Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 21, 2022

U.S. - Russian Talks Show Signs Of Progress

It feels weird to watch the delusional talk of the United States towards Russia.

How can people who are as wrong as Biden and Blinken be at the top of a state?

President Biden said on Wednesday that he now expected President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would order an invasion of Ukraine, delivering a grim assessment that the diplomacy and threat of sanctions issued by the United States and its European allies were unlikely to stop the Russian leader from sending troops across the border.

“Do I think he’ll test the West, test the United States and NATO, as significantly as he can? Yes, I think he will,” Mr. Biden told reporters during a nearly two-hour news conference in the East Room of the White House. He added, almost with an air of fatalism: “But I think he will pay a serious and dear price for it that he doesn’t think now will cost him what it’s going to cost him. And I think he will regret having done it.”

Asked to clarify whether he was accepting that an invasion was coming, Mr. Biden said: “My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.”

Has Biden even once asked the very simple question: "Why would Russia want to do that?"

Retired ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar points out that even U.S. allies do not believe Biden's bullshit:

It is an open secret that in October and November, France, Germany and some others in the EU questioned Washington’s warnings that Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine could signal an imminent invasion. France and Germany even opposed activating NATO’s crisis response planning system and had to be persuaded to relent.

Above all, Europeans have no desire to bankroll Ukraine which is a black hole and failing state. It doesn’t make sense to them when the US intelligence brags in the media that they’d bleed Russian troops in a guerrilla war in the middle of Europe. Fundamentally, all this dovetails into a pervasive scepticism among the European elite regarding the Biden administration.

In a recent interview Sergej Karaganov, who heads the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, explained why invading the Ukraine is very dumb idea:

[O]f course, we absolutely do not need to fight for Ukraine to the last Ukrainian, we certainly do not want to fight there. All this squealing about the fact that we are going to capture Kiev, it is about nothing. Yes, our military is standing at the Ukrainian border, but only so that on the other side it does not occur to anyone to break into the Donbass. And the capture of Ukraine in our military plans, I'm sure, is not included. If only for the reason that capturing a country that is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form they brought it to.

So is that what Biden and Blinken are trying to do? Give the Ukraine to Russia to create more problems for it? No, I don't think they are smart enough to strategize that far.

Russia is not at all concerned about the Ukraine. It is concerned about NATO in Ukraine. This is not only about the Ukraine becoming a NATO member. The chances of that are low. But it is about NATO and the U.S. determining Ukrainian policies, sending 'trainers' and weapon systems and enticing fascist to attack Russia.

Pepe Escobar @RealPepeEscobar - 8:14 UTC · Jan 21, 2022
What NATOstan sent to 404:
Empire: Javelins + $300 million.
Turkey - Bayraktar drones.
Brits - NLAW complexes.
Baltics - MANPADS.
Czechs - artillery shells.
Canada - SWAT + frigate.
Wait and see what happens when Russia launches the first Iskander.

That has to stop. But invading Ukraine is not the way to do that.

It requires direct pressure on the United States to move away from its confrontational course. Karaganov already senses that Russia is on its way to achieve that:

Even from recent conversations, it is noticeable that our Western partners have begun to retreat. They are already proposing dialogues between the military, negotiations on arms limitation - something that until recently was categorically rejected. So maybe we can agree on something.

Today's talks in Geneva between Blinken and Lavrov seem to have moved into the right direction:

Russia's foreign minister and his US counterpart have held what they called "frank" talks to try to reduce the chance of a wider conflict in Ukraine.

Sergei Lavrov repeated denials that a huge Russian force assembled near Ukraine's borders would be used to invade Ukraine.

Antony Blinken said America would respond severely to any invasion.
For Mr Blinken, the talks were "frank and substantive" while for Mr Lavrov, they were also "frank" with an agreement to "have a reasonable dialogue".

"I hope emotions will decrease," Mr Lavrov added.

Mr Blinken warned his Russian counterpart of a "united, swift and severe" response if Russia invaded.

Speaking after the talks, he said the US was prepared to pursue possible means of addressing Russian concerns in the spirit of reciprocity.
For his part, Mr Lavrov described the talks as open and useful but he accused Nato of working against Russia. He reiterated Moscow's position that it had "never threatened the Ukrainian people" and had no plans to attack Ukraine.

He also accused the Ukrainian government of using "state terrorism" against the rebels in the east and "sabotaging" the Minsk peace agreements on the conflict there.

Russia's foreign minister said the US would send "written responses" to all of Russia's proposals next week but Mr Blinken only said America hoped to share its "concerns and ideas in more detail in writing next week".

The talks between the two diplomats came just a day after Russia unveiled plans for naval drills involving more than 140 warships and more than 60 aircraft, seen as a show of strength.

Russia also moved some of its army brigades and airforce elements from eastern Siberia to Belarus where they will take part in exercises until February 20. This will complicate any plans Kiev might have for attacks on Donbass while Putin is in Beijing to watch the Olympics. The military authorities in Donbass today reported of new signs for such a move under the pretext of a false flag event (video - click CC for English translations).

While Russia moves its forces and fleets Blinken tried to impress Lavrov with some stupid stunts.

The U.S. Treasury sanctioned two sitting members of Ukraine's parliament for pursuing opposition policies. The State Department called that Taking Action to Expose and Disrupt Russia’s Destabilization Campaign in Ukraine. It also published two laughable new sections on its websites. One is about Russia's alleged Top Five Persistent Disinformation Narratives in which the U.S. denies to be behind the various 'color revolutions' of the last decades. I bet Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland came up with that stupidity. The other is United with Ukraine, a collection of nonsensical and empty Blinken quotes and Ukrainian nationalist photography.

Lavrov was not amused about either:

The Russian foreign ministry mocked those statements, saying they must have been prepared by an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth,” and Lavrov caustically dismissed them in his remarks to Blinken, saying he hoped the State Department had also spent time drafting responses to Russia’s demands.

“I do hope that not everyone in the State Department was working on those materials and there were some who were working on the essence of our proposals and their substance,” he said.

That nicely sets out the contrast.

Blinken is all about show, Lavrov is all about substance.

Blinken also felt a need to correct his boss:

Blinken took pains to stress U.S. unity with its allies in opposition to a possible Russian invasion, something that took an apparent hit earlier this week when U.S. President Joe Biden drew widespread criticism for saying retaliation for Russian aggression in Ukraine would depend on the details and that a “minor incursion” could prompt discord among Western allies.

