The Cautious US Escalation Against Russia Is Developing Not Necessarily to US Advantage

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The feebleness of the US response to a Russian incursion into Kharviv, which was to prevent further strikes on civilian targets in the border city of Belgorod, and the quick Russian counter-moves, confirms how the Collective West has no good options, even if its leaders can’t yet admit that to themselves and come up with better alternatives than punching into air or a wall, as the case may be. Obama warned that Russia would have escalatory dominance with respect to Ukraine, and we are seeing that play out now.

The short version of what follows is that the Biden Administration may have made a tiny gain against its big objective of not losing in Ukraine before the November election, since Russia may slightly delay an expected next move, of entering Sumy oblast. An advance into Sumy would further lengthen the line of contact, increase the degree of over-extension of Ukraine forces, and thus accelerate the process of attrition, which is Russia’s big goal. But even if the US policy change did produce this effect (and since none of us have Russian plans, we can’t know if any change occurred), it is coming at considerable geopolitical cost, that of Putin suggesting, and deputy chair of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev confirming, that Russia will arm third countries in conflicts with the United States.

To recap the recent state of play: earlier this week, the US described a policy change regarding the use of US weapons by Ukraine On a superficial level it seemed simply to give permission for what Ukraine had been doing already, as in using Western (here US) missiles to hit Russian territory, as in pre-the-2014-dispute Russia.

The reason for this move was signs of panic in Ukraine, and substantial concern in the Western media, that Russia had re-opened a front by sending forces into Kharkiv on May 10. Even Russia fanboi map watchers were impressed by how quickly Russian forces advanced despite the Russian priority of destroying fighting power over taking ground. One reason was that the Western funding to build defense lines in Kharkiv had apparently been looted.

The Western press was correspondingly alarmed, as headlines like Ukraine faces its worst crisis since the war began from the BBC on May 28 attest.

Zelensky in particular was reported as being panicked over the possibility of losing Kharkiv city, the second biggest, even though that seemed vanishingly remote. The Russian deployments weren’t large enough for such a sprawling city with many many sturdy buildings, plus Putin said Kharkiv was not on the menu right now. But Zelensky nevertheless deployed what little he had left of reserves to Kharkiv and also thinned defenses elsewhere to bolster manpower levels in the north.

Recall that around the time of the Russian entry into Kharkiv, it was also becoming clear in Ukraine that the US approval of the $61 billion in Ukraine funding (which took place on April 23) would result in perilous little in the way of additional arms delivers. That led to renewed efforts by Zelensky to wring more weapons out of his Western backers, such as pressing Germany for Taurus missiles, and pretty much anyone who had them for Patriot missiles and F-16 jets.

During this period there was an outbreak of escalation fever, with French president Macron and some of the more rabid Baltic states trying to get support for the idea of NATO-member boots on the ground in Ukraine. Russian officials told France in no uncertain terms that any French forces, even trainers or others operating as something other than sheep-dipped little green men, would be aggressively hunted down, and any staging areas outside Ukraine would be targets for Russian attack. Mind you, it is not as if Russia has not warned before agains doing stupid things like flying F-16s out of, say, Poland before, but Russia has to use more threat-display language of late for the message to penetrate.

Macron’s effort to rally Europe to take on big bad Russia went splat as many countries such as Italy, Germany, and Belgium flatly said “no”.

But the Biden Administration seemed to feel the need to assert leadership and defend Western manhood while (perhaps) trying to de-escalate by making what it likely perceived was a very limited response to the Russian entry into Kharviv. While there were complaints about how unclear initially the new policy was, and it finally emerged that the US was authorizing Ukraine to use longish-range missiles, but not ATACMS, which have a range of up to 300 KM, the longest range of US missiles delivered from mobile platforms, and the “limited” to areas in Russia that were supporting the operation in Kharkiv1

Now to close conflict-watchers, this change might seem like a nothingburger, since it was authorizing what Ukraine had been up to already, which was attacking Belgorod and environs. But there is a big difference between de facto and de jure. Having to pretend that Ukraine’s NATO friends weren’t providing a lot of help may have limited the scale of past operations. And Ukraine is an established rule-breaker in ways more than just selling Western provided weapons on the black market. It has repeatedly done things the US disapproved of, such as (ineffectually so far) attacking Russian refineries.

But now the US is unabashedly making it possible for Ukraine to hit Russia in ways that would be impossible absent not just US supplies, but also US targeting data and assistance. So the sharp response from Putin should have been no surprise.

Given that the US and NATO conduct of this conflict is still well behind the state of play, as in Russia almost certain to dictate whatever the final map and cessation terms look like, it may seem overly generous to think that the US might have had something more than the need to look tough and try to get Zelensky to quit undermining that via his almost constant whinging about short materiel supplies.2 There might have been an attempt at cunning here.

Specifically, note that Administration spokescritters, when they finally figured out their messaging, stressed that any attacks would be limited and would target assets that were supporting the Russian forces in Kharkiv.

Consider also that during this offensive, Russian troops were reported as building up on the border with Sumy oblast.

An obvious next step would be for Russia to move some troops into Sumy to further overtax Ukraine forces by lengthening the line of contact. There also would likely be Ukraine, NATO and media freakout that this move was a step-stone to moving on Kiev.

So the Kharkiv “limited response” precedent would tidily set up the US and perhaps then some of the more frisky NATO allies to extend the permitted targeting area to Russia near the Sumy border.

Since Belgorod is now under attack, the current US escalation, in terms of practical effect, is likely not to amount to much. But the US scheme sets up more areas of Russia to be deemed fair game if/when Russia increases its physical conquests, which will be the result as its attrition campaign grinds on and the US continues to refuse to negotiate.

So the Russian General Staff might mildly de-prioritize Sumy until Russia further bolsters its air defenses in the nearby areas of Russia (that might not take very long).

The present US reactiveness to territorial gains might also lead Russia to place even more emphasis on its campaign against the Ukraine grid. Oddly that is under-reported in image-sensitive Western capitals. And since summer has only just begun, loss of power won’t produce the same level of distress as in the winter, again diminishing its visibility/controversy level in NATO, despite its effectiveness.

Look at how far the damage has gone in Kiev, which until recently was spared the impact of the war. From Остафійчук Ярослав on June 4:

According to DTEK’s schedules, each guaranteed blackout in Kyiv will last up to 4 hours in a row, with the possibility of extending it for another three hours. Guaranteed electricity will be supplied only for 2 hours a day. The blackouts will last throughout the day.

For example, one of the capital’s streets will be without electricity for at least 9-12 hours a day, and possibly for all 18 hours.

An example of power outages on a street in Kyiv

The article does say that repairs of two nuclear plants are underway and a power line from Slovenia are underway, implying conditions should become less dire….absent further Russian action.

