‘To Be America’s Friend Is Fatal’: A Current Overview

“It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

-Henry Kissinger

When one looks today out over the carnage and destruction on the periphery of a declining empire, have those words ever been so true? One twist, nowadays, might be that to be America’s enemy is actually beneficial due to the parade of unforced errors by the falling hegemon.

Let’s take a look, starting with three “friends.”

Ukraine. The tragedy in Ukraine since the US really took the reins with the 2014 coup is difficult to overstate.

Let’s just go with the fact that its democracy is now officially dead, neo-Nazis basically run the country, and its population is being wiped out. Ukraine’s population had already been in decline since 1991, but that trend accelerated after the 2014 US-backed coup. Over the last two years, the mass exodus from the country and deaths from the war now have the population down to less than 29 million with the lowest birthrate in the last 300 years.

Despite all that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is still talking about bringing Ukraine into NATO, all but ensuring its demise. Due to Kiev’s refusal to negotiate or its not being allowed to by its American handlers, it’s entirely possible that Ukraine will ultimately cease to exist as a state. The fact is that the US Blob understands this, but continues on nonetheless because…hope for a miracle? They don’t want a collapse to occur before November and hurt Biden’s reelection chances? It could be worse:

But what does the US friendship have left to give? All the wonder weapons have turned out to be duds, and it’s almost as if the US couldn’t care less about its friends in Ukraine. Here’s a brutal summary from Spoils of War:

The $60,000 Switchblade drone, produced in limited numbers due to cost, proved useless against armored targets and was quickly discarded by Ukrainian troops in favor of $700 Chinese commercial models ordered online. The $10 million Abrams tank not only proved distressingly vulnerable to Russian attack drones but in any case broke down repeatedly and was soon withdrawn from combat, though not before the Russians put several out of action and captured at least one, which they took to Moscow and added to a display of Nato weaponry, that included an M777 howitzer, in a Moscow park. The M777 cannon, though touted for its accuracy, has proved too delicate for the rough conditions of sustained combat, with barrels regularly wearing out and requiring replacement in Poland far from the front lines . Notoriously, its 155 mm ammunition has been in short supply. Thanks to the consolidation of the U.S. defense industry into a small number of monopolies, a ill-judged policy eagerly promoted since the Clinton Administration, U.S. domestic production of 155 mm shells is reliant on a single ageing General Dynamics plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is struggling to meet its targets. President Zelensky has been loudly demanding more Patriot launchers and missiles to defend Kharkiv, which is curious, given the apparent ease with which the Russians have targeted Patriots defending Kyiv, and the system’s declining effectiveness against Russian ballistic missiles. HIMARS long range missiles indeed had deadly effect on high value Russian targets, such as ammunition dumps, but the Russians adapted by dispersing and camouflaging such dumps and other likely targets.

A recent opinion piece in none other than CNN contains the usual condemnations of Russia and championing of American defense of democracy but also admits the open secret that Ukraine cannot and will not win and details the sorry state of American friendship:

When Biden spoke of the war in Ukraine, Americans were told we faced a choice between offering Kyiv unconditional support or “withdrawing” from the conflict and letting Putin “erase” Ukraine. But these kinds of Manichean views that divide the world into evil aggressors and righteous victims do not make impossible military victories any more achievable.

The same applies to the next case study.

Israel is embroiled in a losing fight against Hamas while also perpetrating “plausible” genocide against the people of Gaza. World opinion has finally turned against the country, and its backers in the US are forced to resort to increasingly heavy handed tactics in an attempt to quiet criticism at home and abroad, which is not working.

Impartial observers have been saying for years that there was no “security” solution for Israel through increased apartheid and military means. And yet, the country’s backers in the US encouraged just that, ensuring that the violence will continue to escalate in a contest that Israel cannot win. The best case scenario for Israel at the moment is that it settles into its status as an international pariah state.

As Stephen M. Walt recently concluded in a piece at Foreign Policy, “…”if the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its allies were capable of self-reflection, they’d be mortified by what they have helped Israel do to itself.”

The ICJ and ICC are offering the US yet more off ramps, but instead the doubling down continues.

How about Germany? At one point Washington was “considering offering” to use its advanced underwater sound reading capabilities to analyze audio recordings from around the time of the Nord Stream explosions, but I don’t see if they ever followed through. Well, I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of it someday.

Germany shouldn’t have its agency completely removed in the latest war-against-Russia fiasco as there are plenty of powerful people there who were salivating over the breakup and plunder of Russia. At the same time, there’s no doubt that the US friendship (i.e., tens of thousands of US troops stationed in Germany, Atlanticist NGOs, intelligence agency tentacles, bags of money, etc.) played a large role in Germany once again going down the path of conflict with Russia.

It’s been a disaster. The economy is contracting as industry shrinks, exports to China are declining and there is constant pressure from Atlanticists to self-impose a further reduction (maybe there are limits to this abusive relationship as even the most die-hard German Atlanticists are starting to get cold feet about trade war with China), living standards are declining, political paralysis reigns on most matters except social cuts and more military spending, wealth inequality grows, and industry continues to leave the country – frequently to the US.

And across Europe, despite the “record” volumes of gas in European storage facilities, energy experts are already worried about possible fuel shortages this upcoming winter – as they will be about every winter for the foreseeable future – as a result of having to buy LNG on the world market, which was the deliberate policy of the US.


Meanwhile, the Axis of Evil label is back in vogue in Washington, now used to demonize China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. And yet US actions in recent years have only served to aid these countries, strengthening their alliances with one another and many other nations.


As Stephen M. Walt noted in the above-referenced piece on the US’ failures to prevent Israel’s self-destruction, the flipside of that is that the US “enemy” Iran has become stronger. Walt notes that Tehran is “close to having a nuclear weapon” – if it wants to develop it – and it has “thwarted U.S. efforts to isolate it.”

The goal of the US has been to expand diplomatic, economic, and security ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors, particularly the Gulf states, creating a united front to constrain Iran’s aggressiveness and trim its regional ambitions.That plan is all but dead, starting with the China-led Iran-Saudi Arabia detente last year and now with Israel’s “plausible” genocide in Gaza that has shelved further normalization of ties between Israel and its neighbors.

