Small Wars Journal

Post Crimea Europe: NATO In the Age of Limited Wars

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 11:52am

Post Crimea Europe: NATO In the Age of Limited Wars

Interview with Jakub Grygiel and Wess Mitchell

Their essay, Limited War is Back, published in The National Interest (August 2014) was referenced in 2020-2040 U.S. Army Operating Concept-Win in a Complex World (October 2014).

Interview by Octavian Manea

SWJ: What is historically the role of limited wars in the context of broader geopolitical power transitions?

Jakub Grygiel: Historically there are two ways in which you can look at limited wars

First, as a small local war meant to readjust some limited, precise territorial claim, but nothing beyond. Such wars of territorial adjustment had little or no systemic effects. Limited wars understood in this way did not fundamentally alter or re-arrange the balance of power. They were limited both in geography and scope.

The other limited war occurs when there is an ongoing change in the balance of power. There is a level of uncertainty about the new balance of power, and the state initiating a limited war is not sure about its own position in the system. It doesn’t want to start a large-scale systemic war because it may turn out to be too costly. A limited war is a good way to test how far it can go. In many ways, the first objective of a limited war is to avoid the big war while trying to gauge the resilience of the existing order. In this sense the significance of a limited war is different: it is a local war, but for larger regional or global purposes. If we can capture this in a bumper sticker it would be: act locally but think globally. It is to some extent what we see now happening in Ukraine: limited wars but with larger global repercussions.

Wess Mitchell: Limited war is a low cost, low risk method by which revisionist powers can accelerate geopolitical change to their advantage. It increases the burdens of the ordering power to wage an effective defense of the system. A limited war tests the capability or willingness of the hegemon to continue to project the deterrence upon which its alliance sysyems and leadership position have been based. The essence of limited war is to use a sufficient degree of force to achieve a significant political or territorial gain from the perspective of the revisionist, but remain beneath the threshold of military challenege necessary to trigger extended deterrence mechanisms or Great-Power war.

SWJ: What is the role of limited war in the spectrum of probes used by revisionist powers?

Jakub Grygiel: States that have revisionist intentions but are uncertain about their position use limited war to check and probe how far they can go. Russia has chosen a violent form of probing. China prefers a more diplomatic, political and economic approach and so far has been very careful to avoid any type of violence. There are reasons for this. Russia sees a permissive environment in which violence can achieve much more and in a much quicker way than any other tool. Moscow is not abandoning the other tools at its disposal – political subversion or economic pressures. But Putin’s regime thinks it can get away with a more violent probing because of Europe’s political divisions and U.S. distraction and fatigue. China sees such an approach as being much more risky, much more costly.

The two revisionist powers have also a different perception of time. My sense is that Russia sees itself in decline and therefore it needs to act quicker than China. That is why the use of force in Ukraine and the threat of use of force in the wider European region are means to achieve quicker gains. China instead sees time on its side. Why use violence and generate opposition when in 10 years you may achieve things that you want in a much more peaceful, non-violent way?

Wess Mitchell: Limited war is an elevated form of probing. We see instances of determined, creative revisionist powers in history that use low threshold tests of the dominant power’s position in the international system that are aimed at its most vulnerable allies and span the spectrum of diplomatic and military tools. Limited war is at the military end of the spectrum and suggests that revisionists have concluded they have an enlarged space of maneuver. It is a significant step up on the escalatory platter from probes. You have the use of formal military force, an escalation of the amount of force and risk that the revisionist power is willing to take in order to prove the indefensibility of the status quo.

Limited war is an ideal method for an opportunistic revisionist who doesn’t want to spend a lot of energy to change the system, but just enough to demonstrate its indefensibility not only in the minds of other revisionist powers but also in the minds of indefensible allies themselves. The value of limited war from the perspective of the revisionist state is that it deepens the cleavages between the frontline states. It fuels accommodationist tendencies in frontline allies that do not want to risk a confrontation and leads them to implicitly free-ride on other states in the region like Poland, Romania, the Baltic states who do want to spend and do more.

SWJ: What can we learn from the series of limited probes that we’ve seen before WW1? Are we in today’s Europe, after Wales, in a kind of a post-Algeciras security environment? I am building my question specifically on this historical analogy, because after Algeciras there is an increased British interest to reassure France - plans were drawn and close discussions focused on the number of troops that Britain would send to reinforce France against a German attack.

Jakub Grygiel: Alliances are promises. The logic and nature of those promises are the same as they were 100 or 200 years ago. What we’ve seen after the Moroccan crisis was an attempt to strengthen that promise from the British side. The reason for this was an uptick in German aggressive behavior aimed at altering the political order, and in particular at testing the strength of the budding alliance between London and Paris. Berlin’s actions backfired and London increased its effort to reassure Paris. The logic of that strategic interaction is similar now. Revisionist powers probe the resilience of the geopolitical status quo by testing first and foremost the strength of the alliance that underwrites the existing order. Now, revisionist states, such as Russia or China, see the West as based on a set of alliances that they want to weaken, thereby starting to redraw the contours of the geopolitical map. Competitions in international relations really start from competing for allies. There are obviously enormous risks when revisionist powers engage in such a behavior. But a more assertive posture by revisionist power is also beneficial because it reveals their intentions. After the second Moroccan crisis it was much more difficult to deny that Germany was a threat and that a confrontation was impossible. When one keeps this in mind, namely that war is possible, then one starts to behave and plan in slightly different way.

Wess Mitchell: The value that the second Moroccan crisis provided to the western liberal powers was that it exposed the intentionality of German revisionism. Earlier probes, like German maneuvers against Britain in South Africa in the run-up to the Boer War, had been sufficiently vague and distant to not seem to pose a danger to the European order. The irony of course is that the Germans intended the challenge at Morocco to drive Britain and France apart by showing the weakness of British backing as an ally, but the crisis accomplished exactly the opposite. Afterwards Morocco, a stronger pattern of Franco-British military cooperation became unavoidable. One would hope that the Ukraine war will have a similar effect on the western powers today by making clear the nature of Russian revisionism. The question is how far has the war gone in actually prompting greater military cooperation between the status-quo powers? NATO planning can be seen as a litmus test of whether the Ukraine was a wake-up call. The Alliance seems to have partially passed the test, at least insofar as military spending in CEE states is concerned. Much of Europe, for a variety of strategic and self-interested economic reasons will not follow suit. Putin's Russia is a weaker power in relative terms to the West today than Imperial Germany was to the Western powers of its time, yet through bluff and Western apathy it is making greater strategic gains at lower costs to itself. The question is where does it hit a sufficiently strategic obstacle that the West pushes back. It is the combination of the historical analogies of 1914 and 1938: a revisionist challenge that revealed itself, through methods that are now sufficiently dangerous to justify a response. Western alliance structures can in theory contain it. But an enervated Western political class more akin to what you would expect from the 1930s does not seem to have yet been roused to confront it.

SWJ: In a Europe where the use of limited war becomes more and more a tool of choice are the decisions taken in Wales – like the creation of super-rapid reaction force – appropriate to reassure the Eastern Flank?

Jakub Grygiel: The problem is that 48 hours or three days – the time necessary to organize and send a rapid reaction force – is too long for the type of potential action that Russia might engage in. In 2 days the Baltics are gone, were Russia engage in a limited war there. So the expeditionary force will not be there for defending the territory but it will need to re-conquer the lost territory, a task that is much more difficult operationally but also politically. This is a very different type of environment from that of 1914 or the Cold War when the type of threat presented allowed time to mobilize, stop or prevent a potential attack. Now time is compressed because the threat is no longer a traditional armored division marching through Poland which may take few days, but a small, local, quick limited war.

The second reason is that Russia may not engage in open military confrontation, but act under the threshold of NATO’s Article 5. There are multiple scenarios that one can conceive for such an action below the military horizon. And in this case, there may be very little political will among NATO allies to call for an expeditionary force. In brief, there are two problems we face: one is the timeframe of the threat, the other is the type of the attack that might occur. That is why the Wales summit had more of a rhetorical than practical impact. To deter against a limited war, it is necessary first and foremost to increase costs for the aggressor at the very outset of his operations – and this means to strengthen the ability of local forces to respond quickly and effectively. To promise a response hours, if not days, after the war has started (and in fact, when operations may have already ended, having achieved the purpose of the limited war), does nothing to shore up deterrence against this type of threat.

Wess Mitchell: If you accept the premise that limited war is what the Russians are using in Crimea and Ukraine, then certain things follow for NATO. Defense-in-depth is no longer a suitable posture, as this would merely grant low-cost land grabs to Putin in a future crisis. What is needed from NATO is preclusive defense -- the defense of a frontier that contests territory from the opening round. Essentially, local defense. NATO has taken some steps to move in that direction since the start of the conflict. It will be important that frontline member states not just pledge greater defense spending and preparation but actually do so. Recidivism is a danger. In terms of strategic reassurance there are many steps in the right direction like the prepositioning of equipment, creation of the spearhead force, and recent exercises like Dragoon Ride. But this is just a start. The point of limited war is to create a territorial fait accompli using very small units that move very quickly, a sort of "jab and pause" technique. As long as NATO still has a basic posture that is defense in depth it doesn’t really matter how quickly a spearhead will arrive. The problem is that if you don’t have forward positioned assets Russia will be able to make these limited incursions with a fair degree of confidence that they will succeed.

SWJ: Is NATO’s traditional posture – one still focused predominantly in Old Europe – well suited to deter limited war campaigns on the Eastern Flank?

Wess Mitchell: The baseline problem for NATO is that its extended deterrence in its conventional form was not designed to counter Russian limited war. The last few years of steadily escalating probes have eroded extended deterrence in this region. Extended deterrence was not designed to counter limited war. Limited war is - in some ways - the antidote to extended deterrence because triggering the latter requires a formal threshold of conflict that the former deliberately avoids. Limited war is designed to make it politically difficult for Western countries including the US to respond because it operates below that threshold. It's serious enough to challenge the status-quo but not serious enough to constitute a clear existential danger that would unify the West. This is a strategic problem of considerable magnitude and part of what it makes it difficult to address is that you can’t use the traditional methods of reassurance for exposed allies. You can’t use tripwires in the way that you used them in the past to counter limited war. The point of limited war is to avoid the confrontation with the larger power, create a fait accompli that is difficult to respond not only militarily, but politically. The problem is that it shifts the political ownership of the offensive to the defensive power. In that context the mission becomes one to evict not to deter.

Jakub Grygiel: NATO will continue to exist as a catastrophic insurance. If you do have ten armored divisions marching through Central Europe, if you do have a nuclear attack, NATO works. For everything else you end up with some sort of bilateral/regional arrangement among states that share a similar threat assessment and agree on security priorities. The coalition of the interested is the new normal.

SWJ: What should change specifically in NATO’s posture in order to become better positioned to deter a limited war?

Jakub Grygiel: The usual, and correct, answer is to reverse the defense spending cuts. Spend more! If you spend very little on defense, you can continue to claim that deterrence works, but if you can’t back it up, that claim is empty. Credibility without capability does not exist.

Also, NATO states have to start modernizing, buying and increasing their capabilities to respond to the specific nature of the threat, which is no longer related to out-of-area operations but is traditional territorial defense. This involves certain capabilities that may not have been considered over the past 10 years when the priority was to project power to distant regions, rather than to defend the homeland.

Third, something that you can do without even the previous two is to re-arrange the geographic disposition of the bases and forces. Germany and Italy, where a lot of U.S. forces are located in Europe, are not where the military threat is. The Baltic states, Poland, Rumania are the frontline states now, and U.S. bases ought to be located there in order to enhance NATO’s credibility and capability to deter any military attempt to revise the existing political order.

Wess Mitchell: The original sin of post-Cold War NATO is that from the time of enlargement the Alliance has maintained a lop-sided force posture concentrated in Western Europe where military power is no longer needed for territorial defense. This creates an uneven risk pool. The risk is spread disproportionately to exposed members of the Alliance, especially Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Capabilities are spread un-evenly and those that are at most risk have the weakest capabilities. This is a very bad combination. I don’t know of any alliance in history that has been based on an un-even distribution of risk and lasted for long. I don’t know how an alliance in that state can function if it is creatively challenged.

Crimea shows that we now have a very creative predator in the Eastern European ecosystem. It is not the predator that we have been expecting for the last decades in the NATO planning which was a conventional force, for which the alliance will have time to prepare a response politically as well as strategically. The military strategy of the Alliance is based on the idea of trading space for time. The Eastern quarter or so of its territory is under-defended. Ukraine is obviously not part of NATO but it is illustrative of a mid-sized state that utilized defense in depth against limited war and failed. The problem with defense in depth against limited war is that you give to your opponent what he seeks -- territory for free. If you look at the Georgia and Ukraine wars and apply that template to a Baltic state the problem is that in a politically divided alliance by the time it has any semblance of political unity the Russians already have accomplished in the first 48 hours whatever territorial objectives they had, long before a spearhead force can arrive. What this suggests is that defense in depth doesn’t work against limited war.

SWJ: Crimea and Eastern Ukraine revealed a certain pattern of action.  How should the defense strategy of the frontline states shift in order to project a credible deterrence?

