Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Biden’ Category

IS UKRAINE RUSSIAN FOR DIEN BIEN PHU?

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Links and at least an attempt to deconstruct what’s going on in Ukraine today. The above is the current situation as of 23 April 2022. Note that Russia has withdrawn from its incursions in the north, but has consolidated its control of the south and east. They now control a land link to Crimea. And unofficially at least they may seek to control all of Southern Ukraine, linking them to Russian separatists in Transnistria, the gray area in the lower mid left off the map: Russian General Suggests Moscow Could Seize Ukraine’s Entire Coast, Create Link to Transnistria.

It’s been clear since the beginning that overt conquest of Ukraine wasn’t Russia’s aim, the modest scale of the invasion force, and the subsequent withdrawal from the north, pretty much confirms that. There’s still some Ukrainian troops holding out in Mariupol, but otherwise Russia has control of the whole south eastern Ukraine region apparently. Note that Crimea is connected to Russia by a bridge at the lower right, built since Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014. That Ukraine hasn’t attempted to knock this bridge out is another indication that the war is limited on both sides. In the western hysterical press, it’s Hitler invading Poland. In reality, it’s a stupid border war between two sovereign states. Let’s hope it stays that way.

It’s kind of fascinating watching the US narrative. Americans have been convinced that Putin is a monster and the entire world is lining up to oppose him. That’s the beauty of being the most propagandized people on Earth: Where’s the Truth? How the CIA Shapes the Minds of Americans. The rest of the world though, meh, NATO made this problem, it’s not our problem. You won’t hear much like this in the western press: Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia. Or this of course: To Fight Russia, Europe’s Regimes Risk Impoverishment and Recession for Europe. And of course one will never hear this in the west:  Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News

A few other links with perspective one won’t find on CNN: Against World War III This one is about comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the historical situation that is most comparable to the current situation in Ukraine. Then: If we don’t want nuclear war, why are we pushing for one? Good question. Well, it is terrible times, Covid, Global Warming, why not add some nuclear weapons in the mix. The Pentagon, not to mention many Americans, would love an excuse to use nuclear weapons. Myself, I think war with Russia is best to avoid: First Priority – Avoid US War With Russia. Then: Shades of Gray in the Russia-Ukraine War

Many Americans have internalized American exceptionalism, we’re the good guys so we can use force. And of course we always use war responsibly to minimize civilian casualties. As if killing fewer babies, but not deliberately targeting them, was a good thing. How does one argue with people who are horrified by the Russian war on Ukraine, but are indifferent at worst to America’s wars on Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Libya, just for starters? Blogging is all I got for now. War as an instrument of national policy is the problem, not Putin.

Someone said it decades ago, paraphrasing: “If you’re going to be the world’s policeman, you’re gonna find out how many street corners the world has.” The ugly truth is that Ukraine is about as insignificant to US security as it could get. As is the South Pacific:  The misbegotten notion that the South Pacific is a US sphere of influence The truth is that even the Monroe Doctrine was imperial overstretch, Ukraine is not the hill our empire should die on. We’re so conditioned to thinking the USA is invincible and has it all under control, that anything other than a humiliating defeat for Putin is unimaginable. Ukraine could be the biggest miscalculation in American history.

We could go for it in Ukraine … and suffer a defeat that makes Dien Bien Phu look minor. Can’t happen of course. Snort. History is full of things that people thought “couldn’t happen.” That’s what makes history fun. And terrifying.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Situation in Ukraine around 23 April 2022. Credit: Viewsridge. Reproduced legally: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

IF BEING FOR PEACE AND DIPLOMACY MAKES ME “OFF BASE,” I AM PROUDLY OFF BASE

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The flagship of the Russian Back Sea fleet has been sunk by Ukrainian missiles. Largest warship to be sunk since World War Two. A symbolic and morale victory for Ukraine. Another major event in the war of our times. Symbolic because it’s not going to change the course of the war anyhow, it’s a land war, not a sea war. Also one day closer to the day when all large warships are obsolete. The latter is just my opinion though.

So the terrible war continues. Want a blog where Putin is the devil, Zelensky a hero, and the war is a struggle between good and evil? Move right along, the western mainstream media has it covered. As a Russian visitor to the US once said: “In the Soviet Union we had to shoot reporters to get them to repeat government propaganda. In America, they do it voluntarily!” And hey, for the sake of argument I’m happy to grant that Putin is a monster whose attack on Ukraine was unjust and unprovoked. That doesn’t change the fact that both Zelensky and the USA are doing what they can to prolong the war, not end it. Even if the Russo-Ukraine wasn’t a US proxy war to start with, it most certainly is one now.

