Styx. Even at their worst they were still great but Dennis DeYoung leaving was bad. Luckily, Dennis continues to produce simply great music.
Friday, June 11, 2021
You all know the meaning of this by now, now with a simple crossword, wink, wink.
The U.S. is barreling toward one of the greatest self-inflicted wounds in its history. This came into sharper focus last week when President Biden suspended oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), even as Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced production increases.Mr. Biden’s anti-carbon fusillade will have no effect on the climate as global demand for fossil fuels will continue to increase for decades no matter what the U.S. does. Meantime, Russia, China and Iran will take advantage of America’s astonishing fossil-fuel retreat.
I have news for WSJ's editorial board which, evidently, is packed with Captains, Majors and Generals Obvious--the United States couldn't compete with Russia in this field to start with. I clearly remember all these business "analysts" from all US MSM outlets, more than a year ago, having an acute and irrational outburst of schadenfreude expecting Russia's economy to collapse because of the oil war and oil prices being driven into the ground. I was flabbergasted by a complete lack of self-awareness of those "analysts", because it was clear from the git go that Russia will be just fine and it was the United States which would experience, which it did, a very rough awakening and facing a reality of energy markets where the US had a very weak hand.
U.S. producers reduced investment during the pandemic as demand plunged. While prices have since recovered to a two-year high, a larger U.S. retrenchment driven by government and progressive investors is on the way.
1. US fracking was never economically viable. But "fossil" energy will be needed for a long time because "alternative energy" cannot provide even a small fraction of the growing demand. It simply can't in this technological paradigm, period.
2. US "anthropogenic climate change" hoax is as American as baseball and apple pie--it is a result of the US being always vulnerable to paranoia and most radical anti-scientific ideas.
It was very easy to predict where the US will progress under these circumstances as well as geopolitical consequences. Yes, guys, this is how competition works: I have what you need, you don't. It was always like that. I know, it is unpleasant to be on the receiving end but we all live with our own limitations and vulnerabilities and we make do as much as we can. Same applies to the nation-states. If those nation-states go bananas and become irrational like the EU which wants to turn "green" by 2050 and plunge hundreds of millions of people into economic misery--let them, let's see how long those cretins will survive before a raging hungry mob with pitch-forks (or AK-47s) will start hunting their asses. You can bet your ass on the fact that Russia and China will be watching this clusterfuck from a distance in total amusement.
So, WSJ laments now that Putin is happy? Well, why not? Russians know how high a price is paid for ideological orthodoxies. West's ideological orthodoxies from institutionalizing a sodomy, sexual deviancy, obverse racism, cultural and moral relativism to pseudo sciences of gender, MMT and MMGW--hey, all ingredients are in place to see the whole goddamn thing implode with catastrophic consequences for Western people. Remarkably, WSJ helped to further this agenda, which, of course, its editorial board would deny. But facts are stubborn thing--WSJ is an utterly globalist rag on the service of the same cabal which for decades promoted crazy economic, geopolitical and moral ideas. So what's the problem? I don't see any. After all let's recall the name of this rag--Wall Street (mind you, not the Main Street) Journal. And that in itself speaks volumes.
In Russian language words "eggs" and "balls" are interchangeable. E.g. during the WW II, the United States supplied through Lend-Lease huge volumes of egg-powder to Soviet Union and this powder, which saved countless lives from famine, became known on the street as Roosevelt's Eggs, but in Russian language it had a direct alternative interpretation as Roosevelt's Balls. It was tongue in cheek and warm joke but in Russia this eggs-balls interchange makes often for funny interpretations. Masha Zakharova knows this and her response to EU's foreign policy big honcho Josep Borrell about "breaking eggs" to make an omelette already became epic.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Well, you all know how it goes. Already in 2015, when ukranization of the US foreign policy started in earnest (I wonder how much competition is there between Israel and Ukraine at this stage) one US Senator got himself a flea infestation, when:
The 'exclusive' photos of 'Russian invasion in Ukraine' in 2014 turned out to be easily found in the Web, with at least one of them dating back to 2008. Now, US senator James Inhofe is furious with the Ukrainian delegation for setting him up with the 'evidence'. Questions have been raised about the veracity of reports that claim Russian troops have invaded Ukraine after US Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe confessed that several photos of Russian convoys he obtained from a Ukrainian parliamentary group were taken during the 2008 Georgia conflict, the Washington Free Beacon said. On Tuesday, the Washington Free Beacon ran a story that unveiled "exclusive" photos of victims of militia bombs and Russian armed vehicles seemingly rolling into Ukraine. The photos were provided to Inhofe's office in print by an obscure Ukrainian delegation, led by a Georgetown professor, who said the images were taken at the height of Russia's alleged military incursion between August 24 and September 5, 2014.
Now America's Ukie "friends" have their own ideas on how the whole NATO proceedings should be conducted and they simply do this:
The White House and the Ukrainian government initially sent out conflicting official accounts of Monday's phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Why it matters: Ukraine's government initially reported on its official website that Biden had "highlighted... the importance of providing the Ukrainian state with a NATO Membership Action Plan," which would put Ukraine on course for membership in the alliance. The White House denied Biden expressed support for such a step on the call.