So back to the main event, the Russian response to this new US gambit.

Remember that Russia had warned the West as far back as 2022 that if the US and NATO attacked pre-conflict Russia, Russia would need to establish a buffer zone in Ukraine, and the extent of that buffer zone would also depend on the range of the missiles used against Russia. Putin reiterated, including at his big meeting with international journalists this week, that the incursion was the direct result of the continued shelling of Belgorod, as in Ukraine and its backers had triggered a defensive response.

In addition, Russia has held back from taking military action outside the Ukraine theater, which in fact under international law it would be permitted to do in light of Western countries openly providing substantial assistance to Ukraine, which had already been attacking Belgorod and other targets in Russia.3

Putin described in the aforementioned international journalists how the US move would justify Russian responses in kind. From a transcript at Mirage News:

Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Italian agency ANSA, Stefano Polli: I would like to ask about the recent events in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg proposed allowing Ukraine to strike targets on Russian territory with weapons supplied from Europe. European countries and the United States have agreed with this idea. Not all, but the United States is among them. At the same time, there is a discussion in some countries about sending military advisers and instructors.

I would like to ask you to comment on these two decisions and what Russia’s response will be. Thank you.

President Putin: […..] What should we do in response?

First, we will certainly improve our air defense systems. We will destroy them [the launched missiles aimed at Russia].

Second, we are considering the idea that if someone deems it possible to supply such weapons to the conflict zone for strikes on our territory and to create problems for us, then why shouldn’t we have the right to supply our weapons of the same class to those regions of the world where strikes will be carried out on sensitive targets in the countries that are doing this against Russia? In other words, the response could be symmetrical. We will think on this.

Third, of course, such actions will ultimately, and they have already reached the highest degree of degradation, but they will ultimately destroy international relations and undermine international security. Ultimately, if we see that these countries are being drawn into a war against us, and this is their direct participation in the war against the Russian Federation, then we reserve the right to act similarly. But generally, this is a path to very serious problems.

Medvedev’s remarks of today, amplified by the Russian Foreign Ministry, indicate Putin was not just being rhetorical. Take note of the first line of this tweet:

Another line of response is for Russia to interfere with surveillance of the Black Sea, which would severely curtail Ukraine/NATO efforts to attack targets in Crimea and Russian ships in the Black Sea. These strikes depend on precision targeting data. Some Russia friendly commentators suggested Russia might go so far as to shoot down Reaper drones and harass surveillance planes.

Both Simplicius and Alexander Mercoursis described a possible electronic warfare attack instead. From Simplicius on June 5:

After several new persisting rumors that Russia intends to take action against NATO’s Black Sea surveillance drones, today an interestingly ‘anomalous’ incident occurred. The American RQ-4B Global Hawk was said to have disappeared from radars, spurring headlines that it was shot down, but soon after reappeared—seemingly indicating it had turned off its transponders at a certain point near Crimea:

However, that’s when things got even stranger. Amid other rumors that it was ‘jammed’ and even sent out an SOS signal of malfunction, the RQ-4 immediately flew back to Romania and did several circles—itself a non-standard action. Then it continued to the Black Sea again, but this time did its tracks much further south than usual, near Turkey’s coast.

The obvious conjecture would be that—for now—Russia has resorted to messing with it electronically. The operators first panicked and took it to the safety of NATO airspace to make sure all systems were nominal, then upon return they flew it ou tof Russian EW range for the remainder of the flight. That’s my “educated guess” as to what could have happened, and I would assume it would serve as ‘warning’ to the U.S.

So the US and its allies have again been warned against trying to bluff with a weak hand. Have they finally learned their lesson


1 Putin had recently pointed out via a detailed lecture, the pretense that Ukraine could operate these systems without Western targeting assistance from satellite and other inputs was absurd, and so the various nations providing these systems used against Russia were in fact attacking Russia.

2 Mind you, Zelensky is completely within his rights to make as much trouble as we can. It was the Collective West that pumped him up for this fight (see the Munich Security Conference of 2022 if you have doubts) and promised repeatedly we’d back him for as long as it takes. Then we got him to ditch the Istanbul negotiations of late March 2022. And we turned him into the reincarnation of Churchill, so even in his diminished state. he still has lots of media access.

3 Per former Lt. Colonel and State Department officer Larry Wilkerson in this interview:

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  1. Alex Cox

    Thank you for this excellent update. On a related note, does anyone have news re. Moon of Alabama? Bernhard’s last entry was on May 25, when he went into hospital. Since then NC re-posted a tweet he made. Other than that, as far as I know, silence.

    I hope all is well.

    1. Laughingsong

      I too would dearly love an update on MoA. I’ve been very concerned.

      I saw the map that delineated the entirety of that RQ-4B drone flight. If the Russians could really take control of these drones, wouldn’t it be hilarious if they could make the next delineated map of its flight write something like “F—- you”. :-D

      1. nippersdad

        If Russia can take control of the flight systems on those drones, I wonder what else they can take control of. Using a Reaper to take out NATO facilities in Romania, for instance, would make quite the statement of their capabilities.

    2. AG

      re: MoA
      Lets try to stick to what his post in May said and keep calm:
      “I for now expect to be back at home around June 6 or so.

      In-between being cut up and sewn together I will likely have access to the net. I may therefore pop up here and there and will reopen comments if and when I feel able to at least somewhat police them.

      Thank you for your patience.”

  2. Lefty Godot

    I still have not seen any evidence of Zaluzhny presenting his supposed ambassadorial credentials in London. One possibility is he’s hiding out in Ukraine, waiting to coup Zelensky when the next significant military loss happens. The other possibility is that he’s in a Ukrainian jail cell somewhere that his Right Sector mates can’t get to easily.

    As long as Ukraine keeps sending troops to the front, I guess Russia can keep slow-walking this. If they want to get more aggressive toward the NATO participants, they can always go after the Global Hawks. In spite of Putin’s dismissal of the US elections as having no effect on how this proceeds, it may be he’s watching to see if either of the duopoly candidates gets suddenly afflicted by some politically fatal event and ends up being replaced (by someone either more–or less–insane). With the US more and more resembling a banana republic, it’s not unthinkable.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this post.
      re: Ukr troop levels. I wonder how much the US/UK/German etc pols recents mutterings about reinstating a military draft in their countries is real, and how much of it is only hand waving meant only to reassure Z.

    2. hk

      There were rumors that I remember (was it from Military Summary?) that suggested Zelensky and Syrsky threw the Azov troops at Avdeevka where they were sure to get chewed up to forestall a possible coup attempt by Zaluzhny/Poroshenko that was close to taking place.

      1. ChrisPacific

        From memory, the Azovs decided not to go in but instead ‘secure lines of retreat’ or something, so if that was the plan then I doubt it worked.