But largely Iran has been helped by one of the greatest strategic errors ever by the Blob in Washington – the driving of China and Russia together. By alienating both Moscow and Beijing simultaneously, not only have they grown closer, but they also have less reason to comply with US sanctions on Iran. Tehran’s alignment with the two powers is reducing its isolation and bringing economic and military benefits.

Last year, former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made a state visit to China where the two sides signed more than 20 cooperative agreements as part of what both governments refer to as a “strategic partnership.” That means energy for China and potentially billions in investments for Iran.

Defense ties between Tehran and Moscow are also on the upswing. From the Stimson Center:

Iran has supplied Russia with munitions, artillery shells, and drones (Shahed-131/136 series and the more advanced Mohajer-6), which involves establishing an entire factory for producing Iranian-style drones on Russian soil. In November 2023 Tehran announced that it would be getting Russian Su-35 fighter jets as well as Mi-28 attack helicopters. The deal was reported as finalized but apparently has not yet occurred. Iranian ballistic missile shipments to Russia, if confirmed, suggest that the fighter jets, helicopters, and perhaps even the S-400 missile defense system will be sent to Tehran soon. In February 2024, Russia also sent an Iranian satellite into orbit marking burgeoning ties in the space industry.

Iranian media has reported that Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft have already arrived and are ready for operational use. Russia may also begin to use the new Iranian kamikaze drone Shahed-101 (and its modified version Shaheed-107) which have been used by Iran-backed militias to lethal effect against U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Just as important are the economic ties. With an investment boost from Russia, Tehran has been trying to speed up the completion of improved railway networks that will connect to the existing railways of Russia and Azerbaijan and Chabahar Port in southeastern Iran, thereby completing a crucial section of the International North-South Transportation Corridor running from Russia to India.

Iran also entered into a free trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) late last year. The EEU has received a major boost from Washington sanctions. From Silk Road Briefing: 

It has had the unexpected effects of boosting regional GDP growth rates: in their “Regional Economic Prospects” report, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), analysts noted that Kazakhstan’s 2022 GDP growth reached 3.4% instead of the previously anticipated 2%.

Part of that has been due to sanctions, with an increase in income due to the re-export to Russia of computers, household appliances and electronics, auto parts, electrical and electronic components. Exports of non-energy goods from Kazakhstan to Russia in 2022 increased by 24.8% and amounted to US$18.9 billion. …

An EAEU Intergovernmental Council meeting held in early February this year showed that the economic situation in all EAEU members states is stable, and mutual trade is growing. Anti-Russian sanctions actually significantly contribute to this growth, meaning that for EAEU members especially, as well as countries such as China and India, the attractiveness of Russia as an economic partner has grown.


The US unintentionally helping its enemies has a long tradition, specifically in Russia. Following World War One, the Herbert Hoover-led American Relief Administration helped get food to starving Russians. In Herbert’s mind it was going to be a win-win for the US: it helped with surplus crops in the US, and it would help eradicate the nascent communism in Russia since Hoover believed that only hungry people were communists.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Hoover did help save millions of lives in Russia but also likely saved communism itself as all the full bellies didn’t stamp out the ideology that would haunt Hoover for the remainder of his life.

The US is now unintentionally helping Russia again, joining a long line of efforts to unite Europe against the power to the East.

“The result of the war on Russia, which was unleashed by the United States by means of Ukraine, is already visible. You’ve mentioned NATO’s expansion, but the key result for us and, by the way, for others is that Russia has become much stronger than it was before these developments,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his recent address to the Doha forum. “In the early 19th century, Napoleon consolidated nearly all of Europe to attack Russia. We defeated him and became stronger after that aggression. In the mid-20th century, Hitler did the same, mobilizing most of European countries to launch aggression against Russia. He was defeated too and we became stronger after that war.”

And so it goes again. The numbers back up Lavrov’s claims, and even Western officials and media have had to admit the Russian economy is more “resilient” than expected. It’s as if the US-led West forgot that countries like India and China exist and would be more than willing to purchase Russian oil, gas, and mineral exports at a discount. This brilliant move by the US forced Russia to finally quit trying to be accepted into the western club and turn its full attention toward integration with the rest of Asia, which is steadily happening. Russian trade corridors with Asia continue to develop and see increased trade despite all the Western sanctions. Indeed, the West by repeatedly lashing out with sanctions only speeds this process along. Last year, Russia Briefing wrote the following, which is a fine summary of the situation today:

This is indicative that there are enough buyers and sellers globally ready and able to receive and transport goods back to Russia; and are increasing these trade flows even given the current sanctions that the G7 in the main have levied. Global trade, perhaps to the surprise of the West, is not reliant on the West at all. It more than has its own identity, purpose, and an increasingly active trade development space. The lesson to be noted here is that the West is being left behind.

The result of the US sanctions efforts has also been to awaken a giant on the Russian homefront. Consider the following February headline from The Guardian:

‘A lot higher than we expected’: Russian arms production worries Europe’s war planners.

It’s like they all forgot what happened the last time Nazis tried to defeat Russia on the battlefield. Now Russia’s economy is growing while those of US friends like Germany shrink. Analyses by S&P Global earlier this year showed how Eurozone manufacturing output keeps falling while Russia’s manufacturing sector is improving rapidly. Activity in Russia’s manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest rate in nearly 18 years in March.

What this means is that Russia is now the manufacturing power of Europe while its ally China is the dominant manufacturer in the world.


Let’s not forget who helped China obtain that status of world manufacturing power: US oligarchs whose finance-centric outlook on everything led to the mass offshoring of US production to the lowest cost producer and the loss of millions of good-paying jobs in the US.

If that didn’t help Beijing enough, the US sanctions on countries like Russia and Iran have pushed them into the open arms of China with Beijing saving a reported ten billion dollars last yearby purchasing crude oil from sanctioned countries such as Iran and Russia.

Russia is sending more natural gas to China at advantageous prices for Beijing, and China is helping fill the gaps of a wide range of products in Russia caused by Western sanctions.

