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Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

Sen. Lindsey Graham Says Ukraine War Will Only End If Putin Is ‘Taken Out’ – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on December 27, 2022

No doubt the warmeister will say the same for Xi when he sends sons and daughters to die for Taiwan.

https://news.antiwar.com/2022/12/22/sen-lindsey-graham-says-ukraine-war-will-only-end-if-putin-is-taken-out/

by Dave DeCamp

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has repeated a call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be assassinated, saying that the only way the war in Ukraine could end is if Russia “breaks” and someone “takes Putin out.”

“How does this war end? When Russia breaks, and they take Putin out. Anything short of that, the war’s gonna continue,” Graham said on the Fox News program America Reports on Wednesday.

Graham said the US is “in it to win it, and the only way you’re gonna win it is to break the Russian military and have somebody in Russia take Putin out to give the Russian people a new lease on life.”

The hawkish senator made similar comments back in March when he asked if there was a “Brutus” in Russia who could kill Putin. In his comments on Wednesday, Graham also said the Biden administration should send Ukraine the advanced and long-range weapons that Kyiv has been asking for.

See the rest here

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Blowing Up the World When So Little Is at Stake | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2022

By no means should Anton be taken as a supporter of the policies of Vladimir Putin, and those who in response urge the defects of the Russian dictator have not grasped the key point of Anton’s argument. We no longer face the bleak prospect of being “Red or Dead,” if indeed we ever did, and nothing less than this could justify pushing Russia to the nuclear brink.

https://mises.org/wire/blowing-world-when-so-little-stake

David Gordon

In last week’s column, I discussed Christophers Coyne’s excellent book In Search of Monsters to Destroy, a cogent account of America’s endeavor to build a “liberal” informal empire. Coyne shows the inherent contradiction of using brutal means to achieve humane values. This week, I’d like to discuss an even more deplorable part of American foreign policy, one which threatens the world with destruction. During the Cold War, the United States risked nuclear war with the Soviet Union; and though the Cold War ended long ago, American support for Ukraine in its war with Russia again risks atomic war. The dangers inherent in American policy have been discussed by Michael Anton, whom readers will recall from previous columns, in his thoughtful article “Nuclear Autumn,” which appeared in the fall 2022 Claremont Review of Books, and I’m going to focus my comments on his remarks.

Anton’s argument is in essence this: The United States came close several times during the Cold War to nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and this would have had appalling consequences. Nevertheless, the danger of losing the world struggle to communism made this risky policy at least arguably rational, at least until 1983, after which the Cold War lessened in intensity. In present circumstances, though, matters are entirely different. Russia, unlike Soviet communism, poses no threat to the United States, yet America’s nuclear policy is more reckless than ever before. Given the consequences of nuclear war, we ought to adopt a less interventionist Ukrainian policy.

As you would anticipate, I agree with the latter part of Anton’s analysis, but the former seems questionable. Anton says,

Conservative conventional wisdom soon hardened around this interpretation, where it has remained ever since: Reagan’s initial toughness was a necessary corrective to Carter’s fecklessness and Nixon’s détente, put the Soviets on their back foot, and forced them back to the table, resetting the stage for a Western victory. Nineteen eighty-three came to be seen as a kind of mirror-image of 1938, teaching the same lesson: appeasement begets war, toughness brings peace—or better yet, victory.

There is no doubt something to this, but even on its own terms, this rendering skips over important elements. The first is that the stakes matter. And the stakes in the Cold War were the very highest: the survival of the free world and maybe even the existence of the whole world. By 1980, it was plausible to fear that freedom and even humanity were losing. It was therefore not unreasonable to believe that calculated risks were warranted.

But you never know where toughness might lead, what it might provoke. When the consequences of toughness could be total destruction, it is rational—moral, even—to be tough only when the stakes are equally enormous. Toughness not in the service of a core interest—or the core of all core interests—is not merely foolish but reckless.

The apostles of nuclear brinkmanship said that the survival of the free world was at stake during the Cold War, but though they were no doubt right that the horrors of living under the gulag were worth fighting to prevent, it is not evident that the nations of the “West,” to use the Cold War argot, faced this threat. The Soviet Union had a relatively poor economy and had enough trouble keeping the Warsaw Pact nations in line without pursuing Western expansion in serious fashion. The Cold Warriors would have done better to heed the lessons of Ludwig von Mises’s calculation argument: so long as the Soviets continued their efforts at central planning, their economy was bound to collapse.

