Zelensky’s Great Expectation

My regulars know that I am not a fan of all the funds and stuff we are pouring into Ukraine….I believe that this is just a funnel for the corruptible…..and we continue to feed that machine….just as we have done with other countries that we are saving from anarchy…..

The newest report coming out of Ukraine is that they are basically demanding the West (meaning the US) must guarantee their security…..

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday welcomed a proposal drawn up by senior Ukrainian officials and a former NATO chief that outlined a plan for security guarantees Kyiv would seek from Western countries.

The proposal emphasizes Ukraine’s desire to become a NATO member and says that until Kyiv joins the Western military alliance, it needs security guarantees from other countries.

The document says that the “strongest security guarantee for Ukraine lies in its capability to defend itself.” It says building up a sufficient defensive force requires “a multi-decade effort of sustained investment in Ukraine’s defense industrial base, scalable weapons transfers and intelligence support from allies, intensive training missions and joint exercises under the European Union and NATO flags.”

The security guarantees Ukraine seeks from other countries is a commitment for them to support Ukraine’s ability to create this force to deter future attacks through military aid, funding of reconstruction, training, intelligence sharing, and joint exercises.

According to the document, the countries Ukraine wants security guarantees from include but are not limited to “the US, UK, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, and Nordic, Baltic, and Central European countries.”

As part of this arrangement, Ukraine seeks a “massive training and joint maneuver program of Ukrainian forces and partners on Ukrainian territory with international trainers and advisors.”

Zelensky on Wednesday welcomed the plan, which was drawn up with the help of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former NATO secretary-general. Zelensky said that the report “should become the basis of the future security compact.”

(antiwar.com)

Join NATO?

Is that not the major reason that Russia invaded?

This is nothing more than a demand for an open-ended deal to continue the funneling dollars and bombs into Ukraine indefinitely.

And this will happen come 2023 and the spineless creeps we have in our Houses of Congress.

Just another incident of the US saving ‘democracy’….like Iraq and Afghanistan to name the most recent failures.

Open you damn eyes!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Who Pays?

The US Congress has voted overwhelmingly to allow Sweden and Finland into NATO…..a bad idea from my point of view…..since the 1990s the US and NATO have been poking Russia in th eye at almost every turn…..and then Ukraine happened.

Now the finger poking begins again….and how will that end? Better question is if Russia retaliates against Europe who pays?

An excellent question and with the US domination of the arms industry….who do you think will benefit the most?

If Europe wants to flex its underused muscle….what will be the outcome?

After Russia attacked Ukraine, European governments claimed to be serious about defense. However, so far few have acted on their latest promises. The continent’s continued reliance on America is evident from European proposals for military escalation — which could only be pursued by Washington. The Biden administration should insist on an alliance rebalance.

For more than seven decades, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has stood for North America and The Others. It was not supposed to be this way. Warned Dwight D. Eisenhower, NATO’s first supreme commander: “We cannot be a modern Rome guarding the far frontiers with our legions if for no other reason than that these are not, politically, our frontiers. What we must do is to assist these people [to] regain their confidence and get on their own military feet.”

However, even after recovering economically from World War II, European governments preferred to invest in their welfare states rather than their militaries. American policymakers preferred to dominate the continent’s decision-making rather than limit the U.S. public’s military liability. As a result, the U.S. consciously acted as a modern Rome. Still, Washington wanted the Europeans to do more. Alas, America’s clients provided promises rather than performance, reducing U.S. officials to begging.

A decade ago, soon-to-retire Defense Secretary Robert Gates criticized Europe’s lackadaisical military efforts: “I’ve worried openly about NATO turning into a two-tiered alliance: Between members who specialize in ‘soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping, and talking tasks, and those conducting the ‘hard’ combat missions. Between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership — be they security guarantees or headquarters billets — but don’t want to share the risks and the costs. This is no longer a hypothetical worry. We are there today. And it is unacceptable.”

So if Europe wants to escalate against Russia who foots the bill?

If push comes to shove in Europe the US will be on the hook with either troops, money, or weapons…..or all three.

An unacceptable situation that will be reality for the M-IC will always gets it’s way….it is why lobbyists throw money at Congress.

Time for a re-set.  NATO should have ended wit the fall of the Soviet Union.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–04Aug22

Our Congress has voted on Sweden and Finland vote on joining NATO…..overwhelmingly in both Houses.

I have been in opposition to this situation for I think it will make things more volatile than they are now…yet another finger poke at Russia.