On Thursday, Biden sought to clarify his comments by cautioning that any Russian troop movements across Ukraine’s border would constitute an invasion and that Moscow would “pay a heavy price” for such an action.

“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin,” Biden said. “He has no misunderstanding: Any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”

Russia has denied it is planning an invasion and instead accused the West on Thursday of plotting “provocations” in Ukraine, citing the delivery of weapons to the country by British military transport planes in recent days.

There will be no 'Russian invasion' of Ukraine. Should Donbass be attacked, Russian missile artillery, stationed in Russia, will demonstrate sufficient reach to destroy any Ukrainian units near the frontline.

The U.S. president should be more concerned about Cuban invitations for harbor visits of Russian missile submarines than about some wreak of a country on Russia's border.

However, the U.S. and Russia are talking, which is good, and it seems that Russia has already achieved some of its aims. The process will continue.

We will have to wait for the written U.S. response to Russia's demands to see in which direction it will develop.

Posted by b on January 21, 2022 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 23 2022 9:47 utc | 295

"Russia has no interest in and no intention of invading Ukraine. This is a US manufactured idea that the US tries to sell, but nobody believes it."

It isn't what actually happens that matters, it is what can be made to have seemed to have happened. Perception is reality here. The "Rovian" doctrine, so tho speak, is how the US operates. It remains to be seen if the US will continue in this manner with Ukraine. The current propaganda suggests it will be so.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:16 utc | 301

Antonym #297

"Russia is an old country, Russia is an important country. Even we India, Germany, need Russia. we need Russia against China…”

That will cost him brownie points here..

He gets brownie points for stating the truth in the western mind and the Indian mind. Likely they all regret that the ignorance of western and Indian policy makers and 'diplomacy' has led to unification of the Iran, Russia, China defendants. These three accused have done nothing wrong but find themselves unjustly attacked, harassed undermined, falsely accused and sabotaged - so they have a strong unifying force between them. They are not alone.

For the decades of the German Navy Chief Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach's career he was likely brow beaten with the 'logic' of never permitting China to get aligned with Russia... communists you know. So he would likely see the world that way and would be reiterating (superceded) mantras of yore.

I anticipate he will have a valuable contribution yet to make. Admirals are different fish to Generals etc and usually erudite. Time will tell.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 10:21 utc | 302

Posted by: imo | Jan 23 2022 10:13 utc | 300
The issue here is that the written response will come, if it does, less than a week away from the start of the Olympics in Beijing. If the written response is further delayed, Russia's hands become tied due to the proximity of the Olympics. This enables the US/NATO to set off whatever they intend to before the Olympics end.

For Russia to "respond" a few days run up to the Olympics in Beijing might be problematic, depending on what they have in mind.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:28 utc | 303

"Why would Russia want to do that?"
They do not ask this question, as for them the capability to do it is denying US hegemony, and denying hegemony is the purpose of all evil.
They don’t have to think twice about it. This IS the answer. Russia does not submit, so they have to be punished.
If their toolbox now is empty, as Scott Ritter wrote, does it mean they will deescalate? I don’t know.

Posted by: Jan | Jan 23 2022 10:31 utc | 304

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 10:21 utc | 302
"I anticipate he will have a valuable contribution yet to make."

I would be surprised if we hear from the Admiral again.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:32 utc | 305

imo #300

I suggest that it is not in Russia or anyone's interest to have any whiff of secrecy about this negotiation. The Russian side is clearly intending to dump on the UKUSA belligerents. They have considerable practice at this but never applied to these adversaries so bluntly. There is a strong element of wedge politics at play here.

I expect no one could trust the UKUSA and certainly never in circumstances of secret treaties. The UKUSA has lost any chance of that and Russia has the whip hand by refusing that option. THAT is the objective here, to drive the banshees from Europe so that states can bargain and treaty in their best interests.

Brexit has savagely diminished EU respect for the englanders and removed the fly from the ointment. Excellent. Plus the USA perpetual war machine, mendacious spying and financial gouging has diminished the European state's tolerance for the USA condition of repetitive folly at their expense.

A refined international financial and security order between the EU states with Russia and China and Islamic nations predicated on respect and mutuality is entirely possible but the spoilers need to be prised out of the game. This is what I see as a possible emergence.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 10:43 utc | 306

You may be wrong about Russia not invading Ukraine. The West wouldn't be in such an unseemly frenzy about it if there was no valid intelligence about it. Particularly as it exposes American weakness in such sharp detail. Venom | Jan 23 2022 4:49 utc | 270

Can someone post such ill conceived post without an intention to troll?

BTW, British intelligence now accuses former member of Verkhovna Rada and current talking head on a TV news channel that is in opposition to Zelensky as "being designated as the head of Ukrainian puppet government", as a part of an alleged Russian plan to conquer whole or part of Ukraine. The same person was accused of having tight contacts with Zelensky's office (corroborated with some videos). Will this guy be arrested? Are the British displeased that Ukraine did not shut down ALL media in Ukraine that are sympathetic to Russia -- so far, most were closed?

Recall that the British had extensive dossier on chemical weapons in Iraq and Iraqi capabilities to shell British bases in Cyprus with those weapons, not to mention recent extremely strange Novichok revelations that reek of black flags.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 23 2022 10:44 utc | 307

@300 I suspect this fear is grossly overrated.

If Russia has to do what it has to do then that action will take precedence over the Olympics. As simple as that.

And if Russia has to do that during the Olympics then the Chinese will understand.

The Chinese won't LIKE it. But they will understand it.

After all, if the USA thinks it can call Putin's bluff and the Russians respond with "[Biff][Bash] We Weren't Bluffing, F**kwit [Crash][Pow!]" then, honestly, China will have far more important things to worry about than the fate of The Worlds Biggest TV Travelogue Program.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 23 2022 10:45 utc | 308

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 23 2022 10:45 utc | 308

"If Russia has to do what it has to do then that action will take precedence over the Olympics. As simple as that."