See the rest here

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Vladimir Putin’s Vision of a Multipolar World

Posted by M. C. on December 1, 2022

An end to US hegemony?

PHILIP GIRALDI

In history books as well as in politics every story is shaped by where one chooses to begin the tale. The current fighting in Ukraine, which many observers believe to already be what might be considered the opening phase of World War 3, is just such a development. Did the seeds of conflict arise subsequent to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s consent to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 after having received a commitment from the United States and its allies not to advance the West’s military alliance NATO into Eastern Europe? That was a pledge that was quickly ignored by President Bill Clinton, who intervened militarily in the former Yugoslavia before adding new NATO members from amidst the ruins of the Warsaw Pact.

Since that time NATO has continued its expansion at the expense of Russian national security interests. Ukraine, as one of the largest of the former Soviet republics, soon became the focal point for potential conflict. The US interfered openly in Ukrainian politics, featuring frequent visits by relentlessly hawkish Senator John McCain and State Department monster Victoria Nuland as well as the investment of a reported $5 billion to destabilize the situation, bringing about regime change to remove the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovich and replace it with a regime friendly to America and its European allies. When this occurred it inevitably led to a proposed invitation to Ukraine to join NATO, a move which Moscow repeatedly warned would constitute an existential threat to Russia itself.

Finally, Moscow tried assiduously to negotiate a solution to the developing Ukraine crisis in 2020-2021 but the US and its allies were not interested, allowing the corrupt Ukrainian government of Volodymyr Zelensky to refuse any accommodation. So Russia itself has perceived that it has been misled or even lied to repeatedly by the US and its allies. It has been particularly vexed by the looting of its natural resources by mostly Western oligarchs operating under protection afforded by the feckless President Boris Yeltsin between 1991 and 1999, a puppet installed and sustained through US and European interference in the Russian elections. Just when Russia was on its knees, perhaps intentionally, there arrived on the scene in 1999 former KGB officer Vladimir Putin who, as Prime Minister and later president, proceeded to clean house. Ever since that time, Putin has very carefully explained himself and what he has been doing, making clear that he is no enemy of the West but rather a partner in a relationship that respects the interests and cultures of all players in a global economy that maximizes freedom and individuality.

Given the danger of dramatic escalation of the current situation in Ukraine, with talk coming from both sides about the conditions for the use of nuclear weapons, an October 27th speech made by President Vladimir Putin at the 19th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, held near Moscow, should be required reading for the Joe Bidens and Jens Stoltenbergs of this world. The theme of the meeting was A Post-Hegemonic World: Justice and Security for Everyone. The four day-long session included 111 academics, politicians, diplomats and economists from Russia and 40 foreign countries, including Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the United States. In his speech, Putin laid out his vision of a multipolar world in which there is no concept of a politically hegemonic “rules based world order” which substitutes “rules for international law.” And, he observed, the rules have themselves been regularly dictated by one country or group of countries. Putin instead urged a transition into a willingness to accept that all countries have interests and rights that should be respected.

See the rest here

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Russia Is Winning the Financial War

Posted by M. C. on June 24, 2022

By Alasdair Macleod

Goldmoney

The ending of the petrodollar era

https://www.goldmoney.com/research/russia-is-winning-the-financial-war

Sanctions have backfired on those described by Vladimir Putin as the unfriendly nations. It is setting in train a series of events likely to undermine the whole Western financial system, as prices rise driving interest rates higher, and economic activity shrinks. These developments alone are leading to contracting bank credit, crashing stock markets, and sharply higher bond yields.

Last week, I wrote about the impact on the banking system and the likely consequences. Russia, China, and associated nations who depend upon them for trade and economic development are now moving to protect themselves from what is emerging as a full scale systemic and fiat currency crisis for the dollar and the entire Western financial system. 

These developments are hastening the end of the petrodollar era and the dollar’s role as a reserve currency.  A central Asian replacement is planned to be a new super-currency used for cross-border payments, based on an index of a basket of commodities and currencies of the participating nations. Including currencies is a mistake, but otherwise the proposition has merit. 

This article explains why and how a properly constructed scheme would work. I demonstrate why it could act as a de facto gold standard.

Its designers intend this new trade currency to appeal to other important nations, such as Saudi Arabia, into using a commodity-linked currency for settling their trade payments, replacing the dying petrodollar. But its success could prove to be fatal for the fiat dollar and other Western currencies. With the demise of the dollar, the new super-currency can be expected to lead eventually to some national currencies adopting gold standards.