        1. James Lawrie

          I can’t give sources but I have read that at least the Azovs after Avdeekvka said on Telegram they are too good soldiers to be wasted in defence and they should be training and possible be used as recruiters or Barrage* Troops ‘until needed for their specialist role’.

          (*’Barrage’ is the Eastern European term for ‘dam’; they mean they want to be the guys who shoot retreaters or try to surrender)

    3. elkern

      Re: US politics – Most people assume that Putin wants Trump in the White House, but that would increase the risk that the GOP could consolidate political control of the USA for several decades. That would be heaven for some Americans (and Hell for the rest of us) but from Russia’s perspective, it would end the political chaos which makes the USA weaker – economically, socially, and militarily.

      IMO, the best US electoral outcome for Russia would be a narrow Biden victory. Trump would loudly proclaim himself the winner (again), and if the GOP wins the House, they could well reject a bunch of Electoral College delegates and install Trump (or someone else!). And even if Biden actually gets inaugurated in January, right-wingers are likely to break things and shoot “city people”.

      Economically, the current Everything Bubble can’t keep growing much past November, and the next President is likely to get blamed for the resulting Recession/Depression. If the GOP controls the White House, Democrats will cooperate on “recovery” legislation, but if Biden wins, Republicans in Congress will (again) block anything which might make him look good.

      And whoever wins in November is unlikely to live through 2028. The GOP will try to force Trump to pick a traditional Republican (like Nikki Haley) for VP, but even if he “taps” the next Sarah Palin, they will be able to control her; Democrats will bloviate but cooperate. OTOH, Kamala Harris’ inauguration would trigger active revolution from well-armed right-wingers, and possibly a full-scale reenactment of our Civil War.

      Bottom line: Russia has good reasons to prefer a [narrow] Biden win.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Putin said about 6 months ago that he prefers Biden because Biden is predictable. That is likely true even though it was also epic trolling. Biden immediately sputtered. When asked at about the Biden bristling during Putin’s big interview with foreign media chiefs earlier this week, Putin said that the Biden response demonstrated exactly what Putin had been talking about.

        1. animalogic

          Sad – when predictability is odds that favour continuing malice, incompetence, & bad faith.

      2. vargas

        “Economically, the current Everything Bubble can’t keep growing much past November,”

        Why do you think they cannot last longer?

    4. The Rev Kev

      The guy that was sent before Zaluzhny to be the Ambassador to London – I forget his name – and who had been the Ukrainian Defense minister, has just been given American citizenship. Bully for him. So when does Zaluzhny get his American citizenship?

  3. Librarian Guy

    That Medvedev warning was serious business & as the saying goes, “Who reaps the wind, sows the whirlwind.” I would not have called Estonia and that crowd “states”, I would label them rabid chihuahuas (just as Medvedev spoke of the US’s “drooling dogs,” Ukraine included.)

    I too wondered about the 10 days plus MoA has been down. I got banned from that site some time ago (really for nothing, & I’ve never been banned anywhere else, so I guess it’s an honor?) but I still like to regularly visit “the bar” as there is a lot of good info. there. However, Bernhardt strikes me as a rather rigid and lonely person without a lot of close associates.

    Nobody is irreplaceable, just as none of us are immortal. You’d think he’d have had the foresight to put a 2nd in command in, in case of just such a medical emergency as this. Evidently it never happened, which will be a loss to the anti-Imperialist cause not just in the US but worldwide. . . Nature abhorring a vacuum, perhaps someone will launch a site with similar scope and an audience in time?

    1. Jules

      Agreed. The site features a veritable range of different perspectives. I believe B is based out of Germany so the healthcare system should be good. But perhaps it is more serious.

    2. Tom Pfotzer


      I have a different perspective on Bernhard.

      He’s a tanker (tank corps commander). He’s tough and determined and courageous. Seen people die, knows what it takes to actually conduct and win a war.

      Because he’s basically fearless, very smart, eloquent and well-informed… he’s decided to take the enormous risks performing the … fairly unique in quality and insight … service of telling the West what the real score is.

      He was _way_ out front of everyone on the subject of Ukraine and Russia. And that was decidedly _not_ welcomed by Official Germany.

      So if he’s lonely, it’s only because no one else dares do what he’s doing.

      I don’t know, and don’t want to know what his personal situation is, but I want to tell others something about his personality – things I gleaned while reading MoA.

      Last year he shared with us his Christmas cookie recipe, the very one he uses to make cookies for his friends and family.

      Cookies. Bad-ass Tanker Man makes cookies for his family. He recites Easter poems.

      The Genocide in Gaza affects him so horribly he can hardly write about it.

      The guy is half saint, half warrior. Wish I had just a small diminution of his character and talent.

      === and about that succession plan … ya, I agree with you on that one. Wish I knew someone to nominate as his protege but … he’s a hard act to follow. Not sure that’s gonna happen, so when he climbs back into the saddle, let’s make sure we all make the most of it.

      1. Alex Cox

        I don’t think B ever said he was in a war. He was a tank op during his national service in Germany.

        But his continued absence – and our inability to contact him – is worrying.

        1. hk

          B’s military background is something that’s pretty mysterious. He said that he hated being in the army and was given an officer’s commission because of his education (not sure what that means: there was a time when college grads recruited into the army automatically got commissions, but one’d think that was quite a while ago, before Bundesrepublik…). But I thought it funny that B and Pat Lang instantly struck up an odd friendship (esp given how virulently anti American B would get at times), not to a small extent because of the way Lang respected B’s military background (and Lang was pretty scornful of the way many officers in US military were worshipful of the World War Ii era German army, so even odder.)

          I have to imagine that B was a pretty experienced soldier, with genuine military expertise, even if he hated the army experience, not just someone who did his time and never looked back.

        2. Tom Pfotzer


          I don’t think he was in an active war either; he’s never mentioned actual combat.

          But, when you train for an extensive time with that sort of weaponry, you’re going to see people get killed. It’s not safe; that’s why they train so much.

          He also seems to have a great deal of insight into what it means to command, train, and operate a tanker team. He knows too much about it for his military experience to have been perfunctory.

          He also comments with authority on the subject of logistics and artillery in general, not just tanks. He’s seen a lot.

    3. mowgli

      One should distinguish between traditional Russians most of whom were Christian serfs up to WW – 1 ( who’s literacy rate century ago was ~ 20%) and the Soviets who have WhiteRussian fixation.

      80% of people in Russia live in it’s western part before the Ural mountains. Even there in non-Muslim territories population density in most parts is below 30 inhabitants/km2 (lower than in the Baltic states).

      Then again, the RF begged to be accepted in Nato of which the Baltic states are member states. Sour grapes

    4. Hickory

      I don’t think it’s possible to separate moa from B. It’s not a brand thst someone else could maintain, someone else would make it their thing.