Provided that Russia acts before the US/NATO does.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:51 utc | 309

@Gulag #263
You say Europe could be shifted to a neutral stance by Russia destroying Ukraine.
Clearly such a view is based on the idea that fear will instantiate such neutrality; the problem is that "fear" is exactly what the US keeps trying to provoke.
Thus Russia destroying Ukraine would validate what the US warmongers have been saying all along, and as such, would far, far more likely cause Europe to move closer to the US.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 10:53 utc | 310

"The West wouldn't be in such an unseemly frenzy about it if there was no valid intelligence about it."

The west is in a state of unseemly frenzy and there is no valid intelligence within it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 10:56 utc | 311

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 10:53 utc | 310
"Thus Russia destroying Ukraine would validate what the US warmongers have been saying all along, and as such, would far, far more likely cause Europe to move closer to the US."

This is what I am a afraid of. The US has already set the narrative. It has been emplaced in the Western mind. Even should Russia just knock off Ukie forces with stand off weapons without "invading", the spin can be managed to damage Russia, and make the treaties moot.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:57 utc | 312

@Venom #270
Anything is possible, but the geostrategic reasons why it would be stupid for Russia to literally invade Ukraine are well documented.
As for your assertion that "the frenzy" must be due to "intelligence", well, there's lots of recent historical evidence showing that the "intelligence" is anything but; equally lots of evidence that "the frenzy" is pure MIC/Nuland warmongering.
Some examples of "intelligence" fails at the highest level:
1) Iraq WMDs. Iraq is literally destroyed and occupied by the US - but nobody, nowhere can find any evidence of the WMDs which were the reason for Iraq being destroyed.
2) Osama bin Laden. #1 on the US Most Wanted Terrorist list. All manner of US missions and attacks in Afghanistan supposedly going after this guy when it turns out he is living in Pakistan next to a Pakistan military base. Afghanistan is another country occupied and is clearly worse off now than prior to the first US soldier entering.
3) Hypersonic missiles. No hint whatsoever from the vaunted US intelligence agencies that this is coming down the pipe. Not until Putin publicly announces them, does the US military wake up.

There are many other examples. The point is that I have very little faith in an obviously politicized US intelligence setup combined with very well documented misbehavior by American officials such as Victoria Nuland, who famously crowed about how $5 billion was spent to regime change in Ukraine.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:03 utc | 313

@Venom #286
Russia had a base in Tartus, Syria long before the Arab Spring/Syrian civil war started (and still has).
Nor was Russia secret in any way that they were supporting Assad.
So not at all clear what "intelligence" success you are pointing to.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:06 utc | 314

uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 10:43 utc | 306

"A refined international financial and security order between the EU states with Russia and China and Islamic nations predicated on respect and mutuality is entirely possible but the spoilers need to be prised out of the game. This is what I see as a possible emergence."

Germany and other EU countries MUST be tempted by the BRI and the Eurasian Landmass Economic Zone (I just made that up, but ELEZ fits). So putting the US on the outside must be done very, very carefully.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 23 2022 11:14 utc | 315

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:03 utc | 313
"Some examples of "intelligence" fails at the highest level":

I am not sure the first two are "fails" rather than perception management to justify attacks on these two countries. The third seems a probably oversight.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 11:15 utc | 316

RE: Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:16 utc | 301

“It isn't what actually happens that matters, it is what can be made to have seemed to have happened. Perception is reality here. The "Rovian" doctrine, so tho speak, is how the US operates. “

Perhaps a more illuminating rendition would read ?

It is what can be made to have seemed to have happened that facilitates what actually happens which was among the hopes and purposes of Mr. Rove.

That has been the case in varying degrees in all coercive social relations not restricted to “The United States of America” an attempted facilitator of which was/is “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident” in many forms, rendering most practices of and within “The United States of America” rituals aiding conformance/dumbing down.

There was and continue to be lacunae in such doctrine predicated on notions derived from “exceptionalism”, including that the advantages of “conformance/dumbing down” accrue solely to the initiators.

However this affords others opportunities and vectors to transcend the initiators by not responding,
thereby encouraging extension/iteration of practices of “conformance/dumbing down” based on the use of belief to bridge doubt on the part of the initiators who increasingly become objects of their own initiations whilst believing that they remain subjects.

Posted by: NotEuclid | Jan 23 2022 11:27 utc | 317

It's a little sad that so so few are aware of the names of those who have helped stem the tide and keep the flood of chaos from engulfing humanity. A list which includes Lavrov, Soleimani, Givi, Zahreddine, Malone. Some still alive, thankfully

Let us not forget.... Zacharchenko.... Motorola..... Mozgovoi... and the nameless children....
who were slaughtered.... by the Nazis.... Takfiris.... and all the other agents provacateur....
paid for by NED... USAID...


Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 23 2022 11:34 utc | 318

@Blue Dotterel #312
First of all: which treaties are you referring to? Minsk Accords which Ukraine is transparently not adhering to?

Secondly, there continues to be the assumption that Russia starts hostilities. It could happen but I think this is a wrong assumption as follows:

1) The unfortunate reality for the people in Donetsk/Lugansk is they have been under a desultory conventional attack ever since they split off. So it isn't like the Ukrainian military hasn't been providing Russia with a "legitimate R2P" pretext since forever. So why now to exercise it?

2) The same unfortunate reality above applies to conventional forces in Ukraine. Yes, the US and others have been supplying the Ukrainian military and Azov battalion and what not with hundreds of millions to billions of dollars of gear.

But this doesn't matter the slightest to Russia's national security. More importantly: if Russia believes it has military superiority over the US, however temporary or not, it absolutely has military dominance over anything the Ukraine has.

3) The point is that conventional military forces *are not* the threat to Russia; it is the placement of dual capability missiles (defense but also nuclear attack) in Poland and Romania (and possibly Ukraine in the future) that is the issue. A standoff attack on Ukraine is not going to fix Poland and Romania, and a standoff attack against Poland and/or Romania would clearly be a case of unprovoked attack in the EU's eyes.

So my view is that there is no strategic benefit whatsoever to Russia to attack Ukraine's military capability: Ukraine presents neither a significant strategic nor tactical danger to Russia, only a potential danger of being a 3rd host to short range nuclear capable missiles; furthermore Ukraine is not the only or even primary strategic risk to Russia in Europe at the moment.

IMO, it is far more likely the Ukrainian military/Azov et al - emboldened by all their fancy new military toys and very possibly "pssst pssst" encouraged by allusions and hand waving by some Americans about US support for their effort, attempts to forcibly reconquer the breakaway regions.

