Ukraine For Dummies

Ukraine this and Ukraine that…..but what do most Americans really know about the country and the region?

First a general description…… Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine achieved a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was reconquered and endured a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two forced famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died. In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for 7 to 8 million more deaths. Although Ukraine achieved independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy and prosperity remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties.

Now a map of the region…….

Image result for Ukraine images

For those that may not completely understand the history or the situation then maybe a short refresher course will be of some help……..

So here is a kind of primer for those who might be interested in some Ukraine history:

  • Late 1700s: Catherine the Great consolidated her rule; established Russia’s first and only warm-water naval base in Crimea.
  • In 1919, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Moscow defeated resistance in Ukraine and the country becomes one of 15 Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
  • In 1954, after Stalin’s death the year before, Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, assumed power. Pandering to Ukrainian supporters, he unilaterally decreed that henceforth Crimea would be part of the Ukrainian SSR, not the Russian SSR. Since all 15 Republics of the USSR were under tight rule from Moscow, the switch was a distinction without much of a difference – until later, when the USSR fell apart.

Read On…….

Ukraine for Dummies

Hopefully since the MSM will not explain the situation completely this may help my readers in some small way.

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

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That ISIS Thing

We have not had much news about ISIS…as it should be because according to Trump he defeated them single handed….and yet they still exist….

Even before the recent raid that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the erstwhile head of the Islamic State, Donald Trump had spoken of how he had single-handedly defeated the caliphate.

“Now, when I came, the caliphate was all over the place,” the president said apropos of nothing during a news conference with the Australian prime minister on September 20. “I defeated the caliphate — ISIS.”

At a press conference on October 21, after pulling troops out of Syria, Trump put himself even closer to the battle with the Islamic State: “I’m the one that did the capturing. I’m the one who that knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”

The Islamic State and Trump’s Delusion

A look at this ISIS thing through the eyes of a Neocon think tank……

Almost as soon as it became clear that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead, the revisionism began about whether this was actually a good thing.

Some analysts predicted that al-Baghdadi’s death as a “martyr” would inspire others, becoming a “propaganda bonanza” for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

We should not be so gloomy. The death of such a sadistic killer and serial rapist is unambiguously good news.

It was also the last thing that ISIS needed. Caliphate relinquished, the group’s operations inevitably will be disrupted by the death of its emir, especially with Abu Hassan al-Muhajir—a potential successor—killed in a U.S. airstrike just hours later.

5 Things to Watch in Tracking the Future of ISIS

The group has been diminished but not gone……and they have a new tactic of terror….FIRE

A media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group’s radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.

At least four propaganda posters that have appeared on the pro-ISIS Quraysh media outlet have urged followers to “ignite fires” as part of an ongoing jihad against America and its allies.

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/isis-tells-followers-to-set-forest-fires-in-u-s-europe/

The caliphate is down but not out……

Just months after the Islamic State militant group lost the last of its territory in Syria, and days after its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S.-led raid, the group has found safe haven in a remote, ungoverned space in Iraq, as foreign fighters move across the border from Syria, military officials tell NBC news.

“The fight against ISIS is continuous,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William Seely, commander of Task Force-Iraq. “We’re seeing ISIS fighters move from Syria across hundreds of miles of desert.”

Their goal, Seely says, is to re-establish their physical caliphate in the region.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/defeated-isis-has-found-safe-haven-ungoverned-part-iraq-n1076081

How many times must I say this….ISIS IS NOT DEFEATED!

It is only napping waiting for the day to return.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Today Will Be A Busy Day

All eyes should be on their favorite news outlet for the live coverage of the impeachment proceedings……the AP breakdown the important stuff for the day………

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS GO LIVE ON TV

Two seasoned diplomats, William Taylor and George Kent, will be the first witnesses to publicly testify in the House impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR TRUMP

The president comes face to face with the limits of his power, as public impeachment hearings will help shape how he will be viewed by voters next year and his place in history.

