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Posts Tagged ‘Crimea’

Let’s Nuke The World Over Who Governs Crimea: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2023

Literally the only reason mainstream westerners are fine with the US empire’s nuclear brinkmanship with Russia is because most don’t understand it, and those who do understand it don’t think very hard about it. They avoid contemplating what nuclear war is and what it would mean.

Caitlin Johnstone

https://open.substack.com/pub/caitlinjohnstone/p/lets-nuke-the-world-over-who-governs?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android

Critics of the US empire have spent months compiling mountains of evidence showing that the empire knowingly provoked the war in Ukraine. Supporters of the US empire have spent months posting dog memes and accusing strangers of being paid by Putin. It’s clear who’s in the right.

So does everyone else in the world get a vote on whether their lives should be risked in an offensive to control who governs Crimea? Or will the Biden administration just be making that call on behalf of all living creatures?

It’s so crazy how the fate of everyone alive and everyone who could potentially be born in the future is riding on the way two governments choose to navigate a conflict in Ukraine, just because those two governments have most of the world’s nuclear weapons. It’s like two people in a bar getting into a brawl that kills everyone in their city. Nobody else in the world gets a vote on the decisions being made that could kill everyone alive and end humanity forever; just a few people within those two governments and their militaries.

The US empire is telling Moscow “I’m the craziest motherfucker around, I’ll keep ramping up the brinkmanship looking you right in the eye and daring you to use nukes,” while telling the rest of the world “I am the voice of sanity that you should all look to for leadership.”

One of the empire’s faces is the virtuous upholder of freedom and democracy, while the other face puts on an intimidating show of viciousness like a prisoner biting off someone’s cheek in the prison yard. At least one of those faces is necessarily lying.

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US May Help Ukraine Launch An Offensive On Crimea

Posted by M. C. on January 20, 2023

def: Help, Your money and Your children’s lives

Caitlin Johnstone

https://open.substack.com/pub/caitlinjohnstone/p/us-may-help-ukraine-launch-an-offensive?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android

In a new article titled “U.S. Warms to Helping Ukraine Target Crimea,” the New York Times reports that the Biden administration now believes Kyiv may need to launch an offensive on the territory that Moscow has considered a part of the Russian Federation since 2014, “even if such a move increases the risk of escalation.”

Citing unnamed US officials, The New York Times says “the Biden administration does not think that Ukraine can take Crimea militarily,” but that “Russia needs to believe that Crimea is at risk, in part to strengthen Ukraine’s position in any future negotiations.”

It’s hard to imagine a full-scale assault on geostrategically crucial territory long considered a part of the Russian homeland not causing a major escalation. And as Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp notes, smaller attacks on Crimea have indeed seen significant escalations from Moscow, contrary to claims laid out in the NYT article:

The New York Times report quoted Dara Massicot, a researcher from the RAND Corporation, who claimed that “Crimea has already been hit many times without a massive escalation from the Kremlin.” But Massicot’s claim is false as Russia began launching missile strikes on vital Ukrainian infrastructure in response to the October truck bombing of the Crimean Bridge.

Before the bridge bombing, Russia didn’t launch large-scale attacks on infrastructure in Ukraine, but now such bombardments have become routine, and millions of Ukrainians are struggling to power and heat their homes.

Antiwar.com @Antiwarcom

NYT: US Considering Helping Ukraine Strike Crimea The Biden administration is considering supporting such attacks even if it risks major escalation by Dave DeCamp @DecampDave #Crimea #Ukraine #Russia #NATO #UkraineRussianWar #RussiaUkraineWar #UkraineNews news.antiwar.com/2023/01/18/nyt…

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1:12 AM ∙ Jan 19, 2023


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It’s been widely accepted among foreign policy analysts that Crimea is among the reddest of all of Russia’s red lines in this standoff. Back in October, Responsible Statecraft’s Anatol Lieven discussed the difference in Russia’s perspective between Crimea and every other territory that Ukraine lays claim to in an assessment of the possibility of this conflict leading to nuclear war:

If Ukraine wins more victories and recovers the territories that Russia has occupied since February, Putin will in my view probably be forced to resign, but Russia would likely not use nuclear weapons. If however Ukraine goes on to try to reconquer Crimea, which the overwhelming majority of Russians regard as simply Russian territory, the chances of an escalation to nuclear war become extremely high.