      It would take not iust an2nd in command, but someone actively training under him to make moa something to pass on.

  4. digi_owl

    We really need to clear out the gerontocracy of DC and install a cadre that have a sense of self-preservation left in them!

    1. hunkerdown

      I think you’ll be unhappy to find that their sense of self-preservation has already translated into the “force protection” ideology of both US military and US police.

  5. ChrisFromGA

    Thanks for the update and analysis. 9-12 hours a day without power is going to make it hard for Kiev to keep food fresh for very long this summer. Perhaps ice chests will make a comeback, along with food poisoning incidents. Blinken may need to bring a battery-powered amp for his next jam session at a local watering hole.

    Perhaps it is not a coincidence or for “scheduled maintenance” that the USS Eisenhower withdrew from the Red Sea. Ansar Allah 2.0 upgraded with better targeting for ballistic missiles might be a game changer for the flip-flop army. I’d be surprised if Russia isn’t already training the Houthis.

    Mexican cartels could also be customers.

    1. nippersdad

      Though AMLO has said that they would not be joining BRICS, it has long been rumored that they want to. It seems unlikely that Russia would arm the cartels at this point in the game, if for no other reason than that it would seriously annoy the Chinese whose investments there could be endangered. But I imagine that they could find fertile ground elsewhere in South and Central America. Some of those countries, the ones subject to routine regime change operations, seriously do not like us, and for good reason.

      1. nippersdad

        Just to add, Col. Wilkerson is on Judge Napolitano’s show today, and about nine minutes in he says that he has heard there are talks between Cuba and Russia to put missiles in Cuba again. Handy that they are going to be having Naval exercises in the Caribbean this summer; plenty of time to get the kinks out of installations.

        1. Uncle Doug

          Yes, Wilkerson was enthusiastically in favor of that possible installation of missiles, believing that turnabout is truly fair play. He’s right about that, but I doubt that Putin would actually make such a move at this point. He probably understands that the US security state would likely experience a psychotic break.

          Not on-topic, but also on Napolitano today: Larry Johnson indicates, without going into detail, that preventing Scott Ritter from boarding his flight, and seizing his passport, did indeed arise from the matter of his “previous legal status.” Napolitano seemed to be entirely in the dark.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I will listen again (there was a lot of noise where Larry was) but that was not how I interpreted it and my interpretation seems consistent with what I found on the web

            Ritter apparently like other sex offenders has a special designation in his passport. But he is not restricted from travel. The issue is countries he could go to might bar entry.

            I have heard second hand some alleging otherwise, but this is uninformed and could be disinfo to dirty Ritter up. Larry might have been trying to address that without dignifying it.

            Larry as I heard it said using Ritter’s passport designation to keep him from traveling (if that even was what occurred) would be improper.

            This reading is confirmed by:

            Simply put, a registered sex offender can leave the United States to travel internationally as no U.S. laws forbid them from traveling abroad. While registered sex offenders can obtain a passport and travel internationally, there are some restrictions regarding where they can go.

            Registered sex offenders can go anywhere that does not conduct a criminal background check before letting them enter. Most countries will not review a United States citizen’s criminal history before allowing them to visit. Most countries only require a valid passport issued by the U.S. government for entry.


            1. Uncle Doug

              Yes, Yves, all of that rings true to me, but: It all adds up to State/Homeland Security/Feds somewhere using Scott’s previous legal issues, inappropriately and with malice aforethought, to block his travel, hassle him and embarrass him. I think that’s exactly what Larry said. Do listen again.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                You are missing that no reason has been given. This speculation about his sex offender status looks to me to be rumor, and easily disinfo. It is simply NOT a basis for barring travel.

                CBP (which is who took him off the plane) does not appear to be doing anything other than executing what State told them to do.

                I think he’ll eventually be given his passport back with no explanation. That keeps the sex offender off base speculation alive.

                Now there IS a Federal rule where you can demand and get every record with your name in it. Scott should pursue that with respect to State and the FBI.

                1. Anon

                  In your defense Yves, this would have been Ritter’s second trip to Russia in the last couple years, so whatever problems with his passport are definitely being exercised selectively.

            2. Uncle Doug

              OK, Yves, I’m outta here. You not only don’t play fair, you don’t play honestly. It’s your site, so you get to play in whatever way you desire, of course. I’ll leave you and your regular playmates to get on with it.

              1. Tom Pfotzer

                Uncle Doug:

                Please don’t “outa here”. You offer a lot of constructive and thoughtful comments.

                Just roll with it. One of the keys to great debate, and hi-Q info exchange in general among the strong-willed of the world … is persistence and not putting too many emotion chips on the table in one round of dialog.

                This is a marathon.

          2. JohnM_inMN

            Uncle Doug, I’m with you on this. Here’s Larry starting @the 3:00 mark:

            “no this this was a contrived
            step by State Department uh the the
            Biden Administration issued Scott a
            passport uh that was let’s put it this
            way not correct it should have had
            certain markings in it because of
            Scott’s status well they they were the
            ones that screwed that up so they were
            aware that they had screwed it up all
            they had to do was send him a letter and
            issue a new passport but no they chose
            to wait till he was on the board the
            plane so they could embarrass him”

            And here’s Ritter on Jimmy Dore in his own words on his passport status.


            Starting @ 15:00:

            “I think I know what what what’s
            going on here and I look I’ll
            say it here as you know I was arrested
            and charged um and convicted as a sex
            offender um I disagree with those
            charges I’ve disputed them it doesn’t
            matter as far as the US government’s
            concerned I am a registered sex offender
            um they passed laws recently that
            require registered sex offenders to have
            a stamp in their passports a stamp of
            Shame the idea is to shame you into not
            traveling I don’t care the government
            can put any label on me I don’t accept
            the label I reject the label but my
            passport was issued to me in 2021
            without the stamp of Shame and I’m
            thinking that the US government decided
            that this was the time to revoke the
            passport um unilac because that’s the
            only condition under which they can
            revoke the passport unilaterally so I
            think they did that but they’re not
            telling me um they’re not communicating
            with me I’m left to speculate wildly but
            when I run through the range of options
            as to why they would do this the only
            one that um you know has any
            plausibility is that my passport didn’t
            have the stamp of Shame and so they
            revoked it and now they’re going to make
            me uh wait uh for a period of time
            before they allow me to get a passport
            with the stamp of Shame…”

        2. Susan the other

          Amazing how many NCers were watching Judge Nap and Col. Wilkerson. I was too and I thought it was riveting. Not to mention casually revealing when Col. W talked about the vast gas/oil field under eastern Ukraine. Which is what Burisma was all about – stealing a run on Russia? This really looks very WW3 and it’s a war to secure energy and engineer a new iron curtain based on control of oil and separate settlement finances, imo. The foolish Ukrainians are a convenient wild card, similar to the brain-dead Biden, for western neocons: when they zapped a Russias radar installation. It seemed ill-conceived but not long before this Russia launched a satellite that the Pentagon complained could knock out our surveillance satellites, which we use to monitor possible nukes. We are both methodically putting up our fences to maintain our separate systems. Which raises the perennial question, why can’t we just sit down at the table and work all this out with pencils? The same question applies to Gaza and Israel’s plans to create a gas/oil hub to supply the EU. And the Russians have taken a page from Khrushchev – they have sent a warship into the Caribbean, which protects their ally Venezuela as it simultaneously threaten us. And again, pencils would be cheaper and far more effective.

