The Irrationality Of The Debate

Yes I have written many posts on the Ukraine situation…..let me say here before some troll gets a hard on…..I oppose the invasion and the subsequent conflict that stared earlier this year when Russia invaded Ukraine.

With my posts have come many comments in support for Ukraine/NATO and the massive involvement in the conflict…..to me many of those are irrational because we Americans have given so much treasure in our many many wars and yet there is still some chest thumping……

When asked I usually get some snarky comments that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

And the conversation continues with  o actually talking….

A Harvard professor has made some interesting observations on this very subject……

Because war is uncertain and reliable information is sparse, no one knows how the war in Ukraine will play out. Nor can any of us be completely certain what the optimal course of action is. We all have our own theories, hunches, beliefs, and hopes, but nobody’s crystal ball is 100 percent reliable in the middle of a war.
You might think that this situation would encourage observers to approach the whole issue with a certain humility and give alternative perspectives a fair hearing even when they disagree with one’s own. Instead, debates about responsibility for the war and the proper course of action to follow have been unusually nasty and intolerant, even by modern standards of social media vituperation. I’ve been trying to figure out why this is the case.
 
What I find especially striking is how liberal interventionists, unrepentant neoconservatives, and a handful of progressives who are all-in for Ukraine seem to have no doubts whatsoever about the origins of the conflict or the proper course of action to follow today. For them, Russian President Vladimir Putin is solely and totally responsible for the war, and the only mistakes others may have made in the past was to be too nice to Russia and too willing to buy its oil and gas. The only outcome they are willing to entertain is a complete Ukrainian victory, ideally accompanied by regime change in Moscow, the imposition of reparations to finance Ukrainian reconstruction, and war crimes trials for Putin and his associates. Convinced that anything less than this happy result will reward aggression, undermine deterrence, and place the current world order in jeopardy, their mantra is: “Whatever it takes for as long as it takes.”
 
This same group has also been extraordinarily critical of those who believe responsibility for the war is not confined to Russia’s president and who think these war aims might be desirable in the abstract but are unlikely to be achieved at an acceptable cost and risk. If you have the temerity to suggest that NATO enlargement (and the policies related to it) helped pave the road to war, if you believe the most likely outcome is a negotiated settlement and that getting there sooner rather than later would be desirable, and if you favor supporting Ukraine but think this goal should be weighed against other interests, you’re almost certain to be denounced as a pro-Putin stooge, an appeaser, an isolationist, or worse. Case in point: When a handful of progressive congressional representatives released a rather tepid statement calling for greater reliance on diplomacy a few weeks ago, it was buried under a hailstorm of criticism and quickly disavowed by its own sponsors.
 
Prof. Walt sums up my thoughts expertly….
 
What will it take for the tide to turn on this debate?
 
Just wondering.
 
On an unrelated topic…..US is considering  cluster bombs for Ukraine…..
 

According to a report from CNN, the Biden administration is considering a request from Ukraine to provide cluster bombs, munitions that are banned by over 100 countries under an international treaty due to the harm they cause to civilians.

Cluster munitions scatter small bombs over large areas, making them more indiscriminate than other munitions. The small bombs often don’t explode on impact, making them a huge danger to civilians who comes across them, similar to land mines.

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions that bans the weapons has 108 signatories, but the US, Russia, and Ukraine are not parties to the treaty. Since Russia launched its invasion in February, both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used cluster munitions, and Kyiv was accused of using the bombs in populated areas of Donestk back in 2014.

The last known time the US used cluster bombs was in Yemen in 2009. Before that, US forces used them in the early days of the Afghanistan war and in Iraq in 2003. The US has supplied cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, which has used them in its war on Yemen.

The CNN report said that the Biden administration has been fielding a request from Ukraine for cluster munitions for months and has not rejected it outright. The administration hasn’t taken the option off the table if US stockpiles of other munitions become dangerously low.

(antiwar.com)

What happened to all that concern for civilians?

Personally I am sick of the pathetic excuses some Americans for this country pouring much needed cash into this war.