If that is not to your liking and not your cup of tea then there are several other important issues playing out today……

 

  • Key players. The Hill lists some key players to watch during the hearings, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who will be the first lawmaker to question the witnesses. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the committee, will also be allowed to make an opening statement and question witnesses for up to 45 minutes.
  • Trump: “The circus is coming to town.” Trump called Sean Hannity a “brave warrior” and tweeted parts of his anti-impeachment rant. “The circus is coming to town. The corrupt, compromised, coward & congenital liar Adam Schiff Show on Capital Hill,” Trump wrote. “There is zero due process, none. It is yet another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory. It is another Witch Hunt.”
  • The Democratic case. A top Democratic official tells the New York Times that the witnesses will help make the case that Trump is guilty of “serious misconduct” by trying to “bribe, extort, condition or coerce” Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his political rivals. Schiff said Tuesday that he believes Trump is guilty of both bribery and “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which are impeachable offenses under the Constitution.
  • The GOP defense. The BBC reports that a memo circulating Tuesday set out a “straightforward” Republican defense of Trump. GOP lawmakers are expected to argue that Trump was acting out of legitimate concerns about corruption—and that witnesses who say otherwise are “unelected bureaucrats” who are biased against the president.
  • Debunked claims. The Washington Post lists some debunked claims likely to surface during the hearings, including Trump’s argument that his July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president was “perfect.”

How to watch. The proceedings will be aired live on C-Span and cable news networks, reports Business Insider. They will also be streamed on the websites of the House Intelligence Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

And now for the rest of the world……..

 

TRUMP, ERDOGAN TO MEET AT WHITE HOUSE

Relations between the two NATO allies are at their lowest point in decades, with Turkey turning toward Russia on security issues and Ankara facing a Washington backlash over attacks on Kurdish forces and civilians.

AS HONG KONG DESCENDS INTO CHAOS, CHINA MULLS OPTIONS

Analysts say that the violent protests, now in their sixth month, may give Beijing the justification it needs to take more direct action.

KABUL’S AIR POLLUTION MAY BE EVEN DEADLIER THAN WAR

A research group says more than 26,000 deaths in Afghanistan’s capital could be attributed to air pollution in 2017, compared to 3,483 civilians killed that year in the Afghan war.

I think that ALL Americans should watch the hearings and listen closely to the testimony……plus if you are planning to watch the circus then maybe you should be armed with the transcripts….and the old professor can help with that as well…..

3 transcripts were released….that of a Deputy Sec. of Defense, Laura Cooper……you may read the entire thing here…..https://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/CPRT-116-IG00-D012.pdf

Christopher Anderson who was an assistant to the Ukraine Envoy….his testimony can be read here……https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/11/politics/read-testimony-christopher-anderson/index.html

Catherine Croft, a top State Department official….her’s can be read here…..https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/read-transcript-state-dept-official-catherine-croft-s-impeachment-testimony-n1080331

Read Yovanovitch’s testimony in full here. (Initial news coverage of her testimony is here.)

Read McKinley’s testimony in full here.

Read Volker’s testimony here……https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6540429/CPRT-116-IG00-D007.pdf

… another transcript was released to the public…that of Ukraine expert…..Bill Taylor and it can be read here……https://www.scribd.com/document/433753426/William-Taylor-testimony

The most recent release from yesterday…..State Department employee testimony can be read here…..https://www.scribd.com/document/433921637/George-Kent-testimony

…two transcripts released for public consumption……..first the transcript of the testimony from Col. Vindman…….https://www.scribd.com/document/434064258/Vindman-pdf

Second from Fiona Hill……https://www.scribd.com/document/434065486/Fiona-Hill-testimony

Now you are ready for the proceedings to begin…..

Not to worry I will post a short summary of the day’s proceedings…..

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Iran And Enrichment

The media keeps the pressure up on Iran….it has jumped into the Neocon camp and dealing in false information……to illustrate their fanning the flames moment…..the headline was “Iran Thumbs It’s Nose At The Nuke Agreement”……

Iran is continuing to back away from its nuclear deal with world powers following US withdrawal over a year ago. On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani announced that uranium gas would be injected into centrifuges at the underground Fordo facility beginning Wednesday. A rep for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran later said gas would be injected into 1,044 centrifuges with the goal to enrich uranium up to 4.5% concentration of U-235. The 2015 deal limits Iran to low-enriched uranium, with no more than 4% concentration. Iran actually agreed not to carry out enrichment at Fordo until 2031, per the BBC. “Trump’s complaint with the Iran accord was that key restrictions expired by 2030, but the net result of the recent announcements is that those restrictions are largely being thrown out now,” reports the New York Times.

