You’ve really got to wonder at the stupidity of some of the people in the Biden administration. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:
Ukraine is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The United States has no treaty obligations — and neither does NATO — to come to Kiev’s aid in times of war.
The irresponsible, tasteless and plain obscene action of U.S. Defense Attache to Kiev Colonel Brittany Stewart in publicly wearing a Ukrainian armed forces death’s head insignia in her visit to the Donbass war zone in a time of deadly escalating tensions on April 9 defies belief. Her action suggests that under President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin the Pentagon has fallen into the hands of deadly dangerous sloppy idiots.
Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation command said Stewart had traveled to Donbass to assess the situation on the ground. In photos taken during her visit, Stewart is seen wearing on her shoulder sleeve a “Ukraine or death” skull insignia, which is the patch of the 72nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade.
When I first saw the reports — and photographs — of Stewart’s action — I automatically assumed that she must be an ignorant, impressionable amateur catapulted into a situation way out of her depth.
Out of her depth, Stewart certainly is, but lack of experience should be no excuse for it. She is a presumably seasoned U.S. Air Force officer who previously served as Air Attaché with the U.S. Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, another former Soviet republic. So this is not her first such quasi-political appointment. She should certainly have known what she was doing.
Remember the Russian bounty story? When it comes to the legacy media and the intelligence community, it’s: Fool me once, fool me again . . . and again . . . and again. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:
The most significant Trump-era alliance is between corporate outlets and security state agencies, whose evidence-free claims they unquestioningly disseminate.
That Russia placed “bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.
The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Timesannounced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA’s claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.
The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump’s refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump’s “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”
America has given Ukraine an informal security guarantee when there’s no way it can guarantee the country’s security. Vladimir Putin is probably delighted that with little effort he can make Biden and Co. look like idiots. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:
It’s not by accident that the Hegemon is going no holds barred to harass and try to smash Eurasian integration by all means available.
It’s a scorpion battle inside a vortex of distorted mirrors inside a circus. So let’s start with the mirrors in the circus.
The non-entity that passes for Ukrainian Foreign Minister traveled to Brussels to be courted by US Secretary of State Blinken and NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg.
At best, that’s circus shadowplay. Much more than NATO advisers in a frantic revolving door in Kiev, the real shadowplay is MI6 actually working very close with President Zelensky.
Zelensky’s warmongering script comes directly from MI6’s Richard Moore. Russian intel is very much aware of all the fine print. Glimpses were even carefully leaked to a TV special on the Rossiya 1 channel.
I confirmed it with diplomatic sources in Brussels. British media also got wind of it – but obviously was told to further distort the mirrors, blaming everything on, what else, “Russian aggression”.
German intel is practically non-existent in Kiev. Those NATO advisers remain legion. Yet no one talks about the explosive MI6 connection.
Careless whispers in Brussels corridors swear that MI6 actually believes that in the case of a volcanic but as it stands still preventable hot war with Russia, continental Europe would burn and Brexitland would be spared.
How can invading foreign lands that pose no threat to the US make Americans safer? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
That the United States likes to use expressions like “shock and awe” or “maximum pressure” would rather suggest that there is a psychopath working in the White House basement whose full-time job is to come up with pithy one-liners to somehow euphemize government bad behavior. The expressions hardly mean anything in and of themselves apart from “tough talk” but they do serve as an alternative to having to admit in plain language to the killing of millions of people since the Global War on Terror began in 2001. “Millions?” one might skeptically ask. Yes, millions if one includes all those killed directly or indirectly as a result of the wars. Direct victims of the violence number at least 157,000 in Afghanistan, 182,000 in Iraq, 400,000 in Syria and 25,000 in Libya. And if you want to go back a few years three million Vietnamese died in 1964-1975 while 2.5 million civilians were killed in Korea. And even in the “Good War” World War 2 there were unnecessary incidents to include the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 105,000, the firebombing of Tokyo adding another 97,000, and the firebombing of Hamburg and Dresden that together killed 45,000.
An estimated ten million more civilians have been displaced from their homes since 2001, creating refugee crises in both Europe and the Americas, while trillions of dollars have also been wasted or “misplaced” by the geniuses at the Pentagon and in Congress. And some might reasonably argue that the violence taking place all around the world has also been internalized in the U.S., with mass murders surfacing in the news media every few days. Some argue that the United States has nearly always been at war since its founding, which would be true, but it is also correct to note that the nature of America’s lethal engagement with the rest of the world has changed in the past twenty years. Old wars were fought to expand territory and trade or to acquire colonies for the same purpose, meaning they were intended to increase one’s power and wealth. Since 9/11, however, the wars are being fought seemingly without any real identifiable objective while also inflicting significant losses in relative wealth and power on the United States.
