Putin Starts His October Move – Pivot To Shia and Wet Kiss to Saudi

First stop, a very interesting view into the thinking of Russians via an RT Russia Today program:


The most fascinating bits of it are the perspective on Syria and problems in the Middle East. Then the calling of Hillary a “Neo-con” who is interested in wars and regime change. That last bit sent me off to double check what a neo-con is, and found it started as Democrats and does lean to the positions Hillary advocates. More on that later.

The major point on Syria shows up at about 5 minutes in. That “main street establishment” is calling for a “war on Syria, Russia, and by extension, Iran as well”. Calls out John Kerry and Samantha Powers, then complains that while Russia was invited into Syria by the legitimate government, the USA is an interloper without legal basis (which is basically true).

They then cite a N.Y. Times Article claiming it is calling for a war with Russia. (Which I would link to if I had enough detail to find it quickly, but it didn’t pop up)

The essential theme is that the USA is working hard for Regime Change in the middle east, including Syria, and that’s just not really legal or moral. There is also a nod to Yemen and the Saudi’s bombing it to rubble. Left out is that Yemen is about 1/2 Sunni and 1/2 Shia and it is mostly the Shia that the Sunni Saudi’s are busy bombing.

They also point out the ‘Civil War’ in D.C. and Obama having checked out for the rest of his term. True or not, it is what is being believed in Russia… At about 16 minutes, we get the assessment of Hillary as a war monger wanting to ‘bloody the nose’ of Russia… Then at about 25 minutes, Hillary is called a corrupt lying neocon looking for war. I can’t where they are wrong…

In the end, I’m left with the suspicion that we’re in a Proxy War, but with us and Russia as the proxies between the Sunni Saudi side and the Shia Iranian side, both playing Russia and the USA as backers. But perhaps the players are themselves being played.

OK, so what Do I make of this?

Pivot To Islam

It is my opinion that Putin has figured out what Soros and his Globalist buddies are up to, doesn’t like it, and is seeing the Muslim World being ripped a new one in a Globalist War being passed off as an “Arab Spring” and sees an easy ally against the Globalists.

I note in passing that a move to eliminate the use of oil via solar, wind, and eCars would also be a move to damage the markets of OPEC and Russia and play into that Globalist desire to diminish them. The coal play oppression not so much, though…

Putin, today, announced a willingness to cut Russian oil production in league with OPEC. That’s just huge.


Putin Says Russia Ready to Join OPEC Effort to Limit Oil Supply
Elena Mazneva Stepan Kravchenko

October 10, 2016 — 5:38 AM PDT Updated on October 10, 2016 — 6:44 AM PDT

Freeze or cuts are ‘only proper decision’ for current market
Russia calls on other oil exporters to also limit production

Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, is ready to join OPEC in limiting oil production with either a freeze or a cut, said President Vladimir Putin.

“Russia is ready to join in joint measures to limit output and calls on other oil exporters to do the same,” Putin said on Monday at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul. “In the current situation, we think that a freeze or even a cut in oil production is probably the only proper decision to preserve stability in the global energy market.”

This caused oil prices to spike up today.

Now the USA and EU and UK are on one side, Russia, OPEC, and Islam (mostly the Shia side, but with this, Saudi is interested) on the other.

The Saudi are running low on money with low oil prices, so this will be a very big deal to them.


Saudi Arabia crushed by cheap oil – and the cuts are coming
by Matt Egan and Alanna Petroff @CNNMoneyInvest
December 28, 2015: 1:53 PM ET

Saudi Arabia’s finances are getting slammed by the crash in oil prices.
The government spent way more than it collected in 2015 — leading to a budget deficit of nearly $100 billion.
Oil accounts for 75% of Saudi Arabia’s revenue, and when crude prices were sky high, the country enjoyed frequent budget surpluses. Now oil has collapsed below $35 a barrel, compared to over $100 in mid-2014.

Saudi Arabia also said it spent more than expected on social security benefits and salaries for government workers and military members.
As a results, cuts are coming: The budget calls for a 14% reduction to 840 billion riyals ($224 billion), down from 975 billion ($260 billion).
Saudi Arabia is even thinking about cutting the massive discount it gives its citizens on gasoline. The Ministry of Finance confirmed it is “reviewing” a change to government subsidies on energy, water and electricity.
Saudi Arabia revealed other steps to fix its finances, including implementing a budget ceiling, reviewing public spending on projects and training 3,500 workers to improve the government’s accounting practices.
The country hopes to boost revenue by introducing a previously-approved VAT tax and by adding fees to “harmful goods” like tobacco and soft drinks.
Despite those moves, Saudi Arabia said it expects its budget deficit to basically remain the same in 2016. That’s not good because outside observers have warned the Saudis to get their fiscal house in order fast.

So with this one move, Russia has made an alliance with Syria, Iraq (as it is now governed by Shia), Iran (via the Shia support, the anti-US stance, and the OPEC move), and at least called a truce with the Sunni in Saudi via this OPEC move.

At the same time, he’s got the EU by the winter heat… and has the USA blocked out of decent relationships with anyone in the Arab Sunni / Shia world. At best we can hope for tepid tolerance, not active support. This firms his entire southern border all the way to China, gives him allies with their hands on the oil spigot of the EU, and lets him make trouble as desired without a whole lot of risk.

Further, they have positioned newer better air defenses in Syria and around their Naval Base in Syria. Essentially positioned to create a “no fly zone” for the USA to cope with.

Then we have this, with Turkey:


Russia-Turkey thaw? Putin, Erdogan sign gas pipeline deal
Published October 10, 2016

Turkey and Russia on Monday signed a deal to build a gas pipeline from Russia as the two countries pressed ahead with efforts to normalize ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan watched as their countries’ energy ministers sealed an intergovernmental agreement for the “Turkish Stream” project that would bring gas from Russia to Turkey. It would then be distributed to European Union nations.

The project, which had previously been suspended amid tensions between the two countries, was signed on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress.

In other steps aimed at restoring ties, Putin announced that Russia had agreed to a natural gas discount to Turkey and would resume importing fruit, vegetables and other agricultural goods from the country. The two countries would intensify defense contacts and also look into cooperation in space technologies. Russia is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, and Erdogan said the sides agreed to accelerate the project.

“I am convinced that the process of normalization of our ties will continue rapidly,” Erdogan told reporters during a joint news conference. “Our relations will (improve) in many fields, be it in defense industry, political, economic, trade, tourism or culture.”

“We will make up for lost time in the coming days,” Erdogan said.

Putin had first suggested the Turkish Stream project to carry gas beneath the Black Sea into Turkey in 2014, when a pipeline project to Bulgaria fell through amid EU countries’ opposition.

Note that last line. “EU countries’ opposition”…

So now we have Turkey, looking to pivot away from the West and US Dominance, making nice with Russia and Putin, and with EU destined gas to be routed through them to Greece such that both Russia and Turkey have a foot on the hose, if desired. Nice.

All that’s lacking is for Turkey to announce that Russia will be getting basing rights at the Incirlik Air Base

Just a very well played move. Putin is on the verge of establishing regional dominance from Greece to Iran.

What’s next, nuclear missiles on the edge of Europe?


WORLD NEWS | Sat Oct 8, 2016 | 2:04pm EDT
Russia moves nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad

Russia has moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Kaliningrad enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday, adding it was part of routine drills.

“These missile units have been deployed more than once (in the Kaliningrad region) … and will be deployed as part of military training of the Russian armed forces,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

A U.S. intelligence official said on Friday that Russia had started moving the Iskander-Ms into the enclave on the Baltic in what he said could be a gesture to express displeasure with NATO.

Konashenkov said one of the missiles had been deliberately exposed to a U.S. spy satellite. “We did not have to wait for too long – our American partners confirmed it themselves in their revelatory endeavor,” he said.

Lithuania, neighboring Kaliningrad and a member of NATO, said it would protest to Moscow.

“The deployment not only increases tensions in the region, but also possibly violates international treaties which limit deployment of ballistic missiles of range of over 500 kilometers,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told a news briefing in Vilnius.

“There will be a NATO-Russia Council meeting, and this is shaping up as one of issues on the agenda,” he added.

“We will use all channels available to not only raise this question, but to demand that international agreements are adhered to.”

Some modifications of the Iskander can hit targets 700 km (450 miles) away, putting the German capital Berlin in range of Kaliningrad, Linkevicius said.

Oh, wait, Kaliningrad is closer to the heart of the EU than Finland, the Baltic States, the far reaches of Sweden and Norway, and the most eastern border of Poland… So I guess that’s nuclear capable missiles inside the NATO region…

Man Putin knows how to play a game of chess… He’s preparing for Hillary. They are fairly sure she will win, think she is a Neocon War Hawk, and will be set on Globalist Regime Change everywhere not already signed up for the Globalist Agenda. For the life of me I can’t see where he isn’t right.