It is official the Senate has voted to allow Sweden and Finland into NATO…..

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution approving Sweden and Finland’s bids for NATO membership, demonstrating the bipartisan consensus on expanding the military alliance further on Russia’s border.

The measure passed the Senate in a vote of 95-1-1, with only Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) voting “no,” and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voting “present.”

In an op-ed published inThe National interest, Hawley explained that he was against expanding NATO into Sweden and Finland because he believes the US should be expanding its military resources into the Asia Pacific to counter China.

An amendment that Paul tried to add to the resolution would have emphasized that Article 5, NATO’s mutual defense clause, does not supersede congressional authorization for war. But the amendment failed in a vote of 10-87.

The Senate vote was needed to ratify US approval for Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance. All 30 NATO members need to approve the Nordic nations’ memberships, and according to The Hill, the Senate vote makes the US the 20th country to do so.

In July, the House voted on a resolution supporting Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids that passed in a vote of 394-18, with only Republicans voting against the measure.

Turkey is the only NATO member that has said its legislature might block Sweden and Finland from joining the alliance. Ankara initially blocked the Nordic countries from applying but lifted the objection after signing a memorandum at the NATO summit in June.

Turkey accused Sweden and Finland of supporting the PKK, a Kurdish militant group Ankara considers a terrorist organization. Under the memorandum, the two Nordic nations agreed to respond to Turkey’s extradition request for suspected PKK members and other alleged “terrorists.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the Turkish parliament could block Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids if they don’t comply.

(antiwar.com)

The bipartisan consensus for expanding NATO remains strong as the House approved a resolution on Monday endorsing Sweden and Finland’s memberships in a vote of 394-18, with only Republicans voting in opposition.

This is not something that the US should enter into lightly….but we did and apparently lobbyists money was well spent.

Ask yourself (you probably won’t) with this vote who will benefit the most?  (That means follow the money)

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–20Jul22

Anyone that visits this blog knows that I think that there are more than one fool serving in Congress….people like Taylor-Green, Gaetz, Boebert, et al…I believe these idiots never intended to govern when elected but rather to perform for the cameras.

But I will admit that once in a awhile they surprise me and do something I can agree with (at least in principle)….like Trump they were those few occasions when I agreed with something that Trump said or planned to do (also at least in principle)…..

This is one of those times that I agree with the GOP idiots…..

Eighteen Republican lawmakers voted against the US allowing Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Among the dissenters in the Monday vote were some of the party’s farthest-right members, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Matt Gaetz (FL) and Lauren Boebert (CO).

The vote was a symbolic one to express support from the House for the applications — the formal process by which the US can ratify new NATO members takes place in the Senate.

The House bill passed easily with 394 votes, leaving the 18 Republicans in a small minority even among their own party.

https://www.businessinsider.com/18-republicans-voted-against-sweden-finland-joining-nato-2022-7

I am against this move for it will just agitate Russia and Putin even more….it will prolong all the animosities that are prevalent today in our foreign policy.

Everything the Congress is doing is just provoking more outbreaks of hostilities and giving the M-IC a free pass to sell more death and destruction.

I hate it that I agree with these GOPers….but a good idea is a good idea NO matter where it comes from.

Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Ukraine Wins The War Zone Lotto!

Dollars, Euros, pounds…..and the cash keeps flowing into Ukraine daily…..I have bitched about the US dollars that just keeps Ukraine in the battle…..but the US is NOT alone…..

European Union nations on Tuesday approved fresh aid for Ukraine as the country faces growing economic damage from Russia’s invasion.

Finance ministers from the 27-nation EU gave the go-ahead on Tuesday to 1 billion euros ($1 billion) in loans to the Ukrainian government.

The sum brings to 2.2 billion euros the total amount of EU macro-financial assistance to Kyiv this year. An initial 1.2 billion-euro EU loan package got the green light from the bloc’s finance chiefs days before Russia’s full-scale Feb. 24 attack.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, in mid-May proposed extra assistance of up to 9 billion euros to Ukraine. The planned 1 billion-euro payout is part of this initiative, which comes as Russia makes advances in eastern Ukraine and casualties mount on both sides.

“This will give Ukraine the necessary funds to cover urgent needs and ensure the operation of critical infrastructure,” said Zbynek Stanjura, finance minister of the Czech Republic, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, in a statement.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-07-12/ukraine-granted-extra-eu-aid-of-1-billion-euros

I know I bitch a lot about the wasting of taxpayer cash on a cause that has no consequences for the US….so why stop now?