I Read, I Write, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”
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Is Ukraine Winning?

A great question as this war approaches its year anniversary…..if you read the headlines in the news (corporate media)all the weapons and cash sent to Ukraine is paying dividends as the Russian keep losing territory.

We never hear any negativity on this side of the pond from our major news sources……so no news is good news, right?

Not necessarily so according to German sources…..

The German foreign intelligence service assesses that Kiev is losing a “three-digit number” of soldiers daily, according to a report in Der Spiegel. Berlin informed politicians of the assessment during a secret meeting this week.

Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is “alarmed” by the high number of losses Ukraine is suffering. The report says Berlin believes Ukraine was losing a three-digit number of soldiers every day during the battle of Bakhmut with Russian forces. The BND informed German politicians of the high number of injured and killed Ukrainian forces during a covert Bundestag meeting last week.

The BND believes the Ukrainian casualties will have severe consequences during future battles. The German intelligence service also believes that Russia is suffering high casualties and using its soldiers as “cannon fodder.”

Reuters reported officials in Washington believe Kiev spent significant resources attempting to defend Bakhmut. The White House is currently advising Ukraine not to launch any major counteroffensives to recapture the city. The Joe Biden administration is additionally advising Kiev that continuing to pour soldiers into defending Bakhmut is preventing Ukrainian forces from attacking Russians defending other cities.

Ukraine is seeking tanks from its NATO partners. However, many countries, including the US and Germany have resisted sending their modern tanks to Ukraine.

Bakhmut is located in the Donetsk region. The BND believes if Russia takes the city, it will open the door for additional gains. Bakhmut has seen fierce fighting for several months, but the intensity picked up last week. Russian forces have made some gains in the city.

(antiwar.com)

The War Department will pull all punches and lie to keep the cash following and the ill-advised popular support for a war that shows no signs of ending.

Why is that?

It is called mission creep.

When the United States involves itself militarily in a conflict, it often finds it hard to get itself out, let alone avoid deep entanglements that blow well past lines it had drawn at the start of the intervention. 

It happened in Vietnam, when U.S. military advisers helping the South Vietnamese fight Viet Cong eventually became U.S. soldiers fighting an American war. It happened in Afghanistan, when an initial invasion to capture al-Qaida and overthrow the Taliban morphed into a nearly two-decade-long nation-building project. And it could be happening right now in Ukraine. 

Little by little, NATO and the United States are creeping closer to the catastrophic scenario President Joe Biden said “we must strive to prevent” — direct conflict between the United States and Russia. Despite stressing at the start of the war that “our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict,” current and former intelligence officials told the Intercept back in October that “there is a much larger presence of both CIA and US special operations personnel” in Ukraine than there was when Russia invaded, conducting “clandestine American operations” in the country that “are now far more extensive.” 

Mission Creep? How the US role in Ukraine has slowly escalated

I ask once again…..what does the US expect to be the return on their investment in Ukraine?

Out newest investment is Abrams tanks…..31 total…

As expected, President Biden on Wednesday announced that the US is following Germany’s lead and will supply Ukraine with tanks. Some 31 Abrams tanks, which the president described as equivalent to one Ukrainian battalion, will be sent. Standout points:

  • BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue writes that the US has previously indicated that the complexity of the high-tech Abrams tanks in terms of operating and maintaining them was holding it back from making the commitment. It had pushed for the delivery of Leopard tanks, which are used by more allies and require less training.
  • But Germany, which on Wednesday announced will send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks, had said it would only do so if the US “put its Abrams on the table, not wanting to incur Russia’s wrath without the US similarly committing its own tanks,” per the AP.
  • The New York Timesreports the tanks contributed by Germany and other allies would equal two additional battalions. Ukraine has said it would take 300 Western tanks to make a meaningful difference; it has thus far relied on Soviet-era tanks.
  • While training on the Abrams will likely begin right away, the BBC reports “the funding process for the tanks themselves means they will not be deployed for months” and “not in time for Russia’s anticipated spring offensive,” per the AP.
  • They’re part of a $400 million package that also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles, which can tow the Abrams if it gets stuck.
  • A logistical detail from the AP: The 70-ton tanks rely on a turbine jet engine that burns a minimum of two gallons a mile regardless of whether they are on the move or idling; as such, a bevy of fuel trucks is required to keep the tanks mobile.
  • Last week, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl described Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s thinking as such: “that we should not be providing the Ukrainians systems they can’t repair, they can’t sustain, and that they, over the long term, can’t afford, because it’s not helpful.”

