Category Archives: Military

Dialogue of the Deaf in Geneva, by Alastair Crooke

We’ll do as we want and you’ll do as we say isn’t much of a negotiating position. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Western politics today are no more about considered strategy: It is pretty evident that the U.S. team arrived at Geneva strategy-less.

A curious event occurred on Monday in Geneva. It seems that the only substantive outcome from the U.S.–Russia talks is that the U.S. has promised to provide a formal response to the earlier Russian demand for security guarantees within a week. The Russian counterparts outlined their own position unambiguously, and in full detail. This, however, was wholly disdained by the Biden Team, who, according to the Russians, were “diehard/stubborn”. The Russian delegation was told that its key request of ‘no more NATO eastward expansion’ was simply “a non-starter”.

It plainly was not then ‘a negotiation’. The U.S. is discussing only missile deployment issues and mutual limitations on military exercises, but avoiding the crux of Russian demands (the roll-back of NATO from its near abroad, to be achieved either through diplomacy or a by ‘a strategy of tension’, i.e. escalating pain). And the U.S. has neither a negotiating strategy tied to realisable objectives, nor real options, beyond the symbolical assertion of NATO ‘openness’.

NATO’s door must remain ‘open’ is the U.S.’ meme-narrative – yet it is an assertion that lacks substance. Washington has already conceded that neither it, nor NATO, will fight (at least overtly), over Ukraine – whereas Russia has said that it will so do, were Ukraine to be subsumed into NATO.

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Biden Should Declare NATO Membership Closed, by Patrick Buchanan

In other words, Biden should forthrightly state American blood and treasure won’t be sacrificed to protect countries the U.S. government and most of its citizens have never thought worth defending. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a U.S.-backed coup that ousted a pro-Russian regime in Kyiv by occupying Crimea, President Barack Obama did nothing.

When Putin aided secessionists in the Donbass in seizing Luhansk and Donetsk, once again, Obama did nothing.

Why did we not come to the military assistance of Ukraine?

Because Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We had no obligation to come to its aid. And to have intervened militarily on the side of Ukraine would have risked a war with Russia we had no desire to fight.

Last year, when Putin marshaled 100,000 Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, President Joe Biden declared that any U.S. response to a Russian invasion would be restricted to severe sanctions.

The U.S. would take no military action in support of Ukraine.

Why not? Because, again, Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

Clearly, by its inaction, America is revealing its refusal to risk its own security in a war with Russia over a Ukraine whose sovereignty and territorial integrity are not vital U.S. interests sufficient to justify war with the largest country on earth with its huge arsenal of nuclear weapons.

This is the real world.

And as Ukraine is not a NATO ally, and we are not going to invite it to become a NATO ally, Biden should declare so publicly, urbi et orbi, to remove Putin’s pretext for any invasion.

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Vladimir Putin Is Not the Neville Chamberlain the US/NATO Is Looking For, by Thomas Knapp

Don’t expect Vladimir Putin to back off Russia’s demands concerning NATO membership or where the U.S. and NATO put their weapons. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:

“I think one lesson in recent history,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on January 7, referring to the entry of Russian troops into Kazakhstan to save that country’s allied regime from an uprising of dissatisfied serfs, “is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave.”

That’s the pot calling the kettle black. More than 30 years after the Warsaw Pact’s dissolution, 77 years after the end of World War Two, the US still keeps 40,000 troops in Germany.

For 45 years, the justification was to defend Germany from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. As Germany moved toward reunification, US Secretary of State James Baker assured Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization wouldn’t expand so much as “one inch eastward” into the former Soviet sphere of influence it was created to contain.

That assurance, codified in various negotiations and subsequently declassified documents, was far from “informal” as supporters of an expanding NATO pretend. It may well have kept eastern Europe’s transition toward independence from devolving into the third general European war in a century.

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A Great Opportunity to Restore the Republic, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The U.S. national security state that emerged from World War II destroyed the last vestiges of the U.S. republic and our freedom. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

With the debacle in Afghanistan, the American people have been presented with one of the greatest opportunities in our lifetime — an opportunity to dismantle the national-security establishment and restore our founding system of a limited-government republic. Opportunities like this do not often present themselves. Now is time to seize the day, before the national-security establishment is able to provoke a new crisis that could serve as a justification to keep it.

Most Americans living today, I think it’s fair to say, honestly think that the United States has the same type of governmental system it has always had. The reality is different. Our nation’s founding system was a limited-government republic, which is a type of system that is totally different from a national-security state.

What is a national-security state? By looking at some examples, we can get a good idea. North Korea is a national-security state. So is China. Cuba. Russia. Vietnam. Egypt. Pakistan. The United States. And many more.

A national-security state is characterized by an enormous and permanent military-intelligence establishment, one that wields omnipotent powers that are ostensibly intended to keep the citizenry safe and secure. Customarily, the intelligence apparatus is simply part of the overall military establishment.