Decamp writes that “The lessening concern about Putin resorting to nukes appears to be based only on the fact that he hasn’t used any up to this point.” But this is as logical as believing that it is safe and wise to jump even harder on the sleeping bear you’ve been jumping on just because the bear hasn’t woken up yet.

The assumption that because a disaster has not happened in the past it will not happen in the future is a type of fallacious reasoning known as normalcy bias.

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US Implies Ukraine Can Use HIMARS Against Russian Targets in Crimea

Posted by M. C. on July 19, 2022

The State Department told Antiwar.com ‘Crimea is Ukraine’ when asked if the ban on using HIMARS on Russian territory applies to Crimea

But since Russia considers Crimea its territory, any attack on the peninsula would be a major escalation and would risk provoking a response from Moscow.

by Dave DeCamp

The State Department on Sunday implied that Ukrainian forces are allowed to use US-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) against Russian targets in Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014.

When the US first announced it was sending HIMARS to Ukraine, Biden administration officials said they received “assurances” from Ukrainian officials that the rockets won’t be used to target Russian territory.

When asked if the ban on Ukraine using the HIMARS to target Russian territory applies to Crimea, a State Department spokesperson told Antiwar.com, “Crimea is Ukraine.”

“The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. We will continue to stand up against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against the people of Ukraine,” the spokesperson said.

On Saturday, a Ukrainian intelligence official said that Ukrainian forces should start attacking Russian facilities in Crimea and suggested US-provided HIMARS could be used for such strikes.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chair of Russia’s security council, warned Sunday that if Ukraine launched attacks on Crimea, it would mean “doomsday” for Ukrainian leadership.

“Should anything of the kind happen, they will be faced with a doomsday, very quick and tough, immediately. There will be no avoiding it. But they keep on provoking the general situation by such statements,” Medvedev said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

Medvedev also said that the fact that Ukraine and Western nations don’t recognize Crimea as Russian territory poses a “systemic threat” to Russia. “If any state, either Ukraine or a NATO country, thinks that Crimea is not part of Russia, it is a systemic threat to us,” he said.

The HIMARS the US has sent to Ukraine are equipped with munitions that can reach targets up to 50 miles away. The rocket systems could be outfitted with longer-range rockets, but the US chose the 50-mile range and sought assurances that they won’t be used to target Russian territory over fears that such attacks risk escalating the conflict.

But since Russia considers Crimea its territory, any attack on the peninsula would be a major escalation and would risk provoking a response from Moscow.

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Gazing into the Fog of War Surrounding Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on March 5, 2022

It is my view that the risk of America getting dragged into this war is low but not negligible. There are those who openly call for the US to attack Russia, like NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engle, who tweeted that the West should attack the main Russian column advancing on Kyiv, while others use barely concealed euphemisms such as “no-fly zone,” which is code for “shoot down Russian planes and attack Russian air defenses within Russia.” Either of these risks a nuclear escalation.

https://mises.org/wire/gazing-fog-war-surrounding-ukraine

Zachary Yost

The Russian regime’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked and horrified the world, in no small part because it is the first war of this scale in Europe since the end of the Second World War and also because it is the first large-scale war to be fought with contemporary and high-tech armaments. The situation is changing rapidly, but the amount of devastation, death, and suffering this war has inflicted is already immense and will only grow larger as the war continues.

It goes without saying that the people who make up the Russian regime are agents with free will who bear moral responsibility for instigating this unjust and evil war. However, we live in a fallen world, where people do many evil things. Morality requires that our actions comport not with how we wish the world were but with how it actually is. For years, realist thinkers such as John Mearsheimer have been sounding the alarm that Western efforts to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the borders of Russia will cause an immense amount of trouble.