Another waste but that is what we do….waste money on worthless endeavors while children starve…..good plan.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Russian Sanctions

The big push these days is for a cleaner energy and the dash toward nuclear power is growing in anticipation.

For this renewed interest will take uranium and this is where this post picks up….

Remember when the Ukraine invasion started and the US and its allies first attack was to put massive sanctions in place to punish the invader.

What about all the uranium that the west gets from Russia for its nuclear programs?

Many world powers have sped-up plans to introduce new nuclear power plants in a bid to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decarbonise. Due to the high energy demand, many countries around the globe view renewable energy as insufficient in the mid-term to provide enough energy to meet the needs of the growing world population. However, nuclear power could provide a low-carbon alternative, offering abundant energy and low emissions. However, experts now worry that the global reliance on Russian uranium to power many of these projects could put many world leaders in a quandary, having already introduced sanctions on Russian energy and attempted to reduce their reliance on Russia.  Earlier this year, the U.S. announced a $6 billion bailout for its existing nuclear plants. The government and the Department of Energy (DoE) partnered on a scheme to help nuclear plants across the country facing severe economic challenges to support the longevity of U.S. nuclear power, as part of the country’s green transition. Despite being controversial, nuclear power is considered carbon neutral, and therefore key to transitioning away from fossil fuels. Since then, the launch of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has encouraged greater investment in the nuclear energy sector. It offers a variety of subsidies, including a production tax credit to help preserve the existing fleet of nuclear plants and tax incentives for the development of new nuclear reactors.  

While developing its nuclear assets demonstrates a step forward in the movement to carbon neutrality, the U.S. has one very big challenge to overcome for its nuclear power plants to be a success – its reliance on Russian uranium. The type of uranium that U.S. nuclear reactors require to run is only sold commercially by one company in the world, a subsidiary of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM). At present, U.S. nuclear firms buy around half of the uranium they use from state-owned companies in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Scott Melbye, Executive Vice President at Uranium Energy Corp., stated “We estimate that there is more than $1 billion in annual U.S. dollar purchases of nuclear fuel flowing to ROSATOM.” 

(oilprice.com)

As usual these sanctions are not as sweeping and all inclusive as they would have you believe.

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Let’s Return To Ukraine

With all the celebrating surely we have not forgotten Ukraine.

Most have but not me…I am like a wolf on the trail of a weak bison.

Did you know that before we had a deal to keep our government up and running we had to promise to give even more cash to Ukraine.

What part of that would keep the government up and functioning?

Can anyone remember back to the 60s and that far away place Vietnam?

It became a ceaseless war….can there be others?

That my friends is what is called a “Proxy War”….between the US and the USSR.

Now we have Ukraine…..and that is also a proxy war…..

Will the Ukraine conflict become another of these ceaseless wars? It is difficult to see why it should not, since neither Moscow nor Kyiv is likely to win a decisive victory but they still hope to improve their political and diplomatic position on the battlefield. The Russians are using precision-guided missiles and drones to destroy the Ukrainian infrastructure and the Ukrainians are beginning to fire missiles back at ostensibly military targets. It may not be long before they decide that if they are going to sit in the dark, so too will the Russians.

A crucial question is whether or not the progressive destruction of the Ukrainian electrical-generating and transmission system is unstoppable, however many anti-aircraft missiles are sent by the Nato powers.

If the missile barrage cannot be intercepted then we can expect another great exodus of refugees from Ukraine into the rest of Europe with no reason for them to return. Some 4.4 million Ukrainians applied for temporary protection in the EU in the first nine months of the year. Poland alone received 1.3 million. Migration fatigue is visible and is likely to grow. Resentment at the influx will benefit right-wing groups as did the Syrian influx in 2015-16.

