You have to ask, how could the blockade of Kaliningrad not have unintended consequences? One side thinks one thing is going to happen, and the other side thinks something else entirely is going to happen. From Robert Bridge at strategic-consequences.org:
For the EU to impose even a partial blockade of Russian territory presents a tremendous risk to regional stability and world peace. Some are beginning to talk about the risk of World War III.
Lithuania has blocked a number of rail-transport goods from reaching the Russia exclave of Kaliningrad. Vilnius says it is merely adhering to the EU-mandated sanctions regime, but Moscow warns it has broken international law. Is this a casus belli?
Efforts to punish Russia for defending its territory from encroaching NATO forces, as well as a very real neo-Nazi threat in neighboring Ukraine ratcheted up this week as Vilnius halted the flow of goods into Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that is bordered by NATO members Poland to the south, Lithuania to the north and east, and the Baltic Sea to the west.
Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov says the ban affects some 50 percent of all imported goods, including energy resources, metals, construction materials and advanced technology. Official pleas against panic buying went unheeded as frantic shoppers were seen hoarding products.
At a moment US media and much of the West is consumed with the historic Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Russian President Vladimir Putin just issued what’s possibly the most alarming and escalatory statement thus far in the four-month long Ukraine war.
On Saturday Putin for the first time informed his close ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that he has approved supplying Belarus with nuclear capable long-range missiles. Minsk has long offered to host Russian nukes as a ‘deterrent’ against the West – a prospect which Lukashenko had very provocatively offered even in the months leading up to the Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine. This move will likely be viewed from Washington as a first step in moving toward a heightened nuclear posture in Eastern Europe.
Reuters writes of the announcement, “Russia will supply Belarus with Iskander-M missile systems, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a televised meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday. Delivery will take place within a few months, he added.”
Putin referenced nuclear-capability, according to a transcript of the televised remarks: “In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions.”
The report underscores further that “The Iskander-M is a mobile guided missile system with a range of up to 500 km (300 miles). The missiles can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.”
Currently, Putin and Lukashenka are meeting face-to-face in St. Petersburg on the 30th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic relations, which eventually led to the so-called ‘Union State’ pact of 1999, and has persisted till now, which also enabled Russia to muster much of its forces on Belarusian territory just ahead of the Ukraine invasion.
Will Russia swallow Ukraine entirely, or will part of present day Ukraine remain? From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
Ukraine as a country might not have a future. Ukraine is a new country only three decades old. Historically, Ukraine has been a part of Poland or of Russia. It might be on the verge of being divided between them.
Most of the Donbass and much of the Black Sea coast has been liberated by Russian forces and the forces of the two Donbass republics. Clearly the Ukrainian forces have lost the war in Donbass. Clearly Zelensky, a Jew who somehow heads a neo-Nazi state, lies when he claims Ukraine had no intention of reconquering the breakaway Donbass republics. What other purpose did the 150,000 Ukrainian army and Nazi militias arrayed on the shrunken Donbass borders have? How can the Russian forces be destroying the Ukrainian army in Donbass if the army wasn’t there? A question like this is too straightforward for the Western presstitutes.
What happens after Russia’s victory in Donbass?
Will Washington permit its puppet government to agree to Russia’s demand that Ukraine demilitarize and take a neutral status like Austria, or will Washington and NATO raise and equip a million-man army in Western Ukraine and attempt to take back the Donbass and Crimea?
Such an attempt would likely result in the destruction of Kiev and Lvov. The Ukrainian government would exist only in exile. As a number of NATO countries have made themselves combatants in the conflict, they are legitimate Russian targets. Clearly, a widening of the conflict is easily possible.
There is just no way that the CIA is going to allow a perfectly good fiasco go by without further mucking it up. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The New York Times reports that Ukraine is crawling with special forces and spies from the US and its allies, which would seem to contradict earlier reports that the US intelligence cartel is having trouble getting intel about what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine.
This would also, obviously, put the final nail in the coffin of the claim that this is not a US proxy war.
As Russian troops press ahead with a grinding campaign to seize eastern Ukraine, the nation’s ability to resist the onslaught depends more than ever on help from the United States and its allies — including a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training, according to U.S. and European officials.
Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the massive amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials.
At the same time, a few dozen commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine.
The word “fan” comes from fanatic. Think about the average sports fan. How rational is he about the object of his fanaticism? It’s one thing in sports, it’s another thing entirely in war, where irrationality is usually deadly. From Scott Ritter at consortiumnews.com:
Despite what some “defense analysts” may be telling Western media, the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die and the weaker NATO will become.
Main square of Severodonetsk, Ukraine, February 2018. (Visem, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)
For a moment in time, it looked as if reality had managed to finally carve its way through the dense fog of propaganda-driven misinformation that had dominated Western media coverage of Russia’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.
In a stunning admission, Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former senior adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and Intelligence Services, noted that the optimism that existed in Ukraine following Russia’s decision to terminate “Phase One” of the SMO (a major military feint toward Kiev), and begin “Phase Two” (the liberation of the Donbass), was no longer warranted. “The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now,” Danylyuk noted. “They are being much more successful. They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush.”
“There’s much less space for optimism right now,” Danylyuk concluded.
In short, Russia was winning.
Danylyuk’s conclusions were not derived from some esoteric analysis drawn from Sun Tzu or Clausewitz, but rather basic military math. In a war that had become increasingly dominated by the role of artillery, Russia simply was able to bring to bear on the battlefield more firepower than Ukraine.
If you or your proxy is going to fight a war, somebody has to provide all those bullets, bombs, etc. From Alex Vershinin at rusi.org:
Can the West still provide the arsenal of democracy?
