Tag Archive for Putin

Russian Retaliation Begins: Covert Russian Attack Wipes Out Massive Munitions Depot in the Ukraine

The Russians have exhibited great restraint and diplomatic poise in recent years against the growing anti-Russian hysteria in the United States.  Not only has Russia endured sanctions, but also having its aircraft shot down in Syria and a massive NATO build-up on its border.  Russian security and sovereignty are being directly threatened for the high crimes of defending its historical geopolitical sphere, attempting to wipe out brutal Islamic terrorists, and rejecting globalism.  However, this week has marked a turning point in US-Russian relations.  The sanctions the US Congress approved against Russia based not on fact, but on hysteria and massive political propaganda pushed Russia to finally begin to retaliate.  The most visible overt action was the expulsion of 755 US diplomats from Russia.  However, Russian covert actions have by their nature been less visible, but nonetheless potent and we can expect more to come. Read more

Post Coup Aftermath in Turkey

What can we expect next from Turkey?  Although, elements of the coup are still holding out in Ankara, the coup leadership has allegedly fled Turkey by helicopter to Greece and asked for asylum.  All indications now are that Erdogan will remain in power and the coup failed.  This is bad news for Turkey and the rest of the world.

The immediate aftermath is clear.  Erdogan’s security forces are now busy arresting a massive number of military personnel that are believed to have supported the coup.  Once complete, this will consolidate Erdogan’s power over the military, which is has already deeply purged.  Further, the failure of the coup due to “popular support” will only increase his power, which will accelerate Turkey’s descent into a Islamic State.  In short, the idea of a secular Turkey died last night with the failed coup.  Read more

Putin’s revenge: Did Russian Intelligence Support Coup in Turkey?

Events are still unfolding and it is too early to make any final conclusions.  However, it is clear that a military coup in Turkey is underway to overthrow Erdogan.  As of now, all indications support the CIA was completely caught off guard and US was happy with the Islamic leaning Erdogan’s administration.  As such, it is unlikely the CIA had anything to do with the coup.  However, there are some indications that Russian intelligence helped back the military coup to oust Erdogan.  Did Putin just get the last laugh…again?

Russia-Turkey relations have warmed remarkably in the last two weeks, but was this because Russia knew change was coming?  It is also quite coincidental that US Secretary of State John Kerry just met with his Russian counterpart.  Further, Russia correctly recognized Turkey was continuing to back Islamic extremists in Syria against Russian interests.  Turkey is/was preparing a major military offensive to back Islamic extremists to retake Aleppo from Syrian forces in hopes of forcing Syrian President Assad out of power.  This was a Russian redline.  However, Russia did not want a direct conflict with Turkey and potentially all of NATO.  Nonetheless, Russia could not and would not allow Turkey to directly intervene in a decisive way as I previously warned.  As such, Russia needed a way to counter Erdogan’s policy to overthrow Assad and stop it without a bigger war.  I should also mention Putin didn’t take the fact Turkey shot down a Russian jet lightly.

Short of a major war, a coup became an attractive option for derailing Washington’s Middle East Policy, defeating ISIL/ISIS, and countering Turkish actions targeting Syria and its President Assad.  This appears to have culminated in a Russia covert operation to support the overthrow of Erdogan.  Whether or not the coup proves successful, one will look back and see this is probably the last best effort to return Turkey to a secular state and defeat radical Islamists hijacking the country with a minimal amount of bloodshed.  I find it fitting that Erdogan, a radical extremist that has backed Islamic jihadists found himself potentially one run out of office, not Assad.

I can’t understate the implications of this coup.  If successful, ISIL/ISIS will get hammered by unimpeded Russia, Kurdish, and Syrian forces.  Without Turkey’s covert support, ISIL/ISIS will face near certain military defeat in Syria.  However, if the coup fails, expect all hell to break out across the region.  Erdogan will return and his crackdown and purges will murder many people as radical Islamists solidify their grip on power.  Any hopes for a secular Turkey will be dead.  ISIL/ISIS will also get the full backing of Turkey in Syria and it is likely this will lead to plummeting relations with Russia and an outbreak of a major war.  This is just the beginning of an unraveling of the entire region.  Events will continue spiral out of control across the globe and the US.  I will continue to update on this as events unfold.