Even if Biden pulls troops out of Afghanistan, the usual supporting cast of special forces, contractors, and spooks will remain. From Jeremy Kuzmarov at thegrayzone.com:
Over 18,000 Pentagon contractors remain in Afghanistan, while official troops number 2,500. Joe Biden will withdraw this smaller group of soldiers while leaving behind US Special Forces, mercenaries, and intelligence operatives — privatizing and downscaling the war, but not ending it.
On April 14, President Joe Biden announced that he would end the U.S.’s longest war and withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Over 6,000 NATO troops will also be withdrawn by that time.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said during his remarks from the White House Treaty Room, the same location from which President George W. Bush had announced the war was beginning in October 2001. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it’s time to end the forever war.”
Biden’s claim that he is ending the forever war is misleading. As The New York Times reported, the United States would remain after the formal departure of U.S. troops with a “shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations Forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives.” Their mission will be to “find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic state threats, current and former American officials said.”
The Russians had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to locate their country right next to Ukraine, and that makes them responsible for all the tensions there. Joe Biden’s right, they’ll be a price to pay for that. Just like Biden, SLL has no idea what that price will be. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:
Russian troops are in Russia. American troops are being positioned over 8,000 kilometers away from U.S. territory on Russia’s doorstep.
The United States, Britain, Germany, and other NATO powers this week urged Russia to “de-escalate” troops in its own territory. Meanwhile, the U.S.-led NATO military alliance amasses forces on Russia’s border, and the Ukrainian Kiev regime openly solicits NATO support in its aggression towards the ethnic Russian population in that country’s eastern Donbas region.
This is what you might call a classic “tail wagging the dog” situation in which reality is back to front. The reality is that Washington and its European allies are responsible for engendering a grave escalation in tensions by indulging the reckless authorities in Kiev. Calling on Moscow to de-escalate is akin to a trespassing burglar admonishing a householder to stop shining a light in his eyes and go back to bed.
In recent weeks the military forces under Kiev’s command have stepped up violations of a shaky ceasefire in the conflict with separatists in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). The shelling of civilian centers has raised concern that the Kiev authorities are deliberately winding up tensions with Russia by placing the ethnic Russian population in Donbas in danger of an offensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government have failed miserably to implement the 2015 Minsk peace accord which obligates Kiev to grant political autonomy to the Donbas region. The region objected to the NATO-backed coup d’état in 2014 which ousted an elected president and ushered in a new anti-Russia regime.
Biden and the Democrats proceed from stupid to evil. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
Joe Biden’s party must be thinking — if you call it thinking — that being psychotic isn’t enough… it’s time to go demonic! How else to explain the supernatural doings of the folks in charge of things in our nation’s capital. The casual observer might suppose that these things are spinning out of control, but you also have to wonder how much Joe Biden & Company are spinning them that way. Are they looking to start a war, for instance?
Three weeks ago, Ol’ White Joe called Vladimir Putin “a killer.” This week, Ol’ Joe called Vlad on the phone and suggested a friendly in-person meet-up in some “third country.” In the meantime, Ol’ Joe essayed to send a couple of US warships into the Black Sea to assert America’s interest in Ukraine, the failed state whose American-sponsored failure was engineered in 2014 by Barack Obama’s State Department. Turkey, which controls the narrow entrance to the Black Sea, was notified that two US destroyers would be steaming through its territory. Hours after the announcement, the US called off the ships. Then, hours after Ol’ Joe proffered that summit meeting, his State Department imposed new economic sanctions on Russia and tossed out a dozen or so Russian embassy staff. How’s that for a coherent foreign policy?
What’s going on in Ukraine, anyway? The US and NATO have prompted Ukraine to move troops and tanks toward the ethnically-Russian breakaway Donbass region. Russia countered by massing 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border. Though supplied with Western armaments, Ukraine’s ragtag and incompetent army has no ability to control the Donbass, nor do either NATO and the US have any real will to interfere there with their own troops — the logistics are insane. Mr. Putin’s elegant solution: evacuate the three-plus million Russians stuck in Donbass into Russia — which needs labor — ceding the empty territory to foundering Ukraine — soon to be an ungovernable post-industrial frontier between East and West. For a rich rundown on these matters, read Dmitry Orlov’s mordant disquisition on the subject: Putin’s Ukrainian Judo.
