The First Modern War

While in university I took a second in conflict management…..war as obscene as it is has always fascinated me…..what possesses man to commit such carnage and how does it end……

While World War One created the world as we know it today…..but was it the first modern war?

So, what was the first modern war?

Some say the Crimean War was the first.

The Crimean War (1853-1856) stemmed from Russia’s threat to multiple European interests with its pressure of Turkey. After demanding Russian evacuation of the Danubian Principalities, British and French forces laid siege to the city of Sevastopol in 1854. The campaign lasted for a full year, with the Battle of Balaclava and its “Charge of the Light Brigade” among its famous skirmishes. Facing mounting losses and increased resistance from Austria, Russia agreed to the terms of the 1856 Treaty of Paris. Remembered in part for Florence Nightingale’s work for the wounded, the Crimean War reshaped Europe’s power structure.

The Crimean War was a result of Russian pressure on Turkey; this threatened British commercial and strategic interests in the Middle East and India. France, having provoked the crisis for prestige purposes, used the war to cement an alliance with Britain and to reassert its military power.

Anglo-French forces secured Istanbul before attacking Russia in the Black Sea, the Baltic, the Arctic, and the Pacific, supported by a maritime blockade. In September 1854 the allies landed in the Crimea, planning to destroy Sevastopol and the Russian Fleet in six weeks before withdrawing to Turkey. After victory on the River Alma, they hesitated; the Russians then reinforced the city and attacked the allied flank at the battles of Balaklava and the Inkerman. After a terrible winter, the allies cut Russian logistics by occupying the Sea of Azov; then, using superior sea-based logistics, they forced the Russians out of Sevastopol, which fell on September 8–9, 1855.

https://www.history.com/topics/british-history/crimean-war

Now that you have the simple definition of the war…the whys and wheres…..

But what made it to be considered as the first modern war?

In 1854, British industrialist Henry Bessemer met Napoleon III. Bessemer had designed a new type of artillery shell, and after the French generals had shown little interest in the product, the inventor decided to pitch the idea to the Emperor himself.

Napoleon had taken the French throne by coup three years earlier. In the mould of his uncle, the first great Bonaparte, the new Emperor was determined to restore France’s influence both in Europe and the colonies. Only the previous year, he had sent troops to fight the Russians in the Crimea. Napoleon III liked Bessemer’s idea of a longer, heavier shell cut with spiral grooves that would make the shell spin and as a result more accurately target enemy positions. This, he believed, was the sort of technology that would help him release France from the shackles imposed by the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the Peace Treaty that had brought an end to the Napoleonic Wars. There was, however, one slight problem with Bessemer’s invention.

https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2013/10/crimea-the-first-modern-war/

Now you know.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Diplomacy Is A Must!

Since 1904 a major tool of the US foreign policy has been what has become to be known as ‘gunboat diplomacy’…..

Good old TR gave us this idea……

Gunboat diplomacy is an aggressive foreign policy applied with the use of highly-visible displays of military—usually naval—power to imply a threat of warfare as a means of forcing cooperation. The term is typically equated with the “Big Stick” ideology of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the globetrotting voyage of his “Great White Fleet” in 1909.

The concept of gunboat diplomacy emerged during the late nineteenth-century period of imperialism, when the Western powers—the United States and Europe—competed to establish colonial trading empires in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Whenever conventional diplomacy failed, fleets of the larger nations’ warships would suddenly appear maneuvering off the coasts of the smaller, uncooperative countries. In many cases, the veiled threat of these “peaceful” shows of military force was enough to bring about capitulation without bloodshed.

The fleet of “Black Ships” commanded by U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry is a classic example of this early period of gunboat diplomacy. In July 1853, Perry sailed his fleet of four solid black warships into Japan’s Tokyo Bay. Without a navy of its own, Japan quickly agreed to open its ports to trade with the West for the first time in over 200 years.

https://www.thoughtco.com/gunboat-diplomacy-4774988

The US has been in one war after another….both big and little…..since those days.