Guiles Hendrik

July 15, 2016

Massive and devastating escalation of War in Syria looms as Syrian Forces backed by Russia are poised to retake Aleppo: Saudi Arabia and Turkey prepare to deploy armies to Syria in response

This is an alert to all of my readers of a potentially imminent global crisis. We are not at the point of a full blown crisis yet, but I am telling everyone they need to not get, but, BE ready for things rapidly to turn very bad within 30-60 days.  I will be closely monitoring this situation and will provide updates as necessary.

While most Americans are distracted by the Super Bowl and the disgusting Jerry Springeresque political theater we call an election process, the world is rapidly descending toward a major, devastating war that will ultimately involve more Americans than both Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Make no mistake, the situation developing in the Middle East is extremely grave and the US government has lost all control. I have warned repeatedly about ignoring the last off ramps to peace in the Middle East and what the result would be. Well, now another prediction has come to pass as Russian backed Syrian troops are poised to retake Aleppo from the murderous Islamic savages and Saudi Arabia and Turkey prepare to militarily join the fight.

One quick look at a map will demonstrate the strategic significance of Aleppo for rebels fighting in Syria. Most critical to the mix of rebel elements still holding Aleppo is that it provides access to key supply lines originating in Turkey. If Aleppo falls, the primary rebel supply line will be cut and the rebels will face a near imminent defeat. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar are the primary backers of rebel forces in Syria and know this means their policy is about to collapse and Shia Iran will become the region’s hegemon. This also petrifies countries like Israel that have remained mostly quiet about the civil war even though they too are deeply involved. As a result, these countries are preparing to commit military forces to prevent Aleppo’s fall. As I have repeatedly warned, this will escalate the conflict significantly and rapidly. See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/?s=syria

Make no mistake; the US has been on the wrong side of this war. I welcome the advance of Russian backed Syrian forces smashing the rebel forces, which are primarily composed of radical Islamic extremists that have been brutally murdering thousands of innocent people to include Christians. However, as I have repeatedly predicted, if one side in the proxy war primarily between Iran and Saudi Arabia gains a decisive advantage, it would force the other to quadruple down (they have already doubled and tripled) on their policy. At this point, that means putting their troops in actually face to face battle. As I warned for years and literally predicted, Saudi Arabia has now announced it is preparing to deploy its troops to Syria. See: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/general-saudi-arabia-set-deploy-troops-syria-160205042542486.html

The arrival of Gulf Arab armies in Syria will be in a single word, catastrophic. The US long ago lost effective control of the conflict it in large part created, but MUST stop this deployment or risk the outbreak of a full scale regional and possibly world war. The notion that an alliance of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait, the same countries that have collectively spent billions arming and supporting ISIL, will now move to destroy ISIL defies all logic. In fact, it is so politically ridiculous that it is in fact a thinly veiled lie. Instead, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will lead an army into Syria with only one goal and that is to overthrow President Assad. Rather than fighting the radical terrorist elements such as ISIL, they will back them by recasting them as “moderate rebels.” Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Hezbollah will not be fooled by this and proportionally escalate. This sets the stage for a massive and devastating escalation. Read more

While we were distracted WWIII draws closer thanks to Turkey: Some advice for Russia

Let me be upfront.  Turkey is not an ally and needs to be kicked out of NATO immediately.  Turkey is led by a highly corrupt and fanatical zealot that is playing a suicidal game of chicken with the Russians.  By itself, Turkey would get justifiably stomped by Russia and that would be the end of it.  However, as a NATO ally, Turkey has the ability to suck the US and the world into WWIII by literally picking a fight with Russia.  Most recently, Turkey invaded Iraq and so far has refused to remove its forces against Baghdad’s wishes.  Iraq is now in the process of requesting Russian support to forcibly remove those forces.  This, without doubt, will lead to a huge escalation that hopefully, Europe and the US will have enough sense to distance itself from.  Nonetheless, Turkey’s leader Erdogan is hell bent on provoking a war as a way to solidify his waning grasp on power in Turkey.  Although, I am quite confident Russia has done its homework, let me pontificate for a moment on some points for Russia to consider.