What IS a “neocon”?


A neoconservative (also spelled “neo-conservative”; colloquially, neocon) in American politics is someone presented as a conservative but who actually favors big government, interventionalism, and a hostility to religion in politics and government. The word means “newly conservative,” and thus formerly liberal. A neocon is a RINO Backer, and like RINOs does not accept most of the important principles in the Republican Party platform. Neocons do not participate in the March for Life, stand up for traditional marriage, advocate other conservative social values, or emphasizing putting America first. Neocons support attacking and even overthrowing foreign governments, despite how that often results in more persecution of Christians.

Other than not trying to claim a ‘conservative’ cloak, that sure sounds like Hillary’s values and policies.

Some prominent spokesmen include Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, Robert Kagan, Christopher Hitchens, Bernard Lewis, Stephen Schwartz, Elliott Abrams, Ben Wattenberg and Carl Gershman.

In contrast to traditional conservatives, neoconservatives favor globalism, downplay religious issues and differences, are unlikely to actively oppose abortion and homosexuality. Neocons disagree with conservatives on issues such as classroom prayer, the separation of powers, cultural unity, and immigration. Neocons favor a strong active state in world affairs.

On foreign policy, neoconservatives believe that democracy can and should be installed by the United States around the world, even in Muslim countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Neoconservatives were prominent in the George W. Bush administration by supporting an interventionist domestic policy they called ‘compassionate conservatism’ and a strong foreign policy, and especially favored the Iraq War and its efforts to spread democracy worldwide.

Golly, and it is just those Republican NeoCons who are dead set against Trump…

Just to keep things balanced, a view from the left leaning side:


Neoconservatism (commonly shortened to neocon) is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s among conservative leaning Democrats who became disenchanted with the party’s foreign policy. Many of its adherents became politically famous during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
The term “neoconservative” refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist Left to the camp of American conservatism. Neoconservatives typically advocate the promotion of democracy and promotion of American national interest in international affairs, including by means of military force and are known for espousing disdain for communism and for political radicalism. The movement had its intellectual roots in the Jewish monthly review magazine Commentary, published by the American Jewish Committee. They spoke out against the New Left and in that way helped define the movement. C. Bradley Thompson, a professor at Clemson University, claims that most influential neoconservatives refer explicitly to the theoretical ideas in the philosophy of Leo Strauss (1899–1973),[9] though in doing so they may draw upon meaning that Strauss himself did not endorse.
Seymour Lipset asserts that the term “neoconservative” was used originally by a socialist to criticize the politics of Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA). Jonah Goldberg argues that the term is ideological criticism against proponents of American modern liberalism who had become slightly more conservative (Both Lipset and Goldberg are frequently described as neoconservatives).
Neoconservatism was initiated by the repudiation of the New Deal coalition by the American New Left: Black Power, which accused Northern Jews of hypocrisy on integration and supported Israel in the Six-Day War; “anti-anticommunism”, and which during the late 1960s included substantial endorsement of Marxist–Leninist politics; and the “new politics” of the New left, which Norman Podheretz said was too close to the counterculture and too alienated from the majority of the population. Many were particularly alarmed by what they claimed were anti-semitic sentiments from Black Power advocates. Irving Kristol edited the journal The Public Interest (1965–2005), featuring economists and political scientists, which emphasized ways that government planning in the liberal state had produced unintended harmful consequences. Many early Neoconservative political figures were disillusioned Democratic politicians and intellectuals, such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served in the Nixon Administration, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s UN Ambassador.

A substantial number of neoconservatives were originally moderate socialists associated with the right-wing of the Socialist Party of America (SP), and its successor, Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA). Max Shachtman, a former Trotskyist theorist who developed a strong antipathy towards the New Left, had numerous devotees among SDUSA with strong links to George Meany’s AFL-CIO. Following Shachtman and Meany, this faction led the SP to oppose an immediate withdrawal from the Vietnam War, and oppose George McGovern in the Democratic primary race (and to some extent, the general election). They also chose to cease their own party-building and concentrated on working within the Democratic Party, eventually influencing it through the Democratic Leadership Council. Thus the Socialist Party ceased to be in 1972 and SDUSA emerged (Most of the left-wing of the party, led by Michael Harrington, immediately abandoned SDUSA). SDUSA leaders associated with neoconservatism include Carl Gershman, Penn Kemble, Joshua Muravchik, and Bayard Rustin.

Norman Podhoretz’s magazine Commentary of the American Jewish Committee, originally a journal of liberalism, became a major publication for neoconservatives during the 1970s. Commentary published an article by Jeane Kirkpatrick, an early and prototypical neoconservative, albeit not a New Yorker.

Golly. Sure looks like NeoCon is “Liberal Masquerading as A Conservative”… It started with Democrats. They moved to the Republican party as the Democrats moved to a more pacifist stance. They advocate for interventionist globalist policies and wars of conversion and regime change. Yet hold no real conservative social values. Nor really any conservative fiscal values.

To me, it looks like this describes not just Hillary, but her counterparts in Ryan, and the Republican Establishment.

In Conclusion

It is that kind of perspective that I enjoy from watching RT. It challenges me to go look up what they assert. More often than not, I find them knowing more about America from outside than we get from an inside perspective on the nightly news.

Hillary as NeoCon. Who knew… yet it fits all the facts save claiming the title ‘conservative’. No wonder the Bernie Bunch didn’t like her. No wonder I liked Bernie. No wonder the RINOs hate Trump and are going for Hillary. No wonder… yet I wonder…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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55 Responses to Putin Starts His October Move – Pivot To Shia and Wet Kiss to Saudi

  1. philjourdan says:

    It is not so much that Putin is a great chess player (he may be), it is that Obama and Hillary are such bad ones! It is hard to judge how good someone is when their opposition is so bad.

    Other than that, the article is fairly accurate. Under Obama, no one wants to be a friend of America. Just look at David Cameron and Benjamin Netanyahu (or even the French). The staunchest allies are in tatters. And the world is not more secure, it is less so. Obama is a lesson in what not to do to win friends and influence enemies.

    And Hillary will continue the policy. Putin is not expecting Hillary to win. He is hoping she does.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    It is clear that we are seeing an historic shift in power politics and influence in the Middle east. Basically we are shifting back to the situation on the ground that existed in the late 1950’s and early – mid 1960’s when the Soviet Union was deeply embedded in the military affairs in the region, supplying the military equipment for Egypt, Libya, Syria etc, and the US was the primary supplier for military equipment to Iran, and Turkey.

    At that time, both Iran and Turkey were important intelligence bases for U.S. observation and signals intelligence into the Soviet Union with major listening posts in northern Turkey and Iran looking into southern Russia and their missile testing and weapons testing ranges etc. Turkey was also part of the US strategic missile defenses against Russia at the time. We were still working to develop effective ICBMs capable of reaching the interior or the Soviet Union in the early 1960’s and covered that deficiency by stationing nuclear armed (1.1 Mt warhead) Intermediate Range Jupiter Missiles in Turkey. Interestingly the Iskander-M is the modern equivalent of those IRBMs except being a shorter range missile. Never the less, Putin has effectively reversed the threat on NATO that it posed to the Soviet Union with the Jupiter Missiles by putting the Iskander-M missiles into those locations.

    In doing so, he has secured his southern belly against direct observation from Turkey and Iran, and gained effective control over a buffer belt to his south. Not to mention secure status for a warm water port (or ports) in Syria, Turkey and possibly Iran and Iraq in time.

    Following the wars in Chechnya, Russia did something interesting, suddenly the extremist Muslims it had been fighting and trying to hunt down, there were getting free passage out of the country to go to the middle east to wage Jihad with the likes of Al quadia and now ISIS. This is assumed to have accomplished two things. One, it purged those radical elements out of Russia, they were apparently informed that if they left Russia and did their dirty work elsewhere they would get a free pass out of the country. Second, the folks expelled under this program undoubtedly include covert agents for Russian intelligence. Russia killed two birds with one stone, gaining a window into radical Islam by planting those covert agents in the stream of departing radicals and a foot hold into the middle east power struggles and the ability to manipulate it to their benefit and the detriment of the US.

    They also by creating those conditions on the ground and moving into Syria while showing the U.S. (Obama) is incompetent and not to be trusted, were gaining a second stream of foreign exchange through weapon sales and the influence and connections that brings.

