it in order to pressure Germany while proponents of the pipeline had been arguing that Moscow had always been a reliebly gas supplier, even at the height of the Cold War. And what are we witnessing now? There is a spike in gas prices in Europe, NS2 hasn`t even been opened yet and Russia tries to pressure Germany.

The Covid-19 pandemic has severed supply chains globally. Governments all over the world are currently working out which supply chains are to be re-established in the name of economic efficiency and in which areas it is bettere to pay a bit more in order to achieve more resilience in times of crisis. Russia has just disqualified itself as a relieable gas supplier in times of crisis.

Posted by: m | Dec 14 2021 20:33 utc | 16

Perhaps I've missed someone bringing up this point. The EU/NATO is trying to trap or trick the US by pushing for war in Ukraine.

As inflation heats up, there will be more focus on the free ride NATO gets from the US. Is it half the US defense budget? Trump was right but Democrats couldn't say so.
The trick is to get war going so that the US can't think about leaving or walking away from Europe and NATO people keep their jobs and EU vassals keep defense on the cheap. Seeing Biden's discreet reluctance on Ukraine while Europe rages for war suggests to me that his administration might understand this trap.

Posted by: Eighthman | Dec 14 2021 20:36 utc | 17

Posted by: b | Dec 14 2021 19:38 utc | 10

Congratulations b, you rounded up the whole set of developments and gave a very accurate general picture with this post. A few days back with little reaction I posted the link to the Russian FM announcement, surprised by the categorical tone of it and as a clear stand to start talks concerning not Ukraine but the Russian Federation's security, on paper, unlike thirty years ago with Gorbachev.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 14 2021 20:37 utc | 18

Wasn't it just last week that the US, the EU, Stoltenberg and all the ghastly-chorus boys and girls were threatening Russia that nasty things would happen to the NS2 if Russia continued it's "aggression" in Ukraine?

So now it is "closed"?

Doesn't that mean there is one less thing to "sanction"? Doesn't that also make the way for a real Russian aggression easier?

I hope the EUdiots realise that the Ukrainian pipelines cannot take more gas pressure as unsafe due to lack of maintenance, and that NS1 is using half capacity due to EU regulations.
Do they actually look at the situation, or do they rely of faith-healers to save them in case of catching cold?

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 14 2021 20:43 utc | 19

I hadn't thought about Russia taking the Russian parts of the Ukraine at the same time that China solidifies the One County issue with Taiwan but I like it.

I thought the vibes from the Putin/Biden summit spoke to Putin making demands that got Biden's attention...

Maybe empire will go beat up on Yemen, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon or some mid-African country to try to show some sort of MoJo. I can't see that happening but control of violence is a key to empire's social management and its not showing well at this time.

Hey m at #16....what are you smoking???

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 14 2021 20:45 utc | 20

Russia has just disqualified itself as a relieable gas supplier in times of crisis.

Posted by: m | Dec 14 2021 20:33 utc | 16

Says who? A US euro-puppet?
Check out russian gas supplies for Asia, Hungary or Turkey, all time high. Anew deal was just made with India.

Why are you not crying that your US master is not helping you with gas when you are in need and is selling it to Asia instead? Why is the US not selling you gas? But you will lick your masters boots anyway because this is the fate of worms and cowards.

Euro-puppets trapped themselves, there is nowhere to get gas, because LNG is more expensive than russian gas plus Asia is oubidding you for the LNG, and even your master is not willing to sell you gas when in need, prefering to sell it in Asia.

Posted by: Passer by | Dec 14 2021 20:55 utc | 21

We will all be in for gruesome times. No need to play with words here.

Posted by: Pnyx | Dec 14 2021 20:56 utc | 22

Do they actually look at the situation, or do they rely of faith-healers to save them in case of catching cold?

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 14 2021 20:43 utc | 19

Nope, but for the last few days the tamed Australia presstitutes has been spinning the story that the nat gas "shortage" is going to cause a shortage of urea and all the diesel tractors and trucks will soon stop, civilization will implode, famine will ensure and somehow its the fault of the Chinese.

It seems the real shortage is the stuff between their ears...

But it sure is fun watching the aussie rags projecting victimhood on an escalation game they themselves started.

Posted by: A.L. | Dec 14 2021 21:00 utc | 23

b @10--

Thanks for your reply and clarification! Good to see your mind's clear. What part of the German government controls NS2's certification process?

Beibdnn @7--

7) It has been officially admited by senior Russian officials that if it kicks off in Ukraine, China will utilse that situation to take action regarding Taiwan.

I'd very much like to see documentation of that as I haven't seen anything at all that even hints at such an action being made by China in unison with Russia.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 21:01 utc | 24

If things go noisy over Donbass, not only that the Chinese may take advantage of the chaos to sort out Taiwan, it may also take Diaoyu island while they're at it as its just off Taiwan, especially if the Japanese stick their nose in it like they said they would over Taiwan.

It may also be the best and only time for Syria to take out the illegal occupational bases squatting on its soil.

Israel won't like an united and strong Syria as their next stop will be the Golan heights. It'll kick things off with Iran just to sucker US in.

Iraqis might finally decided they want their country back...

May be the Serbs also have some unfinished business to attend to as well?

Then there's Yemen, Lebanon, Libya....

The chicks will all come home to roost. It'll be a watershed moment for the US hegemony as it struggles but unable to put all the fires out that it started.

Posted by: A.L. | Dec 14 2021 21:02 utc | 25

The Russians are smart and tent to pull something unexpected out of the hat, what will it be this time?

Clearly, the Russians would prefer to keep any "kinetics" as far away from home as they can.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 14 2021 21:14 utc | 26

A.L. | Dec 14 2021 21:02 utc | 25

Too much all at once. It IS possible that many countries that have problems with the US and occupations would jump at the chance to sort out their nearest nasty locality. However, the sheer number would mean a WWIV, WWV or even VI starting. (I forget where we are up to after the financial and internet ones). As in domino theory, if losing upset the table and walk away.

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 14 2021 21:14 utc | 27

A major problem is that Biden is a brain-damaged corporate militarist. Will he have the strength to hold off the neocons and warrists. The Dems have been anti-Russia for years and a little war blamed on Putin might be worth their consideration. As b says, a highly dangerous situation.

Posted by: Mathew | Dec 14 2021 21:15 utc | 28

It's all so simple and elegant, even Putin can appreciate it:
US/NATO pushes Kiev to attack Donbass, Russia responds, the West screams "Russian invasion!" and kicks Russia from the SWIFT plunging the Russian economy in depression and ruining the EU fragile economy. US wins wile Russia and the EU get royally fucked.

All this ONLY because Putin the Pussy hesitated back in 2014 because he didn't want his rich buddies to get sanctioned. Now Putin's buddies will get sanctioned anyway.
Sorry Putin, you lose.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Dec 14 2021 21:28 utc | 29

Does this looks like US blinked over JCPOA?
So now we're down to war on 2 fronts?
But we know US is agreement incapable. The Jew lobby will never let foggy old man do this.

https://sputniknews.com/20211214/us-fully-prepared-to-lift-sanctions-inconsistent-with-jcpoa-commitments---us-envoy-to-un-1091525207.html

Posted by: Surferket | Dec 14 2021 21:28 utc | 30

Stonebird | Dec 14 2021 21:14 utc | 27

Indeed. In fact i deleted my last sentence before posting, which was:

And kids, this is how World Wars gets started....

However, my fear is that the US and Israel will double down and not go quietly. Instead of upsetting the table and waking away when losing; they will flip the table over and rip open their shirt to reveal a suicide vest....

Hence my preferred scenario remains a low profile continued erosion of the USD as reserve currency and let the empire die in a slowish financial implosion. Still a world power, without trying to be the missionary and messiah to the rest of the world.

Posted by: A.L. | Dec 14 2021 21:31 utc | 31

@Surferket | Dec 14 2021 21:28 utc | 30

Wow, that sounds incredible, so maybe a distraction from something else?

... but now they have said it (my emphasis), there is no going back:

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations, said, "We're fully prepared to lift sanctions inconsistent with our JCPOA commitments, which would allow Iran to receive the economic benefits of the deal."

Of course, being not agreement capable, only actions to follow up count.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 14 2021 21:36 utc | 32

The heat continues to be applied, "Russia warns of nuclear response to NATO missile plans". From Ryabkov's interview I linked yesterday:

"'The absence of progress in the direction of a political-diplomatic solution to this problem will make it so that our response is military,' Ryabkov said. 'That is, it will be a confrontation, the next round, the deployment of such tools from our side.'

And

"'The NATO people’s frequent assurances that they have no plans to deploy such nuclear instruments don’t convince us at all,' Ryabkov said on Monday. 'First of all, as a principle, there is no trust towards the NATO alliance,' he emphasized." [My Emphasis]

I wonder when NATO will awaken from its impossible dream?

Tomorrow, Putin and Xi will meet in a video conference that IMO will have more participants than just them. This item provides a good overview of what their talks will likely cover. Peskov says it will be "a fairly long contact, with a very broad agenda." Putin and Xi will provide initial speeches to the press prior to the conference. As noted, the term allies has finally been used to describe the Russian/Chinese relationship with all that entails.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 21:55 utc | 33

As one who played "duck, cover & kiss your sweet a*s good-bye" in my fourth grade grammar school during the Cuban/Turkish Missile Crisis, I still think that a repeat of such a memorable event is more probable than a European conflict.

The reasons are as follows:

1) As pointed out by many in this drinking establishment, the Russian leadership is pretty miffed that the Americans get to hide behind an ocean and Europe while the latter plays "Russian Roulette" with the crispness of Eurasia region. Methinks the Russians would prefer the Americans get to feel the heat for a change. At the same time, strategically, its better PR with the locals to threaten the Americans rather than their European cannon fodder.

2) The Russians have already given an indirect threat of moving mobile missile launchers into the Western Hemisphere. Read below in Sputnik. In that article the authors claimed that the Chinese have the capability of moving mobile launchers anywhere in the world inside shipping containers. This article was published the same day as Blinken's assertion that Russia has no right to drawing red lines, and was picked up by Global Security, the Sun, and others.

https://sputniknews.com/20211207/china-hides-secret-missile-systems-in-cargo-containers-for-surprise-attack-anywhere---report-1091301280.html

Overlooked is a reference in Wikipedia, posted by who knows who, which describes just that with the the Club K Kalibr cruise missile. The article was posted a number of years ago, and is complete with a photo in a container launching platform and a reference to a 2011 showing at the MAKS 2011 Air Show. I'm sure US intelligence is aware of this fact, as it was also covered in navyrecognition.com in 2019. As I stated in the open thread when I first posted it, the Neo-cons are not that bright and need to be hit over the head emotionally to have that "ah-ha" experience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3M-54_Kalibr

3) One of the biggest televised events in the original stand-off was the blockade of Cuba by the US Navy. This is interesting in two respects. First, that maneuver is much more difficult due to much better aircraft transport and smaller rockets, and secondly it will be seen as hypocritical to a possible blockade by the Chinese of Taiwan and American stated "Freedom of Self Defense", and "Freedom of Navigation". It therefore underlines the notion of "spheres of influence" at a visceral level.

It's getting to be a very, very interesting world.

Posted by: Michael.j | Dec 14 2021 22:00 utc | 34

“I don’t consider it necessary to connect Nord Stream 2 with Russia’s behavior in Ukraine,” he went on, referencing a recent political standoff between Moscow and Kiev. “The EU can only hurt itself by doing so. Nord Stream 2 doesn’t only serve Russia’s interests – Germany, Austria, and other EU countries will profit from it. Nord Stream 2 is a European project, which shouldn’t be used as a tool to pressure Moscow"


Wonder what the Austrian Chancellor makes of the situation at this point?
Anyone understand the energy lunacy occuring in Germany?
Shutting nuclear power plants, refusing to use a brand new gas line and burning more coal
Is there an economic suicide occuring with the Greens slitting the arteries?
If there is any logical angle to what is happening please let me know!
Europe hastens it's irrelevance seems to be the only outcome!

Posted by: JPC | Dec 14 2021 22:02 utc | 35

b
re. your link to Lyle J Goldstein at Defense One:
Lyle is a male first name; hence "she urges" is not right....unless of course you are practicing your woke pronouns.

Posted by: NOBTS | Dec 14 2021 22:03 utc | 36

The ultimatum Russia has given is nothing less than the demand that the West give up on it's dream of ruling the world through military, and especially recently, through financial coercion and commit publicly and unequivocally to this, or be prepared for war. In other words it must commit to the rule of law rather than formulating policy based on its delusions of grandeur. That Russia (and China) have said this publicly suggests that it (they) is (are) confident of its military capability as well as its ability to survive any economic consequences of a break with the West. We will see...

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 14 2021 22:14 utc | 37

@36, maybe b meant to refer to Germany's new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/09/germany-foreign-minister-annalena-baerbock-nord-stream-2

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 14 2021 22:21 utc | 38

addenda @38: oops, my mistake - looking at wrong link. Likely just a typo by the host.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 14 2021 22:30 utc | 39

Sergei Ryabkov: it looks like the United States is preparing for a repeat of the missile crisis

12-13-21

The actions of the United States and NATO allies in Europe lead Moscow to believe that the United States is preparing for a repeat of the missile crisis that in 1962 brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RIA Novosti what exactly Russia demands from Washington and the North Atlantic Alliance as security guarantees when they can be presented to Western countries, what Moscow will do if the alliance eventually refuses to discuss them. ...

[INTERVIEWER:] - Still, we are considering the possibility of such a response to NATO's actions, if they do not heed our concerns?

[RYABKOV]- Lack of progress towards a politico-diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to the fact that our response will be military and military-technical. That is, it will be a confrontation, this will be the next round, it will be the appearance of such funds from our side. Now they do not exist, we have a unilateral moratorium, we call for this moratorium to join NATO and the United States. The answer is, at best: "you first liquidate the systems that led to the collapse of the INF Treaty," as if it were not other geopolitical considerations that pushed the United States to withdraw from the treaty, "and then we will look at something else." But they don’t say this anymore, they simply don’t react to our proposals.

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 14 2021 22:30 utc | 40

What would happen if Gazprom withdraws its request for certification of North Stream 2 with the German authorities, writes off North Stream 2, allows existingdoes contracts to supply gas through Ukraine/Poland to lapse, and concentrates on the Asian market? It's what would make commercial sense, comparing behavior of European and Asian customers,

Posted by: Passerby | Dec 14 2021 22:32 utc | 41


West knows that it cannot fight. Hence, they go psychological.

I doubt that there would be a war with Russia or China because that would hurt the Western bloc more. So they swagger to make up for coming short...and this could only go for so long before reality settles in.

Posted by: nme | Dec 14 2021 22:33 utc | 42

Hmm ... but what could Russia do to pressure NATO to stop military exercises and destabilizing missile on their border?

Ukraine, yes, Russia, in a worst case scenario can prevent Ukraine from becoming a NATO missile base. The only thing I can think of would be for Russia to conduct fairly aggressive exercises of their own around the Baltic states and Poland and watch those countries destroy their roads and bridges trying to support Abram tank drills. Actually, all of the NATO countries in N. Europe would be stressed trying to exercise their supply chain.

Yeah, Russia could force the EU / U.S. to spend a lot more money on Military exercises.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Dec 14 2021 22:52 utc | 43

Beibdnn | Dec 14 2021 19:31 utc | 7

One can spell Israel on this site!
But you are so correct!
The Zionazis are forcing the U$A into WW3, as IN conflicts:
Russia, China, Iran.
The Zionazis are way overplaying their hand, as if ANYTHING happens to Iran where Israel is responsible the Shia Crescent will deal with them, and Hezbollah can blow some of their many wads on Israel!
At the same time, the U$a would be too weak to help in the defence.
(Other than nukes, maybe... or not)

Posted by: Mann Friedman | Dec 14 2021 22:59 utc | 44

This curious essay reviews the demise of the ABM treaty 20 years ago. The author might be a friend of Martyanov since they share similar views on academic negotiators--they're anything BUT weapons experts, so why are they negotiators? IMO, the essay's a disinformation piece as it vastly downplays Russia's potential. I hope Martyanov noticed it and wrote something.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 23:00 utc | 45

The price of gas in Europe, according to the London stock exchange ICE, has surpassed the mark of $1,500 per thousand cubic meters.

Posted by: Passer by | Dec 14 2021 23:04 utc | 46

Terrific piece. Joe Biden’s ‘popularity’ is plummeting, while the underpinning of the American empire- maintaining the dollar as worlds reserve currency is threatened by a decade of uncontrolled money printing & debt accumulation to support financial markets and the military, which have increased inflation. This would not be the first time that a collapsing Empire employed its ‘trump card’, i.e., strong military to start a war. This will lead to WWIII.

Posted by: Paul | Dec 14 2021 23:10 utc | 47

Norwegian @32--

I've now read that report. The "offer" was made at the UN not where the Vienna negotiations are occurring which makes me suspect the offer is ingenuous. The report also tells us that the EU-3 also intend to completely violate the JCPOA,

"The officials added that the talks are mainly on snapback of sanctions and the diplomatic manner the countries should take, and the need for a 'unified stance' against Iran if the talks fail."

As already noted, the UNSC sanctions the JCPOA removed cannot be reinstated, and UNSC sanctions are the only sanctions permissible under the UN Charter. While the EU-3 never officially announced their withdrawal like Trump, they essentially did so through their behavior in failing to uphold their treaty obligations despite lots of talk. Iran now deems the EU-3 as just as unreliable as the Outlaw US Empire.

IMO, the Empire isn't at all serious about rejoining the JCPOA. Instead of saying it will remove sanctions, what will elicit an Iranian response is lifting the sanctions. But the problem always comes to guaranteeing sanctions won't return since nothing the Outlaw US Empire signs is credible.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 14 2021 23:31 utc | 48


So as the riot-act is read out to the failing Empire by the SCO through diplomatic and now media channels, having been played out in hot battle in the proxy wars over the last 20 years, which the SCO were forced to get involved in and NOT lose. Winning a hot war is not the best use of sparse resources especially if the aggressors have to expend a lot more and not achieve their goals. That’s also probably like Russian military judo.

Where will the action take place in the end game?

faites vos jeux , barflies!

This is the EU’s response. PMC’s.

‘ The Russian diplomat urged the EU to stop attempts to meddle in internal affairs of sovereign states, members of the United Nations and to "start establishing cooperation with all members of the global community on the basis of equality and mutual respect".’

‘The EU has imposed restrictive measures against eight individuals and three entities from Russia allegedly connected to the private military entity Wagner Group for their actions in Ukraine, Syria and Libya, Official Journal of the EU published the relevant legal acts on Monday.
As the document reads, "the measures target the Wagner group itself, and eight individuals and three entities connected to it."

‘According to [ Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova] the hysteria around this topic reveals first of all the jealous attitude of certain former European colonial powers to the countries of Africa and the Middle East, whose sovereignty and independence they have been forced to recognize. "In fact, however, the right of these states to choose the services of private companies on a commercial basis, including in the sphere of security, weighs heavily on European partners. Exacerbates their post-imperial ambitions," the diplomat noted.

“Moscow reserves the right to retaliate to new EU sanctions against Russians — diplomat
https://tass.com/politics/1375609

I just keep wondering what they are going to do with 15000 Uighur head choppers and families in Idlib? Talking of private mercenary armies.

Ps gas prices appear to have ‘spiked’ wonder what they know about winter/NS2?

Posted by: D.G. | Dec 14 2021 23:38 utc | 49

"..Russia should try to establish a cease fire with Ukraine. " m@16

What about Minsk? Or the Normandy conferences?

Russia has been turning the other cheek to the fascists in Ukraine for seven years now. Clearly it has had enough and in future will want written agreements honoured by all signatories.

As to gas supplies, again Russia has been a model supplier.
Does anyone imagine for a moment that were the USA given the opportunity to cut enemy countries off from vital fuel supplies it would have done so?

The reality is that NATO has already, in effective terms, made Ukraine a member of the alliance by setting up bases there, stationing troops there and supplying the fascists- free of charge- with all the weaponry they want. There is a very good chance, indeed, that the MH17 was shot down not by the Ukrainian Banderistas, but by NATO allies, which is perhaps a reason why they are trying to pin that crime on Russia.
In general terms it is almost laughable to accuse the Russians of 'invading' the old heartland of Russian culture and birthplace of Gogol. The invading has come from the west, from Poland, and Germany, with assistance from Baltic jackals- when they are not honouring the SS- and at the bidding of the United States.