....что США намерены "возместить" Украине возможную потерю трансферных платежей и обеспечить, чтобы Россия "не могла использовать газ как инструмент принуждения".
Monday, June 7, 2021
Russians soon will have to really hide under the bed in order to avoid being stalked by the US and NATO and being subjected to incessant requests to hold summits of one form or another. If stalking Russians to get the Geneva summit out of them hasn't been enough, now Mr. Stoltenberg wants to hold a meeting of a de facto defunct (since 2014) NATO-Russia Council.
BRUSSELS, June 7. /TASS/. NATO is currently holding contacts with Russia in order to convene the Russia-NATO Council at the ambassadorial level, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, speaking at the Atlantic Council Monday. "We have a standing invitation for Russia to participate in a meeting, to convene the Russia-NATO Council again. So far, they have not answered," Stoltenberg noted. "We are now in contact with Russia to convene the Russia-NATO Council," he said.
As I always state: to discuss exactly WHAT? NATO, which is the United States and a bunch of its vassals is not going to change and playing a willing side changes absolutely nothing because NATO lied to Russia and its word is worthless. As if giving Stoltenberg a bit of a cold shower, Russia's Foreign Ministry stated today:
MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Sanctions against Russia have been enshrined in the legal acts of Western states and will last forever, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin told the parliamentary hearings in the State Duma (lower house) on Monday."The sanctions regime has always been in place. And it will remain so forever, let us be realistic. Sanctions have been enshrined in many legal acts, in the US and other states, and it is impossible to roll them back," the diplomat stated."All of them are illegitimate, they were slapped under very shaky pretexts, without any proof, but those facts, which are deemed as committed, cannot be rolled back," Pankin noted.The diplomat stressed that Russia would not ask anyone to lift sanctions and would not say sorry for what it is not doing.
So, Mr. Stoltenberg, it is what it is and Russia also will not miraculously stop her both military and economic development and transitioning into the new economic paradigm and increasing her massive military advantage over NATO. All what Russia does, she does in her territory and Russia's red lines will be articulated at Biden-Putin summit (if it goes ahead) and the opinion of some vassals doesn't really count. Plus, Stoltenberg better attend to a much more urgent NATO problems such as this one, because this is the level of military problems NATO is still capable to solve.
BERLIN (AP) — The German military says it has found a solution for an unusual logistics problem its troops in Afghanistan face: a glut of beer. Defense Ministry spokeswoman Christina Routsi said Monday that a recent decision by the German commander in Afghanistan to ban the consumption of alcohol for security reasons had resulted in a pileup of beer, wine and mixed drinks at Camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif. German soldiers are usually entitled to two cans of beer — or equivalent — per day. Routsi said the military had found a civilian contractor who will take the alcohol back out of the country ahead of the German troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan as the NATO mission in the country ends in the coming months. The German army said the 22,600 liters (almost 6,000 gallons) of alcohol — including almost 60,000 cans of beer — couldn't be sold in Afghanistan due to local religious restrictions, or destroyed for environmental reasons. Proceeds from the German contractor's sale of the beer elsewhere should cover the cost of transporting it out of the country, the army said.
I have to admit, though, that this is a very very German problem. It cannot get any more German than that.
So, here we are, everyone wants Russia. It is Russia, Russia, Russia all day long and even booboo Zelensky is so hurt and confused because of Biden...well, ignoring him. I don't know what it takes to explain to Ze that his country is a third world shithole which tried to do the most stupid thing in geopolitics--to interject itself into the game of superpowers. The result was totally expected, just ask Poland which now begins to feel a bit of Germany's wrath. One doesn't play (with) big boys and expect to be treated as equal.
Denmark's environmental and food appeals board has repealed a construction permit for the Baltic Pipe, which will connect Poland's gas market with fields offshore Norway.
This is how it always worked and will continue to work because in geopolitics some are MORE equal than others. Those who do not like it--they can go and fuck themselves. Now, for some of my readers who love a tough talk and tough actions and want to see Russia going around smashing everyone's heads and thumping her chest with the triumphant screams. This is NOT how power-balance works. Listen to Alexander Mercouris about Turkey and listen attentively. That may explain to some how the political power and influence work. Especially when superpowers are involved.
Sunday, June 6, 2021
Give a hand to the most decorated and heroic rat in history. Magawa finally retired (I am sure with a good pension and benefits) after a lifetime (in rat's years) saving human lives. Eat this, you, unremarkable CGI-driven urban cook, wink, wink.
No, I mean it. A reporter for The Telegraph Alan Tovey wrote today a piece which we will review below, but it was this journalist's name which attracted my attention immediately. Could it be a coincidence? Here is why it struck me, because name Tovey is a huge name in the world's naval history. I am talking, of course, about Admiral John Tovey. Whatever the coincidence or, possibly, blood relations, Alan Tovey wrote an interesting piece. Tovey reports:
Britain should double the size of the Royal Navy to boost its shipbuilding industry, a prominent Conservative MP has said. Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the defence select committee, said the UK did not require many complex and expensive warships, but should build a greater number of low-end ships – both for its own Navy and for exporting. He said: “The big question is: what is the threat we are facing and how do we design our defence posture accordingly? The threat we prepare for – high-risk maritime events that require top-notch vessels – is a low probability. We need a force presence to fly the flag and the ability to call in back-up.”