Jakub Grygiel: For small frontline allies, the threat of a limited war raises important questions about the most appropriate response. Is it possible to have a purely defensive posture – to hold the border, so to speak? Or is it necessary to develop some sort of offensive capabilities, which would increase for the aggressor the costs of a potential attack? I am leaning toward the view that in order to defend yourself you might have to be able to project power inside the territory of the enemy. But we need to be careful how we think about this. Any offensive capability has the potential to escalate the conflict. You don’t want to escalate in an area in which you don’t have escalation dominance. Don’t pick a fight that you are going to lose.

But we need to keep in mind that small frontline states will not be able to deter by themselves. They’ll need the security guarantees from others. In the end the strategy that they need to pursue is to buy time, increasing the immediate costs for the enemy but also proving to the other allies that they can, and need to, join their defense. Here is where the so called A2/AD component comes in handy: small allies should invest in capabilities that deny the aggressive revisionist a quick and easy success in a limited war. Combining this with some offensive platforms and doctrines, to enhance the ability to strike at the enemy’s staging and logistical areas as well as degrading its anti-air capabilities, increases the survivability of the small frontline state facing a limited war. By maintaining open access, a frontline state can also allow its allies to come into their territory to help. In other words, a defensive strategy of frontline states should be a combination of buying time and creating a permissive environment in which allied expeditionary forces can land.

Wess Mitchell: Part of the reason that small frontline states and local defenses are militarily more important is to avoid escalation. It is easier in the early phases of the violation of Lithuanian territory for Lithuanian troops to defend against these kinds of incursions than it is for NATO to try to use a defense in depth strategy.  You have to have tripwires but this is not going to fully address the problem. We are in the era of local defense for Europe and that means that even small frontline states need to take the path of Poland and invest in real capabilities. Without serious defensive assets, and with NATO in its current posture, the Russians could seize NATO territory (for example, in the Kaliningrad-Belarus land corridor) and place the tactical and political burden on NATO to change that fait accompli against an opponent  Alliance that faces a Russia that has a publically stated doctrine of escalate to de-escalate with tactical nuclear weapons.

SWJ: Does this mean that frontline members should become more like what George Kennan used to say that they “must be like the porcupine who only gradually convinces the carnivorous beast of prey that he is not a fit object of attack”?

Wess Mitchell: That captures perfectly what the overriding responseability is for vulnerable NATO states in the age of limited war and opportunistic revisionism. This is equally true whether they are the littoral states of East Asia, the Gulf states or the Baltic states. The goal should be to raise the visible costs of military revisionism beyond what an aggressor is willing to pay. This should be also the overriding goal of the West as a whole and for status-quo states in the international order. It happens to fall most heavily on the frontline states because they are the recipients of the instability created by limited war. The must have a tough outer-skin. If we want to defend the status-quo that we’ve built over the last 70 years, we have to start with these small frontline allies.

The process of geopolitical change in the frontline regions can either tend to stability or instability depending on the actions of the frontline allies themselves but also on the incentive structures that the US creates for them. Historically, small states are the first to lose when a geopolitical ecosystem changes. They are disproportionally invested in the maintenance of the current beneficial order. In the age of limited war, the first responsibility is one of frontline states to reasonable invest in the mechanisms required for their survival as independent polities. To make that possible the US needs to create an incentive structure that says to its allies that extended deterrence still works in the age of revisionist powers using limited war. The US must invest in upgraded tripwires, strategic reassurance and assets that make their investment in military self-help something other than suicidal. This will help to avoid two things: the “zombie allies” who pretend to be concerned but actually free ride and the problem of recklessly offensive allies. More and more, US allies on the frontline will make investments in offensive capabilities and doctrines similar to Finland, Israel or Saudi Arabia. That is not necessarily a negative thing if channeled properly. But a Poland that embraces an offensive posture without sufficient backing or a Saudi Arabia that invests in nuclear capability can generate a strategic problem and lead to greater instability in these regions. The US can help to channel allied capabilities so that regional defensive clusters emerge, with midsized states like Poland investing in a combination of A2/AD and offensive "blinding" capabilities and tiny states like those in the Baltic can have a combination of A2/AD and Swiss/Israeli style "nation-in-arms" homeland defense. Such capabilities are needed to answer limited war. But so is a robust US political and military commitment to securing the frontlines of the Western order.

Jakub Grygiel is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and the George H. W. Bush Associate Professor of International Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University (Washington, DC).

A. Wess Mitchell is President of CEPA, a U.S. foreign policy institute dedicated to the study of Central Europe with offices in Washington and Warsaw.

About the Author(s)

Octavian Manea was a Fulbright Junior Scholar at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (Syracuse University) where he received an MA in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced  Studies in Security Studies.


Outlaw 09

Sun, 06/14/2015 - 4:48am

It might behoove Obama, Hollande and Merkel to reread this comment in light of the 109 attacks yesterday on Ukrainian positions--the highest single day ever recorded in the last year of fighting by the way.

Putin’s misreading of situation behind hardening of West’s position on Ukraine, Portnikov says

The toughening of the West’s position on Ukraine, very much in evidence at the G7 meeting, reflects the fact that Vladimir Putin has fundamentally misread the situation and not taken advantage of the face-saving measures which the West had been offering him, according to Vitaly Portnikov.

The Kremlin leader “sincerely believed that the fact that Merkel and Hollande came to him and that negotiations in Minsk followed were connected with the West’s fear of further destabilization.” But in fact, the Ukrainian commentator says, “Merkel like all other Western leaders was concerned above all with the need to give Putin the chance to save face.”

Minsk was “a magnificent opportunity” for that, he continues. The “’peoples republics’” could continue to function but with Putin “looking not like a traitor but a peacekeeper and defender of the interests of ‘the Russian world’… And talks about Crimea in such a paradigm could continue forever.”

Everyone “must understand that there is no good outcome for Putin here, although in the case of the second, [Ukrainians] may pay for a new outburst of aggression with the lives of [Ukrainian] soldiers and civilians, with destruction, and with economic losses.”
“But all this was the case only if you viewed the situation realistically,” Portnikov says. But “if on the other hand, you are Putin, then you are certain that the West is “tired’ of Ukraine… and you are the one giving the West the opportunity to save face” by allowing talks to happen even as you solidify your control over a neighboring country.

In his vision, “Ukraine of course will remain independent, but it must feed the territories you control and adopt a constitution which will preserve for the heads of these ‘peoples’ republics’ and that means for you, a veto. Thus, you have not moved an iota from the position which you took on the day when you decided that the place of Yanukovich and Crimea is inside Russia.” And if you are Putin, Portnikov says, “you think this is a compromise.”

“But the West doesn’t think so, he continues, and it is gradually and quietly coming to the conclusion that “Putin doesn’t need to save face.” In that situation, “the only thing that the West can demand is the fulfillment to the letter of the Minsk agreements, these agreements and not what [Putin] thinks up instead of them.”

That is, the West demands that Putin pull his forces out of the Donbas, agree to honest elections with OSCE observers, and “return to Ukraine control over the borders.” In short, Putin must “do everything which [he] from the start did not intend to do.” Putin by his custom thought he had “deceived everyone.” But in the event, he deceived only himself.

Had Putin been willing to negotiate and fulfill the Minsk agreements, the hardening of the West’s position might not have happened, Portnikov suggests. But he wasn’t, and now “we are again at a fork in the road which will lead us either to peacemaking… or toward a new escalation, attempts at seizing new territories, the worsening of Russia’s relations with the West, and a new packet of sanctions much harsher than the previous ones.”

Everyone “must understand that there is no good outcome for Putin here, although in the case of the second, [Ukrainians] may pay for a new outburst of aggression with the lives of [Ukrainian] soldiers and civilians, with destruction, and with economic losses,” the Ukrainian analyst says.

It cannot be excluded that “Putin will not want to choose and will try to remain at the fork in the road as long as possible,” thus retaining his freedom of action and hoping that something will turn up. But he can’t do so for as long as he may think: he would have to continue to support the “DNR” and “LNR” and the Russian economy is not up to that at present.

Outlaw 09

Sun, 06/14/2015 - 4:45am

I have argued that the West is already in a "limited war" and yet has not awoken to the fact.

Remember all those great slogans about "serious sanctions" if Russia increases the fighting that came out of the Germany G7 meetings?

Looks like we are heading to the third round of the Russo/Ukrainian War in Central Europe--and remember all the glorious words after the Wall fell--no more wars in Europe in the coming century????? Round one---August 2014, Round two---Nov 2014 to Feb 2015, Round three started five days ago and is increasing in intensity and Putin is still miscalculating the West.

OSCE observers spot #Russia Army insignia in eastern #Ukraine as tension rises:

Terrorists’ tanks fired at civilians in Vodiane and Opytne villages

SMM observed missing heavy weapons in holding areas

Sad record: #Russia|ns fired 109 times at #Ukraine positions in the last 24 hours.

Heavy shelling continues last night and this morning. Hot spot #Donetsk + surroundings, #Mariinka. #Trokhizbenka hit by GRAD overnight.

Ongoing battle in #Pisky, you can hear heavy guns

There are also a lot if troop movements towards frontline. Examples to follow:

Towards #Debalsteve:

Towards #Stanitsya_Luhanska:

Towards #Mariinka:

#Alchevsk 10:37
Another column of at least 9 Ural/Kamaz trucks on move on Volgogradskaya str.

Towards #Stanitsya_Luhanska:

More towards #Debalsteve probably:

#Donetsk 11:11AM
Railway station area - heavy gunshots can be heard from #Pisky

#Mariinka and #Pisky under constant artillery fire this morning.
OUTLAW 09 is online now Report Post

Outlaw 09

Sat, 06/13/2015 - 10:54am

For those that blog here--heads up due to the OPM hack as the PRC was able to get hold of all the SF86s and BIs back to 1980.

Your personal data, and bank data and just about anything else is now available to the PRC and there has been some indications --I have actually found a batch of data being offered now in the dark net side.

Our intelligence community already faces serious and long-standing problems with counterintelligence, the Beltway’s perennial redheaded stepchild, and this setback promises to make things exponentially worse. This is a new kind of threat, the melding of ancient counterespionage techniques with 21st-century technology, and we’re playing catchup.

The OPM hack, which is unprecedented in its scope, offers our adversaries the opportunity to penetrate our government and use that information to deceive it at a strategic level. This is the essence of SpyWar, the secret struggle between the West and adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran, a clandestine battle that never ceases, yet which the public seldom gets wind of, except when something goes wrong.

The extent of the damage here appears so vast that all the counterintelligence awareness in the world may not be able to offset the advantage in the SpyWar that Beijing has won with this data theft. If you are or have been employed with the federal government and have listed Chinese nationals on your SF86, it’s time to be vigilant, while anybody who’s worked for the feds since the mid-1980s ought to be watching their credit reports for anomalies.

Then there’s the matter of the lives possibly ruined by this. Simply put, there has long been a tacit agreement: You keep the U.S. government’s secrets safe, it will do the same for yours. That important promise, the bedrock upon which the security clearance process is based, has been violated, with serious consequences for millions of Americans—and for Washington.

Counterintelligence hands warned of the threat posed by putting all sorts of sensitive information in such databases, but they were ignored. It’s too late to undo the damage, but we must finally get serious about preventing the next big compromise, while mitigating the pain of this loss. This disaster was decades in the making and will take decades to set right. There’s no time for back-biting. Honest assessment is what’s required. There’s a SpyWar on that needs to be won.

John R. Schindler is a security consultant and a former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer. He is on Twitter at @20committee. This article is adapted from these pieces on his blog,

Bill C.

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 11:40am

As something of an aside, it is interesting to look back at how different realists (stability; gradual change) and idealists (instability; rapid change) looked at these matters:…

Thus, post-the Bush Sr. administration, to see things as they are today from the perspective of:

a. The idealists being in charge --

b. Their attempting, at all costs, to bring about rapid state and societal change --

c. Stability, thereby, being lost, and with it, the chance for favorable state and societal change?

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 3:03am

Another element of Russian UW non linear warfare the West especially the US has absolutely no counter to as they "slept" though the development of this particular element.

Notice the date:…

Putin’s Russia – madness “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” Part II

May 19, 2015

(Translated from Russian by my Chrome browser)

05/19/2015 – 10:00

This material is a continuation of the analysis of the theses put forward by the Federal Commissioner of the Eurasian Youth Union A.Bovdunovym the material ” Civilization showdown “ in which the Russian Federation offered to destroy the West through the use of “totalitarian sects, secessionist movements, movements of neo-Nazis and racists, anarchists and anti-globalization activists, radical ecologists , Eurosceptic, isolationist, illegal migrants and so on. n. “.

In contrast to the time of the “Cold War,” Putin’s Russia has tried to increase its influence in Europe, but not limited to cooperation with the parties and organizations of the left wing. Modern Kremlin regime is omnivorous and to achieve their goals is willing to work with both the neo-Nazis and the Communists. The main condition for cooperation with Moscow is not a commitment to any political or spiritual scrapie, and the willingness to work out the money for the interests of the “Russian world”.

It allows us to build in Europe a network of networks (as described A.Bovdunov), which will enhance Russia’s ability to destructive impact on European society. Often, the network created by the Russian special services in Europe, have an extensive, multi-layered structure may intersect with each other and to act within the legal framework of the EU.