Will Ukraine Become Another Ceaseless War?

Then a NATO big wig adds fuel to the fire of a ceaseless war when he states the more weapons will bring peace.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg claimed in an interview published Friday that the quickest path to peace in Ukraine is through NATO countries sending more weapons to Kyiv.

“It may sound like a paradox, but military support for Ukraine is the fastest way to peace,” Stoltenberg told the German news agency DPA. “We know that most wars end at the negotiating table – probably this war too – but we know that what Ukraine can achieve in these negotiations depends inextricably on the military situation.”

Stoltenberg’s comments come as there is no indication that Ukraine and Russia will come to the negotiating table. Kyiv maintains that its goal is to push Russia out of all the territory it has captured, including Crimea, while Moscow vows it’s not leaving the areas it has annexed.

NATO Chief Says Sending More Weapons to Ukraine Is Quickest Path to Peace

(You now know who this yahoo really works for)

2023 will be a continuation of wasted money and death and destruction in Ukraine.

And the American roll over and defend the work of a Congress that is corruptible and spineless.

And then there is the bunk about democracy and truth for Ukraine….another crappy tagline….

President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a new bill into law which strengthens government control over public access to news in Ukraine. Zelensky has already nationalized the country’s media under martial law powers invoked after Russia’s invasion last year, stoking criticism from press freedom groups.

Signed on December 29, the law expands the Ukrainian broadcast regulator’s powers over news agencies ”dramatically,” now including both print and online sources, according to the Kyiv Independent. The measure requires publications to obtain licenses to operate, and any media org without the proper paperwork can be shut down, the outlet reported, adding that the body handing out the permits will be under Zelensky’s control. 

https://libertarianinstitute.org/news/zelensky-expands-crack-down-on-news-media-in-ukraine/

Pay Attention!

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“lego ergo scribo”

All Those Amazing Sanctions

The US is the master of issuing sanctions against our ‘enemies’…..we have them in place on Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and god knows how many others.

Sanctions are nothing more than a feel good measure to make it appears that we are doing something when in reality it is mostly a waste of time and energy.

I have written many times about the uselessness of sanctions and all that goes with them.

Is Sanctions The Answer?

And now some others have seen just how flipping useless these actions are…..

The definition of insanity, it is often said, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yet that is exactly what U.S. and other Western policymakers have done in imposing broad economic sanctions against adversarial and otherwise problematic regimes.

The results have generally not been positive. Instead of persuading authoritarian and aggressive leaders to change their ways, broad sanctions have reinforced anti-democratic tendencies and incentivized nuclear and other proliferation. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens of these countries suffer in terms of declining standards of living and increased government repression, while a shrinking elite prospers from control over limited resources.

We have seen this movie over and over in places as distant and distinct as Venezuela and Iran, Cuba, Syria, and North Korea.

The latter country is a particularly depressing poster child for sanctions. Since it began developing and testing nuclear weapons — after the George W. Bush administration withdrew from a non-proliferation deal known as the Agreed Framework in 2002 — North Korea has been hit with wave after wave of sanctions and has become increasingly isolated. While there is no mass starvation of the sort that killed as many as two million people in the 1990s, there is serious food insecurity with many North Koreans eating only one meal a day, according to well-informed sources.

Using COVID-19 as an excuse, the government of Kim Jong-un has refused access to international aid agencies such as the World Food Program and made it more difficult for North Koreans to learn about the outside world or to escape as refugees. The China-North Korea border, which was once relatively porous, is now hermetically sealed, with, informed sources say, 169 watchtowers and two barbed-wire perimeters preventing North Koreans from reaching and crossing the Yalu River and eventually making their way to South Korea via third countries.

When will the US learn that sanctions don’t solve its problems?

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“lego ergo scribo”

A DeSantis Foreign Policy

I know it is a little early and so far the only confirmed candidate is former president but the popular sentiment is that Florida’s governor will throw his hat into the fray for 2024.