Like this: Blinken Tells European Allies He Believes Ukraine War Will Last Through 2022. Or this: Zelensky pushes for more weapons to fight Russia. I mean, yeah, sure, you’re at war and need weapons? But if you don’t get more weapons there will be a bloodbath? More war and weapons is how one creates bloodbaths, not prevents them. Why not try to end the war through diplomacy? Oh right, Putin is a madman so war is the only option. Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy. That appears to be where most pro-war people I talk to are coming from, they’ve really bought the endless demonization of Putin and Russia they’ve been steeped in for decades. War, what is it good for? Profits: New Reporting Details Corporate Media’s War Industry Pundits.

Aside from the just plain horror of it all, there are peoples all over the world fighting for their independence, sometimes for decades, often against regimes far more brutal than Putin’s Russia. Where is their endless news coverage, billions of dollars of aid and weapons, and crippling sanctions against their oppressors? If America was so about freedom and self-determination, Ukraine would be just one of many causes Biden was championing. Instead, the vast majority of Americans remain utterly in the dark. Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, Rohingya, and numerous others. But yeah, Ukraine is where the US has chosen to fight for freedom. Snort.

The more I understand how the world works, the more I understand why putative aliens would fly right by, locking their doors as they pass. A planet with over five thousand ethnic groups, ruled by fewer than 200 armed gangs. Poverty, injustice,  and wealth inequality are rampant. Armaments and fossil fuels are the planet’s top two industries. Humans are killing each other by the millions every year, and fossil fuels are literally destroying the planet’s climate and killing millions more by way of air pollution. Yeah, even Kirk and Spock would leave this one alone.

And I guess I’m gonna keep blogging about the war. The Russo-Ukrainian War is the Vietnam War of my time, except this time our designated enemy has nuclear weapons. No genocide yet. And I’m hoping this might eventually revive the peace movement in the US. Granted I think corporate control of the media and government propaganda make that unlikely, but a man can dream. I was accused by a reader of being “off base” for suggesting that peace and diplomacy are laudable paths. That makes me proudly off base. There’s people risking death and jail fighting for peace in Ukraine and Russia. I guess I can risk losing friends by blogging for peace in America.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The recently sunk Russian cruiser Moskva. Credit: Mil.ru. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 18, 2022 at 1:32 pm

UNPOPULAR OPINION: THE WAR IS OVER, PUTIN WON

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I try to stay moored in reality. IE what is, is, reality doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions. It’s going to do whatever happens no matter how that meshes with anyone’s opinion of how the world works. And when huge numbers of people think their opinion is reality, problems arise. And in contemporary America, we have problems along these lines. On both left and right.

This limits my reading audience considerably these days. I digress. Back on point, I think the Russo-Ukrainian War is effectively over. Putin won, nothing next but a lot of whining in the American west. And maybe destroying the world economy. Wait, what? It’s fairly simple. Putin accomplished his goals: The Ukrainian military has been decimated, Russia is free to annex Donbas, NATO and Biden proved spineless, Ukraine won’t be joining NATO anytime soon. Russia is essentially sanction proof. In fact, Biden’s efforts to sanction Russia will hurt the west worse than Russia. Yeah, preventing Russian athletes from running in the Boston Marathon will really hurt Putin.

Nuclear war avoided, nothing left but endless op ed twaddle trying to frame the war as an American victory. Nope. The high water mark off the American Empire, the Russian Red Line held, we’re reduced to threatening China with the same sanctions that failed to achieve victory in Ukraine. No idea what happens now, but expect it’s going to be weird. The horrifying contradictions of the American Century will become increasingly unhinged. Good times.

I do understand the “mainstream” view: ‘The US leads the free world, rule of law, freedom, arsenal of democracy. NATO expanding meant more people joining the free world. And for the last decade at least Russia and China have become more aggressive. China is militarizing the South China Sea, expanding its influence around the globe with the New Silk Road initiative. Russia even more so with its aggression in Georgia and Crimea. And now an all out invasion of Ukraine, a horrifying humanitarian crisis, Putin must be reined in at least.’

All true. Well, some of it is true. Sort of.  A good illustration that lies of omission are the greatest lies. IE there’s no context to any of it, and what it leaves out is legion. Here’s a good article that talks about the media bias and double standards in the west. Just for starters, the utterly illegal US invasion of Iraq resulted in a million deaths, and that’s the conservative estimate: From Korea to Libya: On the Future of Ukraine and NATO’s Never-Ending Wars. And then this, Mr. Paul always offers a different perspective. CIA Admits Feeding Americans False Info About Ukraine.