I don't know exactly why there is a degree of prejudice towards "low-end ships" in both Royal and the US navies, but truth is, the time of the "visual" navies are long gone and if history ever teaches us anything it is the fact that large platforms go only so far in carrying out a variety of naval tasks among which bombing the shit out of defenseless nations and launching TLAMs are just a s mall share of increasingly complex and deadly naval (multi-domain, damn, I used Pentagonese) warfare. Recall CG 59 USS Princeton of Ticonderoga-class and the events of 18 February 1991. I quote from WiKi.
On the morning of 18 February 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, Princeton was patrolling 28 nautical miles (52 km) off Failaka Island in the Persian Gulf, on the west side of the decoy United States Marine Corps and naval invasion forces afloat. At exactly 7:15 AM local time two Italian-made MN103 Manta bottom-mounted influence mines detonated, one just under the port rudder and the other just forward of the starboard bow, the second explosion most likely being a sympathetic detonation caused by the first. The blasts cracked the superstructure, buckled three lines in the hull, jammed the port rudder, flooded the #3 switchboard room through chilled water pipe cracks, and damaged the starboard propeller shaft. Three crewmembers were injured, one seriously. Despite the severe damage, the forward weapons and the AEGIS combat system were back online within 15 minutes.
At great peril, the Canadian destroyer HMCS Athabaskan moved north through the minefield to deliver damage-control supplies to the severely damaged Princeton, which remained on station for 31 hours until she was relieved. Princeton's commanding officer, Captain Edward Hontz, specifically requested the assistance of Athabaskan despite the latter not originally assigned to the area. Unlike most ships of her size, Athabaskan could simultaneously operate two large CH-124 Sea King helicopters, which could search out mines for long periods. As a gesture of solidarity, Athabaskan winched over several cases of beer for the crew of Princeton, since United States Navy vessels were dry.
Princeton, which suffered from a locked starboard propeller shaft and a locked port rudder, was guided through the minefield by the minesweeper Adroit. Temporary repairs were conducted first in Bahrain, and then in the port of Jebel Ali near Dubai by the duty destroyer tender Acadia, and finally in a Dubai drydock. After eight weeks, Princeton returned to the United States under the ship's power for additional repairs. The ship and her crew were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon.
You see, how those quirky Canadians came in handy, not to mention mine-sweepers and other "low-end" tech which effectively saved Princeton. Yes, all those inglorious boring tasks of ASW, mine-sweeping, anti-diversionary operations, scouting, oh boy, you name it. But as I said it many times, ships are just platforms, and it matters HOW effective they are in what they do, not how they look like. Of course, I smile at Britain's statements about becoming a "shipbuilding superpower", but truth is, even in the hypothetical fanboys' scenarios such as "who is better", I wouldn't even allow any of my squadron's assets near anyone's littoral before having couple of these guys doing their "unglamorous" thing:
Not to mention the fact that in the missile exchange scenario between this $4 billion monstrosity:
Guess which one will come out on top. Do you need a hint?
I totally get UK's phantom pains from once great, now gone, empire and a glorious naval history but in terms of "low-end" let me remind desperate British one little low-end ship which bathed itself in glory and her ungainly appearance could never eclipse the fact of its excellent crew and skill, together with ability to do what's needed when it was needed to be done. HMS Petard (G56).
Petard had the distinction of sinking a submarine from each of the three Axis navies: the German U-559, the Italian Uarsciek and the Japanese I-27. Members of the ship's crew recovered from U-559 a new, four-wheel Enigma cypher machine and the books to go with it, albeit at the cost of the lives of her First Lieutenant and an Able Seaman, both of whom were drowned when the U-boat they were searching sank with them inside.
Not bad, not bad for mere 1700 tons of displacement. I guess it is what you can do which matters in the end of the day, and there is nothing "low-end" about it.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
I wrote about this extensively when quoting a brilliant article by Irina Alksnis a couple of years ago. Recall this:
However, to hear this simple advice--not to mention following it--the United States need to stop, at least for an instance, and silence themselves. To stop shaking air with statements, declarations, demands, and threats, which come across as either strange, or outright silly because of their obvious inability to ever become a reality. But it is precisely, it seems, what the US is not capable of doing. As a result--the continuation of never-ending declaratory carousel: Moscow, Assad must go! Russians, we will provide for freedom of navigation in Kerch Strait! Russians, we will punish you for support of Maduro. But the most insulting for Americans is that only Russia can understand them. Because we remember the pain behind those words.