War sucks needed funds out of the treasury and for what?

What we need now is diplomacy not war.

Diplomacy?

Diplomacy has probably existed for as long as civilisation has. The easiest way to understand it is to start by seeing it as a system of structured communication between two or more parties. Records of regular contact via envoys travelling between neighbouring civilisations date back at least 2500 years. They lacked many of the characteristics and commonalities of modern diplomacy such as embassies, international law and professional diplomatic services. Yet, it should be underlined that political communities, however they may have been organised, have usually found ways to communicate during peacetime, and have established a wide range of practices for doing so. The benefits are clear when you consider that diplomacy can promote exchanges that enhance trade, culture, wealth and knowledge.

For those looking for a quick definition, diplomacy can be defined as a process between actors (diplomats, usually representing a state) who exist within a system (international relations) and engage in private and public dialogue (diplomacy) to pursue their objectives in a peaceful manner.

Diplomacy is not foreign policy and must be distinguished from it. It may be helpful to perceive diplomacy as part of foreign policy. When a nation-state makes foreign policy it does so for its own national interests. And, these interests are shaped by a wide range of factors. In basic terms, a state’s foreign policy has two key ingredients; its actions and its strategies for achieving its goals. The interaction one state has with another is considered the act of its foreign policy. This act typically takes place via interactions between government personnel through diplomacy. To interact without diplomacy would typically limit a state’s foreign policy actions to conflict (usually war, but also via economic sanctions) or espionage. In that sense, diplomacy is an essential tool required to operate successfully in today’s international system.

“Clearly what is needed is diplomacy and negotiations on contested matters,” linguist and historian Noam Chomsky tells Truthout, “and real cooperation on such crucial issues as global warming, arms control, future pandemics — all very severe crises that know no borders. Whether Biden’s hawkish foreign policy team will have the wisdom to move in these directions is, for now, at best unclear — at worst, frightening. Absent significant popular pressures, prospects do not look good.”

I have been watching Biden’s turn in foreign policy and so far I have seen NOTHING that would lead to a more peaceful existence for the people of this planet.

The time is now….but DC turns its back on the possibility for a peaceful world…..and the reason is cash.

It is more about filling re-election coffers with money more than the benefits to humanity.

All I am saying is give peace a chance (thanx to John Lennon)….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

They’re Coming Home!

Finally after years of my bitching and ranting like me and others about our endless wars….one of them may be ending…..Afghanistan……..

President Biden confirmed Wednesday that he will not be taking the Afghanistan war into its third decade. “It’s time to end the forever war,” he said in a speech from the Treaty Room of the White House, which CNN notes is the same room in which George W. Bush announced the start of US military involvement in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks almost 20 years ago. “War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said, per the New York Times. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives.” Biden plans to withdraw all US troops by Sept. 11 this year. Around 2,500 US troops are left in the country. NATO officials said after Biden’s speech that the alliance plans to withdraw its 7,000 troops from the country along the same timeline.

Biden said it was time to “end the cycle” of extending the American presence in the hope of creating better conditions to pull out. “I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” he said. “I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.” Unlike the deal Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban last year, Biden’s withdrawal plan is not conditions-based, officials say. Biden said he spoke with George W. Bush and Barack Obama before announcing the decision. After the speech, Biden visited Arlington National Cemetery and said it was “absolutely clear” to him that withdrawing from Afghanistan was the right move, the AP reports.

“Never meant to be a multi-generational war”….if not then why was it?

They say (whoever they are) that the American people are tired of war,,,,,,then where were those voices?  I have heard very little opposition to war.

I know why….but I will pretend that this was good faith by Biden.

Good news our troops are coming home to their families (for now)…..but maybe not ALL our troops….

The Times report reads: “Instead of declared troops in Afghanistan, the United States will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives to find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic State threats, current and former American officials said.”