I do hope it’s over soon. Kremlin Says Russia’s War in Ukraine Could End ‘In Foreseeable Future’. Though it seems clear the Biden administration is in no hurry: Is the Biden Administration Trying to Prolong the Ukraine War? The media is saying now there will be a big fight in Donbas. I wouldn’t hold my breath, I don’t think the Ukrainian army has the offensive capability to drive Russia out. And the Russians have air superiority, almost always fatal for an attacking force.

PS: Zelensky going around the world to give speeches to adoring (mostly) parliaments is kinda weird. As in, other than stroking his ego, what is the point? Weapons and money aren’t going to win the war for him, and at this point it seems clear no one is going to directly challenge a nuclear armed Russia. Shouldn’t he be trying to end the war, not prolong it? Like I said earlier, this might get increasingly weird.

Next, a blog about my cat. Maybe. Stay safe and warm everyone, we’re getting a week of unseasonable snow, rain, and hail here in Eastern Oregon.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic. They voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine, though how fair that vote was, and was it after a million or more ethnic Ukrainians fled? Still, no different than some of the horrors perpetrated in the Balkans in the nineties, that passed completely under the radar in the west. Credit: Владимир Ђорђевић “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:

I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.”)

Written by unitedcats

April 12, 2022 at 7:48 pm

“DO I NOT DESTROY MY ENEMIES WHEN I MAKE THEM MY FRIENDS?”

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Well, the war in Ukraine is getting worse, wars tend to do that, one of the reasons to try and avoid them … and one of the reasons to try and end them once they begin. There aren’t really any winners in wars, they represent the ultimate fail of human relations, both international and domestic. Humans deliberately killing other humans in organized violence, pretty much doesn’t get worse than that. Putin is a war criminal, and like all war criminals, it would be good if he was brought to justice someday. The chances seem remote though, fantasies of the Russian people rising up and deposing him are just that, fantasies. Hey though, the people in Washington pushing such twaddle are the same people who fantasized that Iraqis would welcome our invading armies with flowers and democracy would flow across the Middle East.

I have no problem condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What I have a problem with is how the west is portraying it. This war is  portrayed by Washington as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, good vs evil, freedom vs Hitler. Sigh. The world is not black and white, and pretending it leads nowhere good. Granted the US has been doing this a long time now, at least since World War Two, but it’s depressing that so many have completely accepted this destructive fantasy for fact. There’s literally nothing noble about this war, or any war really, the US did everything they could to encourage it, and even the government of Ukraine played a role:  Zelensky Rejected German Security Proposal Before Russian Invasion. Apparently he rejected Putin’s last not-unreasonable offer … because he didn’t trust Putin to adhere to it. The logic there escapes me, if a guy threatens war if you don’t do X, why not do X if you were going to do it anyways?

And now a day or two after I wrote the above, there are allegations of Russian atrocities in areas they withdrew from. Accepted as fact instantly in the west. I have doubts, it’s not a slam dunk. Doesn’t matter, Biden and Zellensky seem determined to push for endless war. As far as I can tell Americans think they are winning, I think it’s much more complicated than that. I think Biden is utterly determined not to let anything happen that could be spun as any sort of Russian victory, my way or the highway has been American “foreign policy” for a century. It’s a trap though, locking ourselves into a black and white worldview limits our options terribly. And I think Putin knows that.

I don’t know what’s going on. No one ever does when wars start, but that doesn’t apparently stop them from thinking they do. Maybe it was insanity and evil on Putin’s part, and he’s losing badly. Maybe Putin and China are playing Biden like a fiddle and it’s all going according to their plan. The truth lies somewhere in the middle I suspect, somewhere no one is expecting. My guess is this war will be a watershed moment, things will never be the same afterwards. Especially for those who die, are maimed, and their loved ones. In that sense, like all wars, it’s a nightmare.

I hope for peace, but alas I think 75 years of Americans being raised to think Russians are evil runs too deep. And a hundred years of America insisting on unconditional surrender. Lincoln spent the entire war trying to make peace with the South, that’s his quote in the title. Biden is about as far from Lincoln as it gets. We’re doomed.