Note that the same thing happened previously with Georgia and Saakashvili but failed miserably.

Normal sane types - both Ukrainian and American - would conclude that maybe repeating failed actions isn't the greatest idea, but we all know that the Nuland/MIC et al are not sane.

It is very possible that the conclusion drawn instead was that Saakashvili wasn't strong enough then and that the "economic armageddon" threats to deter Russia were also insufficiently strong.

i.e. instead of accurately assessing and evaluating a failed gambit - double down. We have plenty of evidence of American military and political planners doing this - Afghanistan, Iraq etc etc.

Ukraine is f'd up beyond all recognition. I genuinely sympathize with the Ukrainian people, who have been suffering a continuous decline in standard of living ever since 1991 - although it has accelerated after "capitalism and democracy" came to town.

This is another factor: Zelensky has not been able to arrest the decline, much less show actual improvement. He is unquestionably under pressure to "do something". He is also a political/geostrategic neophyte with no power base and is thus very vulnerable to being misled and/or outright ignored by small but fanatic power bases in Ukraine such as Pravy Sektor.

I would consider a "reunification" by force by Ukraine a more likely possibility than a pre-emptive attack by Russia.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:35 utc | 319

@Blue Dotterel #316
Is there really a difference between an intel agency publicly being incompetent due to incompetence vs. political expedience?

I would argue not. Neither the incompetence or the political expediency is a one-off.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:38 utc | 320

re:Post by: Norwegian | Jan 23 2022 9:59 utc | 298

danke / Takk

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 23 2022 11:59 utc | 321

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:35 utc | 319

I am considering the recent US NATO proposed treaties, although minsk may go by the wayside as well. The idea is to make Russia the apparent aggressor which would justify the NATO buildup in Eastern Europe, and make Russia's treaty arguments appear hypocritical.

I am not saying that Russia would enact R2P. It has been floated on this site and on others. It most likely won't.

It has also been suggested at the Saker site and with Martaynov that a stand off attack could be accomplished without an "invasion" to destroy Ukie forces attacking Donbass.

I agree that Russia has no reason to attack Ukraine, but that does not mean that the US/NATO are not trying to set up a situation in which they hope it will happen, or that they can spin it as happening. Remember all those little green men in Crimea and Donbass, as well as Mars, no doubt. It is all about perception management.

Yes, the US is doubling down on what has recently failed, but previously succeeded. What else can they do to remain hegemons.

Yes, Ukraine may very well try "reunification" by force, but that does not necessarily mean that Russia will not be "implicated", even if Donbass can resist on their own. The narrative has been set. There may very well be an attempt to follow through on it.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:38 utc | 320
For Iraq WMD, they were decidedly not being incompetent. They knew they did not have any. It was the justification for the illegal aggression, later to be explained away by "incompetence".

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 12:05 utc | 322

Stonebird #315

Thank you.

ELEZ. Yes that's a good term.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 12:07 utc | 323

William Edward Kiera | Jan 22 2022 1:19 utc | 89

In English, it is "the Ukraine", just as it is the Netherlands, the Congo, the Bahamas, and many more. Articles are rare in Slavic languages, though the definite article exists in Bulgarian and Macedonian and in some dialects (even the Russian Vyatka dialect). Just because Ukrainians may dislike "the Ukraine", they don't get to tell English speakers, how to use our language. It's Moscow, not Moskva, Munich not München, Kiev not Kyiv, etc.

Posted by: Peter Williams | Jan 23 2022 12:13 utc | 324

@ uncle tungsten | Jan 23 2022 10:21 utc | 302

Here German Navy Chief Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach making total sense in his own words, which gets you fired in Germany today:

Same Five Eye$ warmongering has bought up Macron, Rutte etc. For a few dollars more...

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 23 2022 12:44 utc | 325

Posted by: Paul | Jan 23 2022 1:35 utc | 253

Re: Truss & co in Sydney.

Sitting on my balcony, I just saw one of those black, armoured, (and armed, with water-canon atop), anti-citizen police vehicles amble past on it's way home.

Most likely on standby all day, in readiness to crush any anti-war protesters that dare to express their justifiable disgust at the cabal of war-mongerings turds we are (currently) burdened by as a species.

Ps. Thanks for your posts. You always seem to have something relevant to contribute (as do many of the regulars here). Cheers.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 23 2022 12:47 utc | 326

@c1ue | Jan 23 2022 11:35 utc | 319

Very good post. I agree entirely.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 23 2022 12:55 utc | 327

Yesterday the highest ranking German naval officer had to resign after a video was leaked of private conversations with Indian counterparts and saying:
after he said,

“Germany & Europe need Russia's help in confronting China, Putin only wants the West to respect Russia, which really deserves respect.”

Posted by: b | Jan 23 2022 12:57 utc | 328

@Blue Dotterel #322
Re: Iraq WMD
You seem to have missed my point. That point was: if an intel agency publicly makes wrong statements in the interests of political expediency - i.e. publicly damages its image and the credibility of its analysts and leaders by issuing knowingly false statements - this type of thing is never a one time occurrence.
The moment you have people considering the political expedience vs. the actual intelligence value - you have destroyed the objective capabilities of said agency.
Have you not seen the Ray McGovern interview where he talks about Brennan: specifically that Brennan used to work for Ray but was more interested in advancing himself and going along with the political flow than being an accurate and reliable analyst? That such an individual winds up as head of the CIA is...instructive.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 13:05 utc | 329

261 tucenz

In French all countries are named with the particle:La France,L'Italie,la Chine etc.

In Dutch not so much.Only De Oekraïne,de Libanon,de Soedan,de Kongo, de Krim.

I'm not sure what is the origin of this naming,but maybe it's about geological features,de Libanon being a mountain,like we say:de Oeral,de Karpaten,de Kaukasus.

Posted by: jonas | Jan 23 2022 13:30 utc | 330

In the real universe, not the one Douthat, whoever he is, inhabits, Russia in 2014 was trying hard to achieve a peaceful settlement. It leaned on Yanukovych to agree to early elections (which, one might assume if one believes the Westernaganda about how the Maidan coup was a "popular non violent uprising against a pro Russian corrupt dictator", would have inevitably resulted in his defeat). Instead, the very next day, openly Nazi groups - to be specific, Pravii Sektor, Aidar, S 14 and Azov Battalion (the last of which, swastika helmets and Hitler Jugendesque youth camps included, was incorporated into the coup regime army) attacked Yanukovych's residence and forced him to flee for his life. Meanwhile, Obama's, and now Bidet's, flunky Victoria Nuland handed out biscuits on the Maidan, boasted of having spent $5 billion to buy the coup, and arranged on a recorded call with Obama's "ambassador" Pyatt to make Yatsenyuk (a dual citizen, naturally) the puppet in power. How is Russia the bad guy here?