If that is truly the case I would like to look at his possible stands on foreign policy……

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has become one of the main challengers to Donald Trump for leadership of the Republican Party in the wake of his landslide reelection victory last week over Democratic candidate Charlie Crist. 

While DeSantis is best known nationally for controversies over Covid and culture war battles, he has a foreign policy record from his years in Congress and even during his tenure as governor that also merits closer scrutiny. If he seeks the Republican nomination for president, as many now expect he will, voters should be aware of the foreign policy worldview that he brings with him. 

Before he left the House for Tallahassee, DeSantis established himself as a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy with an emphasis on attacking U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran and Cuba. His three terms in the House overlapped with Obama’s major initiatives of negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran and restoring normal relations with Cuba, and like the rest of his party DeSantis was hostile to both policies. 

The hardline positions that DeSantis has taken on issues relating to Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela are not surprising given Florida politics, and they have aligned him closely with Florida’s hawkish Sen. Marco Rubio and fellow Iraq war veteran Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

During the original debate over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), DeSantis was an early and vocal opponent of an agreement with Iran. He co-authored a July 2015 op-ed in Time with Tom Cotton outlining the usual hawkish objections to the deal. Like most critics of the agreement, they misrepresented what it would do and exaggerated the benefits Iran would receive from sanctions relief. The op-ed was long on outrage and short on offering any serious alternative to diplomacy to resolve the nuclear issue. 

DeSantis and Cotton also indulged in rather hysterical threat inflation about Iran, saying, “They will stop at nothing to end our way of life.” 

What might a DeSantis foreign policy look like?

Typical GOP misinformation when it comes to foreign policy….

In essence DeSantis is a clone of Trump and if he is successful at winning the presidency we can expect nothing good to come out of his foreign policies.

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“lego ergo scribo”

No Accountability

Since the early days of the Ukraine/Russia mash-up I have been a staunch critic of all the cash we are spending in ‘defense’ of Ukraine’s sovereignty…..recently a GOP lead push for more oversight was attempted…..but as of this writing the attempt has failed.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday narrowly voted down a bill that would audit the tens of billions of dollars that Congress has approved to spend on the war in Ukraine.

The bill was rejected by the Democrat-led panel in a vote of 26 to 22. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and a small group of Republicans who oppose US aid to Ukraine, but it received strong support from more hawkish Republicans.

Republican Reps. Thomas Massie (KY), Matt Gaetz (FL), Barry Moore (AL), and Andrew Clyde (GA) cosponsored Greene’s bill.

Greene has said that she will reintroduce the measure in the next Congress when Republicans have a majority in the House. “It’s official the Democrats have voted NO to transparency for the American people for an Audit for Ukraine,” Greene wrote on Twitter after the vote. “But we take over in January! This audit will happen!”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who is expected to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the next Congress, has come out in favor of the audit bill. “The era of writing blank checks is over,” McCaul said, according to The Washington Post.

McCaul has been critical of the Biden administration for not sending longer-range weapons to Ukraine and wants to encourage Ukrainian strikes on Crimea despite the risk of escalation. But he represents the mainstream Republicans who want to keep arming Ukraine but agree there should be more oversight.

Democrats have been critical of the growing Republican calls for more oversight of the Ukraine aid. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the head of the House Armed Services Committee, even dismissed the concerns as “Russian propaganda” and said the calls from Republicans to increase oversight “makes me a little crazy.”

This should leave NO doubt on who the Dems work for in DC….hint–ain’t you.

I have not been kind to MTG in the past….but in this case I agree with her, in principle.

I would expect the “Squad” to be on board with the oversight thing…..but they seem to be as much in favor of wasting taxpayer dollars as the GOP.

You really should be paying attention.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Yet More Intervention?

The US spends way too much time trying to instigate war……it is bad enough that we are basically involved in wars in almost every continent and yet some US officials are urging more involvement…..

This time it is the small island nation of Haiti….

