Friday, September 23, 2022

Why IsGermany Committing Economic Suicide?

from The Vinyard of the Saker

Why is Germany committing harakiri (or seppuku)?

Because the Americans ordered them to do so!

Recently, William F. Engdahl wrote a very interesting article titled, “Europe’s Energy Armageddon From Berlin and Brussels, Not Moscow” which was re-worked in Pepe Escobar’s “Germany’s Energy Suicide: An Autopsy”.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/57224.htm

https://www.unz.com/pescobar/germanys-energy-suicide-an-autopsy/

Both articles give a fascinating explanation of HOW Germany is committing suicide. Green Agenda 2030. The Great Reset. Etc.

I emailed Engdahl about the following statement that he wrote in his article and asked him, “What is the real reason for the complete deindustrialization of Germany? Besides the Green Energy or Great Reset bullshit.”:

It is not because politicians like Scholz or German Green Economy Minister Robert Habeck, nor EU Commission Green Energy Vice President Frans Timmermans are stupid or clueless. Corrupt and dishonest, maybe yes. They know exactly what they are doing. They are reading a script. It is all part of the EU plan to deindustrialize one of the most energy-efficient industrial concentrations on the planet. This is the UN Green Agenda 2030 otherwise known as Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset. [Bolded emphasis is mine.]

For whatever reasons, Engdahl didn’t reply to my email. But in my email to him, I basically answered my question when I asked the following:

Is it to emasculate Europe completely so as to make Europe completely dependent on the US for both energy and technology? The rest of the world is moving towards BRI and BRICS. The only block left to harvest aka rape and pillage for the Americans is Europe (plus Japan and South Korea).

That was September 5, 2022.

On September 16, 2022, RT (Russia Today) ran an article titled, “Elite US think tank dismisses EU plot report as ‘fake’” (https://www.rt.com/news/562911-rand-corp-ukraine-plot/):

The story of an alleged US plan to drain EU resources to prop up its economy was reported on Tuesday by Nya Dagbladet, a Swedish news outlet, which describes itself as anti-globalist, humanist, pro-freedom, and independent. An English-language version was released later in the week.

The newspaper claimed that it obtained a classified document signed by the RAND Corporation, titled ‘Weakening Germany, strengthening the US’. The paper, which was allegedly produced in January, outlined a scenario for how the US could help its struggling economy by draining resources from its European allies.

The purported plot involved goading Russia into attacking Ukraine, which would force the EU to impose sanctions on Russia and decouple their economies from Russian energy.

Well, today (September 17, 2022) I contacted the two Swedish authors of Nya Dagbladet and asked them to provide me with the RAND document... Continue reading >>> EXPLORE:
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Jordan Peterson Has Some Good Advice For Vladimir Putin

 


I know what I’d do in Putin’s shoes – Jordan Peterson

Canadian social commentator and controversialist Jordan Peterson, who found world - wide fame through his readiness to denounce the 'woke' idiocies of liberal extremists, has been trying his hand at predicting the next developments in the Russian / Ukraine war. Peterson, who gained a huge following for his common sense responses to leftist groupthink has assessed the current situation, and understood that the war is not, and never was, between Ukraine and Russia, but between NATO and Russia, a proxy war that US neo - Con and neo Liberal hawks have desired for a long time.   

The way in which sheep - like UK and EU leaders have followed the USA's lead as it provoked Russia over several years into military action against the Ukrainian regime, a bunch of neo - Nazi nutters in Kiev, installed after the USA / NATO engineered coup ousted a democratically elected government in 2014, reveals the pathetically inept level of leadership.While angling for a regime change campaign to overthow the Russian government and replace Putin and his team with a puppet regime controlled by Washington, Bruusels and the WEF, the western leaders managed to completely forget that in their zeal to embrace Greta-Thunbergesque 'net-zero' policies which made their countries dependent on Russian gas, oil and mineral resources and on China for manufactured goods.

And once the NATO and EU member states entered the Ukraine conflict by supporting the Ukrainian regime with military hardware, ammunition and financial support it was inevitable that Putin would weaponsise supplies of those vital commodities which they have done by reducing the flow of gas through pipelines into Europe. 

So far Russia has only capped the amount of gas it sends to Europe but Peterson said that if he were the Russian president he would leave the EU without energy supplies in the winter.

“I know what I’d do in his shoes,” he said on the Piers Morgan Uncensored show on Thursday. “I’d wait till the first cold snap and shut off the taps.”

Referring to supplies of gas in particular, Peterson argued that Moscow had indirectly warned that a full shutdown would happen if EU nations continued their support for Ukraine when Russian gas giant Gazprom started curtailing deliveries through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany, citing maintenance issues.

The political commentator rejected a notion popular with mainstream media in the West,  that Putin is insane  and resembles authoritarian tyrants likeAdolf Hitler or Josef Stalin in his thinking, calling the claim “foolish” and not backed by any actual evidence.

Putin “is a lot more like everybody else than anyone thinks,” Peterson said. He added that “there is a bit of Hitler and Stalin in everyone,” before going on to explanation how complicity in accepting government-imposed lies under pressure is part of human nature.