    I would not be surprised if the confrontation between Russia and Turkey was all smoke and mirrors and a setup for the crushing of the Coup in Turkey, with Russian intelligence tipping off Erdogan about the actions of the plotters. The quid pro quo for that intelligence assistance and letting Erdogan crush his opposition, being increased influence and the oil and pipe line agreements along with sometime in the future perhaps Russian basing rights in Turkey. One of Turkeys most hated foes was the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), being communist, it is highly likely that Russia also intervened to weaken or control the PKK in exchange for access.

    As you say, major chess game which ultimately works to Russia’s strategic and status advantage in the middle east and helps push the U.S. out of that region.

    Russia always does what is in Russia’s self interest so there is a hidden payoff in all of these exchanges. Russia has also gained influence in Iran which helps counter (or at least improve their visibility) of China’s efforts to secure reliable oil supplies from Iran. As Russian oil fields are rapidly depleting from over pumping and poor management, having easy access to oil from that region (Iran, Iraq, and even black market oil from ISIS) will also strengthen Russia’s strategic situation, and help it push up oil prices to dig out of its budget hole caused by sanctions stemming from their seizure of the Crimea and slow invasion of eastern Ukraine.

  3. Richard Ilfeld says:

    Globalism, without the BS:

    Most of the world features folks living in failed systems from the standpoint of providing economic opportunity & advancement for the masses. “Globalists” are all smarter than we are, and should be designates to run the world because of their superior intellects and sensibilities. (just ask them).

    They sell the notion that all societies are equal, therefore the poor are poor because of the exploitation of the rich. The West and the Muslim world would be equal if the west hadn’t somehow exploited the Muslim world.

    The hidden exploitative power of western capitalism is similar to, and in fact a first cousin of, the mysterious powers of CO2 to control climate.

    Only a world government where progressives have absolute power can fix things.

    This is ‘supported’ by the world’s bad actors since progressives are pushovers in the real world struggles for power & are more interested in UN resolutions and a cushy life for themselves than battlefield solutions.

    GIven their love of the oppressed it is truly amazing how many globalist progressives, who can live anywhere, choose to live among the oppressors.

  4. Paul, Somerset says:

    Most of these Putin/RT masterstrokes at least stagger on for a few days before unravelling, but not his time:

    “Igor Sechin, Russia’s most influential oil executive and the head of Rosneft, told Reuters in an interview his company will not cut or freeze oil production as part of a possible agreement with OPEC.
    The previous day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said an output freeze or even a production cut were likely the only right decisions to maintain energy sector stability.”


    As for the Turkey pipeline, that’s another Putin triumph that seems to pop up every few months before he finds an excuse to suspend it, as he did in December last year after Turkey shot down one of his jets. How on earth can he ever find the finance for it anyway, having plunged his country into an economic mess? The only actual guaranteed buyer for the gas is Turkey itself, and only then because he’s had to offer discount according to quote in the Foxnews quote? Genius.

  5. bruce says:

    Paul, I wonder how much protection costs Igor. The “feeling” I get is no one lasts long in a dispute with Putin.

    Putin has done a masterful job of holding his position in the face of what appears to be a spiraling down the drain of Russia. Of course, all things considered, what country isn’t finding the drain.

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    Here is an item regarding Russian and Chinese cooperation on missile defense countermeasures. Much like in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Russia and China are again starting to act as allies (although even back then they were also antagonists in certain spheres of influence)
    They fought small actions in eastern Russia and the northern boarder areas of China during that time and were contentious allies in Vietnam where they both jostled for controlling interests.

    It won’t be a lock step alliance but more of a mutual interest cooperation where it is beneficial to both.


  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    Trump said” “I said he’s a better leader than Obama because Obama’s not a leader, so he’s certainly doing a better job than Obama is, and that’s all,” Mr. Trump

    Given the characteristics of the USA versus that of Russia one might think the leader of the former would be the mover and shaker in the world. It seems not to be the case and, so, The Donald gets it right — again.

  8. Gail Combs says:

    American Stinker: The Republican White Togas at Work for the Queen of Sleaze

    The article has some interesting stuff on the military and a link to General Mike Flynn comments on “the catastrophic results of then-Secretary of State Clinton’s actions in Libya, based on false claims that Qaddafi was engaged in widespread attacks on civilians.”

    While no saint, Qaddafi was key to our counterterrorism efforts in the area. Ignoring the advice of the secretary of defense and lawyers in her own department, Secretary Clinton allowed 18 shipments of arms from Qatar to Libyan jihadis who were on the State Department’s own list of foreign terrorists, in apparent violation of federal law (28 U.S. Code 2339A and 2339B). The arms shipments were funneled through a Qatar cleric “who brokered their release from prison” after Clinton persuaded the President to grant the terrorists full diplomatic recognition,

    If that wasn’t bad enough, Flynn underscored the connection to the Clinton Foundation in her otherwise puzzling conduct:

    Qatar has donated anywhere from $1 to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and emails reveal members of the Qatari royal family were privileged with back channel meetings with Secretary Clinton at the State Department. While whipping up support for the Libya military campaign, Clinton told Arab leaders, “it’s important to me personally,” the Washington Post reported.

    Hillary Clinton’s prosecution of foreign policy in Libya crossed several lines: she showed extremely bad judgment by ignoring military and intelligence officials, she let personal interests conflict with U.S. foreign policy and, most importantly, she may have broken the law — again.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan & Paul, Somerset:

    I’m not saying Putin is a genius at everything, just that he knows how to play the political game very very well and how to do military games to support Russia very very well.

    Per Rosneft: I’d take that as a negotiating position to assure a ‘rebate’ for lost revenue… or a death wish… Putin has his ways, after all…

    Just look at the results. He’s gained (back) Crimea, he’s got a chunk Georgia ( I think it was Georgia… something down there…), he’s got Shia Islam in his corner and the Sunni branch via Saudi (who just issued $10 Billion of bonds to keep their government and economy running…) at least neutralized instead of being a ‘key ally’ of ours. Then the posturing in Europe (as the EU implodes oh so slowly…) and preparations to pick up any stray bits that fall off… while making Russia a key talking point in the US election. That doesn’t come from nothing.

    Though I do wonder why Hillary and the Dems are so hell bent on picking a fight with Russia. Just an available ploy? Trying to denigrate Wikileaks? Need a boogy-man and they are ‘traditional’ in that role for the USA? Or the Soros connection and doing a ‘set up’ for a take down of a recalcitrant power unwilling to be part of the Globalist Mush?…


    Nice analysis…


    Watching videos on youtube from Russia it doesn’t look all that bad. No, not near western standards, but not as dismal as in the 1900s to 1960ish IMHO.

    IF they can get more freedom in their markets and industries, and let go of the Russian jealousy of anyone else succeeding, they can be a great power AND an economic power too.

    However, yeah, it looks more like the EU and Russia circling the drain together while lighting on fire from Libya to Iraq (and being over run with ‘refugees’ … ) while the USA is close to a civil war between those who want to join that process and those who cherish American Traditions… (South America and Africa always having been a mess, and most of India to China too, and all of it depending on exports to N. America / EU to thrive are effectively in the same boat…)

    @John F:

    Yeah, I found it laughable that the MSM would try to paint Trump saying Putin was an effective leader as some kind of endorsement of Strong Man Politics. The simple fact is that Putin IS a strong and effective leader and IS getting his way on the world stage while Obama has become a laughing stock (even the Chinese feel free to snub him publicly and strongly… and Obama accepted it! He ought to have seen the snub, gone ‘wheels up’ and arranged a few “issues” for China to deal with (that’s the Chinese way, so how you talk to them in return…) like maybe some extra long inspections of Chinese shipments to the USA … and reject a few for anomalies… or ‘accidentally’ arrest a few of their ‘diplomats’ in a drug raid on a fancy restaurant they like…

    To NOT recognize Putin as doing the better job of leadership right now would take colossal stupidity… then again, we’re talking folks who make up stories for a living…


    You’d think maybe just ONE of the long list of criminal acts would merit a trial… so I suppose that just confirms who owns whom…

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    Putin is in full “shake the tree” mode:
    Russian military test-fires 3 ballistic missiles in same day
    Oct. 12, 2016 11:50 AM EDT
    Two SLBM (sub launched Ballistic missiles) and one land based ICBM

    Look at the bright side NORAD got a chance to evaluate their launch warning systems for a broad base of threats on the same day.

  11. Canada says:

    “What’s next, nuclear missiles on the edge of Europe?”
    Hasn’t USA already placed nukes there?