As you may know, I hate historical parallels--most of them lack necessary depth and context. Yet, Vladimir Putin yesterday drew a direct MO parallel between Soviet Union and the United States.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States was wrong to think that it is "powerful enough" to get away with threatening other countries, a mistake, he said, that led to the downfall of the former Soviet Union. Putin made the comments during a press briefing late on Friday as he spoke about U.S. sanctions against Moscow, according to Russia's news agency TASS. "We hear threats from the Congress, from other sources. It is all done within the context of the United States' domestic political process," Putin was quoted as saying. "The people who do this, they probably assume that the United States has such economic, military and political might that it can get away with that. It is no big deal, that is what they think." Putin said such behaviour reminded him of the Soviet Union. "The problem with empires is that they think they are powerful enough to make some mistakes. We will buy these (people), bully them, make a deal with them, give necklaces to them, threaten them with battleships. And this will solve all the problems. But problems accumulate. A moment comes when they cannot be solved anymore."
This moment has come already in 2014 and since then, as you all know, things were not going that well for the United States, especially in the field in which the United States proclaimed itself "the finest fighting force in the history of the world". Why the United States arrived to this conclusion is the question I am trying to answer in my books and this blog for 7 years now. But Putin is correct insofar as pointing out great, if not gross, limitations of the American power, which, for starters, as any power, is not static and undergoes transformation non-stop. This Putin's statement, as well as his dramatic "we are not obliged to feed everyone" (in Russian),
The sooner all those ignoramuses in the State Department, especially its Russia "section", headed by Kagan's cabal, understand that, the better it will be for the United States which is in no position to press Russia through Ukraine, because if pushed too far, Russia will react and that will make the United States look very weak. Well, that is the main reason for the American side stalking Russians trying to obtain the agreement on holding the summit. While I do not agree with recent events around Ukraine being compared to Cuban Missile Crisis, there was no doubt that the only option the United States had if Russia would "deal" with Ukraine was to escalate to nuclear threshold in desperate attempts to mitigate enormous political and reputational losses the United States would incur after Russia would annihilate both VSU and current Ukrainian statehood. Even ignorant and possessed neocons in D.C. understand that and want to live. The upcoming summit will be primarily about that--somebody in D.C. got the message and got scared.
I still cannot wrap my brain around the whole proceedings in Geneva in terms of how Putin would communicate with Biden, but it is what it is, so I don't really care. As long as US exceptionalists begin to understand that they are not that exceptional--good, we all may avoid a major war and it is all for the better. Putin, obviously, knows the present state of the United States and the talk we hear from Moscow today indicates that Russia is absolutely confident and means what she states. As long as the United States will not do stupid things in Ukraine, like trying to "rebuild" Ukrainian Army--a dubious proposition in a better times for the US, forget about now--things should be fine and Europe will get its gas, thus giving Germany a small fighting economic chance before Bundestag will get filled with woke globalist shills from the Green Party whose main objective is to turn already badly mauled Germany into the third world shithole. But that is a strictly internal German affair--people deserve the government they elect. In this sense, Putin drawing parallels with the Soviet Union are not incorrect and as I wrote recently, the United States simply reached limits, which cannot be pushed anymore. It is a completely new paradigm.
Friday, June 4, 2021
I was thinking, what does really convey the civilization which was lost and it occurred to me--men who were so manly that they were not afraid to wear long hair. After all, Jesus wore long hair and he did what most of us would never dare to do, you know Quo Vadis and things of this nature. The fountains of the masculinity and the testosterone. Today when I observe wussification of the West, I have to admit, these guys knew how to project masculinity and, while doing so, created some absolutely great music.
Some videos are just worth posting, albeit my heart-racing moment are good ol' Pr. 1124 ASW ships doing their thing.
P.S. FYI. Deputy Commander of Northern Fleet Vice-Admiral Oleg Golubev, he graduated a year after me from the same naval academy. Their class was famous for Zaitsev and Kaderli, but I am not sure even Mel Brooks would be up to a task of shooting a comedy about that event. I may tell the story at some point of time)))
Thursday, June 3, 2021
I first made few years ago. Namely almost five ago.
However, the immigration from Western Europe to Russia is a separate matter. How large is this flow of West European immigrants is difficult to assess as of now. Bar some very high profile people such as Steven Seagal or Ornella Muti getting their Russian citizenship, it is very difficult to even separate, such as in German case, if these are "native" Germans immigrating to Russia or Russian Germans who merely return, after their Germany's odyssey, back to their Russian motherland. Here is another example of Germans getting to settle in Russia.
Evidently Russian Germans begin to manifest their practical desires to move to Russia in thousands now. Even despite the fact that some of them have small children and German children subsidies are higher than Russian ones (I admit, I don't know how Maternity Capital applies here). Many are Christians. Here is Klaus who consults German organizations and families who move to Russia. This is the original German language video.
Yet, as Peter Hitchens, the one I respect, unlike his late verbose and highly opinionated brother, states and I agree with him:
We are throwing away our liberty. We are willingly and, in some cases, cheerfully throwing it away because we have ceased to value it. In fact, we are increasingly comfortable with being told what to do rather than deciding what to do for ourselves.” This is anathema to him. Liberty is “the most precious jewel we have in this country”, it is not just “an abstract concept because it decides how you live”.