And if that wasn’t enough, the US backing of Israel’s genocide in Gaza has done even more to help China. Let’s just take the example of Indonesia, which in this case can be viewed as representative of a large chunk of the global south or global majority, where public opinion has rapidly shifted against the West and more in favor of the Chinese- and Russian-led Eurasia.

Indonesia was already interconnected with China, which is an important source of foreign investment — coming in only second to Singapore — and it is also Indonesia’s largest trading partner, but look at the swing in popular opinion due to the US actions in Gaza.

From Bloomberg: 

As Leo Suryadinata and Siwage Dharma Negara note, the ongoing war in Gaza has clearly turned Indonesians against US foreign policy actions. When asked if the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “were forced to align itself with one of the strategic rivals, which should it choose?”, 73% of Indonesian respondents selected China while only 27% preferred the US. This is a significant shift from 2023, when 54% of Indonesian respondents nominated China and 46% sided with the US. Beijing is sensing the winds of change. During his meetings with outgoing leader Joko Widodo Thursday, Wang denounced the US for blocking United Nations resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Not a new line for the Chinese, but their vocal support has not gone unnoticed in Southeast Asia, home to two sizeable Muslim majority nations: Indonesia and Malaysia. These countries want to see see more global leadership on an issue that has stoked outrage across their communities. Managing Indonesia’s interests against the backdrop of the US-China rivalry will be a key task for Prabowo when he takes on his new job this October.

Big picture, the relationship between Moscow and Beijing, which is coalescing into an Asian bloc makes Russia largely immune to economic warfare. The same is, of course, true of China where any effort to economically isolate would cause Western societies to unravel due to supply chain breakdowns and price shocks. The West will have no other means to take on Russia or China except for costly military options. Against the European and world manufacturing powerhouses and superior Russian weapons? Good luck with that.

The US now finds itself stuck in a doom loop in which the more it tries to thwart Eurasian integration — through sanctions, proxy wars, etc. — the tighter the defenses become. We’re already reaching a point where the offers of friendship from the US or its lackeys in Europe are not-so-politely declined. We see an increasing number of countries like Georgia and even NATO ally Turkey considering laws designed to keep the Americans and Europeans out of their internal politics.

If this trend continues and the US is largely unable to destabilize an integrated Asian landmass dominated by China and Russia from within, it will be reduced to stirring up trouble outside the fortress and hurling its proxies against the proverbial walls. These are fights the West cannot win – either on the battlefield on the economic front as both Russia and China are largely self-sufficient autarkies, and together one could argue they are fully self-sufficient.

Has the Blob noticed any of this? Does it recognize that its enemies only seem to grow stronger? It would be a major news development if that’s the case. Doubling down is more likely. As Ray McGovern wrote following Putin’s recent trip to China:

The Russia-China entente also sounds the death knell for attempts by U.S. foreign policy neophytes to drive a wedge between the two countries. The triangular relationship has become two-against-one, with serious implications, particularly for the war in Ukraine. If U.S. President Joe Biden’s foreign policy geniuses remain in denial, escalation is almost certain.

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  1. digi_owl

    Not sure if USA has ever cared about international law, beyond when it aligned with their goals.

    “having to buy LNG on the world market, which was the deliberate policy of the US.”

    Thus allowing Wall Street and London to extract their arbitrage, no doubt.

    “Iranian media has reported that Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft have already arrived and are ready for operational use.”

    I have really not kept up with modern Russian aircrafts, as i figured Yakovlev had closed up shops years ago.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Depends. Yakovlev was bought by Irkut in 2004, and last year Irkut changed it’s name to Yakovlev. For example, MC-21 is now Yakovlev MC-21.

      Yak-130 was at some point developed with Aermacchi, but by 2000 the companies went their separate ways. I’ve read that as a trainer it’s main strength is that it can be programmed to behave aerodynamically like any of the Russian actual fighters, so pilots in training can make an easier transformation to the biggies.

      1. digi_owl

        Thanks. That got me looking into things, and it seems all them design bureaus are now subsidiaries of United Aircraft Corporation.

        Even has a hand in that Comac airliner.

  2. Patrick Donnelly

    The USA has many terrible weapons still not publicised by the zionist dominated media for obvious reasons.

    Appearing to be weak and untrustworthy … hmmmm … I wonder why a superpower would do that … did it happen in the 1930s?

    Be very careful to consider how countries actually govern themselves? “Democracy” is a sham in nearly all nations. Secret societies created the USA and then rid France of monarchy, the better to rule. I could go on. What happened to the East India companies of various nations?

    Plans … within plans … within plans.

    1. Susan the other

      Two things. The first is maintaining a viable domestic economy here. The second is facilitating a U.S. MICC Corporate Diaspora to catch the trade winds and parachute into greener pastures like the Eurasian heartland. Which partially explains the explosion of Alexandr Duggan’s YouTube tutorials to do with civilizational sovereignty. Those who share heritage, geography and sensibilities are intended to rule large areas of populations and resources, preventing global takeovers for excess profits, etc. It all fits together in a familiar cold-war chaos. The risk of nuclear war, regardless of how irrational that is, exists because the West has enjoyed and squandered the world’s surpluses for a long time. Not that we haven’t accomplished some serious human progress, we certainly have, but we are losing control, as fate would have it, of the means of production by our very success. Oil. Hence, IMO: Gaza, Ukraine and the perennial Caspian countries. It would be better to institute a 24-7 Global Dialog that facilitates creative solutions. Something above the UN. Maybe.

    2. Hepativore

      As much as it saddens me, I think the realists were right when it comes to international relations and internal affairs, although I think I agree more with classical realism in the vein of Morgenthau rather than Mearsheimer, simply because the directions of nations or empires seem to be more the result of being led by power-seeking individuals who are not necessarily making long-term rational decisions, unlike the rational power calculus that Mearsheimer theorizes.

      The problem of nations or institutions being driven into the ground by power-mad individuals keeps happening again, and again, and again all throughout human history. The problem is that with any political system, those who crave power will always be drawn to and end up infesting and eventually corrupting any sort of political setup, which has forced me to conclude that it stems from some innate instinctive drive in the ape-brains of many individuals to seek power in order to alter conditions to benefit themselves.

