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
Tag Archive for Russia
Obama’s pick to head CENTCOM testifies his strategy to fight ISIL will be to use the previous failed strategy to fight ISIL. Can it get any worse for the military?
President Obama picked General Joseph Votel, the current commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), to succeed General Lloyd Austin as the new head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) pending Senate approval. This was a genuine opportunity for Obama to change the strategic trajectory of US failures in the Middle East. However, after hearing Gen. Votel’s comments, I can say without any doubt the man is an incompetent commander that was politically chosen as a policy “yes man.” In short, Gen. Votel does not have a viable strategy to achieve victory and therefore should be fired as a commander, not promoted. Gen. Votel will not be the man to defeat ISIL unless he takes credit for the good work the Russians, Kurds, and Syrians are doing. Even then, I have full faith and confidence that the White House will manage to scuttle Russia’s successes too for the time being. What it means if Gen. Votel is confirmed by the Senate is that you can expect more of the same series of failures and continued perpetual indecisive wars across the globe. I urge every one of you to make it clear to your senators that Gen. Votel is NOT the man for the job or he will be confirmed and you will see another one of my predictions come to pass. Tell your senators we need a CENTCOM commander that will break from the failed strategies of the last 15 years. Congress must know Gen. Votel is incapable of charting a strategy for decisive victory, which our nation requires.
I am sure that some of my readers, which are well meaning, but loyal brainwashed company men of the military establishment, are cussing me for my blasphemy against such a vaunted general. However, I can say that anyone that places stock in military commanders that fail to achieve victory against a force as inept as the Taliban is a qualified idiot. Further, if they are currently serving in the military and support these professed students of what I refer to as a defeatist military strategy, they are suicidal. How weak minded must someone be to buy into the rhetoric that the Taliban are a super human force that would require a generation to defeat? Only by choosing to lose could that be a reality for the US military. This is strategic dereliction and I will not accept it even if the best Army post graduate students are too institutionalized to see the truth. At times, it is far more effective to be tactful in commentary; however, this is a case where blunt honesty is needed because lives will be lost because of this mockery of a commander. Incompetence left to its own devices is forgivable, but I will give no quarter to incompetence that seeks the power to sign the death certificate of a single life.
Gen. Votel was in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) before taking over SOCOM and should know that our current strategy of training rebels isn’t working unless you are taking into account the number of ISIL and Taliban fighters we armed, trained, and equipped. Gen. Votel’s professional pedigree sounds superb until you consider “brilliant” losers like General McChrystal came from JSOC as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the superbly professional organization JSOC has become and can say from working with their phenomenal operators around the globe that they are “tactically” the best in the business. However, the special operations cult worship has to end on Capitol Hill. Special operators regularly do take on missions of vital strategic importance, but they do not decisively operate at the strategic level. The distinction is crucial. Special operators are an extremely valuable warfighting tool, but have become the defacto tool for supporting the flawed notion that you can fight a war on the cheap and win decisively with a handful of special operators training foreign armies and rebels. Part of this comes from the fact many special operators trace their roots to traditional Army Special Forces units where their primary “special” mission is training and advising indigenous forces to support COIN and Foreign Internal Defense (FID) missions even if the historical data now overwhelmingly shows the COIN and FID tactics and techniques don’t work. The bottom line is unless said special operators are launching a strategic nuclear strike, the strategy simply isn’t working at a strategic level and over 15 years of failed war attest to this fact. Neither JSCOC nor SOCOM is designed or capable of giving us a decisive strategic victory against ISIL. Only, a through a true total war of attrition will you finally turn back and utterly defeat the Islamic Holy War against the West.
Specific to Gen. Votel’s demonstrated incompetence, in testimony Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Votel told lawmakers that he supports moving forward with a revised effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels battling Islamic State militants. Gen. Votel described the “new” approach as a “thickening effort” as opposed to just raising a large force. What that exactly means is anyone’s guess, but this much is clear. This is the same “old” counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy the US has been peddling since Vietnam, which has never led to anything but total strategic failure. This is repeating a failed and completely discredited strategy and expecting a different result, which is insanity. Gen. Votel should know that there are no “moderate” rebels that will effectively challenge ISIL. He should also know that the only effective fighting force has been the Kurds and Washington is about to double cross them again on behalf of the Turks, which will blow back horribly on our anti-ISIL efforts. How, after billions of dollars were spent overtly and covertly on the failed strategy to arm, train, and equip rebels to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria, can Gen. Votel honestly believe it will be different this time? Even Gen. Austin, the retiring CENTCOM commander, admitted in Congressional testimony the entire plan only trained four of five fighters! Not even Gen. Votel can be this naïve. Only someone that has sacrificed their integrity at the gates of politics would continuing such a ridiculous policy be possible.