I am afraid for the UK it is a done deal. US? We'll see. You can watch full interview by Hitchens here. And Hitchens makes a succinct point here:
However, Hitchens argues, the encroachment of the state and the destruction of liberty was to some extent stalled by the Cold War. If the argument of the Western powers was that the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state, it was untenable to impose state control over Western societies.
I agree with him here completely. It was the issue of a contrast, granted significantly blown out of proportion, which was a restraining factor in otherwise creeping assault on liberty, and we all observe the fruits of this restraining factor disappearing today. Those are bitter, if not poisonous, fruits.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
If you think that this is a joke, don't:
Switzerland will not accept certificates on COVID-19 vaccination with Sputnik V for the media accreditation at the upcoming Russia-US summit in Geneva, Pierre-Alain Eltschinger, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, told Sputnik on Wednesday
Here is (in Russian) Russian official version from Ria. Considering the fact that Vladimir Putin and Russian delegation to summit in Geneva are all vaccinated with Sputnik V, Russians finally have their excuse to cancel a generally useless summit and not attend it. Hey, rules are rules. Law of the land, you know, and everyone knows that you cannot break laws, wink, wink. I have an idea, if the decision will be made to hold the summit, number of locations come to mind. If push comes to shove, how about Japan, or China...ah, wait. Well, on a more serious note, there are plenty of places other than Europe to consider for a summit, not to mention the fact that US media are already in full hysteria mode and see in Geneva some kind of conspiracy and Russia's subliminal message. Just listen to this talking head Amy Kellog who was informed "by one Russian analyst".
I have news for Kellog (and Fox)--you don't have any "Russian analysts". BSers you have aplenty, but no "Russian analysts", I know them all who are in the open. They are no "analysts". Nor are they scholars. Hey, last minute idea--how about summit at the... International Space Station? Will Joe know what galaxy he is in? I kid, I kid...but thank you, Switzerland, LOL.
I have a profound respect for Colonel Douglas Macgregor, whom I count as one of the diamonds in a cesspool of US "elites", but even this exemplary American officer has his flaws. We all do. Yesterday Macgregor published a piece in The American Conservative which opens with a broadside.
Putin’s Turkish Nightmare. The revived geopolitical rivalry between Russia and Turkey spells trouble for Putin and his allies.
Here, we need to clarify some things immediately, because there is NO "rivalry" between Russia and Turkey for a simple reason that two countries are in a completely different leagues across the whole spectrum of nations' activities ranging from the economy, to military to science to what have you. The United States and Russia are rivals, China and the United States are rivals, France and Germany are latent rivals. Turkey and Russia are not, not even close. Turkey is a regional power with its own set of objectives, grossly embellished by Erdogans' personal ambitions and delusions but to be a rival to someone one needs to have an appropriate geopolitical weight.
Here is a recent (warning: it is Bloomberg) review of Turkey's economy and here is how it is being assessed by Turks themselves, and keep in mind that the actual "growth" is not a rebound after Covid:
Gross domestic product rose 7% from a year earlier and 1.7% from the fourth quarter. The median of 22 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey was for 6.3% growth compared to the same period in 2020. ...There is an “exchange rate illusion” in Turkey’s economic growth data, said Enver Erkan, chief economist at Istanbul-based Tera Yatirim. GDP per capita in U.S. dollar terms has dropped nearly 40% since 2013 to around $7,700 last year, making Turkey’s economic model unsustainable as the growth is mainly driven by government spending and efforts to boost lending, he said. The government encouraged banks to ramp up loans to help businesses and consumers ride out last year’s Covid-19 crisis. The credit boom was coupled with a front-loaded easing cycle. That growth push weakened the currency by 20% last year and kept headline inflation in double digits. The currency lost a further 10% against the dollar in the first quarter, particularly after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the central bank’s hawkish governor Naci Agbal in March. The decision to fire Agbal, who had sought to restore the central bank’s credibility, set off a swift reversal of investor enthusiasm, sending Turkish markets into a nosedive.
Moreover, the growth of a manufacturing sector in Turkey is a manufacturing sector of what used to be called in good ol' times a developing country. As you can see yourself, in the end government spending, services, agriculture with construction constitute a lion share of Turkish GDP.
And when it comes to "developing" it means only one thing--either heavy licensing in what constitutes the foundation of military-industrial capacity or tier 2 and lower participation on joint projects without technology transfer. Such as F-35 in which Turkey participated as a wing and engine parts manufacturer. In other words, even when one sees graceful Milgem-class frigates--an indigenous Turkish combat ship, one has to remember that much of these ships innards are not of Turkish origin.
And this is here where Macgregor begins to lose the plot. He states that:
Ankara’s successful intervention to support Azerbaijan’s seizure of Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian control has worsened the relationship. Armenia’s humiliation may shake the resolve of others allied with Moscow.