I applaud Biden for this action….but there is a caveat here…..

They are coming home because the Pentagon is gearing up for the confrontation of China in the China Sea.

This is excellent news on the one hand and disturbing on the other.

Please stop this ‘gunboat diplomacy’ BS (explanation in a future post).

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

A Cold War Reboot?

I admit it I am old…..I lived through the original Cold War for most of my life and even witnessed the death of the old Soviet Union….when the USSR died it was hailed as a new beginning of a world that would be at peace and prosperous.

Well the world got more prosperous thanks in part to the advent of globalization….the peace part has yet to be achieved.

While we await the promise of peace the US is stirring the pot for a reboot of the policies of the Cold War.

This time the new ‘enemy’ is China…..

There has been lots of rhetoric around the ‘China Problem’…..and now the Senate has made it official that we are rebooting the Cold War….

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced a new piece of bipartisan legislation to confront China through prioritized military spending and more arms sales in the Indo-Pacific, sanctions, money for “democracy promotion” in Hong Kong, and other areas where the US seeks to counter Beijing.

The legislation still needs to go through the Committee before being introduced in the Senate, but a draft of the bill, titled the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, was released by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the Committee chairman. Menendez negotiated the bill with Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID).

In a release on the Committee’s website, the 281-page bill was described as the “first major proposal to bring Democrats and Republicans together in laying out a strategic approach towards Beijing — and assuring that the United States is positioned to compete with China across all dimensions of national and international power for decades to come.” Menendez is convening a Committee meeting on April 14th for a vote on the legislation.

The bill calls for the US to strengthen military ties in the Indo-Pacific through arms sales. The bill reads: “The United States should design for export to Indo-Pacific allies and partners capabilities critical to maintaining a favorable military balance in the region, including long-range precision fires, air and missile defense systems, anti-ship cruise missiles, land attack cruise missiles, conventional hypersonic systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, and command and control systems.”

Senate Unveils Sweeping Legislation to Confront China

The Cold War will be rebranded  as well as the reboot…..

When it comes to future conflicts or present-day war games, they have all the advantages and we have none! Or as Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, told CNN recently, “Russia and China are playing a home game, we are playing an away game.” And mind you, we’re talking about a home game that could stretch from the Baltic Sea and the Arctic regions of Eurasia to the South China Sea. Those two “near-peer rivals” (as the U.S. military has taken to calling them) seem to have all the luck. I mean, count on one thing: imagined future flare points for conflict – “a fictional global crisis erupting on multiple fronts” in those war games – won’t be in the Caribbean, off New York City, or near the Baja Peninsula. As a result, the US will have to be fully prepared, at staggering expense, to deploy and support forces thousands of miles away for the future conflicts the Pentagon is now imagining.

Fortunately, that military is, it seems, planning ahead for just such a future. As CNN’s Barbara Starr recently reported, this summer it’s going to engage in highly classified computer war games with two near-peer enemies with fictional names. No one, however, should doubt for a second that they will be China and Russia. This will happen just as the next Pentagon budget is being set in place and, in a recent exercise gaming out a future conflict against such adversaries, an anonymous Defense Department official confirmed to Starr that “we found the Blue Team, the US and allies, kept losing.”

The Cold War, Rebooted and Rebranded

We are returning to the ‘good old days’ of the Cold War…..that will mean more and more taxpayer cash will flow into the Pentagon and the rest of the nation will suffer.

Time to invest in some form of diplomacy….and leave the weapons and threats aside……but sadly talk does not equate into profit for the defense industry….and we all know it is more about that than the good of the nation.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–12Apr21

We are living in the age of TMI…..like these days we have minute by minute updates on Covid and a trial and now the death of a prince……we do NOT need this much information.

As the world says good-bye to Prince Phillip…..I have read many thoughts on his life……I am sure that he lived a good life considering he was part of the pampered royals.