  12. Paul, Somerset says:

    Putin already had access to Crimean ports, with water and electricity supplied by Ukraine and guaranteed by long-term international treaty. Now he’s got the territory but lost the resources. The peninsula is plagued by shortages and blackouts and in return he’s brought the world down on his already moribund economy.
    From invading Georgia he gained two economic black holes in Abkhazia and S Ossetia. S Ossetia alone sucks in annual subsidies of at least 3 billion roubles despite a population of just 50,000. Not that any of the latter actually see that money, as it just disappears into the pockets of local officials, much as it does everywhere else in Putin’s empire.
    He really is a hopelessly ineffectual leader from the point of view of the Russian nation or indeed anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves under his leadership.
    I love reading this blog for the critical eye, open mind and astonishing breadth of knowledge it applies to all sorts of accepted truths. But I really struggle to understand the often uncritical admiration for Putin as a leader of a nation.

  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    There is a difference between recognizing his leadership skills (as in having total control of his country) and being an effective leader from the perspective of his people. He has setup what is in effect an organized crime syndicate centered in government. Very effective at getting what “Putin wants” that is not necessarily good for the people.

    People admire him for his willingness to advance the interests of his country (as he sees them) vs the totally ineffective Laissez-faire leadership of Obama who constantly shoots the nations interest in the foot to get his idealized international governance, and also is always a day late and a dollar short on responses to provocations where good leadership requires quick and forceful action.

    Praise for Putin is narrowly tailored to specific traits not as over all approval.

    Putin is basically a 21’st century Stalin: strong, effective, violent and dangerous to screw with. The kind of leader who takes what you give him then pushes just a bit farther. He simply does not care about the “people” as long as they behave and don’t totally implode the economy he is on a mission to restore power and international prestige and respect to Russia (ie restoring the Soviet Union in the 21’st century). Last but not least he and his former KGB cronies are stuffing their pockets with the loot as they gut the country for their own wealth and power, not good for either the people or the country as a whole, but what Putin wants.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Some other interesting developments looking a bit more ominous:

    Russia is no longer allowing EU citizens to take the direct route to Moscow from Belarusia


    Also Conflict News is reporting serious fighting in Ukraine
    Conflict News ‏@Conflicts 23 minutes ago

    UKRAINE: Heavy fighting continues in #Avdiivka tonight. – @Jake_Hanrahan

  15. Gail Combs says:

    Larry Ledwick,

    I had read… Here? Lubos Motl? Paul Craig Roberts?…. That Putin was quite popular with the Russian people. If I recall He is pretty pro-capitalism. You can have the countries elite stuffing their pockets as long as the serfs are allowed to create wealth without too much interference and keep a reasonable amount of what they create. It is not the corruption that is the problem, you always get some of that, it is the desire to have absolute control over every aspect of your life that causes the rebellions.

    I read Luboš Motl’s Reference Frame to get another take on the Russia/Ukraine situation since I figured Luboš would have a dog in the fight.

    From a couple of years ago:

    And a more recent article from Luboš Motl’s Reference Frame.

    …Vladimir Putin is often picked as the world’s most powerful man [thanks, not fan, although Vovka may be good at air-conditioning, too] – a fact that an empty suit elevated by the affirmative action to the White House may be jealous about.

    Putin makes actual decisions that generally do agree with what his nation expects, but they don’t have to agree. He gets an unspectacular salary for that. But even if he had tens of billions of dollars, I am sure that most of his supporters would support him, anyway. They would think that he deserves those things. And I am sure that virtually all Russians agree that the hypothetical corruption in Moscow is not America’s business whether it exists or not.

    It’s very plausible that Putin wants to be the de facto or de iure #1 man of Russia till the end of his life. And if he wants to keep his image of a man with a modest, disciplined life – and I am pretty sure that it is not just “image” – he will never be able to enjoy those hypothetical tens of billions of dollars. So why does it really matter whether he has tens of billions of dollars?

    I don’t really believe that Putin is more corrupt than the typical politicians in his part of the world. His career in KGB may be troubled – but it did place him in a very different position than that of the actual oligarchs and people who benefit from corrupt systems in general. I think it’s probably true that he helped to reduce the corruption in Russia significantly.

    At the end, I think that those accusations say much more about the current state of America than they do about Putin. America has become a country of softened, emasculated, politically correct Niemands where emotionally stated accusations like this have become more important than any real strength and merit. Tens of millions of Americans have no spine or balls anymore and they totally change their views or behavior in the wake of an arbitrarily stupid accusation of this sort….

    Almost no one in Russia will actually become more critical of Putin because of such weird statements by the White House. But many more people will think that America’s politicians are just ludicrous – and that America is constantly trying to undermine political systems in other, stable countries.

    The Obama administration’s immature behavior is frustrating for me especially because I consider myself a part of the West, not the Russian realm, and this behavior is a reason for me to be ashamed for our part of the world, one that we should normally be proud about.

    I think all Putin has to do is have his daughter at the negotiating table and Kerry would be tongue tied.

  16. Larry Ledwick says:

    Russia is very fond of Putin because he is a very strong assertive leader. They historically like strong (brutal) leaders – as long as they are not the ones being brutalized. Russians have no regard for those they see as weak or incapable of doing “what is necessary”. That is why they detest Obama.

    The KGB and Putin did not “reduce corruption” they took it over like a crime boss takes over a racket. Those who did not bend to their demands were eliminated — literally assassinated in the streets just like in a gang war.

    In the closing days of the Soviet Union the KGB came to the conclusion that the Soviet Union was very close to an inevitable collapse. After examining the alternatives they came up with only two options. Go war with the US in a nuclear first strike while they still had the strength and resources to prosecute the war, or take over organized crime and political corruption and gain control of key industries as the fire sale of collapse took place. They effectively merged the Russian mafia with the KGB and state security system and took over all the viable market opportunities in Russia. The Russian billionaires created by the Soviet collapse and free market of Glasnost and after were quickly sorted into those who were willing to play ball and those that needed to be eliminated or banished from Russia. What was left is all the major players in modern Russia either are former KGB or beholding to them to exist. Get cross ways with them and expect to get shot on street corner like Boris Nemtsov ( a political opponent of Putin who was gaining a following — a large fraction of the population does not like Putin due to casualties of war in Crimea etc. but know they need to keep their mouth shut or be destroyed ), or like several investigative journalists who were assassinated for exposing the new generation corruption.

    With a semi-market economy Russia is much better off than it was in the waning days of the Soviet Union (ie they can actually buy things), but the entire system is riddled with KGB connected corruption that you either stay out of the way of or you participate.


  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Paul, Somerset:

    You are sounding a lot like Serioso…

    Short form: What Larry said.

    Longer form:

    What’s to criticise about his effectiveness in internationsl affairs? He is getting what he wants.

    Now, if you want me to indulge in self congratulatory moralizing about my evaluation of his moral bankruptcy or how poorly he meets international “norms”, well, sorry, that’s not going to happen. Aside from the fact you can get that sop anywhere, it just Does Not Matter.

    MY morality does not do anything to or for Putin nor his people. IT IS IRRELEVANT as I am irrelevant. You will never find ME in my opinion of others.

    So yes, I find Putin an effective leader and someone who gets what he wants, drives rings arround Obama and is setting up to take a chunk out of the EU (who are clueless). None of that says I LIKE it or ENDORSE it. Do not look for ME in an evaluation of OTHERS.

    If you have never been in combat nor studied martial arts, I suggest a few years of karate and reading Sun Tzu Artt Of War.

    NEVER evaluate your enemy with YOUR value system. Know him in his own terms.

    For Putin, Crimea was part of Russia prior to the Ukranian Khrushchev gifting it to Ukraine against the will of the Russians living there. Taking it back is ‘only fair’ in his eyes and that of the Russian people, If you do not know that and react to it emotionally from a western POV as somehow evil, you will be ignorant of your adversary and make mistakes in evaluating him (as one small example).

    That is why it is critical to “be the empty vessel” in such things and just accept what exists uncritically, since to be criticsl involves YOUR values, and down that path lies error.

    So yes, I accept the facts of what Putin does uncritically and evaluate his effectivness IN HIS REFERENCE FRAME uncritically, since that is the only way to truly understand him.

    Ask me what I think of his morality, I will say I think him a dangerous sociopath, but rational. Rather identical to my evaluation of Hillary Clinton and many other “world leaders”… not one of which I would share a drink with unless I provided the beer…

    But that does not change his effectiveness nor his skill at The Great Game…

  18. gallopingcamel says:

    All this Geopolitik makes me dizzy.

    However I think we can agree that Putin is a strong leader while Obama is worse than Neville Chamberlain

  19. Ian W says:

    It may be getting worse than we thought

    “Russian officials and deputies advised to return the children and parents home

    Ekaterina Vinokurov1107

    Russian officials, up to the highest level, it is recommended to return to the country of children studying abroad. And to do so without waiting for the end of the study, and by shifting offspring in Russian universities. At home, parents should also return to officials and deputies, if the older generation of the family for some reason resides abroad without losing the citizenship of the Russian Federation, told Znak.com just five companions whom informal request from the presidential administration are most directly affected.