Here is where he makes a huge mistake:
1. Starting with Turkey. Turks, as all people of the region, have a propensity for exaggeration of own significance and successes. Turkey was fast to assign the credit for Azerbaijan's success in Nagornyi Karabakh to itself, especially pressing grossly overrated Turkish UAVs' capabilities. In reality, while representatives of Turkish General Staff were present at a planning and execution stage of Azerbaijan's operations, a decisive factor in Azeri success were not Turkish UAVs but Azerbaijan's overwhelming advantage over Armenian forces there in terms of MLRS and artillery, ranging from a devastating Smerch 9A52 systems to good ol' self-propelled guns. This, combined with a decade long training of Azerbaijan's Army specifically for this operation and a flow (worth $4 billion) of advanced Russian weapons, including T-90 tanks, S-300 PMU2 air defense and all kinds of infantry weapons, assured Azerbaijan's success.
2. Russia from the git go took a deliberate stand-off position on this matter and I will not delve into the list of all reasons for that, but this position was well calculated and, in the long run, served Russia's strategic interests against the background of crumbling Russian-Armenian relations. In other words--Russia tacitly allowed Azerbaijan to take what Azerbaijan counts as it's rightfully own. Needless to say, that President Putin was and remains a very good friend of Aliev's family (including both human and professional closeness with late Geydar Aliev) and has excellent relations with Ilham Aliev. This IS NOT the case with Armenia's leadership and especially Armenian diaspora.
In other words, Russia doesn't see much danger from Turkey having presence in the region and what are the limits of this presence, I am sure, Putin and Ilham Aliev had a very constructive discussion on this issue. Needless to say, that for all assistance from Sunni Turkey, Azerbaijanis are Shiites and overwhelming majority of them lives in...Iran, in three provinces symptomatically named...Azerbaijan. Iran has an immense influence in Azerbaijan's politics and economy and this factor cannot be discounted against the background of Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation. In other words--it is much more complex than the black and white picture Macgregor draws and there was NO shaking of faith in regards to Nagorny Karabakh, which, incidentally, is not even recognized by Armenia proper.
As for Turkish dramatically overrated UAVs' operations against what turned out to be a grossly outdated and untrained Artsakh air defense, and Turkey having, in reality, a rather mediocre military force when faced with determined and experienced enemy--Turkish operations' collapse in Idlib in 2020 once Syrians pulled in their good ol' Osas and Buks is an exhibit A of Turkey's military limitations.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has shot down another Turkish military drone over the Idlib countryside, marking the tenth time in 72 hours that they have downed one of Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the Turkish drone was identified as an Anka; it was shot down by the Syrian air defenses this evening.
If Biden were to ask Putin where the next Sunni Islamist Caliphate will arise, Putin would likely tell him: “Mr. President, it’s already here. It’s called Turkey, my nightmare.”
Is a bit too simplistic and Turkey for Russia is not a rival but possible minor spoiler, not to mention the fact that grandiose aspirations by Turkey usually (historically) have been cut down by the reality of military-political balance in the region which seldom favored Turks no matter what they tried. So aspirations of Erdogan, as Macgregor points out:
According to Erdogan’s critics, Erdogan’s strategic vision for the Turkish nation is to be recognized on the world stage as a global power. This means Turkey must become a Balkan power, a Mediterranean power, a Middle Eastern power, a North African and even limited African power, a Caucasian power, a Central Asian power, a Eurasian power, and especially a Muslim power.
Is a bridge too far in the 21st century, because to become all that Turkey needs to move in the direction opposite to what Erdogan and Muslim Brotherhood preach and that runs immediately into the realities of modern industrial economy and the wall of Iran's own interests in the region and Russians know this damn well. That is why they sit above this geopolitical dance and observe, while contemplating what to do next and who to help. After all, Erdogan is mortal and is 67 and has a very nerve-wrecking life. Plus, it is good to have options. Simple as that.
So, no, Turkey is not Russia's (or Putin's) nightmare, not even close. Psychos in D.C., however, are, because unlike Turks they are non-agreement capable 100% of a time.
My latest book is reviewed by Byron King. I found his review to be thoughtful and he, certainly, got the main thrust of the book, when wrote:
For all the criticism, Martyanov is quite sympathetic to America’s plight. Indeed, it takes a former Soviet citizen, one who went through the crash of Russia in the 1990s, to understand what’s happening now in the lower half of North America, and to recognize the scope of our evolving disaster. Martyanov has kind words about the American people proper. He feels the pain of farmers and truck drivers, steelworkers and machine tool operators, medical doctors and math teachers.
Generally, just read the review for which I am profoundly grateful to Mr. King. If the link doesn't get you directly to the review--go to Archives, it is there.
For the US-Russia summit on June 16. Sergei Lavrov didn't miss a beat when yesterday, speaking at the conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Russian-Chinese Treaty on Good Neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation, stated that:
Translation: All-encompassing partnership between Russian Federation and China is more than just military-strategic alliance.
Sergei Lavrov is not the kind of statesman who uses hyperbole to describe facts of life, but the fact that obvious and undeniable partnership between China and Russia "is more" than just military-strategic alliance tells us all we need to know about the fact that the actual military-strategic alliance is being developed and that has immense geopolitical implications. What kind of implications one may ask. It is one thing to get oneself into the economic alliance akin to EU, totally another--to declare a military one. Immediately, that implies, at some point of time, a unified system of C2 (Command and Control) and unification and even integration of a number operational and tactical manuals and of fighting doctrines. The last one is not as difficult as it may seem between Russia and China, because of a tradition of a military-technological interaction for decades.