I am sorry that he has passed on….but I still do not see why this is a major news story here in the US. Yes he was a force on the world stage only because he was married to the queen.

Even in the UK and the coverage of his death has gotten a bunch of complaints…..

The UK’s national broadcaster switched instantly into mourning mode when Prince Philip’s death was announced Friday. The BBC canceled its regular programming and aired special coverage hosted by black-clad news anchors throughout the day. Popular prime-time shows such as the cooking contest MasterChef were supplanted. Some Britons saw the BBC’s actions as a fitting mark of respect. For others, it was a bit much. The broadcaster received so many complaints alleging its reporting was excessive that it set up a special website page for viewers to register objections if they felt there was “too much TV coverage of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.” The AP reports it didn’t disclose how many people had complained by Saturday.

The publicly funded BBC often finds itself under fire from all sides for its treatment of major national events. When the Queen Mother Elizabeth died in 2002, the broadcaster received criticism because the announcer who delivered the news did not wear a black tie. Britain’s other TV stations also gave extensive coverage to Philip’s death, but the BBC is under unique pressure because it is taxpayer-funded. Scrutiny and questions about its role have grown in recent years as commercial rivals and streaming services give audiences more choice. BBC Director-General Tim Davie has acknowledged the organization must evolve with changing times, but says it remains essential to British society. “We have a different purpose” than broadcasters such as Netflix, Davie told UK lawmakers last month. “I’m not running a business for profit. I’m running … an organization for purpose.”

I am sorry that the queen has lost her mate of 73 years…..but here in the US it should not be the major suction on the news cycle….it will be endless.

I apologize if this offends but our country is going to Hell and yet we are ‘treated’ to hour after hour of the mundane .

Turn The Page!

“lego ergo scribo”

An Invocation To War?

Events seem to be spiraling in Ukraine in the mash-up with Russia…..something I tried to bring to the readers of IST and try to make people understand that this situation could get serious very quickly…..https://lobotero.com/2021/04/05/ukraine-vs-russia/

After I attempted to raise the alarm to conflict in the wings…..Ukraine has invoked the agreement with NATO……

Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, is quoted today as boasting that his nation’s military is capable of responding to what he deemed the “aggravation of the situation” in the Donbass, in his words the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk and Lugansk, and “along the entire Ukrainian-Russian border.”

The above regions are only two of five Ukrainian (or former Ukrainian) oblasts bordering Russia. The total land border between Ukraine and Russia as Ukraine computes it is some 1,225 miles; Russia’s border with Donetsk and Lugansk is 255 miles.

The Ukrainian military chief has extended the line of conflict by almost five times. In language evocative of the worst days of the Cold War, Khomchak also intoned: “Ukraine is supported by the entire civilized world. We are not alone in the face of the enemy.”

As a concrete example of what he was alluding to, and in arguably the most inflammatory language used to date in regard to the conflict in the Donbass, the country’s top military commander mentioned NATO’s collective military defense clause:

“We have intensified the military dialogue with NATO at the strategic level and deepened cooperation in the Black Sea region. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are taking part in collective training events for troops [forces], including in NATO exercises on the subject of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.”

At the same time Interfax-Ukraine reported that an American delegation led by the U.S. defense attaché to Ukraine, Colonel Brittany Stewart, paid a working visit to the Joint Forces Operation headquarters. From 2014-2018 known as the Anti-Terrorist Operation, Joint Forces Operation is the name for Ukraine’s war in the Donbass.

The American delegation met with troops assigned to “the contact line with the enemy, talked with Ukrainian defenders and once again made sure [were apprised?] of the presence of Russian mercenaries in Donbas.” It also visited a memorial to Ukrainian soldiers killed in the seven-year war in the Donbass.

Colonel Stewart said at a briefing, “The U.S. government is deeply concerned over the situation that is developing near the borders of Ukraine and in every possible way supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The U.S. and NATO in every possible way support Kiev’s war near the Russian border.

