They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Helmut Schmidt: $1.02 Trillion NATO budget enough already

Helmut Schmidt  is right to caution against throwing more money at NATO.  In 2013 $1.02 Trillion was spent on  'defence' by the NATO countries. Russia spent $90 billion. It's unclear how one or two percent increase in spending by European countries would have changed the Ukraine dynamic.

Lord Grey was Britain's FM in 1914. His belief was that the pre-war arms race was the cause of the 'Great War'. Whilst many scholars would argue against this mono-causal  theory, it's apparent that arms races promote war in that they shift the military balance.
The Ukraine crisis reverberating across Europe recalls 1914 before the outbreak of World War I as Russia, the U.S. and European governments risk sleepwalking into conflict, said former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
“I don’t want to encourage a third world war and especially not calls for more money for arms for NATO,” Schmidt, 95, was cited as saying in an interview with Germany’s best-selling Bild newspaper today. “But the danger that the situation intensifies as in 1914 is growing day by day.” Link

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ukraine: Get back in your box

Guardian writer senses a new world order.  Not sure about that; might is as right now as it always was. It's bleeding anarchy out there. States are on their own - unless some other entity comes to their aid because it's in their national interest to do so. That's as true now as it was in the 19th century. Notwithstanding the desire of a few 'chickenhawks', there was never any question that the west would go to war in order to 'defend' Crimea from big bad Putin. Might is right, and financial clout - like that enjoyed by Russia - gives European leaders sleepless nights.

There is just a chance that John Pilger is wrong. But please, don't leave your nuclear bunker until you hear the 'all clear'. Streaming somewhere.

The unfolding Ukraine crisis signals a new world order

[...] It is generally accepted that the EU (in a mode splendidly described by one commentator as of "impotent megalomania") precipitated matters by blundering into the most sensitive part of Russia's backyard without seriously asking itself how it might react. This was not an isolated error but the culmination of 20 years of the west simply not taking Russia seriously, most notably with the Kosovo war and the expansion of Nato. When Russia did react in the (legally indefensible, but historically understandable) form of annexing Crimea and destabilising east Ukraine, the western view then swung 180 degrees to focusing on the need to "contain" a revanchist Russia intent on rebuilding the Soviet Union. Link

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ukraine: Neo-fascist calls on radicals to fight in east

When even the Guardian can smell a rat you know something is up. According to the Guardian the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (the one shaking hands with the British Foreign Minister below) has 'an extremely dubious past', Mein Führer.
Kiev's "anti-terrorism operation" in the east of the country involves units of the army, the police, special forces and the national guard, which is partly made up of volunteers drawn from those who participated in the Maidan protests in Kiev.
Andriy Parubiy, head of Ukraine's national security and defence council, told the Guardian that these were all coordinated from a single anti-terrorism command centre, but numerous sources on the ground attest to the fact that coordination is poor, and there are major concerns over how ready the volunteer brigades are for combat.
In addition to the difficulties of coordinating such a diverse range of paramilitary groups, there has also been concern at the extreme nationalist element among those fighting. The frequent Russian claim that the Ukrainian government itself is fascist is untrue, but there are certainly far-right elements involved in the fight in the east.
Parubiy himself has an extremely dubious past, having set up the neo-fascist Social National party of Ukraine together with the current leader of far-right Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, in the early 1990s. While there has been little evidence that the militias have been motivated by any kind of far-right ideology when fighting in east Ukraine, there is no doubt that radicals have been the people most willing to fight, and this has led to a number of situations which appear to be well beyond the bounds of normal military behaviour. Link
Andriy Parubiy, co-founder of the fascist Social National Party (later changed its name to Svoboda). He is now the Ukrainian 'Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council' and here meets with William Hague, Britain's FM.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ukraine: Gerhard Schroeder agrees with Kerry, blames EU

Another fine mess EU gotten us into ...

 "The fundamental flaw lay in the EU association policy," Schroeder said. "The EU ignored that Ukraine is a culturally deeply divided country."
"The 'either-or' stance -- either association with the EU or a customs union with Russia -- was the initial error," said Schroeder. Link

The Europeans share some of the blame for exacerbating the tensions inside Ukraine late last year, according to Kerry’s version of events.
“Some folks in Europe made mistakes, the association agreement became too much of an East-West tug of war. It shouldn’t have been,” Kerry said. Link

Thousands vote in Donetsk - legal or not

To say that the Donetsk referendum was free of flaws might be overdoing it. However western leaders dismissing the vote as 'illegal' and the pro-EU government claiming it was  'a pathetic criminal farce' is rich, given the dubious nature of the Kiev regime.

Ukrainians in east gunned down by 'National Guard'

National guard? Pravy sektor? Popularly known as fascists, and I wouldn't argue with that.
Armed men identified as Ukrainian national guard opened fire Sunday on a crowd outside a town hall in eastern Ukraine, and an official for the region's insurgents said there were fatalities.
The bloodshed in the town of Krasnoarmeisk occurred hours after dozens of armed men shut down voting in a referendum on sovereignty for the region. One of them identified the group as being national guardsmen. Link

Friday, May 09, 2014

Ukraine: How to win friends and influence people in the East

"A curious way to persuade ordinary people they have a future in Ukraine" -  ITV News Europe Editor - James Mates

See original :

Veterans commemorate Victory Day in Donetsk

Veterans attend a ceremony to commemorate victims of World War II on the Victory Day holiday on May 9, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine.