Ukraine And Antiwar

For those new visitors and those that are not sure of my stand on the Ukraine war I want to let all know that I am a staunch antiwar advocate……I feel that it is a waste of resources and especially people….war is a desperate war by desperate people.

So I attempt to inform my readers at every turn….mostly it is a fart in the wind but I keep trying…..

As we think about the nightmarish war in Ukraine, let me just offer you a few figures: almost a million dead, nearly 400,000 of them civilians; at least 38 million people turned into war refugees or internally displaced; and perhaps $8 trillion in money squandered on that hell on Earth. Oh wait, sorry, that’s what happens when you get old and things start to blur in your mind. Yes, the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is indeed a horror of slaughtered civilians, mind-boggling numbers of refugees and internally displaced Ukrainians, and untold amounts of money already squandered on death and destruction. The figures I just gave you, however, come from the invaluable Costs of War Project’s calculations about what used to be called this country’s “Global War on Terror,” which includes the invasions, occupations of, and disastrous conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As we face a Congress that can’t agree to spend any reasonable sums on needy Americans but is racing to raise staggering billions of dollars to arm the Ukrainians (no questions asked), it’s worth remembering that, in this century, when it came to invasions and horrifying wars, our leaders were functionally Vladimir Putins. Now, thanks to him, we’ve suddenly become the “good guys” again, a phenomenon in which Washington is, of course, reveling. If only, as the other major invader nation of this century, we had learned that making peace is so much better than making war and were putting at least some of our efforts into brokering negotiations between the warring parties in Ukraine rather than further revving up the conflict and glorying in doing so.

Ukraine: An Antiwar Dilemma

My biggest problem is the waste of funds that are needed here in this country.

More money for Ukraine….and then more  money…..

The fact is, Zelensky would rather shame the west into precipitating WWIII than own up to the fact that the aggressive anti-Russian actions of his own government fostered the calamity that now besets his country. Those foolish actions include his pledges to forcibly take back Crimea, join NATO, and re-acquire nukes – along with the launch, before Russia’s February 24th invasion, of an all-out offensive against the Russian-speakers of the Donbas.

So let us repair to the fundamentals. To wit, the intramural conflict between Russians and Ukrainians in the historic borderlands of Russia has no bearing whatsoever on the liberty and security of the American homeland. Yet here was the GOP leadership pledging America’s unstinting support in treasure, if not blood, for a regime in Kiev that is only slightly less corrupt and authoritarian than Putin’s strongman kleptocracy in Moscow.

And when we say Russia is zero threat to the American homeland we mean that as in none, nada, nichts and nugatory. There exists a MAD (mutual assured destruction) standoff on the nuclear front; and there’s not a snowball’s chance in the hot place that Russia’s pip-squeak economy ($1.6 trillion of GDP versus $24 trillion US GDP and $43 trillion GDP for all of NATO) could ever fund the air, land and sea armada that would be required to vault over the Atlantic and Pacific moats and wage conventional war on the American homeland.

The Washington GOP: War-Besotted Sucklers on the Public Teat

And who do you think will ‘rebuild’ Ukraine?

Then ask…at what price to the country we love?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Lunacy That Is Ukraine

AS the war between Ukraine and Russia enters into another month….the news is pretty much the same from day to day….but we report anyway…..

Looks like the US Congress has approved yet another waste of cash, $40 billion to be exact, and I ask to what end?

$40 billion Ukraine aid package galloping through Congress, Biden has finally found his bipartisan project and he’s willing to risk a recession, refueling the pandemic and nuclear war to get it…

Rand Paul has never thought clearly about economics, and the relation between his morality and his partisan politics is not the subject of this column. No one needs a reminder that Rand Paul is an Ayn Randian “libertarian.” That is deadbeat and misses the crucial point in this timeline of events. Entirely. The brute fact remains that Rand at least raised the question of public accounting of a vast war budget. When there was a bipartisan stampede to approve the recent 40 billion dollar Ukraine war budget, his dissent was crucial in delaying automatic approval.

The more pointed and timely question is why Bernie Sanders went AWOL, along with the entire Progressive Caucus in Congress. Whether any of them belong in any school of Marxism whatsoever is a side issue. What matters most is whether they pursue a practical policy of peace. Do they raise the ground floor of social democracy across public policies such as health care, housing, and education? Bipartisan war budgets that expand from year to year have the sure consequence of strip-mining public funds away from basic social goods and services.

Congress Approves 40 Billion Dollar Ukraine War Bill

Sorry I do not see where this waste will end this war.

But not to worry Biden wants to send even more cash and equipment to the war effort…..

The Pentagon announced Thursday that President Biden authorized another $100 million weapons package for Ukraine, bringing the total military aid shipped to the country since Russia invaded on February 24 to $3.9 billion.

The Pentagon said the latest weapons package includes 18 155MM Howitzers, 18 tactical vehicles to tow the Howitzers, AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars, field equipment, and spare parts.

The Biden administration started sending Howitzers to Ukraine in April, marking a significant escalation in US military aid. The US also started training Ukrainian troops in Germany and elsewhere in Europe to use the Howitzers and other advanced equipment.

The $100 million authorized on Thursday came from a drawdown authority that allows President Biden to ship weapons from the Pentagon’s stockpile directly to Ukraine. The $100 million package exhausted the remaining drawdown funds left from the $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid that was part of a spending bill President Biden signed in March.

(antiwar.com)

Some thoughts on this conflict as we enter into yet another month…..

I expect the war will go on for awhile until the generals and politicians get tired of it. An international antiwar movement with significant numbers could hasten that moment. One does not demand peace because there’s a war on. Indeed, that’s why one demands peace. The movement against the Vietnam war was organized and expanded while the war escalated, not before or afterwards.

Since the example of the USSR arming Vietnam is being used as a reason to support arming Kyiv by some on the left who support NATO arms shipments, I think it is useful to turn that comparison upside down, as it were. This argument understands that Ukraine’s history is much longer than South Vietnam’s was and that it does meet criterion for a nation (we’ll leave my distaste for nationalism out of the conversation). However, it rejects this element of the left’s argument that the war is a Ukrainian anti-colonial struggle.

I would argue that modern Ukraine’s situation is closer to that of what Washington named South Vietnam than Vietnam in general That country was nominally independent, but fiercely determined to stay in the sphere dominated by Washington. In fact, its very life depended on Washington’s largess. Modern Ukraine has a different genesis, having been established in the wake of the disintegration of the USSR. Since then, its government has switched back and forth between favoring the Russian economic sphere and that of the US-dominated west. Since the US-assisted overthrow of the elected government in 2014, the government in Kyiv has given itself to the latter. It is firmly in Washington’s grip, even making its desire to be part of NATO an article in its most recent constitution. Of course, this came with a price. While it seems unlikely that Zelenskyy and his government knew that the price would include the destruction of many of its cities and the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians, there were certainly those Ukrainians who understood this possibility.