Background to the War

In brief, in 2008, NATO announced that it welcomed Ukraine and Georgia eventually joining NATO. Vladimir Putin hit the roof and declared that Russia (in this article meaning the Russian regime) would find such a move unacceptable. However, the West did not really pay attention. As a result of this action, Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 to secure two breakaway provinces (because NATO will not accept any members with territorial disputes). Later, in 2014, as a result of a pro-Western coup in Ukraine, Putin swiftly moved to take over Crimea (to secure the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based at Sevastopol and prevent NATO naval vessels from securing a port so close to Russia) and supported two breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine, thus ensuring that Ukraine would also be mired in territorial disputes and be unable to join NATO.

The Western reaction to these events has largely been driven by moral condemnation and proclamations that as a sovereign state, Ukraine has the right to decide its future for itself. Unfortunately, when it comes to international relations, might makes right. In the words of Thucydides’s Melian Dialogue, “The strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must.” To acknowledge this fact about reality is not to condone it, but recognizing it to be true allows one to better prepare to reduce the amount of conflict and suffering that takes place. The failure to acknowledge this has contributed a great deal to the current crisis.

To understand more of the background to this conflict, it would be wise to consult John Mearsheimer’s 2014 essay “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault” and his related 2015 speech on the same subject. The key takeaway is that Russia considers the alignment of Ukraine to be an issue of extreme importance. In contrast, the Western states have very little to no national interest in Ukraine. Thus, Russia is willing to go to much more effort and pain to secure these goals than the West is. That is why no Western states have declared war on Russia and come to the military assistance of Ukraine. Russia has nuclear weapons, and the costs of war would far outweigh any potential benefits.

I must admit that until recently, I was not expecting Russia to undertake this drastic of a move; however, once the troop buildup began and diplomatic efforts seemed to make clear that Western states did not seem to even comprehend Russia’s security demands, let alone be willing to compromise to find a solution, I began to fear that war was more likely.

What Does This Invasion Mean?

It is still too early to know what Russia’s specific end goal is. It may be to annex large amounts of Ukrainian territory and turn the rest into a rump buffer state. It may be something less extreme than that. And circumstances on the ground will, of course, affect the outcome as well.

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A war with Russia would be unlike anything the US and NATO have ever experienced — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2022

This is what a war with Russia would look like. It would not be limited to Ukraine, but extend to battlefields in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, and elsewhere. It would involve Russian strikes against NATO airfields, depots, and ports throughout the depth of Europe.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/548322-war-russia-us-nato/

Scott Ritter

is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

In a recent press conference held on the occasion of a visit to Moscow by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about continued NATO expansion, and the potential consequences if Ukraine was to join the trans-Atlantic alliance.

“Their [NATO’s] main task is to contain the development of Russia,” Putin said. “Ukraine is simply a tool to achieve this goal. They could draw us into some kind of armed conflict and force their allies in Europe to impose the very tough sanctions that are being talked about in the United States today,” he noted. “Or they could draw Ukraine into NATO, set up strike weapons systems there and encourage some people to resolve the issue of Donbass or Crimea by force, and still draw us into an armed conflict.”

Putin continued, “Let us imagine that Ukraine is a NATO member and is stuffed with weapons and there are state-of-the-art missile systems just like in Poland and Romania. Who will stop it from unleashing operations in Crimea, let alone Donbass? Let us imagine that Ukraine is a NATO member and ventures such a combat operation. Do we have to fight with the NATO bloc? Has anyone thought anything about it? It seems not.”

But these words were dismissed by White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, who likened them to a fox “screaming from the top of the hen house that he’s scared of the chickens,” adding that any Russian expression of fear over Ukraine “should not be reported as a statement of fact.”