Gen. Votel’s testimony did not improve. He went on to testify, “But I do think it is helpful to have people who have been trained by us, who have the techniques, who have the communications capability, and the resources to link back into our firepower.” The trained fighters, Votel explained, present the Islamic State with added “dilemmas.” This is a very disturbing conclusion by the general considering the historical record shows that US trained forces repeatedly failed when tested in battle and also defected in most cases without even a fight. Worse yet, these indigenous forces took all of our training, techniques, communications, and firepower to the enemy when they defected. In fact, based on the US track record, it would be more accurate to say that it is only helpful to our enemies.
Gen. Votel’s lack of integrity and or lack of good sense will rightfully earn him the blame for the failure of US strategy (or lack thereof) in the Middle East against ISIL. Mark my words, Obama has never accepted responsibility for his growing list of strategic failures and isn’t going to start now. Gen. Votel is signing on to a disastrous strategy that cannot work. Obama will hang this around Gen. Votel’s neck just like he has done with nearly every other commander. If Gen. Votel is even a bit savvy as a strategic thinker, he should clearly see that he is being set up as bad as the disgraced General Petraeus and run for the door or get a new strategy right now.
As with most articles I write, I try not to just criticize and point out flaws, but offer solutions. This article is no different. The links at the bottom of this article are a short list of key articles I have written that accurately predicted the progression to the state of affairs as it stands now in the Middle East with regards to ISIL. A key part of those predictions has been to repeatedly warn that President Obama’s strategy was never a “strategy” and would ultimately fail in a very predictable fashion, which has played out exactly as I predicted over two years ago. This should serve as my bona fides for correctly assessing and accurately predicting events years in advance. Second, I have also included an outline of what a real strategy for a decisive strategic victory would look like. I hope that these articles end up in the right hands of individuals that actually have power over policy, but it suffices for now that the public is being educated about the military’s lies. Whether or not Gen. Votel is confirmed, I will continue to extend the offer to step up and advise anyone actually serious about defeating ISIL going as far as staking my reputation to a winning strategy, which to date, no one has had the courage to do. It is time for our senior policy makers to show real courage and leadership by breaking away from the old caste of establishment beltway characters and seek some fresh, independent perspectives because to date, nothing the snake oil salesmen have provided has worked and it never will. Until then, in the least, call your senators and explain that we need a real military commander in charge of CENTCOM and that Gen. Votel should not be confirmed.
By Guiles Hendrik
March 10, 2016
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
Russian transfer of S-300 Air Defense System may force Israeli to initiate war with Iran before winter
Over two decades ago, I began warning that United States’ policies in the Middle East could set the US and world on a trajectory for a major war. Unfortunately, every major policy decision the US has made has exclusively served the interests of the global elite to the detriment of humanity. The trajectory set by these policy decisions has moved the world closer and closer to a full blown world war. More recently, I have warned that the Obama Administration was walking a dangerous foreign policy line in the Middle East that if mismanaged, could lead to horrific consequences. Today, it is become blatantly clear to all but the most ideologically blinded that Obama and his amateur staff have chosen incorrectly and created a perfect storm in the Middle East that will likely lead to a full scale regional war. The culmination of these decisions, no matter their motivation, has set the stage for a showdown between Israel and Iran that is now most likely irreversible. This showdown is what I have previously described as the worst case scenario that must be avoided at all costs. The consequences of which will be catastrophic for not just the Middle East, but the US and the rest of the world. As recently as August, news broke that could finally force Israel into unilateral action against Iran, which will pull the entire region and the US into war, collapse the already sick global economy, and usher in the New World Order.
The event I am speaking of is the Russian announcement that it will move forward with the transfer of S-300 Air Defense Systems to Iran. These sophisticated air defense systems are capable of detecting and successfully interdicting aircraft flown by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) as well as ballistic missiles, drones, and cruise missiles. The potency of this air defense system will alternate the current military balance of the region and has Israel on edge. Read more
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
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
ISIL holds Ramadi: The White House, Defense Department, and Secretary of State have all down played the fall of Ramadi as a small “target of opportunity” and mild “setback.” However, in reality, the fall of Ramadi was very foreseeable and a massive military disaster for the Iraqi government. As I forecasted, Mosul would not be retaken anytime soon and the Obama strategy…or lack thereof, would be a total disaster. See http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/01/islamic-extremism-and-what-lies-ahead-part-ii-the-war-on-isis-and-syria/#more-699 Rather than being beat back, it is now highly likely that ISIL will continue to press its attack while the Iraqi Army is trying to regroup and capture large parts if not all of Fallujah. If Fallujah falls, Baghdad will finally be seriously threatened by ISIL.