      2. Piotr Berman

        ” I imagine that they could find fertile ground [for sowing weapons] elsewhere in South and Central America.”

        Isn’t it simpler to find an active war zone where one of the side is either USA itself or a very precious ally of thereof? I think that it can be found and the supply routes are already verified to be working: just leave it to Iranians, and combine it with direct delivery to Eastern Mediterranean on board of navy ships. Between improved anti-ship weapons in the Red Sea, hits aiming to destroy Iron Dome and whatever else can be considered an initial phase of gradual escalation… I guess folks in charge in DC will feel the pain.

  6. ciroc

    Putin is right, the West has continued to pretend otherwise, despite its direct involvement in the war in Ukraine. We have seen NATO generals and special forces soldiers accidentally die in their own countries when foreign mercenary bases in Ukraine come under Russian missile attack. Further escalation will only lead to more strange deaths of NATO soldiers.

    1. hk

      MacGregor, who I figure is pretty plugged in to certain army grapevines, mentioned casually on Napolitano’s show that a US general was recently killed in Ukraine, based on what his sources told him. Not sure how much to believe him as he does say occasional exaggerated nonsense (but most of them are not in his bailiwick, while I think this is.)

      1. skippy

        MacGregor’s blind spot though is his financial contacts talking about nations going broke, per se the U.K. via simplistic notions about GDP [stoopid[tm] metric] and bond yields.

  7. marku52

    UKR used some of their scarce ATACMS to attack civilians in Lugansk. I guess they just can’t stop them selves.

  8. Aurelien

    Re Wilkerson’s argument, International law doesn’t give you “rights” as such in this situation. It’s rather that the Russians could argue that they have justification under international law for striking, say, NATO technical support staff in Poland, on the basis that the state concerned has become a co-party to the conflict, (rather than an official co-belligerent.). That said, a state doesn’t become a party to a conflict just because another state says it is. There’s a big technical argument about the criteria, which is well reviewed in the recent Chatham House paper.

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      Does it matter at this stage if it’s “legal” or not?

      Citation: Israel and genocide.

      While Russia’s situation is very different from Israel’s, one thing is the same: neither Russia nor Israel care about legalities henceforward.

      The question is:

      a. How will the adversary respond, and
      b. How will the world perceive the action. The politics. Who’s on my side.

      Up until lately, Mr. Putin has preferred to operate “by the book” – e.g. in accordance with international law. He, and Russia, have won the political war for the regard, the respect, and the trust of the rest of the world.

      The political battle is over, the West knows it, and the West’s back is against the wall. It’s crunch time.

      Some of the West’s players, like Poland and France and U.K. and U.S. have decided to double down one more time – push the game a little further, stretch the rules a bit more. See what happens.

      I don’t think international law is going to play much of a role going forward from here. Now it’s all about military prowess, military equipment, and war-machine production.

      1. urdsama

        The underlying premise, that neither Russia or Israel care about legalities going forward, suffers from a fatal flaw in that is not how Putin works. Legal frameworks are very important to him. A quick look at how he has proceeded with the SMO in Ukraine proves this point.

        And the political battle is far from over. The rest of the world is watching. And politics is always in play, regardless.

        They only way I see your theory being correct with regards to Russia is if Putin is no longer in power.

        1. Uncle Doug

          “The underlying premise, that neither Russia or Israel care about legalities going forward, suffers from a fatal flaw in that is not how Putin works.”

          Yes, strongly agree.

        2. Tom Pfotzer

          We’ll see. Mr. Putin is subject to and guided by these factors:

          a. The perspectives of his government and Russia’s major opinion leaders. Many Russians are now eager – quite vociferously eager – for him to strike back, to show power. They think the West perceives Mr. Putin’s deliberate, law-abiding nature as weakness

          b. The actions of the West. If the West continues with the provocations, Mr. Putin is going to have to decide whether his actions are helping or hurting Russia’s situation. The West is doing its best to force Mr. Putin, and Russia, to strike back hard.

          c. The political battle is indeed over. The sides have been chosen; it’s the West .vs. the Rest. That’s done.

          So, we’ll see how things develop. This is now a direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, and the game will be decided by force.

          That’s why everyone’s so jumpy: we realize that rule of law, and reason, and negotiation aren’t guiding the West’s actions. The people that actually control the West’s behavior are going for broke.

          1. Tom Pfotzer

            I just came across this report by Gilbert Doctorow, entitled Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0.

            The title doesn’t do justice to the article.

            The core thesis of the article is that Russian war policy is evolving rapidly into active hostility toward the West and the U.S. in particular because of the escalating provocations of the West as instigated by the U.S.

            Russians are coming to believe that, good intentions aside, Mr. Putin’s “nicely nicely” policy may well deliver the world into Armageddon.

            I think the conditions inside Russia have changed markedly, and that article I linked to spells things out pretty well.

            1. AG

              I appreciate some of Doctorow´s pieces, too.
              But there´s a bit of a “bravado” -attitude (not just with him) concerning the possibility of either using nukes in a first strike or non-nuclear attacks with the help of cool new Russian technology.
              None of this is cool. And nor is there any pride to be taken from that.
              There is too much of 1983´s “WarGames” in the air for my taste.
              People should remember the term “Nuclear Holocaust.” May be with that they understand better what it all actually means.

              1. Snailslime

                If Russia were to fall,the US sure as hell won’t hesitate to nuke non nuclear countries into total submission left and right, just because it can.

                Starting with China whose nuclear deterence is rather weak as of now.

                It might well be possible to keep the destruction largely confined to the european NATO states and this might very well be the least horrible option on the table.

              2. Tom Pfotzer

                AG: well said.

                I think this is why the Rest of the World appreciates Putin so much.

                He’s fully cognizant of the consequences of Russia’s actions, and he truly wants what’s best for his people. Look at all he does outside the war-related spheres.