Psaki’s comments, however, are divorced from the reality of the situation. The principal goal of the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is what he terms the “de-occupation” of Crimea. While this goal has, in the past, been couched in terms of diplomacy – “[t]he synergy of our efforts must force Russia to negotiate the return of our peninsula,” Zelensky told the Crimea Platform, a Ukrainian forum focused on regaining control over Crimea – the reality is his strategy for return is a purely military one, in which Russia has been identified as a “military adversary”, and the accomplishment of which can only be achieved through NATO membership.

How Zelensky plans on accomplishing this goal using military means has not been spelled out. As an ostensibly defensive alliance, the odds are that NATO would not initiate any offensive military action to forcibly seize the Crimean Peninsula from Russia. Indeed, the terms of Ukraine’s membership, if granted, would need to include some language regarding the limits of NATO’s Article 5 – which relates to collective defense – when addressing the Crimea situation, or else a state of war would de facto exist upon Ukrainian accession.

The most likely scenario would involve Ukraine being rapidly brought under the ‘umbrella’ of NATO protection, with ‘battlegroups’ like those deployed into eastern Europe being formed on Ukrainian soil as a ‘trip-wire’ force, and modern air defenses combined with forward-deployed NATO aircraft put in place to secure Ukrainian airspace.

Once this umbrella has been established, Ukraine would feel emboldened to begin a hybrid conflict against what it terms the Russian occupation of Crimea, employing unconventional warfare capability it has acquired since 2015 at the hands of the CIA to initiate an insurgency designed specifically to “kill Russians.”

The idea that Russia would sit idly by while a guerilla war in Crimea was being implemented from Ukraine is ludicrous; if confronted with such a scenario, Russia would more than likely use its own unconventional capabilities in retaliation. Ukraine, of course, would cry foul, and NATO would be confronted with its mandatory obligation for collective defense under Article 5. In short, NATO would be at war with Russia.

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Abolish NATO – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2022

The final straw was to be Ukraine. After U.S. officials helped to orchestrate the regime-change operation that ousted a pro-Russia regime and installed a pro-U.S. regime in Ukraine, the next step was to invite Ukraine to join NATO. That would mean U.S. bases, missiles, and troops on Russia’s border. It would would mean the eviction of Russia from its longtime military base in Crimea and its replacement by a U.S. military base. 

Predictably, all this makes Russia the “aggressor” against the peace-loving officials within NATO and within the U.S. government (which controls NATO).

https://www.fff.org/2022/01/10/abolish-nato/

by Jacob G. Hornberger

The New York Times published an article yesterday that denied that U.S. officials promised Russia at the end of the Cold War that NATO would not expand membership to Warsaw Pact countries. 

Unfortunately, the article misses the point. The point is that NATO should have been abolished when the Cold War ended, which would, needless to say, have meant that it would not have absorbed those former Warsaw Pact countries and would not have moved U.S. bases, missiles, and troops inexorably closer to Russia’s borders. 

The ostensible purpose of NATO was to protect Western Europe from an invasion by the Soviet Union, which, ironically, had been America’s partner and ally in World War II. At the end of the Cold War, the threat of such an invasion was non-existent. Therefore, NATO’s ostensible mission was over. NATO should have been disbanded immediately.

But like so many other Cold War programs and bureaucratic agencies, NATO bureaucrats were not about to let their bureaucratic agency go quietly into the night. Too many officials had become accustomed to and dependent on the taxpayer-funded largess that came with NATO. 

Moreover, the NATO bureaucrats and the Cold War officials within the U.S. national-security establishment were not ready to let go of their Cold War racket, which they had milked for some 45 years. They had to figure out a way to keep their racket going.

That’s why NATO began absorbing Warsaw Pact countries instead of simply going out of business. They knew that as they brought U.S. bases, missiles, and troops closer to Russia’s borders, Russia would have to finally respond. And when that would happen, U.S. and NATO officials and their Operation Mockingbird acolytes in the mainstream press could exclaim, “The Russians have committed aggression! They are the aggressors!” 