As tensions increase between Moscow and NATO over a buildup of troops near the Donbass, actually initiated by Ukraine, the West’s apparent position is that Russia has no right to self-defense. That’s been the case for decades.
Having grown up in middle America during the waning years of the Cold War, I possessed a not-so-healthy fear of an imminent Soviet invasion or attack. Bob Dylan would capture this type of fear and hysteria in his 1964 song ‘With God on Our Side’, which he ripped off from the Clancy Brothers and Dominic Behan.
Dylan’s updated version of ‘The Patriot Game’ declared: “I’ve learned to hate the Russians, all through my whole life; if another war comes, it’s them we must fight. To hate them and fear them, to run and to hide…” It is quite incredible to me that, nearly 60 years later, with the USSR itself having fallen in the meantime, these words still ring true in the West today.
It would be quite surprising if Vladimir Putin doesn’t figure out a way to outsmart the Biden administration in Ukraine. From Dmitry Orlov at thesaker.is:
A terrible war is about to erupt on Russia’s border with the Ukraine—or not—but there is some likelihood of a significant number of people getting killed before project Ukraine is finally over. Given that around 13 thousand people have been killed over the past seven years—the civil war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has gone on for that long!—this is no laughing matter. But people get desensitized to the mostly low-level warfare. Just over the past couple of weeks a grandfather was shot by a Ukrainian sniper while feeding his chickens and a young boy was killed by a bomb precision-dropped on him from a Ukrainian drone.
But what’s about to happen now is forecasted to be on a different scale: the Ukrainians are moving heavy armor and troops up to the line of separation while the Russians are moving theirs up to their side of the Ukrainian border, a position from which they can blast any and all Ukrainian troops straight out of the gene pool without so much as setting foot on Ukrainian territory—should they wish to do so. The Russians can justify their military involvement by the need to defend their own citizens: over the past seven years half a million residents in eastern Ukraine have applied for and been granted Russian citizenship. But how exactly can Russia defend its citizens while they are stuck in the crossfire between Russian and Ukrainian forces?
The rationale of defending its citizens led to conflict in the briefly Georgian region of South Ossetia, which started on August 8, 2008 and lasted barely a week, leaving Georgia effectively demilitarized. Russia rolled in, Georgia’s troops ran off, Russia confiscated some of the more dangerous war toys and rolled out. Georgia’s paper warriors and their NATO consultants and Israeli trainers were left wiping each others’ tears. Any suggestion of arming and equipping the Georgians since then has been met with groaning and eye-rolling. Is the upcoming event in eastern Ukraine going to be similar to the swift and relatively painless defanging of Georgia in 2008? Given that the two situations are quite different, it seems foolish to think that the approach to resolving them would be the same.
At the initiative of the American side, a telephone conversation took place between President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the United States of America Joseph Biden. The current state of Russian-American relations and some relevant aspects of the international agenda were discussed in detail. Joseph Biden confirmed his earlier invitation to the Russian President to take part in the Climate Summit, which will be held via videoconference on April 22-23. Both sides expressed their readiness to continue the dialogue on the most important areas of ensuring global security, which would meet the interests of not only Russia and the United States, but also the entire world community. Moreover, Joseph Biden expressed interest in normalizing the state of affairs on the bilateral track and establishing stable and predictable cooperation on such pressing issues as ensuring strategic stability and arms control, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Afghanistan, and global climate change. In this context, the US President proposed to consider the possibility of holding a personal summit meeting in the foreseeable future. During the exchange of views on the internal Ukrainian crisis, Vladimir Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement based on the Minsk Package of Measures. It was agreed to give instructions to the relevant departments to work out the issues raised during the telephone conversation.
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. They discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty. President Biden also made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions. President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.
Why the difference in tone? Because the Russians don’t believe in loud statements before a negotiation and, unlike “Biden”, they are not insecure in their legitimacy (both the legitimacy of their policies and the legitimacy of their government). As for Biden, he just produces the exact same type of hot air which the Trump administration became so infamous for. I can tell you what most Russians think when they hear this. They think: “sure looks to me like the old man is desperately trying to encourage himself!”. I totally concur.
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