The ending of the petrodollar era

Put Ukraine to one side, it’s not the major issue. We should realise what really matters to us all is the real war, which is Russia’s attempts to banish American hegemony in Europe. While in the West we have an image of President Putin as an evil despot determined to take Ukraine back under Russian control, in a speech at St Petersburg’s International Economic Forum this week, Putin’s diagnosis of the West’s problems was more to the point than anything you will hear from our own Dear Leaders: Joe, Boris, Emmanuel, Olaf, et al. It is worth citing relevant extracts from the official English translation of Putin’s speech to highlight his economic understanding of the pickle we in the West have got ourselves into:

“Surging inflation in product and commodity markets had become a fact of life long before the events of this year. The world has been driven into this situation, little by little, by many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policies pursued by the G7 countries, including uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debt. These processes intensified with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when supply and demand for goods and services drastically fell on a global scale…

“Because they could not or would not devise any other recipes, the governments of the leading Western economies simply accelerated their money-printing machines. Such a simple way to make up for unprecedented budget deficits…

“I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. By comparison, only a few countries have a bigger gross domestic product. The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent, or 2.5 trillion euros.

“Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called – please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it – we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.

“The rising prices, accelerating inflation, shortages of food and fuel, petrol, and problems in the energy sector are the result of system-wide errors the current US administration and European bureaucracy have made in their economic policies. That is where the reasons are, and only there.”[i]

Putin shows that he has at least a superficial understanding of where the West has erred with its neo-Keynesian monetary and economic policies. While some of the economic and monetary elements in his address can be criticised, Putin’s grasp of these subjects puts him head and shoulders above his opposite numbers in the G7.

It is from this disadvantage that the US is trying to impose dollar hegemony on Russian interests in the financial and currency war. We must consider the geopolitics of the matter. 

See the rest here

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A World Leader Tells the Truth About the Western Elites

Posted by M. C. on April 30, 2022

By Vasko Kohlmaye

“I want the ordinary citizens of Western countries to hear me as well: they are now trying to persuade you that all your difficulties are the result of some hostile actions of Russia, that your own purse should be used to pay for the fight against the mythical Russian threat. All of this is a lie.

The truth is that the current problems faced by millions of people in the West are the result of years of action, error, short-sightedness, and ambition on the part of the ruling elites of their states. These elites are not thinking about how to improve the lives of their citizens in Western countries. They are obsessed with their own self-interest and super profits.

This is evidenced by data from international organizations, which clearly show that social problems, even in the leading Western countries, have only worsened in recent years, that inequality, the gap between rich and poor, and racial and national conflicts are on the rise. The myth of a Western welfare society, of the so-called golden billion, is crumbling. I repeat, today the entire planet has to pay the price for the West’s ambitions, for its attempts to maintain its elusive dominance by any means.

The imposition of sanctions is a logical continuation, a concentrated expression of the irresponsible, short-sighted policy of the governments and central banks of the United States and EU countries. It is they who in recent years have with their own hands unleashed a spiral of global inflation, their actions have led to an increase in global poverty and in inequality, to new flows of refugees around the world. And the question arises: Who will now be responsible for the millions of starving deaths in the world’s poorest countries due to growing food shortages? Again, this is a serious blow to the entire global economy and trade, to the credibility of the U.S. dollar as the main reserve currency.”

Guess who made this statement:

  1. Justin Trudeau
  2. Elon Musk
  3. Joe Biden
  4. Boris Johnson
  5. Novak Djokovic
  6. Emmanuel Macron
  7. Other

Click here for the answer.

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The Hive Mind

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2022

One of the transcendent features of left-wing people, regardless of time and place, is their complete lack of self-awareness. The great blind spot for all left-wing people is the reflection in the mirror. They are incapable of seeing themselves other than as the hero in a great struggle. This story out of Canada about the correlation between Covid-loving and Putin-hating is a great example. The Left thinks it confirms their righteous hatred of their enemy, but it merely confirms their lack of self-awareness.

According to the story, “Unvaccinated Canadians are about 12 times more likely than those who received three doses to believe Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was justified, according to a new survey by national polling firm EKOS.” Now, polling is a dodgy business, so this could be a fake poll designed to titillate the far-left. The fact that such a scenario is possible, however, is more proof of the general thesis about the far-left’s lack of self-awareness.

There are two ideas advanced in the coverage of this poll. One is that the unvaccinated are immoral, so it stands to reason that they support the evil Hitler guy.  The Left all over the West has been fixated on the vaccine as a moral signifier. They rushed to be the first to prove their piety within the Covid cult and they rushed to condemn the vaccine skeptics as ignorant hooligans. The Left would have embraced face tattoos for the vaccinated if it was an option.