The war in Ukraine has proven that the age of industrial warfare is still here. The massive consumption of equipment, vehicles and ammunition requires a large-scale industrial base for resupply – quantity still has a quality of its own. The mass scale combat has pitted 250,000 Ukrainian soldiers, together with 450,000 recently mobilised citizen soldiers against about 200,000 Russian and separatist troops. The effort to arm, feed and supply these armies is a monumental task. Ammunition resupply is particularly onerous. For Ukraine, compounding this task are Russian deep fires capabilities, which target Ukrainian military industry and transportation networks throughout the depth of the country. The Russian army has also suffered from Ukrainian cross-border attacks and acts of sabotage, but at a smaller scale. The rate of ammunition and equipment consumption in Ukraine can only be sustained by a large-scale industrial base.
This reality should be a concrete warning to Western countries, who have scaled down military industrial capacity and sacrificed scale and effectiveness for efficiency. This strategy relies on flawed assumptions about the future of war, and has been influenced by both the bureaucratic culture in Western governments and the legacy of low-intensity conflicts. Currently, the West may not have the industrial capacity to fight a large-scale war. If the US government is planning to once again become the arsenal of democracy, then the existing capabilities of the US military-industrial base and the core assumptions that have driven its development need to be re-examined.
If one gets the full story of Ukraine, Russia, and NATO since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, it is not difficult to understand why Russia invaded Ukraine. From Ramzy Baroud at commondreams.org:
Chomsky believes that the main ‘background’ of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is “NATO expansion.”
One of the reasons that Russian media has been completely blocked in the West, along with the unprecedented control and censorship over the Ukraine war narrative, is the fact that western governments simply do not want their public to know that the world is vastly changing.
Ignorance might be bliss, arguably in some situations, but not in this case. Here, ignorance can be catastrophic as western audiences are denied access to information about a critical situation that is affecting them in profound ways and will most certainly impact the world’s geopolitics for generations to come.
The growing inflation, an imminent global recession, a festering refugee crisis, a deepening food shortage crisis and much more are the kinds of challenges that require open and transparent discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine, the NATO-Russia rivalry and the responsibility of the West in the ongoing war.
To discuss these issues, along with the missing context of the Russia-Ukraine war, we spoke with Professor Noam Chomsky, believed to be the greatest living intellectual of our time.
Chomsky told us that it “should be clear that the (Russian) invasion of Ukraine has no (moral) justification.” He compared it to the US invasion of Iraq, seeing it as an example of “supreme international crime.” With this moral question settled, Chomsky believes that the main ‘background’ of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is “NATO expansion.”
The U.S. has been going after Russia via proxies for quite some time. From Patrick Macfarlane at libertarianinstitute.org:
In 1998, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbiegnew Brzezinski told Le Nouvel Observateur that the CIA “knowingly increased the probability” that the Russians would invade Afghanistan by covertly supporting the Mujahideen before the Soviet invasion. Later in that same interview, Brzezinski claims that this covert intervention caused the end of the Soviet Union:
B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
In July 2014, almost six months after the Maidan Revolution and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Brzezinski hinted at a similar plan for Ukraine, although he couched it in defensive terms. He wrote on the Atlantic Council’s blog:
If Ukraine has to be supported so that it does resist, the Ukrainians have to know the West is prepared to help them resist. And there’s no reason to be secretive about it. It would be much better to be open about it and to say to the Ukrainians and to those who may threaten Ukraine that if Ukrainians resist, they will have weapons. And we’ll provide some of those weapons in advance of the very act of invasion. Because in the absence of that, the temptation to invade and to preempt may become overwhelming. But what kind of weapons is important. And in my view, they should be weapons designed particularly to permit the Ukrainians to engage in effective urban warfare of resistance.
It’s never difficult to determine what neocon think tanks want: nonstop war. From James W. Carden at usrussiaaccord.org:
In Joe Biden’s Washington, it is the self described national security “expert community” that is at the wheel and driving the administration’s Ukraine policy.
A little remarked upon open letter which appeared in the Washington tabloid The Hill on June 1 put a public face on what had been until that point a discreet, though highly successful effort on the part of Washington think tanks– many of which, like the disgraced Brookings Institution, are funded by foreign governments –to direct the White House policy on Ukraine.
The letter reads, in part, that..
The United States and Europe must avoid the urge to encourage Kyiv to negotiate a cease fire that falls short of Ukraine’s goals and could consign millions of Ukrainians to Russian control.
The signatories of the open letter are urging the Biden Administration to stay the course and to continue to arm Ukraine, so that when the time comes, it will be able to negotiate from a position of strength.
The failure to recognize their own economic vulnerabilities more than anything marks a complete failure to think by the West’s supposedly leading lights. From Alasdair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Europe’s future looks bleak. It is now pressed by its own imposition of sanctions, and the resultant spike in commodity prices. The EU is lumbering around in a daze.
Western self-destruction – a puzzle defying any unique causal explanation – continues. The examples where policy is pursued in apparent indifference to anything resembling rigorous reflection, has become so extreme as to provoke a former British military chief (and former head of NATO forces in Afghanistan), Lord Richards, to huff that the relationship between strategy and any synchronisation of ends has become hopelessly broken in the West.
The West pursues a “let’s see how it goes” ‘strategy’, or in other words, no real strategy at all, Richards contends. Many would say that a cult of unrelenting, untethered, positive spin, has asphyxiated mainstream critical faculties. How is it that the West, awash with ‘think-tanks’, invariably gets it so wrong? Why is it that facile memes and illusions, posing as geo-politics, get little or no challenge? Compliance to official and mainstream narratives is all. It is baffling to observe this becoming routine, without apparent cognizance of the risks which this entails.
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