“The totalitarian state is actually the grip of the lie. And people would certainly go along with that. We’ve seen this emerge with [the] cancel culture. It’s like ‘Lie! Or else!’,” he said.

He mocked the idea that Ukraine and its Western backers could “win” against Russia as “na├»ve.”

“I just don’t understand that. What do you mean we are going to win? What are we going to win exactly?” he demanded.

In Peterson's view the Russian government would consider devastating Ukraine an acceptable outcome if no better alternative can be achieved. And the West would not be able to stop it due to Russia’s role as a global supplier of energy, he argued.

“We can’t win against Vladimir Putin in any way because you cannot win against someone you cannot say ‘no’ to. Period. And we can’t say ‘no’ to Putin because we sold our soul for his oil and gas,” he said.

“And we did that to elevate our moral stature in relation to ‘saving the planet.’ And here we are, facing a very dire winter, hoisted on the petard of our very own foolishness and moral presumption,” he added.

Peterson was referring to the scaremongering narrative used to promote the 'net zero' project to dismantle western civilisation, namely that humanity was facing an existential threat due to climate change which is driven by Carbon Dioxide emitted in the course of human activities, a threat he believes has been grossly exaggerated for political reasons. The possible consequences of the West’s proxy war with Russia being fought on Ukrainian soil and with Ukrainian soldiers and civiliians as Washington's cannon fodder is a far greater threat to humanity, he pointed out, as “the World Bank already estimated that we’ve put 350 million people into what they call ‘food insecurity’.”

“But the planet has too many people on it anyway, so, you know… It’s just poor people,” he added.

Peterson is a Canadian psychology professor who rose to international prominence over his commentaries on various contemporary issues, such as transgender acceptance policies in the West, the role of Christianity in cultures originating in Europe, and geopolitical conflicts. His YouTube channel has over 5.5 million subscribers - Wikipedia

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US Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion Through Proxy War

global research

Introduction

Although the U.S. State Department’s direct role in stoking the Maidan conflagration and toppling a democratically elected president is widely accepted as part of the historical record of the political and civil upheaval in Ukraine, little is reported about the initial and ever evolving U.S. military presence in the country. Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland’s intercepted phone calls and former U.S. President Barrack Obama’s public admission of the U.S. government’s $5 billion investment in funding fundamentally altering Ukraine’s political, economic and cultural alignment in the world received coverage, even by western main stream media. What has not received extensive media scrutiny is the involvement of the U.S. military and CIA very early on, and increasingly since the civil strife in the country began.

Setting aside the wealth of research suggesting the presence of western-trained snipers on the Maidan that fateful February 20th, 2014, the then Director of the CIA John Brennan’s visit to the new coup leadership just two months later in mid-April was a sign to the world that the U.S. clandestine intelligence services were fully involved in the unfolding drama. U.S. intelligence gathering aid was apparently on offer, yet soon proved to be of little help to the hapless Ukrainian defense establishment. The declaration by the Kiev government of an Anti-Terrorist Operation was a clear sign that the United States was behind the attempt to militarily confront the growing opposition in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Anyone refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the coup government would be labelled a terrorist. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was given command of the operation, not the Ministry of Defense. Paradoxically what followed was a systematic campaign to terrorize and subjugate the rebellious population of two regions that had very real concerns and fears that their culture, interests, and welfare would not be embraced and protected by the new government that had seized power by force, and had even attempted to assassinate the deposed President Yanukovich, a president whom these dissenting regions had overwhelmingly voted for.

The U.S. Congress approved an aid package of $1 billion to Ukraine in March of 2014, followed up by an additional $53 million in non-lethal military aid later that same year.  The European Union and International Monetary Fund had already given $26 billion in financial aid to the ruling government in Ukraine. By the beginning of September of that year, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) military offensive was roundly defeated, culminating in the encirclement battle of Ilovaisk. By April of 2015, the U.S. Congress approved a further $75 million in military aid to the new Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko by passing the European Reassurance Initiative. The UAF tried a second time to settle the issue in the east by military means, launching their 2015 winter offensive to divide and conquer the proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) and Lugansk Peoples Republic (LPR). This offensive ended in the disastrous Debaltseve encirclement. At this point, if the DPR and LPR militias had had adequate manpower, the entirety of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions could have been secured and the line of contact as it exists today would look quite different. During that winter’s engagements, the rebels destroyed or recovered a number of U.S. supplies counter-battery radars, numerous HMMWV light utility vehicles, and a number of U.S. supplied small arms, sniper rifles and munitions.