Some Thoughts on the Russia-Ukraine Conflict in Week Number Twelve

So Putin’s war to keep NATO from expanding to its border has resulted in a nation (Finland) on Russia’s border, a stone’s throw from Putin’s hometown, applying to join NATO. NATO, which had pretty much been left for dead in Europe after the Yugoslavian wars, suddenly has been resurrected, flush with weapons, money and a re-branded raison d’être. Putin now has the permanent threat on Russia’s border that he can use to justify a tightened grip on power and a build-up of weapons Russia can’t afford. The Ukraine war benefits all the players, except of course average Ukrainians and the ethnic national conscripts in the Russian Army who have been pushed forward as Javelin missile fodder on the frontlines of the fighting.

Putin is just repeating history with Ukraine…..

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly invoked World War II when justifying the invasion he launched of neighboring Ukraine 10 weeks ago. For the Russian public, the Soviet victory over Germany in 1945 remains a source of immense pride. Putin’s allusions to that event have helped him bolster public support for his latest war. He has claimed, for example, that Ukraine is ruled by Nazis and that soldiers of the Russian army are seeking to “de-Nazify” Ukraine and defend the Russian homeland against nefarious external forces.

Putin’s assertions about Nazis in Kyiv are baseless, but there are striking analogies between the way the USSR’s Red Army operated during World War II and the way the Russian army is operating currently against Ukraine. These analogies, far from reflecting favorably on either the Red Army or today’s Russian army, underscore the deeply immoral nature of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2022/05/04/russians-invasion-ukraine-overtones-wwii-mark-kramer

I do not know if a agree with the ‘nazi’ thing….after all Zelensky incorporated the fascist Azov Battalion into the Ukrainian militia …so there is a grain of truth in the accusation from Putin.

The press and the admin spend an inordinate amount of time in demagoguery of Putin….which in my opinion is a waste of energy….why?  It is an excuse for actions that smell a lot like propaganda (to me)…..

Using Wimbledon as an example….

Chris Bryant, the British MP who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, appears to be either a fool or knave. He confuses banning Russian tennis players from Wimbledon with defeating Moscow in war. And demagogues anyone who questions punishing people who have done nothing other than be born in Russia.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine was unjustified and has had hideous consequences. But it isn’t the only terrible tragedy that occurred in the world. Indeed, the morality asserted by Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association, which is banning Russian and Belarusian citizens from its tournaments, most importantly Wimbledon, is highly selective.

Demagoguery Won’t Stop Moscow’s Aggression: West Should Stop Sacrificing Principles in Ukraine’s Name

Finally a thought on the ‘popular’ meme of the nukes…..

Despite this, an intellectual fad of the Cold War era was to “think about the unthinkable,” to “war game” or plan for various nuclear “exchanges” resulting in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, even to imagine that there could be a “winner” of such a war. Remarkably, in the context of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, that fad is returning today as pundits write articles that suggest the US needs to show the Russians it is willing and able to fight and win a nuclear war, as an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal argued on April 27th of this year.

Such suggestions are madness.

Don’t Think About the Unthinkable

Just a few thoughts on this Friday…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Ukraine–Day 82

As the war in Ukraine drags on and on….the news gets slimmer and slimmer…..but I will try to keep my readers as up to date as I can and retain my sanity.

Russia is now in Day 82 of its 3-day ‘special military operation’. Russia invaded Ukraine to weaken the NATO alliance, topple the Ukrainian government, install a puppet government friendly to Russia, and to seize a significant amount of Ukrainian territory that would make it a land-locked country economically dependent upon Russia. Thus far, the only significant gains are additional territory captured in the Donbas region and the establishment of a land bridge from the Russian border along the eastern side of the Sea of Azov, and on to Crimea.

Ground Situation. The Russians have failed to achieve significant territorial gains over the past month. The ground that has been seized resulted in huge losses in personnel, vehicles, and equipment. The Russians are lacking key enablers such as drones, night vision goggles, and bridging equipment – and is experiencing low morale and combat effectiveness. The Donbass offensive has stalled. The Russians had planned to use Izium (Google Maps) as a base from which to push further west into Ukraine; it has a significant amount of troops in the city and and surrounding area. Now the city is in danger of encirclement by the Ukrainian forces. The Pentagon estimates that there are about 105 Russian battalion tactical groups in Ukraine (as of May 13).

Analysis by John Spencer. A retired military officer and now military analyst is interviewed about his perspective of the Russian invasion and how it may end. He says Russia had a decent plan but military incompetence led to total failure. “Has Russia been beaten? This military expert says that moment is coming soon“, Salon, May 10, 2022.

Fight for the Skies. The air space is still contested. Ukrainian fighters are still flying. Aircraft is hindered by the presence of multiple air defense systems of the Ukrainians and the Russians. Most Russian aircraft are operating within Russia’s borders and launching air to ground missiles at targets in Ukraine within range of the Russian territory.

Maritime Activities. Dr. Basil Germond, a professor at Lancaster University, UK, is an expert in naval and maritime affairs. He analyzes Russia’s use of naval forces in the Ukraine war, its aspiration to control the northern coast of the Black Sea from the Russian Federation borders to Moldova, and its desire to dominant the Black Sea. “Ukraine War: The Limits of Traditional Naval Power and the Rise of Collective and Civilian Seapower”, E-International Relations, May 10, 2022. Snake Island is still in the news. Read “Why the battle over Ukraine’s Snake Island matters for the world“, GZERO, May 12, 2022.

Moskva. The Ukrainian military published audio from the Russian flagship of the Black Sea, the Moskva, that was attacked by missiles and that the crew needed to be rescued. The ship sank on April 14th after being struck twice and began tilting on its side.

Russia and the Enemies Within. There are deepening rifts between the Russian military and the Federal Security Service (FSB) over the failures of intelligence and military incompetence on the battlefield. Some members of the Russian military suspect that the FSB may be working against the Kremlin’s efforts to win in Ukraine. (Radio Free Europe, May 8, 2022).

Russian Attacks Stopped. The news of the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine is mixed. There are some reports that attacks by the Russians that have made some minimal gains. However, many attacks have not gained much territory at all. Some estimates put the Russian loses at one third of the ground forces since the invasion took place on February 24th.

Russian Unit Destroyed at River Crossing. A number of Russian armored vehicles were destroyed and personnel killed while attempting to cross Siversky Donets River on May 11th over a pontoon bridge. Apparently the Russian vehicles were gathering in a tight group at each end of the bridge and caught in an artillery barrage. There are reports that a significant part of a battalion’s worth of vehicles (as many as 80) were put out of action. Over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded. About 550 troops of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade tried to cross the river at Bilohorivka in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces. “Russia takes losses in failed river crossing, officials say”, Military Times, May 13, 2022.

Ukrainian Tractor Brigade. The John Deere’s of Ukraine have been providing a significant service to the Ukrainian military. As Russian tanks, self-propelled artillery and rocket launchers, and other armored vehicles are disabled or abandoned the farmers of Ukraine have been coming to the rescue. The ‘Tractor Brigade‘ has been both cleaning up the battlefield and bringing valuable tank and armored vehicles to Ukrainian military repair shops where they are put back into action; but this time against the Russians. The Ukrainians now have more tanks than when the war started. The Russians – not so much. (Twitter, May 15, 2022).