First, Russia can’t be seen as weak and being bullied by Turkey.  Generally this leads directly to escalation, but I am pretty comfortable in saying Russia is the wrong country to pick in this particular game of brinkmanship.  My analysis concludes that NATO will not back Turkey should Russia retaliate in a future confrontation with Turkey over Syria.  As such, Russia should be diplomatic, but be ready to protect their assets with their full military might should they again be threatened by Turkey.  This is a dangerous gamble, but consider that no country in Europe right now looks at Turkey favorably.  Read more

How to Defeat ISIL: Civil-Military Strategy 101

It comes as no surprise to my readers that not only is ISIL still alive and well as a terrorist state, but arguably has grown in power since the United States began military operations “against” it.  I have routinely published on the fact that the US has no strategy and its leaders are an amateurish joke.  Further, I have been documenting for years that ISIL was born and bred by the CIA as a proxy to serve elitist interests and therefore won’t be “destroyed” anytime soon.  Since then, not only have senior US leaders such as the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, General Flynn confirmed this fact, but Russia has called our bluff and has shown in just a matter of weeks how quickly ISIL could be smashed if the US actually had a policy to defeat the terrorist nation.  Now that the truth that the US created ISIL is out in the open source and ISIL has predictably grown out of control, should the US actually decide that wiping out the terrorist army they created would be wise, today I discuss what that strategy would entail.  Ironically, even a very general strategy is far more detailed than anything the US has so far put together.  To illustrate just how incompetent our senior leadership is in this regard, Hillary Clinton recently announced that her strategy to defeat ISIL was to “defeat ISIL.”  Really?  It is a wonder ISIL doesn’t control more territory with such moronic imbeciles at the helm.  In order to help these moronic policy makers and senior military officers, let me lay out a basic strategic plan against ISIL.

To begin, let me dispense with your failed Irregular Warfare (IW) approaches, which policy makers love because they think they can win a war on the cheap.  The historical record is quite clear; IW does not decisively win wars, it creates them.  This distinction in military manuals and training unfortunately is all but absent.  Only through determined deliberate action can a war be decisively won.  Other than in a few niche applications, arming, training, and equipping proxy armies has never been successful.  Cyber-attacks, psychological warfare, economic development, and public relations campaigns are equally ineffective against a violent enemy willing to kill to achieve its goals.  “Winning the hearts and minds” is complete bullshit and always has been.  This fiction only existed in political circles too scared to acknowledge reality and the brutality that must accompany warfare.  Anything short of brutality and violence is not warfare and should never be conflated with war.  In fact, if lesser means are suitable, then they should be exhausted.  Understanding this would be far healthier for any nation and would lead to a far less liberal use of pseudo-warfare, which is every bit as violent, but just dressed up for political spin.  Now that we have dispensed this modern “pseudo-warfare” and IW, which are completely fictitious shams respective of actual military strategies, let’s discuss what a real war against ISIL looks like.  I warn you…anything short of the below will only delay a far more brutal and bloody war that ultimately will be fought indiscriminately anyhow or lead to a decisive defeat for the Christian West.

Defeating ISIL like any other enemy requires a full spectrum approach.  On the political front, Saudi Arabia and Qatar must be prevented from providing any type of material support to ISIL.  In particular, until firm compliance was established, all military sales and forms of foreign aid to the said countries must be immediately ceased.  Turkey must also be immediately reigned in and all economic support via the purchase of black market oil must be halted.  If Turkey continued to purchase ISIL produced black market oil, pressure should be ratcheted up against Erdogan’s administration to include exclusion from NATO and the EU as well as economic sanction.  Turkey must also be forced to accept Kurdish military action against ISIL in Syria by reaffirming their right to defend Turkish sovereign territory against Kurdish terrorist factions such as the PKK.  Israel also needs to stay out of it and stop bombing Syrian positions, which by default help ISIL.  Respective of Russia, the US needs to work jointly with Russia to share intelligence and coordinate their military offensives to achieve the maximum impact against ISIL.  Option B would be for the US to completely stay out of the fight with ISIL, completely cease support to any parties involved, let the primary actors in the Middle East fight it out, and then step back in once the smoke clears.  I can entertain either option, which honestly are both viable, but for today’s discussion, I am going to focus on US intervention. Read more