As for Russia's alleged "determination" to invade Ukranazistan, if it had wanted to, it would have done so in 2014 (and I believe, and have been saying so for 8 years, that it was gross dereliction of duty by Putin to have not done so). Russia has not made the slightest move to invade Ukranazistan. The crisis was from the start entirely ginned up by Westernaganda, which even the Ukranazi coup regime had to be persuaded to go along with. If Russia does decide to destroy the Nazi regime, an invasion would be neither necessary nor desirable; long range missile and artillery barrages would be all that it would take. The idea too that there would be a "guerrilla resistance" is laughable. Ukrainian people, Russian or Ukrainian, Hungarian or Jew, are not going to fight for the Nazis. The very idea that pregnant women, women with small children, and 60 year old people (all of whom are now eligible for conscription in Ukranazistan) will be willing to die for Zelensky's bank accounts is ludicrous.

Not as ludicrous as the idea that Ukranazistan is a democracy, of course. There's a country in Eastern Europe whose leader

1. Arrested the leader of the opposition on charges of treason, and has kept him under arrest for over six months now;
2. Forced his predecessor as president to flee the country on charges of treason (said predecessor, recently returned, is organising protests in the capital);
3. Ran on a platform of peace but once in power turned into a warmonger who has openly legislated "liberating" territory controlled by another country;
4. Has appeared with swastika flag waving Nazis, who form part of his army, and who conduct Waffen SS pride parades in his capital.

Who is that president? It's Zelensky of Ukranazistan, that's who. The same Ukranazistan where Nazis just in the last couple of days went around putting stickers on Russian speaking shops telling people to not shop there. The same Ukranazistan where a mall "by mistake" decorated an escalator with a Nazi Germany flag. The same Ukranazistan where the regime has now made it mandatory for Russian language newspapers to carry equal content in Ukrainian, where the 9 May Victory Day celebrations are now banned, and which was the only country apart from the Imperialist States of Amerikastan to vote against a resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism at the UN.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Jan 23 2022 13:34 utc | 331

We all know it’s ON.

The dumb mongrels of Nato overlordship always need to be fully EXERCISED before they immediately are put into action before they forget what they are supposed to do and go back to licking their own balls all day long - that’s how these armies are manned.

The specialists from Porton Down who sent their resources to Syria to perpetrate the false flag CW with the cinematic head cam wearing remote controlled Actors and Head Choppers of the White Helmets. Yes they held a full exercise in Salisbury Plains the week before tge Skripals were ‘novichoked’ with the head nurse of the Army present and looking on to poison their Russian asset.

‘Minor Incursion’ welcome announces Biden absent mindedly ...
‘Please destroy our proxy nutters we don’t know what to do with our rabid rats’
I’ it was all McCains fault and The Clinton’s and Victoria ... I only got a small job for my poor boy...’

‘Please please rid me of these turbulent pests.’

‘Please take the blame and make me look good and we will play nice ‘

‘Ooh.....Kay’ says Lavrov - just put it in writing and SIGN it this time and we may well oblige.

‘However WE are going to implement our own SANCTIONS with our partners as soon as we have signed our treaties.’

That of course means that you Blinken and you Biden and your fellow donkeys and your billionaire masters and your families and assets across the whole world and your free travel will be targeted when - sorry IF - you break your signed contract sorry TREATY.
Oi Vey - sorry Best Regards. ‘

I do so hope some of these people defect /surrender to avoid being turned into mince meat as they have traditionally been through the ages and they make their testimonies in a actual international court so that the U.K. hold bunch of Imperial petty Caesars in their late stage Dominate Roman Empire suffer the same fate and ignomy.

The C21st will finall start how about a date ? 20 02 20 22. !
We missed 22 02 20 22 . 🙂

Posted by: D.G. | Jan 23 2022 13:51 utc | 332

Of course thumb typing I managed to garble it.

We missed 22 1 22

22 02 20 22 IS how the dumbs mumerogists and Kabbala fetishists will have it in their texts - they like to preserve the pathetic woo woo of magic numbers. As high priest have always done.

Posted by: D.G. | Jan 23 2022 13:58 utc | 333

Of course thumb typing I managed to garble it.

We missed 22 1 22

22 02 20 22 IS how the dumbs mumerogists and Kabbala fetishists will have it in their texts - they like to preserve the pathetic woo woo of magic numbers. As high priest have always done.

Posted by: D.G. | Jan 23 2022 13:58 utc | 333

Notice your comment number?

Sorry Americans, 02 22 20 22 doesn't look so good, doesn't have the symmetry.

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 23 2022 14:08 utc | 334


Posted by: downtownhaiku | Jan 23 2022 14:20 utc | 335

Peter AU1 @ 241

Try Massie’s biography of Peter the Great. Reads like a novel, still scholarly. Peter was handicapped in his marches through ‘Ukraine’ by stuff as simple as being wholly unable to hire local guides. There were no locals. Plenty of game to feed the troops.

Lost track of who posted it but there is a claim that Ukrainian language is Ruthenian or Ruthenian Jewish . There are infinite such claims. Ukrainian nationalists want there to be a history of continuity. There was not. Ukraine was settled in the nineteenth century. The settlers were every imaginable group. The lingua franca was Russian.

In my life I have known a large number of people claiming to be Russian Jews. All synagogues around here used to display the ‘Save Soviet Jews’ banners and signs. All, and I do mean all, same people are now identifying as Ukrainian Jews. A few admit they were really Polish or Lithuanian Jews all along, just resident in Odessa a generation or two.. Ukrainian language classes are suddenly popular and all pupils are Jewish. Same people travel and vacation in Ukraine. Somehow figured out how to do that last summer covid or no. Same people are all pushing for war. Really quite entertaining to talk with those with a fifty year record of being peaceniks and far left liberals and they are united for war.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 23 2022 14:24 utc | 336

Gilbert Doctorow, Jan. 22, 2022

His latest piece has quite a bit in it, as usual. He's hopeful, a bit surprised; gives some detail on Lavrov and Blinken's meeting in Geneva along with his perspective.