Kharkiv Counteroffensive. The second largest city of Ukraine, Kharkiv, is an area where the Ukrainians have been successfully pushing the Russians back. For several days, the counterattacks have resulted in more territory liberated from the Russians. There are reports that the Ukrainian troops defending Kharkiv have pushed some Russian troops across the Russian border (Reuters, May 16). This is putting some of the logistic supply lines of the Russians in jeopardy further to the south. The battle for the city of Kharkiv may now be over. View a detailed map of the Kharkiv battle zone. (Twitter, @IAPonomarenko, May 15, 2022).

Mariupol – Defenders Still Holding Out. As of Sunday (May 15), the Ukrainian defenders continue to hold a small section of the city in the steel factory known as Azovstal. A large convoy of from 500 to 1,000 cars and vans carrying refugees from Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday (May 15). There are approximately 1,000 Ukrainian defenders still fighting; many of them wounded. The fight for the city began over 80 days ago with 3,500 Ukrainian defenders from the National Guard’s Azov Regiment, 36th Marine Brigade, and other units. There is no medicine left and the wounded are operated on with no anesthesia. Turkey has offered a sea evacuation for wounded Ukrainian fighters; but Russia has refused the offer. (Reuters, May 14) Nearly 90% of the city has been destroyed with over 20,000 residents believed dead due to the house-to-house fighting and massive bombardments by the Russians. The city, once holding over 500,000 residents, is situated along the coastal road network that will provide Russia with a land bridge between Russia and the Crimea.

Missile Attacks on Lviv Oblast. On Sunday (May 15) several missiles struck military facilities in the Lviv region. Other than these periodic airstrikes, the city is operating under conditions of normalcy. Gas and fuel shortages persist.

Situation Maps.  War in Ukraine by Scribble Maps. The UK Ministry of Defence provides an update situational map of the Ukraine battlefield (May 15). View more Ukraine SITMAPs that provide updates on the disposition of Russian forces. And while we are discussing maps – NATO in 1990 vs 2015.

CRS Reports on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has been publishing reports periodically on various topics of the Ukraine War. These CRS reports are listed in this six-page PDF published on May 13, 2022.
https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R47054

Panzerfaust 3. An antitank rocket that has it roots in fighting the Soviets in World War II is now being used against the Russians again – in Ukraine. This shoulder-fired weapon has made an impressive showing against Russian armored columns. With its Simrad Optonics sight and targeting mechanism, the Panzerfaust can engage targets up to ranges of 600 meters. The weapon costs about $11,000 and rounds are around $300; an inexpensive option for destroying Russia’s best tanks. “Panzerfaust 3: The Cold War Weapon Wrecking Russian Tanks in Ukraine”, Historynet.com, May 5, 2022.

Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Crisis. View the UNHCR Operational Data Portal – Ukraine Refugee Situation (Updated daily), https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine. Since May 11th over six million Ukrainians have fled their country since late February. The people leaving are predominantly women, children, and the elderly.

Negotiations. There is not much progress in the current state of negotiations. Turkey, France, and other nations are attempting to restart the dialogue; but not with much success. Some evacuation of civilians has taken place as a result of agreements between Ukraine and Russia; but many do not happen due to Russian targeting of the evacuation routes to safe areas to the Ukraine interior. Turkey has indicated they would assist in the evacuation of the remaining Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol; but Russia isn’t agreeing.

Worldwide Food Supplies Affected by Ukraine War. The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on global food supplies is being magnified by nations imposing bans on food and fertilizer exports to preserve stocks for their domestic needs. The financial crisis of 2008 around the world led to nations doing the same; which then contributed to food shortages in nations that traditionally import food. This led to food riots in many parts of the world, to include the Middle East. Wheat importing nations include Turkey, Egypt and several African countries. Russian and Ukraine provide about a third of the world’s wheat and barley as well as other agricultural products. David Uren provides the details in “Food supplies squeezed by Ukraine war and trade bans”, The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, May 16, 2022.

Russia and InfoWarfare . . . Just Not That Good at It. Jeff Schogol says that “Russian memes are working about as good as Russian tanks.” Prior to kicking off its “mega-sized Charlie Foxtrot in Ukraine”, the Russians were widely regarded as masters of deception and propaganda. Jeff points out the many flaws in the aggressor’s IO campaign in “Russia actually isn’t as good at information warfare as everyone thought”, Task & Purpose, May 11, 2022.

Cyber and InfoWar Failure. In 2008 the world was distracted with the Beijing Olympics. Russia took advantage of this distraction with an attack on Georgia. Russia conducted cyber-attacks, a media campaign to form the narrative, and military action to “come to the aid of the South Ossetians” in Georgia. In 2022, Russia calculated that the world, distracted with the 2022 Winter Olympics and COVID-19 pandemic, would ignore its invasion of Ukraine. This time, however, Russia’s cyber and information campaigns, did not perform effectively. Read more in “How to Terminate Russian Disinformation”, Europe’s Edge, CEPA.org, May 12, 2022.

Telegram. The popular messaging service has about 500 million active users and is used by many in Europe and around the world. It has become a source of information about the Ukraine war for many – on both sides of the conflict. It was founded by Pavel Durov and his brother – both of St Petersburg, Russia. Pavel now lives in Dubai, having fallen out of favor with the Russian regime. (Business Insider, March 28, 2022).

CRS Report on “Hacktivists”. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine a growing number of nongovernmental hackers have conducted offensive cyberspace operations against Russia. Ukraine’s volunteer “IT Army” is comprised of thousands of hackers from within Ukraine and from other countries. there are some legal considerations that should be factored in by hacktivists from the United States. “Hacktivists and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict: Legal Considerations”, CRS, May 13, 2022, PDF, 4 pages.
https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/LSB/LSB10743

Finland and NATO. After much talk the past several weeks, Finland has officially announced that it will apply for NATO membership. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference on Sunday (May 15). The Finnish parliament will consider the decision over the next several days. Finland shares an 800-mile border with Russia – so the nation is pragmatic about its defense. Despite a small population of about 5.5 million, the nation can actually field a large army of 280,000 once fully mobilized. The cornerstones of its national defense posture is conscription and a large, well-trained reserve. Its army is equipped with modern weapons systems bought from several countries. Read more about the Finnish defense forces in “What Would Finland Bring to the Table for NATO?”, War on the Rocks, May 9, 2022.

And Sweden? In the next several days we may see news reports of Sweden deciding to join NATO; some media outlets say that May 17th is the big day. Sweden also shares a border with Russia. Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party says it is in favor of joining NATO. This reverses its decades-long opposition. And Switzerland? Could neutral Switzerland lean closer to NATO?

Blinken Meets with Ukrainian Foreign Minister. Secretary of State Blinken met with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Sunday (May 15) during the G7 and NATO ministerial. (DoS, May 15). The G7 Foreign Ministers’ issued a joint statement on Russia’s war against Ukraine. (DoS, May 14, 2022).

Austin Speaks with Russians. On Friday (May 13) Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu urging an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.

NATO. The Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday (May 15) that Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as the Kremlin had planned. He says that Ukraine can win the war.