After a year of successive and stunning defeats on the battlefield, the United States decided to embrace and push the Poroshenko propaganda excuse for Ukrainian defeat by stating that Russian regular military forces intervened in the conflict, engaging in a de-facto invasion of the country. Although totally unfounded; Russian volunteers and military advisers did aid the DPR/LPR forces and supplied them with arms and intelligence support, they did not inject regular military forces into the conflict. The same Russian military secured the strategically vital Crimean peninsula in 2014 while suffering no casualties, and facing no resistance from the UAF. It is highly improbable, and there exists no verifiable evidence, that Russian regular Army units took part in the devastating defeat meted out to the UAF in January of 2015. Evidence and truth mean little to the U.S. deep state, which ramped up the anti-Russian hysteria in all the political and media channels available. Beginning in February 2015, a month after the Battle of Debaltseve, the United States Army began planning the first of many deployments of U.S. Army soldiers to Ukraine with the stated aim of training the Ukrainian military and establishing a new military training center in the west of the country. In the intervening years, the U.S. Army, as well as the militaries of the UK and Canada have sent soldiers to Ukraine as trainers and advisers. Regular rotations of U.S. Army troops have been deployed for this purpose for three years now. Additional packages of military aid have continued unabated over the same time period. What started out as an operation to train members of the Ukrainian National Guard, has morphed into a much larger and concerted effort to train the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a whole, to successfully conduct offensive operations.

Preliminary Stated Goals and Deployments

The U.S. Army began its training mission with a small contingent of 300 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy. Their deployment to the International Peace Keeping and Security Center at the Yavoriv training base in western Ukraine, not far from L’viv, occurred just 3 months after the battle of Debaltseve. The initial goal was to train four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard. As quoted by Defense News at the time, a Department of Defense spokeswoman named Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman stated that the training was meant “to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law.”

U.S. Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion through Proxy War

The Yavoriv International Peace Keeping and Security Center located in the extreme west of Ukraine and the break-away republics of the Donbass in the extreme east.

The original stated intent of the U.S. Army’s effort was to train battalion sized elements of the Ukrainian National Guard to increase law enforcement and civil defense capabilities. It was not long before U.S. official announcements, main stream media and independent media coverage began to show U.S. soldiers training their Ukrainian counterparts in small unit tactics and the proper employment of small arms and light support weapons. This soon expanded to advising Ukrainian officers on effective command and control technics and processes, as well as successful combined arms warfare and asymmetric warfare technics to counter Russian “hybrid warfare” in use in Donbass.

So how has this mission changed in the intervening three years? Currently, the U.S. Army is now training brigade sized Ukrainian Army units with the help of trainers from other NATO countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and Lithuania. U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) has actively been training Ukrainian Spetsnaz as well, although this topic has received little media attention. The growing relationship between U.S. SOCEUR and Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) likely had its origins in the April 2016 meeting conducted between the heads of these respective commands, USAF Major General Gregory Lengyel and UAF Major General Ihor Lunyov. Ukrainian special operators have increasing been seen training and conducting operations equipped with U.S. pattern uniforms and small arms.

An Unofficial Military Component of NATO

The U.S. Army mission to train battalion sized units of the Ukraine National Guard has grown into an operation to develop a Ukraine-led training center. At Yavoriv, 55-day training rotations conducted by U.S. Army units focus on the training of brigade-sized Ukraine Army units and bring them in line with NATO interoperability standards. The UAF as a whole is being transformed into a military that is 100% interoperable with all other NATO forces, regardless of the fact that Ukraine is not an official member of the NATO alliance. An interview conducted as part of an article posted by Defense One in October of 2017 with a spokesperson for the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, U.S. Army National Guard Captain Kayla Christopher makes this extremely clear:

“Every 55 days we have a new battalion come in and we train them…And at the end of that 55-day period, we’ll do a field training exercise with that battalion. But that’s not the real end state. Essentially, what we’re trying to do is get them to the point where they are running their own combat training center. Our overall goal is essentially to help the Ukrainian military become NATO-interoperable. So the more they have an opportunity to work with different countries — not just the U.S., but all their Slavic neighbors, and all the other Western European countries that come.”

Is this just another example of U.S. military “mission creep” or was it the intended mission from the outset? Despite the constant proclamations coming out of the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon that are adamant that Russian aid to the Donbass militias is a violation of international law and has only fueled the conflict in the country, the U.S. seems to have no issue with doing the same thing. The United States is not a party to the Minsk II agreement, nor is it bound in any formal defensive treaties with Ukraine, and yet it is playing a growing part in the military conflict in that country. The mission has also morphed from an effort to increase the law enforcement and civil defense capabilities of the Ukrainian National Guard, a very uncontroversial and unprovocative sounding aim, into a mission to train the entire UAF into a force that can fight alongside NATO forces. All the training being conducted at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center can be employed by the UAF in either defensive or offensive military operations.

U.S. Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion through Proxy War

U.S. instructors and Ukrainian Army soldiers review assault on defensive positions and clearing of trenches at the Yavoriv training center.

Capt. Kayla Christopher made it clear how the U.S. military views the Donbass Republics and why the Poroshenko regime labeled the initial attempt to take the rebellious oblasts by force as an anti-terrorism operation (ATO):

“They’re called anti-terrorism operations rather than something else because of the issue with the Russian-backed separatists. So they’re not really Russians, you know. They’re essentially terrorists.”