A huge contribution to the creation of such networks made Russian intelligence, which in a relatively short period of time (since the early 2000s) was able to identify, explore and attract the prospective European politicians, representatives of non-governmental organizations, businessmen and journalists. There is no doubt that this process favored the achievements of Soviet times, including secret-base of European parties and left-wing movements. At present, a network structure of Russian agents of influence in the countries of the Old World can be divided into these levels:
grassroots (level of “compatriots”).

Political level

The lobbying of Russian interests at this level provide both whole Party (Bulgarian “Ataka”, Hungarian “Jobbik” Polish “Change”), as well as some politicians, for example, the German Social Democratic Party, the French “Union for a Popular Movement.” This is the most significant and effective level of influence, because European politicians are on the hook at the Kremlin, have the right of legislative initiative in their countries and in the EU, and therefore may contribute directly to the adoption of decisions favorable to Russia.

As previously mentioned, in Bulgaria Russian nationalist party likes “Attack”, in Poland – left-fascist (!) “Change”, in Hungary – neo-Fascist “Jobbik”. All three parties want to achieve output of the countries of the EU and NATO.

In Italy, among the new Russian friends can distinguish separatist “Northern League”, which advocates independence for the northern Italian province. It is not surprising that the members of the party require any special privileges for “DNR” and “LC”. Cooperation with the party was apparently initiated by the Russian special services through the cultural association “Lombard Russia” (associated with K.Malofeevym), and – the Italian branch of “Rossotrudnichestvo”, which is headed by a career intelligence.

Also in Italy, there is a neo-fascist party “New force” seen in connection with the Russian party of S. Baburin “Russian People’s Union”.

Russian political puzzle fans in Italy, completing the party and the movement of communist-leaning (Party of Italian Communists, the Communist Union of Youth of Italy, and others.).

In Germany there are both old and are new kremlepoklonniki.

The Left Party – its foundation totaled ideology and functionaries of the Marxist-Leninist Socialist Unity Party of Germany (GDR). Hence we have the unconditional love and “a birch and mountain ash, willow bush over the river.”

Alternative for Germany – Euroskeptic party created in the winter of 2013. It is noteworthy that the composition of the party enters a professor of the Faculty of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University Irina Smirnova , married to a German. The party is associated with the representatives of the International Eurasian Movement.

Romantic break

The former Russian citizen Yulia Gavrilova at the time she graduated from St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance. “Love,” a Greek named Constantine Gabaeridis and went to his home. There she helped to create and lead the organization of Russian compatriots “Russian House” of the city of Alexandroupolis, and her husband – to become the deputy chairman of the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots of Northern Greece and the president of the Association of Russian-speaking entrepreneurs. Now these Greek citizens strongly branded “Kiev junta” and achieve recognition of the legality of the annexation of the Crimea by the Kremlin regime.

National Democratic Party of Germany – the political power of right-wing extremist wing. There is information on cooperation with the neo-Nazi party factions Germany. At the International Forum Russian Conservative Party March 22, 2015 (organized K.Malofeevym) supported the aggression of Russia against Ukraine. It opposes anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU. NDP also supports contacts with the Hungarian party “Jobbik”.

In France, true friends of Russia have the right and the left parties and the political spectrum.
“National Front” – the nationalist party of eurosceptics. Strong position in the political field of France keeps the generous financial support of the Kremlin. One of the prominent members of the party E.Shoprad – a supporter of the teachings A.Dugin.

“Solidarity and Progress” – another Eurosceptic party, some of whom believe that Russia is not an armed aggression against Ukraine.

On the left among the French “friends” Putin represented the Left Party, the Communist Party and other Marxist-Trotskyists.

In the UK faithful “patriots” Putin is the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Trotskyist Socialist Equality Party, representatives of the far-right British National Party, which until recently headed N.Griffin and Euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party, the former leader – N.Faradzh.

Pisco political fashion in Britain was the creation in 2014 a virtual party “For Russia”. Its leader – a former activist of the Russian National Bolshevik Party, and now – “Honorary Citizen” and “official representative of the NPT,” Thomas Scott Chambers. By building this structure venerated Russian grid company NOD (National Liberation Movement, coordinator – the deputy of the State Duma E.Federov).

The party “For Russia” wants not so much:

– Entry of the United Kingdom (UK) to the Customs Union;

– IC output from the European Union and NATO.

– Introduction of compulsory teaching of the Russian language in schools and SK ads gosprazdnikom May 9 in the UK.

Also, the political “friends” of Russia are in Greece – SYRIZA ultra-communists, right-wing radicals from the “Golden Dawn”, Austria – Austrian far-right Freedom Party, Belgium – separatist party “Vlaams Belang”, Spain and Sweden – “United Left” Communists, Czech Republic – The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, and in other European countries.

Cooperation of Russian secret services with these parties are often organized through the so-called opposition and not formally connected with the power of the party and the movement, exist in Russia (Eurasians, the National Bolsheviks, the Communist Party, “Russian People’s Union” GCD etc.).

To be continued …


Outlaw 09

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 5:52pm

Syria, Iran, Russia and the Ukraine are all tied together---non linear warfare is the connection between them.

I have a high regard for this former intel officer and find his article sobering.

Flynn: "Iran has every intention to build nuke weapon...clear nuke deal not permanent fix but merely placeholder."…

Outlaw 09

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 11:30am

Appears now there is the start of an "internal Russian discussion"--will be interesting to see if it has legs or it get's shut down by the FSB.…

Russian newspaper: Regarding Ukraine, Putin’s actions undercut Putin’s arguments


Russian actions in Crimea and the Donbas “have weakened Russian arguments about the change of power in Kyiv” at the time of the Maidan and thus cost Moscow support in European and other Western capitals, according to a lead article in “Nezavisimaya gazeta” today.

In his interview with “Corriere della Sera,” Vladimir Putin repeated his longstanding views about the Maidan and the subsequent change of power in Ukraine, arguing that the change in power in Kyiv was unconstitutional and that the West should not be supporting those who came to power as a result.

Moreover, in the same interview, Putin suggested that the reason the Maidan happened was because then incumbent president Viktor Yanukovich did not immediately sign an agreement with the European Union. “But the new authorities also put off its signing. So why should the former have been overthrown if they behaved reasonably?” in Putin’s view.

Many would dispute Putin’s version of events and suggest that Yanukovich “delegitimized himself” as a result of a whole range of actions. But Putin’s argument “is not without an internal logic” and might have been accepted by Europe as significant “if it were not for two ‘buts’ – Crimea and the Donbas.”

Most of the European political establishment and society, the Moscow paper’s editors say, “consider that Russia seized and continues to occupy the territory of a sovereign state,” something that for them is “completely unacceptable.” And consequently, they are not interested in what Putin has to say about the Maidan, especially when they are convinced that Kyiv’s effort to join the West and “defend itself from an aggressive neighbor” is completely reasonable.

“Putin cannot present the annexation of Crimea in a way that the Europeans will consider it as well-based,” the paper says. The Kosovo argument “doesn’t work,” given that Milosevich was in the eyes of the Europeans carrying out a genocide against the Albanians, something for which there was no analogy in Ukraine.

Nor does his argument that Crimea became part of Russia as the result of an expression of the popular will, the editors continue. Europeans believe that for such a referendum to be valid, it has to be procedurally correct, correspond to Constitutional norms, and involve more time for free debate about its outcome.

Consequently, “if Russia criticizes the change in power in Kyiv as procedural arbitrariness, then does this mean that [the world] must welcome such arbitrary actions in Crimea? How do new mistakes with far-reaching consequences assist in the correction of previous mistakes?”

At the same time, the paper points out, “few in Europe believe that Russia is not providing active support to the militants in the Donbas, not supplying them with arms, not consulting with them, and not sending into the region its own soldiers.” Given that, few Europeans are willing to listen to Putin’s argument about anything else.

And that includes Putin’s arguments about Eurasian integration. He insists it is like European integration and thus is upset that Europeans do not support it. After all, why should they have anything against Moscow when Russia is only doing what they are? But for Europeans, Putin’s analogy in this regard is not convincing either.

“The European Union is an historically unprecedented project,” the Moscow paper says. “Bt the integration processes which have Moscow as their center recall to Western Europe the Soviet Union, which for decades was conceived as an opponent. Any movement toward the reintegration of the post-Soviet space generates among Europeans distrust and fear.”

Moreover, the paper continues, “Russia is not doing anything to dispel this fear. On the contrary, to take pride in the Soviet past and ‘the times when they feared us’ is considered correct in the Russian Federation.”

European integration is “super-national” and based on “blurring” the borders of member states, “Nezavisimaya gazeta” says. “If Russia asserts that its project is analogous, then why does its ruling elite talk so often about some kind of Russian world? And why has it annexed Crimea if integration processes are objective and Ukraine has nowhere to escape from them?”

Outlaw 09

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:46am

Strelkov aka Girkin is at it again—amazing he has not been killed—either he has one heck of a life insurance policy OR he has a major hidden “protector” with tons of documents--tipping protector with documents----

BTW--he was the one who took his FSB/Spetsnaz team into eastern Ukraine and kicked everything off--that is why his comments are actually interesting.

Ex-terrorist leader: only an idiot will deny that “republics” in Donbas are a Kremlin creation

2015/06/10 • Russia

Igor Girkin, ex-minister of defense of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” has once again publicly contradicted Russia’s official denials of its involvement in the war in Ukraine. Answering a question about Russian volunteers coming to fight to Ukraine’s war-torn eastern regions at the Polit-Ring show on Neuromir TV, the former terrorist leader commonly known as “Strelkov” stated that, increasingly, the Russian volunteers that come to Donbas to defend the “Russian world” that is attempted to be instated in the Luhansk and Donetsk “People’s Republics” (“LNR” and “DNR”) return to Russia in disappointment.

“They see the chaos that is going on there. And the chaos is quite terrible. They [the militants] come there being motivated, understanding that they were going to defend the ‘Russian world,’ but now are forced to defend regimes that were planted with the Kremlin’s support. It is useless and foolish to deny this. To think that they [the separatist “republics”] formed by themselves means making an idiot or a fool out of oneself,”

Girkin commented, noting that only a small fraction of the Russians coming to fight in Donbas are wounded or captured in battle: most leave Donbas, disenchanted with the chaos and lawlessness, which he calls “Makhnovschina,” referring to the times of the anarchist leader Nestor Makhno whose Black Army fought to create a stateless anarchic society in eastern Ukraine during 1918-1921. He notes that while the terrorist republics, in particular, the “DNR,” have tried to combat this anarchic “Makhnovschina,” some armed formations wreaking havoc in Donbas are endorsed by the authorities and cause more mayhem than the informal ones, and that the authorities don’t even try to address this problem and are an “imitation” and “simulacra.”

In the interview, Girkin also states that Ukraine is ahead of the separatists in creating an efficient army. “In a year or maybe less they will be able to fight against Russia. Because it will be a large army. Yes, it will be loose and poorly instructed, but it will be a real large army with combat experience,” he said. Girkin also noted that though the Ukrainian soldiers can be called “undisciplined drunkards,” the “militia” of the self-proclaimed republics is doing the same. “Everyone is drunk, a huge development of drug addiction – it’s true,” he stated.

Girkin goes as far as to commend the Ukrainian government in their recent war-related initiatives:

“Ukraine is creating necessary tools. I understand that there a draft bill adopted on introducing martial law [Girkin is referring to the bill on the legal regime of martial law signed by Ukrainian President Poroshenko on June 9]. This will allow them in the event of the exacerbation of the situation to use the army lawfully, to introduce martial proceedings, to carry out confiscations under the law, and not according to what every commander on the site imagines doing, to carry out mobilization and introduce compulsory labor. There is nothing close to this in the “LNR” and “DNR.” Ukraine is consistent, it creates tools for conducting full-scale war, an army, it has created an anti-Russian ideology and is consistently implementing what its leaders say. And for us, it’s the usual business: we say one thing, do another, while wanting yet something else. So we end up with something strange… if we end up with anything at all.”

After fleeing to Russia in August 2014 together with other terrorist leaders of the self-proclaimed “republics,” Igor Girkin has given a series of interviews contradicting the official Russian version of events in Donbas. He has slammed the leadership of the self-proclaimed “republics” in Donbas, declared that the Crimean referendum is a farce, admitted to starting the war in Donbas, stated that Putin might end up in the Hague.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 3:00pm

Seems that even the Russian mercenaries are getting totally confused by Russian propaganda these days------

The pro-Russia separatist regions just named Crimea as a part of Ukraine
Elena Holodny

Jun. 9, 2015, 4:35 PM

The pro-Russia separatist regions of Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) just named Crimea as a part of Ukraine in the draft amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine.

That doesn't jibe with claims made by their backers in Moscow.

From the document (translated into English by Business Insider):

"Article 133. The administrative-territorial system of Ukraine contains : Autonomous Republic of Crimea, some regions with special status in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, provinces, districts, cities, districts in cities, towns and villages.

Ukraine is composed of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, some regions with special status — the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Vinnytsa, Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zhytomyr, Transcarpathian, Zaporizhia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Luhansk, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Poltava , Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmelnytsky, Cherkasy, Chernivtsi, Chernihiv regions, cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol."