The final straw was to be Ukraine. After U.S. officials helped to orchestrate the regime-change operation that ousted a pro-Russia regime and installed a pro-U.S. regime in Ukraine, the next step was to invite Ukraine to join NATO. That would mean U.S. bases, missiles, and troops on Russia’s border. It would would mean the eviction of Russia from its longtime military base in Crimea and its replacement by a U.S. military base. 

The result was predictable. Russia invaded Crimea and took it over. Russia has also made it clear that it fiercely opposed NATO’s absorption of Ukraine and the U.S. military bases, missiles, and troops on Russia’s border that would come with it.

Predictably, all this makes Russia the “aggressor” against the peace-loving officials within NATO and within the U.S. government (which controls NATO). It’s all Russia’s fault for opposing U.S. peace-loving plans to establish and install military bases, missiles, and troops along Russia’s borders. 

When will the American people wake up and come to the realization of what the conversion of their federal government to a national-security state has done to our nation? The sooner that day comes, the better off everyone will be. We will be able both to abolish NATO and restore a limited-government republic to our land. That would not only finally put a stop to the old Cold War racket but also set America on the road to liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world. 

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‘HMS Defender Versus The Russian Military: The Danger of Believing Your Own Propaganda’ – Ron Paul’s 28 June Column

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2021

Having had their bluff called, the UK government did what all governments do best: it lied. The Russians did not shoot at a UK warship, they claimed. It was a previously-scheduled Russian military exercise in the area.

Unfortunately for the UK government, in its haste to create good propaganda about standing up to Russia, they had a BBC reporter on-board the Defender who spilled the beans: Yes, the Russian military did issue several warnings, yes it did buzz the HMS Defender multiple times, and yes there were shots fired in the Defender’s direction.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/propaganda?e=4e0de347c8

June 28 – Less than two weeks after NATO members reaffirmed allegiance to Article 5 – that an attack on one member was an attack on all members – the UK nearly put that pledge to the test. In a shockingly provocative move, the UK’s HMS Defender purposely sailed into Crimean territorial waters on its way to Georgia.

Press reports suggest that there was a dispute between the UK defense and foreign ministries over whether to violate Russia’s claimed territorial waters with a heavily armed warship. According to reports, Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself jumped in to over-rule the more cautious Foreign Office in favor of confrontation.

As Johnson later claimed, because the UK (and the US) does not recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the UK was actually sailing through Ukrainian waters. It was an in-your-face move toward Russia just weeks after the US and NATO were forced to back down from a major clash with Russia in eastern Ukraine

This time, as was the case in eastern Ukraine, the Russians took a different view of the situation. Russian coast guard vessels ordered the HMS Defender to exit Russian territorial waters – an order they punctuated with rare live fire of cannon and dropping of bombs.

Having had their bluff called, the UK government did what all governments do best: it lied. The Russians did not shoot at a UK warship, they claimed. It was a previously-scheduled Russian military exercise in the area.

Unfortunately for the UK government, in its haste to create good propaganda about standing up to Russia, they had a BBC reporter on-board the Defender who spilled the beans: Yes, the Russian military did issue several warnings, yes it did buzz the HMS Defender multiple times, and yes there were shots fired in the Defender’s direction.

Similarly, in the spring, Russia rapidly deployed 75,000 troops on the border with Ukraine in response to a US-backed Ukrainian military build-up. The message was clear: Russia would no longer sit by as the US government and its allies intervened next door.

Russia now has demonstrated that it will protect Crimea, which voted in a 2014 referendum to re-join Russia. The Crimean vote was triggered by the US-backed coup in Ukraine. That is called “unintended consequences” of foreign interventionism.