America is fed up with Obama’s lies: America puts boots on ground in Syria as predicted by LMS

It should come as no shock to our readers that the Third Iraq War President Obama initiated has already faltered.  As predicted, the strategy (or lack thereof see: http://www.blackboxwire.com/2014/10/11/islamic-extremism-and-what-lies-ahead-part-ii-the-war-on-isis-and-syria/) did not achieve the desired results so now the Department of Defense (DoD), no doubt testing the waters for the White House, is requesting boots on the ground.  As we warned, mission creep is a dangerous thing and would plague this operation.  What started with just a handful of “advisors,” grew into airstrikes in Iraq and then Syria, then over a thousand troops “on the ground,” and now US troop levels in Iraq will soon reach 3,000.  When this new batch of advisors fails to stop the growth of ISIL, expect Obama to retract another “promise” and have “no choice,” but to commit US combat personnel to the fight in Iraq.  Soon, just like in Vietnam, Obama will be steadily sucked into another full blown war in Iraq that the US will neither win nor be able to afford.

This introductory paragraph could have been snatched from today’s headlines detailing how President Obama walked back his repeated promises not to put American “boots on the ground” in Iraq. However, it is a verbatim cut and paste from an article I wrote just over a year ago predicting EXACTLY what is occurring.  See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/11/18/update-on-the-third-iraq-war-against-isilisisisaqsyriaetc/#more-768  Not so ironically, you didn’t hear the radio and talk show hosts and other “enlightened” pundits detailing this foreseeable reality a year ago because they are hacks.  However, today the airwaves have been alive with people taking notice.  Savage, Hannity, Beck, Wilkow, O’Reilly, etc. all have been detailing how the President lied and how the strategy they supported to bomb ISIL has not worked.  I say better late than never to the party, but American’s need to wake up now. Read more

Flashpoint Armenia: Why you should care

Beyond the very real genocide of Armenians by Turks, which has been highly politicized recently, few of us have any real knowledge of Armenia.  In fact, many people couldn’t even find Armenia on a map and certainly do not view it as becoming a strategic geopolitical issue.  That may be about to change.  In another covert escalation of force designed to undermine Russia, the CIA has been supporting another “colour” revolution, like it did in the Ukraine, to break away a long time Russian ally and former Soviet satellite.  Although, media reports generally will only speak of protests over things like corruption and electricity prices, make no mistake, the hidden US agenda of regime change is once again afoot.  The Russians know this and so does the US.  http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/27106463.html Like Crimea, Russia views Armenia as geographically strategic and will retaliate proportionally if the US continues with its covert revolution. Read more

US Liberty movement should take a page from the Clinton playbook and seek foreign support from Russia and other foreign nations

Fort Ross, California

Fort Ross, California

Seeking foreign support for liberty minded political movements may sound counterintuitive, but it will prove critical in the coming years.  Having studied successful political movements and revolutions globally, the historical precedent for requiring foreign support is sound.  In fact, if one has studied the history of the American Revolution, one will quickly realize just how integrally linked the liberty movement is with foreign support.  We like to think we alone whipped the British, but it was the French intervention that sealed the final defeat of General Cornwallis’ British Army at Yorktown, Virginia.  Today, support from our Old World allies is unlikely, but welcome; however, support from those that challenge or are being attacked by globalist interventionism is far more likely.  Read more

Putin vs Obama Part III: Why Russia will win

Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote: “For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.”  Kissinger, like him or not, is spot on in his succinct assessment of Obama’s policy for Russia.  As the West descends into another reckless and disastrous war in the Middle East, Putin must be quietly laughing knowing that very soon the US will soon have its Soviet moment of collapse.  In fact, to strategically defeat the US, all Russia must do is wait for the utter mismanagement of our nation to bring about its implosion.  In this third and final installment of our exclusive analysis of the conflicting Russo-American policies, it is clear that in the first major post-Cold War struggle between Russia and the US, it will be Russia that scores a victory in the Ukraine crisis. Read more

Putin versus Obama Part II: Who is the better leader?