      1. JohnnyGL

        “The problem of nations or institutions being driven into the ground by power-mad individuals keeps happening again, and again, and again all throughout human history.” — Yes, this is always lurking within individuals and institutions, but there can also be a strategic/imperial logic to it, too.

        American foreign policy elites may look self-destructive and suicidal, but I’d argue that they are trapped in a strategy that worked for them (not for the country) in the 1980s and 1990s, and even showed successes into the 2000s.

        The goal was always to bring back the chaotic oligarch-run disorder of the 1990s to Russia. They don’t get that Putin (or maybe they do, and that’s why they hate him so much) is a kind of personification of a Russian societal backlash against the failures and national shame of that dark period in Russian history.

        It’s a western imperial strategy to empower those sorts of foreign leaders who will increase their own power and prestige at the expense of their country’s sovereignty and capacity. That destruction turns those countries into vassal states. They’ve even gotten European countries to do it!

        The problem is that after 30 or so years of successful use of this strategy, they just can’t get Russia and China to self-immolate the way they got Ukraine to do so.

        The aging elites in the US are trying the same playbook over and over again and it’s just not working and they don’t know what else to do, so they keep doubling down on the same strategy.

        So, another theme of history, in addition to the one you pointed to above, is the theme of group-think trapping people into failed, out-dated ways of thinking.

        I think THAT is the key difference with the present moment that heralds a real sea-change in world affairs.

        National sovereignty is back, it’s showing up geo-strategically, and neo-liberals and neo-conservatives can’t handle it!

  3. ilsm

    The case for independence of Russian speaking oblasts in what was Russia is far greater than the case for independence of Taiwan to tag with the english speaking faction.

    The US’ moral flopping is obvious to everyone who looks.

    Does the neo-colonialism sell?

    1. JBird4049

      It self sells to our elites who have taken to smoking their own supply of flaming cow flop.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Being America’s friend is easy. All you have to do is outsource your foreign policies as well as your defense policies to Washington. Oh, and to totally open up your economy and let foreign corporations free range. So I will take Georgia as an example of a country in the cross-hairs of the west. This was a country that got wrecked in 2008 when it believed in western promises and attacked Russia resulting in the permanent loss in two provinces.

    Right now they have a serious NGO problem and in a country of only 3.7 million people, they have anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 NGOs. So copying the US FARA Act, they want to find out which ones received foreign funding and how much because we all believe in transparent democracy, right? The US and its vassals in the EU have gone ballistic. The US Senate is considering bipartisan sanctions and Blinken is threatening travel bans for any in the Georgian Dream party along with their families.

    And just to cap it of, a European commissioner told the Georgian Prime Minister that what happened to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico might happen to him. So if this is all how they treat their potential “friends”, you can see why so many countries want to dump the US and go with the Russia-China block instead. This is not foreign relations at work This is mafia tactics.

    1. John k

      Imo much of the American century has emulated the Sicilian mafia. Our victims have formed a cartel that looks to be ending these activities.

  5. HH

    This is an excellent summary of failed and failing U.S. foreign policy. The great unanswered question is why the best brains in the U.S. plutocracy don’t use their lobbying dollars to remove the Blob leadership. Are they going to sit silently and watch as their markets are cut off and their profits diminish? Apple and Walmart dwarf RTX and Northrop-Grumman. Why don’t they act to stop the march of folly in Washington?

    1. digi_owl

      Because the MIC has been around longer and has far deeper lobbying connections.

      The west coast tech scene stayed out of politics well into the 2000s, as best i recall.

      1. Neutrino

        The political side seems to engage in tabletop exercises driven by polls and egos, rather than by some coherent rationale. The lack of, or at least diminution of, alternative consequences in those exercises may as well be based on alternate realities. Combine that with a pathological disregard for the human beings impacted and there is a perfect s**t storm to be induced, again. At least the MIC includes some profit motive so not completely devoid of structure. Damning with faint damns to those pols.

        Did nobody stop to ask, Gee, what could go wrong? Let alone who all gets hurt?

          1. ISL

            I have been rewatching Babylon 5, but cannot recall that line, and google only comes up with your comment in NC! Can you remind me of the context?

            1. digi_owl

              “Ink on a page” was the original. Said by a mad emperor just before mass driving the Narn homeworld.

              1. ISL

                Thanks and very appropo – with power hungry elites throwing civilized conventions to the wind. Rules based order…

      2. ChrisFromGA

        Google is getting its inner warmonger on, recall the employee mutiny when they took on a big defense contract.

        Pretty sure Microsoft is also taking lots of cash from the MIC as well.

        1. digi_owl

          True, they have been getting there. But for the longest time the Silly Vally attitude seemed to be that lobbying was beneath them. That tech superseded, or routed around, politics. Obama may have been the first president they engaged with.

          And yeah, MS has been in the military contracting business for ages. One may even ponder how much of the Active Directory policy system has been directly influenced by Pentagon requirements.

          That said, i seem to recall MS ran into some trouble in “recent” years. That leading to Red Hat (now IBM owned) getting military contracts (something that may lead one to wonder how much that has influenced recent developments in the Linux ecosystem).

      3. LY

        West coast tech has its origins in the DoD. Dating back to the 70’s, HP, Intel, and smaller firms like Xilinx and Altera do a lot of business with the MIC.

        Oracle had the CIA as one of its earliest customers.

        1. Jokerstein

          Actually Oracle started as a CIA project:


          And they are building private clouds for DOD, CIA, NSA, &c., &c.

          As did Amazon (for the CIA) starting in 2013. I worked for both companies. One thing that struck me, though, is how staggeringly incompetent the ONSR (Oracle National Security Regions) division was (and probably still is.). There were good technical staff in ONSR, but the management, especially the business side of this were complete and utter no-talent ass-clowns. But then, with a massive no-talent ass-clown like Clay Magouryk in charge, there was no surprise there.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Short term actors. Like Boeing, the investors expect bailouts.