    The recommendation will apply to all: from the staff of the administration as well as regional administrations, to deputies of all levels. Do not escape the new duties even employees of public corporations. Those who wait to the implementation of tacit request, reminded of the already known when the next of kin of the stay of the younger or the older generation abroad became a complicating factor in subsequent career in the public sector, said one of the interlocutors. According to him, in recent months it has become aware of several such cases.”



    “The Kremlin has also suspended a series of nuclear pacts, including a symbolic cooperation deal to cut stocks of weapons-grade plutonium.
    Just days ago, it was reported that Russia had moved nuclear-capable missiles near to the Polish border as tensions escalated between the world’s largest nation and the West.
    The Iskander missiles sent to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea between Nato members Poland and Lithuania, are now within range of major Western cities including Berlin.
    Polish officials – whose capital Warsaw is potentially threatened – have described the move as of the ‘highest concern’. ”


    add into that the repeated mock attacks on US and EU interests just to keep their hand in…..

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    The question becomes: Is Putin putting on a show (perhaps to influence the USA election), is he being paranoid about what Hillary will do when elected or Obama in the lame duck period, or is he planning something big?

    Basically, him, her, or show?

    I could maybe also see an edge case where it is for domestic consumption, to create worry about the west and support for him as savior, but don’t know enough about Russian inside politics to say.

    They are a partisan to a hot war on their southern edge between shia and sunni (them on the shia side us on the sunni) so are already having indirect military conflict with the USA. It would be a small step to a no fly zone in Syria, USA ejection from Turkey, and a Russian supplied missle from Iran sinking a U.S. Ship… then a Pakistani nudge and a cut off of U.S. supply routes to Afghanistan.

    At that point, Obama will be in a horrible pickle, but will just let it slide, and Hillary will be hobbled, furious, and unable to do anything.

    Saudi just issued $10 Billion of bonds to keep their present obligations met, AND have ordered $20 Billion of US source munitions to attack shia in Yemen (where the Yemen rebels fired a rocket at our ships and we sent cruise missles back in – so we’re in a hot war there now too, and Iran has dispatch their ships to Yemen…) so Saudi is hitting limits, while Iran has between $1.5 and $33 billions for new toys with Russia ready to sell…

    When looked at as an escalating hot war between shia and sunni with Russia and the USA on opposite sides and Turkey to Pakistan in play, expecting things to get worse is a reasonable position. Season with cranky imploding EU and stir…

    While not at Bay Of Pigs or Cuban Missle Crisis levels, it’s getting there.

  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    Twenty minute video by Heritage Foundation on the current state of the nuclear missile threat and out ability to defeat incoming warheads with an anti-missile system. Has a few minor over simplifications but otherwise a good overview of the threat.

    Cliff’s notes version. An ICBM attack can strike any place on earth in 33 minutes
    (not discussed in detail) a depressed trajectory ICBM (fractional orbit system – closer to 20 minutes)
    Sub Launched Ballistic missile launch (SLBM) less than 12 minutes time on target.
    Same for a covert ship launch (ie from a container ship)
    The missile launch protective action decision cycle takes at least 15 minutes just to verify the launch and mobilize response. The president receives launch notification sometime in the first 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly launch warning systems can validate the launch.

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Also from Reuters Russian efforts to influence/control key countries in Europe.


  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    Apparently the Russian general population is seeing some of Putin’s recent moves as disturbing.
    The question is are they seeing a return to Stalin/Khrushchev style control of movement or are the more worried about impending open war? Secondary to that is what fraction of the population feels this way?


  24. Jon K says:

    I can’t read all of this without a subscription, but I can see enough to see it’s an escalation.


  25. E.M.Smith says:


    The “rule of thumb” we used here during the cold war was that it was 6 minutes from sub launch to Moffett Field going BOOM!

    Then again, it is barely out of the water before it must come back down again… Just a “hop” over some very short mountains, maybe 2000 foot? (peninsula…) and SPLAT!

    IMHO, if you are not locked and loaded and actively scanning the sky with pre-approved ‘finger on trigger’ you will NOT get a SLBM for anything coastal… which is most of the big cities and the bulk of the population. Orlando is about 50 miles from water, at 500 MPH flight speed, that’s all of 1/10 hour or 6 minutes… so essentially ALL of Florida is 6 minutes post launch if the sub is straight off shore. Figure 10 minutes for the second target of a MIRV …

    Then there’s cruse missiles… run a cargo barge up the Mississippi and another up the St. Lawrence and you get most of middle America about the same speed. (Needs lots of shielding to not set off nuclear detectors, or just label the shipment “medical scanner”… )

    Now, just for grins, think what happens if you launch an orbital satellite, and it spits out a small ‘device’ wrapped in flat black RAM (Radar Absorbing Material i.e. stealth) when in a hard to observe location (like way high over Russia in an exotic orbit…) Now your “original” vehicle stays visible and tracked the whole time providing plausible deniability, and the stealth one just drifts in that orbit until needed. When the two are very far apart, and lots of time has passed, it comes dipping down into the ionosphere and does a nice EMP right over Virginia (the mate doing it over New Mexico). A minute later, the subs launch.

    What are the odds ANYONE will be in place, condition, and communications enough to respond within 10 to 12 minutes? The President and upper command will be in a tunnel somewhere running for a bunker and confusion will dominate just about everywhere. Nobody will have a clue who did it, or what to shoot at. The SLBMs will be hitting from 6 to 12 minutes out and may not be detected before they go boom, and if they are detected, may be thought in error due to the electrical chaos going on. Anyone near a defense system may also be flat on the ground doing duck and cover or headed for cover underground, depending on standing orders.

    FWIW, that’s my “nightmare scenario”. ZERO ground launch or airplane delivered. No Clue who hit you or from where, until your attack subs send a message to whatever is left… I’m pretty sure they don’t have permission to sink any other country sub just for “posing” like they are about to launch without some orders, and since all they do is ‘ready’ until the EMP has charged the ionosphere and the ULF cables are fried so that comms is down, who will give permission in the next 60 seconds before launch begins? Hmmm?….

  26. Ian W says:

    China shop meet bull….


    “As relations between the West and Russia steadily deteriorate, Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots have been given the go-ahead to shoot down Russian military jets when flying missions over Syria and Iraq, if they are endangered by them. The development comes with warnings that the UK and Russia are now “one step closer” to being at war.
    RAF Tornado pilots have been instructed to avoid contact with Russian aircraft while engaged in missions for Operation Shader – the codename for the RAF’s anti-Isis work in Iraq and Syria. But their aircraft have been armed with air-to-air missiles and the pilots have been given the green light to defend themselves if they are threatened by Russian pilots.”

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yep the assumption for New York or Wash DC was 5 minutes flight time, as they could use a depressed trajectory even if several hundred miles off shore. If we lost tracking on an SLBM in that area they could come to launch depth and get a couple weapons out of the tubes before we even recognized an attack was in progress.

    For those not familiar, depressed trajectory is where the missile gets up a short distance and then makes a turn to horizontal, while still accelerating. It would reach a max altitude of only a few ten’s of thousands of feet. Can’t be too low an altitude, or the aerodynamic heating and dynamic pressures will tear the launch vehicle apart. At orbital insertion ballistic missiles reach velocities near 17,000 mph. At speeds in excess of 9000 mph in a depressed trajectory you can cover a lot of ground very quickly.
    A Trident II SLBM on a depressed trajectory could travel1,850 kilometers ( 1150 miles) in roughly 7 minutes (rather than the 12.5 minute flight time on a standard trajectory)


    This is one of the reasons they are working on hypervelocity cruise missiles to achieve very short time on target and low reaction time for defensive systems.

  28. @E.M. don’t we have a USAF stealth space vehicle that’s been up for a year?

  29. Ian W says:

    @Regis Llnafar
    USAF admits to having 2 X-37b unmanned space vehicles. They have both been in orbit for extensive periods. The current vehicle in space has been there over a year. They admit they have them but not what they are doing up there for such extended periods.


  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    My personal guess is that they are technology development platforms that they can put sensors intended for future satellites on and check it out then bring it back and analyze and update, or they are short term low altitude intelligence satellites which can be reused. More importantly they can be maneuvered (change orbit) and instead of running out of maneuver propellant in orbit can be returned to earth for a refuel/refit then sent back up again.

    One of the problems with low altitude observation satellites is atmospheric drag slowly decays their orbits and it takes small correctional burns from the maneuvering rockets to make up for that drag. A non-returnable low altitude satellite eventually runs out of propellant and then decays and burns up. With a returnable platform they can periodically bring it back refuel and reuse the observation package on a future flight. With two in operation that means they can refurbish one while the other stays on orbit or if major problems develop put both up with orbits optimized for the specific targets they are watching.