Next up, a post about a cat. The war is too depressing.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Maybe it’s satire, if not it’s darkly ironic.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2022 at 9:16 pm

THE RUSSO-UKRAINIAN WAR, DAY 38

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The Russo-Ukrainian War continues. I’m still trying to figure it out. To say that the current global situation is complicated and unstable would be an understatement. It doesn’t look like this war is going to end anytime soon. The last time there was open war between developed nations was the Falklands in 1982 or the Yom Kippur War in 1973. I guess you could call the Gulf Wars such, but they were both essentially walkovers. And on paper Russia vs Ukraine should be a walkover, the fact that it isn’t pretty much is a slam dunk that Russia’s war aims are limited, this isn’t Hitler rolling into Poland. When Hitler invaded Poland he committed essentially all of his military might. 

So what is Putin up to? According to the western press he’s a guy surrounded by lying incompetents, evil to boot, who has made a terrible mistake and is failing terribly in his war endeavors. IE the complete opposite of the brilliant strategist who has defended Russia and its friends for decades, outmaneuvering both Obama and Bush when confronted. Maybe, people change, but I’m guessing Putin is as clever as ever, and however desperate this war is, he has plans and alternate plans. Assuming your enemy is an idiot or incompetant has been the basis of countless military disasters in history, and if the Biden administration really thinks Putin is a fool, America is really fucked. 

When stuff like this is happening, ripple effects will spread out around the world. Especially since Putin almost certainly wouldn’t have invaded without China’s tacit support, and it’s more than likely carefully coordinated with them. In fact one of the very first thoughts I had about this, would China try to retake Taiwan while this is going on? I think whatever is going on is more subtle than that though, if I had to guess I think a subtle counter punch to America global hegemony might be part of their plan. Things like this Cambodia Signs Military Deal With China After US Pressure and this: Security agreement with China ‘initialled’ by both countries, Solomon Islands says | Asia Pacific | The Guardian. In fact the latter brushed off US objections by saying they intend to be friends to all, enemies to none. This may well have been a slap to America’s face, since that was what the founding fathers intended  … and Washington is the complete opposite of today. 

Even regionally, this is fascinating: South Ossetia Planning to Hold Referendum To Join Russia. South Ossetia is the homeland of people who have been loyal Russian allies for centuries. It was never a problem until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the borders drawn up by NATO made South Ossetia part of Georgia, which the Ossetians manifestly did not want to a part of. They fought two wars to remain independent from Georgia, the second one where Georgia attacked Russian peacekeeping troops … and got pounded by Russia in response. I suspect the vote will be overwhelming, if nothing else Russia does stand by its friends. The USA is already screaming that the “territorial integrity” of Georgia is sacred or some such, which is code for ‘only the USA gets to draw the world’s borders.’

Those days may be coming to an end.  The world is changing, the US is no longer the undisputed ruler of the world. It never really was except in many Americans fevered imagination. Most Americans don’t grasp that, and the Biden administration doesn’t appear to get it either: The Bush-Biden Doctrine – The American Conservative. Or this, perhaps Biden’s grasp of the situation Washington created really isn’t as nuanced as it needs to be: Insult Diplomacy: Does Biden’s Vilification of Putin Help? Day 37 and the war continues, who knows what tomorrow will bring. Whatever it does, I’ll blog on it.

Well, this morning brought this link: Rand Paul: Promoting negotiations over war doesn’t make you a Putin sympathizer – Responsible Statecraft. I’m normally underwhelmed by anything Rand Paul says, but here he’s the voice of reason. It’s appalling to me that so many people on the Democrats’ side are falling for “Putin is evil and more war is the solution.”  And yes, all my recent blog posts have been about the war in Ukraine. That’s because aside from Global Warming it’s the top story of the day. And the longer it goes on, the worse it will get.

Hope all are having a good weekend.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

April 2, 2022 at 9:31 pm

SLEEPWALKING INTO THE APOCALYPSE

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Washington has lived in a self created fantasy world for about 100 years now, and every time reality has threatened to overturn their narrative, they’ve pretty much doubled down on it. Sadly most of the American public has bought into the fantasy narrative, and cheers on whatever war is being currently touted by Washington as “The good fight.” There was a brief period during and immediately after the disastrous Vietnam War when some Americans became aware their government was lying, but the corporate takeover of America’s mainstream media had pretty much shut that down by 1980 or so. Phew, the wars continue and the corporate profits roll in. And now in Ukraine, possibly the most fantasy based war yet, where what we hear on the “news” is almost pure drivel.