Iran sees its move as a bargaining chip. It’s “reversible” if other signatories—the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia—allow Iranian oil to be sold on foreign markets and relieve economic pressure from US sanctions imposed after Trump pulled out of the deal, Rouhani said. “Then we will stop feeding gas to the centrifuges.” He spoke a day after Iran announced it had doubled the number of advanced centrifuges at its larger Natanz facility, where enriched uranium is already being produced, per the Times. On Tuesday, the US State Department said Iran had “no credible reason to expand its uranium enrichment program, at the Fordo facility or elsewhere, other than a clear attempt at nuclear extortion.” Per the Times, “with the steps taken in recent weeks, Iran might be able to produce enough fuel for a single nuclear bomb in under a year.”

Please someone tell the world that none of thus would be news if Trump had not wanted to destroy a deal of the Obama administration……had nothing to do with the nuke thing but rather a popular Obama policy……it had to go.

Really?  No”credible reason”?  Maybe all the past war drum beating and threats from some slug in DC…..maybe they take threats seriously?

Iran is an oil exporting country…well it just got a shot to the arm…..

Iran has discovered a new oil field in the country’s south with over 50 billion barrels of crude, its president said Sunday, a find that could boost the country’s proven reserves by a third as it struggles to sell energy abroad over US sanctions. The announcement by Hassan Rouhani comes as Iran faces crushing American sanctions after the US pulled out of its nuclear deal last year. Rouhani said the field was located in Iran’s southern Khuzestan province, home to its crucial oil industry, reports the AP. Some 53 billion barrels would be added to Iran’s proven reserves of roughly 150 billion, he said. “I am telling the White House that in the days when you sanctioned the sale of Iranian oil and pressured our nation, the country’s dear workers and engineers were able to discover 53 billion barrels of oil in a big field,” Rouhani said.

Oil reserves refer to crude that’s economically feasible to extract. Figures can vary wildly by country due to differing standards, though it remains a yardstick of comparison among oil-producing nations. Iran currently has the world’s fourth-largest proven deposits of crude oil and the world’s second-largest deposits of natural gas. It shares a massive offshore field in the Persian Gulf with Qatar. The new oil field could become Iran’s second-largest field after one containing 65 billion barrels in Ahvaz. The field is 925 square miles, with the deposit some 260 feet deep, Rouhani said.

Just a thought

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Please Explain Syria

We were told that our troops would be leaving Northern Syria and coming home….then they were going to a base in Northwest Iraq (Iraq said they could not stay)…then we were told that a small group of troops would go to Syria to protect the oil fields……..what is the deal here?

https://lobotero.com/2019/11/05/syria-the-confusion-and-the-chaos/

Apparently it is ‘official’ US troops to Eastern Syrian to take Syrian oil…..it must be important because we will build two new bases in Syria…

Reports out of eastern Syria, citing local sources, say that the US appears to be preparing to build two substantial military bases in the Soor area, near major oilfields which the Trump Administration intends to retain.

Since President Trump announced in October that his military goals in Syria were being entirely revised around the idea of keeping control over oilfeilds, and talked of extracting oil from the area, US military deployments have centered on oilfields in the east.

It makes some sense then that the US would be building bases in that area, since it’s where the troops are staying. If anything though, this rush of material shows both how hasty the oil-taking decision was, and how long the US is likely to end up stuck in Syria trying to get oil out of there.

Russian outlets have predicted the oil the US intends to appropriate will be worth around $30 million per month, though President Trump has claimed a much higher value of $45 million per month in his own comments.

Either way, the cost of keeping US troops in Syria exclusively to try to take the oil is not insubstantial, and the cost of building and operating entire new US bases is only going to add to that cost.