(antiwar.com)

Once again the drums of war are beating and the clock is ticking…..time to let real diplomacy take the lead….not the ‘gunboat diplomacy’ of our past.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is It Trump Lite?

My main interests are in the arena of foreign policy and international relations……and I know that Biden has been president for less than 100 days and it may not be a good idea to analyze his foreign policies…..but the world is going to crap and he, Biden, should be focused on the many flair ups happening around the world as well as putting the US on sound domestic footing.

In less than a 100 days not much has changed……..

Joe Biden has been president for two months. Only 46 months to go, unless he is reelected. In fact, he teased the media at his press conference, suggesting that he likely would run for reelection, though he insisted that prospect was too far in the future for him to consider today.

The biggest change from his predecessor is the calm which has descended upon Washington, D.C. Days go by without thinking about Biden. After four years of Donald Trump, the atmosphere seems so … normal.

However, U.S. foreign policy hasn’t changed much.

(read the analysis)

After Two Months, President Joe Biden has Become Donald Trump Lite on Foreign Policy

Seems to be a ‘bait and switch’ foreign policy……just doing the status quo…..

Unscrupulous used car dealers could learn a trick or two from America’s foreign policy mandarins when it comes to bait-and-switch tactics. Repeatedly, U.S. officials have invoked a specific justification—frequently an emotionally charged one with wide appeal—to obtain congressional and public support for a military intervention or other questionable policy initiative. When the original justification subsequently proves to be bogus, exaggerated, or no longer applicable, they simply create a new rationale to justify continuing the mission.

That tactic is especially evident with respect to the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. U.S. leaders justified the initial invasion of the country as a necessary response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Foreign fighters belonging to Al Qaeda had used the country as their primary safe haven, and the Taliban government had allowed Osama bin Laden and his organization to plan and execute the attacks from that sanctuary. Given the public’s emotional trauma from the 9/11 episode, the nearly total lack of opposition to launching the Afghanistan invasion was unsurprising. In statement after statement during the initial months and years that followed, American officials reiterated that defeating Al Qaeda—and, if possible, killing or capturing bin Laden—was the primary objective. Ousting the Taliban regime was a corollary to that goal, but no one advocated a long-term war against that indigenous Afghan faction, however odious its social policies might be.

Bait-and-Switch: How Officials Perpetuate Bad Foreign Policy

For instance….can Biden get this country out of the spiraling endless wars?

My opinion is no he will….nor does he truly want to…..but I am not lone in this belief…..

Will Joe Biden end the endless wars or won’t he?

I have serious doubts that he has the will or political acumen to do so. But that’s only a fragment of the question that needs to be asked, as we approach the twentieth anniversary of our global “war on evil.”A far, far bigger question looms, a question with answers scattered across the global landscape: Can we learn to wage peace? Can we create a united world, free of borders and scapegoats? Can we transcend our alienation from and exploitation of the planet that is our home and our nurturer? Can we stop being afraid of people we don’t know, people who are “different”from us? Can we let go of our need for an enemy?

Millions of global citizens believe the answer to these questions is yes and are committed to creating a different world—I call it participatory evolution—but at the highest levels of collective human organization, cynicism and ignorance rule. Or perhaps I simply mean cluelessness. Militarism is embedded in the infrastructure of the nation state. It’s not simply that borders and interests have to be “defended”; the easiest way to maintain the illusion of national unity is to present the people with a powerful enemy, imaginary or otherwise.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/04/01/can-biden-end-endless-wars-and-learn-wage-peace

Like I say…..this is nothing but more of the same on the major points….there is some small movement in the world….but will that lead to a wider foreign policy of diplomacy?

I know you may think I am being too hard on Biden…that he has lots of work to do to repair the damage done to our foreign policy by the other guy that was president.

That is true…..but I see a chance here to do more than just repair….we could change direction and make this a better world.

I just do not see anything changing in our adventurism…..the more we intervene the more unstable regions and the world become.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Why Is NATO Involved?