Here is an excellent article that goes into a lot of historical detail about how we got into this mess: Washington Is Delirious With War Fever – For No Reason of Homeland Security. One of the most interesting parallels is the end of WW1 and the Collapse of the Soviet Union. In both cases the victors drew lines on the map with almost no consideration for the facts on the ground, instead they were drawn up for imperial ambitions, and often in the case of America, for domestic political concerns. Pretty much like all of European history, except in the past the winners they didn’t pretend they were the good guys creating a better world. World War Two was almost entirely because of the horrific conditions forced on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles after World War One; and right now it’s looking like World War Three might very well ultimately result from the horrible conditions placed on Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Another curious point the article makes is that the Ukrainian military has been all but destroyed, and it really hasn’t impeded the Russian advance much. One certainly wouldn’t know that from western media coverage, where the plucky Ukrainians are valiantly defending their independence from Russian aggression. Putin has announced he is limiting military activity around Kyiv and going to concentrate on the Donbass and Crimea. If I had to guess now, I’d say that unless Ukraine agrees to Russia’s demands, which are perfectly reasonable despite the hysterics emanating from Washington, Putin will simply occupy the Russian majority areas of Eastern Ukraine. That would give him the buffer he wanted and protect the Russians living in such areas. The last thing Putin wants is to occupy all of Ukraine and end up with an endless guerilla war.

Would Washington accept a defacto Russian victory? Not sure they would have much choice, sanctions aren’t going to stop Russia, in fact it can well be argued that the sanctions will cause far more harm to the world economy than Russia’s economy. Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face so to speak. You’d think by now that Americans would realize just how counterproductive sanctions really are. From Cuba, Iraq, Iran, to North Korea sanctions have done nothing but hurt the poor in those countries but make their people and governments more determined to resist US hegemony. Alas Washington isn’t worried about effectiveness, as long as the war profiteering continues forever, all good.

Meanwhile, in other world affairs, the news from Antarctica is extremely grim. Background: Antarctica is essentially composed of two ice sheets, the WAIS and the EAIS. Until now, the effects of global warming have largely been confined to the west, as the WAIS is considerably less stable than the EAIS. When the WAIS slides into the ocean, the world’s sea levels will rise about 3.3 m (11 ft). To say this would be a global catastrophe is an understatement. And to date there is no understanding of how likely this is to happen anytime soon, but scientists are gravely concerned that the collapse is already underway.

Until now the EAIS was thought to be much more stable than the WAIS, in fact it was considered by many to be effectively invulnerable to global warming. That may be about to change as East Antarctica has been hit by unprecedented warming, and this just happened: Ice Shelf Collapse in East Antarctica. Yes, an ice shelf on the edge of the EAIS has collapsed, catching scientists by complete surprise. While it seems unlikely that the EAIS will collapse anytime soon, if it does the results would be far worse than the collapse of the WAIS. If the EAIS collapses, it could raise global sea levels as much as 53.3 m (175 ft). IE, most of the world’s great cities, as well as many entire countries would be inundated.

So yes, while America argues about Oscar slapping, we are sleepwalking into nuclear war and catastrophic global warming. Woohoo! What a time to be alive. There is a silver lining though, maybe Biden is smarter than I imagine. Even a modest nuclear war would cause dramatic global cooling, a nuclear winter lasting years. No more global warming. Brilliant!

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

Image: Self explanatory. Public domain image found on Snappygoat, no attribution required.

Written by unitedcats

March 30, 2022 at 8:16 pm

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, THE DOGS OF WAR HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED

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I have been very depressed since Russia invaded Ukraine. This is the worst outbreak of war since the US invasion of Iraq nearly 20 years ago, and in some ways one of the worst outbreaks of my life. Modern industrialized nuclear powers going to war is always a scary thing, the sheer destructive power at their disposal is frightening even without counting nuclear weapons. Even if this war is limited to Russia and Ukraine the death toll is likely to be in the thousands at least with property damage in the billions. Already there are over 150,000 refugees, so a terrible humanitarian crisis is unfolding. And it could get so much worse, other nations could get involved, nuclear weapons could get used, a world war is not out of the question.

A lot to be depressed and angry about. Humans live on a planet that is a paradise, a planet that could easily provide a good life for everyone on Earth. Instead greed, corruption, and violence are rampant, with a tiny number of people hoarding staggering amounts of wealth while billions of people live in abject poverty. And the ultimate expression of the failure of humanity is war, organized violence intended to kill other human beings. I suspect war is one of the main reasons the aliens fly right by. And yet we’ve completely normalized it, glorified and fetishized it in many cases. There’s nothing glorious about war, if your country is involved in a war, there were almost always failures in leadership that led to it.

Russia invading Ukraine is a terrible crime. It’s a war crime, the greatest war crime in fact because all other war crimes flow from it. I hope cool heads prevail and the war ends as quickly as possible. I had no wish to see this in my day, just as I had no wish to experience the greatest pandemic in a century. And that’s far from over. Oh, and the Tonga volcano eruption in January was the greatest in decades. 2022 is starting off with a bang. My few remaining readers want my opinion, of which I have a few. Unpopular as they may be.