Asked to clarify, an LNR envoy, Vladislav Deynego, said that it's not their place to "bring changes to the constitution of Ukraine regarding the presence or absence of Crimea," according to Lenta News.

"We are acting exactly within the borders of the Minsk agreement. In the Minsk agreements, there was no mention of Crimea," he added. Consequently, he added, the constitution's draft only reflects the changes with respect to the separatist regions, DPR and LNR.

The interesting thing here is that by labeling Crimea as part of Ukraine, this document directly contradicts Russia's annexation of Crimea with special forces in March 2014.

Crimea Ukraine map skitchTwitter/@CanadaNATOA map published by Canada's Mission to NATO when arguing that the Crimea peninsula (marked) is not part of Russia.

Last year, after signing the treaty to annex Criema, Putin drew cultural connections between Russia and Crimea when he addressed both houses of the Kremlin's legislature.

"We all used to belong to the same country: The Soviet Union. ... The Soviet Union has collapsed. The events happened in such a fast way that many of the countries didn't realize. ...

"When Crimea ended up in a different state, Russia realized that not only Russia was robbed, but Russia was robbed in broad daylight."

"Crimea is a Russian land," Putin added.

The West condemns the annexation of Ukraine, calling it illegal. And it seems that the pro-Russia separatists (at least in this document) don't recognize Russia's claim either. UNQOTE

Outlaw 09

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:59am

In reply to by Bill M.

Like her work as she has a grasp of Russia I do not see from others.

The Kremlin Sends a Message-Swimming with Sharks

Lilia Shevtsova

The Kremlin is sending a message to the West’s Russia experts: if you want to talk to us, you need to toe the line.

An interesting thing happened this past week. The Western accommodationist school, which has been calling on the West to “understand” the Kremlin and stop irritating it, even as it tries (and often succeeds) to preserve its reputation as an alternative voice, suffered a humiliating setback. The Western supporters of the “let’s accommodate the Kremlin” mantra will now have to follow the example set by their counterparts in the Russian accommodationist school, who were already given to understand that they had to forget about their reputation if they wanted to remain in the profession. The Kremlin has rejected ambiguity, forcing the intellectual and political community to choose sides in the black and white landscape: “Those who are not with us totally and unequivocally, are against us!” Nearly all Russian foreign policy experts (with few exceptions) have made their choice, preferring to remain in the approved mainstream and in line with the Kremlin.

Now it’s the Western accommodators’ turn to choose, much to their consternation. Quite a few of them apparently had hoped their model of relations with Russia would work, and that they could continue to discuss with their Russian counterparts solutions for the Ukrainian problem and for easing tensions between Moscow and the West without becoming Kremlin mouthpieces. Not any more. Last week the Kremlin issued an ultimatum: if you want to be our counterparts, you have to accept our truth!
The bitter irony is that Moscow chose the shrewdest among the accommodators to be the whipping-boy: the managing director of Kissinger Associates, former White House Russia hand Thomas Graham, a person with strong knowledge of Russia and powerful connections in the country. The choice of Graham, I think, was deliberately made to convince the rest that times have changed and there is no more room for ambiguity.

Graham has spent a great deal of time and energy over the years trying to persuade the West to understand the Kremlin’s arguments. One might even say that the Kremlin owes Graham and those like him a debt of gratitude for their efforts to portray the Kremlin’s arguments in a less threatening light. Sometimes Graham and his colleagues undertook initiatives that were puzzling. For example, according to former FSB General Leonid Reshetnikov, director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (until 2009 a Russian foreign intelligence institution), which allegedly offered justification of the Crimea annexation and Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, Graham and a Carnegie team approached them with a plan for peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis. “We spent long hours with them”, said General Reshetnikov.

And the reward for all these efforts? The Chairman of the Russian Duma Sergei Naryshkin, responded to an essay written by Graham in the Financial Times with guns blazing, accusing him of harboring a condescending attitude toward the Russian people. “As if diverting accusation from the Russian president of all sins, Graham accused all Russian people. It appears that we are hegemons, barbarians and imperialists at the same time,” rages Naryshkin. As if on cue, other pro-Kremlin media chimed in with accusations that Graham is a Russophobe! One should not be so naive as to think that Chairman Naryshkin has nothing better to do than to dash off a response to every FT op-ed he disagrees with. Nor is it that he felt particularly stung by Graham. Rather Naryshkin is sending a clear message to the Western community on behalf of the Kremlin, laying out the narrative boundaries Western experts and politicians ought not to cross if they wish to remain in the Kremlin’s good graces.

I agree with Naryshkin, however, that Graham’s piece is condescending. Indeed, Graham presents a caricature of Russia. He argues that the West doesn’t have a Vladimir Putin problem but “a Russia problem”—specifically the problem of Russia’s tradition of personalized power and subjugation. “The Russian president stands within a long tradition of Russian thinking. His departure would fix nothing,” says Graham. Isn’t there at least a tinge of racism to this idea—that Russians are destined to an autocratic rule?

The accommodationists have used this argument before to help explain the need to deal with “Russia as it is” and not get hung up on criticism of Russia’s leadership. This argument is the basis of the realist-pragmatist approach. Until now it has never really bothered the Russian leadership. It’s quite an irony, therefore, that Graham’s argument seems to have united in outrage both the Russian opposition and the powers-that-be.

At the root of the problem is the accommodationists’ failure to realize that we have turned to a new page in the Russian story. If they wish to maintain their access to the Russian mainstream, they will have to change their political vocabulary. Mentioning the Russian tradition probably would not annoy the Kremlin too much, but the rest of Graham’s lexicon has to be retired permanently. Among his offending words are his description of Russia as “the declining state,” his characterization of Ukraine as “a barrier to Russia’s assault on European norms and unity,” and the very idea of containment. All of these concepts are unacceptable, Naryshkin warns.

If the accommodationists have any question about what their new talking points should be, Chairman Naryshkin helpfully points to the French, who have developed “constructive ties with Russia.”

Have the accommodationists received the Kremlin’s message? If so, which way will they swim? It’s hard to say, of course, but one thing is clear: Swimming with sharks is always a risky business.

Bill M.

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 10:30pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Concur with MoveForward, it is good interview that offers another perspective that isn't appeasement. Make sure you watch the video that follows the first one. It is actually better in some respects.

Move Forward

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 7:17pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Good video Outlaw. I noted the part about the belief that the U.S administration may be asked to agree not to display too much concern over Ukraine in exchange for Russia helping us in Syria and Iraq. A skeptic might say that already is the case except that the true object of Russian help is with Iran where President Obama has gone all in in the hopes of some ill-conceived legacy.

I also noted Bill C's ill-informed belief that the Russian people actually have any power in Russia and therefore should be the focus of a hearts and minds effort. Of course we all know that the individual in the West gains power through entrepreneurship and the ability to rise from nothing to great heights. No such corresponding capability exists in Russia which is why the best and brightest head West and the oligarchy and traditionally powerful wield all the influence over those who stay behind.

BTW, is anyone else experiencing videos and ads suddenly showing up while typing in this comments section and having your typing being interfered with and the whole screen jumping? Then I get a Kaspersky update that seems to solve it...or are they the problem? Good old Best Buy, but I consider Kaspersky my personal attempt at detente.;)

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 1:37pm

In reply to by Bill C.…

9 June 2015

Russia / World

The poverty of political science

Against the backdrop of an unprecedented blossoming of Russian spirituality and statehood, Russian political science is experiencing an inexplicable crisis

Author: Georgy Kunadze

In Russia, the field of political science is in a state of crisis. This is evident not only in the works of the mystics of the geopolitics and charlatans from the ‘patriotic’ school, but also in the slick reflections of their self-professed opponents - the respectable courtier ‘liberals’. With the former, it has long been clear: they are ordinary bigots and scoundrels, simple as rakes. It is less apparent with the latter group. They are educated, ‘unpatriotically’ fluent in foreign languages, at home in any western capital, and they understand everything perfectly. It is with these representatives of the ‘educated class’ that trouble lies. Some openly crossed over to the side of reaction and enthusiastically reveal insanity. Others diligently dress up the caveman’s view of authority in proper academic form.

I would like to address the latest contribution to the apologetics of Putin’s regime in the article The Vienna Concert of the XXI Century, written by the well-known political scientist, Sergei Karaganov.

In what way is the anniversary glorified?

The article begins by praising the ‘glorious jubilee’ — the 200th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon, formalized at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. A Concert of Nations was formed at the Congress, which according to Karaganov, provided “for several decades of almost absolute peace in Europe and for almost a century of relatively peaceful order.” This statement is highly controversial because the Vienna Congress resulted in the redrawing of borders in Europe, paving the way for new wars, and because the purpose of the notorious Concert of Nations was a return to the European orders that existed before the Great French Revolution.

Even more interesting, however, is why the author believes that the Concert of Nations was beneficial. According to Karaganov, the ‘peaceful order’ in Europe was built ‘without humiliating a defeated France’, and the great powers which created this peaceful order were relatively homogenous that is “strictly managed by monarchs…who shared…common values.” The allusion to the allegedly humiliating treatment of Russia after its defeat in the Cold War is quite obvious. Moreover, the naïve dream of reviving an order by which ‘homogenous, strict sovereigns’ make any deals themselves is quite apparent as well.

How we stopped worrying and loved the bomb

Karaganov also states that despite what our ‘strict sovereign’, Stalin, agreed upon with ‘theirs sovereigns’ at Yalta in February 1945, a divided world arose out of the Second World War, rather than a ‘concert’ of homogenous nations. There would have been a new war, he continues, had God had not sent mankind a nuclear arsenal, which saved and continues to save those who have it, while denying its divine protection to those who choose not to have nuclear weapons. Giving up its nuclear arsenal did not save Libya, the author laments, ‘correctly’ ignoring the other, much more obvious and recent example – Ukraine. Ukraine’s decision to give up its nuclear weapons did not help protect it from Russia’s aggression. But Russia’s possession of nuclear weaponry has helped it greatly: should Russia want to seize all of Ukraine, no one will fight against it. According to Karaganov, this is exactly what amounts to ‘the civilizing role of nuclear weapons’ in a world where some governments are, as can be described in Orwellian terms, ‘more equal than others.’

This ‘civilizing’ role of the nuclear arsenal is again in great demand for Russia as it steadily rises, returning to ‘traditional European values such as sovereignty, a strong state, Christian ethics and moral norms.’ And the West having lost these values, and “defeated, started to act…in violation of almost every moral, legal or political norm, which the West itself has proclaimed .”

‘Judging by the current rage against the rising demand for respect of Russia's interests’, the author continues smugly, ‘the country would have been finished off… if the half-starved engineers, scientists and military, through their heroic efforts, had not saved the country's nuclear potential in the 1990s’. Imagination vividly paints an epic picture: heroic patriots who hide Russia's most important heritage – its nuclear arsenal – from Yeltsin's greedy cohorts who dreamt of getting rid of it while the treacherous West just waited to finish Russia off. Does Karaganov really believe in all these fairy tales? I remember he wrote differently in the 1990’s. Maybe the author has amnesia? Of course not. He remembers everything perfectly. He simply decided to dutifully kick aside the late president’s administration in order to follow the trend of the day.

Returning to present day, Karaganov warns that the process of Russia ‘getting up from its knees’ will not be easy. He speaks again about this “highly rigid and even painful reaction of the West to Russian policy which aims to stop the attack on its interests by attempting to draw Ukraine into its zone of influence and control”. Really, what could be more natural than grabbing a piece of a neighboring country or instigating a separatist rebellion in another one of its regions? These are strictly defensive and preventative measures in relation to a sovereign state which Russia views as being within its sphere of ‘legitimate’ interests. And the West's use of its “economic nuclear arsenal” of sanctions is doomed to fail: because now it will be clear to all how dangerous it is to rely on Western institutions, rules, payment systems and currencies.

Traditionally other geopolitics

Karaganov concludes with the world’s return to ‘traditional geopolitics,’ but with the caveat that it will be ‘other geopolitics’ (apparently the words ‘traditional’ and ‘other’ are used interchangeably in his version of Russian). In this “other geopolitics”, military might - on which Russia has relied heavily in the ‘Ukraine conflict’ - will be of diminished importance. Economics will play the decisive role as the people’s welfare is the greatest demand of the masses. While all is not well with economics in Russia. China is doing just fine. And together with the Chinese we total 1.5 billion people (China has a 1.25 billion and we have 140 million). The most powerful economic bloc in the world is rising on continental Asia – the Great Eurasian Commonwealth – which will emerge with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as its nucleus. Naturally, there are no alternatives to it. The new bloc will be open to EU countries, while the future role of the United States is not clear. First, let the useless American elite decide what it wants. Let the United States follow Russia’s example with its ‘globally-minded elite, top class diplomacy and advantages of its geography.’ But first, the United States should at least lift the sanctions against Russia, acknowledging Russia’s legal right to do with Ukraine as it pleases.

The mind cannot grasp how to judge the skills and integrity of a political scientist who composes, in 2015, a treatise in which absolutism of the XIX century is lauded as the bright future of all humankind. But we are in the era in Russia, to quote the Strugatsky brothers, when “We do not need intelligent people. We need loyal people.”

