Tag Archives: Russia

What a Week! Did Russia Achieve ‘Check Mate’ With Its Latest Introduction of Cutting-Edge Weapon Systems? by Robert Bridge

NATO and the US can huff and puff all they want, expand NATO all the way up to Russia’s western border, but attacking Russia itself would be a fool’s errand. From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:

Russia has, in just one week, upped the military ante to such a degree that long-term peace in this part of the world is a very tempting thought.

While it remains a hypothetical question as to whether Russia has surpassed the rest of the world in terms of fighting preparedness, it would be hard to name another seven days in recent history when the country has unveiled more potential game changers.

If anything demonstrates once and for all that Russia has dusted off the cobwebs of its Soviet past and moved boldly into the future, it was to be found at the MAKS-2021 Air Show in Moscow, held from July 20-25.

The star attraction of the international aviation salon, which draws thousands of visitors annually, was not seen roaring in the skies overhead, but rather it was tucked away inside of a mocked up pavilion. Resembling a premier of the latest Hollywood action flick, visitors lined up almost half a kilometer to catch a glimpse of the Sukhoi Su-75 ‘CheckMate,’ the new stealth fighter that state-owned United Aircraft Corporation touted as superior to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 joint strike fighter. All things considered, it seemed only fair that Russian President Vladimir Putin got the first preview of the aircraft.

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNDrTSDmaZY

The rollout of the Su-75 is critical for Moscow on several fronts. First, it simply proves that Russia, if there was any doubt about it before, has broken the mold on technological breakthroughs achieved during the communist period. Up until now, the Russian Air Force has been dependent on two-engine warhorses, like the Su-35 and the MiG-35, formidable in their own right but expensive to produce and maintain.

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Afghanistan Is Going To Be a Mess: Let China, Russia, Iran, and Others Handle It, by Doug Bandow

The Chinese and Russians watched the US pour blood and treasure into Afghanistan and get less than nothing for it. Now, if the US is really getting out of Afghanistan, it’s somebody else’s turn. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The U.S. is leaving Afghanistan – finally, after two decades. The result is not likely to be pretty. Government soldiers are surrendering. Taliban forces are advancing. Kabul officials are panicking. The Biden administration is desperately trying to slow the regime’s incipient collapse with resumed airstrikes.

It is a tragic situation, but, looking back, at least, appears inevitable. The Afghan civil war is in its 40th year. The US has been involved for almost 20 years. The US quickly achieved its initial objectives, disrupting al-Qaeda for conducting the 9/11 terrorist attacks and punishing the Taliban for hosting a-Qaeda.

However, expanding the mission to nation-building proved to be a bust. Despite the expenditure of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, the result was essentially a Potemkin state. The Kabul authorities always were less than ideal: when I visited Afghanistan, I found no Afghan with anything good to say about his or her government who did not work for it.

Even the regime’s decidedly limited authority began evaporating the moment President Joe Biden announced his intention to withdraw. America’s effort had neither created a real country nor convinced the Afghan people to fight for their government. Although the special forces, along with some regular units, continue to fight bravely, there likely are too few loyalists to sustain government control of major urban areas, let alone the entire country.

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Nordstream 2’s Hard Lesson in Reality for Everyone, by Tom Luongo

Germany calls the shots in Europe and its awesome industrial plant needs reasonably priced energy, which is why the Germans weren’t going to let the US stop the Nordstream 2 natural gas line. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

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Nord Stream 2 ‘Deal’ Is Not an American Concession, It’s Admission of Defeat, by The Strategic Culture Editorial Board

Nord Stream 2 is a victory for American foreign policy in the same way as the Afghanistan War has been. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:

All in all, Washington’s virtue-signaling is one helluva gas!

After much arm-twisting, bullying and foghorn diplomacy towards its European allies, the United States appears to have finally given up on trying to block the giant Nord Stream 2 project with Russia. What an epic saga it has been, revealing much about American relations with Europe and Washington’s geopolitical objectives, as well as, ultimately, the historic decline in U.S. global power.

In the end, sanity and natural justice seem to have prevailed. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea will double the existing flow of Russia’s prodigious natural gas to Germany and the rest of Europe. The fuel is economical and environmentally clean compared with coal, oil and the shale gas that the Americans were vying with Russia to export.

Russia’s vast energy resources will ensure Europe’s economies and households are reliably and efficiently fueled for the future. Germany, the economic engine of the European Union, has a particular vital interest in securing the Nord Stream 2 project which augments an existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Both follow the same Baltic Sea route of approximately 1,222 kilometers – the longest pipeline in the world – taking Russian natural gas from its arctic region to the northern shores of Germany. For Germany’s export-led economy, Russian fuel is essential for future growth, and hence benefiting the rest of Europe.

It was always a natural fit between Russia and the European Union. Geographically and economically, the two parties are compatible traders and Nord Stream 2 is merely the culmination of decades of efficient energy relations.