See the rest here

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John Mearsheimer on why the West is principally responsible for the Ukrainian crisis

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2022

The political scientist believes the reckless expansion of NATO provoked Russia

https://archive.ph/artIo#selection-575.0-575.84

THE WAR in Ukraine is the most dangerous international conflict since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Understanding its root causes is essential if we are to prevent it from getting worse and, instead, to find a way to bring it to a close.

There is no question that Vladimir Putin started the war and is responsible for how it is being waged. But why he did so is another matter. The mainstream view in the West is that he is an irrational, out-of-touch aggressor bent on creating a greater Russia in the mould of the former Soviet Union. Thus, he alone bears full responsibility for the Ukraine crisis.

But that story is wrong. The West, and especially America, is principally responsible for the crisis which began in February 2014. It has now turned into a war that not only threatens to destroy Ukraine, but also has the potential to escalate into a nuclear war between Russia and NATO.

The trouble over Ukraine actually started at NATO’s Bucharest summit in April 2008, when George W. Bush’s administration pushed the alliance to announce that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members”. Russian leaders responded immediately with outrage, characterising this decision as an existential threat to Russia and vowing to thwart it. According to a respected Russian journalist, Mr Putin “flew into a rage” and warned that “if Ukraine joins NATO, it will do so without Crimea and the eastern regions. It will simply fall apart.” America ignored Moscow’s red line, however, and pushed forward to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. That strategy included two other elements: bringing Ukraine closer to the EU and making it a pro-American democracy.

These efforts eventually sparked hostilities in February 2014, after an uprising (which was supported by America) caused Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, to flee the country. In response, Russia took Crimea from Ukraine and helped fuel a civil war that broke out in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

The next major confrontation came in December 2021 and led directly to the current war. The main cause was that Ukraine was becoming a de facto member of NATO. The process started in December 2017, when the Trump administration decided to sell Kyiv “defensive weapons”. What counts as “defensive” is hardly clear-cut, however, and these weapons certainly looked offensive to Moscow and its allies in the Donbas region. Other NATO countries got in on the act, shipping weapons to Ukraine, training its armed forces and allowing it to participate in joint air and naval exercises. In July 2021, Ukraine and America co-hosted a major naval exercise in the Black Sea region involving navies from 32 countries. Operation Sea Breeze almost provoked Russia to fire at a British naval destroyer that deliberately entered what Russia considers its territorial waters.

The links between Ukraine and America continued growing under the Biden administration.

See the rest here

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Sanctions against Russia Are the Lockdowns of 2022 | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on March 9, 2022

As Austrian economists have long pointed out, it is no coincidence that the century of total war rose at the same time as the era of central banking. By relying on debt and the printing press rather than direct taxation, nations could hide from the public the immediate costs of war. Over time, global powers have turned central banks into weapons themselves. America’s abuse of its power has even forced longtime allies to speak out.

https://mises.org/power-market/sanctions-against-russia-are-lockdowns-2022

Tho Bishop

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is nearing its second week. Vladimir Putin’s military continues its push west, with clear attempts to encircle Kyiv. To date, thankfully, America and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have held off pleas from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to enforce a no-fly zone, which would risk the eruption of a new hot world war. So instead, along with supplying arms, intel, and—potentially—runways and planes to Ukraine, the focus of the West has been economic warfare.

What is not clear is whether the West is prepared to deal with the actual consequences of this approach.

It seems that with every passing day, America and its allies find tools to escalate financial pressure on Putin. What began with targeted sanctions on the Russian leaders and oligarchs has expanded to cutting off Russian banks from SWIFT, broad attacks on Russian industries, and now complete bans on Russian oil and other exports by some—though not all—NATO countries. Moreover, Western corporations have reinforced these policies by indiscriminately banning Russian customers from various services.

This coordinate blanket canceling of Russia is not a tool crafted by the necessity of the situation, but rather a new application of the form of warfare that the West has become the most comfortable with. America’s weaponization of the dollar-backed financial system began with the war on terror, utilized against rogue state actors like North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela (the latter two Washington is now seeking assistance with for oil) and is increasingly used against domestic enemies.

Even the Swiss historical tradition of neutrality has failed to hold in an era of financial war.