  31. gallopingcamel says:

    The USA has turned full circle. It is now ruled by aristocrats………instead of King George we have King Barack and soon Queen Hillary. The House of Representatives and the Senate may have GOP majorities yet they have gone along with every unconstitutional “Executive Branch” action. What use are they?

    If justice Scalia is replaced by someone who does not respect the constitution, the court will “Rubber Stamp” whatever the president wants to do. The trouble with aristocracies is that they are often headed by incompetents such as Charles II who was aptly summed up in a few words:

    We have a pretty witty king,
    Whose word no man relies on;
    He never said a foolish thing,
    Nor ever did a wise one.

    You could say the same about Obama. Hillary Clinton will be far worse given her talent for larceny.

  32. gallopingcamel says:

    @Larry Ledwick,
    Thanks for that video on ICBMs etc. Reagan’s SDI funded many approaches to destroying incoming ICBMs including lasers that I have seen up close and personal.

    While I would love to feed at the government trough developing bigger and better lasers, the cost effective approach to defending against ICBMs is interceptor rockets that collide with incoming missiles.

    We need to stop wasting money on “Carbon Mitigation”. The money would be better spent building ICBM interceptors and hardening our electrical grid against and EMP attack. Let’s solve real problems instead of imaginary ones.

  33. kuhnkat says:

    Two quickies.

    The origin of Neocon was Democrat Jews (not necessarily religious) who left the Democrat party when they realized that the Democrats would never be truly supportive of Israel or the fight against Terrorism and Islam. The rest is the typical leftard abuse of terms and need for negative terms to slander large groups whether they fit or not.

    Since this is heavily a climate blog I am surprised that people are missing why Pooties decided to expand south. Russian science is NOT as corrupt with Gorebull warming as the rest. A number of their best scientists are, if anything, ahead of the rest of the world. They recognize that we are heading for a little ice age that WILL damage their more northern wheat and other primary agriculture. The areas he is invading will be far better for ag if this plays out as bad as the LIA.

    Ukraine also had one of the better militaries in the region. He has mostly neutralized its effectiveness. There may be other reasons we don’t have the information to understand or just aren’t as good of chess players as he is…

  34. Ross P says:

    Great analysis and discussion.To be added to it is what the Chinese are doing with their OBOR project discussed in this article

    China is linking itself with Russia and other eastern European countries with high tech fast trains , pipelines etc. Clearly it is a massive infrastructure project . China and Russia will end up the dominant world forces no matter what Soros and his mates try to do.

  35. Gail Combs says:

    kuhnkat says: “….I am surprised that people are missing why Pooties decided to expand south. Russian science is NOT as corrupt with Gorebull warming as the rest. A number of their best scientists are, if anything, ahead of the rest of the world. They recognize that we are heading for a little ice age that WILL damage their more northern wheat and other primary agriculture. The areas he is invading will be far better for ag if this plays out as bad as the LIA….”

    Not all of us missed it. When the 2014 Winter Olympics, were held in Sochi, Russia, and several people were puzzling over it. I said it was because it gave Putin an excuse to move Russian troops to an area near the Ukraine, nickname “bread basket of Europe,” was his real goal. According to the CIA World Factbook, Ukraine produced 25% of all agricultural output in the former Soviet Union. It also protects the Russian access to a warm water port.

    At one point Lubos Motl mentioned treaties between Russia and the EU and the USA concerning the Ukraine remaining a part of the Russian sphere of influence. These were broken when the EU made a grab for the Ukraine.

    From back in 2014 by Paul Craig Roberts I am not happy with his Anti-jew, anti-capitalism bias BTW, however I think you will find George Soros sticky finger prints all over this mess. He HATES Russia and Putin because they kicked his subversive groups out and put a price on his head. (Did he really think a former KGB operative wouldn’t notice???)

    Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

    It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected democratic government. The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country.

    Politically Ukraine is an untenable aggregation of Ukrainian and Russian territory, because traditional Russian territories were stuck into the borders of the Ukraine Soviet Republic by Lenin and Khrushchev. The Crimea, stuck into Ukraine by Khrushchev, has already departed and rejoined Russia. Unless some autonomy is granted to them, Russian areas in eastern and southern Ukraine might also depart and return to Russia. If the animosity displayed toward the Russian speaking population by the stooge government in Kiev continues, more defections to Russia are likely.

    The Washington-imposed coup faces other possible difficulties from what seems to be a growing conflict between the well-organized Right Sector and the Washington-imposed stooges. If armed conflict between these two groups were to occur, Washington might conclude that it needs to send help to its stooges. The appearance of US/NATO troops in Ukraine would create pressure on Putin to occupy the remaining Russian speaking parts of Ukraine….

    [Roberts has this part correct. It has been used before in many many countries and it is called Structural Adjustment Programs ]
    The Western media, doesn’t tell any more truth about IMF “rescue packages” than it does about anything else. The media reports, and many Ukrainians believe, that the IMF is going to rescue Ukraine financially by giving the country billions of dollars.

    Ukraine will never see one dollar of the IMF money. What the IMF is going to do is to substitute Ukrainian indebtedness to the IMF for Ukrainian indebtedness to Western banks. The IMF will hand over the money to the Western banks, and the Western banks will reduce Ukraine’s indebtedness by the amount of IMF money. Instead of being indebted to the banks, Ukraine will now be indebted to the IMF.

    Now the looting can begin. The IMF loan brings new conditions and imposes austerity on the Ukrainian people so that the Ukraine government can gather up the money with which to repay the IMF. The IMF conditions that will be imposed on the struggling Ukraine population will consist of severe reductions in old-age pensions, in government services, in government employment, and in subsidies for basic consumer purchases such as natural gas. Already low living standards will plummet. In addition, Ukrainian public assets and Ukrainian owned private industries will have to be sold off to Western purchasers.

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    A view on what Russia might do this winter:


    Of course all such analysis depends on the scenario in the writers head, and the presumed objective. Putin might have very different ideas about what he intends to accomplish, but securing that south western area to protect his fleet in Crimea would logically be very high on his list of priorities by our thinking. In warfare there is always that black swan lurking in the shadows for both sides. The Germans were certain we would attack near Calais across the straits of Dover so they held back reserves believing Normandy was a diversion and the real attack would be by Patton and a make believe army they thought he commanded.


  37. RossP says:

    Interesting piece and discussion. The other major factor in the “puzzle” is what China is doing with their massive OBOR project.
    NB. It includes Russia.
    This massive infrastructure project includes not only rail lines but pipelines and probably electricity lines ( do you remember the senior Chinese Energy official floating the idea last year that China could supply Europe with electricity? —seemed far fetched to me at the time, but maybe not.)
    The other thing to remember is that China is a massive agricultural producer –eg. the largest wheat producer in the world. At the moment the agricultural produce is mainly for domestic consumption but it is also relatively inefficiently produced on family farms — the Chinese Government has a major current policy to increase the living standards of farmers.
    I say all this to show that growing links between China , Russia and other eastern European countries should not go un noticed.(ie. I agree with the author of the article) The resources of the combined group could easily make them quite independent of the rest of the world.
    The games Obama and Biden are playing at the moment with baiting Russia, will eventually back fire on the USA.

  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    Five part audio pod-casts on Russia (each segment about 9 – 11 minutes long)

  39. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    Well, that’s an interesting turn of events. UK has the go ahead to shoot… but do the US pilots?…

    (Clearly our ships do, as they just launched some stuff to Yemen…)


    I think it’s about 25 to 35 miles? from Moffett to the international waters zone…

    Silicon Valley having major satellite gear and downlinks (Blue Cube) gets fried early and fast.

    It is my speculation that for a 35 mile run, you can depress trajectory and leave it cooking at full thrust… not enough time to overheat…


    There’s lots of speculation. We know the USAF has a small shuttle launched from Vandenberg. We know there are strong rumors of the Aurora (and now successor) hypervelocity atmospheric plane (asserted to have suborbital hop ability, but who knows). We know hypervelocity air frames are in our inventory (shuttle) and a few decades “old tech”. We know we have hybervelocity via rockets and likely via external combustion wedge engines.

    Frankly, I’d be astounded if we didn’t have Single Stage To Orbit ground launch stealth ability. Were I in charge I’d have had one tested about 20 years ago just to find out any kinks…


    I’ve heard it is ‘man capable’ with the right package in it ( I’d guess a compliment of one for a short flight) but they usually load it up with sensors and cameras for both the intel and for the long duration testing aspect. They really like the robotic aspect of it…


    China tested an anti-sat weapon that worked very well. Small payload that essentially blasted out a circle of ball bearings… that the target strikes and is destroyed. Easily adapted to suborbital warheads, IMHO… Then again, a smart penetrator that gets in front of it would be nice too…


    I hadn’t missed it. (Didn’t mention it here, though.) I’ve mentioned before that Crimea was Russian and is their major warm water port. There’s also a Crimean Tomato or two in my ‘kit’ of seeds as they are cold tolerant. Yet it is the only place in Russia warm enough for reliable tomatoes… So yeah, it’s a critical part of their preparing for the cold strategy (and they ARE preparing for the cold… and they DO know it is coming…).