Sirte falls, ISIL takes 3rd major city in 48 hours: In what is proving to be another example of Obama’s Foreign Policy disaster initiated under Secretary Clinton and amplified under Secretary Kerry, another major city has fallen to ISIL. However, it is not in Syria or Iraq. The city is in Libya. Yes, the country Obama, Rice, Clinton, and Power “liberated” has now had the western city of Sirte overrun by radical Islamists loyal to ISIL. According to my count that makes the score in just the last 48 hours 3 ISIL: 0 USA. Ramadi, Palmyra, and now Sirte all have been overrun. Even if ISIL can’t hold the ground, the fact they took down three major cities in just days is telling of how “successful” the US strategy to combat ISIL has been. In fact, Obama’s “strategy” has been such a disaster, one would conclude that he couldn’t possibly have been that stupid and the only way this could be occurring was if it was his intent all along. It is either amateur hour and Obama desperately needs to read some alternative news and hire new NSC advisors or the man is a traitor.
Russia no longer allowing NATO supplies to move across its borders to Afghanistan: In another foreign policy disaster that has completely escaped the government media complex, Russia has now halted NATO supplies crossing its borders to Afghanistan. I verbatim warned of this on March 23, 2014 saying the Russians could play this card in retaliation for NATO escalation in the Ukraine and make it extremely painful to maintain our troops in Afghanistan. http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/?s=russia+will+cut+supply+lines Now the US has only one supply route for its forces. The unreliable and costly southern supply route begins in the Port of Karachi and runs north through Pakistan and into Afghanistan through extremely dangerous Taliban controlled provinces. Each convoy that is allowed to pass through these areas pays a heavy toll, which in turn is then used to fund Taliban operations. Further, Pakistan now has gained significant political leverage over Washington to extort any amount of money it wishes to allow passage of critical NATO supplies. http://rt.com/news/259809-russia-stops-nato-afghanistan-cargo/
FBI making house calls to people concerned about Jade Helm 15: In what could be viewed as a major escalation bolstering concerns amongst the public over the upcoming Jade Helm 15 exercise, FBI special agents have apparently begun making house calls to concerned citizens that have raised questions publicly. http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/video-fbi-now-going-door-to-door-interrogating-americans-about-jade-helm-military-exercises-we-follow-pp-with-anything-like-that_05212015 Although, the special agents appear very polite and almost embarrassed to be performing the house calls, the fact they are knocking on doors is chilling. Ironically, if the intent was to quell fears and concerns as the agents suggest, they are clearly having the exact opposite effect. I doubt the special agents are so dumb that can’t figure this out, but why they are not speaking out about how ridiculous and counterproductive these visits are is disturbing. Common sense tells you their real intent is to gauge the subject’s political views and whether or not to deem him a threat. As agents, they should be well aware that people are allowed to have distrust of the government, dissent, and openly question authority especially, when it is launching an exercise designed to target American citizens in the US. Whether the intent is to intimidate or not, it is clear field offices have been spun up to believe citizens that simply want the rule of law respected are now the threat. This has been so hyped by DHS and the DOJ, it is coming at the expense of legitimate threats like MS13 and New Black Panther Party members publicly calling for the execution of police and making good on those threats. The Justice Department will certainly spin this to say it is just doing its “due diligence” to make sure things are peaceful and safe, but anyone with half a brain sees the biased political motivations forcing agents out to conduct house calls on people that pose zero threat to anyone following the law and respecting the US Constitution.
China and US escalate tensions: Recent moves by China to exclude airspace to US military aircraft has led to an increase in tensions. However, this really has nothing to do with some small dots of islands, territorial integrity, or military development. The deeper issue arising is that China has risen to a peer competitor level status with the US threatening the post-Bretton Woods financial establishment. Historically, when the bankers were threatened it led directly to war and I doubt this will end differently. Specifically, China has established a counter balance to the IMF that Washington desperately tried to stop and utterly failed to prevent. This single act has broken the IMF/World Bank monopoly and the major banking families intend to make China pay for its actions. Further, China has also been concluding multi-billion dollar oil/gas deals with Russia, which has undermined any ability Washington thought it had to isolate and strong-arm Russia. In short, China is now seen as a real threat, but not to America, but rather, to the elites of the Western financial monopoly. As such, you can bet you will see a strong shift toward painting China as a bigger and bigger existential military threat that very well could lead to the outbreak of war.