The assumption seems to be that the oil will pay for this in the end, though the legal basis for taking the oil simply does not exist, and so far no US company has indicated even a hint of interest in getting drawn into this difficult effort. 

(antiwar.com)

What happened to all the news reporting that Trump was betrayer everybody in the Middle East with his troop withdrawal…..it swas a false narrative that the MSM bought into hiok line and sinker….and they were WRONG!

That noise you can hear is Donald Trump flip–flopping in the sand. Last week, American troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles moved to occupy oil fields in Syria. The escalation came just half an hour after Trump had tweeted that all US soldiers had left the country and would be coming home. As so often, the President says one thing, then orders the military to do the other. On Twitter, Trump is ending the endless wars. In the real world, he is perpetuating them.

Trump’s focus is not really Syria, of course. It is the presidential election next year, and his precious voter base. But he can’t seem to decide if his supporters are peaceniks or bloodthirsty chauvinists. His problem is that they are both and neither. He’s beginning to learn that the relationship between foreign policy and domestic politics is more complicated than perhaps he realised.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/11/the-story-behind-donald-trumps-fake-withdrawal-from-syria/

The troops have returned gto Syria and in a big way…..

We now have troops once again in Syria….so what is their ‘directive on engagement’?

Well right now….there is NOT one!

United States troops stationed in Syria have yet to receive guidance on their mission, including the basic rules of engagement, according to a military official in a CNN report published Monday.

Some military commanders deployed to Eastern Syria were reportedly still waiting to receive their directives to guard oil fields in the region. For some of these troops, it was unclear where their destinations would be and how long they were expected to stay there, according to CNN.

https://www.insider.com/us-troops-guarding-oil-fields-syria-rules-of-engagement-2019-11

The more I read…the more I cannot see what the end game will be….as usual it is chaos nothing disciplined….and that is the foreign policy we get when the 3 Stooges run the policies……and I am not alone here….

Confusion has prevailed regarding the purposes of the U.S. troop presence in Syria, and whether the declared purposes are the actual ones. Originally the expedition was widely understood to be all about combating the Islamic State (ISIS) after the group had established a mini-state on a large portion of Syrian and Iraqi territory. Then hawks within the Trump administration and President Trump himself, in a classic case of mission creep, declared that the U.S. troops were also in Syria to “watch Iran”. Later variations of the creeped-up mission included not only watching Iran but also, through some unexplained mechanism, getting Iran and maybe Russia to abandon their positions in Syria.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/donald-trumps-take-oil-strategy-syria-mistake-92991

All this wrong on many levels….but other than that it will come back and bite the US in the ass…..PERIOD!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

A Master Stroke In Foreign Policy

I have given my opinion on the action taken by Pres. Trump and Syria…..and I am sure that there are many out there that have formed their opinion from their favorite news source….those sources are making the case of the “poor Kurds” being betrayed by the US and how that will play with our foreign policy in the future.

If my opinions are needed then I offer my post at the time of the US withdrawal……https://lobotero.com/2019/10/16/but-the-kurds-are-our-friends/

All the MSM has been in the pockets of the warmongering Neocons and condemned the withdrawal of American troops….even FOX has not been in Trump’s corner for this situation.

In all fairness I want to post an article that is 100% in Trump’s corner for the pull out…….

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria is a brilliant strategic move that simultaneously achieves all of our major objectives in the region.

Perhaps because it has been so long since America had a coherent foreign policy strategy, the political establishment is aghast at the president’s action, predicting all manner of calamitous consequences. The same “experts,” however, have been responsible for the myriad foreign policy disasters that have befallen this country over the past two decades, so their discomfiture should be taken with a rather small grain of salt.

In one deft move that doesn’t put a single American life at risk, President Trump achieved a regional solution to ISIS, undermined Iran’s capacity for foreign aggression, and disentangled the United States from an alliance of convenience that threatened to create major diplomatic headaches down the road.

Contrary to claims that withdrawing American special forces from Northern Syria will enable ISIS to resurrect itself, for instance, the arrangement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan merely shifts responsibility for the few remaining ISIS fighters onto Turkey.