This is a revealing statement for a number of reasons. It reveals the U.S. origin of the initial use of the term ATO by Kiev, and the early influence of the U.S. over the new regime from the outset. It also refutes the often toted mantra that the UAF is fighting Russian military personnel directly in Donbass. Furthermore, while the message coming out of official U.S. diplomatic channels are in agreement with the guarantors of the Minsk-II agreement, that the only solution to the conflict is a peaceful, political one, the U.S. military has lumped all those that refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Kiev government under the label of terrorists. This may just be the ignorance of one low level military officer on display, as another comment made by Capt. Christopher seems wholly disconnected from the bloody reality of the conflict and how it has effected all of Ukraine, most notably the civilians living in the breakaway regions whose only crime is the place they call home, and in most cases, their refusal to kneel to an illegitimate ruler:

“It’s actually pretty remarkable how little you feel the effect of the conflict on the western side of Ukraine. It’s almost as if nothing is happening…And if I didn’t work directly with soldiers every day, I don’t think you would really know. I mean, we see it on the news every day, and I work with soldiers every day. So we know about it. But you go out into Lviv, or any of the other big cities around this area and you really don’t feel the effects of there being war here.”

Such comments are either an attempt to distance the U.S. Army mission from the actual combat being conducted, or are a very real exhibition of just how disconnected from reality the U.S. military is in another failed “nation building” project. The brutal realities of this war are very clear to the civilians living in Donbass, who are subjected to indiscriminant artillery shelling by the UAF on a daily basis. The many families on both sides of the conflict who have lost loved ones could educate Capt. Christopher, and enlighten her as to just how real the war is.

U.S. Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion through Proxy War

Is this a terrorist that deserves to lose what little comfort and security she has in this world, or an innocent civilian caught between warring factions fighting over land she has called home her entire life?

Lethal Aid and a Growing U.S. Presence in the Region in General

U.S. weapons manufacturers have been providing the UAF with specialized small arms and sniper rifles chambered in NATO standard ammunition as well as non-standard high- powered rifle rounds. Russian equivalent rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) systems and projectiles manufactured in the U.S. have also been provided. Most recently, President Trump approved the sale of Javelin ATGMs to Kiev. The initial $47 million sale consists of 210 missiles and 37 launch units. While some analysts see this more as a symbolic move meant to send a message to Russia that U.S. foreign policy under Trump is still one of containment of Russia, by expanding NATO right up to Russia’s borders in every region, other see it as an initial “testing of the waters”. Will Russia acquiesce to the sale or respond in kind by supplying the DPR/LPR with another high-tech weapon system? Regardless, Ukraine is becoming a de-facto NATO military camp, along with the Baltic States, Poland and Romania.

U.S. Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion through Proxy War

The FGM-148 Javelin ATGM is a fire-and-forget weapon with a reusable command launch unit (CLU). It is man-portable, although quite heavy at approximately 50lbs. (22.6 kg.). It can be used to attack in line-of-sight or “top attack” mode. It is a more complicated ATGM that requires added operator training to use.

Ukraine special operations forces have clearly undergone a transformation since U.S. military involvement in the country. UAF special operators more closely resemble those of NATO nations. They are now wearing U.S. military issue Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) “multicam” battle dress uniforms and gear, and are increasingly using western manufactured firearm accessories, optics, and night vision equipment. More notably, the UAF special operations units have adopted a number of small arms and sniper weapons systems that utilize NATO standard ammunition such as the 5.56x45mm intermediate rifle round and the 7.62x51mm rifle round. Sniper rifles chambered in .308 Winchester and .338 Lapua have also been adopted in limited numbers. Ukraine Special Forces, the SBU, and a number of airborne forces have adopted the Israeli Tavor TAR-21, built under license in Ukraine by the Fort firearms manufacturer. The Fort assault rifles have been manufactured and issued in both 5.45x39mm Russian caliber and 5.56x45mm NATO caliber. A contingent of 25th Airborne Brigade paratroopers were issued with Fort-21 assault rifles during the parade to celebrate Independence Day on August 24th, 2016.

U.S. Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion through Proxy War

Ukrainian Special Forces are being trained, equipped and armed by the U.S. to the point that they are hard to distinguish from their benefactors. It is also true that Russian Spetsnaz have followed a similar transformation, at least in the use of western tactical gear and firearms accessories.

A more alarming trend from the point of view of the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) is the growing presence of U.S. special operations soldiers on Russia’s borders. The deployment of these highly trained operators has increased nearly 300% in just 11 years. According to a report published in The Nation in October of 2016, European deployments of U.S. special operations forces accounted for 3% of the total in 2006, increasing to 12% by 2017. These elite soldiers were deployed to nations all along Russia’s Western and South Western borders, in countries such as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Georgia, and even Finland. Just as they have increased training regimens with Ukrainian special forces, they have increased inter-operability with special forces in many other European nations. In 2016 alone, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) conducted no less than 37 Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercises on the European continent, with 18 such exercises in nations bordering Russia.

The message being send to the Russian MOD is clear. The United States is sending soldiers especially trained in asymmetrical warfare to its borders, and has increased cooperation and influence with peer forces in those same nations. Most of these nations had long been in Russia’s sphere of influence. Operation Rapid Trident or similar training exercises have been held in Ukraine in some form or another since 1995, and have been attended by a growing list of NATO, NATO-aligned and non-NATO countries located on Russia’s periphery in increasing number in recent years. It is not hard to image the U.S response to Russia deploying Spetsnaz forces in increasing numbers in training exercises in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The hypocrisy is obvious when viewed in these terms. U.S. SOCOM deploys soldiers to roughly three quarters of the nations of the world over the course of a year, increasingly to nations bordering Russia and the continent of Africa, and yet NATO complains when Russia conducts military exercises within its own borders, or in conjunction with its global allies.