In the meantime the long suffering people of Ukraine- most of whom do not have bolt holes in Canada or Israel, or incomes guaranteed by the IMF- are falling deeper into the abyss of poverty and cold, pawns in a sordid political game by self proclaimed democrats who have not allowed a free vote or a free press since 2014.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 14 2021 23:59 utc | 50

"... Foreign policy in Germany is cooked in the chancellory. The foreign minister [Annalena Baerbock] has the task to serve it to the customer. She can spit into the soup but can not change its ingredients ..."

That's a great metaphor to describe Baerbock's posturing towards Russia over Ukraine and Nord Stream II. She's only a fly compared to the Russian Foreign Minister. (She might just fall into the soup as well and get burnt.) Even Maria Zakharova towers over Baerbock in foreign policy knowledge and understanding.

BTW I see that Baerbock is a mostly uncritical supporter of Israel in its policies and actions towards Palestinian people.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 15 2021 0:13 utc | 51

@Posted by: b | Dec 14 2021 19:38 utc | 10

And you ave a better hope with "socialdemocrat" chancellor?

I dunno, but it is my knowledge that "eurosocialists" made a u-turn to palin liberalism after the Suresnes Congress, that came alomg with the entering of Spain into NATO under now "eurosocialist" González, thorugh a CIA managed referendum where the confussing questions posed to the citizenry made it for a win for entrance in the Atlantic alliance when a majority of the Spanish population had expressed in previous polls its opposition.

Unless you have a mpre insider info on that Scholz would behave like a real socialist...

On the other hand, in spite of what Germany´s Constitution states, are not the national Cosntitutions in the whole EU in suspense through rules which the governmetns are impossing eventhough contrary to the basic organic law?

Are the countries of the EU any more sovereign, or is it Germany the onlu country which remains so?

Who is in charge in our countries, then?

Posted by: Black bread | Dec 15 2021 0:28 utc | 52

The NATO response wasn't long in coming....

"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels that Russia itself had violated the meanwhile demised INF treaty for years by deploying new intermediate range nuclear capable missiles in Europe, adding that NATO did not aim to mirror Moscow's behaviour."

https://www.reuters.com/world/nato-rejects-russian-accusations-missile-deployment-2021-12-14/

Posted by: dh | Dec 15 2021 0:53 utc | 53

@37 pessimist Good observation, which is why Ukraine will continue to be used against Russia.

@ 40 thanks for the quote. Rybakov's words should haunt us

Remember when Obama tried to do a deal in Syria only to have the MIC subvert it by coordinating an attack outside Deir Ezzour killing 280+ Syrian soldiers- an attack coordinated to allow ISIS to over-run the area?

Biden is less in control than Obama. Any deal offered to Russia will involve sacrificing relations with China. They would be utter fools to believe any deal offered to them by the "agreement incapable"

Posted by: Les7 | Dec 15 2021 1:10 utc | 54

Current developing standoff is similar to the missile crisis of 1962, with the shoe on the other foot so to speak. Then, the United States reacted sharply - and correctly - to the destabilizing introduction of nuclear weapons close to its southern border. Despite the "sovereign" status of Cuba, the principle involved went beyond Cuba's narrow interest in its own national security to recognize that regional security could not or should not involve creating vulnerabilities for neighbouring states. That security understanding which resolved the crisis in 1962 was at least rhetorically repudiated by senior US officials over the past weeks (both SecDef Austin and Pres Biden rejected Russia's security interests in keeping NATO and NATO weapons out of Ukraine). That potentially serious reversal has not been commented on at all in the western press.

Posted by: jayc | Dec 15 2021 1:16 utc | 55

Hope you've recovered from op, B. Good to have you back.

Yes, interesting take. But do any of the players - Ukraine, US, Russia or EU - want a major European conflict? Isn't much of this being triggered by the near completion of Nord Stream 2. US and Ukraine have a small window of opportunity to halt the project. Most effective strategy is to frighten the EU about a war in Europe and force it to withdraw from NS2 to punish and contain Russia. Problem is that US and Ukraine are playing an extremely dangerous game, esp as US arms Ukraine and Ukraine mobilises its troops to provoke a Russian mobilisation along the borders.

Posted by: Martin Smith | Dec 15 2021 2:09 utc | 56

Trying to talk sense to a cabal of satanic overlords is futile. Possibly Putin is hoping that his clear message will fall on enough ears of the Western Elites. With very little sound shared wisdom in EU Parliaments & western Don't Think Tanks, something has to fall out of the sky or sink in the Black Sea for these sociopaths to back off. If only the Great Unwashed understood that their bought & paid Representation were playing Russian Roulette with their lives.

Posted by: WTFUD | Dec 15 2021 2:10 utc | 57

Beibdnn | Dec 14 2021 19:31 utc | 7:

What 3rd front? Syria / Lebanon? Or Latin America?

Posted by: Ian2 | Dec 15 2021 2:28 utc | 58

Thank you, b.

I believe Ernest Hemingway's quote about bankruptcy is very apropros, here:

(How does one go bankrupt?) "First slowly, then all at once."

This slow decline leading to collapse is by far the most dangerous period of global-Empire. While untold suffering has been inflicted by its legions throughout the decades, a global conflagration seems likeliest when it is thrashing and lashing about, when the walls of truth are closing in, and where adversaries once never dreaming of challenging now scoff at and rebuke harshly that which is still seeking to subjugate, regardless of its current stack at the card table.

Would it be worth the whole world for Russia to stand as it once did, without bending or stooping to do the bidding of the Internationalists? Putin believes it to be. I can't blame him and WOULD NEVER blame him if the world erupted.

...

During this Advent Season, I wish foremost for peace on Earth to reflect what happened when Christ was born.

Barring this, best wishes to all those who congregate in this cold climate of Empire around the pitiful burn barrel of truth.

We are blessed to be able to read and speak it. The rest know only how the tug of a marionette string feels.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 15 2021 2:31 utc | 59

Disturbing how UK press (The Guardian) keeps talking about 'the Eastern Front'

Posted by: Adamski | Dec 15 2021 2:37 utc | 60

Whenever “WW3” is mentioned, I never take it seriously. But considering the current worldwide powder keg, and especially how the countries of the resistance finally aren’t at such a disadvantage, I could see something global and huge happening. Not so much bombs flying everywhere, but...

Little movements that click, in synergy. In response to US/Ukraine provocation, Russia doing a neat little move.

Then while the US is worrying about that, China takes Taiwan with a neat little move.

Then while the US is occupied, Iran and Hezbollah do... maybe a move that isn’t necessarily neat or little.

That’s a flash that I’m getting now. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

Posted by: Featherless | Dec 15 2021 2:53 utc | 61

The Pentagon is autonomous, 5/5/2021: "It must be noted that the Pentagon has become an autonomous power. It has a gigantic budget of 740 billion dollars, which is about twice the annual budget of the entire French state. In practice, its power extends far beyond that, since it controls all the member states of the Atlantic Alliance. It is supposed to be accountable to the President of the United States, but the experiences of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump show the absolute opposite. The former failed to impose his policy on General John Allen in the face of Daesh, while the latter was led astray by Central Command. There is no reason to believe that it will be any different with President Joe Biden."...5/5/2021. Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire

Posted by: susan mullen | Dec 15 2021 3:25 utc | 62

Apologies a bit off topic but still relevant in the bigger picture -

Aaron Mate interviews Prof Mohammad Marandi. Always so clear and blunt in his analysis. I didn't know before that Prof

http://thesaker.is/prof-mohammad-marandi-interviewed-by-aaron-mate-jpcoa/

Posted by: DB | Dec 15 2021 3:34 utc | 63

previous post was cut off....