Unfortunately for the West, Vladimir Putin is a far shrewder adversary than Kim Jong Un or Nick Fuentes. Russia is not only a major energy provider to global—and, in particular, European—markets but is a globally important exporter of wheat, fertilizer, metals, and other strategically important resources. To add to these concerns, the West has become increasingly frustrated by the refusal of other global powers—including India, Brazil, Mexico, and China—to follow their lead.

None of this should be particularly surprising. China’s interest in using Russia as a foil against American global hegemony has been clearly illustrated for years—even prior to Trump-era escalation and the covid outbreak. Nations like India, Brazil, and Mexico have seen the rise of nationalist political parties that have echoes Putin’s critiques of the globalist West.

Already Putin has demonstrated a willingness to wield his natural resources as a wedge to pull traditionally subversive global actors away from America’s leadership. The Russian government has made a list of countries that have been hostile to its military actions and has directed trade to favor countries that have remained neutral. Meanwhile, Russian nationalists have celebrated the West’s economic response to the Ukraine invasion, identifying the possibility of shifting consumer trends away from America- and Europe-based companies toward Eurasian products.

As a result, it is precisely the Russians that are the most culturally aligned with the West that are the most penalized by the American response to Putin’s actions. This is similar to the way American sanctions against Iran most victimized the most liberal members of their society.

While the West has made vividly clear its sense of moral self-righteousness in imposing this financial warfare, it is less obvious whether there are any planned off-ramps to deal with the shock back home. In America, gas has already hit all-time highs, while market signals indicate that the cost of food, energy, and other vital resources is soon to follow. In response, the Biden White House and its allies have lectured Americans on the virtues of electric vehicles and other forms of “green energy.” Not even Tesla’s Elon Musk believes this line of logic holds up.

Ultimately any attempts by Western governments to soothe the concerns of their citizens depend upon convincing them that the very same expert class that believed preconflict inflation was “transitory” is intellectually equipped to handle this new conflict. It is uncertain how successful they will be.

The question largely left unasked as firefights continue to play out on Ukrainian streets is what the long-term consequences of the West’s financial war on Russia will be. If peace were to break out tomorrow, what would that mean for market actors?

Many of the same leaders that have engaged in an increasingly vicious economic conflict with Russia supported debilitating lockdowns in the face of covid. In the case of the latter, many seemed to act as if the economy could simply be turned on and off with relative ease—like a computer suffering from an operating malfunction. The world is still dealing with the consequences. How long will the scars from this last?

What if Russia and China are serious about undermining America, the dollar, and its subservient allies? What if Putin recognizes that the economy of the debt-saturated West is far weaker than our policy makers believe it is? Is there any reason for Americans to question the judgment of the decision-makers at the Fed or Treasury?

As Austrian economists have long pointed out, it is no coincidence that the century of total war rose at the same time as the era of central banking. By relying on debt and the printing press rather than direct taxation, nations could hide from the public the immediate costs of war. Over time, global powers have turned central banks into weapons themselves. America’s abuse of its power has even forced longtime allies to speak out.

In 2020, global powers ignored the economic consequences of lockdowns in order to “boldly” respond to the perceived risks of covid. The damage done was catastrophic, and the impact of the policies was minimal.

In 2022, many of those same global powers are destroying the lives of innocent Russians to signal their virtuous opposition to invasion. Unfortunately, when the dust settles, the underlying damage done to their nations may be far worse.  

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Opening Salvos Thrown – What Are Putin’s Next Steps in Ukraine?

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2022

Why has Putin not shut off the gas to a Europe that is rapidly running out of it?

Because to do so would target civilian populations. If he’s not targeting civilians in Ukraine to minimize their anger at being invaded, then why would he use that weapon now against civilians in Germany who hold the key to getting overthrowing the insane politicians and oligarchs who provoked this war in the first place?

Author: Tom Luongo

Last week I wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin rewrote the rules for the geopolitical game board. A week into his campaign to officially “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine” it’s clear to me that Putin’s ambitions lie far beyond this stated goal.

He will, however, stick to that script until that part of the campaign is complete.

Today I want to start outlining where we go next and to do that we have to describe where we are.

Looking around the reports that are the most credible (and properly bracketing for any partisanship) we are staring at a complete, effective neutralization of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) to hold any of the ethnically-dominant areas of Ukraine.

In a post for my patrons on February 25th, responding to an excellent article by Alistair MacLeod I wrote the following:

MacLeod: Both sides probably do not know how fragile the Eurozone banking system is, with both the ECB and its national central bank shareholders already having liabilities greater than their assets. In other words, rising interest rates have broken the euro system and an economic and financial catastrophe on its eastern flank will probably trigger its collapse.