    Crimea, for the warm water military ports, commercial ports, and to save Russian Marinara! ;-)

    @Ross P.:


    One interesting example was / is a road build across VietNam. It now carries all sorts of goods too and from their Ports to the inland areas of other countries. China is doing the same thing on continental scales.

    The intent is a rail link from manufacturing in China to markets in Europe with goods making the run in less than 2 weeks (preferably down to 1 week eventually). They already had one link layed out and being built to {somewhere… Pakistan?} with combined rail, fuel, electricity, communications, the works all in the right of way. The intent is to establish an infrastructure that is absolutely dominant over any other in terms of carrier cost and efficiency. It assures China trade dominance in an area against all comers (since we arrive via old slow ships ‘the long way’…)


    Just look at Cypress and soon Greece as the IMF models…


    The Russians love the cold. They have equipment designed to work in the worst of it, when their opponent can’t even get coffee hot enough to brew. They learned a great deal fighting Germany in W.W.II (but already knew far more about war in the frozen tundra than anyone else… except maybe the Fins ;-)

    January? So would wait for Obummer to be out before the move? Hmmmm…. I’d think a December Surprise might be more interesting… then again, if the “new guy” doesn’t have any experience yet at moving the levers of power, it does at a decision lag…

  40. E.M.Smith says:



    The inauguration of the president of the United States is a ceremonial event marking the commencement of a new four-year term of a president of the United States. The day a presidential inauguration occurs is known as “Inauguration Day” and occurs on January 20 (or 21st if the 20th is a Sunday).

    So, weather permitting, he CAN go in January and be kicking Obama in the process?

    Let’s see, a 2 week war to capture the rest of Ukraine and “protect Russians”… centered on January 20th… that makes start date about the 12 / 13th or maybe the 14th depending on weather and / or weekends. (Best is to start on a late Friday / early Saturday as the opponent is likely short staffed for the weekend / drunk…. So call it a January 13 prep and launch at about 2 AM technically Jan 14, Kiev time…

    Now Obummer has to decide what to do in his last 6 working days about it, and will choose “nothing, have Kerry complain”… while Hillary can’t do anything yet and Trump doesn’t want to do anything…

    By the time anyone is in position to do anything and interested, it’s over. They can complain to the UN Security Council… oh, wait, Russia has a veto… or NATO, oh, wait, Ukraine isn’t a member, or the EU, oh, wait, they have to have a meeting of everyone and a unanimous vote to decide what cookies to have with tea or is it coffee, oh, another vote…

    Yup, That’s pretty much guaranteed to work.

  41. Gail Combs says:

    Hillary’s response to Putin’s moves

  42. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm interesting idea, what if Russia gave Turkey a green light to move on northern Iraq and eastern Syria in exchange for basing rights and to push the US out of that region. It would also allow Turkey to “solve their Kurd problem” and provide a buffer on the east to protect the remainder of Syria and Russian basing rights.

    Turkey switching sides would drastically weaken NATO


    Turkey ranks #8 in the world for military capacity if a de facto ally of Russia (even though still in NATO ) that would lock up the black sea for Russia and secure her southern belly.


    Mobilized Turkey could field an army the same size as America had in country during the Vietnam war with just over 500 thousand troops. (Total US Army Manpower during Vietnam was just over 1.5 million)


    Historic US Army manpower

  43. E.M.Smith says:


    Only fly in that soup that I see is the ‘sect’ types:

    “Most Muslims in Turkey are Sunnis, forming about 73% of the overall Muslim denominations.”

    So while Russia is “in good” with the Shia, Turkey is dominantly Sunni… IF Putin gives a green light for Turkey to take out Shia in N. Iraq, well, that’s gonna damage relations with Iran and N. Syria / Assad.

    However… Nobody seems to like the Kurds…

    So I could see a ‘go ahead’ to take Kurdish areas AND the “rebel” south of Syria (take over and pacify the Sunni Arab areas with a Sunni Turkish force..) and maybe even the southern Sunni areas of Iran… Put a Turkish buffer between Arab Sunni and the northern Shia… Turkey gets the core of the Caliphate back, Syria and Iraq get a pure Shia State (if smaller…) and Russia gets a firm southern arc from Greece to China… Anyone pissed about it can take it up with Turkey… and since the USA has said attacking the “ISIS” areas is OK, it’s not a ‘bad thing’ from a NATO point of view (at least not enough of one to get anyone to vote to bomb a fellow NATO member…)

    While that is going on, Putin picks up anywhere with 30%+ Russian population and gets the old gang back together again… Crippling NATO eastward expansion and causing the EU to spasm as it is overrun with a few dozen million more ‘refugees’ from all over. Belarus would likely join in with very little coaxing:


    In 2000 Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State. Over 70% of Belarus’s population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian.


    Belarusian is one of the East Slavic languages and shares many grammatical and lexical features with other members of the group. To some extent, Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian are mutually intelligible. Its predecessor stage is known as Old Belarusian (14th to 17th centuries), in turn descended from Old East Slavic (10th to 13th centuries).
    At the 1999 Belarus Census, the Belarusian language was declared as a “language spoken at home” by about 3,686,000 Belarusian citizens (36.7% of the population).[11][12] About 6,984,000 (85.6%) of Belarusians declared it their “mother tongue”. Other sources put the “population of the language” as 6,715,000 in Belarus and 9,081,102 in all countries.[13][14] According to a study done by the Belarusian government in 2009, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian at home, while Belarusian is used by only 11.9% of Belarusians. 29.4% of Belarusians can write, speak, and read Belarusian, while 52.5% can only read and speak it.

    If that looks muddy, it is. In some ways, it ‘s like saying British English vs American Standard English vs Texan… or Old English vs Modern… the languages are VERY similar.

    Belarusian grammar is mostly synthetic and partly analytic, and overall is quite similar to Russian grammar.

    So when things go “bump in the night”, Belarus tends to hug the Russian Bear…

    IFF Russia and Turkey both moved together, it would be impossible for the machinery of NATO and / or the UN and / or the USA to even know what to do before it was already over.

    Biggest problem I see with it is that Putin prefers a slow ‘salami style’ of slicing off bits and then resting and claiming peace, then another nibble over here and stop, then… While this would need to be a ‘Big Bang’ approach.

  44. Gail Combs says:

    Now this is gonna sting!

    NSA whistleblower says DNC hack was not done by Russia, but by U.S. intelligence

    US government whistleblower William Binney threw his hat into the DNC hack ring by stating that the Democratic National Committee’s server was not hacked by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker.

    The motivation of the hacker…concern over Hillary Clinton’s disregard of national security secrets when she used a personal email and consistently lied about it.

    Binney was just getting started with revelations we are sure no main stream media news site will dare to cover. The “Putin did it” fairytale is just to easy for the sheep to follow.

    Binney also proclaimed that the NSA has all of Clinton’s deleted emails, and the FBI could gain access to them if they so wished. No need for Trump to ask the Russians for those emails, he can just call on the FBI or NSA to hand them over….

    Binney surmised that the hack of the DNC could have been coordinated by someone inside the U.S. intelligence community angry over Clinton’s compromise of national security data with her email use.

    And the other point is that Hillary, according to an article published by the Observer in March of this year, has a problem with NSA because she compromised Gamma material. Now that is the most sensitive material at NSA. And so there were a number of NSA officials complaining to the press or to the people who wrote the article that she did that. She lifted the material that was in her emails directly out of Gamma reporting. That is a direct compromise of the most sensitive material at the NSA. So she’s got a real problem there. So there are many people who have problems with what she has done in the past. So I don’t necessarily look at the Russians as the only one(s) who got into those emails.

    Ross over at Tony Heller’s mentioned

    …It appears someone from the NSA hacked the DNC ( not the Russians). Why?
    Because Clinton’s sloppy security ended up with some undercover NSA guys being “outed” overseas. Some escaped detection and others apparently did not. So the last person they want as POTUS is Clinton….

    This seems reasonable since I ran across a comment several months ago by a military guy complaining that Clinton’s wide open server caused major problems in Afghanistan. The enemy KNEW where the troops were headed and were set up and waiting for them so they switched to telling the State Dept AFTER the fact.