U.S. Military Involvement in Ukraine: NATO Expansion through Proxy War

Canada, another NATO member, has been heavily invested in the inter-operability training from the very beginning. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau even visited the Yavoriv training center during an official state visit to Ukraine on July 12, 2016.

Conclusions

A brief study of U.S. military involvement in Ukraine reveals that it started before the Maidan, increased during the initial ATO, and continued to increase after the disastrous defeat of the UAF in the winter months of 2015, culminating in the Battle of Debaltseve. The U.S. government has been supplying the Ukrainian state with both non-lethal and lethal aid, military training and support, and crucial monetary support. The goal of making the Ukrainian Armed Forces a de-facto NATO inter-operable fighting component have been underway for three years now at an ever accelerating pace.

The Pentagon has clearly been tasked with tipping the military balance of power in Ukraine to the advantage of Petro Poroshenko’s regime. The U.S. government is not a signatory of Minsk-II, nor do they have any apparent desire to see the conflict settled through dialogue and compromise. Regrettably, the U.S. State Department ceased to be a diplomatic service decades ago, and only acts to reinforce threats and coercion coming from the White House and the military industrial complex that directs it. There will be no peace, no compromise and no reconciliation in Ukraine as long as Uncle Sam is coddling a corrupt oligarch-made-ruler, and encouraging him to crush the “terrorists” in the east that he claims to represent as a democratically elected president. Unfortunately, he was not elected by the people of Donbass, as these regions were not included in the political process, nor were many of the political parties they may have voted for.

As witnessed in so many other conflicts, from Georgia to Syria, Russia has decide to be reactionary while the U.S. has decided to take the offensive initiative. There will undoubtedly come a time in the Ukraine conflict, as the U.S. continues to up the ante, when Russia will have to decide it its historic interests in Ukraine and Crimea are worth a wider conflict, or if it will allow its centuries-old connect to this region, its land and its people, slip away. The history of bloodshed and heroic sacrifice on the part of Russian soldiers to defend and preserve this connection through a multitude of conflicts from the 14th century through the present should give U.S. political and military decision makers reason to re-evaluate their present course; however, imperial power and hubris recognize no limitations.

*

Brian Kalman is a management professional in the marine transportation industry. He was an officer in the US Navy for eleven years.

All images in this article are from the author.

 

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 Comments from Moon of Alabama open thread on situation in Ukraine

US and EU support for Z declines

Rationale
Biden has described Putin as an autocrat and a "killer" the implication being that Putin is psychopathic and lacking in all moral scruples and therefore not to be trusted.

The key question is "How do you treat a person you describe as a dangerous, power mad, psychopath?"

It is clear RF has repeatedly established red lines and NATOstan has crossed those red lines: 1) Claiming responsibility for the Moskva sinking; 2) Providing highly accurate long range missiles; 3) Enabling UAF attacks on RF territory; 4) Delivering advanced weaponry, NATO level training, combat planning and assistance, provision of ISR; 5) Assisting in highly provocative propaganda campaigns (Bucha, Iszym). This is not the conduct associated with the stance of a neutral state.

Putin has now made clear statement that he is not bluffing and he is actively responding to NATOstan's support for 404.

The issue for Biden and NATOstan is "Do we push Putin even more when he is clearly aggrieved and escalating his response?" and "Do we not run the risk of triggering an unexpected and unwelcome response from a state we assert to be led by a madman?"

Biden faces the fact he is now trapped by his public description of Putin. If Biden acts in a way that triggers an escalated response from RF the American public will ask "Why did you provoke someone you described as a madman?" "Are you totally irresponsible and incapable of understanding your own pronouncements?"

Given the fact of the upcoming mid-terms and the risk to the Democratic slate, it is doubted Biden will run the risk of triggering the RF. The US is likely to slow walk the promised delivery of additional war material, is likely to reign in 404 adventurism, to dial back its ISR and combat assistance, and seek to restrain 404.

The EU faces a deteriorating economic situation due to the effect of their own sanctions. Their populations face unemployment, inflation, reduced heating and a higher rate of disease, the prospect of de-industrialization, loss of markets, and the high costs of transfers to 404 while time being burdened by high social spending and ever greater long term economic uncertainty and social unrest.

Given these facts it is likely the members of NATOstan may wish to re-assess their commitment to further poking the bear. Given all of their problems do they really want to risk the arrival of Mr Kinzal?

It is therefore likely NATOstan will follow the US lead and dial back support for 404.

Without NATOstan paying the daily operating expenses of 404 the outlook for Z is bleak. 

Given these facts it is likely the members of NATOstan may wish to re-assess their commitment to further poking the bear. Given all of their problems do they really want to risk the arrival of Mr Kinzal?

