A lot of countries would like the US to fight their wars for them. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
The biggest threats to America come from its “friends”
One of the local Washington television stations was doing a typical early morning honoring our soldiers schtick just before Thanksgiving. In it soldiers stationed far from home were treated to videolinks so they could talk to their families and everyone could nod happily and wish themselves a wonderful holiday. Not really listening, I became interested when I half heard that the soldier being interviewed was spending his Thanksgiving in Ukraine.
It occurred to me that the soldier just might have committed a security faux pas by revealing where he was, but I also recalled that there have been joint military maneuvers as well as some kind of training mission going on in the country, teaching the Ukrainian Army how to use the shiny new sophisticated weapons that the United States was providing it with to defend against “Russian aggression.”
Ukraine is only one part of the world where the Trump Administration has expanded the mission of democracy promotion, only in Kiev the reality is more like faux democracy promotion since Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is clearly exploiting a situation that he himself provoked. He envisions setting himself up as a victim of Moscow to aid in his attempts to establish his own power through a security relationship with Washington. That in turn will help his bid for reelection in March 2019 elections, in which his poll numbers are currently running embarrassingly low largely due to the widescale corruption in his government. Poroshenko has already done much to silence the press in his county while the developing crisis with Russia has enabled him to declare martial law in the eastern parts of the country where he is most poorly regarded. If it all works out, he hopes to win the election and subsequently, it is widely believed, he will move to expand his own executive authority.
Trump has been neutered. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
I knew there was something wrong with Donald Trump’s presidency the day he bombed the airbase at Al-Shairat in Syria. It was a turning point. I knew it was a mistake the moment he did it and argued as such at the time.
No act by him was more contentious.
It cost me hundreds of followers gained throughout the campaign who wanted to believe Trump was playing 4-D chess. My Periscopes went from being events to afterthoughts.
Those that left needed to believe this because they had invested so much in him.
They had to believe he was playing some deep game with Putin to bring peace to the region.
I was right and truth is painful. The need for him to be Orange Jesus was so strong they created Qanon and the ‘science’ of political horoscope as slowly but surely Trump was stripped of all of his power except that of complaining about how unfair it all is.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Insurrection, Military, Politics, Trade
Tagged Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin
Trump has done nothing to alter the foreign policy of his predecessors. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
After a week of insisting that a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Argentina was going to happen, President Trump at the last minute sent out a Tweet explaining that due to a Russia/Ukraine dispute in the Sea of Azov he would no longer be willing to meet his Russian counterpart.
According to Trump, the meeting had to be cancelled because the Russians seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in Russian waters that refused to follow instructions from the Russian military. But as Pat Buchanan wrote in a recent column: how is this little dispute thousands of miles away any of our business?
Unfortunately it is “our business” because of President Obama’s foolish idea to overthrow a democratically-elected, pro-Russia government in Ukraine in favor of what his Administration believed would be a “pro-Western” and “pro-NATO” replacement. In short, the Obama Administration did openly to Ukraine what his Democratic Party claims without proof the Russians did to the United States: meddled in a vote.
The Kerch incident led President Trump to cancel his G-20 meeting with Putin. Buchanan asks a good question: why is the matter the concern of the US at all? From Patrick J. Buchanan at lewrockwell.com:
On departure for the G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump canceled his planned weekend meeting with Vladimir Putin, citing as his reason the Russian military’s seizure and holding of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.
But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday’s naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?
Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?
First, a bit of history.
In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea, for centuries the homeport of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
Petro Poroshenko is desperately trying to hold on to power in Ukraine, and if that means a NATO supported war with Russia, so be it. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Trouble has been brewing in the Sea of Azov all year. It started with Ukraine’s seizing a Russian fishing boat and detaining its crew in March. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko canceled the Friendship Treaty with Russia. After that he has accepted surplus US naval vessels to prop up a navy that exists in name only.
This is all in response to Russia’s completing the Kerch Strait bridge which Russia can use to block access through. The Kerch strait is Russian territory and, by international law, Russia can limit access to the Sea of Azov.
So, this weekend’s incident in which a tug was rammed, ships fired upon and seized by Russia, ultimately was a proper and legal response to a clear provocation because the Ukrainian military ships refused to announce their intentions.
Let’s not beat around the bush here. This incident is meant to justify further antagonism between the West and Russia on the eve of the G-20 and the planned meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin.
It also was meant to enflame Ukrainian nationalism and drum up support for Poroshenko who is trailing badly in the polls as we approach March elections. Declaring martial law so as to potentially suspend those election, the US satrap is raising the stakes on Russia to it finally responding to these repeated provocations.
Was the recent incident in the Kerch Strait a deliberate provocation by Ukraine? From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:
When the Ukrainian navy sent a tugboat and two small gunboats on Sunday to force their way through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov, it knew in advance the Russian response would be swift and merciless.
After all, Kiev was entering waters claimed by Russia with military vessels without clarifying their intent.
The intent, though, was clear; to raise the stakes in the militarization of the Sea of Azov.
The Kerch Strait connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. To reach Mariupol, a key city in the Sea of Azov very close to the dangerous dividing line between Ukraine’s army and the pro-Russian militias in Donbass, the Ukrainian navy needs to go through the Kerch.
Yet since Russia retook control of Crimea via a 2014 referendum, the waters around Kerch are de facto Russian territorial waters.
Kiev announced this past summer it would build a naval base in the Sea of Azov by the end of 2018. That’s an absolute red line for Moscow. Kiev may have to trade access to Mariupol, which, incidentally, also trades closely with the People’s Republic of Donetsk. But forget about military access.
The Saker sorts through the incident at the Kerch strait between Russia and Ukraine. From the Saker at thesaker.is:
First, here is a pretty good summary of what has taken place (including videos) posted by RT:
I will just add that at the time of writing (07:38 UTC) the cargo ship blocking the passage under the bridge has been removed, traffic has resumed and the situation has returned to normal.
Second, let me give you the single most important element to understand what is (and what is not) taking place: the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea are, in military terms, “Russian lakes”. That means that Russia has the means to destroy any and all ships (or aircraft) over these two seas: on the Black Sea the life expectancy of any intruder would be measured in minutes, on the Sea of Azov in seconds. Let me repeat here that any and all ships deployed in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are detected and tracked by Russia and they can all easily be destroyed. The Russians know that, the Ukrainians know that and, of course, the Empire knows that. Again, keep that in mind when trying to make sense of what happened.
Third, whether the waters in which the incident happened belong to Russia or not is entirely irrelevant. Everybody knows that Russia considers these waters are belonging to her and those disagreeing with this have plenty of options to express their disagreement and challenge the legality of the Russian position. Trying to break through waters Russia considers her own with several armed military vessels is simply irresponsible and, frankly, plain stupid (especially considering point #2 above). That is simply not how civilized nations behave (and there are plenty of contested waters on our planet).