“Russia failed to take Kyiv. They’re pulling back from around Kharkiv, their major offensive in Donbas has stalled. Russia is not achieving its strategic objectives.”

U.S. Ukraine Supplemental Aid Bill. The flow of equipment to Ukraine by the United States may very well be interrupted if the $40 billion bill is not passed by Congress. Senator Rand Paul is currently one of the reasons it has not been passed. Attempts to insert language authorizing the Afghan Adjustment Act failed. The bill has been passed by the House of Representatives.

Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. The Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting provides a detailed examination of the recent legislation signed by President Biden that allows a constant flow of military aid to Ukraine. (May 10, 2022).

More US Troops to Europe. The United States will begin an additional deployment of troops to Europe to replace those forces sent to Europe earlier this year. One of the units to be replaced will be an element of the 82nd Airborne Division; to be replaced by 101st Airborne Division elements. Around 10,500 personnel will be sent to various East European countries in a one-for-one replacement plan. “Pentagon Announces Deployments to Replace Forces in Europe”, DoD News, May 13, 2022.

Modern Resistance. Russia’s aggressive actions over the past two decades have forced Baltic and Nordic states to examine their defense posture, assess critical gaps, and take action to fill the gaps. One strategy that has emerged is the resistance operating concept – where all segments of the population engages in total defense strategies based on peacetime social resilience and war time resistance. Sandor Fabian, a former Special Forces officer in the Hungarian military, provides us with a detailed account of this new concept of resistance – something the Ukrainian people have demonstrated in their remarkable performance against the Russian aggressors. Read “Modern Resistance – Learning from Non-Western Examples”, Journal on Baltic Security, May 12, 2022.

Podcast – The State of Play in Ukraine. Two national security analysts who are following events in Ukraine closely discuss the current situation in Ukraine. Rob Lee, FPRI Senior Fellow and Michael Kofman, of the Russia Studies Program at CNA, are interviewed by Aaron Stein. Foreign Policy Research Institute, May 13, 2022, 50 minutes.
https://www.fpri.org/multimedia/2022/05/the-state-of-play-in-ukraine/

Siberia – What’s the Future? Some international analysts are viewing the poor performance of the Russian military in Ukraine as a sign of the decline of the ‘Russian ’empire’. Just as the 10-year war in Afghanistan helped lead the way to the disestablishment of the Soviet Union; it is possible that one of the end results of the Ukraine War and other misadventures may cause the decline of Russia as a nation along with a redefining of its borders. Russia’s control over Siberia – the size of the U.S. and India put together – is only 157 years old. China plays the long game. It is a population-rich and resource-poor nation; while Siberia is population-poor and resource-rich. The China-Russia border is almost 3,000 miles long and is the legacy of the Convention of Peking of 1860. China’s population outnumbers Russia’s population by 10 to 1. Read an article first published in 2015 on this topic in “Why China Will Reclaim Siberia”, The New York Times, January 15, 2015. (Subscription).

Ukraine War, Weapons, and Australia. Defense experts in Australia are looking at the novel way that weapons are being used by the Ukrainians against aircraft, tanks, and armored vehicles. They believe valuable lessons can be learned from the war that would modernize the Australian military to be able to fight in the future. “Australia must learn defence lessons from Ukraine”, The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, May 16, 2022.

The more resources there is the longer this war will last….

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Shall We Talk?

Over the weekend a group of people held and meeting and issued a statement for Russia and Ukraine…..

A group of international progressives on Friday released a declaration demanding an urgent withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, a global end to “rampant militarism,” and the forging of a collaborative movement to ensure lasting peace and a planet safe from climate catastrophe.

The Athens Declaration was unveiled at a press conference in the Greek capital by Turkish author Ece Temelkuran; British Member of Parliament and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; and former Greek finance minister and leader of the MeRA25 party Yanis Varoufakis. The three are all Progressive International council members.

“Our purpose here,” said Corbyn, “is to bring about.. a voice for peace.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/05/13/athens-declaration-calls-end-ukraine-war-and-creation-lasting-peace

To be honest the two warring sides have been in talks….most have been fruitless for neither side is willing to give an inch to save a mile…..

But now after all the early chest thumping Zelensky has issued a call for talks between him and Putin….

“I am ready to speak with Putin, but only with him, without his intermediaries and on the terms of dialogue, and not ultimatums,” said the Ukrainian president.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that he is prepared to hold direct talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin amid mounting fears that Moscow’s invasion and the West’s response have spiraled into a dangerous proxy war between nuclear-armed powers.

“We must find an agreement,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with an Italian media outlet as deadly ground fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continues to intensify.

Ukrainian and Western officials claimed Friday that Russian troops have begun pulling back from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, as Moscow focuses its assault on the eastern part of the country.

Zelenskyy stressed Thursday that while he is ready for talks with Putin—who has thus far declined calls for face-to-face negotiations—he would not accept “ultimatums” from the Russian side.

“As president, I am ready to speak with Putin, but only with him, without his intermediaries and on the terms of dialogue, and not ultimatums,” Zelenskyy said.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/05/13/we-must-find-agreement-zelenskyy-calls-direct-talks-putin

Why now?  I ask.

Could it be that the US well is running dry…Zelensky has sucked that teat dry.

Or could there be another reason?

Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is Belarus Going To War?

Belarus is an ally to Russia and has been supporting the invasion of Ukraine by Vlad the Invader…..the war of words is amazing…..but now reports are coming out that Belarus may be poised to help its ally Russia….

Belarus?

Belarus Country Information

The Ukrainian state security service has officially reported that a rocket attack on Zhytomyr Airport – located some 93 miles west of Kiev – was launched from the territory of Belarus. 

Belarusian special forces were seen loading onto airplanes in preparation for an air assault on Kyiv in what could be a widening of the war, military sources stated.

Ukrainian intelligence has reportedly learned from within Belarus that ‘special ops’ troops have been spotted loading up planes for a major attack.

Videos have circulated of the explosion at Zhytomyr Airport, with reports of shockwaves nearby. 

A widening of the conflict to potentially include Russian ally Belarus could signal Vladimir Putin’s growing fury and frustration as the Russian campaign appears to get bogged down in fierce fighting around Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city. It could also run the risk of sucking in other states including NATO allies, triggering a pan-European conflict.

In a bizarre rant on Sunday, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko warned that the war in Ukraine will ‘become a meat grinder’.

Speaking at a polling station during a referendum on constitutional change that would give the despot further power, the Putin ally thundered: ‘The conflict in Ukraine is the thin edge of the wedge. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. If it continues like this, the worst will happen.

‘He [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] will not be hidden in any American or some other bunker. That’s why the war should be ended today. I wouldn’t even call it the war. This is a conflict. The war will last for one-two days, but there will be a meat grinder in three days.’

Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Kyiv’s former defence minister, has claimed that Belarus is about to declare war on Ukraine. The Guardian quoted Zagorodnyuk as saying: ‘Republic of Belarus is highly likely to join the Russian war against Ukraine. On Russian side. There is an information about airborne troopers from Republic of Belarus loaded on the planes to enter Ukraine.