"Already the fissures within Europe over how to respond to the Russian demands are deepening. In a lengthy address to the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, French President Emanuel Macron has spoken of the need for a Europeans-only approach to Russia on this question, showing more than a measure of skepticism if not contempt for the Biden administration. And German chancellor Scholz has tamed his inexperienced, loudmouth Greens Party foreign minister Annalena Baerbock and has himself taken the lead in parting company with the United States and fellow NATO members over how to deal with Moscow. Even the BBC reporting yesterday on the flights of British planes carrying military supplies to Ukraine showed the large arc by which they skirted German airspace, traveling instead to the north through Denmark to avoid conflict with the German government’s policy against sending arms to Ukraine under present conditions."

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 23 2022 14:33 utc | 337

Lol, again with the shit train of thought that people are from places they never set foot on?


Posted by: Misotheist | Jan 23 2022 14:33 utc | 338

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 13:05 utc | 329

I do not believe the CIA made "wrong statements in the interests of political expediency" in the WMD case. The politicians did. Much later on the politicians regarded the intelligence as "mistaken" to cover their posterior ends. The US, when caught out, always make some apology or excuse for their criminal actions at a later date.

I would agree that the objective capabilities of an agency would be/should be, and with Russiagate, have been partially destroyed by the intelligence agencies' deliberate spreading of misinformation (half of the US seems to still believe it, at least). This is different from the earlier cases, where "mistakes" were admitted, not deliberate misinformation.

None of this really matters in a Rovian universe, though. Lying cheating and stealing are characteristics of such agencies in the US and UK, not just in dealing with "adversaries", but even in deceiving their own populations; however, not in dealing with their benefactors.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 14:55 utc | 339

@jonas | Jan 23 2022 13:30 utc | 330

I'm not sure what is the origin of this naming,but maybe it's about geological features,de Libanon being a mountain,like we say:de Oeral,de Karpaten,de Kaukasus.

Language is a curious topic. In Norwegian we don't use particles in the same way.
English: a car -> the car
Norwegian: en bil -> bilen

The question of "The Ukraine" vs. "Ukraine" is not possible in Norwegian.

But the reference to geological/geographical features is certainly something I recognize. It controls the use of prepositions in some cases. You would say someone is living "i Sverige" (in Sweden), but "på Island" (on/at Iceland) because Iceland is an island. Same thing for Greenland. Similarly, someone might live "i Oslo" (in Oslo), but "på Hamar" because Hamar is an inland city without direct connection to the sea. Obviously, this stuff makes it hard for foreigners.

It seems to me the naming of Ukraine in English is somehow an effort to establish a national identity in the west that maybe isn't obvious to everyone.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 23 2022 15:02 utc | 340

@D.G. | Jan 23 2022 13:58 utc | 333

22 02 20 22 IS how the dumbs mumerogists and Kabbala fetishists will have it in their texts - they like to preserve the pathetic woo woo of magic numbers. As high priest have always done.

Actually, they are that crazy. 11. September 2001 and 22. July 2011 come to mind. And 11. March 2004 was 911 days after you know what.

And your post was exactly half number of the beast! :-)

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 23 2022 15:21 utc | 341

@ Peter AU1 | Jan 23 2022 6:13 utc | 282... i agree with your conclusion...

@ migueljose | Jan 23 2022 14:33 utc | 338... thanks for that!

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2022 16:04 utc | 342

I think one solution might be asking for a UN-sponsored referendum in the Donbass. I mean, the West supports separatists in Taiwan, who only account for about 31% of the Taiwanese population, according to the latest yearly survey by a Taiwanese university. So, why not be consistent?

Posted by: Nico | Jan 23 2022 17:17 utc | 343

@Blue Dotterel #340
On the one hand, we have a "CIA briefer" to the White House saying the "top office" misrepresented intelligence.
On the other hand, we have Ray McGovern saying his team found no WMDs in Iraq.
So were Dubya and Rumsfeld told there were no WMDs in Iraq? and that one or the other flat out lied?
I don't think so. While any politician is certainly capable of it, in reality they are rarely stupid enough to go completely opposite to a categorical finding.
I have no problem believing a heavily slanted story was put in place top of McGovern's findings - sufficient to justify whatever any reader wanted do to conclude either way.
That is the Way of the Self Serving Bureaucrat.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 18:10 utc | 344

@Nico #344
Seriously? Consistency?
R2P was fine with bombing Yugoslavia but not fine for protecting people in Donetsk/Lugansk from military attack.
Self determination was fine for Kosovo but was not fine for Crimea.
This has nothing to do with law or consistency or anything reasonable - this is about getting what the US wants.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 18:12 utc | 345

@346 I think you just repeated Nico's point.

Posted by: dh | Jan 23 2022 18:15 utc | 346

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 23 2022 18:10 utc | 345

I would expect Dubya to be strung along, but Rumsfeld, Cheney et al to be in on it. I don't know whether Tenet would be the "top office" or not. I think the neocons were running the show. But ı haven't read the McGovern interview.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 18:21 utc | 347

Norwegian | 164
“It tells you something about who did MH17, doesn't it.”
Indeed, good point! I hadn‘t made the connection.

Biswapriya Purkayast | 332
“How is Russia the bad guy here?”
Whoever is actually the slightly daft guy, like Russia is, gets to be the bad guy. That would be my take on your question. I know, I know, it was meant as a rhetorical question. Pardon me.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jan 23 2022 20:17 utc | 348

We are witnessing a struggle for Europe!

Following Brzezińskis road map the US have two problems: first, the eurasian powers are forming a strategic alliance (nobody told them!), second: the european (and japanese) weapon carrier and strategic spaces are loosing confidence in the USA.

The first point seems lost, there is nothing they can do (even if some American voices think they should try).
The more important becomes the the second: binding allies to the empire.

IMO there is only one perspective for the US: to escalate up to a war in europe to bind the europeans back to their protector. The question is, how to escalate without appearing as the escalator? Colour revolution is out of fashion, NGOs no longer accepted in Russia (and China), and as the Russians know this very well, they can lean back and wait. Of course they will not do the favor to the US and invade Ukraine! If the Russians will escalate, they will go against the US directly.