      Then there is the threat they are paper tigers in DC. They can’t mobilize resources to do more than give money for ads. Incumbents realizing the fundraising follows presumed winners and not meaning as much to incumbents can quickly become problems.

      If they start trying to remove electeds and lose, they aren’t a threat anymore.

    3. Camelotkidd

      Dmitry Orlov wrote a satirical article–The Secret Plan to make Russia Great Again–that illuminated what geniuses the neocons are (snark)
      “Ostensibly, the plan was to weaken and destroy Russia; but then, following the Soviet collapse, Russia was weakening and destroying itself very well all by itself, no intervention needed. What’s more, every US effort to weaken and destroy Russia has made it stronger; had there existed even a most rudimentary feedback mechanism, so vast a discrepancy between policy goals and policy results would have been detected and adjustments would have been made.”

    4. John k

      Amazon and, I think, Microsoft, have substantial cia cloud contracts. Many of the big corps are vulnerable to anti trust action, so won’t want to rock the boat. Plus mic funnels big bucks to pols. Musk undid x censorship, but seems to be allowing it again.
      Seems to me that oligarchs are both divided and vulnerable, which allows deep to do what it wants.
      Personally I’m bemused that our oligarchs mostly just want more, never seem to think ‘I’ve got plenty now, I’ll feel better if I devote my life to doing good things to make things better for the downtrodden.’

    5. irenic

      While the “American” empire is mostly NYC/Washington-centered many of its oligarchs are not Americans, (Asians, as well as South Americans, and Africans) Since no one knows what these and other old families have in their Private Family financial funds, it could each be in the trillions of dollars. These foreign Oligarchs of the American Empire, along with their American compatriots, consider themselves world citizens and could care less what happens to America itself(and its people). When the American Empire collapses it will barely cause a hiccup to their finances(I am guessing their investments already have the collapse priced in).

      I am reminded of something I read about the Dutch Empire. The Dutch got smart when they “gave up” their empire as the British empire rose to prominence. The Dutch were still a financial powerhouse, even with power in Britain, but they let the British front the Empire and bear most of the cost of being the policemen of the world defending the Empire. After WWII, the wealthy British oligarchs were just as happy as the Dutch to let the Americans front the Empire while bearing most of the costs. Which makes America the sucker!

      And don’t forget:

      “When the United States entered World War II, MI6 helped to train personnel of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services; it has since cooperated with the OSS’s successor, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).”

      I would venture to say that MI6 doesn’t just cooperate but controls the CIA. Which would help to explain the Ukraine and Gaza wars. Perhaps that little island country is(still!) America’s greatest enemy?

      1. Mikel

        “These foreign Oligarchs of the American Empire, along with their American compatriots, consider themselves world citizens and could care less what happens to America itself(and its people)”

        Multipolar neoliberalism.

  6. Daniil Adamov

    “Over the last two years, the mass exodus from the country and deaths from the war now have the population down to 29 million – the lowest in the last 300 years.”

    Quick correction – the territory of modern Ukraine did not have 29 million people in 1700. The article talks about the lowest birth rate in the last 300 years, which is at any rate more plausible.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And last I heard, the population of the Ukraine is down to about 20 million people. And considering the fact that the average age of a Ukrainian soldier is about 43 years old, you could say that it is “No Country for Old Men”.

      1. juno mas

        My understanding is that much of the remaining population of Ukraine is “pensioners” (or soon to be Russian passport holders living near Kharkiv). So the disastrous demographics bode ill for the country.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I can’t find it anywhere, but I’m pretty sure I saw some Russian soldiers on R&R speculating that Russia is preparing to offer tax relief and other perks for young people who migrate to Novorossia after the war – especially to SMO veterans.

          Not completely unlike Catherine the Great did in the 18th century, but still probably opening an international can of worms.

  7. Carolinian

    So it’s looking like the American Empire is going to be a lot more short lived than the British one that inspired it and indeed created this country. FDR and many of those around him got this, and opposed imperialism. But that vast Arsenal of Democracy that Roosevelt created had a momentum of its own and went in a different direction.

    Just back from the West including a large swath of New Mexico known as the White Sands Missile Range. The MIC brought prosperity to many obscure corners of the country and therefore powerful lobbying power for it’s continuation. That was particularly true in rural states like mine and our politicians thrived on military bases and weapons makers.

    Vietnam turned into a syndrome and put a stymie on the war crowd for awhile but only awhile. Perhaps the Blinkens who are currently running our world need to be sent to fight some wars in order to know what they are about. Now more than ever our rulers have a reality problem.

    1. Mikel

      “So it’s looking like the American Empire is going to be a lot more short lived than the British one that inspired it and indeed created this country.”

      Both will live on until divisions created in the world because of their machinations are repaired.

  8. Revelo

    Re Ukraine. USA weapons are not all duds. USA ISR (satellites, AWACS and other intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance) is still best in world, and gives Ukraine devastating accuracy for what weapons it has that work. One of those weapons that work is ATACAMs, StormShadow and similar attack missiles, which are currently devastating Russian radar as effectively as Russian missiles previously devastated Ukrainian radar and air defense. Ground radar will presumably be yet another dying technology, possibly replaced by meshes of cheap flying drones with visible/infrared cameras, and then automated ground telescopes with visible/infrared cameras for precise aiming of air defense missiles.

    1. Carolinian

      They works as long as Russia chooses not to shoot them down. According to the Milbloggers the Russians are fast catching up in this area.

      1. Tom Pfotzer

        I am perplexed: why haven’t the Russians shot down some of the more-vulnerable drone-based airborne targeting tools the West uses to supply Ukraine with targeting coordinates?

        I can think of a few reasons:

        a. shooting down spy apparatus over international bodies of water, or over NATO-allied nations would provide a means to rally the West’s public support for NATO to get more-directly involved in Ukraine

        b. Russia wants NATO to use up its missile stocks

        c. Russia doesn’t want to show the West how it would dispatch these ISR craft. Maybe that’s something better left unsaid at the moment

        d. Russia is learning a lot about how the West conducts ISR operations. Certainly some, maybe a lot of the signaling from the ISR platform back to the controller is observable and decoded by the Russians

        Are there other reasons why Russia might be hesitant to remove or destroy Western ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) equipment?