For all Chinese achievements in the military-technological field, even a brief look and PLA(N) and its TOE tells us that to a very large degree Chinese military is copied from Soviet/Russian one. But the visual commonality should not obscure a much deeper and more fundamental similarity in fighting doctrine--both Russia and China are what would be called in Pentagonese A2/AD powers. In fact, Chinese arsenal, ranging from Air Defense to anti-ship missiles, to submarines and aviation is a variant of a Russian one. Just to give you some visuals:
Russia's 3M54 Kalibr ASM.
So, you get the point, right? Because of the tactical-technical similarities in weapons it is inevitable that tactically and operationally there are bound to be similarities too. You launch a salvo of missiles against Carrier Battle Group, you need good intelligence and targeting. If Russia is helping China in developing and building a Missile Attack Early Warning System, who is to say that Russia will not provide targeting for Chinese weapons? Liana is already operational and its constellation is being augmented as I type this, China has her own targeting system. This is just a single example. The fact that Russians and Chinese form the mixed units during numerous exercises, including Chinese participation in such monster events as Vostok-2018, to joint air patrols of strategic bombers and their fighter escorts, gives already some clue on what is going on and, as the last week visit of Yang Jiechi to Russia suggests, once one learns about a number of top Chinese military officer accompanying him to Moscow to meet Patrushev, one gets a whiff of a possible synchronization of Russian-Chinese weapons programs within certain "allied" framework. What is this framework, I don't know but in seems to imply that in case of an actual conflict in South China Sea between China and the US, China will have a very substantive military support from Russia, short only of Russians themselves getting involved in hostilities with the US.
This is bad news for the US and Lavrov's words are to forestall any possible spin, which is inevitable in the West, about some kind of "deal" between Putin and Biden, if the summit goes ahead. No deal is possible between the US and Russia and the only benefit from this summit could be some reduction of tensions and stepping from the precipice of a big war. The United States will continue with sabotage and indirect strategies against Russia, while pretending that Russians, somehow, want to join Western fold--which is a product of a sheer delirium in D.C.--but it is what it is. Modern American "elites" are terminal and nothing could be done about them because their condition is not treatable. Current combined West is only valuable as a market for Russia's goods ranging from hydrocarbons to high value added, for the rest--new iron curtain against degeneracy emanating from the West is highly desirable. Modern Western "values" and values of Russia are irreconcilable on a fundamental level and that is the cold hard fact of life.
Lavrov on SWIFT Ploy: The EU Is Unreliable Partner And Don't Respect Written Agreements
P.S. Looks like Sudan did renege on its treaty with Russia on Sudan's PMTO (supply and basing post) for the Russian Navy. Well, not the first time, not the last one. One can still recall Iran abandoning its promises to Russia after, however brief, lifting of sanctions. You all know how that thing went. Sudan's "change of heart" (wink, wink) means merely additional patrols into the Eastern Med by Russia's squadron to "see" what is going on in the Red Sea. Modern (anti-shipping) missiles have incredibly long ranges.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Associated Press reports:
MOSCOW (AP) — A revised version of Russia's national security strategy says that it may use forceful methods to respond to unfriendly actions by foreign countries, a top Kremlin official said in remarks published Monday, Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the presidential Security Council, said that the document foresees that Moscow could take “symmetric and asymmetric measures to thwart or avert unfriendly actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.” In an interview published Monday by the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta that those “primarily will be special economic measures, but also coercive forceful methods if necessary."
I understand that it may come as a surprise to many West's journos, but national security of any country has a massive military (that is forceful or violent) element to it. After all, let's recall how the United States under the pretext of "national security" did this. Remember?
Russia has resources and will to use them if she deems threats to national security worthy of application of violent means. Nothing new in that at all, but emphasis on this issue is incredibly important.
Будущее России помимо материального благополучия ее граждан зависит и от того, как нам удастся сохранить духовность и нравственность, традиции, передать молодому поколению память о героическом прошлом их предков. Для нейтрализации угроз, связанных с искажением истории, с разрушением базовых морально-этических норм, с попытками внедрения чуждых идеалов и ценностей в области образования, культуры, религии, в Стратегии сформулирован новый стратегический национальный приоритет "Защита традиционных российских духовно-нравственных ценностей, культуры и исторической памяти".
Translation: The future of Russia, in addition to the material well-being of its citizens, also depends on how we manage to preserve spirituality and morality, traditions, and pass on to the young generation the memory of the heroic past of their ancestors. To neutralize the threats associated with the distortion of history, with the destruction of basic moral and ethical norms, with attempts to introduce alien ideals and values in the field of education, culture, religion, the Strategy formulates a new strategic national priority "Protection of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, culture and historical memory ".
As the strategic truism goes--want the enemy to surrender its country, bring up its youth. Here is Brittany, speaks about this issue.
