Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Putin’ Category

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

UKRAINE CRISIS 2022 no 2: GOTCHA, THE AMERICAN WAY OF WAR

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No major new developments in the 2022 Ukraine crisis today, but the west has refused Russia’s request that Ukraine not be allowed to join Nato. Granted the west promised Russia that Nato wouldn’t expand eastward if the Soviet Union agreed to pull out of Eastern Europe, but bad faith is America’s stock in trade. And Russia does indeed have reasonable security concerns. Points for later posts, today’s post, America’s long history of instigating wars while claiming self defense. Thus why I am very much afraid the Biden administration is trying to start a war, not stop one. To wit:

America has been the world’s most powerful country since around 1830, its economic power and thus ability to wage war unmatched by any rival, peaking in power around 1945 when America effectively ruled the world’s seas. In the years after World War Two even the rest of the world combined couldn’t challenge America’s globe spanning fleet. And while its status has declined some since, America is still the greatest military and economic power the world has ever known. None of this is open to argument, though of course some will, see above meme.

So it follows naturally that no country in its right mind would attack the US, directly at least. This presented a problem. America loves to portray itself as the world’s beacon of democracy, freedom, human rights, etc. So if the government wanted to wage war on someone, just right out attacking them would contradict the “America is great” schtick. People, even many Americans, would notice. Instead America has a long standing policy of provoking hostilities, however minor, and using that to justify going to war.

Starting in 1846. A large part of Mexico, Texas was in open revolt against Mexico, having declared independence and defeated the Mexican forces sent to quell the rebellion. So the border between Mexico and Texas wasn’t even defined, with competing claims on each side. So the US marched an army into the contested territory, territory that was still claimed (and in fact legally in the possession of Mexico,) hoping that the Mexican military would respond. They did, and the US used a border dispute to justify a huge war of conquest. It’s right there in Wikipedia even. “Polk sent U.S. Army troops to the area; he also sent a diplomatic mission to Mexico to try to negotiate the sale of territory. U.S. troops’ presence was designed to lure Mexico into starting the conflict, …

In the US Civil War, the war started because Confederate troops shelled Fort Sumter. What is never mentioned is that Lincoln was trying to start a war. And in fact he had ordered Fort Sumter reinforced in the hopes the Confederates would attack the ships, thus giving him a casus beli. They did him one better, shelling the fort itself. Whatever one thinks of the Civil War, Lincoln wanted war and goaded the rebels into firing the first shot. And also again, a very minor border incident was used to launch the largest war ever in the western hemisphere.

OK, Pearl Harbor, clearly the nefarious Japanese launched a dastardly surprise attack on unsuspecting America! Not even close. Roosevelt was very much trying to provoke a war with Japan. He had embargoed their oil, sent them a badly worded ultimatum, and refused to talk with them. Let’s see, the US wouldn’t talk to them, so they had no assurance that even if they complied with Roosevelt’s ultimatum that the oil would come back on.  And without oil, both their economy and their ability to even defend themselves would collapse within a year. They chose war to get access to oil, the only real choice Roosevelt left them.

And, the Tonkin Gulf incident. A single machine gun bullet hit an American destroyer, and President Johnson used it as an excuse to launch one of the bloodiest wars in 20th century history, a war that killed millions of people and accomplished nothing. And what was that American destroyer doing when a bullet hit it? It was sailing along North Vietnam’s coast, in and out of North Vietnamese water. American destroyer’s did that routinely, and often south Vietnamese gunboats would follow afterwards and raid North Vietnam. And the last time, North Vietnamese patrol boats rushed out to intercept the destroyer, the destroyer opened fire, and the patrol boats returned fire. There was a second incident that night, but there’s no evidence it was anything other than spooked sailors shooting at shadows. And on the basis of these American provoked incidents, Congress gave Johnson the blanket authority  to ultimately drop more bombs than were dropped by all of the participants in all of world War Two.

Gulf War One. Saddam without warning invades and conquers innocent Kuwait, and is massing to attack Saudi Arabia! He’s about to be the next Hitler! That’s the American propaganda version, the reality is far different. Prior to Iraq’s attack, Kuwait had done everything in its considerable economic power to  hurt Iraq. They had called in all the loans they made to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, they were pumping and selling oil way above their OPEC quotas thus depressing the price of oil. And most egregious of all, there was a neutral zone between Iraq and Kuwait where the border was in dispute, they were slant drilling into the neutral zone and stealing its oil. And as the icing on the cake, they utterly refused to even talk to Iraq. I mean just before the war Saudi Arabia had convinced Kuwait to sit down to talks. The Saudi and Iraqi delegations entered and sat down. The Kuwaiti delegation entered, sat down, got up, walked out. The Saudis were furious, and Saddam unleashed his tanks. It’s basically inconceivable that Kuwait did this without absolute certainty that the USA would intervene. And the pics Bush said he had showing Iraq was massing tanks on the Saudi border. They were just another lie.