I didn't know before that Prof Marandi was a member of the JCPOA negotiating team - one can take hi insights as even more accurate then!

Posted by: DB | Dec 15 2021 3:35 utc | 64

I can't see Putin trusting any US agreement.

When Russi/Putin acts, it is sudden, swift, and WITHOUT WARNING

So why the PR, the meetings with Biden, Lavrov's diplomatic whirlwind??

Methinks it is to get domestic opinion firmly on his side, a rooted we-back-you-at-any-cost kind of grim determination. Polls show he is half way there. What's the magic #?? 66%?? I would think it in that range.

If this is the case, we have a grim scenario awaiting us in February

Posted by: Les7 | Dec 15 2021 4:02 utc | 65

Les7, my feeling is that Russia doesn’t care so much if the US doesn’t keep it’s word, and that it’s more about pursuing things the legal way. So when US breaks its word, it’s recent and flagrant, and is a basis to whatever action Russia decides to take. And while US abides by its word, no problem. So win-win. Much like the Minsk accord.

Posted by: Featherless | Dec 15 2021 5:20 utc | 66

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Germany is not sovereign in conducting its foreign policy?

Following the surrender of Germany in the Second World War, a conditional surrender placed then West-Germany and to-day's Germany under the effective veto regarding it's future 'foreign affairs' by the USA. As far as I am aware that stands effective till much later this Century? I've been led to believe it binds German security to USA discretions. That those surrender terms remain a live driver of the EU security project. NATO poses grave dangers to peace in Europe at present. Germany could lead a charge for militarization? It's already still occupied and yet it remains a potential giant militarily.

Now, is Germany a sovereign country and is it being primed for rapidly rearming itself? Many industrialists would find that an attractive proposition. Look how Japan has been proceeding to the present? Germany has ample potential to so become a world military power within a decade if it was encouraged to pursue such a path. These are dangerous times indeed!

Russia needs Putin, though I've noticed that in recent media appearances he looks quite drained. I'm not at all surprised by that, either. For how long can he continue and can Russia find another leader of such forceful quality that will stand up for Russians post-Putin? Is Russia really secure internally?

Thanks b and everybody.

Get fully well b.


Posted by: Lbanu | Dec 15 2021 5:37 utc | 67


We can only hope that Biden understands such reasoning, finally shuts up the Russia hawks and ends the conflict with Moscow.

Otherwise we will all be in for some interesting times.

It was the frustration and the realization of massive costs involved at China front that made the mean malign Empire to harp back to Ukrainian front, I think. And I am afraid they will not learn their lesson other than with diembowlment staring them right into the face.

So I am afraid, we are in for at least some interesting times.

Posted by: A meme | Dec 15 2021 6:08 utc | 68

Below is a TASS news release abouthe Putin/Xi video meeting tomorrow

"
MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. A virtual summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will be lengthy in time and cover a broad agenda, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday, highlighting the utmost importance of the upcoming contacts.

"Tomorrow, the Russia-China summit will take place. This will be a video-conference of President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, extremely important negotiations," the Russian presidential spokesman emphasized.

"We also expect this contact to be quite lengthy in time and cover a very broad agenda," Peskov added.

The contacts between the Russian and Chinese leaders are always characterized by their depth, the Kremlin spokesman pointed out.

Russian Presidential Aide for International Affairs Yury Ushakov will hold a news briefing, following the results of the summit, Peskov said.

"Following its results, we will, perhaps, repeat the previous experience and ask my colleague Yury Viktorovich Ushakov to hold a conference call with you. Tomorrow, as soon as it [the summit] is over, we will ask Yury Viktorovich to get in touch with you," the Kremlin spokesman said, addressing reporters.

As compared to the virtual summit held between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden on December 7, the first part of the talk between the Russian and Chinese leaders "will be open for the media and there will be an exchange of first speeches," Peskov specified.

"You will be able to hear and see them," the Kremlin spokesman told reporters.
"

Since the first part will be open I expect there to be some choice words spoken that the West does not want folks to hear.

Interesting how the game is being played...

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 15 2021 6:29 utc | 69

sounds ominous b... either way - great coverage from you on all this.. many fine comments too - @ 37 the pessimist @ 51 jen, @ 54 les7 and etc. etc.. thanks everyone..

Posted by: james | Dec 15 2021 7:11 utc | 70

A.L. | Dec 14 2021 21:31 utc | 31

Let the air seep out of blown up gas bags? I'll go with that.

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 15 2021 7:23 utc | 71

Let the air seep out of blown up gas bags? I'll go with that.

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 15 2021 7:23 utc | 71

Would it be better to put methane in there instead?
There's going to be a lack of hot air in people's homes because of this idiocy.

Posted by: JPC | Dec 15 2021 7:40 utc | 72

Posted by: jayc | Dec 15 2021 1:16 utc | 55

I cannot help but keep coming back to the thought that perhaps, not as many nukes got off the island when compared to how many got in.

It's farfetched and out of character, but sometimes I feel like otherwise the situation doesn't really add up.

Posted by: Misotheist | Dec 15 2021 8:43 utc | 73

m
In reply to post 16
"Russia should try to establish a cease fire with Ukraine."
It is the Ukraine that is the obstacleto a ceasefire.

"There is a spike in gas prices in Europe, NS2 hasn`t even been opened yet and Russia tries to pressure Germany."
Russia continues to meet its contractual agreements on gas. It is Germany that is blocking the use of NS2.

Posted by: johnny conspiranoid | Dec 15 2021 8:45 utc | 74

Posted by: jayc | Dec 15 2021 1:16 utc | 55 -- "Current developing standoff is similar to the missile crisis of 1962, with the shoe on the other foot so to speak. Then, the United States reacted sharply - and correctly - to the destabilizing introduction of nuclear weapons close to its southern border. Despite the "sovereign" status of Cuba, the principle involved went beyond Cuba's narrow interest in its own national security to recognize that regional security could not or should not involve creating vulnerabilities for neighbouring states. That security understanding which resolved the crisis in 1962 was at least rhetorically repudiated by senior US officials over the past weeks (both SecDef Austin and Pres Biden rejected Russia's security interests in keeping NATO and NATO weapons out of Ukraine). That potentially serious reversal has not been commented on at all in the western press."

Interesting observation.

What's good for the US then is also good for Russia now.

And for China today vis a vis Taiwan.

As well, China can similarly object to US missiles based in Japan too.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Dec 15 2021 9:00 utc | 75

Lots of huffing and puffing around , but then, nothing sells like fear.

I prefer Dmitry Orlov's fairly chill prognosis...