The problem with the UK, the US, and their NATO allies is that they believe their own propaganda and they act accordingly. A famous 2004 quote attributed to George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, clearly spelled out this line of thinking. Said Rove, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

These two recent near-clashes with Russia demonstrate that the “reality” created by an almost religious belief in American or NATO exceptionalism can often crash hard against the reality of 75,000 troops or the Black Sea Fleet

The anti-Russia propaganda endlessly repeated by both political parties in Washington and amplified by the anti-Trump media for more than four years has completely saturated the Beltway and beyond. Even as the Russiagate conspiracy was proven to be a lie, the propaganda it spawned lives on.

Blustering Boris Johnson almost provoked a major war over an infantile desire to continue poking and prodding Russia in its own backyard. This time the war was averted, but what about next time? Will the adults ever be in charge?



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One Man Stands in the Way of NATO’s Run Onward to Moscow | New Eastern Outlook

Posted by M. C. on April 19, 2021

This came into being the instant Joe Biden took the oath of office as president, and it’s only part of an overall strategy to engage Russia in a winner take all confrontation that many experts say, is long overdue. And the has taken unilateral aggressive steps toward the Donbass region and any pocket of the pro-Russia sentiment inside Ukraine.

EU’s Three Seas Initiative (3SI), which is an asymmetrical warfare economic platform to cut Russia off from the EU, and install the U.S. and central European powers in her place in East Europe.

For what it is worth the link below is FB blocked.

https://journal-neo.org/2021/04/16/one-man-stands-in-the-way-of-nato-s-run-onward-to-moscow/

Author: Phil Butler

PTN3411

A foreign military bloc of nations is inching closer to Moscow, Vladimir Putin reacts in kind, and somehow Russia is the aggressor. And learned Ph.D.’s scribble on, defying pure logic from Washington’s Think Tank Row. Here’s the latest sensational proof that the world will never, ever be at peace.

Dr. Mamuka Tsereteli and James Carafano have a new plan for defeating Russia for good. Now get this, in America, we have institutions like The Heritage Foundation that fund supposed research to perpetuate wars. No, really. The latest report of the foundation “Putin Threatens Ukraine—Here’s the Danger and What US, Allies Should Do About It” is a blueprint for continuing friction between west and east. Let’s examine the three takeaways Heritage Foundation puts forward.

According to Tsereteli and Carafano, Putin is about to attack Ukraine. These well-paid foreign policy geniuses say a military buildup inside Russian territory, which was in response to threats from Kyiv, proves beyond a doubt the dastardly Putin is about to overrun Russia’s neighbor. To quote the report, “Putin plans to use Russian forces in a full-blown military engagement with that country [Ukraine].” Well, let’s find out why Russia’s president alerted his military.

Didn’t I just read how Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that his country’s National Security and Defense Council had approved a strategy aimed at retaking Crimea and reintegrating the strategically important peninsula? Yes, I am sure of it. Another Washington think tank has already outlined something called the Crimean Platform Initiative, another genius plan hatched in the bowels of CIA headquarters, to make Crimea an expensive proposition for Russia.

This came into being the instant Joe Biden took the oath of office as president, and it’s only part of an overall strategy to engage Russia in a winner take all confrontation that many experts say, is long overdue. And the has taken unilateral aggressive steps toward the Donbass region and any pocket of the pro-Russia sentiment inside Ukraine. A statement by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova on this issue bears repeating here:

“All efforts by Kyiv to reclaim Crimea are illegitimate and cannot be interpreted in any other way but a threat of aggression against two Russian [federal] subjects. We reiterate that we will consider the participation of any states or organizations in such activities, including the Crimean Platform initiative, as a hostile act against Russia and direct encroachment on its territorial integrity.”

Now that we’ve established who the aggressor is, let’s take a look at Tsereteli’s and Carafano’s next brilliant takeaway point. The dynamic duo of war strategies says cosmetic measures against Russia will not do! The “west” (meaning NATO), they say, needs a more clear strategy. Which certainly means a massive arms buildup west of the Siverskyi Donets River. The Zelensky government is being pushed from Washington to take even more drastic measures to force Russia into a war stance. The editorial board of the Washington Post recently advised Zelensky:

“Mr. Zelensky now has the opportunity to forge a partnership with Mr. Biden that could decisively advance Ukraine’s attempt to break free from Russia and join the democratic West. He should seize on it.”