Time is against the US. The german Admiral spoke out, what german military thinks, and what more than 50% of the germans think: we have to find an agreement with russia. Scholz today delivered the absolute minimum in "warning" Russia, the german interests are different. There is a shift away from the US, and the german media is so desperately blaming and hating "Putin" because they know (btw – I am really astonished how the atlantic warmonger conquered the complete german media – if you know an exception, please tell me).

There is one point in favor of the USA: Europe is unable to find a path to a common foreign policy, or even security policy. Their distrust of each other outweighs their understanding of what they have to to in common. The EU is slowly slowly braking apart. This is the USs only asset.

But what perspective is a Europe disintegrated, with every little european nation choosing another orientation in a multipolar world between Russia, China and the USA? It is not a perspective the US have on their screen – if they have any.

Posted by: Jan | Jan 23 2022 20:55 utc | 349

Norwegian 164

I had the video of Kerry saying that saved on my old computer. I thought that was 24-48 hours after the plane went down.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 23 2022 22:20 utc | 350

"Russia has no interest in and no intention of invading Ukraine. This is a US manufactured idea that the US tries to sell, but nobody believes it."

It isn't what actually happens that matters, it is what can be made to have seemed to have happened. Perception is reality here. The "Rovian" doctrine, so tho speak, is how the US operates.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 23 2022 10:16 utc | 302

That works BOTH ways. Russians, from Russian media, hear that Ukraine has dangerously high concentration of troops next to Donbass, that extremist "volunteer units" are back in the region, hence Russia is prepared to forcefully intervene in the case on an attack, especially with civilian casualties. Thus in the absence of Ukrainian attack, the popular Russian reception will be "mission accomplished". And most Russians are convinced that the "collective West" periodically imposes new sanctions with no real reason whatsoever, so it makes no sense to follow calls of "liberals" (a despised minority in Russia) to be more accommodative with the West for the sake of not having sanctions. Only Russian interest matters.

OTOH, after all this patient propaganda, an unprovoked attack on Ukraine would not be popular, and it is a consistent Putin strategy to avoid unpopular moves. Even when such moves are called for "technocratic reasons" (Putin believes in balanced budget, vaccinations etc.), they are modified in response to public rejection.

Now there is an issue of "black news". However unprovoked, Putin could try to spread stories of the provocation, and vice versa, however provoked, lords in charge of Western media would spread stories how unprovoked Russian military action was. Since Russia tolerates "liberals" and does not block the access to Western media, something that is not symmetrical in the West, Putin has a larger incentive to stick with the facts.

Finally, can Putin calibrate a putative military action to have a net gain? My answer is this hypothetical: 120 thousands of Ukrainian troops, half of Ukrainian army, currently concentrated at extreme south-east of the country, get encircled. Any aerial support is cut-off. Some negotiations will ensue. After a while, surrounded troops will have "starve or surrender" situation. Valiant but futile attacks to break the encirclement. Gradual tightening of the noose. ??? What then?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 24 2022 1:36 utc | 351

Piotr Berman 352

Putin has the opposite problem. He had to quash a move in the Duma to recognize Donbass as an independent state. Many think he is too meek when it comes to Ukraine and US.
US do need a Russian invasion to keep the anti Russia narrative alive and to force Europe into much harsher sanctions.

I put it in the wrong thread earlier but it now appears to be official that US has ordered families and non essential staff at their embassy to evacuate. That coincides with the second load of US weapons arriving along with the shipments of weapons from other countries and an unscheduled naval exercise.
Makes me think they would prefer to start a little war rather than hand their homework in to Mr Lavrov.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 2:04 utc | 352

weapons in and usa embassy families in ukraine out... makes sense.... war is in( ukraine), and usa people are out... i hate like hell to think what will happen when the war is brought to the usa.... then what are they going to do??

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2022 2:58 utc | 353

@ Peter 353
Putin has the opposite problem. He had to quash a move in the Duma to recognize Donbass as an independent state.

I suspect that was for public consumption so Vlad wouldn't have it thrown to him. I believe that we can (naturally) assume that Russia has various classified "projects" going on in Ukraine to change the status quo. That's just what great powers do. Russia does care about Ukraine IMO.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 24 2022 3:06 utc | 354

james 354

I can't see US signing any security agreement with Russia so it will certainly come close to that. Even if the faction in power in the US had some thoughts on it the fanatical anti Russia factions combined with the Brits would put an end to it.
The 2021 Global Posture Review
It is all about drawing down forces everywhere including Europe to concentrate on taking down China. I think that was the reason for Belarus, Kazakhstan and now the flare up again in Ukraine. The Brits have been heavily involved in these and quite likely the initiators. All to keep the US firmly focused on Russia rather than turning towards China.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 3:12 utc | 355

Don Bacon 355

Ukraine is just a small part of a much larger picture and strategy. I think Putin's reasons for quashing that move have to do with the larger strategy. Accepting Donbass into the Russian federation would sway the Europeans who at the moment wavering more towards the US. Either accepting Donbass into the Russian federation or recognizing independence means putting Russian forces on the frontline with the nazi's. Some of them get killed there will be a lot of domestic pressure to do a Georgia on Ukraine which is exactly what US/UK want.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 3:33 utc | 356

US state department advising people not to travel to Russia now due to the situation in Ukraine. Sounds like they have intentions of cranking up a pretty good war.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 4:02 utc | 357

I have been super stressed about all of this. I think we are going to be okay. And I am not an optimist.

Fun Boy Three - The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Aslyum

Sorry everyone. I wish I had enough dough to get a therapist. Lost weekend. World war three kinda stresses me out a bit.

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 4:23 utc | 358

The proper way to shorten Vladimir for Russian speakers is Vovo or Volodya. Do yourselves a favor and don't use Vlad.