                And he doesn’t use bravado. He’s way beyond that point in terms of emotional development. Another great reason to respect the man, and I think that’s one reason he and Xi get along so well. They are both highly emotionally developed people, representing cultures that have been squashed by the West’s grinding wheel for decades, maybe even centuries. These men are riding the Bear and and the Dragon, respectively. Good thing they are the ones at the helm.

                But – and here’s the big “but” – these two countries are facing down the most powerful, ruthless empire ever. The people that run the West are perfectly ruthless, and it’s now in full display for the world to see. The Gaza Genocide move made that excruciatingly obvious to all. That’s one reason I assert that the “choosing sides” political decisions have been made, and made lastingly. If anyone in the world still had doubts, that debacle put them to rest.

                I think SnailSlime’s remarks below express the situation pretty well. When you’re dealing with uncivilized predators, you have to be ready to really fight. Anything less will get you run over.

                1. AG

                  On point. The fact that the US is out for RUs & China´s scalp has still not reached European and US peace activists unfortunately. They still believe this is some misunderstanding or wrong set of ideas.
                  Nonsense. These people in Washington know exactly what they want.
                  And it´s this, as you suggest with “the most powerful, ruthless empire ever”, what worries me.
                  Besides this genocidal manic attitude of course forces everyone else, instead of focussing on what is important on this planet, to harden, to spend money on useless machines.

                  With their ridiculous PhDs academics understand nothing about the rest of the world. Putin is the Global South´s resistance fighter.
                  Or to quote one of Moon of Alabama´s posts this spring:

                  “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

                  ― Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996)

            2. Snailslime

              If Putin could truly be assumed to be willing to allow Russia to come to truly grievous, potentially fatal harm out of respect for vacuous legal fictional, he would need to be relieved off his duties and worse.

            3. Gregorio

              Considering that the U.S. has long maintained that stationing missiles in Eastern Europe poses no threat to Russia, because they are solely for protection against an Iranian attack, how could they possibly object if Russia were to station ‘defensive’ missiles in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, to protect them from a possible attack from those same sneaky Iranians?

          2. Snailslime

            A lot of the countries and Leaders who are watching in the Rest of the world probably would worry much less about laws than Putin does when the laws are what those seeking to destroy them are hiding behind and if they had half the means he has.

            After all they very often know that law has degenerated into merely another tool of the Empire to justify the empire’s crimes, If it ever was anything else.

            Law will never mean anything again if the West’s terror and overreach aren’t stopped and if it is allowed to continue to hide behind it.

            There is no law as long as the tyrannical western hegemon remains sole arbiter and judge.

            Nobody will continue to support Russia in the long run If it allows legalities blatantly Instrumentalines to prevent it from kicking western ass.

            1. Ingolf Eide

              Snailslime, I don’t see Putin as so tied to “legalities” that he would ever fail to take necessary actions for that reason.

              Seems to me in those terms his priorities are: wherever possible, ensure Russia’s actions comply with international law; should that be impossible, make sure they don’t damage Russia’s painfully acquired reputation as trustworthy and reasonable.

              Whatever Russia decides to do in response to these endless Western provocations must sit easily with the rest of the world who now, I think, truly look to Russia as a beacon in a chaotic world. This trust, even in purely realpolitik terms, is priceless.

              It seems to me Russia is still very much in control of the bigger picture. Providing they keep their cool, the only way NATO and/or the US can truly upset their plans is to introduce nukes. Any other escalations can be dealt with relatively easily.

  9. LawnDart

    “[In case of further missile attacks] Russia would need to establish a buffer zone in Ukraine, and the extent of that buffer zone would also depend on the range of the missiles used against Russia.”

    But if they feel the need to extend that buffer zone to Souix Falls, SD, they’ll get no argument from me… let’s pray for ICBMs so that peace and sanity might prevail in this world.

  10. Rubicon

    Retired Lt. Colonel Larry Wilkerson discusses his views of the US/& puppet govts trying to fight against Russia.
    Start listening at 18 minutes until the end.
    Wilkerson tears apart the heads of the Biden administration.
    But the key missing part is, Col. Wilkerson does not talk about WHY the US Empire has started all of this. It’s all about maintaining its financial hegemon.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wilkerson does not say that because your premise is incorrect. What does knocking over Syria have to do with our financial hegemony? Nada.

      Jeffrey Sachs says and been in the room with more high level people over a longer period of time than Wilkerson, says basically that the US wants to control all the pieces on the board, even if they aren’t of much use. He compared it to playing Risk.

    2. Who Cares

      It is not about finances.
      There are a bunch of factions running around that just happen to have Russia as target.
      Some are still fighting the cold war or want to restart it, others are about punishing Russia for not behaving as a conquered nation/US protectorate, there are the usual replace the government/people that do not do as the US orders them to do people, then there are the Eurasian Heartland theory followers, a we need an adversary that gives us a valid excuse to keep our military at the current size group, a we need a major land power with the border of China that is friendly to the US and will fight China for us group, and a bunch of other minor factions.

      What all have in common is what Yves mentioned; Control.

  11. rowlf

    I love the Clarke and Dawe sounding title to this post. I’m sure I will be trying to fill in the imaginary interview script all night.

    “Great to be here Brian.”

    1. Samuel Conner

      “not necessarily to the advantage of”, I think, evokes the understated language used by the Emperor of Japan to describe the national catastrophe, not long before capitulation at the end of WWII. One doubts whether Western leaders are perceiving their situations as clearly.

    2. Razor

      I think the title is playing off the Japanese Emperors’ address to the Japanese people that the war was lost….

  12. The Rev Kev

    There is a certain layer of irony at work here. For Russia, this war is an existential one as the west planned on it regime-changing the Russian Federation and then breaking it up so that it could be looted by the west. These are not my words but those of western leaders and operatives over the years. Well it didn’t work out that way and now the west, especially the US, is now in an existential fight themselves. British academic and author Rodney Atkinson stated, after listening to Putin’s recent speeches, that-

    ‘The West is losing four wars in one – economically (in trade and debt), financially (de-dollarization and international payment systems), militarily (in Ukraine in battle and in a comparison of weapons systems) and geopolitically with a massive loss of influence around the world’

    If this is true, then western plans for supplementing international law with a Rules-Based Order will be consigned to the historical dust bin and what is worse, the countries of the Global Majority will start exercising their own sovereignty big time. It is no wonder that the Biden White House is in a panic. So my short term prediction is that though Biden has only “authorized” short-range attacks on Russia by “Ukrainians”, that that range will be extended more and more until it reaches all the way to Moscow to try to force the Russians to back down and freeze the war – which would be tantamount to a Russian defeat.

    1. rowlf

      There was a time about 30 years ago my father was flying in the former Soviet Union as his employer was measuring the drapes. I think the West, the Golden Billion, are peeved they cannot colonize Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. How dare countries think they are sovereign? /s

      1. Tom Pfotzer

        That, Juno Mas, is a very, very good question. It’s quite possible that things here in the Americas – not just the U.S. – may not be as much fun as it is now.