So, now that we’ve shown who is doing the pushing here, let’s turn to the final takeaway from Heritage Foundation master strategists. Tsereteli and Carafano come right out and say “countries left outside of NATO will remain targets of Russian aggression and manipulations.” So, the purpose of all this supposed spread of militaristic-based democracy is to expand NATO to? I mean, seriously. Washington is not reaching out with the Peace Corps to shore up a budding Eastern European democracy. The United States is kidnapping another former Soviet republic on the way to the big score. My country has military bases in almost every country in the world, has had more wars than the Mongols, and spends more on weapons than everybody else combined – but Russia is being aggressive! Who believes this bullshit?

Let’s be real here. First, please understand who is doing the “thinking” there in Washington. Take James Carafano, the former Lt. Colonel who wrote speeches for the head of the U.S. Army Chief of Staff. Carafano teaches at West Point, what the hell else can he advise, of war with Russia does not come about? The man’s life is about justifying war. Then there’s Mamuka Tsereteli, who’s also the Founding Executive Director at the America-Georgia Business Council. America-Georgia business, hmm? I wonder if there is an America-Ukraine business council in the works soon? But, you can see where this new strategy from Heritage Foundation is headed, can’t you? Taking advice on foreign policy from these so-called experts is putting the foxes in charge of the hen house. Only they’re not as smart as foxes. They don’t need to be. The public is just that numbed and misinformed these days.

Is heavily involved in helping promote the EU’s Three Seas Initiative (3SI), which is an asymmetrical warfare economic platform to cut Russia off from the EU, and install the U.S. and central European powers in her place in East Europe. This report from Mamuka Tsereteli at Emerging Europe lays out the plan. To learn more about Tsereteli’s role, readers should research the so-called Frontier Europe Initiative, currently propagandizing for greater Georgia-Ukraine strategies against Russia. Make no mistake, the narrative and strategies these people are discussing are the precursors to including not only Ukraine in NATO but Georgia as well. Retired Air Force General Phillip Breedlove and former CENTCOM Commander General Joseph Votel are two of the “experts” helping to draft these strategies. And The Heritage Foundation stands center stage of the move for NATO to force Putin and Russia into an inescapable corner.

And there, is your true geopolitical Eurasia picture. The “west” will run on to Moscow, start World War III, and then blame Putin for the holocaust.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

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For What Should We Fight Russia or China? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 7, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/04/patrick-j-buchanan/for-what-should-we-fight-russia-or-china/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Last Monday, in a single six-hour period, NATO launched 10 air intercepts to shadow six separate groups of Russian bombers and fighters over the Arctic, North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

Last week also brought reports that Moscow is increasing its troop presence in Crimea and along its borders with Ukraine.

Joe Biden responded. In his first conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden assured him of our “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbass and Crimea.”

Though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and we have no treaty obligation to fight in its defense, this comes close to a war guarantee. Biden seems to be saying that if it comes to a shooting war between Moscow and Kiev, we will be there on the side of Kiev.

Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answered that if the U.S. sends troops to Ukraine, Russia will respond.

Again, is Biden saying that in the event of a military clash between Ukrainians and Russians in Crimea, Donetsk or Luhansk, the U.S. will intervene militarily on the side of Ukraine?

Such a pledge could put us at war with a nuclear-armed Russia in a region where we have never had vital interests, and without the approval of the only institution authorized to declare war — Congress.

Meanwhile, off Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea, which Beijing occupies but Manila claims, China has amassed 220 maritime militia ships.

This huge Chinese flotilla arrived after Secretary of State Anthony Blinken put Beijing on notice that any attack on Philippine planes or ships challenging Beijing’s claim to rocks and reefs of the South China Sea that are in Manila’s exclusive economic zone will be backed by the U.S.