Gulf War Two. That one’s pretty much an open book. After 9/11 the Bush administration blamed Iraq for 9/11 (despite zero evidence,) and made up the idea that Saddam secretly had WMDs and was going to attack the US if we didn’t attack him first. No WMDs were found, in fact it was found that Saddam indeed had complied with the terms the US had forced on him after Gulf War One.

So there, six major historical examples of the US instigating and provoking wars and lying about it. And this is why I am terrified that it’s happening again, the US for whatever reason has decided to provoke a war with Russia. And I think this is a terrible idea. Will Putin rise to the bait and do something the US could use as a casus beli? I hope not, Putin has everything to lose and nothing to gain from such. Still, Putin will react with force if certain lines are crossed, as he did in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. We’ll see. There has been at least some recognition in the west that Putin’s security concerns are valid, and talks are scheduled. Tomorrow I’ll blog about the Russian perspective.

Bonus link: NATO Bears Some Responsibility for the Ukraine Crisis.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 26, 2022 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Biden, History, Putin, Russia, Ukraine

WAR SCARE: WILL RUSSIA INVADE UKRAINE?

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So for the past week Biden (and some of his Nato allies, particularly Britain) have been sounding the alarm about Russian troop movements in Russia, claiming that Russia is about to invade Ukraine, and promising massive economic retaliation when Russia does attack. I’m very alarmed by this development, I think the US is up to something, and a confrontation with Russia of some sort is a very real possibility. There’s a lot to unpack, but the mainstream media’s coverage of this might as well be written by the Pentagon and the White House. So as long as this crisis is unfolding, I’m going to post daily. To help me understand if nothing else, but hopefully I have a few readers left. Head’s up, these won’t be the most polished posts, more like coverage of a live event.

Where to start. The media coverage. It’s terrible, why I call in the FCM, fawning corporate media. They simply are regurgitating Cold War propaganda repurposed for the current situation. It would take a book to write a balanced history of The Cold War, and maybe some posts will touch on that, for today’s launch, I’m just going to cover some salient points. And point one, the media and government are lying. Talk to your friends and relatives who remember Vietnam or Saddam’s WMDs if the gentle reader wasn’t around for those.

OK, is Russia going to invade Ukraine? No. Godot Likely To Arrive Before Russia Invades Ukraine. Russia will defend its own vigorously, but they have no interest in conquest. And no, despite endless western propaganda, Crimea never wanted to be part of Ukraine in the first place: Does Crimea want to become part of Russia? Arguably they were never legally part of Ukraine to begin with. The reason the US and the west were/are so eager to keep Crimea out of Russia is that the loss of Sevastopal as a military base would have crippled the Russian navy.

So if Russia isn’t going to attack, what’s going to happen? Well, possibly Ukraine decides it has a green light to attack its two breakaway eastern provinces: Eastern Ukraine Separatists Warn Kyiv Preparing Offensive in Donbas. What is Donbas? Well, after the US backed anti-Russia coup in Ukraine in 2014, two eastern Ukraine provinces (where the population were majority ethnic Russians) declared autonomy, fully supported by Russia. While there has been sporadic fighting, the situation is mostly stable. If Ukraine decided to settle the situation militarily, like Georgia foolishly tried in Ossetia in 2008, Russia will respond.

Sort of the core of the whole thing is that Russia’s legitimate security concerns have been ignored, and that’s what this is really all about. Russia doesn’t want Nato troops and equipment on Russia’s borders any more than Americans would want Russian first strike weapons deployed in Mexico. Especially if Mexico was claiming California as its own. Here’s a good article: Are Neocons Worried at Pace of US-Russia Talks?

I don’t have any answers. I don’t really know what’s going on, but world geopolitics is a cutthroat business. I do know that “Putin is Hitler and the US and Nato are the hapless good guy victims” is, just, silly. Oh, and while we’re at it, sanctions are war. I hope the gentle reader checks out the links I posted before commenting. I hope the situation resolves itself without a war, but I fear that’s what Biden is up to. We’ll see.

In my personal life, don’t ask. I had a bad fall, face plant, I’m still homeless, but things are looking up. Have a great 2022 everyone, I’ll daily blog if I can. This is far more exciting than Trump vs Biden, it will be fun.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 25, 2022 at 9:23 pm