        It seems like the calculus for “justifies public support for NATO involvement” is shifting, because:

        a. NATO is supplying the missiles, and
        b. The missiles are being pointed inside Russia proper

        The fig-leaf of “it’s just Ukraine doing it” has been dispatched.

        The arguments for Russia shooting down ISR aircraft are – beside the obvious targeting data they provide – is that Russia _might_ benefit from some escalation ladder-rungs that don’t involve tactical nukes, and taking out a few high-profile ISR craft might be the ticket.

        Destroying those ISR assets, or preventing their deployment due to risk of loss, would also demonstrate to the rest of the non-West world that, indeed, Russia has the capability to remove or stop the West’s ISR operations. That would certainly attract a lot of interest and enthusiasm.

      2. Revelo

        Russia just lost a whole slew of very expensive and scarce S400 air defence systems because they cant shoot down ATACAMs. These are not easy missiles to hit, same as advanced Russian missiles are not easy to hit. And USA has thousands of ATACAMs and other advanced missiles in stock, and Europeans have more. It’s unlikely Russia or anyone will ever be able to fully defend against mass missile attacks. Israel and USA Navy could not defend against mass missile attacks by much less advanced Iranian missiles. USA could give Ukraine masses of advanced missiles right now and utterly destroy Russia up to 250km from Ukrainian front line. Hawks in USA are advising just this. Russia only defense against mass missile attack would be to blind USA by taking out USA satellites (and AWACS and drones in neutral airspace) to reduce missile accuracy. This would probably mean end of all satellites due to “Kessler syndrome”, where fragments of exploded satellites hit other satellites. Possibly Russia would first consult with China and give China an option: would China prefer destruction of all satellites or is China willing to open new front to take some pressure off Russia?

        1. Carolinian

          Well I was referring to the surveillance advantage. As for your missile Armageddon, that assumes the Russians wouldn’t destroy the launchers first or simply level Kiev (or points NATO?) which they also have the capability of doing.

          What the above article is saying, and I agree with FWIW, is that in the military power struggle with the West Russia has already won. And the Pentagon knew some time ago such a war would not work out well for them but somebody forgot to tell Blinken and Biden and the other great game fantasists.

        2. ISL

          Currently, ATACAMS successes are 80-90%, so if we assume half are interdicted in ports and warehouses and unable to reach the front, 3500 drops to 1700, or 200 targets; however, it takes a swarm, so realistically 30-50 targets in the Russian Far West (Russia has enormous strategic depth – NATO does not). As Russia improves detection and interdiction, this will drop to ten or so targets. I can recall when HiMars were effective! It took several months for Russia to adapt. This is the reality of war and whoever has the faster OODA wins (with the industry to back it up).

          The real question, is that in a war of attrition can Russia make S-400 faster than the west can replenish ATACAMS and Patriots or any of the overpriced, underperforming wunderwaffen. Brian Berletic – New Atlas youtube channel had a good discussion on the issue recently. Short answer is yes.

          1. Revelo

            What I would do, if I were facing missile attacks, is think decoys, decoys, decoys. For every real S400, create 10-100 fake S400s of plastic and Styrofoam and old truck chassis and junky radar transmitter, just enough to fool the ISR that is targeting the real S400s. I’m assuming such decoys could be built cheaply and then left unmanned except when being moved around, so complete waste of missiles to attack the decoy. Those ATACAMs are not cheap, so this is how to quickly win the attrition war.

            1. Tom Pfotzer


              I’m pretty sure that an S400 (or any other form of radar-based missile detection/targeting system) that’s active generates a lot of radiation. It can be sensed.

              Which makes me wonder if decoys would be all that effective.

              Can anyone with deep understanding of the issues confirm/deny that S400 (or any active radar) can be accurately sensed by ISR gear?

              1. Revelo

                Well, yes, the decoy has to generate radiation, but it’s not that expensive to create a junky radar transmitter. It’s the quality directional transmitter, receiver antenna, control station and then defense missiles that is expensive.

                For a decoy transmitter, you just need lots of electrical power. So just position all these decoys along a highway with power line nearby and then move them up and down the road. It’s going to be difficult to find the real McCoy radar system amidst all this junk radiation. If the decoy radiation interferes with the real thing in any way, then just alternate transmitting.

                1. Polar Socialist

                  Not just decoys, but the battery has to change it’s position at irregular intervals and never stay at the same location more than 24 hours (maybe even less). There should be a Tor battery ot two in the main threat direction, a Pantsir or two in the near proximity and just for the fun of it a few AU-220M 57mm non-emitting electro.optically targeting close defense weapons here and there.

                  That said, an S-400 battery can have 8 launchers, 3 radars and a command unit. From the pictures it looks like only a few of these have been hit at a time, while the rest of the battery has retained it’s combat capability. Especially since all the Russian air defense system are integrated and don’t need their “own” radar feed to be able to track targets.

              2. marku52

                Serbs mimicked AD radars with microwave ovens with the doors jammed open. Confused the incoming HARM missiles.

                1. ISL

                  And Serbia also had lots of blowup tanks and inflatable aircraft, which NATO described as successful hits.

            2. Thurl

              Decoys, exactly!
              Also not necessary for every S-400 to look the same. Can add any feature to the decoys necessary.

          2. Tom Pfotzer

            Where is this “ATACAMS successes are 80-90%” number coming from?

            Does that mean each missile hits its target 8 times out of 10 individual-missile launches? That’s not credible to me at the moment.

            Does that mean for each swarm of missiles – numbering in the 10s – one of the missiles in the (sizable) swarm hits the swarm’s target? That’s more probable, but I’m still skeptical that number is repeatable.

            Can you cite a source for your 80-90-% hit-rate number?

            1. ISL

              Simplicius the Thinker had a rather detailed description (and was of the the world is ending bent) and its based on swarms. For example, Russia has gotten quite good at shooting down storm shadows, now, but not initially.