Another weapons package to be sent to Ukraine…..

The $400 million was pulled from the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill that President Biden signed back in May. It was authorized using presidential drawdown authority, which allows the president to send Ukraine weapons directly from the US military’s stockpile with no congressional oversight.

The $40 billion aid bill is meant to last through September 30, which marks the end of the fiscal year for the US federal government. Combined with the $13.6 billion bill that was already spent, the US will spend about $54 billion in total on the war in Ukraine in the 2022 fiscal year unless more funds are authorized.

It’s likely that billions more in spending for Ukraine will be approved for the 2023 fiscal year as the US says it will support Ukraine for a long time. Last week, at the NATO summit in Madrid, Biden said he was ready to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.

(antiwar.com)

Apparently the billions we have already sent to Ukraine is not enough…..an additional package is being put together…..

The US on Tuesday announced it was sending $1.7 billion in new aid to fund the Ukrainian government that is meant to pay Ukrainian healthcare workers and support other “essential services.”

The funds are coming from the US Treasury Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and are being pulled from the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill President Biden signed into law back in May.

Also on Tuesday, the EU approved a new Ukraine aid package for 1 billion euros ($1 billion) in loans. The 1 billion is the first payment that’s part of an EU plan to provide Ukraine with 9 billion euros in financial assistance.

While Western nations have been shipping billions of dollars worth of weapons into Ukraine, the leadership in Kyiv keeps asking for more, including more economic assistance. Last month, the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s financial committee said the government needs $5 billion in external aid, or it will have to make drastic budget cuts.

The $40 billion aid package Biden signed in May includes $8.5 billion for economic assistance. More spending for Ukraine could be approved soon as the $40 billion is meant to last through September 30, and President Biden has said he’s willing to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”

Before Russia’s invasion, Western officials often cited corruption in Ukraine’s government as a reason why Kyiv couldn’t join NATO or the EU. But those concerns have fallen by the wayside as billions in aid are flowing into Ukraine with virtually no oversight.

(atiwar.com)

The key statement in that report is….” billions in aid are flowing into Ukraine with virtually no oversight.”

In other words we have NO idea where the cash is going…..mostly likely a percentage is finding its way into a few bank accounts…..

To illustrate this problem…..

The IG report reads: “As the DoD is building processes and procedures to ensure the transparency of the reporting for the Ukraine supplemental funds, we identified multiple areas of concern that, if not adequately addressed, could reduce the traceability of Ukraine supplemental funds and the transparency in the DoD’s reporting.”

Pentagon Watchdog Says Ukraine Aid Oversight Hindered By Bad Record-Keeping

I am still working on why I am one of the few that actually gives a crap how my money is spent.

We piss and moan about the cash spent on a social program but could care less when it is used for war and destruction…..where is the sanity there?

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

News On Ukraine

I know the news from Ukraine is not that important right now to Americans….we are dealing with the collapse of our system…..but yet there are some things coming out of Ukraine that we Americans should be concerned over.

First the most important news…..once again the US president is sending more taxpayer cash to Ukraine….yes more!

President Biden authorized a new $450 million weapons package for Ukraine that includes more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), patrol boats, and tactical vehicles.

The Biden administration first sent HIMARS to Ukraine as part of a previous arms package that was announced on June 1, which represented a significant escalation in US military aid to Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said Thursday that they had received the first HIMARS delivery.

According to the Pentagon, the $450 million weapons package includes:

  • Four HIMARS
  • 36,000 rounds of 105 mm ammunition
  • 18 tactical vehicles to tow 155 mm artillery
  • 1,200 grenade launchers,
  • 2,000 machine guns,
  • 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats
  • Spare parts and other equipment.

The new bundle of weapons was funded by the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill that Biden signed into law back in May. The $450 million was authorized using presidential drawdown authority, which allows Biden to send weapons to Ukraine from the US military’s stockpiles.

Including the initial $13.6 billion aid bill for Ukraine, the US has authorized about $54 billion to spend on the war in Ukraine. The funds are meant to last through the 2022 fiscal year, which ends on September 30 for the federal government.

The majority of the funds are going toward military spending, whether through weapons packages for Ukraine or for the Pentagon to replenish its weapons stock and pay for troop deployments in Eastern Europe.

(antiwar.com)

I ask just what does the US get in return for all this cash?  I mean kindness is one thing but fool-hardiness is just stupid.

US is once again doing what it always does in these situations…..throw good money after bad!