Well, but the reality is even worse

At the start of the 1990’s, the USSR suffered defeat in the ‘Cold War,’ having given in to the insolvency of its economic, political, ideological and governing system. Russia became the successor of the USSR, and then it seemed to many, to be a free, proto-democratic state, capable of becoming, in time, a worthy member of the western democratic community. Such a Russia was not at all a loser of the Cold War. It was the victor—a country capable of breaking free from the vicious circle of its great, but tragic fate. The civilized world admired such a Russia, wished it success, and helped it, though not always as we would have expected. Such a Russia had hitherto unprecedented credibility in the world. And it looked to its future with a somewhat naïve optimism. Then came many failures and mistakes: it turned out that unworthy old habits die hard. Some new ones, are no better. And then misfortune came dressed in the white clothing of success: the world prices for hydrocarbons sharply increased. Unexpected, and by and large, unearned wealth completely corrupted our government and our consciousness. As a result, Russia saw herself a lesser version of the USSR and seriously embarked upon restoring old ‘order’ in its taiga, in which it intends to include all former Soviet republics. A new ‘Brezhnev Doctrine’ came out from the depths of authorities’ subconscious. A new ‘Cold War’ became unavoidable. In this new 'Cold War’ Russia can neither achieve victory, nor faces a total defeat: it is not in vain that God sent the country nuclear arsenal. The outcome of this ‘war’ is far away, and not apparent. But as our great children’s poet, Corney Chukovsky, once remarked: “You need to live long in Russia.” I do not know how, but I am confident we will live to see the outcome.

Bill C.

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 2:54pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Given that you question whether we ever won the hearts and minds of the Russian people, then are you suggesting that our problems (in Russia and elsewhere -- both yesterday and today) are more properly understood as being with the populations, and only by extension with the regimes which represent/rule them?

If this is what you are suggesting, then I can see your point.

But you must realize that you are going to be in the minority here.

This, given the fact that most individuals today -- even with all the evidence to the contrary -- still believe that our problems, both during the Cold War and still today, were/are with contrary regimes only, and not, as you seem to suggest, with the equally contrary populations which these regimes must represent/rule.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 2:26pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

At the start of the 1990’s, the USSR suffered defeat in the ‘Cold War,’ having given in to the insolvency of its economic, political, ideological and governing system. UNQUOTE

Taken from the referenced article above-----Bill--this collapse had in fact absolutely nothing to do with the West--it was the inherent contridictions inside the so called "communist system".

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 1:24pm

In reply to by Bill C.

As someone who camped a number of times through the old Soviet Union from 1971 until the fall of the SU--most and I mean most of the Russians I met, eat with, talked with were "impressed" by what appeared to them via TV and radio to be sheer paradise.

In 1971, I was using plastic camping plates, forks and knives in bright colors while they unpacked their food and real plates from old paper tied together with a string and simple things such as butter was a luxury--it appeared to them to be a "dream" to achieve and even bread in the 70s was hard to come by

If you talk to them today the US still has that drawing factor of a "paradise" where everything is possible if yozu have Money, BUT did we truly ever "win the heatrs and minds"--certainly not as even in the Soviet days our image was then and is now defined always by their propaganda.

I have always questioned this concept that we "won" the Cold War--if one is totally honest the SU and the entire East Bloc collapsed due to their own individual internal contridictions- political, social as the creation of a "socialist human being" was a failure and especailly the "socialist means of prodcution" economics simply ran out of stream as non of their export products were of any quality thus never earned much in the way of foreign currency.

In a number of aspects Russia having never confronted their past and their past failures is being forced to "relive" that period--meaning their industrial base now has been largely built by western companies paid for with oil money and great trade deals and not out of their own efforts.

We just happen to be the last ones standing- when the dust settled.

Move Forward

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 1:25pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Let' stipulate that the Russian people support Putin at the moment, even some 6 months after the early December 2014 poll cited in your linked article. Let's further agree that Russian opinion about the West and U.S. in particular has declined during every U.S. war and at times when Russian invasions were occurring in Chechnya, Georgia, and now the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. We could rationalize that Russian media influences that opinion through its propaganda, but even those in bigger cities with greater access to outside media appear to support Putin's actions. These facts are outlined in this article by an organization that reports on issues involving former Soviet and Warsaw Pact states:…

The question, however, is not whether the opinion of the Russian people is more important. The opinion that matters is that of Putin and his oligarchy. This isn't COIN we are talking about where we want to win hearts and minds. This is deterrence where we want to influence Russian action controlled by Putin.

So if we chose your logic and removed sanctions to influence Russian people's opinions how would that cause Putin to change his current path of seizing terrain in East Ukraine and threatening other areas? Nobody is currently calling for Ukraine to be part of NATO. However, your implied solution would appear to be to allow Russia to seize Ukraine and other non-NATO states anytime they desire without consequences just to keep Russians happy. Instead, we need to influence the Russians to throw the bum out, or get the oligarchy to pressure Putin. Unfortunately, the primary way to do that is to continue sanctions until Putin changes his ways.

Bill C.

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 12:38pm

So here seems to be the problem:

a. Prominent Americans believe/believed that NATO expansion would lead to a strategic reversal for the United States (Kennan: the loss of the hearts and minds of the Russian people, so recently won via the strategy, efforts and sacrifices made by the American people during the Cold War.)…

b. Today, the strategic reversal that these prominent American's warned about appears to have come true/been realized (the hearts and minds of the Russian people seem to have turned away from the United States and toward Putin).

Given these facts, then in what manner might the U.S. regain the hearts and minds of the Russian people and, thus, reverse our strategic losses outlined at "a" above?

Thus, if not via the "Ukraine does not need to join NATO" logic of Kissinger (see Outlaw's "Speigel" article below), then in what manner?

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 4:23am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C---BTW the Crimea and eastern Ukraine have been on the Putin drawing board for a number of years just not in 2014. There was some comments over the last month or two (nothing concrete but point towards) that indicate Russia was already thinking of an Ukrainian "solution" in late 2012 early 2013 timeframe as the Ukraine and EU started warming up their relationship.

Especially if one puts some faith into this statement from the Russian General Gerasimov--the "Godfather" of the Russian non linear warfare doctrine.

-"if US doesn't listen to Russia, world may return to Cold War after 2015" says Gerasimov in 2011

He did not miss his stated date by much did he--what all of six months??

Now go back "and listen to that conversation"---you if do a general search of political statements from both Putin and his FM say since 2008 you will notice a tone that is taking shape of accusations over accusations --and if balanced against the reality of the period in Europe--largely all unfounded Russian accusations.

These "accusations" are now the basis of the large number of "myths" that Russian disinformation has been effectively spreading since Crimea.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 4:08am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C---first of all it has never been about NATO expansionism as even Putin as late as 2007 never had any heart burn in some of the Balkans and even Moldavia joining NATO--it all shifted after the Georgian Russo war.

It is though all about the following coupled with an every increasing fascist Soviet nationalism built on a massive new authoritarian system built along the lines of Stalin if one looks at all the anti Maidan laws passed in the last year in Russia.


I have written here over and over--Russian non linear warfare is just the "means" to achieve Russia's political warfare "end state”.

This Russian "end state" has three openly stated political warfare geo political goals;

1. discrediting and damaging NATO
2. discrediting and damaging the EU
3. completely disconnecting the US from Europe

Nice to see General Dempsey is now stating the same thing---it has taken DoD far too long to fully understand this.

I guess maybe a case of mental defilade that many have ie they simply forgot the experiences of the Cold War.

.@Martin_Dempsey: Russia has "developed some capabilities that do threaten security in Europe" …

Dempsey: Russia conducts "snap exercises with conventional forces that can coerce or at least threaten borders" #NATO

Gen Dempsey: Russian military has "the advantages of time & geography" in Central Europe

Dempsey: Putin "considers NATO as a threat" & seeks "opportunities to discredit & eventually undermine the alliance"

Obama: Putin Wants to ‘Recreate the Glories of the Soviet Empire’

Obama: Putin has to decide whether he wants to wreck Russia’s economy in pursuit of a desire to recreate glories of Soviet empire

Russia seems intent on destabilizing the European Union >>>”
v @nytimesworld

Outlaw 09

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 3:54am

In reply to by Bill M.

AND now Gorbachev and his own NGO are on the verge of being declared "foreign agents" under one of the latest anti-Maidan laws passed under Putin's pushing since taking over the Crimea.

"Ukraine is the instrument for Russia to test the West's 'red lines'" - Lilia Shevtsova of @BrookingsInst

Bill M.

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 7:17pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Yes, I missed your position change if that is what this means.

Bill C.

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 12:29pm

In reply to by Bill M.

Bill M:

Did you miss the words "however irrational" in my comment above?

Bill M.

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 12:25pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Actually the article refutes the claim this is about NATO expansionism. Furthermore countries do not make decisions, people do, and in this case it is Putin and his Oligarchy. It is apparent they care little about the Russian people and are only interested in maintaining their personal power, and using tired rhetoric to justify it in the minds of those incapable of thinking independently. The logic you're presenting is as flawed as Gorvi's. Seriously, Putin should pay for promoting his propaganda.

The article states:

"But, oddly, Mr Gorbachev never seems to have followed his logic through to its own conclusion. If the satellite states were going to be free, then they would be able to take their own decisions. And some of them might freely decide to join Nato. Once you accepted the principle that countries like Poland, Hungary and Romania had every right to be sovereign, then you could not logically object if they chose to seek Nato membership."

Robert C. Jones

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 8:26am

This parallels what I have been telling people a work for the past few years, and increasingly as physical action has drawn some attention to what has been a growing, and predictable situation.

We need to appreciate that there are revisionist forces within these revisionist states that ate even more powerful. By creating credible lines for the potential of UW through these populations we may well find the cure to the inadequacies of historic and current deterrence.

Outlaw 09

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 3:17pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

More comments from Lilia Shevtsova that actually makes sense and I feel she is totally correct especially the throwing of the Ukraine under the bus for Syria and Iran.

Russia to use Ukraine as a trade off card with the West on Syria/Iraq, Lilia Shevtsova of @BrookingsInst suggests

"In the next couple of months Russia will try to offer peaceful coexistence to Ukraine" - Shevtsova of @BrookingsInst

Outlaw 09

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 4:15am

In reply to by Move Forward

MF--reference Moldavia and Transnistria the Russian enclave from 1992---

Russian Media prepares Russians for a war in Odesa Region & that Transnistria gets attacked

Outlaw 09

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 2:32am

In reply to by Move Forward

MF--you picked up in a number of items the mainstream media simply has not even understood or better yet they overlook as they have for the last year on Putin's actions.

The questions were being poised to him from an Italian journalist who is married to a Russian and who had written positive comments even on the Ukraine and is a member of the Italian left.

That said there is an interesting number of comments--those that were highlighted were done by the TASS news agency for emphasis.

The core one is the ease by which he answers all the questions--he misses no beat, hesitates or is for a moment or two thoughtful--he is saying what he truly believes and that is dangerous as he is virtually repeating the "kool aid" fro the start in 2007--just updated the "kool aid" for the Crimea and the Ukraine.

Secondly Bill M--placed a link in the Ukrainian threads that was an article on the Russian anti neo liberal stance Putin is taking --he views the West ie the US as being decadent and the leader of this neo liberal movement--at the core of this neo liberal dislike is a great distaste for the neo liberal economic system itself.

his references to electrical grids are due to the EU's 3rd energy law that requires all energy providers open up their grids and pipelines to third party companies as a way to pen the bidding on energy costs allowing the public to pick and choose their energy providers. Putin simply hates this law as the energy companies and providers of electrical grids and pipelines are state owned enterprises and used for the last ten years or so as political weapons and part of the Russian non linear warfare.

the Ukraine as an associate member must also open up the energy sources to competition for other suppliers and carries and will be tying into the EU power grids for additional energy cost savings.

That will force Russia to do one of two things--either build their own new grid and or join into the energy savings concept and allow open and free competition among multiple suppliers/providers.

This he cannot do as it would threatened the cash flow streams say Gazprom which is already losing massively to competition from Norway.

He beats up on the US for leading the so called junta coup--and forcing out the former President--WHAT he keeps missing and it is intentional--during the vote to limit the former President's powers his own Party of Region voted nearly to the member against their own President and he saw the handwriting on the wall as he was deeply into corruption and knew it would come out and an arrest would occur--so he fled--not even telling the Russian FSB when and where he was going. Does not sound quite like a coup to me.

This is also an interesting comment from him--he references the idea of an economic zone from Portugal to the Russian Far East--BUT that was and still is his main idea since he announced the concept in 2004--BUT he wants it under Russian hegemon not the EU. AND then he makes a somewhat starling comment no one picked up on---"or to cut something off and establish a new border between a modern Russian and the western territories including say Ukraine and Moldava?"

In my ears this rings like "I Russia consider the Ukraine and Moldava as part and parcel of a n modern Russia ie it's western territories--and here he uses very clearly the term --territories.