        3. Tom Pfotzer

          Revelo: your rendition doesn’t ring entirely true in relation to what I’ve read on the subject of ATACAMS and S400, etc. My understanding is:

          a. It takes a lot of ATACAMs at once (a swarm / salvo of them) to overwhelm an S400 missile defense system. S400 knocks down most but not all incoming ATACAMs

          b. ATACAMs don’t carry that big a warhead, and what warhead they carry is often dispersed at point-of-delivery

          c. The supply of ATACAMs is restricted

          d. The launchers for ATACAMs are vulnerable (have been ID’d and destroyed by Russia) and are not available in great numbers, and

          e. It takes specialized crews, supplied by NATO (and not usually Ukrainian) to run them, and

          f. The ATACAMs are not useful without targeting data supplied by NATO from ISR platforms supplied and operated by NATO

          So, the Russians have at least these points of control:

          a. Get rid of the ISR platforms supplying targeting info
          b. Spend extra effort to ID and destroy the ATACAMs launchers, either in the battlefield or coming in from elsewhere to the battlefield
          c. Punish the use of the cross-border ATACAMs (or any other cross-border missile). Make it too expensive to NATO to use them. Losing some ISR assets every time cross-border missiles are used would qualify as a major dis-incentive

          There are a lot of moves, and most are very short-term moves. The question is “which is most effective, with the least number and amount of complications”.

          1. Revelo

            There is no question the ATACAMs are working right now but they are indeed in limited supply. Hence my suggestion in another comment to create tons of cheap S400 decoys. Decoys is also useful for attack. Cheap decoy drones/missiles is how Iran overwhelmed the Israelis.

            Taking out ISR is another option, but escalation. You discussed this in detail earlier comment

          2. Revelo

            Blogger ZeRada suggests Russia is being hit very hard by these ATACAMs and other missiles and supposedly Putin is offering the moon to Belarus to get them to enter the war, with Belarus attacking owards Rivne as Russia attacks towards Sumy. ATACAMs will badly hurt both Belarus and Russia until these missiles run out, but they will run out eventually, and by then Ukraine should be collapsing.

            1. Ram Jam

              Who the f is Blogger ZeRada, and why should anyone care about his suggestions? Everyone with a keyboard is expert on everything nowdays, after taking few creative writing classes. Not even Sy Hersh is dumb enough to write that “Putin is offering the moon to Belarus to get them to enter the war” (with whopping two brigades that they could spare), and he did write that Zaluzhni and Gerasimov are having private talk in a trench on Zaporozhie fronline.

      3. Snailslime

        I don’t think that is primarily a question of choice for now.

        Russia’s airdefense is clearly good but just as clearly not good enough.

        Of course nobody’s airdefense is and the West in Russia’s position would by all indications fare worse.

        But that doesn’t change the very real problem.

        I’m pretty sure it IS solvable but maybe not by cranking up the abilities of current airdefense tech.

        Maybe some entirely conceptionally new approach will be needed.

        But if so that might become a reality only by the time of the next war.

    2. urdsama

      This position seems to be at odds with known experts like Scott Ritter. If nothing else, it appears to be a good example of cope, with little evidence to support the statements made.

    3. Yves Smith

      This is big time Making Shit Up. I note you provide not a single link.

      By contrast, the West is freaked out about Russian signal jamming, including of Starlink which pretty much = little targeting accuracy. The claims about the radars have been debunked. One decomissioned one was hit in Crimea. At the very outside 3 S400 platforms were hit and most commentators think at most one, this per Alexander Mercouris today. Admittedly the West did hit part of a nuclear early alert system, but that’s not part of SMO operations (as in striking it does nothing to undermine Russia’s continuing grind) and the report is this can be repaired in 1-2 months. That was also seen as a major escalation

      And if we are going to traffic in unsubstantiated rumors, Russia allegedly hit a big warehouse in Dnipro, taking out a lot of ATACMS missiles in transit.

      1. Richard

        About that early warning radar. I’ve seen the published pictures. It looks to me that there were two or three seemingly separate points of entry not one, indicating two or three separate hits. The angle of attack appears to be not downward, but horizontal or slightly upward, suggesting the attack came from the ground, relatively nearby. And, the entry points seemed small for what is supposed to be a missile fired from hundreds of kilometers away. Not an expert in any way. Just saying.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    “The US now finds itself stuck in a doom loop in which the more it tries to thwart Eurasian integration — through sanctions, proxy wars, etc. — the tighter the defenses become.”

    Conor Gallagher’s first doom loop means that the governing class of the U S of A, now incapable of defining a strategy, let alone organizing tactics, is more or less doomed to rely only on proxy war as the base of foreign policy. At this point, sanctions just don’t seem to work–they are a fantasy of U.S. managers and their penchant for too-clever-by-half office politics.

    There is another doom loop. War is a racket, according to Smedley Butler. War is the health of the state, according to Randolph Bourne. Now that the U S of A cannot conceive a strategy and effect it externally, the health of the state means oppressing the populace. So the “intelligence” “community” is out of control of the politicians, who are mainly worried about looting, reelection, and lecturing the populace. Mike Johnson is not much different from the etiolated Nancy Pelosi in this regard. Any negotiations with a foreign power will be considered a sign of weakness.

    Further, the U S of A, which is ostensibly fighting for “democracy,” isn’t fighting for human rights at all. War is the health of the state, and there can be no meaningful reforms in Russia, Poland, Ecuador, Turkey, the U S of A, or Iran or elsewhere when tensions are so high. It will not matter how much U.S. congresscritters wave the blue-and-yellow (and have fantasies of those buff and blond Azov neoNazzis) and how memes one can post on Fcbk sloganizing Women Freedom Fessenjan. Wars have “frozen” and increased oppression.

    Thanks, Hillary. Thanks, Antony of Pizzeria SS, Kyyyv. Thanks, Toria of the Extra-coup-y Cookies.

    I have noted a number of comments of late that indicate that some of our brethren and sistren want to sit out this U.S. election: I say, With double doom loops now engaged like gears, the 2024 election may in fact be one that can be disrupted with your vote. Think about throwing sand in the gears.

  10. Dr. John Carpenter

    Great piece, Conor. Watching the people in charge doubling down on own goals is fascinating, but I wish I wasn’t living through it. Those of us at the bottom of the ladder can see it’s rotted and splintered while the top keep climbing up. Scary times.