It is no secret that I am no fan of NATO…..its time has passed…..now it is nothing but a sponge that sucks in taxpayer dollars.

NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization…..The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 30 countries that border the North Atlantic Ocean.1 The Alliance includes the United States, most European Union members, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Turkey.

NATO’s mission is to protect the freedom of its members. Its targets include weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and cyber-attacks.

If this is for the protection of members then why are they trying to insert themselves in the Far East…there are NO members in that region.

I asked this question because of something I read…..

An article appeared on the website of the Atlantic Council on March 26 entitled Opportunity knocks for NATO and its partners in the Asia-Pacific, which elaborates plans for continuing and qualitatively upgrading the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s steady but largely unnoticed penetration of that region through military partnerships, port visits and exercises with NATO naval groups and the establishment of Asia-Pacific nations’ liaison offices at NATO Headquarters in Brussels among other measures. It came as it did immediately after the recent two-day foreign ministers meeting at NATO Headquarters before and after which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Anthony Blinken unrelentingly thundered against China and Russia, with Blinken casting them into the same category with Iran and North Korea as threats not only to the Asia-Pacific region where they’re situated but to the entire world.

The Atlantic Council, which is sixty years old this year, is considered to be the world’s preeminent pro-NATO think tank, one which has spawned dozens of mirror organizations in the post-Cold War period, especially in Eastern European nations and former Soviet republics where they have been instrumental in lobbying, almost always successfully, for their host countries’ NATO membership. Despite the Atlantic Council’s name, it has, reflecting and keeping pace with NATO itself, adopted an international purview and mandate over the past thirty years. It now has five regional bureaus: Europe and Eurasia, Americas, Africa, Indo-Pacific and Middle East. The term Europe and Eurasia would not have been employed during the Cold War when the NATO and transatlantic community were understood to be limited to North America and Europe. Similarly, the term Indo-Pacific has recently come to replace Asia-Pacific, as in the Pentagon three years ago changing the name of its largest geographical unified combatant command from Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command.

Upcoming NATO Summit and the Great Game for the Asia-Pacific

I do not think that NATO should have any involvement in the Far East…..that should be up to the countries that feel the threat from China….not to have the US do it for them.

The US is getting ass deep in the Indo-Pacific thing…..so deep that the Pentagon has requested a $27 billion increase to their already bloated budget to deal with the Pacific region…..

The Pentagon recently asked Congress for an astronomical $27 billion budget increase to support a massive military buildup in Asia  as part of its new Indo-Pacific plan, which calls for a substantially more aggressive military stance against China.

With the US already ranking first in military spending worldwide and holding more than 290 military bases in the Asia-Pacific region alone, this aggressive buildup is being proposed at the most financially precarious moment in US history. According to the Congressional Budget Office report released this month, federal debt is projected to reach 102% of GDP by the end of 2021 before surpassing its historical high of 107% in 2031 and going on to nearly double to 202% by 2051. According to Doug Bandow, “Uncle Sam is headed toward insolvency.”

How can the Biden administration sell such an expensive foreign policy proposal to the American public in these economically depressed times? By publicly stoking moral outrage and militarism in the US–as well as throughout the Asia-Pacific region–in the name of launching a crusade ostensibly in defense of human rights. This strategy was on full display when Secretary of State Blinken echoed bipartisan political rhetoric about the “Chinese threat” during his visit to Asia last week. In a stream of condescending self-righteousness, he unleashed a deluge of recrimination against China and North Korea while pontificating on American exceptionalism.

The Real Danger of the Pentagon’s New Indo-Pacific Plan 

Once again the M-IC is pushing the US foreign policy into a new expensive conflict that we cannot afford.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Ukraine Vs Russia

The situation in Ukraine has not been in the news as of late…….it was all consuming when the forces of pro-Russia Ukraine fought with the Ukrainian forces……but lately the media has had so much more on their plate and pushed it back to the back burner.