Our 70-year-old mutual security treaty with Manila covers these islets and reefs, said Blinken, though some are already occupied and fortified by China.

Apparently, if Manila uses force to assert its claims and expel the Chinese, then we will fight beside our Philippine allies. This amounts to a war guarantee of the kind that forced the British to declare war on Germany in 1939 over the invasion of Poland.

Two weeks ago, 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the largest incursion yet by Beijing over the waters between Taiwan and Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. As national security correspondent Bill Gertz writes in today’s Washington Times:

”China is stepping up provocative activities targeting regional American allies in Asia … with an escalating number of military flights around Taiwan and the massing of more than 200 fishing ships near a disputed Philippines reef.

“China also raised tensions with Japan, announcing last week that Tokyo must drop all claims to the disputed Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited island chain that Japan has administered for decades but that Beijing recently claimed as its territory.

“The most serious provocation took place March 29. An exercise by the People’s Liberation Army air force that included 10 warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone is what analysts say appeared to be a simulated attack on the island. It came just three days after an earlier mass warplane incursion.”

While China appears clear about its aims and claims to virtually all of the islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea as well as Taiwan — it is less clear about its intentions as to when to validate those claims.

As for the U.S., does the present foggy ambiguity as to what we may or may not do as China goes about asserting its claims serve our vital interests in avoiding war with the greatest power on the largest continent on earth?

If red lines are to be laid down, they ought to be laid down by the one constitutional body with the authority to authorize or declare war — Congress. And questions need to be answered to avoid the kinds of miscalculations that led to horrific world wars in the 20th century.

Are the reefs and rocks the Philippines claim in the South China Sea, claims contradicted by China, covered by the U.S. mutual security treaty of 1951? Are we honor-bound to fight China on behalf of the Philippines, if Manila attempts to reclaim islets China occupies?

What is our obligation if China moves to take the Senkakus? Would the United States join Japan in military action to hold or retrieve them?

What, exactly, is our commitment to Taiwan if China attempts to blockade, invade or seize Taiwan’s offshore islands?

John F. Kennedy in the second debate with Richard Nixon in 1960 wrote off Quemoy and Matsu in the Taiwan Strait as indefensible and not worth war with Mao’s China.

With its warnings and threats, China is forcing America to address questions we have been avoiding for about as long as we can.

China is saying that it is not bluffing: These islands are ours!

Time to show our cards.

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts: American Oil | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/russia-strikes-back-where-it-hurts-american-oil/

Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts: American Oil

Amid mounting sanctions aimed at crippling Moscow’s economy, Putin seems resolved to do the same to Trump’s re-election.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world’s largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia’s refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.

Russia’s motives appear to be far different—its target isn’t Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia’s goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers “share the pain”.

The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660, targeting “persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.”

The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela’s oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.

Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were “driving into a corner” relations between the two countries, threatening the “the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people.” Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump.

“Yes, I did,” Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”

Putin’s comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump’s continuous praise of Putin’s leadership style only reinforced these concerns.

Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin’s refusal to respond in kind to President Obama’s levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump Tweeted. Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin’s refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.

This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and “stupid” move.

“Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies,” Putin remarked. “So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don’t understand.”

From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the “political paranoia” on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, “will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead.”

While President Trump entered office fully intending to “get along with Russia,”  including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions, the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment.

While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia’s energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.

The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that “They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse,” adding that “The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years.”

By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin, the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of “power colonialism” that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.

From Russia’s perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production—which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019—and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.

If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies “share the pain,” they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as “fracking,” to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi’s were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.

The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs—none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.

It’s clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon.  According to the Russian Finance Ministry, said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain—U.S. shale oil companies cannot.

In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for “trade and investment.” Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the “importance of orderly energy markets.”

Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October,” famously said, “Russians don’t take a dump without a plan.”

Russia didn’t enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated—to defeat U.S. shale oil—and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.

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