‘This is a terrible development as it involves a country, which until very recently was a great friend of Ukraine; which people always considered Ukraine as a brotherly nation. Ukraine and Belarus has never been to war one with another in their many hundred years of history.

‘We believe that the only reason for that decision was personal demand from President of Russia, which completely depends from Putin in its policy.’

(dailymail.co.uk)

Where will this go?

Would this expansion start a spiral that will eventually involve the US and its troops?

Do you actually care?

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When Will The Damn Well Run Dry?

I am talking about the seemingly endless funds being funneled into Ukraine….

To answer my own question….it will apparently never run dry….no matter how many Americans will suffer from the waste of dollars.

I recently read that Biden has a plan to speed up the aid to Ukraine..

Really?

I think it is  moving damn fast without some legislation that will make it even faster to piss away taxpayer dollars….but I am a minority and the plan is moving forward….

On the day Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a restrained Victory Day speech in Moscow, President Biden signed into law an updated version of the Lend-Lease program that helped the Allies—including the Soviet Union—defeat Nazi Germany in World War II. This time, Lend-Lease will be used against Russia. “Every day Ukrainians fight for their lives,” Biden said at the signing ceremony Monday in the Oval Office, the New York Times reports. “The cost of the fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is even more costly.”

The program will allow the US to send equipment and supplies to Ukraine more quickly to help it turn back the invasion. It gives Biden the ability to reach agreements with Ukraine and other Eastern European countries more quickly, per the Washington Post. “It’s important to note that it’s about time,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about the plan last month. “Time is very important when lives are at stake.” Passage was a bipartisan effort; the vote in the Senate was unanimous. Biden’s request for another extra $33 billion in aid for Ukraine is pending in Congress.

It is official!

The dollars will fly out of treasury and our gutless Congress gave it wings….

President Biden on Monday signed a bill into law reviving the World War II-era lend-lease program for Ukraine, paving the way for an escalation in US military aid to Kyiv.

The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 allows Biden to send weapons to Ukraine free of charge while technically requiring payment at a later date. Under the lend-lease act during World War II, the US sent billions of dollars in weapons to the Soviet Union, China, Britain, and other allies.

The legislation received massive bipartisan support in Congress, passing by voice vote in the Senate and by a vote of 417-10 in the House, with only Republicans voting against the bill.

According to a summary of the bill, it waives “certain requirements related to the President’s authority to lend or lease defense articles if the defense articles are intended for Ukraine’s government or the governments of other Eastern European countries affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The bill’s signing comes after President Biden asked Congress for $33 billion in new aid for Ukraine, including $20.4 billion in military assistance. He has nearly exhausted the funds for arms shipments to Kyiv from a $13.6 billion Ukraine aid package that was included in a spending bill he signed in March.

President Biden waited until Monday to sign the bill since May 9 is the day Russia marks its victory day for the Soviet defeat of the Nazis in 1945. Ironically, the Soviet Union was one of the largest beneficiaries of US military aid under the lend-lease act during World War II.

At what point is enough enough?

But those Dems have gone one further….

Congressional Democrats drafted a plan to raise President Biden’s $33 billion aid request for Ukraine to $39.8 billion, which the House could pass as soon as Tuesday.

Biden’s $33 billion request included $20.4 billion for military aid. According to Bloomberg, Congress is adding $3.4 billion in military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance.

Democrats initially wanted to include the Ukraine aid with additional COVID-19 funding, but Biden told lawmakers to separate the two packages. “We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort. Hence, I am prepared to accept that these two measures move separately so that the Ukrainian aid bill can get to my desk right away,” he said in a statement Monday.

Giving aid to Ukraine has strong bipartisan support in Congress, but Republicans have yet to sign on to the Democrats’ plan since they are seeking a larger increase. Republicans want to add $8 billion, while the draft plan drawn up by Democrats increased the aid by about $6.8 billion.

If the $39.8 billion plan is passed, it will bring total US aid for Ukraine in 2022 alone to over $53 billion. To put the enormous figure into perspective, Russia’s entire military budget for 2021 was estimated to be about $65.9 billion.

Why can’t these spineless tools in Congress find that much compassion and bi-partisanship for the people of this country?

This BS makes me want to vomit!

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What To Do About War?

From the git-go I want everyone to know that I am antiwar…..after seeing the obscenities of war up close and personally I have been against such exercises since 1968…..I can safely state that my opposition has never wavered.

There are times that I feel that I may need to apologize for my stands and writings….but then I check such feelings for most people that try to explain away conflict like Ukraine have never been confronted with the horrors and the fear that only war can present.

Deep down we are all anti-war….

Everyone’s anti-war until the war propaganda starts. Nobody thinks of themselves as a warmonger, but then the spin machine gets going and before you know it they’re spouting the slogans they’ve been programmed to spout and waving the flags the flags they’ve been programmed to wave and consenting to whatever the imperial war machine wants in that moment.

Virtually everyone will tell you they love peace and hate war when asked; war is the very worst thing in the world, and no healthy person relishes the thought of it. But when the rubber meets the road and it’s time to oppose war and push for peace, those who’d previously proclaimed themselves “anti-war” are on the other side screaming for more weapons to be poured into a proxy war that their government deliberately provoked.

This is because the theory of being anti-war is very different from the practice. In theory people are just opposed to the idea of exploding other people for no good reason. In practice they’re always hit with a very intense barrage of media messaging giving them what look like very good reasons why those people need exploding.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/04/27/everyones-anti-war-until-the-war-propaganda-starts/

That reminds of a line in some movie when a general said “an unused weapon is a useless weapon”….

The antiwar movement, the anti-imperialist movement of America, has nothing to apologize for and obediently doing so now is tantamount to facilitating our own systematic demonization, silencing, and persecution.

There were notable analysts in the independent media, antiwar orbit who called this correctly, predicting a Russian attack, leaving the door wide open to an invasion as a major possibility. Those who apparently assumed American policymakers would choose diplomacy and not ultimately risk the deaths and displacement of millions of Ukrainians and Russians, a possible global economic meltdown, catastrophic destabilization in Europe, or all out brinksmanship between the two greatest nuclear superpowers were unfortunately mistaken.

However, the U.S. antiwar scene has always opposed America’s hostile post-Soviet Union policy of coups, color revolutions, NATO’s eastward expansion menacing the Bear, ringing Russia’s borders and coasts with NATO troops, bases, missiles, tanks, bombers, and warships.

The reason for this is not simply because these policies are plainly unnecessary for American security, abhorrently costly, polluting, and aggressive. These new Cold War policies are condemned rightly because they inevitably lead to war, or more likely nuclear war.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/dont-apologize-the-antiwar-movement-was-right/

For those that deplore the conflict because of whatever reasons….there is something that we can do and should press all belligerents to observe (instead of sending aid that only prolongs the conflict)…

  • De-escalate the concept of enemy. An enemy can be reframed, in progressive order, as an adversary, competitor, partner, teacher, and finally your equal.

  • Treat the other side with respect. Otherwise you lose them before you start.

  • Recognize that there is the perception of injustice on both sides. This is a point of agreement adversaries can join in.