It seems the mouth of Ukraine has a new strategy…insult those that are aiding his war…..

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appears to have launched a new strategy in his country’s war against Russia. Insult Kyiv’s closest supporters by calling them Russian pawns.

He penned an article in Foreign Affairs, what amounts to the venerable newsletter of the Blob, the internationalist establishment. The US and Europe are not doing enough for Ukraine in his opinion. Indeed, he believes that the allies, despite sanctioning Russia and providing weapons to his country, are effectively going over to the dark side.

Kuleba wrote: “calls for dangerous deals are getting louder. As fatigue grows and attention wanders, more and more Kremlin-leaning commentators are proposing to sell out Ukraine for the sake of peace and economic stability in their own countries. Although they may pose as pacifists or realists, they are better understood as enablers of Russian imperialism and war crimes.”

A student of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People Kuleba is not. Denouncing the very governments he expects to help is a dubious tactic. Telling them to ignore the interests of their own nations won’t work. That is a step too far even for Kyiv’s friends.

Kuleba’s frustration is understandable. His nation has been invaded, a crime and tragedy. The human and material costs are horrendous. Despite early setbacks, the Russian military retains significant advantages, such as artillery dominance, which has led to steady if slow gains in the east. And despite Kuleba’s optimistic assertion that Ukraine can win, Moscow can escalate through full mobilization and resort to WMDs, something Kyiv cannot match. So he wants more, ever more assistance from the US and Europe.

This is understandable, even expected. However, if Kuleba and his government are counting on Western aid to save Ukraine, they are likely to be disappointed. Although the invasion has dominated media attention and driven the allies to take unusually tough and swift action against Russia, the conflict is not their, and certainly not their people’s, top concern.

First, this is Ukraine’s war, not the West’s crusade. There have been many conflicts since World War II, and even the US, the most militaristic power since the end of the Cold War, has avoided participating in most of them. When intervening militarily, Washington has always set limits, eventually deciding, with good reason, that it should stop pouring good lives and resources after bad into them – Afghanistan and Vietnam most dramatically. No other country will care as much about the outcome in Ukraine as Ukraine.

Indeed, Kuleba admitted: “It is only natural that people and governments lose interest in conflicts as they drag on. It’s a process that has played out many times throughout history. The world stopped paying attention to the war in Libya after former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi was toppled from power, in 2011. It disengaged from Syria, Yemen, and other ongoing conflicts that once generated front-page news. And as I know well, the rest of the world lost interest in Ukraine after 2015, even as we continued to fight Russian forces for control over the eastern part of the country.” Everyone is more concerned about their families and friends, as well as their communities and nations, than about “the world.”

Second, Kyiv’s fight is not for Europe, the West, or any other country. Ukrainians are fighting for Ukraine. Kuleba claimed: “If we lose, there will not just be no more Ukraine; there will be no prosperity or security in Europe.” Yet no one in NATO, except perhaps the Baltic States, which would do little of the fighting – NATO always has stood for North America and the Others – has ever considered Ukraine to be a vital interest worth fighting for. The alliance failed to act on a succession of promises to induct Kyiv and did not directly intervene after Russia’s 2014 territorial seizures. Today allied governments are acting in the very ways that so upset Kuleba because they believe it is vital to avoid being dragged into the conflict.

Has Ukraine Adopted a New Strategy of Insulting the Allies?

It is not anything new!  Zelensky and his sycophants have been insulting and embarrassing the Allies from the beginning….a tactic that has proved very lucrative from the beginning….cash has flown into the country at an alarming rate.

How goes the war?

Not as well as the powers would have us believe…..

According to a report from CNN, White House officials are losing confidence that Ukraine will be able to retake all the territory Russia has captured since it invaded on February 24 as Russian forces continue to make gains in the eastern Donbas region.

Unnamed US officials told CNN that President Biden’s advisors have started debating if and how the US should start convincing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should change his definition of what “victory” will look like.

Zelensky has repeatedly stated that Ukraine’s goal is to drive Russia out of all territory it has captured since it invaded. He also has said he wants to expel Russian forces from Crimea, a territory Moscow has controlled since 2014.

But even as the US and NATO are sending more and more heavy weapons to Kyiv, the prospect of Ukraine being able to launch a sufficient counter-offensive does not seem realistic. Ukraine is taking heavy casualties, with officials admitting they are losing between 100 and 200 troops each day.