In the United States, the national-security establishment consists primarily of the Pentagon, the vast military establishment, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Administration, various national-security agencies, and, to a certain extent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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If Austria and Switzerland Are Exempt From NATO Then Why Not Ukraine? By Finian Cunningham

Good question. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Moscow insists that its demand for halting NATO expansionism is inviolable. Washington insists on rejecting that. The gap in diplomacy is becoming a dangerous abyss.

American and NATO officials contend that Russia has no right to demand that Ukraine be excluded from membership of the military alliance. Such a demand is a non-starter, they say.

Meanwhile, Russia insists that it is an “absolute imperative” that Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics such as Georgia are not admitted to NATO. And Moscow wants a legal treaty stating this exclusion.

A quick reality-check amusingly reminds us that Moscow has precedent on its side of the argument. The talks between U.S., NATO and Russian officials this week are being conducted in Geneva and Vienna, the cities of two European countries, Switzerland and Austria, that are obliged to remain neutral from any military alliance.

That non-aligned status is part of the Swiss and Austrian constitutions. But part of the neutrality also stems from international consensus based on the sensitive geopolitical position of both countries in the aftermath of wars in Europe.

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How Private Contractors Disguise the Real Costs of War, by William D. Hartung

Nobody wants to open the can of worms that is military and intelligence contracting. From William D. Hartung at inkstickmedia.com:

Beyond wasting billions, private contractors are enablers of war.

It’s well known that waste, fraud, and abuse were widespread among contractors working for the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the negative consequences of the heavy reliance on contractors to help wage wars go well beyond that to the question of whether and how the United States wages war.

The issue of waste in America’s endless wars should certainly not be ignored, given its immense costs to taxpayers. As early as 2011 — ten years into the Afghan war — the congressionally-mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting estimated that there had already been between $31 billion and $60 billion in waste related to contracting in the two war zones. There has been no comparable analysis since, but it’s safe to say that there have been tens of billions more in waste — including criminal fraud — in the most recent ten years of war. The Special Investigator General for Afghan Reconstruction has produced scores of reports documenting waste in Afghanistan, even as it has helped convict 160 companies and individuals of fraud and saved taxpayers $3.8 billion in the process.

Hiding the full costs of war, from the number of casualties to the true size of the force, makes unnecessary conflicts more sustainable.

All of this occurred in the context of the record surge in Pentagon spending that accompanied and was publicly justified by what was originally known as the Global War on Terror. As I noted in a joint report of the Center for International Policy and the Brown Costs of War Project published in September 2021, the post-9/11 surge in Pentagon spending resulted in $14 trillion in Pentagon spending from 2001 to 2020, up to half of which went to contractors. Among the report’s findings were that the biggest beneficiaries by far were the top five weapons contractors, namely Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman. These five companies alone have split $2.1 trillion in contracts since 2001. To give some sense of scale, Lockheed Martin alone received $75 billion in Pentagon contracts in 2020, which was more than one and one-half times the combined budgets of the State Department and the Agency for International Development. If the Biden administration is truly to put diplomacy first, this extreme militarization of our budget must be corrected.

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For Leftists, Your Freedom Is Their Misery – Your Slavery Is Their Joy, by Brandon Smith

The desire to control another person is psychotic. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

There is a certain level of madness required to reach the state our country is in today. I think most of us feel this and know this but I want to dissect the situation a little so that we can see the guts of the thing and understand the mechanics of it. Insanity has a structure, believe it or not, and there are ways to analyze it and identify it. For example, there are many forms of madness that stem from an obsession with power and control.

In my previous article ‘Is There A Way To Prevent Psychopaths From Getting Into Positions Of Power’, I explored the thinking patterns and predatory habits of the worst 1% of humanity and how they insinuate themselves into authority by blending in (until they have all the power and no longer need to blend it). Now I want to talk more about the OTHER unstable people, the 5%-10% of the population that psychopaths exploit as a mob or army to frighten everyone else into conformity and help them achieve their goals.

To be clear, almost any group can become an exploitable weapon used by psychopaths. There have been times in history where the elites within the Catholic Church used zealotry among Christians to dominate society to the point of torture and terror during the inquisitions and crusades. During the George W. Bush era I remember well the lies about WMDs used to herd Republicans into pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, that is the past. Today the problem of zealotry is resoundingly on the side of the political left.

That is to say, the political left is now the side that is most appealing to narcissists, sociopaths, the emotionally unstable, etc., and this attraction is forming a mob that can be easily exploited by the establishment.

What I find interesting is that leftists actually believe that THEY are the underdogs and that they are fighting a “revolution” against the establishment. This is a bizarre disconnect from reality. Every major institution of power and influence in the US is on the side of the political left. How can you be rebelling against the establishment if all your values coincide with the establishment’s agenda?