Some would think major events like a space rocket being destroyed would be a rather unpredictable event and they would be wrong. In June, Russia launched a rocket carrying sophisticated GPS cargo to establish an alternative network to the GPS operated by the United States. This rocket launch posed a dangerous threat to US military dominance in targeting and guidance and came at the height of tensions with Russia over the Ukraine. As such, it was no surprise when the rocket mysteriously malfunctioned and was destroyed during launch. This major event was only briefly mentioned in Western news sources and even “professional” analysts failed to properly connect the dots. In fact, the rocket’s failure wasn’t an accident it was sabotage. Still though many amateurs would say that is a coincidence and they would be wrong.
Just a few hours ago news broke that a NASA-contracted rocket exploded on takeoff in Virginia. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/28/us/nasa-rocket-explodes/index.html?hpt=hp_t1) For those that don’t understand how the geopolitical tit-for-tat game is played this may seem like just a very costly mechanical error. After all, the space program is a dangerous business. However, coincidences like this are all too predictable when we meddle with Russia. Specifically, I warned in my post written on June 13,, 2014 that we should expect this exact retaliation. In fact, in response to what looked look like a US cyber take down of the Russian rocket, I wrote, “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.” Feel free to check out my article in its entirety at (http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/06/13/failed-launch-of-russian-rocket-carrying-advanced-gps-satellites-no-accident/).
Just as I warned, Russia would extract a high price for our meddling. However, don’t expect this angle to be played in the press or for the US to admit that Russian covert sabotage was behind the failed rocket. However, you may see an uptick now in the anti-Russian propaganda being distributed from the White House in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, I promise you that more than a few people are fuming mad and scrambling behind the scenes even as I write this post to figure out what vulnerability the Russian’s exploited to take down this rocket. It is unfortunate private companies are bearing the cost of America’s New Cold War with Russia, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise either with the communist amateur hour in the White House. What this means is that the New Cold War has just heated up. Your proof this kind of covert action is taking place can be comparted to how we know things like gravity exist. We can’t see it, but we can accurately predict how it will act on an object. Disturbingly, this means you should expect more “coincidental” failures and outages going forward in both Russia and the US. Because of the non-attributable nature of the attack, these activities will manifest heavily in the cyber realm. As always, remember you heard it here first.
By Guiles Hendrik
October 28, 2014
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
Much 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
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.
As the United States races forward to develop policy to deal with the escalating crisis in the Ukraine, many citizens have been left totally uniformed respective of our regional interests and policies toward it. As a concerned citizen, I am respectfully requesting a pause to allow professional debate on the subject before the Administration effectively locks America into another Cold War with Russia. I, like many Americans, remember the days of the Cold War and do not wish to return to the fear of nuclear annihilation, incredible levels of defense spending, and never ending guerrilla wars across the globe.
Sadly, logic rarely plays any part in policy development and seems to have had almost no impact on the current administration’s policy decisions. Further, as a mere voiceless citizen amongst the masses, I have little reason to suspect my voice matters or will ever be heard in front of our policy makers. As such, I risk being labeled a radical for daring to demand answers to critical questions all Americans should be concerned over as President Obama and the US Congress steer our nation toward a head on collision with Russia. America, as every nation, has made many mistakes in its past. Can we not, at least once, learn from these mistakes and try to get a policy right? Rather than simply complain and point out the failures, I will offer solutions. To that end, I recommend an initial, vigorous, public debate to inform upon and explore all policy options before our political knee jerk reactions land our nation in very dire waters.
I am of the mindset that sanctions are the extreme extent of economic warfare, which is inextricably linked to waging warfare in the classical sense. Therefore, a declaration to destroy a nation’s economy is, in effect, the same as war. To assume otherwise is a dangerous oversight in respect to high stakes political brinkmanship. Perhaps the Russian oligarchs will still have steak and caviar, but sanctions will mean joblessness, hardship, and starvation for millions of Russians. These deprivations upon the public amount to little difference from a shooting war. Russia intimately understands this, but unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, Russia has the ability to effectively fight back against global bullying. Before walking further down this treacherous road with Russia, a formidable adversary I must add, I would like the President, Congress, and ultimately the American public to definitively answer and defend in open debate the following elementary questions:
What and specifically, whose interests are being served by our involvement in the Ukraine? What vital national interests are at stake? What will we receive in exchange for our involvement in Ukraine? What are our policy goals in respect to Russia and Ukraine? What end state do we seek by sanctioning Russia? What is the timeline by which we determine success in our policy? How far are we willing to go to achieve those goals? Will we commit to military action should sanctions fail to achieve our policy goals? Are we willing to risk nuclear war?