In related news, Russia marked the 288th anniversary of the Northern Fleet and watching modern Russian military programming I cannot but finally admit to myself--boy, Russia finally learned how to make a really effective military porn.
The Western spin before Putin-Biden is that it might herald some sort of reset back to “predictability” and “stability” in currently extra-turbulent US-Russia relations. That’s wishful thinking. Putin, Patrushev and Lavrov harbor no illusions. Especially when in the G7 in London, in early May, the Western focus was on Russia’s “malign activities” as well as China’s “coercive economic policies.” Russian and Chinese analysts, in informal conversations, tend to agree that Geneva will be yet another instance of good old Kissingerian divide and rule, complete with a few seducing tactics to lure Moscow away from Beijing, an attempt to bide some time and probing openings for laying out geopolitical traps. Old foxes such as Yang and Patrushev are more than aware of the game in play. What’s particularly relevant is that Yang-Patrushev laid the groundwork for an upcoming Putin visit to Xi in Beijing not long after Putin-Biden in Geneva – to further coordinate geopolitically, once again, the “comprehensive strategic partnership”, in their mutually recognized terminology. The visit might take place on July 1, the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party – or on July 16, the 20thanniversary of the China-Russia Treaty of Friendship. So Putin-Biden is the starter; Putin-Xi is the main course.
So, when Karine Jean-Pierre states that the summit is not a US gift to Russia and that the summit will go on despite Russian (of course, Russian) hackers' now, allegedly, taking some meat packing plant in the US, one has to remind her that it is exactly the other way around. Russians were literally stalked by the US in order to agree to this summit, but, hey, whatever tickles one's ego. Do not expect any significant results from this upcoming summit other than spin in the US media. As long as the hot war could be avoided--good. Russia has a lot of business with China, the relations with who are becoming openly allied. The US is not a part of this arrangement. It cannot be.
Friday, May 28, 2021
You will be towed. I mean flown, I mean transported or...whatever. Some funny business by big mama Mi-26.
I know, those SU-27s they always park wherever they want.
Oh, this happy sound!!
Thursday, May 27, 2021
As you all know now, Presidents Putin and Biden are to meet in Geneva on June 16 this year for a summit. Here is Alexander Mercouris giving a time line leading to the decision to hold meeting and making some very good points on the overall state of the Russian-American relations, or whatever passes for them nowadays.
It has to be clearly understood also, that Russia and China are the two pillars of a unification of a colossus of Eurasia in a single, well defended, economic space whose size dwarfs anything the United States is capable to offer to Russia even if the United States suddenly finds itself friendly to Russia and willing to sincerely develop mutual relations. The time for this has passed long ago, and as they say--timing is everything. The US is, generally, economic non-entity for Russia when compared to China, and is of interest to Russia only as a global security risk, whose departure should be negotiated and arranged in a peaceful manner. Mr. Olsen may find Russian-Chinese growing space partnership troubling, but, hey, the United States has Elon Musk, let him provide for Lunar station. I heard he is really competent (cough, cough).And then there is this time thingy, both Russians and Chinese think in terms of long historic trends. They think with historic time scales, the United States lacks this perspective due to its elites being grossly uncultured and badly educated, plus, as I am on record for years, there is this issue with cause and effect, which increasingly manifests in the US scholarship and politics. That is why Russia has nobody to talk to in the modern US. This piece by Olsen demonstrates my point perfectly. They really do think that they are that important and attractive as to ignore reality on the ground. But it always bites. It is a bitter admission for me, because at some point of time I did see a window of opportunity for combined West, including Russia, to become something else--it never materialized and there is nothing to discuss any more in this respect, no matter what kind of ridiculous fantasies and delusions modern US elites try to present as a viable strategy.
Basically, most of what was said or written by Alexander, Pepe Escobar, Andrei Raevsky (The Saker), Patrick Armstrong and me, among many other observers, is unfolding in a front of our eyes and Russian-Chinese alliance begins to take shape be that unified position on the history of WW II or on global stability, or be that initial operational integration such as was observed at Vostok-2018 maneuvers or joint air patrols and Russia aiding China with her anti-missile early warning system--it is like, dude...
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Macron said that "with Russia, the policy of progressive sanctions on frozen situations is no longer an effective policy." "I think that we are at a moment of truth in our relationship with Russia, which should lead us to rethink the terms of the tension that we decide to put in place," the leader added. Asked by reporters as to how the EU can put forward its political objectives in cases like that of the jailing of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Macron pushed back, asking. "What would you like us to do? Do we start an armed conflict? Do we completely cut off relations? Do we go further with sanctions – but where to?"
Riiight. Someone builds a gigantic common market in Eurasia and is planning human exploration of Mars using new types of propulsion, others discover new genders and support all kind of lowlifes such as Navalny or Neo-Nazis in Kiev. Hey, free will, free will. So the United States still can produce some Force majeure before Geneva summit to kill the summit or try to frame Putin but at this stage it doesn't matter. It is very anti-hype and almost anti-climatic and this state of the affairs is brilliantly summarized by Leo Tolstoy, and I hope you know what quote from War and Peace I am talking about.