So yes, terrible thing, terrible war crime. And that’s as far as it gets in the US at least, no context, no history, nothing. Evil Russia invades freedom loving Ukraine, heroic Ukrainians defending valiantly against invading Russian hordes. True enough, but without history and context, it’s a facile sophomoric analysis. Russia hit first, end analysis, preschool playground ethics. See it on TikTok, put a sunflower on your Facebook profile. Americans can feel incredibly noble and heroic defending Ukraine, without the inconvenience of actual Americans being killed and wounded for life. And anyone who doesn’t get on the bandwagon is a Putin apologist if not an enemy of America.

Washington got the war it wanted, in the grand American tradition of fomenting wars going back to the Mexican American War in 1846, A Democratic war no less, while most Republican criticism of the Dems is paranoid marketing nonsense, the Dems have managed to start a lot of wars. Good for their sponsors, the arms and energy industries, the two most powerful industries on Earth. When the Soviet Union collapsed and effectively surrendered to NATO the US promised that NATO would not expand eastward. A promise that the US broke immediately and expanded NATO up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. Putin made it very clear that Russia had had enough, they would not stand for Ukraine joining NATO and positioning missiles on the border with Russia’s heartland. No more than the US would allow Russian or Chinese missiles stationed in Mexico or Cuba. Hell, we almost fought a world war about Russian missiles in Cuba.

So yes, this war could have been completely avoided if Ukraine had just stayed neutral, the same way Finland and Austria coexisted peacefully next to the Soviet Union for decades. Tell that to most Americans though and hostility and denial will be the response, Putin is the next Hitler and must be stopped because he wants to rule the world. (highly recommended link.) A conclusion so absurd (not to mention projecting, since it’s America that is trying to rule the world) as to be laughable. Except of course there’s nothing laughable about this situation. Among other nonsense being tossed around western media is the Dems somehow making this war Trump’s fault. So the Dems have mastered the GOP’s playbook, anything bad that happens is the other party’s fault. At least during the Vietnam War debate was possible, and at least some Americans were calling for peace.

All that aside, what the hell is going to happen now? No idea. If I had to guess, I think eventually Ukraine will realize America isn’t going to send the cavalry to their rescue, and will sit down with Putin and work out an acceptable deal that preserves Ukraine’s independence while assuaging Russia’s security concerns. That’s an optimistic sentiment though. It could get much worse. The other possibility is that Biden’s plummeting approval rating will goad him to reckless military involvement, like trying to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine. Here is a good link about how this war could have been avoided, and tons of history and context ignored by the western media: The Eazy-Peazy Ukrainian Alternative – Partition.

Another good discussion about this war and America’s response to it: The History Behind the Russia-Ukraine War. I particularly liked:

As Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University and leader of the so-called “realist” school of foreign policy wrote earlier this week, “‘strategic empathy’ isn’t about agreeing with an adversary’s position. It is about understanding it so you can fashion an appropriate response.”

That’s all I try to do. Stay safe everyone. I’ll try to write more about this nightmare as the situation unfolds.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. In fact from what I can tell it’s not possible to copyright or trademark quotes by other people.)

Written by unitedcats

March 6, 2022 at 4:20 pm

THE RUSSIA UKRAINE THING JUST GETS WEIRDER: Russia plans fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims

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That is indeed the latest in Washington’s ongoing war with Russia thing: Russia plans ‘very graphic’ fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims. I have no idea what to make of this, but I certainly wouldn’t take it at face value. Sowing confusion for sure, and oddly enough does validate the one pretext Russia would use as a pretext to intervene. Millions of Russian citizens live in eastern Ukraine, and Russia will act to protect Russians and Russia’s allies. Oh, the Russian purported plot was supported by no evidence. As a certain TV tool guy would say, “Evidence, smevidence.”

Diplomatically, some progress is being made. US Makes Putin Offer He Can Hardly Refuse. All Russia wants is assurances that first strike weapons won’t be deployed on its borders, and Putin might just get that. Ukraine for its part is pushing back at Washington’s war rhetoric, either genuinely, or at the secret behest of the US. If the US is really up to something, who knows who the players involved are. Biden’s goal would be to get Putin to do something that can be claimed as Russian aggression. So Biden can be the hero, the Pentagon and arms industry keep the bucks rolling in, and the Dems’ sagging popularity can be boosted in time for the fall elections.