I seriously start doubting that the "European West" has enough sane and reasonable politician left or at work, people who can look beyond their dome of self-delusion, people who noted the weight of Putin`s words.

Likewise, I thank Fate on a daily basis that Putin and Co. know that not all Germans or people in Western Europe are brain-dead Russophobes and restraints his military power to the level we see now. If roles were reversed, we`d all probably dust by now.

The "irony" is that some (even on here) view Putin`s inaction as some sort of weakness. I never knew that the death-wish is as widespread as it sometimes seems.

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Serious question - what happens when the gas and oil sales to Europe stop?

Thus far the Russian Federation have not used economic warfare against the West. The pumps for the pipelines are not on Russia, that is NATO/EU cock-uppery. Even the insistence of payment in Roubles is reasonable given the financial aspect of the West's actions.

In some human relationships no amount of effort by one party can necessarily get the other party to comply. In our own lives we have all been rejected by partners, potential employers and others. Luckily there is more fish in the sea and these personal failures to win over someone else only cause a small amount of pain, unbearable it may be at the time.

What happens if the gas and oil really does get cut off and there is no means of convincing Russia to sell to Europe or the US ever again?

Oil and gas is worth more than printed money. Russia can get real money worth real goods and services from the world outside of NATO/EU. Or they can use it to extract resources to make sure the supply of artillery shells stays in the millions.

Given all that has gone on, the gas cut off is coming. Ukrainian sabotage efforts are ongoing. If the Ukrainians nuke themselves by taking out a nuclear power plant (they have been trying) then we are done. I can't see NATO/EU being able to go back to Russia, apologising and getting the gas turned back on.

Small children sometimes get sent to the naughty step and forgiving parents let them back in. People that stand shoulder to shoulder with Azov are allegedly grown adults. They do not even know what they are doing wrong by being passive NPCs. Do we really expect Russia to just roll over and give us the gas again?

Despite the efforts of the Russian Federation to play nice, I see the gas getting cut off good and proper as a near certainty. In our own lives, when we find ourselves in an abusive relationship, the solution is to go no-contact, move away and get new friends. Russia have kind of done this already. I just don't see the going back.

The Russian President mentioned about how nobody owes the former colonial powers a living. The view seems to be that the EU is a welfare recipient, whether this is through Russian hydrocarbons or goodies from the rest of the world. We have not got anything to trade.

Actually the Germans and Swiss have plenty to trade. But even then, Belarus fancies itself as the place of machine tool manufacture. In the UK the Brexit debacle brought to the fore the question of what the UK does. What does the UK have that the Russian Federation needs? Why would Russia sell hydrocarbons to the UK when only paper money is available in exchange?

Capitalism requires a constant energy supply for 'growth'. If there is no 'growth' and no energy then the same mechanisms that make stock markets and housing markets a store of wealth come into some vicious reverse feedback loop. All of that paper money is worth nothing. The illusion of wealth is laid bare.

On the battlefield the Russians wait for the Ukrainians to get half way across the bridge before they blow up the bridge. The Ukrainians get their victory posted to Snapchat with a flag in a wasteland, maybe with a swastika for good measure. But then the artillery sorts them out and that is how it goes.

Are we in a similar noose in the West? NATO is well across the bridge but the bridge (the gas) still stands. Is it not inevitable that the oil/gas gets cut off good and proper some time soon?