...you should probably find something else to worry about because World War III over the Ukraine is off the table. There is no grand finale for America to look forward to; just lots of pain, and then, of course… collapse

Posted by: john | Dec 15 2021 9:46 utc | 76

RE: Posted by b on December 14, 2021 at 18:39 UTC

“Otherwise we will all be in for some interesting times. “

We are all in interesting times although some don't perceive this by being focused on the end of times and/or by being enmazed in binaries.

RE: Posted by: john | Dec 15 2021 9:46 utc | 75

“Lots of huffing and puffing around , but then, nothing sells like fear. “

That illusion is widely held by the opponents limiting their perceptions of interesting times through binary notions in emulation of Mr. Hamlet -

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
or to take arms against a sea of troubles
and by opposing, end them.”

thereby obfuscating the get thee to a nunnery (and stop proliferating) option among others.

The normal invitation to those so enmazed is Faites vos jeux (Place your bets).

Posted by: MagdaTam | Dec 15 2021 11:29 utc | 77

@karlof1 24
as a regular reader of the global times, I have seen nothing hinting at china using a two front war to take Taiwan. if such a message exists, it would not be delivered thru official channels but thru outlets like the global times, such as in an op-ed.

the problem with this conjecture is it overestimates the urgency of the Taiwan issue for china. there are issues of timeliness, such as economic disruption and all-around FUBAR, that override the urgency of the taiwan matter, assuming that all else about the status quo remains the same

Posted by: mastameta | Dec 15 2021 11:36 utc | 78

@karlof1 #6

"NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday (9 December 2021) welcomed the new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

'Your visit today, just one day after taking office, is a clear sign of Germany’s leading role in transatlantic security', Mr Stoltenberg said in a press statement."

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_190099.htm

Posted by: Gene Poole | Dec 15 2021 11:50 utc | 79

Meanwhile, Today, Van Der Lying is doing the dirty business as mistress of Nato warmongering along with Stoltenberg and his pack of mongrel Nordic & Eastern European hounds promised a place in the pack as they are led on a merry fox hunt (that’s a beta you dumb dogs!)
Dumb dogs they really are.

It hasn’t taken long since the departure of Mutti cat for the mice to start peeing and pooing everywhere.
It seems Scholz at least is standing firm.

All eyes should be on Xi/Putin summit today – they are reading the riot-act to the mass media of the world they have been doing privately, diplomatically and in the proxy theatres for the last 7 years to the mass murdering ‘leaders’ and financiers of the ‘Western World Empire’.

Listen carefully this is the point that the worm turns and bares its teeth. Sanctions start flowing in the OPPOSITE direction!

What is the desperate Empire going to do? Recruit heroes to go die in some foreign land for fake reasons again? Think the people are dumb enough to do so again so soon? There is now 2 weeks for combat troops to be out of Iraq and the rest of the MENA not long after.

More Popcorn garçon!

Posted by: D.G. | Dec 15 2021 11:51 utc | 80

a follow up to my earlier comment: china and russia do not call themselves allies because an alliance is strategically inflexible. they've articulated it along the lines of 'not allies, but better than allies.'

for china to threaten/promise/commit to taking taiwan in the event of a ukraine conflict is precisely the kind of inflexibility implied by the 'alliance' that they refuse.

as regards the urgency of the taiwan issue, the matter can already be settled militarily; the issue is timing and the fallout from it. there's no rush. every day that passes china grows stronger and the US weaker, both in absolute and relative terms. the taiwan matter will be easier to settle, one way or another, in a decade. china has the advantage just by waiting.

Posted by: mastameta | Dec 15 2021 12:01 utc | 81

@7 This is seemingly overlooked by everyone, including the US itself. I recently heard Scot Ritter claim Russia was the #2 exporter of oil to the US. I've attempted to confirm this but get differing results, but all results, even from the official US websites, indicate Russian oil imports are massive (they're in the top 10 by nearly any account). Suffice to say, the loss of this much oil on the US market (which likely cannot be replaced due to sanctions on Iran and Venezuela) necessarily means that any removal of Russia from SWIFT leads to a massive US recession due to surging oil prices. And, of course, Europe losing all of it's oil and gas immediately puts all of Europe into a depression (and with a massive loss of life from people freezing to death). This, in turn, means that Europe will come to the bargaining table with Russia and start trading for oil in non-dollar transactions. Which then means the final nail in the dollar coffin, and the end of the US.

The SWIFT trigger ends the US, period. I cannot see any scenario in which the US does something that dumb and somehow survives. The problem, of course, is that some of the feeble minded people running the US may well realize they have no more cards left to play, and thus, they're better off doing the usual Empire of Chaos routine, and hope that in putting the world economy into a global depression and forcing everyone into a world war that somehow, in the chaos, the empire somehow prevails.

We are at the end game, and all the players know it. I find it exceedingly unlikely the empire survives the decade, and probably folds by the next election as it devolves into civil war/ungovernability due to the impossible to mend societal fractures the elite have caused. One would think the elite would engineer a soft landing here and negotiate their way out of this mess, keep their ill gotten gains and manage a controlled break up of the US and accept a 2nd tier power status. After all, those folks don't need any more wealth and can comfortably retire and maintain their generational wealth elsewhere. Unfortunately, there appear to be no signs of this, just institutionalized madness, and, of course, frustration their Great Reset is turning into them being reset.

So, while this continued course of action is suicidal both for empire and for the individuals in charge, they've been on this obvious course for a while now and seem to want to plough right into the iceberg and go down with their ship. Reason and self-interest would say negotiate terms for surrender, but alas, this project seems emotion driven.

Posted by: Krungle | Dec 15 2021 12:13 utc | 82

Maybe ist's time to remember and read this interview again: Yvonne Lorenzo interviews Andrei Martyanov...
If America implements conflict against Russia or China, it will lose bigly.
He's a Russian military expert who emigrated to the United States. In it he argues that the stranglehold of American propaganda by the mainstream media has created a dangerous situation – one in which the “fake news” is believed by the American leadership.

https://metallicman.com/laoban4site/if-america-implements-conflict-against-russia-or-china-it-will-lose-bigly-an-interview-with-andrei-martyanov/


Posted by: Max Dwight | Dec 15 2021 12:40 utc | 83

Who is in charge in Europe? What a disingenuous question, the occupier of course, but that question deserves another one, who granted the USofA military bases in Spain in order to save his fascist ass? Who else, the ally of Hitler that sent 50K combatants under the name of the Blue Division to participate in the vilest of crimes committed during WWII, the siege of Leningrad, where by the way Putin's brother died an Putin's father was wounded. Francisco Franco, the hero of all those that love to put the Spanish flag sticker on their cars, and not only cars, towels, underwear and all sorts of apparel. Yes, social democrats are bland and vain careerists, they would sell their mothers for pennies but how about those fascists that never paid for their crimes and that now refuse to come out and openly admit what they are?, in their dungeons they hang flags with swastikas and hide under all sorts of codes and signals and as of late try to woo the working class with their anti vaxx and anti anything, yes anything but showing their true colors, they’ll wave the flag but will be the hegemon mace to chastise our brothers in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and anybody that speaks our language and has some dignity to refuse being under the thumb of the hegemon as our country is. What a bunch of pitiful and fake nationalists.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 15 2021 13:28 utc | 84