Some top Biden administration officials are pushing for an international military intervention in Haiti over concerns of a migration crisis, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The government of acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been under pressure over growing gang violence in the country and from demonstrators that are demanding Henry resign. Henry requested foreign military intervention last month to break a blockade of a key fuel terminal in Port-au-Prince, but the Haitian national police have since broken the blockade.

The US proposed a UN resolution calling for a foreign military force to enter Haiti after Henry’s request but has struggled to find a country willing to lead the intervention. The Times report said that while the Biden administration officials want to see military intervention in the country, they don’t want it to involve US troops.

US officials said that the deployment of 2,500 troops and police officers could be enough to secure key areas in Haiti. But countries the US has looked to lead the intervention are hesitant, including Canada and Brazil.

While Haitians are facing violence and food shortage, most people in the country are against the intervention due to the country’s dark history with foreign military occupations. The most recent UN peacekeeping deployment that ended in 2017 involved extensive human rights abuses, including the sexual assault of underage girls, and a cholera outbreak.

A report from NPR earlier in November found that most Haitians oppose foreign military intervention. “All they brought was kidnappings and rape and cholera,” a protest organizer told NPR of the UN peacekeeping deployment. “If the UN sends troops to Haiti, the fighting will get even more intense.”

Henry has little popular support as he was never elected. He was made the country’s acting leader following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, whose killing was never solved.

(antiwar.com)

Who do you think will be bankrolling this endeavor?

If you cannot think in monetary terms then how about Somalia or Lebanon from our past….ring any bells?

Here is an idea since our main object internationally is to involve this nation in wars both big and small maybe the Department of Defense should return to its original name, War Department…..makes more sense than the Defense Department since our objectives are armed conflict and not defense.

Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is China A Serious Threat?

We hear almost daily of what a growing problem China is becoming.

But is China a serious threat?

I realize that we need an enemy to keep the defense industry profitable…..I mean we have Russia right now but is that perceived threat going to last?

According to the MSM and the Pentagon China is just that.

Again I ask…Is it?

China’s recently concluded 20th Party Congress was highlighted visually by the Godfather-like scene of former president Hu Jintao being abruptly escorted off stage as an indifferent Xi Jinping mumbled a brief word to his predecessor and then let him depart. The results of the Congress were to consolidate control even further for Xi, as he prepares for a third five-year term in office with no signs of slowing down.  

Onlookers have understandably worried about a strengthening autocracy under Xi. Given that China has become more powerful during Xi’s reign, less tolerant of dissent at home, and more menacing to its neighbors as well, Xi’s strengthening position would seem to portend a more dangerous China in the years ahead. Together, these developments seem to support the Biden administration’s view, as expressed in its new National Security Strategy, that China represents America’s “most consequential strategic challenge” — even as it is Vladimir Putin’s Russia that rains down missiles and artillery on Ukraine, while driving up global energy and food prices and issuing nuclear threats to the world.

There is ample reason to worry about China, to be sure. The Pentagon has good cause to describe it as our “pacing challenge,” given that China’s military budget of some $250 billion to $350 billion is far and away the world’s second largest, its research and development efforts with national security relevance the second largest as well, and its manufacturing base easily the planet’s biggest. These realities combined with China’s avowed desire to absorb Taiwan back into the motherland as soon as possible, and its dangerous military activities in the western Pacific in general, give serious pause. 

But we need to approach the China threat with perspective. For all its potential seriousness, there remain at least three objective realities and structural restraints on China’s behavior to date. Factoring them into the equation should not make us lower our guard, or relent in the various kinds of economic and military efforts we are now making in the interest of vigilance. But our outlook should be tempered by a certain calm, especially in regard to handling crises that may occur in the western Pacific. China may now be the No. 1 strategic challenge to the United States, but it is not public enemy No. 1.

Just how ominous is the China threat?

All I am saying is that all aspects of the ‘threat’ needs to be looked at….we should not take the words from people and institutions that are on the payroll of the defense industry.