US President Barack Obama (L) holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 summit at the Lough Erne resort near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, on June 17, 2013. The conflict in Syria was set to dominate the G8 summit starting in Northern Ireland on Monday, with Western leaders upping pressure on Russia to back away from its support for President Bashar al-Assad.  AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama (L) holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 summit at the Lough Erne resort near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, on June 17, 2013. The conflict in Syria was set to dominate the G8 summit starting in Northern Ireland on Monday, with Western leaders upping pressure on Russia to back away from its support for President Bashar al-Assad. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

In my on-going series analyzing the growing rift between the US and Russia, it is important to evaluate a nation’s leadership.  Specifically, let’s look at the qualifications and performance to date of Presidents Putin and Obama.  Before we go any further, it is necessary to lay down a few ground rules of the debate.  First of all, I want to dispel the myth that a person can be of mediocre intellect, but a good president as long as they have a good staff.  This oft stated notion is a ridiculous excuse used by political parties to mitigate criticism that their brainless candidate is not up to the task.  Further, it is true that no one man has total control of a government, but to say that the leaders of Russia and the US have their hands tied and do not have real power would be a poorly informed lie.  In fact, both presidents have substantial power and influence over both foreign and domestic affairs and craft geopolitical strategy that affects the world.  If there wasn’t truth to this, then why would we ascribe so much prestige upon leaders like Thatcher, Reagan, Lincoln, and Washington?  Due to the real power and influence presidents wield, it is important to assess who has demonstrated the ability to more effectively lead and use that power.  Based on that evaluation, you are better able to analyze and predict the actions and ultimate outcomes of any potential or on-going political conflicts between the US and Russia. Read more

Putin versus Obama Part I: Are they really so different?

obama-putinMuch of the rhetoric behind the push to create a new Cold War centers on Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The complicit media and the Obama Administration have pulled no punches in smearing President Putin and casting him as the most evil of tyrants and a political thug imprisoning opposition, seizing assets, enriching himself on the government’s dime, and intimidating reporters and political dissidents.  In fact, much of this is probably true; however, before we cast the first stone and judge Putin as evil incarnate and start World War III, perhaps some national retrospection of our own actions and character would be in order.  Let’s step back and evaluate America’s actions and consider whether or not we may have lost the moral high ground and then,…just perhaps, should rethink our policy, attitudes, and actions toward Russia. Read more

Failed Launch of Russian Rocket Carrying Advanced GPS Satellites No Accident

Understanding geopolitical maneuvers implies recognition that timing of events globally are not coincidental. The latest example is the failure of the latest Russian rocket launch carry highly advanced satellites to bolster Russia’s own GPS array so that it does not have to rely on US military satellites and infrastructure. This failure of a proven Russian rocket system only days after Russia announced it was ceasing space based cooperation with the USA is not accidental. Instead, this was the latest take down in a growing number of high profile cyber attacks launched by the US and perhaps the first major military strike against Russian in a new era of warfare.

Ominously, the Russia’s cyber capability is advanced and capable of significant attacks on a large scale against targets inside the US unlike countries such as Syria and Iran. One should expect Russia to see the launch failure as a clandestine military attack regardless of whether or not it actually was. Again, perception is reality and Putin cannot afford the public perception that Russia’s vaunted space program is incompetent. In retaliation, Russia will strike back. Whether Russia uses cyber warfare or not is yet to be seen, but Russia will exact a price for the loss. As I have warned, Russia recognizes that Afghanistan is an easy place to exact revenge and bleed the US so the US military should not expect a smooth retreat this year. Further, our military space launches and vulnerable satellites may become logical targets for Russian retaliation so don’t be surprised if months from now our satellites experience failure or a new NGA satellite being launched fails to make it to orbit.