My question was it a slip of the tongue or is this really what the Ukraine issue is all about--Putin's political believe that the Ukraine all of it and Moldava are still part and parcel of "modern Russia" ie it's western territories. Remember Russia has 1500 so called peacekeepers in Transnistria that has been asking for annexation into Russia since 1992.

"What is the objective of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership? Is it to integrate the whole former Soviet Union into a single space with Europe, I repeat for the third time, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, or to cut something off and establish a new border between modern Russia and the western territories including, say, Ukraine and Moldova?

Putin also basically told one massive lie--there is still no helicopter engine plan built to do what the Ukrainians are doing--that is in fact a true lie--it takes far more time to stamp out a completely new plant than one year--now there have been open an unabated theft of manufacturing plants out of the Donbas but in typical Soviet fashion as they did in 1945--taking out is easy rebuilding and building new capacity are two coins.

Putin openly lied--during the Crimea when a threat was seen by the Russians that they could in fact be cut off from technology and critical equipment the Ukrainians make--their defense production chief stated it will take Russia 5-7 years to build that capacity--so one year is a tad to fast but he wants the world to see that Russia is not dependent on anyone.

The Russians were totally dependent on the Ukrainians copter engine plants for every turbine Russia uses in any copter--it comes from the Ukraine and is maintained/repaired by the Ukrainians--even worse all the gas turbine engines Russia wants to install in their new naval vessels being built come out of the Ukraine as well.

The comment on "suddenly attacking NATO" is on the surface an attempt to tamper down EU comments on a potential Russia invasion of the Baltics--that statement got a lot of media play here in Europe--BUT Putin did not go into the simple fact that his large scale snap exercises are always geared for an invasion not defensive in nature and always have manpower usually in excess of 60K in the exercise AND that requires an OSCE registration and monitoring BUT Russia avoid this by not informing OSCE and then ignoring their complaints about non compliance.

All in all for the first time a revealing series of Putin's own thoughts and unfiltered.

BTW a social media blog site did post a very thorough study done on exactly how Russia is dependent on the Ukraine economically and technology speaking (especially as it applies to their military build up plan referred to as their 2020 plan)and it was an eye opener which never did get any US media play--posted it on the Ukrainian military thread and would have to dig it out.

Actually a lot of massively interesting open source information on Russia and Ukraine is just not making it into western mainstream media--ie the Newsweek article this week on three Russian active duty military service members fighting in the Ukraine is old news here --was just picked up by Newsweek and on and on---if the US media picks up something it is 3-5 weeks old.

A bulk of their article in fact came from one social media open source analyst who has been tracking Russian activities since Crimea.

Move Forward

Sat, 06/06/2015 - 9:24pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Outlaw, I'm glad you printed that out. It portrays Putin as concerned about numerous economic, electoral, and manufacturing issues and makes him look pretty smart. I didn't really understand the electrical grid portion. You had previously mentioned quite a few areas where Ukraine was the sole source of military equipment and Putin covers that here citing helicopter engines. It will be curious to see if just moving the factory will suffice as the Soviets and now Russians never were that good at turbine engines and moving the factory without the workers is pretty much starting over.

The part about the elections was unclear as well. Did you put this part in brackets in or was it Putin? Who was it referring to, the Russian-favored or revision candidate?

<blockquote>(by the way, they had a 100‑percent chance of a victory, everybody knows that)</blockquote>

Also, I noted that BBC had an article quoting Putin where he claimed Russia would never attack NATO. Can't find it anymore but here is the NPR one saying the same thing:…

I noted that the earlier BBC article had lots of uses by Putin of the word "partner" in a conciliatory manner. But many of his comments appear to be a case of "you doth protest too much." Not sure which is the case, but he obviously thinks the West started the Maidan revolution and he already appears to be talking like Ukraine and Moldova could be part of the New Russia:

<blockquote>What is the objective of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership? Is it to integrate the whole former Soviet Union into a single space with Europe, I repeat for the third time, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, or to cut something off and <strong>establish a new border between modern Russia and the western territories including, say, Ukraine and Moldova?</strong></blockquote>

Finally, from the interview itself is a quote that points out that one NATO advantage of limited war is that it negates the A2/AD claims of many alarmists. If Russia is seizing only limited parts of the Baltics and Ukraine (looks like they have only encroached 10-30 miles past old East Ukraine borders) then Russia certainly would be unlikely to attack deploying Western forces that could be just sent for deterrence purposes against future encroachment rather than an actual attack. This also applies in the Pacific as China is unlikely to launch a thousand missiles after seizing a small island that is not being attacked by our forces. Uncertainty of intent still applies on both sides of any potential conflict which guarantees a measure of hesitancy in escalation---particularly if we make public claims of just sending deterrence forces.:

<blockquote>Here is where the so called A2/AD component comes in handy: small allies should invest in capabilities that deny the aggressive revisionist a quick and easy success in a limited war. Combining this with some offensive platforms and doctrines, to enhance the ability to strike at the enemy’s staging and logistical areas as well as degrading its anti-air capabilities, increases the survivability of the small frontline state facing a limited war. By maintaining open access, a frontline state can also allow its allies to come into their territory to help. In other words, a defensive strategy of frontline states should be a combination of buying time and creating a permissive environment in which allied expeditionary forces can land.</blockquote>

Outlaw 09

Sat, 06/06/2015 - 5:27am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Right now we have a serous problem with both Putin and his FM Lavrov--they honestly and totally are believing their own propaganda.

When leaders start drinking their own "kool aid" it reflects that this "kool aid" in fact matches their own personal "biases" based on their education,the environment around them--personal, cultural, political as well as their circle of advisors/friends.

Right now we have a major double speak ongoing and the West is at one level and Putin on another level-- both talking by/at each other now with each other almost like a "dialectic debate from the student days of the 60/70s from the left".

AND we wonder just how Europe slipped into 1914 and then "wondered how in the heck it happened"--we are now at that point now in the 21st century.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 06/06/2015 - 5:06am

Bill C---this is just a short portion of a long Italian interview Putin gave yesterday in the Vatican--if you checked TASS did not translate it into Russian and rebroadcast it to the Russian civil society.

It was totally for Western consumption:

Read carefully when he talks about the "economic union he envisions from Portugal to the Russian Far East" AND that should be accomplished with no economic costs to Russia-with Russian profiting from it AND on the economic concepts envisioned by say Gazprom a Russian State controlled enterprise ie political weapon.

Check his comments concerning the neo liberal economic EU systems--Putin is not hard to understand--one just has to take the time, cut out the Russian propaganda BS and you then fully understand his geo political goals--this is not a rocket science but an exercise in patience reading and understanding exactly what is driving him.

AND remember the Russian propaganda 4Ds--dismiss, distort, distract, dismay designed to created the 2Ds --distrust and doubt.


- Thank you, Mr Putin. When we were talking about the shadow cast on our relations, you said that it was not your choice, and there is an opinion that Russia feels betrayed, abandoned by Europe, like a lover abandoned by his mistress. What are the problems in our relations today? Do you think that Europe has been too dependent on the United States in the Ukrainian crisis? What do you expect from Europe in relation to the sanctions? I may have asked too many questions at once.

- You have certainly asked a lot of questions, with an Italian flair. (Laughs)

First, about the mistress. In this kind of a relationship with a woman, that is, if you assume no obligations, you have no right to claim any obligations from your partner.

We have never viewed Europe as a mistress. I am quite serious now. We have always proposed a serious relationship. But now I have the impression that Europe has actually been trying to establish material‑based relations with us, and solely for its own gain. There is the notorious Third Energy Package and the denial of access for our nuclear energy products to the European market despite all the existing agreements. There is reluctance to acknowledge the legitimacy of our actions and reluctance to cooperate with integration associations in the territory of the former Soviet Union. I am referring to the Customs Union, which we created and which has now grown into the Eurasian Economic Union.

Because it is all right when integration takes place in Europe, but if we do the same in the territory of the former Soviet Union, they try to explain it by Russia's desire to restore an empire. I don’t understand the reasons for such an approach.

You see, all of us, including me, have been talking for a long time about the need to establish a common economic space stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. In fact, French President Charles de Gaulle said something similar a lot earlier than me. Today nobody objects to it, everybody says: yes, we should aspire to this.

But what is happening in practice? For example, the Baltic States have joined the European Union. Good, no problem. But today we are being told that these countries, which are part of the energy system of the former Soviet Union and Russia, they must join the European Union’s energy system. We ask: Are there any problems with energy supply or with something else? Why is it necessary? – No, there are no problems, but we have decided that it will be better this way.

What does this mean for us in practical terms? It means that we will be forced to build additional generating capacities in some western regions in Russia. Since electricity transmission lines went through the Baltic States to some Russian regions and vice versa, all of them will now be switched over to Europe, and we will have to build new transmission lines in our country to ensure electricity supply. This will cost us about 2‑2.5 billion euro.

Now let’s look at the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. It does not require that Ukraine becomes part of the European energy system, but it is considered possible. If this happens, we will have to spend not 2‑2.5 billion but, probably, about 8‑10 billion euro for the same purpose. The question is: why is this necessary if we believe in building a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok? What is the objective of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership? Is it to integrate the whole former Soviet Union into a single space with Europe, I repeat for the third time, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, or to cut something off and establish a new border between modern Russia and the western territories including, say, Ukraine and Moldova?

Let me tell you something else now, and you can decide for yourselves what to publish and what to leave out.

What are the roots of the Ukrainian crisis? Its cause seems to be completely disproportionate to what has become an utter tragedy today claiming many lives in southeast Ukraine. What sparked the crisis? Former President Viktor Yanukovych said that he needed to think about signing Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU, possibly make some changes and hold consultations with Russia, its major trade and economic partner. In this connection or under this pretext riots broke out in Kiev. They were actively supported both by our European and American partners. Then a coup d'état followed – a totally anti-constitutional act. The new authorities announced that they were going to sign the Association Agreement but would delay its implementation until January 1, 2016. The question is: what was the coup d'état for? Why did they need to escalate the situation to a civil war? The result is exactly the same.

What is more, at the end of 2013 we were ready to give Ukraine $15 billion as a state loan supported by a further $5 billion via commercial banks; plus we already gave it $3 billion during the year and promised to cut gas prices by half if they paid regularly. We were not at all against Ukraine signing an Association Agreement with the European Union. But, of course, we wanted to participate in the final decisions, meaning that Ukraine was then and is still now, today, a member of the CIS free trade area, and we have mutual obligations as its members.

How is it possible to completely ignore this, to treat it with utter disrespect? I simply cannot understand that. The result that we have – a coup d'état, a civil war, hundreds of lives lost, devastated economy and social sphere, a four-year $17.5 billion loan promised to Ukraine by the IMF and complete disintegration of economic ties with Russia. But Russian and Ukrainian economies are very deeply interconnected.

The European Union unilaterally removed its customs duties for Ukraine. However, the volume of Ukraine’s sales to the European market did not grow. Why not? Because there is nothing to sell. There is no demand in the European market for Ukrainian products, either in terms of quality or price, in addition to the products that were already sold before.

We have a market for Ukraine, but many ties have been severed unilaterally by the Ukrainian side. For example, all engines for our combat helicopters came from Ukraine. Now deliveries have stopped. We have already built one plant in St Petersburg and another plant will be completed this year, but the production of these engines in Ukraine will be shut down because Italy, France or Germany don’t need and will never need such engines. It is impossible for Ukraine to divert its production in any way; it will need billions in investment to do this.

I don’t understand why this was done. I have asked many of my colleagues, including in Europe and America, about it.

- And what do they answer?

- The situation got out of control.

You know, I would like to tell you and your readers one thing. Last year, on February 21, President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian opposition signed an agreement on how to proceed, how to organise political life in the country, and on the need to hold early elections. They should have worked to implement this agreement, especially since three European foreign ministers signed this agreement as guarantors of its implementation.

If those colleagues were used for the sake of appearances and they were not in control of the situation on the ground, which was in fact in the hands of the US ambassador or a CIA resident, they should have said: “You know, we did not agree to a coups d'etat, so we will not support you; you should go and hold elections instead.”

The same could be said about our American partners. Let’s assume that they also lost control of the situation. But if America and Europe had said to those who had taken these unconstitutional actions: "If you come to power in such a way, we will not support you under any circumstances; you must hold elections and win them” – (by the way, they had a 100‑percent chance of a victory, everybody knows that), the situation would have developed in a completely different way.

So, I believe that this crisis was created deliberately and it is the result of our partner’s unprofessional actions. And the coverage of this process has been absolutely unacceptable. I would like to emphasise once more: this was not our choice, we did not seek it, we are simply forced to respond to what is happening.

In conclusion – forgive me for this protracted monologue – I would like to say that it is not that we feel deceived or treated unfairly. This is not the point. The point is that relationships should be built on a long‑term basis not in the atmosphere of confrontation, but in the spirit of cooperation.

- You say the situation got out of control. But is it not the right moment for Russia to seize the initiative, to find a way to engage its American and European partners in the search of solution to the situation, to show that it is ready to address this problem?

- That is exactly what we are doing. I think that today the document we agreed upon in Minsk, called Minsk‑II, is the best agreement and perhaps the only unequivocal solution to this problem. We would never have agreed upon it if we had not considered it to be right, just and feasible.