So now if something ugly does happen in eastern Ukraine, Putin won’t know if it’s real, or being faked by some party? And if he reacts to something faked, he’s walked into a trap. And if he ignores it, he loses face. IDK, I wouldn’t want to play chess with Putin, I hope Biden knows what he’s doing. Seems like a lot of risk with no clear goals, Putin isn’t going to abandon Crimea or fail to defend the Russians in eastern Ukraine, and he might well if pushed … do something decisive and unexpected. It’s what he does. Putin outwitted both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Speaking of US propaganda: Havana Syndrome could be caused by pulsed energy devices – US expert report. US Intelligence agencies commissioned a report … which came to the exact conclusion they wanted. In the Vietnam era when the US still had a free press, the veracity of this report would have at least been questioned. Now it’s presented as news, and is fact in many America’s minds no doubt. Why do I dismiss this as propaganda? Um, the source isn’t reliable. No evidence has been presented. Science has no trouble with classic mass hysteria being the cause. And lastly, our chosen enemies have utterly no reason to do this and excellent reasons not to.

The latter is the one overlooked by the FCM (fawning corporate media.) In fact the American media pretty much presents the world as a cartoon where the US is the good guy and our designated enemies hate us for our freedoms, or are just plain evil and out to get us. No nuance, understanding, context, history required. It must drive actual historians and foreign policy experts nuts. Excepting the ones who are cashing in on it. The number of people who make their living by being talking heads about the US for selected demographics must be one of the world’s greatest economies. That one of these bloviating talking heads actually managed to get himself elected POTUS really is a sign of just how dysfunctional the whole mess is. The greatest empire the world has ever seen, devoted entirely to making its rich ever richer. But boy, what a ride.

So 3 February 1959, The Day The Music Died. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and their pilot, Roger Peterson died when their plane crashed shortly after take off. God rest their souls. My very first memories date to this time, though I don’t recall this of course. People still visit the crash site regularly to this day, odd how stuff rises to the top like this. No real connection to Ukraine and Russia, aside from this crash was almost certainly because the pilot wasn’t qualified to fly this plane during the conditions of the flight. I fear Biden thinking he can take Putin could be a similar mistake. I hope I’m wrong.

Tonight’s epiphany: the US never stopped fighting World War Two, and the decades since then were and are just a continuation of it. Blog to follow.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The wreckage at the 1959 Buddy Holly crash site. Public domain under US copyright law. This wreck is why authorities started withholding names after deaths until the families were notified. Buddy Holly’s wife heard about his death on the radio, and likely had a miscarriage as a result.)

Written by unitedcats

February 3, 2022 at 9:42 pm

UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 No. 4: A TALE OF FOUR TERRITORIES

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OK, we’ll see what we can crank out tonight. My definition of woke: If you understand that whether you watch CNN or FOX, you’re watching a product designed for a demographic, not news. And no, I’m not saying they are equal … except in that respect. So yes, no war in Ukraine yet. Biden and his allies continue to push the “Russia is about to invade card.” Since Russia isn’t about to invade anyone, things are calm in Russia. ‘This is just hysteria’: Russians unmoved by threat of Ukraine conflict | Russia | The Guardian. And some in Ukraine, including the president, aren’t happy with all the American saber rattling: Ukraine’s Zelensky Slams West for Creating ‘Panic’ After Biden Call. A war with Russia would be a terrible thing, still hoping cooler heads prevail. This is blog number four about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, January 2022. Links to the first three at the bottom.

Today, four territories. What does the gentle reader think? Taiwan is a part of China. Legally and historically, not debatable. It’s just been in revolt since 1948, supported by the US. China wants it back. The people of Taiwan would prefer not to be ruled by China, though they have never declared independence. To do so would likely result in war with China. What’s to be done?

The Golan Heights. The elephant in the room, the blatant conquest and annexation of another nation’s territory. And no, the people living there didn’t want to be living in Israel. Oddly enough it’s never mentioned. How come the west isn’t upset about this? (rhetorical question.)

Kosovo, the forgotten land. Nato waged war on Serbia to force them to allow the province of Kosovo to declare independence. Kosovo was the heart of Serbia historically.

Basically in all three cases, the US supports them because it supports the US global agenda. And I don’t actually have a problem with that, imperialism is a horrifying cultural disease, but it’s internally consistent. You do what you can to extend your control, be it legal or through popularity. What I think is insulting to the intelligence, is those who think America has some moral high ground here. Cue motivated reasoning by those who defend the (gasp!) Atlantic Empire.