I am sure that there will be many more reports on the ‘seriousness’ of the Chinese threat….and we should make sure of the threat before we do anything stupid.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“kego ergo scribo”

What Is Russia Fighting For?

We are closing in on one year of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine…..I have asked what are the results that Russia is looking for that would prod them into this conflict?

A good question since very few of Russian objectives have been realized……

It’s curious to see the US military advocate diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine, while President Joe Biden and his senior officials oppose it. Much to the embarrassment of the administration, Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says that Ukraine is unlikely to win back the Crimea and it is time for talks. “You want to negotiate from a position of strength,” Milley said in a speech in New York last week. “Russia is on its back.”

Soldiers tend to have a better balanced sense than politicians about the way in which advantage in war can swing backwards and forwards. They ought to have after their grim experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, in both of which the US thought at one point that it had won a total victory.

Milley may well be right, but it is difficult to see why Ukraine should negotiate while it is winning victories on the ground. As for President Vladimir Putin, he will scarcely want to talk until his army has achieved something other than stage shambolic retreats and lose territory captured in the first days of the invasion.

What indeed are Russia’s war aims? On 24 February, and for a couple of days afterwards, they were clear enough: Russia wanted to conquer Ukraine and install a proxy government, much as in Czechoslovakia in 1968. It did not happen: the invasion failed miserably to achieve any of its objectives, so what exactly is Russia fighting for today?

As for the war itself, the Ukrainian victories at Kharkiv and Kherson show that the Russian army is a shambles and it has never recovered from the initial debacle. But the ground war in Ukraine is only one part of the conflict: another is the Russian drone and missile assault on Ukrainian electricity, gas and water supplies. As we have seen in conflicts in the Middle East, precision-guided missiles and drones, once the monopoly of the US, are the new face of war, against which total defence is impossible. The Russians are avoiding direct attacks on the two nuclear plants in western Ukraine, but they are destroying the transmission cables and substations that cannot be speedily replaced.

The other front in the conflict is the economic war against Russia which has turned out to be a spectacular boomerang with ruinous consequences for European economies. Sanctions are a collective punishment on ordinary Russians, but do not directly target the Kremlin. Sanctions did not remove Saddam Hussein in Iraq over 13 years or Bashar al-Assad in Syria over a decade, and there is no reason to suppose that they will work against Putin.

What is Russia Fighting for Today?

Kherson is back in the news after being liberated from Russian control…..

Weeks after filling the streets in celebration after the city’s recapture, residents again are fleeing the southern Ukraine city of Kherson.

Unable to win on the battlefield, “Russia is bringing death, starvation and hypothermia to civilians,” said Mateusz Morawiecki, who was attending the International Summit of Food Security in the capital. Saturday was the 90th anniversary of the start of the “Holodomor,” or Great Famine, in which more than 3 million people were killed over two years when the Soviet government seized food and grain supplies. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz marked Ukraine’s solemn commemoration with a message by video. “Today, we stand united in stating that hunger must never again be used as a weapon,” Scholz said.

The Ukrainian battlefield is very fluid….it will not be over until it is over….and if the US has it’s way it will never be over.

I am still waiting for someone to answer my question of what does the US hope to get in return for our massive investment in Ukraine?

Could this be the answer?

High-level European officials are furious with the Biden administration and are now accusing the US of profiting from the war in Ukraine while Europe is facing a potential energy crisis.

In comments to POLITICO, a senior EU official said, “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the US because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons.”

The US-led sanctions campaign on Russia has backfired on Europe as it has ratcheted up energy prices to the point where Europeans may face blackouts this winter. On top of the energy situation, European leaders also fear they will lose out on investments due to unprecedented subsidies included in the US’s Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law in August.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $369 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for green businesses, incentivizing companies to invest in the US instead of Europe. European leaders have publicly criticized the US for the legislation and are considering subsidies of their own, signaling the beginning of a new trade war.

The senior EU official told POLITICO that the double whammy of high energy prices and loss of trade to subsidies could turn public opinion against supporting Ukraine. “We are really at a historic juncture,” the official said. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

(antiwar.com)

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”