Posted by: P J | Sep 22 2022 12:59 utc | 41

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It seems some progress is being made on Russia's attempts to engage the interest of the UN in the biolabs dotted about Ukraine. This from the Russian MoD (I reproduce in full because you can't access the site without a Russian VPN server): Long read but worth it.
19.09.2022 (16:15)
Briefing by the Chief of nuclear, biologic and chemical protection troops of Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov on recent consultative meeting of BTWC member States
Member States of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) attended Russian-led conference in Geneva due to the violation of the articles I and IV of the abovementioned Convention by the U.S. and Ukraine.
The Ministry of Defence of Russia has analysed the data of U.S. and Ukrainian representatives' speeches, the working documents of the member States, joint statements and the outcome document of the conference.
The Russian Federation has raised over 20 questions related to the illegal activity of Kiev and Washington within the BTWC. Here are some of these questions.
What was the reason for choosing the pathogenic microorganisms examined in Ukraine within the Biological Threat Reduction Programme and why was the range of the studied pathogens not related to current healthcare problems as, for example, Tap-6 project dedicated to examining agents of glanders that had never been recorded at the territory of Ukraine?
How shout the accumulation of most dangerous infections' strains and sending them to other countries contribute to improving the situation related to the contagious morbidity?
Why was the main emphasis made on examining the natural focal and most dangerous infections that, according to the lists of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, are considered possible agents of biological weapons?
What researches that supposed using agents of contagious diseases and toxic substances were Ukrainian servicemen and mental patients involved in, being one of the most vulnerable categories of citizens?
And, finally, why do the U.S. and Ukraine obscure the military-biological cooperation in international reports under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), while the U.S. has been blocking the development of its verification mechanism since 2001?
The participants of the conference received the copies of genuine documents previously mentioned by Russian Defence Ministry, as well as the physical evidence that proved the implementation of works within military-biological programmes' in Ukraine.
There was no delegation that doubted the authenticity of the presented documents, including those related to the accumulation of pathogenic materials in Ukrainian laboratories counting the Mechnikov Anti-Plague Institute.
Ukraine has recognised the fact of inspecting the Institute by a commission from Healthcare Ministry, emphasising that '...80% of infringements have been eliminated...'. At the same time, Ukrainian party has totally ignored the questions related to unreasonable volume of storaging dangerous biological agents at the establishment and the detected gross infringements of their storage conditions: accumulating biological materials at staircases, absence of proper control system that provides access to pathogenic microorganisms.
No explanations on the range of the accumulated strains of dangerous pathogens have been received, though there had been implemented 19 researches related to examining possible agents of biological weapons (Congo-Crimean fever, hantaviruses, anthrax and tularemia) within UP and Tap projects since 2008 in Ukraine, as well as economically important infections (African and classical swine fever, Newcastle disease).
Neither Ukraine, nor the United States have presented convincing evidence to prove that the cooperation contributed to improving the sanitary-epidemiological situation after recent 15 years of its steady deterioration.
The outcome of the activity carried out by the U.S. Defence Department's DTRA in Ukraine presented at the meeting was limited by showing several pictures of repaired laboratory premises. There have probably been no results achieved, apart from the abovementioned pseudo-'achievements'.
The US and Ukrainian explanations regarding the export of strains and biological materials of Ukrainian citizens, as well as the observance of ethical standards while conducting research on military personnel, low-income citizens and one of the most vulnerable categories of the population, patients of psychiatric hospitals, looked extremely unconvincing.
While discussing this issue, the U.S. delegation recognised these facts emphasising that the pathogenic biological materials were '...seldom...' sent to the United States.
Apart from this statement that does not allow to evaluate the volume and the frequency of sending biological assays, the participants of the meeting have received no other explanations.
The questions related to the reasons of emergency elimination of documentary evidence of the military-biological activity have also remained with no comment. At the same time, Ukrainian delegation stated that '...it is not a trial and we are not at a cross-interrogation...'.
Russia presented the documents that proved Ukraine's interest in receiving technical equipment for delivering biological weapons.
This refers to a request by the Ukrainian company Motor Sich to the Turkish manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles Bayraktar Akinci, dated 15 December 2021, to equip the UAV with aerosol spraying systems and mechanisms with a capacity of over 20 litres, to which the Turkish party responded negatively.
Having no other points, Ukraine expressed doubts about the authenticity of this document, with the far-fetched argument that Ukrainian state institutions do not use Russian language in their correspondence. I would remind that Motor Sich is not a Ukrainian state-run company and it uses Russian and English languages to communicate with the Turkish party, that were the languages of the document we have presented. However, Motor Sich itself refrained from commenting.
I would like to particularly focus on the U.S. response to patents on technical equipment for delivering and using biological weapons, including an unmanned aerial vehicle to spread infected insects in the air.
The U.S. delegation stated that '...the development and production of biological weapons is prohibited in the U.S., and any violation is punishable by penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment. However, the decision to grant the patent does not violate U.S. obligations under the BTWC and does not mean that the U.S. government condones the inventors' claims ...'.
This statement is fundamentally contrary to the U.S. patent code that clearly states that a patent in the U.S. cannot be granted in the absence of a full description of the '...the device actually existing...' and its expertise.
Attempting to evade the raised questions, Kevin Garrett, Deputy Director of the Biological Threat Reduction Programme, spoke exclusively about the historical aspects of the programme.
However, Garrett haven't pointed out that the real goals of the programme, which were aimed at reducing the weapons of mass destruction potential of the former Soviet Union, and which had been achieved as early as 2008. Within the congressional hearings, it was reported that the goals of the programme had been achieved, after which it was extended to other regions of the world. Within the congressional hearings, it was reported that the goals of the programme had been achieved, after which it was extended to other regions of the world.
I would like to pay attention to documents confirming Ukraine's attempts to end its cooperation with DTRA. Thus, in April 2013, an interdepartmental commission consisting of representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food and the State Veterinary Service of Ukraine jointly decided that it was unreasonable to continue DTRA projects in Ukraine, but the US administration continued to impose them on Kiev.
A confirmation of the US administration's pressure is the address on the slide from US Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft, dated 8 February 2013, in which he demands the Head of Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food to influence his subordinates to extend the DTRA project for another four years.
Even though the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food tried to refuse to participate in the Biological Threat Reduction Program in its response of 13 March 2013, the project continued.
We have said that in the run-up to the event, the US persistently demanded from the participating states on a joint statement on the supposedly "peaceful nature" of the Biological Threat Reduction Program, and some countries signed the statement. Fearing the US reaction and the threat of sanctions, many countries abstained from attending the meeting, as a result of which only 89 countries out of 184 BWC member states participating.
Only 43 delegations took the floor during the event, of which more than half (22 states) either supported the Russian position or took a neutral position. 21 states, among them Ukraine, the US and most of their NATO allies opposed, but even among them there was no unanimity.
Thus, the Russian speeches have caused many states to pay attention to the risks of cooperation with the Pentagon in the military-biological sphere, as well as to take a fresh look at the necessity and feasibility of such relations.
The emotional pro-American speeches were directed by the head of the US delegation, Kenneth Ward, who is currently the US special representative to the BTWC.
I would like to recall that he was the US Permanent Representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from 2015 to 2019. Before his arrival, the work of the organisation was constructive and focused on specific issues. One of the results of Ward's work has been to transform the professional, highly technical organisation into a politicised structure, with roles for the foreign policy goals of Washington and its NATO allies.
Within his time at the OPCW, Ward worked closely with the so-called White Helmets, who staged the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces in Khan Sheikhoun in 2017. Using this provocation as a pretext, and without waiting for an investigation to be launched, the Americans launched a missile attack on the Shayrat airbase, thereby grossly violating international law. In the coming year, following another White Helmets provocation in Duma, a missile strike was launched against a Syrian scientific research centre, already a well-established scenario.
It is clear that Ward's destructive activities on the BTWC platform are aimed at achieving similar goals and will help "tweak" the Convention mechanisms to suit Washington's goals.
We have repeatedly spoken about the true nature of the Pentagon's military-biological programmes outside national territory.
While the stated goals are to monitor infectious diseases and assist developing countries, in reality we see a capacity-building of US military and biological capabilities to circumvent BTWC commitments.
This manifests itself in the construction of military laboratories along the borders of geopolitical adversaries; the collection of strains of particularly dangerous micro-organisms specific to certain territories; and the testing of toxic drugs on humans.
In the case of Ukraine, we see that the declared nature of interaction was only superficially in line with Article X of the BTWC (international cooperation and information exchange for peaceful purposes). As a result of the DTRA projects, there has been no improvement in the disease situation and the situation in the countries bordering Ukraine has deteriorated in a lot of aspects. Other signs of "peaceful cooperation" were also absent.
As the event resulted in a "zero", non-binding report, we proposed initiatives to strengthen the BTWC.
The first is the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding protocol to the Convention that includes lists of microorganisms, toxins, equipment (similar to the CWC control lists), is comprehensive and has an effective verification mechanism. I would like to recall that the draft protocol was prepared by an international expert group, VEREX, back in 2001.
The second is the establishment of a scientific advisory committee with broad geographical representation and equal rights of participants, while respecting the so-called "principle of ten", according to which a decision must be taken taking into account the alternative viewpoint, even if it is expressed by only one state.
The third is the expansion of confidence-building measures with mandatory declaration by states of their activities in the biological field outside national territory.
As questions remain about the US and Ukrainian military-biological programmes, the Russian Defence Ministry will continue to take further steps to clarify the situation.