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 4:48 utc | 359

@ Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 3:12 utc | 356... thanks.. interesting link! your speculation goes with dh-mtl posters speculation of a divide between the atlantists and those who are in the american heartland... basically dh-mtl suggests there is a divide with one group wanting to focus on what is best for the usa and the other wanting to keep the usa invested in europe and etc... so dh-mtl is speculating too and i am only paraphrasing his basic concept, and might have some of it wrong...

essentially this all feeds into the idea that it is about money and who controls it and how to continue to profit off all of these crazy dynamics... my theory involves a financial dynamic with the bank of england and forces centered around that in some sort of competition with wall st fed reserve and etc... i think this lines up somewhat with dh-mtls theory, but not totally sure.. thus it would make sense the brits, m16 and etc continue to try to pull the usa into these european and russian type quagmires, while another group may not want to have anything to do with it...

and then there is china... my own thought is china is definitely moving into number 1 power position... russia, although powerful militarily doesn't have the same long term set up as china does, but could be very helpful to china or the usa if they were to side with it... meanwhile the usa has done everything it can to push china and russia together to form an alliance..

my bottom line is i think the usa is coming apart and definitely not in the ascendancy, but just the opposite... i don't know how it unfolds here, but i am hoping for a gradual crumbling or erosion of the usa empire and that it fades without a huge explosion on the way down.. that would be better for everyone concerned.. but i can't see the crazies who are driving this as likely to accept that... the set up is more like a mafia dynamic gone wrong where someone is going to get hurt badly..

@ Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 4:02 utc | 358.. they do appear to be sending a strong message via the presstitutes... we'll see where it goes...

@ lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 4:23 utc | 359.. hilarious! good stuff lex.. never heard of that either!

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2022 5:13 utc | 360

Thinking about the state department having to correct Biden the other day.
Biden as far as I know is the only person in the current US administration to have met and talked with Putin for some time.
Prior to the Afghanistan pullout, he was lauded in the media as the savior of the west. Just Prior to the Afghanistan pullout was his first face to face meeting with Putin. He had also met with Putin just prior to the state department having correct what he said.
No matter how senile the corrupt kiddy smoocher is, I suspect he is the only one in the US that knows what they are up against.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 6:59 utc | 361

Continuing that line of thought from 362, Blinken is now, for all intents and purposes, president of the US.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 7:32 utc | 362

Uk and Germany pulling embassy families out. Blinken is supposed to hand his homework in to Mr Lavrov by Friday...

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2022 11:44 utc | 363

Biden and his NSC team had top discussion in Camp David … ahead Blinken and Biden decided the talks/diplomacy with Russia is a dead end. Over the weekend Twitter account NATO/Stoltenberg went silent … across western capitals the war rhetoric picked up … BoJo went AWOL due to personal issues … Britain spokespersons we’re Lynne Truss and Dominic Raab … Sunday papers and Talk Shows went frantic in war propaganda … Monday morning NATO Command released statements of preparation for war … Ukraine with all corruption had Biden and Cheney leftover Nuland as architect … after Afghanistan loss of face and Central Asia after the Kazakhstan revolt, means the Caspian Sea Basin is firmly in Russian/Chinese sphere of influence.

The offer of Talks by Putin had come after almost two decades of harassment by NATO, the military arm of Europe under US Command. The stiff sanctions regime by US Treasury on all adversaries left no room for open discussion and diplomacy “old style.” The legitimate proposals will be rejected off hand and the Pentagon will call Putin’s bluff. A very crucial moment in history and an attempt by Biden to stop the obvious backslide of deteriorating US influence in the World. The Americans believe another Great War will turn the events into a benefit for them … a fictional fantasy just as exceptionalism and the American Dream has been laid to rest.

War is imminent with engagement of NATO forces …

This morgen a virtual summit of Blinken with the EU foreign ministers. One simple message: “You are either with us, or with the enemy.” No debate.

For me a new hero is German navy chief Kay-Achim Schönbach for telling the truth about Russia and the Ukraine. He was the canary in the mine.

Other hotspots are Taiwan and the Strait of Hormuz with Iran …. opportunities as the US is preoccupied in Eastern Europe.

Posted by: Oui | Jan 24 2022 13:31 utc | 364

In response to Don Bacon@355,

Recognition of the independent status of Donbas would torpedo the Russian position as a guarantor of the Minsk agreement. There is also no formal basis for recognizing DNR & LNR as independent, as they were convinced by Russia to dismiss their claims to independence and referendum results as part of Minsk. The republics are, from a legal standpoint, part of Ukraine proper; this status undersigned by the (then) heads of the republics themselves, Russia as part of N4 and Russia again as part of the UNSC. The official Russian position is anything but a matter for "public consumption" -- there's a clear government position and commitment that cannot be circumvented for popularity contests or emotional appeals.

That said, the proposition in the Duma undoubtedly was for public consumption, as the result was obvious from the onset. A number of political commentators and bloggers in Russia have been positing for some time that there's been a gear-shift in foreign backing from liberal opposition to patriotic opposition, pointing to several common ties between Navalny activists and KPRF. In terms of appealing to the apolitical Russian public, it would certainly be a better strategy at catching their attention; less gay pride and neo-liberalism, and more restoration of the SU and flexing of muscles. Statements by KPRF representatives about Russia reabsorbing Kazakhstan on the eve of the CSTO deployment, this Donbas recognition proposition and a number of other recent activities and positions by KPRF does make it appear like the party is starting to behave more and more in a disruptive fashion.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 24 2022 13:58 utc | 365

This morgen a virtual summit of Blinken with the EU foreign ministers. One simple message: “You are either with us, or with the enemy.” No debate.

"Paging Wendy Sherman

Paging Wendy Sherman

Please go to the white courtesy phone and pick up...."

Posted by: John Cleary | Jan 24 2022 14:48 utc | 366

@364 People pulling money out of the stock market too. All this war talk must be making them nervous.

Posted by: dh | Jan 24 2022 15:07 utc | 367

@lex talionis #360
Use of either term is friendly.
However, from what I've seen, people in Russia refer to Putin via Vladimir Vladimirovich.
That is also a friendly term but more formal than the two you reference.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:29 utc | 368

@dh #368
Not entirely clear to me that the stock market declines are because of Ukraine or because of the Fed meetings this week.
I believe most banksters and meme-traders still can't believe the Fed is really going to raise interest rates, but the smarter ones are cognizant that the Fed has become more aggressive in all 3 of its last meetings.
I don't have an opinion on the Fed's future actions (other than it is corrupt) - I am 50/50 whether Biden and Powell are willing to reduce the bank accounts of the PMCs in favor of trying to stop the Red Rout Election of 2022.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:32 utc | 369

thank you.

Posted by: amajsonic | Jan 25 2022 11:50 utc | 370

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