  45. Jon K says:

    *Putting tin foil hat on*
    Ok, I know this is a reach, but it sparked something in my mind. Reading this post over at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-18/why-obama-threatening-russia-world-war-3-right-election and wondering what Obama’s intentions might be. I can’t imagine it would be about payback for alleged hacking or election interference, although the stakes for the “elites” are high, but high enough to risk nuclear war? I don’t think so.

    I also remember Obama saying “Trump will not be president” http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35593225 . Does anyone think Obama, or the ruling “elites” would consider the threat of major war as a means to avoid handing over the reins power to Trump? Say Trump wins the election, but a major escalation happens between Nov. 8th and Jan 20th, would Obama use a “Too dangerous for transition right now” defense for holding power past his term?

  46. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jon K:

    Never underestimate the ability of Very (self) Important People to think of themselves as immune from the consequences of their actions, nor to underestimate their opposites. Hubris knows no bounds.

    IMHO, even Obama and Hillary must know they any attempt to “hold on past the sell by date” will be met with strong national rejection…


    As I’ve said a couple of times:

    ANYONE who says they KNOW the hacking was done BY Russia is lying.

    The best, the VERY best, that they could know was that it came from Russia as the last link.

    BUT, Russia has lots of open servers where you can deposit ‘goods’ and some redirection sites that are known to global hacking groups. You also know that anyone with subpoena power can get log files and tracking info from any server in their jurisdiction (or where they have friends). This means you MUST ‘wash’ your link through a site not under their jurisdiction. Functionally, that means China or Russia for most things.

    This is widely known.

    Equally widely known is how to hide your own end of the link. I’ve described it a few times too.

    Make a disposable sock puppet. https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/dongle-pi/

    Got to an open WiFi location (either a cafe, or outside of a Grocery Store – I have 2 chains on each coast that I’ve tested-, or a public library or a very very long list of open WiFi locations…) preferably from a ‘blind’ (van in the parking lot with cantenna http://www.cantenna.com/ ) and then you use those to grab a VPN to a foreign land https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/pushed-into-a-vpn/ (and for some things might even use TOR to further hide transfers

    Now at that point, it’s pretty clear nobody is going to know who you are and where you are really located. By the time they get to Romania and find little in the way of trail but a public WiFi, well, it’s just not going to get back to you. However…

    For really serious things, you then, from that VPN, route through a proxy in a non-jurisdiction country… (VERY helpful to have contacts in the hacker community to point you at the clean ones… or a friendly FSB agent who thinks your cause is good for Mother Russia…) That is why the UEA files ended up ‘served’ from a Russian file sharing site. No subpoena going to get the info on where it came from. (Though in my proposed config above, it would just end up at a VPN that claims to keep no logs and even if THAT were penetrated – say by the telco logging traffic for the government – it just gets back to a WiFi in a shopping center… and even THAT might just be to a sockpuppet router in the parking lot and back out to some other place via a hotspot… so ALL cell traffic must be inspected… but it will be encrypted so ‘good luck with that’…)

    Now realize MY hacking skilz are at least a decade out of date and stale, and I was never a top notch systems cracker anyway. Yeah, I ‘broke into’ some systems (paid and approved by the owner) when folks had locked themselves out, or they didn’t know the root password 5 years after the last guy left, but I usually had physical access and that makes it MUCH easier. So what the really good serious about it guys would do will be much more trick.

    For example, I could easily see using a IR link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RONJA to a router lunchbox set on a rooftop such that the actual ‘hack’ is done from a km away from the WiFi ‘provider’ through free air with an invisible link. Yeah, someone would need to place, and collect, the ‘lunch box’, but that’s not very hard… (Guy in hoodie and no computer sits facing away from cameras – has makeup on anyway – opens lunch box and takes out sandwich… while looking inside box and aligning opticals with remote source and gauge reading ‘connected’ … then slowly eats sandwich for a half hour to an hour, at the end, puts wrapper in box, picks it up and leaves. Anyone looking at surveillance video sees a guy with no computer eating lunch looking at birds…) One can also put an IR window in a vehicle and just park it near the coffee shop. Now you get out of the vehicle and walk away… like go grocery shopping. Couple of hours later, put bags in van and drive away. NO computer ever seen on video. ALL that exists is that your van was there during the hack, but have start and end a bit disjoint, and you also have a few dozen others (or just sync with a movie in the mall… you have your ticket stub and a few dozen witnesses and a LOT of folks come / go at the same time.)

    The point? It’s just way too easy to completely hide your actual point of origin. Wash it through a foreign VPN and then Russia and it could be anyone anywhere.

    So if it WAS Russia, it would be a very dumb Russian.

    BTW, it’s also very easy to take any ‘signature’ of style in hacking and duplicate it, too. Especially now that script kiddies abound. Want to look Russian? Download and run a Russian Script…

    Was it NSA? Wouldn’t surprise me. Also wouldn’t surprise me if it actually WAS Russia. Or China. Or some kid in India with a grudge because Hillary didn’t give him a visa. Or a guy in Virginia who just didn’t like her cussing out his cousin. Or… i.e. it could be anyone, and anywhere, and folks saying “they know” are lying at best.

  47. Gail Combs says:

    Thanks EM,
    I had already figured out that Russia was probably not involved except as a way of laundering the info to remove the footprints.

    I find it EXTREMELY reckless/criminal to accuse Russia without a smidgen of actual evidence and just that plus the USA/Soros/Saudis over throwing the governments in the Ukraine, Egypt and Libya would prevent me from voting for Hillary no matter which side of the isle she was on.

  48. E.M.Smith says:


    The problem is that there WILL be evidence, but you just can’t say that it means what it looks like it says…

    One of the key things you do when cracking a box, is to hide who you are and where you are, the folks who are really good at it then plant some information to distract and mislead. Not enough to be caught or even noticed at first look, they must ‘work for it’ to really buy it. So your first links are completely hidden in redirection and wireless hops, traffic then goes encrypted to your Russian puppet box, and on IT you leave a bit of stuff so that it looks like you are actually working from it. Copies of the data you extracted, the tools you used, maybe add some entries to log files so it looks like you had a local login / work session / log out. Now you HOPE nobody works back to that box, but if they do, they find “what they expect”. Only a few “mistakes” in not fully scrubbing the log files and some data left behind because you had to log off and run away too fast… Erasing all the evidence that you were really driving the machine remotely.

    That’s why you can suppose it was Russian IF it came from Russia, but until you see the guy who was driving the box arrested, you don’t really know.

    Caveat: It is possible that whoever did the hack was really a moron and left a clear trail back to themselves and did NOT bother to prevent or erase log file entries while using the same attack system over many days such that they were able to be monitored and identified. One would need to be pretty dense to do that… but then they again ought to be ‘up on charges’ already…

    And yes, it is EXTREMELY reckless to accuse without hard proof.

  49. H.R. says:

    “That’s why you can suppose it was Russian IF it came from Russia, but until you see the guy who was driving the box arrested, you don’t really know.”

    I read that today, the Czech Police arrested a Russian as “the Hacker.”

    How convenient (sarc) right after the debate. I am inclined to believe that
    a) That’s not the guy
    b) Every kid and his brother had hacked the Clinton server. Word gets around in those circles, eh?

  50. Larry Ledwick says:

    Commence rattling swords – Election Day minus 19

  51. Larry Ledwick says:

    Related on the Pacific front :
    Duterte declares The US lost and aligns himself with China.
    This is not the China Pivot Obama wanted but the inevitable result of his missteps and inaction in Asia.

  52. Gail Combs says:

    Dr Paul Craig Roberts (Yes I know he is antisemitic)
    Has two good articles


    In a nut shell:
    “Would you rather face a situation in which a few women were groped, or be vaporized in nuclear war? If you don’t know the correct answer, you are too stupid to be alive.”

    I am going to have to steal that!

  53. E.M.Smith says:

    “Claimed to be groped” please… we don’t have video tape of it nor witnesses…

  54. Gail Combs says:

    That was a quote from Roberts. And yes I would change it slightly as you did.

    He goes on to say

    As for Trump’s womanizing, no male believes it who has seen Trump’s wife, clearly the most beautiful and elegant woman on earth who is highly intelligent and speaks five languages. A man with a woman like this does not need any other woman. It is strictly impossible for Trump to improve on his wife. He has The One.

    I think Roberts was making the point that even if you did believe the worse crap the MSM has been saying about Trump it still does not come close to the very real evidence that Hillary is placing the USA in the position of almost certain nuclear war with Russia.

    It reminds me of this old e-mail:

    It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates.

    Candidate A – Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He’s had two Mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

    Candidate B – He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

    Candidate C – He is a decorated war hero. He’s a vegetarian, doesn’t smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

    Which of these candidates would be your choice? Decide first, no peeking, then scroll down for the answer.
    Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
    Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

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