  • Be prepared to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Here forgiveness means letting go of your desire for retribution and revenge. This is an act of true courage. Even if you believe that the other side doesn’t deserve forgiveness, you deserve peace.

  • Refrain from belligerence. It will be taken as bullying and arouses renewed antagonism.

  • Use emotional intelligence, which means understanding the other side’s feelings, giving them value, and making them equal to your feelings.

  • Reach out to understand the other side’s values, both personal and cultural. The fog of war descends when two adversaries know nothing about one another. The result is a war based on projections and prejudice. The goal is mutual acceptance. At the deepest level we all want the same things.

  • Refrain from ideological rhetoric over politics and religion.

  • Recognize that there is fear on both sides. Don’t be afraid to express your anxieties and to ask the other side what they are afraid of.

  • Do not insist on being right and proving the other side wrong. Give up the need to be right allows you to focus on what you actually want.

(choprfafoundation.org)

There are ways to address war (for those that cannot see the necessity)…..War can be devastating, and it can wreak havoc on entire societies for decades and generations. And sometimes, no good even comes out of the long years of fighting and staggering national losses. Many people oppose war, but don’t know how to take action to stop it. There are a variety of things you can do to take a stand against war.

https://www.wikihow.com/Take-Action-to-Stop-War

You can make a difference…..but only if you try….time for the American people to stop being an observer and take damn action.

There are antiwar people in both parties…..they should put aside squabbles and work together….after all they have no problem finding cooperation when they throw money at the wars around us.

Why cannot they just be friends…..at least for awhile…..

Many within the commentariat are confused by this perplexing alliance. Some have slandered this relationship as a tenuous “Red-Brown coalition.” Such characterization is an unfortunate (if not an intentional) mischaracterization of this budding partnership. Left-wing opponents to the foreign policy status quo are not communists. Nor are the ranks of the right overpopulated with Nazis. Instead, the two wings of dissent are the inheritors of distinct but often overlapping strains of foreign policy opposition. Both traditions are firmly rooted in the American experience; neither are alien imports of a totalitarian ideology.

The reemergence of both strains signals a return to an earlier norm where opposition to U.S. foreign policy was not a definitive litmus test for a party or ideological affiliation. Understanding this history and how they came to be consumed by partisan politics should reassure those who desire a change in how the U.S. government conducts itself abroad.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? The History of and Prospects for Left and Right Antiwar Collaboration

Plus the antiwar movement needs to become more international than it is today…..

A ceasefire between the warring parties, a Russian withdrawal, a halt to arms shipments, a negotiated peace and an end to NATO. This is what the international left should be organizing around in regards to the Russia-Ukraine war. It shouldn’t be calling for stepped up arms shipments to Ukraine’s military or defending Moscow’s invasion. When all is said and done and this war is stopped, the most likely situation for the vast majority of Ukrainian working people will be one where their greatest enemy could well be the Ukrainian government. Likewise, if the war goes on long enough, the greatest enemy of the vast majority of Russian working people could well be their government. The oligarchs in both nations will still be oligarchs, while the Russian and Ukrainian people will bear the costs—human, financial, and otherwise—for the war.

If the reader thinks the current conflict will somehow end with a different outcome, they need to revisit the history of war, especially war of the modern kind. You know, where civilian populations are bombed, conscripts are forced to kill and die in the thousands; where international bankers make loans to all sides until the battle begins. All the while generals and politicians talk nonsense about the principles being defended as if most of them had any principles that couldn’t be purchased.

We Need an International Antiwar Movement, Not a Cheerleading Squad for the Arms Industry

As I have stated many times I will not apologize for my antiwar stand….mine came from experience not not some fad that is popular

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Ukraine–Day 74

“Only the winners decide what were war crimes.” Garry Wills

“Nothing can justify war.” Isaac Rosenberg

“In our Country… one class of men makes war and leaves another to fight it out.” William Tecumseh Sherman

Would Monday (May 9) see a general mobilization announced by Putin on Victory Day? An escalation of the war by Russia could give the Russian forces momentum in the Ukraine War in future months, but the risks would be enormous. A mobilization would be admitting that the ‘special military operation’ has not gone well and could ignite domestic opposition. (The Washington Post, May 7, 2022, suscription). The annual spring conscription for the Russian armed forces is now being conducted. (Aljazeera, May 5, 2022). Some visitors went to Ukraine over the weekend – to include Premier Trudeau from Canada (Kiyv area) and First Lady Jill Biden (western Ukraine).

Russian Generals – Getting Killed on the Battlefield. Senior Russian commanders are visiting the frontlines in an attempt to fix the difficulties in command and control and to take personal leadership of operations. This has led to high losses of general officers in the conflict. (UK Ministry of Defence, Twitter, 8 May 2022). Read more in “Why Russia has Suffered the Loss of an ‘Extraordinary’ Number of Generals”, Lobo Institute, May 8, 2022. See also a report on news that the United States is passing intelligence to Ukraine that helps it target Russian senior commanders. “Officials Push Back on Report US Intel Helping Ukraine Target Russian Generals”, Lobo Institute, May 8, 2022.

Ground Situation. The Russian advances in eastern Ukraine over the past few days have been minimal. They have lost territory in the Kharkiv region due to Ukrainian counterattacks.

Fight for the Skies. The Russians are paying more attention to Ukrainian airfields in recent days. By hitting the airstrips with long-range rockets the Russians hope to destroy Ukrainian aerial capacity and establish air superiority. The air space remains contested and the Ukrainians are still very effective with their air defense capabilities. The Russians also have some significant air defense coverage over Ukraine; especially in the east. Most air strikes by the Russians are conducted in the Joint Forces Operations Area or JFO – basically the Donbas region. Mariupol also is a location where there are a lot of Russian air strikes.

Maritime Activities. An amphibious landing force on several ships is still positioned in the Black Sea off the coast of Odessa to land a substantial element of Russian naval infantry. According to Ukrainian officials, Turkish-supplied TB2 drones have destroyed two Russian patrol craft in the Black Sea. (The War Zone, May 2, 2022). Ukraine has struck Snake Island in the Black Sea with Su-27 Flankers, hitting multiple targets. (The War Zone, May 7, 2022). There are unconfirmed reports that the Ukrainians have hit and damaged a Russian frigate in the Black Sea.

The Russian blockade of Ukrainian shipping continues. Chuck de Caro argues that the delivery of US Navy Mark-VI’s could make a difference in the Black Sea. Read “Ukraine: Think Naval War“, Small Wars Journal, April 29, 2022. Sources of info on the Russian navy: Russian Navy – News and Analysis. A weekly analysis with graphics.

What is Victory? Public support in the United States and allied countries is critical to the outcome on the battlefield. The war is heading into a protracted fight – and the need to manage allied cooperation unity and public opinion in the U.S. and other allied countries will become a priority. A big question remains – what is victory? “As war grinds on, the definition of victory remains murky”, The Washington Post, May 7, 2022. (subscription)

Azov Battalion. The unit is made up of like-minded volunteers with a mission to protect the Donbas region from the Russian invaders. “Ukraine: What is the Azov Battalion?”, Forces.net, May 5, 2022.