Then we come to territory four, Crimea. Been a part of Russia for centuries, and was only attached to Ukraine politically in the 1950s. It didn’t want to be part of Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed, most of its people being either Russians, or Crimean Tatars, indigenous people who allied with Russia centuries ago. It’s complicated. Truth be told, like countless regions on Earth, they’d prefer independence if they could. Barring that, the people of Crimea would prefer to be in Russia, not Ukraine, thank you. But Biden is prepared to risk war with Russia over this?

Then there’s Kashmir, given to India by the British when they pulled out, despite the fact that the vast majority of the people living there would have preferred, and likely still would prefer to be part of Pakistan. And Tibet, whatever happened to “Free Tibet!?” And when are the Kurds (30 million plus of them) going to get their own country?

In any event, my current understanding of the 2022 Ukraine crisis: the Bioden administration has pulled out all the stops on saber rattling. I have no idea why, and I hope it doesn’t result in war.

Ukraine Crisis 2022 no 1: WAR SCARE: WILL RUSSIA INVADE UKRAINE? | Doug’s Darkworld

Ukraine Crisis 2022 no 2: UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no 2: GOTCHA, THE AMERICAN WAY OF WAR | Doug’s Darkworld

Ukraine Crisis 2022 no 3: UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no. 3: WHAT IS RUSSIA SO AFRAID OF? | Doug’s Darkworld

Have a great weekend everyone. Change my mind.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Putin in a staged propaganda photo with Crimean Tatar leaders. Make of it what the gentle reader will.)

Written by unitedcats

January 29, 2022 at 9:11 pm

UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no. 3: WHAT IS RUSSIA SO AFRAID OF?

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Well, talks between Russia and the US continue. Though the US and its close allies are still yelling about imminent Russian invasion. Um, the government of Ukraine has been backpedaling furiously though. They aren’t happy that the US and others pulled their embassy staff out, and in fact thanked the other EU members for not adding to the hysteria. Because, the idea that the Russians will be bombing Kyiv is, well, ridiculous. Anyhow, this covers this: What’s Actually Happening in Ukraine? And here’s an interesting article claiming that Biden is doing this simply because his approval ratings have been plummeting. It also covers more of the history of Crimea: Sleepy Joe’s Wimpy Tail Wags the Dog of War. So day three of my Ukraine watch, no war yet.

One of the things so annoying about the media reporting on this subject is how Russia’s point of view is either ignored, or worse, completely misrepresented. Putin is regularly cast as the aggressor, often to absurd lengths like claiming he wants to reconquer eastern Europe and restore the Soviet Union. Um, that’s codswaddle, the Soviet occupation of eastern europe was a gigantic fail, no one in their right mind would want to resurrect it. And Putin is one smart mofo, not an idiot.

There’s two reasons Russia is edgy about its European borders. The first is the history of the 20th century. Russia was twice invaded by western armies. The first being World War One and its aftermath, during which various western militaries, including America, sent troops into Russia during their civil war. And then. Just a generation later, a resurgent Germany invaded again. That was the big one, what the Nazis did in Russia was one of history’s greatest crimes, at least 25 million Russians lost their lives, major cities were laid waste. And you better believe Russia is covered with war memorials, this is still a living memory in Russia. And the reason they kept Germany divided and eastern europe occupied after the war, they weren’t about to let a resurgent Germany rise and do it again.

Eventually though, the cost of occupation bankrupted the Soviet Union and it collapsed in 1989. At this point Nato was obsolete and should have been disbanded. And in fact in return for withdrawing from eastern europe, the US promised Russia that Nato would not expand eastward. Instead, Nato aggressively expanded eastward up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. And doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia. Including deploying “missile defense” systems. Um, missile defense systems are first strike weapons, there’s nothing defensive about them. So Putin has every reason to suspect American motives in eastern europe, think how America would react if a Russian backed coup seized power in Mexico, allied with Russia, and stationed Russian troops on the border of the US. The hysteria in Washington would be audible from the ISS. Why is it so hard to understand that Russia might have legitimate concerns about Nato in Ukraine?

Because America as well as being the most powerful empire the world has ever known is also one of the most narcissistic empires the world has ever known. That however is a topic for a future blog. One last note for today, Jan 27th is the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. How human beings can do that to other humans is horrifying beyond belief. It starts with people deciding that “other” people aren’t human, for whatever reason be it religion, skin color, gender, etc. In any event, never forget: Haunting colourised pictures of Nazi concentration camp victims reveal the full horror of Holocaust | Daily Mail Online.

Bonus link: The US-Russia Commitment Gap: And Its Tragic Potential.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 27, 2022 at 9:00 pm