The successful operation to take out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi only makes it even less likely that the terrorist group will reemerge.

https://www.amgreatness.com/2019/10/30/trumps-withdrawal-from-syria-is-a-foreign-policy-masterstroke/

Please read this article…..like I said 100% in support on the action taken by Trump.

I agree with the troops coming home but I do not agree with allowing Turkey a free hand in Northern Syria…..it is time for the US to end its endless wars but this is not the best way to achieve that end.

But as this article states we now have a coherent foreign policy….that I cannot agree with and think it is at best wishful thinking not a reality…..plus the confidence that ISIS is defeated is also wrong.

I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that our foreign policy is coherent….chaotic yes, coherent NO.

American foreign policy is increasingly falling into disarray and incoherence. President Trump’s doctrine of principled realism, in my opinion, is the correct approach. Principled realism in international politics where nations go to war, however, requires disciplined leadership and decision-making to ensure the world does not resort to unnecessary violence. Any willingness to forego a sense of global responsibility should give pause to American citizens, allies and partners. The question here is whether this doctrine of principled realism has devolved to unprincipled realism to endemic confusion.

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/465329-the-trump-doctrine-principled-realism-or-endemic-confusion

But then that is my opinion and I would like to hear yours on this situation……the 3 Stooges are in charge of our foreign policy…..Pompeo, Rudy and Trump……NONE know what they are doing.

So do I think that all this was some master stroke of foreign policy?  NO!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego ergo Scribo”

Iran Hostage Thing 40 Years On

The date came and went and NO one seem to care…..they were too busy buying bullshit by the gallon…..how sad.

First I need to apologize…..this draft was written and saved to be posted on the day it happened…..well I screwed up….and it is posted a day late….my bad.

Do you remember where you were on 04 November 1979?

I was getting ready for work and heard the first reports on the morning news…..

On November 4, 1979, a group calling itself the Students Following the Line of the Imam stormed the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, seized control of the compound, and took several dozen American diplomats, Marine guards, and others hostage. Thus began a 444-day ordeal that shocked the world, fundamentally altered the political scene in Iran, and cemented negative perceptions in the West of the country’s Islamic leadership.

Forty years later, the Iran hostage crisis is still critical to understanding the bitter nature of relations between Iran and the United States. It instantly formed a core part of the American narrative ab

out the Islamic Republic as a regime willing to flout international law and universal moral principles, a view that has colored much of U.S. policymaking ever since.

Today, the National Security Archive is posting a small sampling of declassified records that recall that pivotal episode. They include a memo from National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to President Carter suggesting several hardline actions including replacing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Iran’s leader and even overt intervention (see Document 07). Carter was not prepared to take up any of these options but they indicate the level of alarm created by events in Tehran.

https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/iran/2019-11-04/1979-iran-hostage-crisis-recalled

This situation was the beginning of all the stuff that we read about Iran in the news…..the media needs the event and the Iranians to help the Pentagon feed a narrative…..a narrative that has allowed for a 40 year war of words……

Our other national humiliations, from the Alamo to Saigon, have faded from memory or been transformed into noble lost causes. Anger over the hostage crisis has not subsided. For four decades it has grotesquely distorted our approach to the Middle East. Although it ended peacefully with the release of American diplomats, it has had an effect on our national consciousness — and our foreign policy — comparable to the effect of the 9/11 attacks, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed.

The hostage crisis is a lamentable example of how ignorance leads nations to misunderstand each other. It led many Americans to believe that Iranians act out of pure nihilism, cheerfully violating every law of God and man without any reason other than a desire to show how much they hate us. Only years later did it become clear that the opposite was true. The hostage-takers acted to achieve a specific political goal — to stave off what they suspected was an imminent effort by the Americans to reinstall a despised Iranian leader. We might have recognized their motive if we knew our own history.

Our misunderstanding of the hostage crisis still poisons US-Iran relations

After the fall of the USSR we needed a foe to keep the dollars flowing into the Pentagon and Iran fits the bill very well….continue the anger and the money will flow.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”