  11. Mikel

    So it’s official: the US rejects the very concept of international law. pic.twitter.com/qmhCCrNTm2

    — Arnaud Bertrand

    Not quite. The US rejects the concept of international law that is not run by corporations.

    1. urdsama

      Last time I checked Israel wasn’t a corporation, and the insane levels of support have very little to do with business.

      I think it would be better to say the US does what it wants, when it wants.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      What the US wants is more like international rule by caprice. Don’t dignify it with the term “law.” Law implies a set of rules that can be consistently and neutrally interpreted.

      What the US wants is to do whatever it feels, at any moment, and the right to change its mind at any moment.

  12. Mikel

    “At one point Washington was “considering offering” to use its advanced underwater sound reading capabilities to analyze audio recordings from around the time of the Nord Stream explosions, but I don’t see if they ever followed through…’

    Indeed. I remember that type of tech being talked about during the time of the Titan submersible incident.

    1. johnnyme

      Let’s hope the technology has advanced far enough by now to be able to filter out herring farts:

      It was the early 80s, the height of the Cold War, when something strange began happening off the coast of Sweden. The navy reported a mysterious sound deep below the surface of the ocean. Again, and again, and again they would hear it near their secret military bases, in their harbors, and up and down the Swedish coastline.

      After thorough analysis the navy was certain. The sound was an invasion into their waters, an act of war, the opening salvos of a possible nuclear annihilation.

      Or was it? …

      Magnus Wahlberg and Håkan Westerberg, the scientists who discovered that the supposed submarines were in fact herring were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize, together with a group of scientists in Scotland and Canada who had independently been researching the ways of herring. The prize centered on the biology of the discovery.

  13. ISL

    Great analysis, Connor. IMO, the most valuable MRGA (Make Russia Great Again) effect of the US hybrid war of “democracies” which ain’t against “autocracies” which ain’t, is that the power of the Western-connected oligarchs has been neutralized. Putin is also using the realities to remove the peacetime upper military brass corruption (think US MICMATT revolving door), replacing them with active duty officers from the SMO.

    1. CA

      Putin is also using the realities to remove the peacetime upper military brass corruption (think US MICMATT revolving door), replacing them with active duty officers from the SMO.

      [ Interesting and helpful in understanding that what Prime Minister-President Putin has evidently considered a prime objective since 1999 was building a sense of Russian identity that had been somewhat lost before 1998 and significantly lost in the economic hopelessness after. ]

  14. Glen

    Excellent post Connor!

    In hindsight, history will recognize that Obama gave China the position of the world’s most powerful economy when he bailed out Wall St in 2008, and didn’t throw those crooks in jail. Not to say that China didn’t work extremely hard to get there, they vastly exceeded everybody’s estimates on just how long it would be to overtake America, but after the GFC, America gave up even pretending to try and have a real economy.

    Send a copy of this to the people of Taiwan. They have a lot to be worried about.

    1. John k

      I’m surprised Taiwan hasn’t already seen the light. If I were them I’d be trying for neutrality, specifically selling chips to all. They don’t seem to be paying attention to either Ukraine or Gaza.

  15. skippy

    The idea that all the funds conjured up – for decades – of military adventurism is at the end of the day primarily to feed the MIC shareholders … like teens huffing gas in the family McMansion lounge room … then one lights up a cigarette …

      1. skippy

        Ta mate …. its not unlike …

        “The goal is NOT to win these wars. The goal is to use the wars to wash money out of the tax bases of the United States and out of the tax bases of European countries and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. THAT is the goal. To have ENDLESS wars, NOT SUCCESSFUL wars.” ~ Julian Ass.ange – Stop the War Interview – 8 October 2011

  16. VietnamVet

    Excellent. But, in truth, a more realistic headline is “Being an Empire’s Vassal is Fatal”. This all began with an assassination in 1963 in Dallas TX. In 1965 the first of the Forever Wars started in Vietnam to profit military contractors and the Hart-Cellar Act ended the preference for European immigrants. Opening the USA to global migration. By 2003, “We are an Empire now and create our own reality”. America is no longer a democratic Republic. Profiting the rich is the government’s sole goal. Corruption was unleashed. Except, it is simply impossible to win world wars without a command and control government (the exact opposite of neoliberalism) and a healthy committed populace i.e. the USA and the Soviet Union in WW2.

    Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and Joe Biden are simply delusional. Every war simulation with Russia ends with the use of nuclear weapons. The only alternative is an armistice and a DMZ built on the Line of Contact. The proxy WW3 underway in Ukraine and the Mid-East is on a pathway straight to hell. The Suez Canal is closed to Western shipping. Without a ceasefire, global goods inflation is guaranteed. Yet the Empire’s Troika is intent on adding Taiwan, Philippines and Japan to the front line in WW3 in Asia against China.

    The tragedy is that there is no alternative.

  17. QABubba

    George Kennan’s policy of containment for the USSR was based on their having all the resources needed for a self contained economy. No need for trade.
    Somehow we forgot about this.

  18. Craig Dempsey

    What are the odds that the real winner of the current global wars is anthropogenic global warming (AGW)? I did a search for a good article addressing this question, and failed! No one seemed interested in the question of how much worse greenhouse gases are every time a missile launches or a bomb drops. I could read about how global warming causes wars, but not the reverse. I suspect this shows just how bad the answer is.

    1. JBird4049

      IIRC, in a major nuclear exchange, the results are expected to be global cooling and reduced sunlight for at least several years with crop failures being common. The possible consequences have been studied for decades and this is the general conclusion with the only real change is in number of bombs needed to trigger a global winter as well as the reduction of total numbers of bombs and their sizes.

      Keep in mind that a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India alone could trigger a nuclear winter as less than fifty explosions would probably be enough. IIRC, it’s between 35 and 50. A major war would likely have hundreds, even thousands of bombs being exchanged between the United States and Russia, not including their allies weapons as well.

      Humanity might well survive being as they are so tenacious, but civilization? I don’t think so. Think of a global Bronze Age Collapse.

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