(antiwar.com)

Finally, it looks like NATO could get a few new members…..Turkey is dropping its objection……

Turkey agreed on Tuesday to lift its objection to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, paving the way for the two Nordic countries to begin their application process at this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto released a statement that said that he and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid that were facilitated by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The three leaders signed a joint memorandum that said Turkey would support the Nordic nations’ NATO bid at the upcoming summit. Niinisto said the memorandum outlined that Turkey, Finland, and Sweden agreed to “extend their full support against threats to each other’s security.”

Turkey initially objected to Sweden and Finland’s application due to their alleged ties to the PKK, a Kurdish militant group the US, the EU, and Turkey consider a terrorist organization. Erdogan also wanted the Nordic nations to lift export controls on weapons they placed on Turkey in response to a Turkish assault on northeast Syria in 2019.

(antiwar.com)

And the war continues….and taxpayer money is wasted….as usual.

Watch This Blog!

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“lego ergo scribo”

Ukrainian War Update

Since the mass shootings recently have taken the Ukraine/Russia mash-up from the headlines….but while we are focused on a renewed gun debate the war goes on….and on……

I too have been remiss on my reporting on this conflict…so I will begin with a NATO prediction….

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance must be prepared to support Ukraine for the “long haul.”

“We just have to be prepared for the long haul,” Stoltenberg said. “Because what we see is that this war has now become a war of attrition.”

Over three months into the war, the military situation is not looking good for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russia and the Donbas separatists control about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow took in 2014.

(antiwar.com)

How goes the war for Ukraine and its struggle……

As soon as they’d finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and their daughters, Olena and Myroslava-Oleksandra. In the first 100 days of war, his grave was the 40th dug in the military cemetery in Zhytomyr, 90 miles west of the capital, Kyiv. He was killed May 30 in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine where the fighting is raging. Other graves also showed soldiers killed within days of each other—on May 27, May 10, May 9, May 7, and May 5, per the AP. And this is just one cemetery, in just one of Ukraine’s cities, towns, and villages laying soldiers to rest.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that Ukraine is now losing 60 to 100 soldiers each day in combat. By way of comparison, just short of 50 American soldiers died per day on average in 1968 during the Vietnam War’s deadliest year for US forces. “This is one of the critical moments in the war, but it is not the peak,” says Gen. Viktor Muzhenko, the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ chief of general staff until 2019. “This is the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II. That explains why the losses are so great. In order to reduce losses, Ukraine now needs powerful weapons that match or even surpass Russian weaponry.” Concentrations of Russian artillery are causing many of the casualties in the eastern regions that Moscow has focused on since its initial invasion launched Feb. 24 failed to take Kyiv.

Ukraine had about 250,000 men and women in uniform before the war and was in the process of adding another 100,000. The government hasn’t said how many have died in more than 14 weeks of fighting. Nobody really knows the number of Ukrainian civilians who have been killed or how many combatants have died on either side. Western analysts estimate far higher Russian military casualties, in the many thousands. Still, as Ukraine’s losses mount, the grim mathematics of war require that it find replacements. With a population of 43 million, it has manpower. Muzhenko says Zelensky’s admission of high casualties would further galvanize Ukrainian morale and that more Western weaponry would help turn the tide. “The more Ukrainians know about what is happening at the front, the more the will to resist will grow,” he notes.

How much longer can Ukraine hold out?

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that Ukraine is now losing 60 to 100 soldiers each day in combat. By way of comparison, just short of 50 American soldiers died per day on average in 1968 during the Vietnam War’s deadliest year for U.S. forces.

Among the comrades-in-arms who paid respects to the 49-year-old Makhachek at his funeral on Friday was Gen. Viktor Muzhenko, the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ chief of general staff until 2019. He warned that losses could worsen.

“This is one of the critical moments in the war, but it is not the peak,” Muzhenko told The Associated Press. “This is the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II. That explains why the losses are so great. In order to reduce losses, Ukraine now needs powerful weapons that match or even surpass Russian weaponry. This would enable Ukraine to respond in kind.”

Concentrations of Russian artillery are causing many of the casualties in the eastern regions that Moscow has focused on since its initial invasion launched Feb. 24 failed to take Kyiv.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe, described the Russian strategy as a “medieval attrition approach” and said that until Ukraine gets promised deliveries of U.S., British and other weapons to destroy and disrupt Russian batteries, “these kinds of casualties are going to continue.”

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-government-and-politics-e076f509008b021a8e687d525e34c948

Not to worry the US is here to see that it continues  and we will throw money, good after bad, at Ukraine (that is taxpayer funds needed here for our growing problems)…..