But recently there has been a developing situation that could soon lead to a start-up to a deadly conflict once again…..

The U.S. military believes a buildup of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine, seen as “concerning” on Tuesday, is likely a training exercise. But the gathering of troops comes amid heightened tension in the region, and Ukraine’s Commander-In-Chief Ruslan Khomchack told his country’s parliament this week that Russian forces from different regions had been assembling near the border.

Russia’s president has acknowledged an “escalation of armed confrontation” in the region.

Training exercises were always a possible explanation for the buildup, but a U.S. defense official told CBS News that the locations and types of units seen on the ground didn’t line up with what the Russian Ministry of Defense had announced last month.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-troops-ukraine-border-concerning-united-states/

The war of words……

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it was worried by the situation in eastern Ukraine, fearing the Ukrainian side could do something that would restart a civil war there.

President Vladimir Putin late on Tuesday accused Ukraine of provoking armed confrontation with pro-Russian separatists and failing to honour earlier agreements over its wartorn east, during a telephone call with France and Germany’s leaders.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-military-putin-kremlin-idUSKBN2BN1FQ

Not to worry the US may be dragged into this conflict as well……

Numerous statements by Ukrainian and Russian officials reported this Easter Sunday bode ill for hopes of diminishing tensions in Eastern Ukraine. Growing indications of impending intervention by the Pentagon and NATO make the situation yet more grim. U.S. European Command has raised its Ukraine watch level from possible crisis to potential imminent crisis, the highest level, according to Stars and Stripes.

The past few days have witnessed a phone conversation between President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and a similar exchange between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his, Defense Minister Andrii Taran. In both instances the American officials assured their Ukrainian allies of American support not only in their steadily mounting conflict with the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the Donbass in what was formerly Eastern Ukraine, but with its war of words, and veiled words of war, with Russia which borders the two republics.

The deputy speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, evoked the death of the child to warn the NATO and European Union nations in Europe that their silence on the Ukrainian government’s resumption of shelling in the Donbass is providing the Kiev government carte blanche to continue and to escalate the current conflict into a prelude to all-our war. A war, moreover, on the Russian border, one that it’s difficult to imagine Moscow being able to stand aloof from for long. His words included, “Yesterday, for the first time since July 2020 a Ukrainian shelling of the DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] was conducted and a six-year-old child died,” and he bemoaned the fact that “there is no word about this” from Ukraine’s and Russia’s partners in the Normandy Contact Group, France and Germany. (The Normandy Format was established in 2014 when fighting in the Donbass erupted in order to deescalate the conflict and reach a peaceful settlement between its participants.)

(antiwar.com)

Smells like more interventionism to me.

This is one of those situation that is flying under the radar for now……but it should be monitored and attempts made to calm any events that could lead to more fighting.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More Biden Afghanistan Policy

I have not been thrilled with the Biden policies toward Afghanistan and the endless war…..my thoughts were written here….https://lobotero.com/2021/02/09/biden-in-afghanistan/

That ‘other guy’ that was president did something that I agreed with….in principle…..when he set a date for US troops to leave Afghanistan…..01 May…..and since Biden has been in the White House he has continuous balked at the idea of US troops leaving the country……

With the May 1 pullout date fast approaching, President Biden seems reluctant to state his actual intentions on Afghanistan. On the one hand, he says the May 1 deadline is hard to reach, but that he also “can’t picture” US troops staying beyond next year.

Those two positions combined might put the US pullout date sometime after May 1 but before 2022. If it was that simple, however, one would expect that Biden would say as much, instead of just reiterating what he doesn’t expect to do.

This gives the same impression that Biden has given on Afghanistan since taking office, that he intends to avoid making a decision for as long as possible, and avoid any political fallout with congressional hawks who’d just as soon keep the troops there.

Since making his own peace deal, President Trump had the US ahead of pace on the pullout, but having come short of finishing it by Biden’s inauguration, he left an estimated 2,500 US troops there to be withdrawn.