On our part, we take every effort, and will continue to do so, in order to influence the authorities of the unrecognised self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics. But not everything depends on us. Our European and US partners should exert influence on the current Kiev administration. We do not have the power, as Europe and the United States do, to convince Kiev to carry out everything that was agreed on in Minsk.

I can tell you what needs to be done; maybe I will anticipate your next question. The key aspect of the political settlement was to create conditions for this joint work, but it was essential to stop the hostilities, to pull back heavy weaponry. On the whole, this has been done. Unfortunately, there is still shooting occasionally and there are casualties, but there are no large‑scale hostilities, the sides have been separated. It is time to begin implementing the Minsk Agreements.

Specifically, there needs to be a constitutional reform to ensure the autonomous rights of the unrecognised republics. The Kiev authorities do not want to call it autonomy, they prefer different terms, such as decentralisation. Our European partners, those very partners who wrote the corresponding clause in the Minsk Agreements, explained what should be understood as decentralisation. It gives them the right to speak their language, to have their own cultural identity and engage in cross‑border trade – nothing special, nothing beyond the civilised understanding of ethnic minorities’ rights in any European country.

A law should be adopted on municipal elections in these territories and a law on amnesty. All this should be done, as the Minsk Agreements read, in coordination with Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, with these territories.

The problem is that the current Kiev authorities don’t even want to sit down to talks with them. And there is nothing we can do about it. Only our European and American partners can influence this situation. There is no need to threaten us with sanctions. We have nothing to do with this, this is not our position. We seek to ensure the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

It is essential to launch economic and social rehabilitation of these territories. What has happened there, exactly? The current Kiev authorities have simply cut them off from the rest of the country. They discontinued all social payments – pensions, benefits; they cut off the banking system, made regular energy supply impossible, and so on. So you see, there is a humanitarian disaster in those regions. And everybody is pretending that nothing is wrong.

Our European colleagues have taken on certain obligations, in particular they promised to help restore the banking system in these territories. Finally, since we are talking about what can or must be done, and by whom, I believe that the European Union could surely provide greater financial assistance to Ukraine. These are the main points.

I would like to stress that Russia is interested in and will strive to ensure the full and unconditional implementation of the Minsk Agreements, and I don’t believe there is any other way to settle this conflict today.

Incidentally, the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics have publicly stated that under certain conditions – meaning the implementation of the Minsk Agreements – they are ready to consider themselves part of the Ukrainian state. This is a fundamental issue. I think this position should be viewed as a sound precondition for the start of substantial negotiations.

Bill C.

Sat, 06/06/2015 - 12:32pm

In reply to by Move Forward

Move Forward:

You are smarter than this.

A persons ideas, such as mine, are not "anti-American" just because you happen to disagree with them, because I use the words "to wit" too much, and/or because they (possibly) reveal an inconvenient truth.

Nor should you, as an intelligent person, wish to dismiss these ideas with such a glaring "dodge" as your "Vietnam syndrome" thought above (which is so obviously beneath you).

Now, to your Kissinger quote (which for context must include my quoted Kissinger thoughts which proceeded them):

From my reading of these passages, Kissinger seems to suggest that the U.S. -- re: NATO expansion or no -- faces two somewhat bad/"evil" choices:

a. It can expand NATO, thereby, alienating Russia/Russians. Or

b. It can choose not to expand NATO, thereby, creating a security "no man's land" between Russia and Germany.

Kissinger's "lesser of two evils" choice, and therefore his recommendation based on same, is to expand NATO and risk alienating Russia/Russians (and, accordingly, risk the follow-on consequences of such a decision/action).

In this regard, he appears to agree with Kennan, who stated that via NATO expansion we would be:

a. "Turning our backs on the Russian people" (another way of stating Kissinger's "alienation" concept above?). And that we would be:

b. Bringing about a new Cold War. (First Russia's return to "political warfare" -- and now the U.S./the West doing the same -- suggesting that Kennan was right here also?)

Thus, the U.S. had before it -- before its decision to expand NATO -- the likely adverse results/ramifications of this decision. These such negative results presented to them by such "experts" as Kissinger and Kennan (which I see -- as outlined above -- to be in agreement).

So what I am suggesting, accordingly, is that such matters as "limited war" (the topic of this thread) should be viewed within this exact, rather than some other, context (such as the "revisionist state").

Thus, in the context of (a) the Cold War-winning status quo power (the U.S./the West), (b) acting to capitalize on and consolidate gains (from the winning such war) via NATO and democracy expansion; herein, (c) knowing well the negative consequences of such a decision (as outlined above).

Thus, to see Russian "reactions" in this, rather than some other, light.

Makes (a) non-Vietnam syndrome and (b) good old American sense to me to (c) see things in this well-explained light.

You too?

Outlaw 09

Sat, 06/06/2015 - 4:22am

In reply to by Move Forward

Move Forward--compliment you on the Kissinger comment--myself and others simply believe there are in fact no such creations called "buffer states"-if you look at the Czarist moves, Stalin's moves and now Putin's moves--they all interpreted "buffer states" to be under their direct control or direct influence so in fact vassal states to a hegemon power.

If you look at Putin's stated attempt to sit down with the US and divide up Europe into what he and Lavrov call "zone of privileged authority" --the Russia direct translation he is in effect reestablishing the former Soviet Union. Putin truly wants a "new Yalta" so he can go down in the Russian history books as being a Stalin equal. This concept of a "new Yalta" has been released in a variety of different articles over the last year--even by some US writers who one has to ask-- why they support it?

If we look at both Putin's and his FM constant statements from 2004 to literally one week ago--they keep proposing an economic ie political zone from Portugal to the Russian Far East under "naturally Russian influence".

Otherwise stated-- Russian hegemon status with the US outside looking in.

Bill seems to fail to see that there has been virtually no single "true statement" spoken by Putin and his FM since the Georgian attacks in 2008.

I can go back and document as I stopped counting 68 different statements that both stated Russia will be doing OR is in the process of doing AND nothing happened. All outright lies designed to freeze the West fro taking any counter actions.

Bill has a single mantra--NATO expansion---I aruge had Putin remained as quiet as a mouse in a church NATO was virtually on death's doorstep as it was so quiet no one could figure what NATO should be thus it was dying a slow natural death.

BUT Putin acting as an elephant in a china shop--certainly "recreated an urgent need for NATO".

Countries such as Finland and Sweden both never really interested in NATO are now taking cues from their civil societies and expressing an interest in joining NATO--all because of Russia actions. Their civil society opinion polls are running in strong favor of joining NATO.

Russia is being driven by an authoritarian nationalistic elite circle that smacks of fascism around Putin that is becoming more and more out of touch with their own civil society which cannot rise up because of massive law changes Putin instituted since the Maidan.

NATO expansion is one of the worst arguments going right now and is being constantly propagated by the Russian propaganda war--and it seems to draw many in.

Remember--Russian geo political goals are three fold;

1. discredit and damage NATO so it is no longer a threat to Russia
2. discredit and damage the EU as Putin views it's so called neo liberal economics as a direct threat to the Russian State Enterprise business model
3. totally and for good disconnect the US from Europe

He is part way there---and this administration is helping in any way they can figure out--why I am not sure.

Maybe this current administration really does want to disconnect but cannot figure out a way to sell it to the Europeans and the Ukraine offers a way?

Move Forward

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 11:05pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C, first let me compliment your more normal manner of writing here. The whole "too wit" biz and overly intellectual attempt to say the same thing over and over are what gets on our nerves--or at least mine. It is hard for me to fathom you as a retired Army guy with a 1SG son when your views are so blatantly anti-West. Vietnam could explain it because although I am only five years your junior, that war's experience no doubt was quite an influence on you and yours as Oliver Stone and even the early John Kerry illustrate.

Since you cited my earlier Kissinger quote, let me expand additionally on what Kissinger said in his testimony to remove all doubt that he was not in agreement with George Kennan on this issue:

<blockquote>Basing European and Atlantic security on a no man's land between Germany and Russia runs counter to all historical experience, especially that of the interwar period. <strong>It would bring about two categories of frontiers in Europe, those that are potentially threatened but not guaranteed, and those that are guaranteed but not threatened.</strong> If America were to act to defend the Oder but not the Vistula, 200 miles to the east, the credibility of all the existing NATO guarantees would be gravely weakened, nor would this exclusion of traditional Central European nations from the common defense achieve its purpose. Once Russia succeeded in establishing a military buffer zone, it would logically follow with demands for a political corollary that would imply a veto over foreign policy.

If the eastern border of Germany is defined as the limit of Western Europe, and the western defense, Germany will be driven to doubt America's leadership and to try to influence the security position of the buffer zone on a nationalist basis. Failure to enlarge NATO would thus risk either collision or collusion between Germany and Russia. Either way, American abdication would produce a political earthquake threatening vital American interests.</blockquote>

The part I highlighted is pretty prophetic wouldn't you say? Kissinger realized that Russia would not be able to resist the temptation to mess with adjacent states if they were merely a "buffer zone." Eighteen years later the states attacked have all been non-NATO members, to include Chechnya, Georgia, and now Ukraine. Let's not forget that Russia also sent airborne troops to Serbia when we bombed them over Kosovo. Imagine what we would be facing if we had no Article 5 obligation to support the Baltics and Poland. Would they be at risk, as well? Kissinger implies as much and later in the testimony talks about Russian history of expansion through Armies rather than elections. Russia could not influence the new Presidential election in Ukraine to its liking so it took military action instead.

As Bill M points out, to equate that aggression with some sort of understandable, non-sinister reaction to NATO peaceful expansion born out of disgust with Western cultural norms is pure bull-pucky. Kissinger seemed to understand that a new Cold War would evolve. Thankfully, it is evolving under conditions where no buffer zone exists that would allow the rest of NATO to equivocate and waffle as Putin advances just as Hitler did.

Bill C.

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 7:28pm

In reply to by Bill M.


Consider this Kissinger 1997 quote (provided by MOVE FORWARD at another threat); a quote which seems to support my position above,

"NATO expansion therefore represents a balancing of two conflicting considerations:

a. The fear of alienating Russia

b. Against the danger of creating a vacuum between Germany and Russia in Central Europe."

Thus, and as per my argument above, to see the actions being taken by Putin today (political warfare, etc.) more in terms of:

a. The well-informed decision made by the war-winning status quo power (the U.S./the West)

b. To capitalize on and consolidate potential gains (via NATO/democracy expansion)

c. This such action having the potential to threaten lesser states and societies thus effected.

Nothing sinister or un-patriotic here. Either from Kissinger or yours truly.

Just the exceptionally well-known -- and very carefully pointed out (by Kissinger no less!) -- costs/consequences (Russian alienation) of our (the Cold War-winning status quo power's) decision to "capitalize on and consolidate gain;" this, via such things as NATO and democracy expansion.

George Kennan (also a patriot?) said that NATO expansion would result in a new Cold War.

Given Russia's return to such things as "political warfare," should we disagree?

Bill M.

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 5:24pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C.,

Former army or not, you are wittingly or unwittingly a Putin proxy. You fly into every discussion, drop the same turd, and then fail to follow up with any so what. It appears you often don't even read the article. I suspect you'll make a similar irrelevant post on in response to the "Leveraging Lietuva: Establishing a 21st Century Nonlinear Warfare Centre of Excellence," although it clearly points out that these people resisted Russia/Soviet aggression long before the U.S. was a world power and long afterwards, and to this day they want nothing to do with Russia. This is true with most countries that border Russia, that isn't due to us, that is due to Russia. What does Russia do when it can't attract with sugar? It uses military force to impose their will on others. Apparently a behavior you are justifying. This is typical of a certain clique in the U.S., everything is the U.S's fault.

If we used force to expand NATO, and if we then postured forces in those countries, then and only then would your tired argument have merit. That hasn't happened, it won't happen, but the West's lack of resolve to present a collective defense against RUSSIAN AGGRESSION has prompted Putin to once again pursue a Russian policy that has existed long before, during, and after the Cold War.

Your only support is quoting outdated theorists, and quoting from Bill Clinton's strategy (15 plus years ago), which you took out of context. If you don't have anything else to offer, just accept you made your argument, and there is no need to keep repeating it. If you continue, then please take it to the extreme and follow up on your argument. If you believe you identified the core issue, then you need to follow up with a so what? What should the U.S. and NATO do in your opinion? Forfeit central Europe to Russia hegemony? Should the U.S. give up on representing its core value of self-determination? Should the U.S. pull out of NATO, and forget facilitating regional integration so extreme nationalism and war can once again curse Europe?

Outlaw 09

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 5:18pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--worth reading--both of them.

New Chatham House report on the challenge Russia poses to international order, and to itself:

Putin doesn't see the conflict as a conflict with Ukraine, he sees it as a conflict with the West - James Sherr

If Ukraine's defences are not strengthened, it could sabotage the solution of this conflict - James Sherr

Lack of pressure from U.S. has led Putin to believe he’s survived the worst of the crisis in Ukraine- Conley:

Taken from the CH report---

Summary of recommendations

The root cause of the challenge posed to the West by Russia lies in the country’s internal development, and its failure to find a satisfactory pattern of development following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin and his circle are not the same as Russia and its people, and their interests do not necessarily coincide. The West has neither the wish nor the means to promote, or for that matter to prevent, regime change in Russia. But Western countries need to consider the possible consequences of a chaotic end to the Putin system.