        Gonna be a lot of desperate, cranky formerly-in-control wackos looking for a dog to kick, and some sheep to slaughter.

        And then, right after all the war-commotion dies down (not a joke), there’s the environmental challenges to face.

        Ah, to be young again, with all that living to look forward to.


        1. ISL

          given the ratio of guns to people, a society steeped in continuous warfare for centuries and propagandized that the “just’s” violence is always justified with no limit, strong tribalism… Well, there are plenty of examples of what happens. In fact, the US has created many of these examples.

          Is “wacko” code for “warlord?”

          1. Tom Pfotzer

            No. It’s code for “oligarch” … or more accurately, the compulsive-obsessive control freaks that attempt to run the world, and will be very frustrated when they fail.

            Personified by “neocon” and maybe “globalist”, or “usurper of the commons”.

            The common trait is emotionally-stunted people that think it’s OK to steal what others create.

            These are the people that select, equip, and direct “warlords”.

    2. Snailslime

      The US is certainly nowhere near losing hard enough for now.

      They are still seeing nothing but at most temporary setbacks and so far they are sadly mostly right.

      See Mearsheimer’s latest discussion with Mercouris and Diesen to see the complitely smug and confident attitude.

      US elites don’t think for a second that they lost or are in any real danger of now or at any time losing anything truly important that they won’t be able to take back in the forseeable future.

      They are almost certainly at least partially wrong about their ability to comfortably weather all sorts of coming crised, but they genuinely don’t believe that and frankly, climate Change and their own internal societal and economic rot will probably do MUCH more damage to them than everything that Russia, China and the revolt of BRICS have managed to deal so far.

      Granted that obviously could change quickly enough, but the adversaries of the US will have to seriously up their game for that.

      Even totally defeating their proxy will just slow them down somewhat, for a probably rather short while.

      Sure, the neocon adjacent elites (and Mearsheimer) no doubt underestimate the damage and the longterm consequences of that looming defeat, just as they overestimate the overall strength of the american economy and so on, but the hopeful supporters of a fairer worldorder also almost certainly overestimate dangerously the degree to which even total loss of the ukrainian attack dog would really weaken Washington.

      They are not worried, much less panicking.

      To the contrary, they are largely fully confident that the world will fall into their hands like a ripe apple pretty much on it’s own in the long term, with time hundred percent on their side.

      And that probably will never truly change before mainland US lies largely in ashes, by foreign hands or their own.

      1. Emma

        Mearsheimer openly admits to all the bad things that the American empire has ever done and then says that we need to do everything we can to stay there forever. He reminds me of Benny Morris, the Israeli historian who validated all the crimes at the founding of Israel in 1948 and then says he 100 percent supports the Israeli state.

      2. vargas

        “US elites don’t think for a second that they lost or are in any real danger of now or at any time losing anything truly important that they won’t be able to take back in the forseeable future.”

        I fully agree. The western elites are not afraid of nuclear war.

    3. Jams O'Donnell

      RK. When you say “and what is worse”, I presume you actually mean: “and what is even better for the rest of us”? It’s difficult sometimes to get outside the usual narrative conventions.

  13. Zephyrum

    I hope our US Administration understands that Russia is going to see this through to a conclusion that eliminates all outside influence on Ukraine. It’s not just existential, it’s become a matter of deep principle.

    Two years ago February as the SMO started I was walking by Pushkin Square in Moscow and crowds of (mostly young) people were standing in silent protest along the street. Today the general tenor I experience in Russia is that this has to be done. Many people have become disillusioned about the West, or they left—though quite a few have returned.

    Last night at a birthday party here in a smaller Russian city they were talking about the many young men who’ve completed their tour of duty and immediately want to return to service. There is purpose to this fight, and that’s become a broad consensus. They hate the war, but grimly accept the necessity.

    To compromise short of the goals now would be to betray those who have died, in this war and the great patriotic war. All 25 million of them. And that will not happen. Ever. Guaranteed.

    Russians can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Very unwise to provoke the latter.

    1. Frank

      I’ve made similar observations recently, indeed the transformation over the past two years is rather extraordinary, and modern Russia is a place where the pace of change is always rather brisk. But the Russians have the bit in their teeth now, and are imbued with a grave sense of purpose. May God have mercy on Russia’s enemies while it is in war mode, because the Russians sure won’t.

    2. vargas

      In Serbia, where I live, are many young, rich Russian liberals. They adore anything western like LIDL supermakets, packed vegetables etc. They are enthusiastic consumers. They hate Putin, they say that they are happy that they left Russia. They are alo extremely arrogant.

      Russia is better without them.

  14. Froghole

    A fine summary of the delusions which afflict Western policy may be found here: The author (brother of Anna) repeats the usual tired tropes, albeit with a few qualifications. As is usual with the Guardian, anything not wholly on message is taken down after only a few hours (and not allowed comment), but at least they can ‘evidence’ to a section of their left/liberal readership that they are not wholly neocon in their predicates.

    However, one comment – from an Indian source – struck me as especially surprising. It expressed bewilderment that the collective West (with $40 trillion behind it) is finding it such a struggle to defeat Russia, which has only $2 trillion at its back. Well, by PPP (arguably a more accurate basis for determining national wealth), Russia now has more than $6 trillion annual income at its disposal, to Germany’s $5 trillion, whilst China has about $35 trillion. The recent meeting between Xi and Putin underscored the near-indissolubility of the Sino-Russian alliance, both powers giving each other enormous strategic strength in depth and exerting a massive gravitational pull upon much of the rest of the World. The Sino-Russian alliance (even discounting its flotilla of affiliates) accounts for about $42 trillion in annual income, outstripping the ‘West’.

    On this basis, the West has already lost, and attempts to kick against the opposition are not only likely to be futile, but may end in catastrophe. Wintour and most of his sources have Munich on the brain (as he himself notes), but the collective weight of the putative allies in the late 1930s was vastly greater than those of the gestating Axis. There is simply no comparison between then and now, and attempts to map the trajectory of strategic policy that time onto current circumstances are not only deluded, but fraught with peril. In addition, the West has lately lost the Global South, which was key to its massive advantage over the Axis, and even in 1939 its ability to command the resources of its imperial possessions was uncertain – witness the refusal of Ireland to support the war, the collapse of the 1935 constitutional settlement in India when Linlithgow declared war without consulting a single Indian, or the political crisis in South Africa (the collapse of the Hertzog/Smuts coalition). How much more parlous is the West today.

    1. Froghole

      The Guardian article was removed earlier from its ‘spotlight’ section, but has since resurfaced in its ‘news in focus’ section.