Since the outbreak of the war, the U.S. has been showering Ukraine with more than $4 billion in pledged security support within the first month of the conflict alone. Most recently, Congress passed and President Biden signed a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine much of which goes toward military assistance through September: that’s more than $100 million per day.

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/05/24/u-s-increases-aid-to-over-100-million-per-day-for-ukraine-war-a-critique-of-the-wests-militarized-approach/

Just look at the problems that Ukraine is making worse….

The United States, as the near-unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable COVID relief program. No respite from 8.3% inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $6 trillion more than the US GDP of $24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

At what point do the American people stop following morons and sycophants and make Congress understand that their bribes will do no good……it must be all about this nation and let the rest go straight to Hell (as for as I am concerned)…..

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Does Biden Want A War With Russia?

Of course he says no….but actions are telling different story……but here is what he had to say in an op-ed…..

President Biden wrote an op-ed for The New York Times where he sought to clarify his policy on Ukraine. In the piece, the president said that he is not seeking a war between Russia and NATO or regime change in Moscow.

“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow,” Biden wrote.

“So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces,” he added.

While Biden insists he doesn’t want war with Russia, he also said that he has decided to give Ukraine “more advanced rocket systems and munitions,” likely a reference to the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) Ukraine has been requesting for months. The MLRS is capable of firing rockets up to 190 miles, but the White House has said the US won’t send long-range rockets capable of striking Russian territory.

(antiwar.com)

“We will not send long-range weaponry….”

Then this story broke…..

The US will supply Ukraine with advanced rocket systems to “help it strike enemy forces more precisely from a longer distance,” per the BBC. Ukrainian officials have been begging for longer-range weapons to counter Russian firepower, which has pummeled cities and Ukrainian military positions in the Donbas region for weeks. In a New York Times essay published Tuesday, President Biden said the weaponry will help Ukraine defend itself and strengthen its hand at the negotiating table. Biden also sent assurances to the Russians, writing, “We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.”

The announcement comes as critics have piled on in recent weeks, accusing the Biden administration and NATO of “mollycoddling” Russia. Per the BBC, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday accused the US of “directly and intentionally adding fuel to the fire.” The Washington Post reports that shortly after Biden’s essay was published, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced exercises involving Moscow’s strategic missile forces responsible for “nuclear deterrence of possible aggression.” According to Russian military doctrine, the use of nuclear force is justified “if the Russian state faces an existential threat from conventional weapons.”

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that the US will send can deliver satellite-guided munitions nearly 45 miles, outmatching comparable Russian systems. It’s also much easier to reload and more mobile than its Russian counterparts. Per the Times, the US declined to send its most advanced systems, which have a range up to 200 miles, and agreed to send the HIMARS based on Ukrainian promises that the weapons won’t be used to strike Russian territory. President Zelensky reiterated the point in an interview on Newsmax, saying, “We’re not interested in what is happening in Russia. We’re only interested in our own territory.” In related news, Germany announced Wednesday that it will send Ukraine its most advanced air-defense system, the IRIS-T, which “could be deployed to protect whole cities.”

So with that lie exposed the next question should be…how long before Ukraine strikes into Russian territory as retaliation?

Does this endanger NATO?

NATO is splitting over Ukraine…..

European officials told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that divisions between NATO members on how much support to provide Ukraine have been growing in recent weeks.

On one side, Western European nations led by France and Germany are reluctant to send Ukraine heavy weapons, have maintained dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and are calling for a negotiated solution to end the war.

On the more hawkish side are the US, Britain, and nations in northern and central Europe, including the Baltic states, Poland, and the Czech Republic. These nations want to put more advanced weaponry in Ukraine’s hands and are against talks with Russia, and some have discouraged Kyiv from negotiating a peace deal with Moscow.

The more hawkish view was expressed by Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins in an interview on Monday. Karins told Politico that “Russia must lose” and warned some of his fellow EU members were wrong to push for a “peace at any cost.”

“The main goal of ours has to be that Russia loses — and the other side of the coin is that Ukraine wins the war. Anything short of that means we have a very bad security situation in Europe,” Karins said.

While there are fractures in NATO, the US is still poised to support Ukraine against Russia in the long term as President Biden recently signed a $40 billion aid package for the Ukrainians. The EU also continues to take steps to cut off Russian energy even as Europeans are feeling the economic pain. On Monday, the EU agreed to a Russian oil ban with some exemptions for pipeline deliveries.

(antiwar.com)

How will this situation end?

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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…..

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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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