It gets so old the US flailing about trying to bully Russia & China. It's a good thing those two are becoming 'allies' and pushing back hard on the BS coming out of the US & NATO. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. The thing I worry the most about is as Biden's mental condition declines, the puppet strings into his head from the neocons only get stronger. War needs to be avoided at all costs. The US needs to STFU & make preparations to come in for a soft landing on their ongoing decline. As it is now, they're stuck in the inverted flat death spin of imperial collapse. Whichever way US domination ends, it's a good thing in my view. Enough is enough of the bullshit. #EndEmpire #EndImperialism

Posted by: ZimInSeattle | Dec 15 2021 13:33 utc | 85

Right after the Putin/Biden meeting I could see a ray of hope that things would settle down, not so much now. The problem is that the US has succumbed to Talmudic Family Values and Negociating tactics and any trust there once was, like back in 1962 during the CM crisis where the players were serious, well educated, moral, ethical and experienced, and could still remember the horrors of WWII.
Obviously the memories of these horrors has fused with the Russian psyche and they have never forgotten what war is really about, which partly explains Putin's reluctance to go further in 2014 than the cauldrons which made mincemeat of the UKR army.

But the other reason Putin held off, IMHO, is that Russia was not yet ready for any sort of confrontation. Then came 2018 and everything changed with Putin's public announcement regarding the new set of weapons Russia was fielding. Russia does not have to back down now. Like in Stalingrad, they have mounted up and are ready to ride, if they have to.

Posted by: Simplicius | Dec 15 2021 13:54 utc | 86

Well said, Paco. I get so discouraged watching the supposedly progresive spanish government suck up to the european pro-US puppet group think. All the wailing about the price of electricity and fuel, but not a peep about nordstream. I could go on. Meanwhile the fascist PP boy wonder bangs away like a kid with a new toy drum.

Posted by: c | Dec 15 2021 14:59 utc | 87

Of course Russia could surreptitiously apply pressure on the EU via Belarus. Cut off the gas supplies for a couple of weeks and see them scream.

Posted by: Henry Smith | Dec 15 2021 15:11 utc | 88

A Russian attack on the Ukraine is however what western weapon producers and their adjunct think tanks, 'experts' and political hawks, mainly in the U.S., deeply wish for. It would isolate Russia, increase the U.S. role in Europe, justify increasing military budgets and end the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and other Russian export routes.
And that is the reason why Russia will not attack and use alternative measures.

There is another scenario that has not been discussed. The Russian speciality is in exploiting the unexpected.

It is sometimes asserted that in any putative invasion of Ukraine Russia might concentrate on eliminating the Ukrainian army and leave any US/NATO assets unharmed ... but what if they did the opposite? Namely, surgically eliminate all US/NATO military assets in Ukraine (and ensure the destruction/arrest of all Ukronazi assets), arrest leading war criminals, but otherwise leave the Ukrainian army personnel so far as practicable (after strategic interests had been taken care of) largely intact? Of course, all hardware assets of any strategic significance will have been eliminated right from the outset using standoff weapons.

What effect would such a scenario have on European political thinking? What effect would it have on European public opinion, and what effect would that public opinion have on European political action? How many Europeans buy into all the bullshit on Ukraine anyway these days? One argument might be that it might force Europe to recoil from its default position as the USA's bitch and realign away from the US and closer to Russia/China. I am not saying it would, but it is a scenario to put on the table. If they see a highly effective, fast and professional Russian takeover of Ukraine, surgical elimination of US/NATO assets in situ, while at the same time extreme lenience on ordinary Ukrainian military personnel (other than Ukronazis), combined with a litigatious handling of war criminals in Ukraine, would that force them to sit up and think? How would EU war criminals react (Syria, Libya, Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Yemen, etc) to the possibility that a similar fate might befall them in the near future if they continue their allegiance to the US? What about all those prostitute EU politicians blackmailed by the US/UK - maybe Russia knows on what basis the US/UK have them by the balls, and quietly offer them protection in return for retiring from politics ... Meanwhile, the real interests of the EU for the future are obviously with China and Russia not the US/UK - so why should they have their economy destroyed by the US; be flooded with migrants from US wars of aggression; have their industry and exports destroyed by US energy manipulation, financial sanctions that hit the EU hardest, banking and money printing warfare, biowarfare and pharmaceutical warfare; and meanwhile be the primary target of destruction for any world war? In that invasion of Ukraine they would have a chance to see the Russian military in action, and they would be unlikely to like what they see.

Russian invasion of Ukraine might result in tougher sanctions of Russia ... but the possibility still has to be considered that it might force the EU to recognise the extreme futility and senselessness of such a reaction - they might flip and do the opposite!

Maybe, just maybe - and I'd be the last to pretend this is likely, but it should be grasped as a possible scenario to investigate - the EU might be forced to get some sense into their heads for a change. Maybe the reaction of ordinary people on the streets (no idea what that would be, anyway) might force them.

So, let's return to my first question - if the Russians do the opposite of what is expected, eliminating illegal US/NATO military assets in Ukraine while being magnanamously lenient on regular Ukrainian forces, in a blitz military action quickly followed by a large scale roundup of known war criminals, what effect would that have on the European psyche?

Posted by: BM | Dec 15 2021 15:19 utc | 89

The Covid-19 pandemic has severed supply chains globally. Governments all over the world are currently working out which supply chains are to be re-established in the name of economic efficiency and in which areas it is bettere to pay a bit more in order to achieve more resilience in times of crisis. Russia has just disqualified itself as a relieable gas supplier in times of crisis.

Posted by: m | Dec 14 2021 20:33 utc | 16

Sometimes I wonder what is the native planet of m? "Government all over the world..."?

"Supply chains" are a myriad of private transactions. You sell to a high bidder (taking into account other important factors) and buy from low bidder. Purchases can be single, or contracts of with variety of time spans and conditions. Governments impose regulations or act through government entities that buy and sell.

Currently, EU is in crisis resembling 16 century when a number of rulers, notably in Germany, were outright insane. In the area of natural gas the Eurocrats have very complex designs, and ordinary politicians who are nominally in charge can scarcely grasp consequences. One idea is that long term contracts should be increasingly limited in time and terms, and eventually replaced by spot prices on commodity exchange (or something very close to it). Gazprom strongly prefers long term contracts, that is used as an argument that such contracts are bad.