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Many Interesting Developments in Russia, by The Saker

Russia has a variety of new weapons both interesting and frightening, and one older one: Vladimir Putin. From The Saker at unz.com:

 

 

Su-75 “Checkmate”

The past week has been quite intense in Russia – lots of interesting developments took place, and today I will mention three:

  1. Putin wrote a very interesting essay on the history of Russia and the Ukraine, which he followed up with a very interesting interview.
  2. Russia just concluded final tests for truly formidable weapons systems like the S-500 and the Mach 8 hypersonic missile Zircon.
  3. In its yearly aviation salon MAKS, Russia has just presented a 5th generation, single engine light multi-functional fighter the Su-75 “Checkmate”

These are all truly huge developments for Russia which we need to look into separately.

Putin’s history of Russia and the Ukraine

First, I highly recommend that you take the time to read the full article here and the full interview here (there is no point for me to use the space here to pepper you with excerpts), especially if you are not well-acquainted with Russian history or live in Zone A. Furthermore, being the “Putin groupie and fanboy” which I so-notoriously am (guilty as charged!), I won’t surprise anybody by saying that I agree with almost every word Putin wrote or spoke. And, frankly, all the facts Putin lists are really common knowledge for most people (unless they have been brainwashed by US/Ukronazi propaganda) and there is really no point for me to repeat “yes, this is true” and “yes, he is right” over and over again.

So all I propose to do next is to just to add a few comments of mine about this article+interview (I will assume that readers will have read them both; if not, I suggest completely skipping this section),

  1. First, as I just said, there is absolutely nothing new in this article for educated people. But that is not Putin’s target audience anyway. Putin’s target audience are the younger generations (in the Ukraine, the West and even, alas, Russia proper!) who know very little, if anything, about history. And while this is also true of Russia, this is especially true in the Ukraine where people have been massively brainwashed since 1917 (as Putin explains this very well in his article).

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Craig Murray: The Decline of Western Power

By now it’s obvious even to Westerners: the West is in decline. From Craig Murray at consortiumnew.com:

The really interesting thing about the G7 summit is that it wasn’t interesting. Nobody expected it to change the world, and it won’t.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders of the G7 watch the Red Arrows fly over in Carbis Bay, June 12. (Simon Dawson, No 10 Downing Street, Flickr)

Boris Johnson sees himself as the heritor of a world bestriding Imperial mantle, but in truth he cannot bestride the Irish Sea. The overshadowing of last month’s G7 summit by the U.K. prime minister’s peculiar concern that Irish sausages should not be eaten by those in Northern Ireland who do not believe in evolution, was a fascinating examplar of British impotence as he failed to persuade anybody else to support him. It looks like Danish bacon for the shops of Belfast and Derry will have to be imported through Dun Laoghaire and not through Larne. Ho hum.

The really interesting thing about the G7 summit is that it wasn’t interesting. Nobody expected it to change the world, and it won’t. John Pilger pointed out the key fact. Twenty years ago, the G7 constituted two thirds of the world economy. Now they constitute one third. They don’t even represent most of the world’s billionaires any longer, though those billionaires they do represent — and indeed some of the billionaires they don’t represent — were naturally pulling the strings of these rather sluggish puppets.

It used to be that any important sporting event in any developing country would feature hoardings for western multinationals, such as Pepsi Cola and Nestle baby milk. Nowadays I am watching the Euros football pitches surrounded by electronic hoardings in Chinese. The thing about power is this; it shifts with time.

None of the commitments made on Covid or climate change constituted any new money, any real transfer of wealth or technology. It was a non-event. Nobody will ever look back at anything beyond the personal as having started last month in Cornwall.

From there, pretty well the same people moved on to pretend to bestride the world militarily at NATO, where the first job was to pretend they had not lost the long Afghan war they have just, err, lost.

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Ukrainian Tragedy. Who Is to Blame? by Edward Lozansky

Edward Lozansky untangles the tangled web that is Ukraine. From Lozansky at antiwar.com:

In view of the upcoming summit in Washington between President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelensky, it is important to analyze the U.S. geopolitical strategy toward that country and see if it serves the best interests of the American people – and, for that matter, of the Ukrainians.

Here are some introductory points.

As a result of the Soviet Union’s collapse, its 15 former republics became independent states, Ukraine among them. Free from the communist yoke, having strong industrial and agricultural sectors, a favorable climate and fertile land, Ukraine – the place of my birth – had great potential to become one of the most prosperous European nations. Effective anti-corruption reforms, a certain level of autonomy for the regions with a large Russian ethnic population, two-state languages and neutral status with no membership in any military blocs would have made Ukraine, if not a new Switzerland, then definitely a happy and prosperous state. There would have been no civil war, and Donbass and Crimea would still be part of Ukraine.