A small number of troops means it’s a comparatively small expense to the US, and some in Congress, like Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) are expressing comfort with just leaving the troop level as it is.

Biden would avoid fights with Congress that way, but moving beyond May will be seen as a challenge to the Taliban. Taliban officials warn that any delay is unacceptable, and that they want the US pulled out on time.

As this is going on, the US proposed a deal between Afghan government and Taliban, including an interim government. The US seems to have made this proposal to tamp down Taliban anger about the pullout delay, and to argue that the peace deal needs time serves as a justification, of sorts, for the US delays.

Yet this is an empty proposal too. With the Ghani government already having ruled out an interim government, they quickly rejected the US plan, leaving that as another open-ended question about how things might shake out.

This all leaves us totally in the dark about US intentions. This could perhaps be likened to Trump’s position in 2017, when he avoided taking a position for months before deciding on a new surge. Biden seems similarly inclined toward anything that keeps the war going, but the appearances are that he’s dragging out any announcements to avoid making it into an issue.

(antiwar.com)

Just as I and many others have continuously stated that Biden will do little to change our involvement in these endless wars…..as a matter of fact the US is pleading for an extension of the 01 May deadline……

Citing sources close to the Taliban, Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported that the Biden administration has asked the Taliban to agree to a continued US presence in Afghanistan for three or six months past May 1st.

The May 1st withdrawal deadline was set by the US-Taliban peace deal that was signed in Doha last year. While the Biden administration has yet to make an official announcement, it’s clear the US is looking to stay.

Tolo News said the Taliban has not yet made a decision on the US request and is asking that first their 7,000 prisoners should be released and that the group’s officials are removed from a UN blacklist.

(antiwar.com)

I have always said that the endless war was about cash……and here is a prime example of what I state…..

Since February 29 of 2020, the US has had a peace deal in place, intending to withdraw from Afghanistan on May 1 of 2021. The US military was always averse to that, but seems to have been basing its contracts on the idea it wouldn’t happen.

Former financial officials are warning that if the US does leave Afghanistan, either on May 1 or any time in 2021, the Pentagon would be facing down a “barrel full of lawsuits” from contracts that had not been fulfilled yet.

This is rather a flimsy excuse for dragging the war on, and such a clumsy situation to be in with the knowledge of the war’s end being public throughout, that it must inevitably be questioned if this was just many, many colossal blunders, or if the Pentagon was openly trying to contractually obligate itself to the Afghan War.

Another obvious question is why, as theses contracts kept being signed, officials weren’t raising the issue of these contractual obligations throughout 2020. At the very least, that would’ve been a chance for someone to convince them to stop making such contracts before now, which once again makes this seem nearly deliberate.

(antiwar.com)

You still do not believe that war is about the money?

A final thought on the war in Afghanistan……there is commonality between Russia and the US……

After nearly two decades of fighting, the U.S. military is facing a force of Taliban fighters that is roughly the size of the Mujahideen insurgency at the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Soviet Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lyakhovskiy, a respected historian, estimated that by the end of 1988 the Mujahideen fielded about 82,300 full-time fighters out of a total of 173,000 personnel.

Fast forward a couple of decades and a May 2020 United Nations report estimated that the Taliban have between 55,000 and 85,000 fighters, adding: “Taliban facilitators and non-combatants could bring the total figure to 100,000.”     

The Taliban’s ranks have swelled immensely since 2014, which marked the official end of the U.S. military’s combat mission in Afghanistan, said Jonathan Schroden, director of the Center for Stability and Development at CNA, a federally funded research and development center.

“When you go back to 2014, that time frame, the sort of official estimates of Taliban size you can find quoted openly by U.S. officials was in the 20-30,000 range,” Schroden said. “Certainly since then, it’s just continued to grow.”

20 years into the War in Afghanistan, the US is in the same position as the Soviets when they lost

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”