      1. Revenant

        Eire maintained official neutrality for internal reasons. She could not support Britain when she had just fought a war of independence and a subsequent civil war about whether to continue fighting for Northern Ireland.

        She tacitly provided assistance to the Allies (overflights at Ballyshannon between NI and Atlantic, allowing downed airmen to escape, allowing her citizens to join British army, rounding up German spies in a rather hospitable fashion – I have an excellent book on espionage in WW2 Ireland which describes a gentlemanly caper and comfortable house arrest etc.). This was partly fellow feeling in some quartets and partly self preservation – Churchill had threatened to invade if Eire showed any hostility.

  15. Ignacio

    I think I wouldn’t qualify US or France (Macron) escalations as cautious. Cautious as per testing their limits one by one? My feeling is that having been giving “the Narrative” a strategic role in this war, and not wanting to be seen as the loosing side in this conflict, they have no other alternative than continuous escalation to keep the narrative alive (at least try to) and this doesn’t IMO qualify as cautious but inexorable and idiotic. It is as if they want to show they have always hidden aces up the sleeve that then turn to be bluff. Playing by bluffs is not nothingburger, but when the rest of the players have noticed, you can only loose more and more. Playing by bluffs isn’t cautious IMO, on the contrary it is very risky.

    1. AG

      How important is creating arguments for salesmen of French war gear after battle experience?

      I am thinking of countering other arms manufacturers inside Europe (the ongoing in-fights with Germany) and outside Europe. The South Koreans e.g. who sold a couple of Hundred of their latest tanks to Poland which is about to build one of the biggest tank forces in Europe – as far as I read 2023. I somehow haven´t come across that subject lately.

      But even if French perform poorly – thinking of F-35 policies – it appears to still be better than to not perform at all.
      Besides there is no better testing ground than this war.

      Steve Bryen has an interesting new piece on the planned US Abrams X – which to some extent is a reaction to the last 2 years – but not entirely. (Probably started much earlier and then updated).

      “The Army Wants a New Hybrid Electric Abrams Tank
      Is this just Woke Politics?”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Do you actually understand what the US has done?

      All it has done is make official ONE part of Ukraine misbehaving, that of striking Russia in the Belgorod area, which is on the Russian side of Kharviv Oblast. Ukraine has been doing that with Western provided weapons so the West is already a belligerent v. Russia. The US and friends have been providing targeting data and that is an absolute necessity for longer- range missiles.

      So this is only making something permitted by policy that the US was enabling/encouraging, as in taking away the US being able to claim they had nothing to do with it, which was always a lie.

      However, since the West looks determined nevah to negotiate, Russia will wind up taking more of Ukraine as its military and government implodes. To the extent the US has any remaining capability in Ukraine, it is a no-brainer that the US will extend this policy to any other border areas that Russia occupies. I don’t think Russia much wanted to take Kiev when the SMO started, but Putin has been talking about Kiev being part of Ancient Rus for IIRC at least a year, so he’s been signaling it may be on the menu.

      1. Ignacio

        I understand that. One of the risks, for instance, is that Ukrainians with some help from the most compromised of Western assistants, would like to use the missiles to strike deep into Russian assets or civilians in, let’s say, Moscow. The Ukrainians want to drag us all into WWIII knowing they are done.
        My father would tell me not to play with fire.

  16. Cetzer

    “a power line from Slovenia
    Probably Slovakia (Slovak Republic, common border with Ukraine). Slovenia is quite a distance away (former Yugoslavia) and even Wikipedia warns to not confuse these countries – or you will have to learn all 50 US States, including capital city, population, governor, senators… by heart.

  17. ISL

    To add to the excellent discussion, perhaps Russia also is formalizing what has been going on informally

    There now are reports the Houthi are using hypersonic missiles and they are targeting shipping in the Med (ISR from whose satellites?)

    Which provides a pathway to force the US out of the middle east, leaving it unable to defend Israel, and the ability of the Houthi to seal the blockade of Israel.

    I read somewhere that Turkish exports to Israel dropped to nearly zero –

    Will the US try and airlift crude oil to Israel?

    Without oil, how long can Israel persist in its genocide?

  18. vargas

    What if the west covertly arms Ukraine with nuclear weapons?
    They would use it instantly and tge west would deny having anythibf with it.

    1. ISL

      Red Line!

      and then there will be no one to comment on NC about the West’s stupidity and the ants will be thankful.

      That said the real rulers of the west, the oligarchs, have too much to lose.

  19. Piotr Berman

    Who Cares
    June 8, 2024 at 9:33 am
    It is not about finances.
    What all have in common is what Yves mentioned; Control.

    In a wider perspective, we witness dilemmas related to the following issue: what to do if you can do everything? You belong to the Masters of Universe, a collective that can do everything (or anything). The way to that status was arduous, so it would be silly to simply go back home. You can avail yourself of rare hedonistic opportunities, but that alone is ultimately boring.

    Perhaps the first order of business is a thorough check if you indeed can do anything. Recently I learned about the dog test: check of your dog can do anything it wants. Biden has performed such check, and, sadly, the result was negative: after mere 22 biting incidents in the White House, his dog was exiled. On the plus side, if you compare with other dogs, it is a very good result! Moreover, even as the President of United States you cannot do anything PERSONALLY, it is the collective of the Masters of Universe that can. So what could be used by the collective? An ingenious solution is to have a state, give it the status of most favored, and let it bite all and sundry. Soon we hear sweet sounds of lamentations, and powerless deprecations. Repeat as regularly as practical. So far, no numerical limit was found, more reassuring tests can be invented in the future.

    The dog test gives a start to the second point on the agenda: what to do with the enemies. As we are able do do anything, do we have to have enemies? Perhaps not, but the history teaches us that friends of today can be enemies tomorrow, so we need to test our ability to handle the enemies. Running dog tests quickly solves the problem of not having enemies.

    At some point we will also have a financial test, but this is but one facet.

  20. Darius

    Total armchair warrior comment here, but Russia should take eastern Ukraine from Kharkov to Odessa and just stop there. I don’t think there is any point in Ukraine that would provide a sufficient buffer against American missiles so there is no gain in taking more of it. If Russia just takes the Russian majority areas, it would have more acquiescence among the populace and reduce the problem of sabotage from a NATO stay-behind network. Leave Ukraine and NATO to their own devices. Even if Kiev joins NATO, they would be hemmed in with no sea access. Washington could turn Kiev into its new Saigon corruption hellhole.

    My one reservation is that I don’t know the extent of the oil resources in Ukraine and who would control them. But even if Ukraine continues to control a major portion, it could be positive in that it would be a revenue source for them to rebuild and not be such a basket-case/powder keg on Russia’s border.

    If Russia just takes what it needs and can control, and then stops, the next move would be NATO’s, but its options would be limited.


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