However, some inside and outside forces had a different agenda, which resulted in the current tragedy, the loss of life and territory, the rise of radical nationalism, a neo-Nazi movement and vast economic devastation. Add to this tragedy that millions of skilled workers were forced to leave their country searching for manual jobs in foreign lands to survive and support their families.

In addition, Ukraine is now one of the major negative factors in both US domestic and foreign policies. President Trump’s impeachment in the House, the embarrassing scandal involving President Biden‘s son Hunter, an increasing threat of nuclear war with Russia – all these problems and more have Ukrainian connections.

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Escobar: Russia-China Advance Asian Roadmap For Afghanistan

Slowly but surely, Russia and China are cementing their dominance in Eurasia, and Afghanistan gives them more opportunity to do so. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s ‘facilitate, not mediate’ role could be the key to solving the Afghan imbroglio…

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a family photo before a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Contact Group on Afghanistan, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Sputnik via AFP

Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting of Foreign Ministers on Wednesday in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, may have been an under-the-radar affair, but it did reveal the contours of the big picture ahead when it comes to Afghanistan.

So let’s see what Russia and China – the SCO’s heavyweights – have been up to.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi laid out the basic road map to his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar. While stressing the Chinese foreign policy gold standard – no interference in internal affairs of friendly nations – Wang established three priorities:

1. Real inter-Afghan negotiations towards national reconciliation and a durable political solution, thus preventing all-out civil war. Beijing is ready to “facilitate” dialogue.

2. Fighting terror – which means, in practice, al-Qaeda remnants, ISIS-Khorasan and the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Afghanistan should not be a haven for terrorist outfits – again.

3. The Taliban, for their part, should pledge a clean break with every terrorist outfit.

Atmar, according to diplomatic sources, fully agreed with Wang. And so did Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin. Atmar even promised to work with Beijing to crack down on ETIM, a Uighur terror group founded in China’s western Xinjiang. Overall, the official Beijing stance is that all negotiations should be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.”

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New ‘Great Game’ Gets Back To Basics, by Pepe Escobar

The US quasi-withdrawal in Afghanistan will certainly complicate the Eurasian political situation. From Pepe Escobar at zerohedge.com:

Russia-China-Iran alliance is taking Afghanistan’s bull by the horns…

The Great Game: This lithograph by British Lieutenant James Rattray shows Shah Shuja in 1839 after his enthronement as Emir of Afghanistan in the Bala Hissar (fort) of Kabul. Rattray wrote: ‘A year later the sanctity of the scene was bloodily violated: Shah Shuja was murdered.’ Photo: Wikipedia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a Central Asian loop all through the week. He’s visiting Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The last two are full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded 20 years ago.

The SCO heavyweights are of course China and Russia. They are joined by four Central Asian “stans” (all but Turkmenistan), India and Pakistan. Crucially, Afghanistan and Iran are observers, alongside Belarus and Mongolia.

And that leads us to what’s happening this Wednesday in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital. The SCO will hold a 3 in 1: meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, and a conference titled “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities.”

At the same table, then, we will have Wang Yi, his very close strategic partner Sergey Lavrov and, most importantly, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar. They’ll be debating trials and tribulations after the hegemon’s withdrawal and the miserable collapse of the myth of NATO “stabilizing” Afghanistan.

Let’s game a possible scenario: Wang Yi and Lavrov tell Atmar, in no uncertain terms, that there’s got to be a national reconciliation deal with the Taliban, brokered by Russia-China, with no American interference, including the end of the opium-heroin ratline.

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Pepe Escobar: Say Hello To The Diplo-Taliban

There are many nuances and details that defy simplistic analysis concerning Afghanistan and its place in Asia after the Americans leave. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

Deploying diplomatic skills refined from Doha to Moscow, the Taliban in 2021 has little to do with its 2001 incarnation…

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (center) and other members of the Taliban arrive to attend an international conference in Moscow on March 18, 2021. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AFP

A very important meeting took place in Moscow last week, virtually hush-hush. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, received Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s national security adviser.

There were no substantial leaks.

A bland statement pointed to the obvious:

They “focused on the security situation in Afghanistan during the pullout of Western military contingencies and the escalation of the military-political situation in the northern part of the country.”

The real story is way more nuanced. Mohib, representing embattled President Ashraf Ghani, did his best to convince Patrushev that the Kabul administration represents stability. It does not – as the subsequent Taliban advances proved.

Patrushev knew Moscow could not offer any substantial measure of support to the current Kabul arrangement because doing so would burn bridges the Russians would need to cross in the process of engaging the Taliban. Patrushev knows that the continuation of Team Ghani is absolutely unacceptable to the Taliban – whatever the configuration of any future power-sharing agreement.

So Patrushev, according to diplomatic sources, definitely was not impressed.

This week we can all see why. A delegation from the Taliban political office went to Moscow essentially to discuss with the Russians the fast-evolving mini-chessboard in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban had been to Moscow four months earlier, along with the extended troika (Russia, US, China, Pakistan) to debate the new Afghan power equation.

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