But surprise! Competitors of Gazprom very much prefer long term contracts too! Thus when the LNG prices more than doubled in summer, Asians secured LNG supplies with long term contracts, and Europeans did not. Afterwards the prices doubled once more, with too little LNG being available to take advantage. As it is all too often the case, ALL major producers behaved similarly, Gazprom, Americans, Qataris and perhaps some others. Were ALL of them unreliable? On a market, you get what you pay for. If you want reliability, pay for reliability, meaning, enter a long term contract (which Russians observe scrupulously). If you did not pay for reliability, complaining that ONE of the "traditional suppliers" did not show up when ALL suppliers are either absent or selling much less is called "bitching". As of recent, a major tool of statecraft and international trade.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 15 2021 15:21 utc | 90

... And by the way, if Russia would split Ukraine into its predominantly Russian-speaking and predominantly Ukrainian-speaking regions, wouldn't they be more likely to push the border of the "Russian-speaking region" up to Odessa and the borders with Romania/Moldova (including of course Transnistria)? A small localised language population technicality would be a mere trifling. They could use the burning to death of Russian speakers in Odessa by the Azov nazis as precedent. (And what was the population ration by language in Odessa in 2014 anyway?)

Doing so would complete the cut-off of Rump-Ukraine from the Black Sea, further reduce its viability, eliminate its maritime navy completely, and drasticly reduce its capacity to harass the eastern state. As bonus, relief is provided to trapped Russian speakers in Transnistria.

Posted by: BM | Dec 15 2021 15:33 utc | 91

Sometimes I wonder what is the native planet of m?
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 15 2021 15:21 utc | 89

Planet Farcebook, perhaps?

Posted by: BM | Dec 15 2021 15:38 utc | 92

Just a point, Uncle Sugar is not trying to isolate Russia, they are trying to isolate us, and themselves, from Russia and China and pretty much anybody who is not obedient to our dogmas. The goal is a new iron curtain, generously drawn in our favor, insofar as there is any coherent policy aim at all. Nobody thinks we are going to dominate still, (well maybe the moron Senator who made a display of himself), they have figured that much out. Think of it as a reflexive grab to hold on to as much as possible, always a little too late.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 15 2021 15:48 utc | 93

Karlof1 @24

re your query on taiwan/ukraine coordination, see Anatol Lieven in Responsible Statecraft:

Genuine U.S. military commitment to Ukraine would imply a readiness simultaneously to fight an air-ground war with Russia in Ukraine and an air-sea war with China in the Far East — since, as several Russians pointed out to me, any U.S. Russian war would probably lead immediately to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Quite apart from the strategic lunacy of such a course, and the strong likelihood of defeat on both fronts, preparation for two wars would send the U.S. defense budget, and either U.S. taxes or debts, through the roof, and any domestic infrastructure program down the toilet.

Article is called "Divining Putin: What Russia is willing to do (or not) for its own interests".

Don't trust myself to post links without screwing stuff up

Posted by: expat | Dec 15 2021 15:57 utc | 94

Bidet isn't important per se. The people who are important are those who think that Russia can still be successfully pressured and cave in when bullied, like it did before. And they will continue to think so until and unless Russia gives them an object lesson, such as in Georgia 2008, but in a much larger scale. In other words, a Russian elimination of the Ukranazi coup regime is vital in the interests of Russia as well.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 15 2021 16:01 utc | 95

One aspect of what Russia is doing just now is to pressure the US/NATO troublemakers to back off.

Another, in my view, is to establish a clear legal precedence to their legal right to wage war in Ukraine as a legitimate defence of Russian national security. Look carefully at what Putin and Lavrov are saying. They are meticulously setting out in black and white all their national security needs threatened by the US/NATO/Ukraine, and every single move they have/are/will make to try to avoid war, and making sure all those arguments are recorded. If, despite all that, Russia is forced to go to war, their hands will be spotlessly clean, and any accusation of fighting a war of aggresssion will be forcefully negated. Exactly the opposite applies for US/NATO.

If there is a war in Ukraine, I see zero credibility of China "using" it as an "opportunity" to take Taiwan militarily - they have no need for any such opportunity. They can take Taiwan militarily at any time, with ease - but in any case with costs especially loss of life in Taiwan and risk of destruction of strategically important silicon wafer fabrication. Conversely, the US has realistically no viable means to interfere militarily in Taiwan, so it is meaningless from that point of view. Necessarily China would be on heightened military alert with respect to Taiwan at that time, though.

Posted by: BM | Dec 15 2021 16:01 utc | 96

Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Dec 14 2021 19:38 utc | 9

A small language-related note; "Ukraino/Ukraine"" means "the borderland. Russian and Ukrainian language makes no difference beteen tefinite and indefinite cathegories, but English does. So in English, the country's (or presumptive Sate's) name must be "The Ukkraine (or The Ukainova" to be true both to itself and to history. I believe hir´s is also true to how the name should be in Frenc and German .. and in Finnish Swedish and Icelantic, In Chinese, there are few national names that need a definite article, but "Nèige/Suŏwèide Wūkèlán" will beatufully do the job -- especiallhy when the next PRC ambassador presents his credentials and some strange táianese purports to want to take his place.
(sic)

Sir, are you extracting the urine ? Are you ?

Posted by: Sarlat La Canède | Dec 15 2021 16:03 utc | 97

@89 Piotr Berman
I didn`t say with a single sentence that Russia -manufactured- the current gas crisis in the EU. This is independent of Russia.

What I said is that Russia utilizes the cuttent spike in gas prices in order to pressure th EU politically. And I am not alone with this assesment. To quote b:

"This winter Russia will use its market power to press for a fulfillment of its demands. Russia has stopped to provide natural gas to the European spot markets. It continues to deliver in full to customers who have long term contracts. This will squeeze Poland and a few others who depend on the spot market in times of peak demand. Russia hopes that those countries learn that their excessive hostility towards it can have serious consequences."

The opponents of Nord Stream 2 have been warning for years that bying gas from Russia is not a mere business transaction but that Russia would use gas sales as a political weapon. Moscow`s current behaviour proofs them right.

Posted by: m | Dec 15 2021 16:16 utc | 98

@ m 16
From which cave did you appear? You must have been underground for the last 40 years...
Well, here is what you need to know, I will make it short and concise to not short circuit your feeble brain:
The US is in position to do anything, its armed forces are in shambles, except maybe their submarine force, the rest is target practice for a peer opponent, such as Russia, whose armed forces would roll over them. Not to mention do you think that Russia would allow massive reinforcements arriving, the US Navy certainly have not got the logistics. It took 6 months for the Gulf War preparations, the Russians will hunt them and upon arriving getting a warm welcome.
Of course they can go nuclear, but then we all probably can kiss our a**es goodbye.
I have not even mentioned the Ukraine, well I give it a Nuland: F**k the Ukraine, it is an insignificant hellhole, swarming with the worst of humankind, make it a nature park complete with original native peole living in mud huts

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 15 2021 16:21 utc | 99

Well, the Eu can holler and scream bloody murder, it aint going to change anything. Russia has got its hand on the gas valves and can turn it up or down to a certain degree (excluded long term contracts).
The hypocrites are the US and the EU, warmongering incessantly while in great need of gas. Now the US and the EU can be happy it is not me in charge in the Kremlin, the kiddie gloves would have been off for a long time now and the Americans and the Europeans would be chopping firewood or digging peat.
Else they are welcome in Russia as Gästarbeiteren specifically in lovely Kolyma, there are many vacancies there.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 15 2021 16:35 utc | 100

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