The West needs to develop and implement a clear and coherent strategy towards Russia. As far as possible, this strategy must be based on a common transatlantic and European assessment of Russian realities. In particular, policy should draw on the evidence of Russia’s behaviour, not on convenient or fashionable narratives.

As outlined in more detail in the Executive Summary at the beginning of this report, the West’s strategy needs to include the following clear goals, and establish the near-term means and longer-term capabilities for achieving them:

Strategic goals for the West

•To deter and constrain coercion by Russia against its European neighbours, for as long as is needed, but not to draw fixed dividing lines. The door should be kept open for re-engagement when circumstances change. This cannot be expected with any confidence under Putin.

•To restore the integrity of a European security system based on sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of states to determine their own destinies.

•To find better ways to communicate to the Russian regime and people that it is in their long-term national interest to be a part of a rules-based Europe, not an isolated regional hegemon.

•To explain Western policies consistently and regularly in discussions with China, and to all former Soviet states, most of which have reason to be concerned about Russian policies, whether or not they admit it.

•To prepare for the complications and opportunities that will inevitably be presented by an eventual change of leadership in Russia.

•Not to isolate the Russian people. It is not in the Western interest to help Putin cut them off from the outside world.

Specific policy objectives

•The reconstruction of Ukraine as an effective sovereign state, capable of standing up for itself, is crucial. This requires the input of much greater effort than has been the case up to now.

•The EU’s Eastern Partnership needs to be transformed into an instrument that reinforces the sovereignty and economies of partner countries that have proved willing to undertake serious political and economic reform.

•The effectiveness of sanctions against Russia depends on their duration as well as severity. Until the issue of the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity is fully addressed, sanctions should remain in place. It is self-defeating to link the lifting of sanctions to implementation of the poorly crafted and inherently fragile Minsk accords.

•The West should not return to ‘business as usual’ in broader relations with the Russian authorities until there is an acceptable settlement of the Ukrainian conflict and compliance by Russia with its international legal obligations.

•EU energy policy should aim to deprive Russia of political leverage in energy markets, rather than to remove Russia from the European supply mix.

•Western states need to invest in defensive strategic communications and media support in order to counter the Kremlin’s false narratives.

•NATO must retain its credibility as a deterrent to Russian aggression. In particular, it needs to demonstrate that limited war is impossible and that the response to ‘ambiguous’ or ‘hybrid’ war will be robust.

•Conventional deterrent capability must be restored as a matter of urgency and convincingly conveyed, to avoid presenting Russia with inviting targets.

•Individual EU member states and the EU as a whole need to regenerate their ability to analyse and understand what is going on in Russia and neighbouring states. This understanding must then be used as a basis for the formation of policy.

An alternative way to view these matters -- one which suggests that a context of "geopolitical power transitions" may be false or premature -- is via the lens of:

a. A victorious status quo power (for example, the United States/the West)

b. Seeking to capitalize on and consolidate post-war gains (for example, via NATO expansion in Europe and democracy expansion in the Middle East.)

In this alternative manner to, likewise, view and understand the reactions of lesser states and societies (Russia?; Iran?) -- who might feel threatened by these such follow-on actions by the war victors.

Given this alternative context (victor seeks to capitalize on and consolidate gains -- lesser states and societies resist), then might we see "raising the visible costs" more from the perspective of these lesser states and societies?

In this manner, for example, to see Russia -- via its incursion into Crimera and the Ukraine and via its return to political warfare, unconventional warfare, military revisionism, etc. -- suggesting to the U.S./the West that its (the West's) post-Cold War war "capitalize on and consolidate gains" initiatives (NATO/democracy expansion) will cost the U.S./the West more than it is willing to pay (to wit: a new Cold War)?

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 9:13am

Bill M--whether the US wants to or wants not to get involved in the Ukraine we are in fact involved.

This from late yesterday evening:

Speaker of Russian upper house of Russian parliament asks members to stay close, another emergency session is possible soon.

Why is Matvienko saying there may be an emergency Federation Council meeting...?

@MarQs__ @meduzaproject @sterion75 "usage of troops abroad" …

From just the last 20 minutes or so---

TV "Rain" say that all senators sit in the Federation Council, and they are not allowed to go anywhere out

We have messages from our guys: Russian units armed to the teeth and ready to roll. They (Lentsov) are waiting for an order... This is the edge of the abyss: looks like Ukraine will be embroiled in total war within next 7 days. If you believe on God, please pray

RU news #Vesti: Ukrainian assault on #Maryinka was a provocation and a distraction from a larger attack on #Lugansk

Right now Putin and his FM are truly in the realm of irrationality and we are about 20 seconds from 1914 if this pace keeps up and the West is doing exactly what again?—silence, silence and more silence.

There is an urgent need for an adult to stand up and say--enough is enough--but not with this current administration.

So for the want of silence--- “a limited war” will be breaking out in Central Europe” that has the potential of becoming WW3.

In all my years in Berlin during the Cold War and after--we were never this close to open war.

The Soviet leadership knew the game and the lines in the sand--Putin knows neither and does not care.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 5:48pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Putin may use armed forces beyond territory of the Russian Federation, Peskov says

Kremlin spokesman says Putin may use "constitutional right" to OK military operation abroad

Russian aggression has been met by a degree of American absence unthinkable even a decade ago

Putin is saying he can openly declare war on Ukraine and the West will do nothing. Is he right?

BTW--as Commander of the Rapid Deployment Force inside CSTO Putin can order it into a peacekeeping "invasion" and send in his peacekeeping forces "without" asking any permission from the country they are going into.

Would send you the Russian presentations on this both in Russian and English from their late 2012/2013 presentations from the unclass Atlas Vision joint exercises.

Eye opener.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 3:05pm

In reply to by Bill M.

The Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment.

NOTE: Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;

The memorandum is clear in the explicit and implicate requirements for each of the signees—in exchange for your nuclear weapons we guarantee the following.

2. Para 2--reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence

3. Para 3 is actually the key para—it refers to the Helsinki Treaty which stated that all countries in Europe have the inherent right to select their blocs ie friends as they want to AND to refrain from economic actions designed to impact the Ukraine and it’s sovereignty

The Helsinki Act was fully signed by the Soviet Union and has been the bedrock document for security in Europe as all other European/US security documents built from this one until thrown out by Russia.

4. Para 4 is also interesting in that the UNSC must be called into play in order to offer assistance to the Ukraine if it became a victim of aggression which Russia is in effect the aggressor—only the second half of the sentence reflects nuclear weapons.

Have you seen this actually being instigated by the UN or the US??

Bill M.

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:02pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


I read the short memo, and did not see anything that commits us to the defense of Ukraine. We only committed to consulting if "nuclear weapons" are used against Ukraine. Russia did agree to respect Ukraine's sovereign borders, an agreement they clearly violated, but the memo doesn't mandate a response. Radio Free Europe's interpretation of what the memo actually means and what it doesn't.…

The actual memo is at the following link.…

I think there is a larger issue at play concerning nonproliferation. Our idealist strategic end is denuclearizing (weapons) the world. Most realize this is a pie in the sky goal, but it does provide direction to our collective efforts to at least move in that direction. Reality is we want to reduce proliferation and ideally get more countries to denuclearize like South Africa and Ukraine, but we can accept the current status quo. The threat of further proliferation will push us to decision point on whether to act or not to act (e.g. Iran).

Tying this back to the situation in Ukraine, it was guaranteed its sovereign integrity by the U.S., Russia, UK, and Ireland(?) if they gave up their nuclear weapons. As noted, Russia violated that agreement. The so what beyond Ukraine, is if you're another country with nukes watching this, you could get the idea that the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must. They would see little strategic utility in getting rid of their nuclear weapons, even though they may ultimately desire to do so. Since the international order is in disarray and not being enforced, I suspect more countries will seek a nuclear capability. Based on this issue alone, and it is not a small issue, I think we need to consider a response. I think our objective should be limited, the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity would suffice, and demonstrate that the international order is still working, so everyone can exhale. However, NATO needs to be on this, otherwise it isn't worth the effort and geopolitical risk to our longer term interests if they're not.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 8:28am

In reply to by Bill M.

Bill--here is the geo political reality of the Ukraine--if one glances at the map NATO is currently disjointed and the eastern flank ie Poland and the Baltics is separated from the southern flank of eventually Georgia, now Romania and Bulgaria. In the past and up to 2013 this was never even a thought within NATO--but check the Russian defense articles--there they fully understood it. Eventually the design is to at some point integrate the Balkans into the EU including Serbia--and NATO at some point in time but definitely the EU.

One of the core reasons outside of a Baltic sea port for keeping Kaliningrad instead of returning it to say Poland was to split Poland from the Baltics--again it was never an issue up to 2013. Now you have Russia stating it will station the nuclear capable SS-21s in Kaliningrad and they will then reach Berlin and that decision made in 1992 becomes critical.

By controlling the Ukraine one effectively splits the abilities of NATO to form a unified defense front-that is the core Russia military strategy in negating NATO--unless NATO is willing and it is not to station a NATO brigade in the Baltics all the time--the Baltics are always threatened as Russia in all honesty can roll over the Baltics in under 48 hours.

Ukraine has started a series of intensive conversations with Romania over Moldavia which is basically ethnically Romanian and have signed joint defense development deals and the warming between the Ukraine and Georgia is apparent as well.

Via the Baltics the Ukraine cooperation has branched up to Sweden as well.

In some way this new NATO wing so to speak will in time be far more important to Europe than the old guard of say the US, Germany and France.

Believe me the Russian military fully understands this.

In some ways if the US allows the Ukrainian experiment of the Maidan fail then there will be some serious questioning of the so called values of the US--what is gained in the ME--nothing there I can see supports the concepts of the currently expounded US values as really only one of the Arab Springs has successfully survived.

We did in an implicit way did sign up to defend the Ukraine with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum that we as well as the Russians are running form.

Implicit with giving up nuclear weapons was the stated explicit "defense of Ukrainian territorial borders and sovereignty.

It was pushed by Clinton as an agreement because at the time he could not nor did not want to fight Congress for a "treaty approval".

But reread the Memorandum--both explicit and implicit is contained within the written document.

We are in fact already in a limited war if one takes the author's own definition at the beginning of the article.

But we are not wanting to "view it as a war" as "wars" demand a response--just as we defined the Russian invasion as an "incursion".

If we take simply Webster's--- it is a war and an invasion however we want to define "limited warfare".

Bill M.

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 7:48am

In reply to by Outlaw 09


I hear you LIMA CHARLIE, but and this a BIG BUT, we as a nation have not committed policy wise to the defense of Ukraine. I still think Russia is latching out in desperation and we'll hear their swan song within two years. NATO needs to implement the porcupine strategy in the NATO countries that border Russia as suggested in the other interview, and then continue to keep pressure on Russia from multiple directions.

For the Middle East, I think Congress is going to force the White House to revamp their ISIL strategy. The people and their representatives get a vote in our system, and even the left leaning media is calling for more decisive action against ISIL. I don't know why the media is ignoring Russia, but the reporting is very, very limited in the mainstream with almost no context.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:52am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

As a follow up--can anyone in a coherent fashion actually explain just what our own strategy is for the ME and Russia????

Come on 2000 ATMs in the hands of Islamists of any color and yet the Ukraine is facing over 800 tanks and 1000 IFVs/APCs????

The Russians are next door to NATO and the IS is again exactly where??

Which is a longer term threat physically to the US and NATO? And who is next door?

US delivers 2,000 anti-tank weapons to divided, demoralized Iraq. Nothing for united, heroic Ukraine fighting Russia.…

Can Anyone Stop Putin’s New Blitz?

Major multi-pronged assault on Ukraine. New ceasefire violations, double-binds & "audacious BS" because Russia

Outlaw 09

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:42am

Actually when one goes through this article--not the US but Europe is currently in a limited war.

General war is not an "if" rather it is a "when".

After the figthing yesterday it is in fact a "localized general war" that has not left the borders of the Ukraine but is in fact standing on the edge of leaving those borders if Transnisteria comes into play and Moldavia and Romania get involved.

The attack in the Ukraine was not carried out by Russian mercenaries BUT rather by the same Russian army regular attack units that overran Debaltseve--Spetnaz and Far Eastern Russian armored infantry troops.

That the Ukrainians did a full stop on the attack is an interesting lessons learned for the Russians--they will need some time to rethink and regroup.

Putin intends to restore Russia's power and glory. Through war. Vast majority of Russians support him + these aims. Stop fooling yourselves.

Gen.@SKoziej: If #Russia now hit on #Ukraine, it will mean that it is much more irrational and dangerous, than everyone thought.

Russians tried to break through Ukr positions at #Chermalyk

#Analysis #Map
The #RussianArmy (incl. Far East forces) assault on #Marinka came from the N-E.
Thx to @Guderian_Xaba

The #RussianArmy attacked #Marinka acc. to their own footage (in which they call them "DNR").

Video source:
They advanced almost 2 km & still hold the area in all their videos.

@Guderian_Xaba same area as @DajeyPetros's and my geolocation.