Monday, December 31, 2018
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Here is the post which I will try to keep sticky for people to ask questions and share their thoughts which are not on topic. This, I think is known as Open Thread. Fire away.
Monday, January 1, 2018
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Daniel Larison is not going to publish my comments to his articles--and that is OK--I understand an emotional struggle of the person and American patriot when faced with the fact that US foreign, so called, "policy" does not exist as a coherent and competent set of objectives. Or that the US foreign policy establishment is mostly a bunch of badly educated (not to be mistaken with "degrees") hacks--nobody is going to like that, especially coming from some Russian dude. Yet, today, on the 9th anniversary of Russo-Georgian War of 08-08-08, he definitely almost nailed it in appropriate tone and substance.
Will Ruger noticed that Pence repeated the pledge to bring Georgia into NATO during his visit there last week:Pence stated, “President Trump and the United States stand firmly behind the 2008 NATO Bucharest statement which made it clear that Georgia will, someday, become a member.”Since this week marks the ninth anniversary of the August 2008 war, it is worth remembering that the commitment made at the Bucharest summit earlier that year significantly added to the tensions between Russia and Georgia. If it had been up to George W. Bush, Georgia and Ukraine would have both received Membership Action Plans, but even the promise of future membership was dangerously provocative. Promising that Georgia would one day become a member of the alliance alarmed Moscow and gave false encouragement to the Georgian government.Combined with other expressions of U.S. support for Georgia during the Bush years, this commitment by the alliance led then-President Saakashvili to believe that the U.S. and other Western powers would come to Georgia’s aid in the event of a conflict. He recklessly escalated the low-level conflict in South Ossetia and triggered a war with Russia by shelling Tskhinvali, where Russian troops were stationed in a supposed “peacekeeping” role. That attack provided Russia with the pretext to invade. The rhetorical support for Georgia proved to be meaningless, and the war drove home how big of a liability Georgia would be as an ally.As a result of the war, Russia recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, thus making their reintegration into Georgia much less likely than it was before the war. If Georgia’s NATO aspirations were fanciful before the 2008 war, they became preposterous after it. Reviving talk of Georgia’s future NATO membership today is irresponsible and dangerous. It is also cruel to keep giving Georgia more false encouragement that it will be able to join the alliance at some point. It isn’t going to happen, and it does no one any good to keep pretending otherwise.
This is also how American foreign policy real realism should sound (or read). Even if to discount a jab at real Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia--once one remembers what Georgians did to Ossetians in 1991-92, including ethnic cleansing--one will lose any desire for trying to be "cute" or be a "supposed expert". But as it is, this piece is good enough, especially in pointing out a huge role the US played in unleashing that war (have this war had anything to do with John "We are all Georgians now" McCain's campaign of 2008? Wink-wink)--the fact long ago denied by "establishment". E.g. Condi Rice, in fact, insisted that she warned Saakashvili not to make any stupid moves.
But that war had other huge meaning--it showed how serious combined arms operations never went away, it also gave some glimpse of Russia's military might which simply, for all problems of Russian Armed Forces then, obliterated Georgian Army in less than 5 days. It also drew the first red line for the US and many didn't like it--the countdown to a massive global power re-balancing began then. Well, to be more precise, from Putin's Munich speech, but close enough--two events are actually closely related.
I already made several references to Poland in my blog and, of course, who would miss out on such characters as Poland's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, who is now suspected in Poland to be... Putin's agent. Reminds something? In some sense Poland is coming through what the United States is doing now--a complete breakdown of mental health, be it in a form of considering demanding of reparations from Germany for WW II or being driven completely mad by traditional Polish Russophobia. Nothing really new here about Poland who, certainly, in terms of insane rhetoric punches way above her weight, while in reality remaining a middle-of-the-road European nation which due to her dramatic de-industrialization has very little to offer to the master other than rabid hatred towards everything Russian and... German.
I would have let it slide, in the end, Poland is of any interest to anyone in Europe only as a main supplier of plumbers and as a main geographic and political obstacle (or mole for the US, depends on POV) for Russo-German energy link by means of Nord Stream 2. But what I saw today stunned me.
This is the photo from August 1 match of FC Legia Warsaw against Kazakhstan's FC Astana in a qualifier for UEFA's Champions League. Yes, my friends, this is how Poles (at least on Legia's stadium) see it appropriate to commemorate the start of Warsaw Uprising in which 160 000 Poles died, including many children.
You see, guys, Poland always have to remind everyone that she is exceptional and she is especially exceptional towards Germany (and Russia, of course). Never mind that today's Germany has absolutely nothing in common with the Third Reich and, actually, relinquished a rather juicy parts of its territory in 1945 to Polish state. But the main question here is propriety. I remember imbecile Korean fans during 2002 World Cup rooting against German national team by emulating Nazis. FFS, people, give it a rest--modern Germany is a completely emasculated nation (other than former Eastern Part, where actual Germanness was largely preserved) which, while powerful economically, only begins to remotely recall that she has her actual legitimate economic interests. One of those interests is, of course, affordable gas from Russia. This interest is in a direct contradiction with US interests in Europe. Poland helps US to promote US interests in Europe by sabotaging energy projects. If it takes to do it in such tasteless, in fact into your face disgusting manner, in a place which supposed to be a celebration of a beautiful game--nothing is too low for Poland.