Ukrainian SOF and Their ATV Tank Hunters. Ukrainian special operations forces are using a specially outfitted ATV to attack Russian tanks. It is mounted with a Stugna-P anti-tank guided missile. This is a Ukrainian produced ATGM that can pierce through armored targets. It is estimated that the ATV and missile costs about $32,000 each unit. “Ukrainian Special Forces Have “Stug-Buggies” Out Hunting Russian Tanks”, SOFREP, May 5, 2022.

Intelligence Sharing. The Department of Defense has acknowledged that they have been sharing intelligence with the Ukrainians. Recent news reports say that intel passed to the Ukrainians have helped in the targeting of Russian generals (lots of them have died thus far) and Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea. Queried during press conferences on these reports, DoD spokesman John Kirby has said he would rather not get into the details.

M777 Howitzer Training. As of Friday (May 6) over 220 Ukrainian soldiers have received training on guns recently provided to Ukraine. In addition, there are about another 150 currently in training for the M777 Howitzer. (Wikipedia) The vast majority of the M777s are in Ukraine now; a number which will soon total 90.

Phoenix Ghost Training. A newly developed drone will soon be in Ukraine. About 20 Ukrainian soldiers are currently undergoing training on the UAS system.

Kyiv. The U.S. embassy staff and U.S. Charge d’Affaires Kristina Kvien arrived in Kyiv on Sunday (May 8).

Kharkiv. The Ukrainian’s counteroffensive in the area around Kharkiv is having some success. They are retaking territory as they move outwards from the city’s limits. The Ukrainian forces may soon approach the Russian border.

Mariupol. According to numerous news accounts all women and children have been rescued from the besieged city of Mariupol located on the coast of the Sea of Azov. They were evacuated from a steel plant on Saturday (May 7) where the last of the Ukrainian defenders are gathered. Elderly civilian men were part of the evacuation. The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross negotiated the civilian evacuations from the steel plant. The Russians conducted another assault on the Ukrainian positions on Saturday (May 7). “All women and children rescued from besieged Mariupol steel plant”, Washington Examiner, May 7, 2022.

There is an attempt to negotiate the evacuation of the remaining Ukrainians at the Azovstal steel plant – including combatants, wounded soldiers, and medics. This is being referred to as the second phase of the evacuation. The commander of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade has made an appeal to the international community for the evacuation of the remaining soldiers from Mariupol.

Mykolayiv and Odessa. One big question is whether or not the Russians will try to move west towards Odesa and perhaps to the Moldova border. Both cities continue to experience missile attacks. Located on the west bank of the Dnieper River close to the coast of the Black Sea, Mykolayiv is a strategic objective for the Russians that is on the road to Odessa located further west along the coast of the Black Sea.

Situation Maps.  War in Ukraine by Scribble Maps. View more Ukraine SITMAPs that provide updates on the disposition of Russian forces.

Negotiations. More prisoner exchanges have taken place over the weekend. Ukraine has received a mix of military and civilians who had been captured or detained by Russia.

Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Crisis. View the UNHCR Operational Data Portal – Ukraine Refugee Situation (Updated daily), https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine.

Future Scenarios. There are a number of scenarios that could play out on May 9th. Putin could announce victory in Ukraine, state that Russia has achieved its primary objectives – liberation of additional areas of Donbas, a ‘land bridge’ from Russia to Crimea along the coast of the Sea of Azov, and control of the southern end of the Dnieper River allowing Crimea to once again enjoy the flow of fresh water to the peninsular. On the other hand, Putin could announce a general mobilization with the aim to continue the attack on Ukraine in the future – securing more of the Donbas region and extending its control of southern Ukraine by pushing towards Odesa and Moldova, denying Ukraine of any coastline and seaports. Some commentators think Putin may declare war on Ukraine, upgrading the conflict from a ‘special military operation’ to that of war.

Funding for Ukraine. As of late April 2022, the Biden administration had submitted to Congress two emergency supplemental requests to address the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There is relatively broad congressional support for further emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine – but the proposal from the Biden administration has become more complicated due to the inclusion of other funding request not related to Ukraine. For instance, the request includes money for the Afghanistan Adjustment Act (AAA), which many lawmakers are still trying to sort out. In addition, the Democrats want to add $10 billion in funding for Covid vaccines and treatment. The Democrats see an opportunity to spend money on non-Ukraine related issues due to the Republican support for Ukraine. The Republicans prefer to have a ‘clean bill’ that will pass quickly and not delay needed assistance for Ukraine. Read more in a report by the Congressional Research Service entitled Supplemental Funding for Ukraine, CRS IN11877, May 2, 2022, PDF, 4 pages.

Sanctions on Ukraine. The Russian economy is worse off across a range of metrics since Putin ordered the invasion of his neighboring country. Russia’s economy will likely contract by almost 9% in 2022 and inflation will probably get as high as 24%. Unemployment will also increase. There will also be some significant impacts on the global economy. Read more Russia’s War on Ukraine: The Economic Impact of Sanctions, Congressional Research Service, CRS IF12092, May 3, 2022, PDF, 4 pages.

More U.S. Actions. The Department of State released a Fact Sheet detailing a series of actions to promote individual accountability for human rights abuses by the Russian Federation. It has instituted a new visa restriction policy and actions against Russia’s maritime fleet. (DoS, May 8, 2022).

Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act. On March 15th new legislation was signed into law that allowed for U.S. stocks to be replenished – making up equipment shortfalls due to equipment being sent to Ukraine. Last week about $1.45 billion was transferred to the Army and the Marines to procure replenishment stocks of Stingers, Javelins, and other key material. Another $5.4 billion is requested in the Ukraine Supplemental currently being considered by Congress. Communications gear, totaling $61.4 million, has been sent to Ukraine.

Switchblades. About 100 small attack drones were delivered to Ukraine. More are on the way. There are plans to deliver a total of 700 Switchblades. According to Pentagon sources, there is $17.8 million allocated to Switchblades for Ukraine in the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act.

$150 Million More. The U.S. Department of State released a press statement saying that more money will be used to provide military assistance to Ukraine. The equipment will come from U.S. military equipment stocks (referred to a ‘drawdown’). This is the ninth drawdown of U.S. stocks to provide assistance to Ukraine. (DoS, May 6, 2022). According to a DoD statement it includes 155mm artillery rounds, radars, and electronic jamming equipment. (DoS, May 6, 2022).

Russia Hypes Polish Invasion of Ukraine. Russian state media and pro-Russian social media channels have spent some time the last few weeks asserting that Poland, along with NATO allies, may invade western Ukraine in an attempt to seize and annex western regions of Ukraine. This would be under the guise of ‘peacekeeping’ or ‘humanitarian action’. “Explainer: The Kremlin’s ‘Polish Invasion’ Narrative”, Centre for Information Resilience, May 6, 2022.