I’ve been banging my shoe on this table for 3 years now.  If the US/NATO respond with some kind of guerilla war here to hang Ukraine like an albatross around Putin’s neck, as we should expect, then Europe is in big trouble financially.  

Because the financial war will keep escalating as Putin responds militarily.  Remember, he’s openly threatened the ‘decision makers’ here.  And no amount of mealy-mouthed CIA/MI6 disinformation will deter him from action anymore.  

This is always what I meant by “spooks start civil wars, militaries end them.”  There is no more War for Ukraine.  

I still believe that. This isn’t a war for Ukraine, it’s a war for the future of the entire world. Ukraine represents the hill both Davos and Russia have chosen to live or die on.

The Afghanistan Gambit

Davos has refused to let President Zelensky surrender because if he does then legally there is no more war to sanction Russia with. It’s not Putin’s War at that point, it is a settled conflict and terms negotiated.

At that point what’s left of Ukraine can be carved up into pieces. It’s way to early for that to occur, so you’ll see constant threats of peace talks, but that’s only to assuage the fears of the capital markets, which is where Davos has the most control over the situation.

The primary goal of the information war from the West is to push capital markets as far in its favor as possible, keeping things within the bounds of the ‘acceptable’ to avoid any short-term pain. Gold is still under it’s all-time high, which is just hilarious.

That said, in that same post I put up this map of a future Ukraine which I felt, conservatively, would be in effect by the end of this year. Events are moving far faster than that, however.

Chernihiv and Sumy are also in play, as is Lviv as a bargaining chip to Poland. As Fmr. Col. Douglas Macgregor pointed out on Fox News recently, everything east of the Dnieper River will become part of a new Novorussia, if not part of the Russian Federation.

Clearly this is Putin’s initial goal, the partitioning of Ukraine. He’s moved militarily, the EU and the rest of the West have responded financially. Their hope is to turn Ukraine into a quagmire, a la Afghanistan (per Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks), which they hope Russia will not be able to sustain after being choked off from the global economy.

The financial sanctions regime put in place so far are brutal but also full of holes wide enough for Putin to maneuver within and around because of the well understood facts of Russia’s dominance as a global supplier of life-sustaining commodities for the entire world.

This is an asymmetric war.

There isn’t much farther the West can go financially. They’ve seized Bank of Russia foreign assets, for pity’s sake. What other weapons do they really have in their arsenal which can threaten Russia with?

They have, in effect, executed their nuclear first strike against Russia. Once you’ve gone nuclear, where do you go next? Real nukes? Yes, that’s a possibility, sadly, given the people we’re talking about.

On the other hand, Russia has so far only committed the necessary troops to neutralize Ukraine. So, in this respect, big advantage Russia.

See the rest here

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Many Predicted NATO Expansion Would Lead to War. Those Warnings Were Ignored

Posted by M. C. on March 4, 2022

It has long been clear that NATO expansion would lead to tragedy. We are now paying the price for the US’s arrogance.

https://www.cato.org/commentary/many-predicted-nato-expansion-would-lead-war-those-warnings-were-ignored#

Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Senior Fellow

This article appeared in The Guardian on February 28, 2022.

TOP

Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine is an act of aggression that will make already worrisome tensions between Nato and Moscow even more dangerous. The west’s new cold war with Russia has turned hot. Vladimir Putin bears primary responsibility for this latest development, but Nato’s arrogant, tone‐​deaf policy toward Russia over the past quarter‐​century deserves a large share as well. Analysts committed to a US foreign policy of realism and restraint have warned for more than a quarter‐​century that continuing to expand the most powerful military alliance in history toward another major power would not end well. The war in Ukraine provides definitive confirmation that it did not.

Thinking through the Ukraine crisis — the causes

“It would be extraordinarily difficult to expand Nato eastward without that action’s being viewed by Russia as unfriendly. Even the most modest schemes would bring the alliance to the borders of the old Soviet Union. Some of the more ambitious versions would have the alliance virtually surround the Russian Federation itself.” I wrote those words in 1994, in my book Beyond Nato: Staying Out of Europe’s Wars, at a time when expansion proposals merely constituted occasional speculation in foreign policy seminars in New York and Washington. I added that expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia”.

What was not publicly known at the time was that Bill Clinton’s administration had already made the fateful decision the previous year to push for including some former Warsaw Pact countries in Nato. The administration would soon propose inviting Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to become members, and the US Senate approved adding those countries to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1998. It would be the first of several waves of membership expansion.

See the rest here

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