I wonder if Israeli clubs should put out the Holocaust banners during their games, or, why not FC Zenit St.Petersburg fans exhibit horrifying images of Leningrad's Siege--seems only natural, doesn't it? What can possibly reflect the spirit of UEFA--the organization which embodies European spirit of unity and love for the game--than pictures of, say, FC Dynamo Dresden fans unrolling the banner of the bombed into fiery rabble in February 1945 Dresden, with burned bodies? It is a very notable date in WW II history, so why not? But they will not do that for a simple human reason of it being totally inappropriate and being out of place--otherwise, Russian football clubs' fans could have been parading the banners with images of innumerable atrocities Axis committed in USSR. Russians sure as hell have a lot of memories of that. But never mind, Russians never forgot but long ago forgave Germany, especially Germany whose main danger today comes from the spread of the cultural "values" which can only be termed, for the lack of better word, suicidal. There is no need to go around reminding German people about their guilt--none of those who perpetuated atrocities are alive today. But current geopolitical situation dictates new measures and Poland is only too happy to oblige. Damn the propriety and any remnants of human decency.
Friday, August 4, 2017
Feeling bad, down? Dire Straits' The Telegraph Road in your head? The Friday at Smoothie's Blog (I kid, I kid)? Well, apart from superb music, the video shows places I've been many times to, or very similar ones. I know how desperation looks and feels like--I know American West really... not bad. I, for some reason, never was attracted to the glitz of big cities, I always preferred back roads' diners, not an exquisite cuisine. I never will be able to live in Canada (despite loving her magnificent nature)--they are not big of Chicken Fried Steak--I have to have those. Yet, as always blues makes it all come together very nicely, especially when played by Joe Bonamassa.
Blues is eternal...So is American desperation (yes, I almost stole it from Pink Floyd).
As NBC reports, Pentagon insists on providing Kiev's junta with $50 million worth of Javelins. As report says:
The most common Russian tank is the T-90, according to Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a conservative think tank. The Javelin attacks tanks from above, one of the most vulnerable spots of the tank, he explained, adding that other shoulder-fired weapons like an RPG could not take out a Russian tank. Thompson warned that providing lethal weapons to Ukraine — a country "on Russia's doorstep" — is not without peril for the U.S. "What would we think if the Russians were arming Mexico?" he asked. "This could potentially spark a wider war."
Really? Why so? After all, judging by Pentagon's "successes" of the last 17+ years, strategic thinking and calculating consequences of the actions is not really its strong point. But the issue here is completely different and it reminds me a good contemporary anecdote about Ukrainian nationalism:
Dad: Sure, but what if they kill us?
Son: Us? What for?
I guess this is the level of the strategic "thinking" of people (be them from CIA or Pentagon) who still think that they can get away with it. Like in Iraq. Or Afghanistan. But, after all, who said that it takes too long to train Iskander combat teams to launch? I kid, I kid.
Former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin, an NBC News analyst, said that the Russians had "earned" the U.S. aid to Ukraine, "but will see it as an escalation even though it poses no immediate danger to their forces given the disposition of the two sides and the nature of the current skirmishing." "The U.S. should portray this as an enhancement of Ukrainian defensive capabilities, and part of the deal with Kiev should be that they not use the Javelins to provoke fighting but instead hold onto them for a contingency in which Russia actually uses armor to extend its invasion — which it has not been doing lately."
I applaud John McLaughlin's "analysis" since Russia sure as hell can "portray" a transfer of some really cool tech to LDNR forces as "an enhancement of Donbass defense capabilities." In the end, LDNR forces also can "hold on" to Iskanders, or some serious other toys, for a contingency Kiev "actually uses armor to extend its invasion" into Donbass. But mocking bird exchange apart. All these last moves in Washington (including Russia sanctions) are signs of a real desperation and it all testifies to a growing burden of internal problems and rot inside the Beltway. Considering a level of utter ignorance of US "political elites" about real war and what it can bring, all this can only be driven by sheer insanity. Come to think about it, it is exactly the main driving force behind US obvious decline. Now, one can understand the reason for a slimy stream of accusations against Russia in alleged "arming" of Taliban. But hey, you get where it is all going, right? One might as well start living up to a reputation. But I don't think this is going to happen. For starters, for all his flaws, President Trump is a sane person (unlike many in his cabinet) and this could be his next test. We'll see. But I would suggest James Mattis read up a bit on Russia's military history--may come handy. After all, he doesn't know what is it to defend his home.