Posted by: pasha | Sep 22 2022 14:00 utc | 60

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Honestly, I don't understand how patrons at the bar can speak with such confidence about what either Russia or US/NATO/EU is going to do.

There are so many possibilities, and since Russia has been, is, and will continue to keep its cards close to its vest, I think trying to speculate about exactly what they are doing and why is difficult.

US/NATO/EU moves are hard to forecast as well, not only because of the 'unpredictability' of US foreign policy by design, but because of the wide range of tools (political, legal, economic) in the Western array.

For me, the wildcard is how the rest of the world will continue to interact with Russia. If 90% of the countries continue to trade with Russia, and if countries like Mexico continue to openly state positions that either support Russia, oppose NATO, or are neutral, then the chance that Russia's plan (whatever it is) will continue to work towards its fruition. This could lead to a somewhat peaceful denouement in which the world continues its move to multipolarity, and the US accepts its role a major player in world affairs, not the main or only player.

However, if the US can apply pressure to a range of countries (which it undoubtedly will do) like Turkey, the Central Asia Republics, and other nations in Africa and the Middle East, they may be able to slowly undercut Russia's ability to stay afloat economically and politically. Seems that this would be a longer project for the US to build and would need larger nations, like India, Brazil, and China to stop working with Russia. By this time, while Russia may well have brought eastern Ukraine into Russia proper, the European population may also have been beaten down by sanctions and propaganda (much like Germany in the 1920's and 1930's) allowing "the stones of" Europe "to rise" into open warfare with Russia.

Sure Biden says nuclear war is not an option, but the US has nuclear weapons and a policy for using them, and Biden is not actually in control of the United States. The US can use weapons in extreme circumstances to protect US interests and allies, very similar to Russia's policy. We can see that the Ukrainian population is expendable to decision makers in the West, what makes anyone think that other populations aren't expendable as well.

Will winter cause a slowdown in the war or an uptick? Once again, there are arguments on both sides that make sense. Seems that using winter to continue its advance would make sense for Russia as they would more of an ability to supply troops and keep the energy necessary for continued military operations while Ukraine would not. However, I do not have enough knowledge to know.

As usual, I'm still sitting at the bar, soaking it all in, hoping that leaders in the West will come to their senses and stop supplying arms to Ukraine while making overtures to Russia that legitimately address their concerns. Not likely.

Posted by: Objective Observer | Sep 22 2022 14:08 utc | 63

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