Washington is playing a dangerous game with Russia but fails to recognize the US has far more to lose. Even more disturbing is the fact that the White House has repeatedly been outmaneuvered and beaten by Russia on every foreign policy initiative and appears paralyzed under Obama’s leadership to decisively act. US policy makers have shown no ability to differentiate between the capability threat of countries like Iraq and Iran and those possessed by Russia. The White House appears drunk on hubris and forgets that it cannot bully everyone on the playground. Historically, this hubris has led to strategic miscalculations of massive proportions leading to events like World War I. Even in the best case scenario, the US gets beat geopolitically and another chunk of America’s little remaining influence and prestige is eroded away. As such, expect to see a continued resurgent Russia and a waning US.

Russia Laughs at Obama’s Red Line in Russia: What’s Next for Relations?

President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry have to be the laughing stock of the foreign policy world.  In less than a year they have managed to draw two “Red Lines” only to have them almost immediately ignored, crossed, and forgotten.  With this track record the word impotent comes to mind in reference to US Foreign Policy and particularly President (Carter) Obama.  Not to be trifled with, President Obama and his partners within the EU managed to order the assets of a handful of Russians frozen, obviously leaving Putin quaking in his finely crafted leather shoes.  The act is almost comical in that it seems to show even less resolve than if Obama and the EU had done nothing.  After all, freezing the non-existent US assets of a couple dozen Russians long after they hid and/or offshored anything of value can only be viewed in one of two ways.  Either the US is as weak as it appears or the US never intended to truly oppose Russia’s aims to annex Crimea and this is all political show so that they can say they “stood up to Putin.”  Further, at least one of victims of Washington’s sanctions appears to have nothing to do with events in the Ukraine and everything to do with Russia’s Christian grounded stance against homosexuality, which at least someone high up in the Obama Administration took exception.  This random list of targets unrelated to the events in the Ukraine undermines any shred of legitimacy the sanctions purportedly were imbued with.  Either way, Putin has to be concluding that at this point the US and the EU have zero resolve when it comes to actually opposing Russia’s annexation of Crimea.  Nonetheless, Putin, the same man that would order a former Russian defector assassinated with a rare radioactive isotope placed in his cocktail in a fine London bar, is not likely to take Obama’s cheap shot lightly.

Now that Washington has proved it couldn’t resist taking a cheap shot, what can we expect Russia’s response to be?  First of all, Putin has shown that unlike Obama, his actions speak for themselves and he doesn’t need to talk.  Since Washington and the EU attacked Russia financially, it is likely Russia will respond financially.  Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that any sanctions introduced by Washington against Moscow will have a “boomerang” effect.  Senior Russian Presidential Advisor, Sergey Glazyev, one of the individual’s sanctioned by Obama’s executive order, suggested Russia would dump US treasuries and walk away from the US Dollar as a reserve currency.  It is questionable how much of an impact this would have, but it certainly wouldn’t help the US economically and add to the growing list of countries dumping the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  American businesses operating in Russia may also suffer retaliation in the form of their assets being frozen, confiscated, or shutdown.  Further, Russia has the ability to call in billions in debt from the Ukraine and cut supplies of gas to the Ukraine and EU.  Cutting gas supplies to the EU would certainly hurt Russia too, but this logic is fundamentally flawed if one believes that it will deter Russia.  Russia is renowned for its ability to suffer austerity.  In fact, one of the critical failures in US-Russia policy has been the inability of our senior policy makers to recognize Russia’s ability to endure extreme hardships and willingly cut off its nose, leg and hand to spite its face if it means victory can be assured.  The US and EU are not willing to go to those extremes so, by that fact alone, Russia will prevail in any developing economic stand-off.