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The Not-Ultimatum, by Observer R

The U.S. no longer has the economic or military power to maintain itself as the dominant global power, but the U.S. power structure is not ready to accept that truth. From Observer R at thesaker.is:

The documents issued by Russia in December 2021 (the so-called “Not-Ultimatum), concerning modifications to the security architecture in Europe, have created a considerable sensation in the diplomatic and military worlds. Russia politely requested that NATO confine its activities to its location as of 1997, and keep out of the former Warsaw Pact territory. This was to abide by the promises that the United States made to the Soviet Union at the time that the Soviets agreed to disband the Warsaw Pact. Both the United States and NATO responded negatively to the initiative, but agreed to hold negotiations with Russia during the week of January 11-14, 2022.

During the negotiation period many commentators have opined that the intellectual quality of the US official statements and the US think-tank products could be improved. Perhaps all is not lost, however, as at least some US officials have grasped the changes in Russian weapons and the Russian economy that make it necessary to sit down and do serious talking. For example, the top US general has announced that the world has moved from a unipolar setup to a multipolar one, and that the US is now only one of the poles, the others being China and Russia. The US general has engaged in “deconfliction” talks with the top generals of China and Russia—presumably to try and ward off any mistakes that could wind up frying the world to a crisp. In addition, the head of the CIA has allowed the CIA Fact Book to be published publicly showing that China and Russia are much higher-ranked in GDP than most politicians and pundits in the US give them credit for. China is significantly out in front, and Russia is sixth and closing in on fifth place. Finally, a former First Lady and Secretary of State has written that the massive US aircraft carriers are to a large extent obsolete and that the F-35 fighter jet does not live up to expectations. There is a widespread feeling that the US is behind the Russians in hypersonic weapons, air defense, and probably electronic warfare also.

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This Is How the U.S. Does ‘Dialogue’, by Pablo Escobar

Are Vladimir Putin’s proposals being rejected out of hand? From Pablo Escobar at unz.com:

Washington will not consider Russian proposals on no expansion of NATO, and has no intention of even discussing the idea. So much for “dialogue”.

It was the first high-level Russia-NATO meeting since 2019 – coming immediately after the non sequitur of the U.S.-Russia “security guarantee” non-dialogue dialogue earlier in the week in Geneva.

So what happened in Brussels? Essentially yet another non-dialogue dialogue – complete with a Kafkaesque NATO preface: we’re prepared for dialogue, but the Kremlin’s proposals are unacceptable.

This was a double down on the American envoy to NATO, Julianne Smith, preemptively blaming Russia for the actions that “accelerated this disaster”.

By now every sentient being across Eurasia and its European peninsula should be familiar with Russia’s top two, rational demands: no further NATO expansion, and no missile systems stationed near its borders.

Now let’s switch to the spin machine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s platitudes were predictably faithful to his spectacular mediocrity. On the already pre-empted dialogue, he said it was “important to start a dialogue”.

Russia, he said, “urged NATO to refuse to admit Ukraine; the alliance responded by refusing to compromise on enlargement”. Yet NATO “welcomed bilateral consultations” on security guarantees.

NATO also proposed a series of broad security consultations, and “Russia has not yet agreed, but has not ruled out them either.”

No wonder: the Russians had already noted, even before it happened, that this is noting but stalling tactics.

The Global South will be relieved to know that Stoltenberg defended NATO’s military blitzkriegs in both Kosovo and Libya: after all “they fell under UN mandates”. So they were benign. Not a word on NATO’s stellar performance in Afghanistan.

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America’s Attila the Hun moment, by Simon Black

Empires are made to expire. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

In the year 435 AD, after several years of endless menacing from the nomadic Hun tribe, the Roman Empire was ready to make a deal.

The Huns were fairly new on the continent; they had originally come from central Eurasia as recently as 370 AD. Yet in the span of a few short decades, they quickly established themselves as the dominant tribe in Eastern Europe, conquering vast territories and threatening the Roman Empire.

The Empire was a pitiful shell of its former self at that point. So Emperor Theodosius II sent one of his generals to meet with the Huns in the city of Margus, now called Pozarevac in modern day Serbia.

The leader of the Huns was a short, flat-nosed warrior in his mid 30s named Attila who famously remained on his horse during the entire meeting with the Roman envoys.

Attila was cunning, and he knew the Romans were weak. So he intentionally made ridiculous demands.

Among them, he told the Romans he would leave them alone if they paid a tribute of 700 pounds of gold per year (worth about $13.3 million in today’s money).

This was a significant sum back then, especially given that the Roman Empire had lost its most productive gold mines in Hispania to the Visigoths and Vandals in the early 400s.

(The region of Andalusia in modern Spain is actually named for the Vandal tribe, derived from the Arabic word al-Andalus.)

In addition to the money, though, Attila also demanded that the Romans could not enter into any alliance with any other tribes if the Huns deemed them to be a threat.

In making this demand, Attila was essentially giving himself control of Rome’s foreign policy and military affairs.

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