Russia’s Victory Day – May 9th. In Russia, a celebration of the Russian victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War takes place every year in early May. A big event in Moscow to commemorate the day is a military parade. Many observers once noted that President Putin would take this occasion to announce victory in Ukraine as well. He will likely point to the liberation of ‘oppressed Russians’ in the Ukrainian Donbas. “What is Russia’s Victory Day and could it affect the war in Ukraine?”, Forces.net, May 6, 2022.

Russian Nukes Against Ukraine? Julian Spencer-Churchill examines four scenarios of tactical nuclear weapons use by Russia. “Four Important Thresholds of Russian Nuclear Weapons Use in Ukraine”, Real Clear Defense, May 9, 2022.

Ukrainian Welcome Mat, but the Afghans? Many human rights advocates hail the administration’s response to the exodus triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But others feel deeply frustrated that those left behind in Afghanistan have not received equal treatment. “Biden welcomes Ukrainian refugees, neglects Afghans, critics say”, The Washington Post, April 28, 2022. (subscription)

Compiling these reports is a time consuming process and the news is sparse these days….that is why it is so many days in- between

I will continue to write these posts as long as the info is there to make it possible.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Two Levels Of The Ukraine War

Like all war there is more to them than the one sided manure that the media spreads……Ukraine is no different….there at least two levels to this conflict.

If you get your opinion from the MSM then you know that Russia invaded Ukraine….Ukraine is heroically fighting back….and refugees are fleeing and suffering…..and that is about it.  In other words Ukraine–good….Russia–bad.

Back in 2019 I tried to explain what was happening in Ukraine….

Ukraine For Dummies

But there is more going on than the small amount of information that corporate news is willing to share…..

It has become increasingly clear to the world that there is not one, but two, actually three, distinct levels of conflict embedded in what the world’s media and political leadership deceptively insist of calling the ‘Ukraine War.’ The first level was clearly initiated on February 24, 2022 when Russia launched an aggressive war against Ukraine imperiling its sovereign rights and territorial integrity. The second level was difficult to discern in the first weeks of the war, but became soon evident as the NATO countries led by the United States placed an increasing emphasis on lending escalating support to Ukraine’s adopted goals of achieving an unexpected military victory. This support took various forms including the steady supply of heavy weaponry, robust economic assistance, punitive sanctions, and a drumbeat of ‘official’ demonization of Russia and its leadership. In the beginning it seemed appropriate to lend support to Ukraine as the target of aggression, and hail the resistance effort led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, in defense of a relatively small country being overrun by its large neighbor.

Even this widely endorsed narrative was deceptive and one-sided as it overlooked the provocative nature of NATO expansion, abetted in Ukraine’s case by American interference in the internal politics of the country to help turn the political tide in the country against Russia. It is in this internal setting that the third level of the war persists as there is no doubt that anti-Russian elements in Western Ukraine were deeply abusive toward the majority Russian speaking population in Eastern Ukraine known as the Donbas region. The non-implementation of the Minsk Agreements negotiated in 2014-15 to protect the Ukrainians in the East was never properly implemented. It remains uncertain as whether the Russia/Ukraine level of combat can be resolved without serious addressing Russian and Donbas concerns at the core of this third level of conflict.

The Second Level Geopolitical War in Ukraine Takes Over

Because the media has not given all the information about this conflict there are reasons why we all should be concerned…..

The New York Times reported on May 1 that “the Biden administration” – the same one that ignored Putin’s warnings about Russia’s red line regarding NATO expansion to Ukraine – “increasingly casts aside fears expressed by some early in the war that too much American assistance to Ukraine risked a direct conflict with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.”

As direct assistance to Ukraine by the US, UK and its other allies intensifies dramatically, there are several reasons to be increasingly concerned.

The Long War

The US signaled early that this war was not to be a fast war to defend Ukraine from the Russian invasion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly declared that this war over “core principles” is “bigger than Ukraine.”

Since then, several signs have pointed to an evolving policy of dragging diplomacy to allow for a long war. Blinken has announced that the war could last for the rest of this year. National security adviser Jake Sullivan used the formulation “for months or even longer.” More dramatically still, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley “measured [it] in years.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 28 that “NATO allies are preparing to provide support over a long period of time.” And, as if on script, on the same day, President Biden asked Congress “for $33 billion to bolster Ukraine’s fight against Russia, signaling a burgeoning and long-haul American commitment.”

Five Reasons To Be Increasingly Worried About the War in Ukraine

I am concerned.

Since my days in Vietnam I have watched the US jump from one conflict to another and the last ones have lasted for 20 years…think about that while you eat your corn flakes.

This country is spiraling into another war…..possibly another long one….and most Americans are basically cheer leading into more death and destruction.

Even Progressives are signing onto the war scenario….

One might be forgiven for wondering if such legislation is really necessary today; after all, according to numbers released by the State Department, the US has provided more than $6.4 billion in “security assistance” to Ukraine since 2014. And last week President Joe Biden put forward a request for another $20.4 billion in “additional security and military assistance” as part of a $33 billion aid package to Ukraine.

So what was the actual point of reviving Lend Lease? Well, it was in part, as is the case with many things that happen on Capitol Hill, performative: a way to signal to US arms manufacturers that constitute much of the political donor class that the money spigot will remain wide open for the foreseeable future.

American progressives join the War Party 

Time for Americans to stand up with the small minority of antiwar supporters and call for an end of this waste.

But will they?

Probably NOT!

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“lego ergo mscribo”

 

Drone Operator’s Dilemma

We all are aware of the death and destruction that our military drones can deliver on our many perceived ‘enemies’.

They are deadly and administer a punishment indiscriminately.

Since these drones are pilot-less has anyone considered the operators?

Probably not….but their actions are having a toll on the mental faculties.

Kevin Larson was a churchgoing Eagle Scout and honors student with dreams of becoming a fighter pilot. He received his officer’s commission in 2012, but by then, the Air Force didn’t need airplane pilots, it needed drone pilots. Larson was disappointed, according to a story in the New York Times by Dave Philipps, but he settled in and did his job, completing some 650 combat missions and launching 188 deadly airstrikes from 2013 to 2018. All the details of Larson’s missions are classified, and because drone pilots aren’t considered combat troops, he did not receive the psychiatric resources, recovery periods, and other benefits offered to deployed troops. Instead, per the Times, he was treated as an ordinary office worker.

What started as a “tightly controlled operation” in the wake of 9/11 has steadily expanded, especially after the Obama and Trump administrations loosened the rules of engagement. Times investigations show that “over time, the rules meant to protect civilians broke down … and the number of innocent people killed in America’s air wars grew to be far larger than the Pentagon would publicly admit,” writes Philipps. The USAF is working to provide more support for drone crews now, but for many—including Larson—it’s too late. After a breakdown and a bust for psychedelic drugs, which he used for self-medication, Larson was convicted in military court on multiple charges. Fearing a jail sentence, he fled into the wilderness, and—with police drones searching overhead—he shot himself. Per the Times, on Larson’s military file under “Combat Service” is the word “none.”

(Read the full story.)

I am sorry but what did they expect?

War is not some silly game like HALO or other such killing games…..you cannot hit the ‘restart’ button and make things right.

Drones kill….men, women and children it is indiscriminate….there is NO restart to bring them back from death.

Any thoughts?

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