Respective of Russian natural gas and oil, I produced a paper a half a decade ago that looked into the future political ramifications of Russian geopolitical power as Western economies waned and Asian economies waxed.  What became apparent was that once Russia completed pipelines in its east that could link their large gas and oil fields to China and coastal ports in the Pacific, Russia would gain significant leverage in what had previously been a status quo relationship with Europe between supply and demand.  Until recently, Europe has always felt safe in that at worst, Russia would only cut gas supplies during a political crisis for a short period of time because Russia needed the money as much as Europe needed the gas.  However, with pipelines now directly extending supply to China, Russia is more than able to divert supplies from Europe, southeast to China.  This is a game changer, which increases Russia’s geopolitical maneuver space.  China welcomes this and is happy to buy all of the petrol resources it can obtain from Russia so that its supplies are more reliable.  Further, China will be likely to back any move that drives Russia to sell to China at more favorable rates, which to date, have been below what Russia was willing to agree to sell at.  China would also see the advantage of a marginalized Russia that dumps the US Dollar and is willing to trade directly in their respective currencies.  Remember, China seeks to replace the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency and sees that transition as critical to achieving super power status and eclipsing the US.  Considering the above, it is highly likely that China will not just quietly support Russia, but actively back Russia against the US and EU.

Russia also has the ability to increase the sale of military weapons to countries such as Iran and Syria.  In particular, the S-300 air defense system would be a highly sought after leap ahead in technology for both the Iranian and Syrian militaries.  This system alone would be penetrable by American airpower; however, it would significantly increase the complexities and cost of carrying out any type of air attack against either nation.  Russia could also dangle the idea of selling an even more advanced S-400 air defense system, which if fielded, would mean that US would be at a high risk of losing significant numbers of aircraft in the event they attacked any nation using the system.  Respective of countries such as Israel, the S-400 would make it all but impossible for them to successfully carrying out an air attack making any suggestion of the sale of the weapon system a serious threat.  Respective of the civil war in Syria, Russia could begin sending ship loads of various weapons and even advisors and troops to support President Assad.  This would tip the balance in favor of Assad just as his army is gaining ground on the rebels making it possible to achieve a decisive victory.  Ensuring Assad’s victory would have the added benefit of snubbing Washington while stopping Qatari efforts to build a gas pipeline to Europe that would reduce the European reliance on Russian gas.

Finally, among numerous options for retaliation, Russia has the ability to make NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan extremely painful.  First of all, Russia has the ability to shut down all supply routes to and from Afghanistan from the north.  This would disrupt NATO’s ability to sustain the current forces in Afghanistan and retard efforts under way to retreat with all of its equipment in tow.  Further, it would force NATO to pay premium prices to Pakistan to move all of its equipment out of the country via Karachi.  The Karachi route is extremely dangerous and once it is clear that the US must use this route, the Taliban could concentrate its attacks along the entire stretch of this road network.  Even darker is Russia’s proven, albeit very covert ability to provide the Taliban with substantial support and weapons.  Should the Russians decide to really make life a living hell for the US, expect to see the Taliban suddenly supplied with more sophisticated weaponry capable of destroying armored vehicles from long range or even engaging NATO aircraft and drones.  Imagine what NATO’s retreat from Afghanistan would look like as troop numbers dwindle and the remaining isolated outposts begin to be overrun, supply convoys are wiped out by sophisticated  laser beam riding anti-tank weapons, and aircraft are suddenly being shot down by the modern Russian equivalent of the Stinger missile.

In truth, the US is far more exposed than many realize.  Should Washington decide to ratchet up pressure on Russia by continuing to try and subvert Russia’s historic sphere of interest, expect Putin to begin playing cards he has so far politely held in reserve.  Putin’s trump cards are for, let’s say, more uncivilized forms of diplomacy, which Washington now seems to want to engage.  Obama’s thug style Chicago politics may have worked within the confines of the decrepit US political system, but Barry will be sorely mistaken if he thinks he even remotely approaches a match for Putin in the global arena.  As Putin has repeatedly demonstrated with very little talk and decisive action, Washington is a paper tiger that not just lacks teeth, but a functioning brain.

 

By Guiles Hendrik

March 23, 2014

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