What is the projected global economic impact of sanctions on Russia for the US economy? Are sanctions our only tools? What price is the US willing to pay for enacting painful sanctions on Russia? If Europe won’t support sanctions, why should the US? Do we truly have a global economy? If so, wouldn’t hurting the Russian economy also hurt the world economy? If Europe is correct that sanctions would hurt the EU’s economy, wouldn’t it by default also hurt the US economy? Can the US economy afford more negative economic pressure? Is sanctioning Russia over Ukraine worth billions of dollars in losses for the US economy? How many dollars in losses are we willing to endure to achieve our policy goals in Ukraine? Will one billion dollars in loans be enough money to stabilize Ukraine? If not, how much are we willing to spend and what will we expect as a return on investment? What is the actual probability the US taxpayer will be repaid for the loan to Ukraine?
Why can’t Ukraine fight for itself? Isn’t Ukraine a European issue? Why must the US fight Europe’s battles? What are the historic consequences of intervening in Europe’s civil wars? What is the historical precedent for American success in this type of intervention?
Who are the leaders in the Ukraine that we are now supporting? Did they not take power through a violent overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government? Who supported that revolution? Could the Russians have viewed this as a threat? If the tables were turned, would we approve of similar action on our borders? How do we decide who is and isn’t the legitimate government in the Ukraine? Who are we to decide which coups, in a string of overthrows and power grabs, are legitimate after unilaterally deciding the formerly recognized Ukrainian government was illegitimate? How do we know the current regime in power in Kiev will work toward America’s best interests? If the leadership we back in Ukraine becomes unpopular and fails to deliver positive change, will we continue to back the regime? If the leadership we back in Ukraine is itself overthrown, what is the potential damage to US interests in the region?
Will sanctions actually achieve our goals by altering Russia’s decisions or just further alienate a rather large and powerful nation? How long are we willing to continue sanctions before we assess policy failure or success? If sanctions fail to have the desired effect, what are plans B and C? What is the cost of inaction? What would be the benefits to supporting Moscow over Kiev? Have we even considered supporting Moscow? What are the Russian grievances? What does Russia have to gain or lose in Ukraine? How far is Moscow willing to go to defend what it considers its vital national interests in Ukraine? How much pain is Russia willing to endure to achieve its policy goals respective of Ukraine? Are we willing to inflict that amount of pain to force our will on Russia? How much pain will doing so entail for the US?
Are we as a nation prepared to step firmly back into a new Cold War landscape for the indefinite future? Is the US willing to play the game of chicken to its full conclusion? If not, why should we engage in the dangerous game of brinkmanship in the first place? What retaliatory measures will Moscow take in response to sanctions? Where and how could Moscow feasibly hurt America the worst? What are the implications of Moscow shutting down the Northern Supply Route to Afghanistan during our planned retreat in 2014? What are the implications of Moscow authorizing advanced weapons sales to countries like Syria, Iran, and China? What if Moscow attacked the US militarily? What would be the most likely course of action for Moscow? What would Moscow’s most dangerous course of action be? Do Americans realize further escalation could lead to the deaths of many Americans across the world as Russia begins to retaliate? Is this something that America considers an acceptable loss?
I would argue that if these very basic, yet critically important questions were honestly answered and publicly debated, the policy decisions respective of the situation in the Ukraine would be patently clear. What Americans would realize is that intervention in Ukraine is not in our vital national interests. The US could only derive a net loss to our global geopolitical stability, security, and strength. The public would see that US actions will be ineffective, counterproductive, and ultimately futile. Americans would not be willing to pay the true price of a reckless intervention.
Perhaps, I am an unbending ideologue for asking that basic logic to be applied to our policy decisions. Maybe, I am just a blind and backwards isolationist for wanting to avoid more foreign conflict. Certainly, I must be a cold pragmatist for the mere insinuation that one should place American interests before foreign interests. We might as well assume I am also greedy for suggesting I am not willing to have more of my tax dollars looted to pay the debts owed to foreign banks by foreign elites. No doubt I am also unpatriotic for not rushing to arms to support military intervention in the Ukraine. If so, then I stand guilty as charged.
April 20, 2014
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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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Within the last 24 hours, North Korea has significantly escalated tensions on the peninsula by announcing it has entered a “state of war” with South Korea and closed key border areas. The statement, carried by the communist country’s KCNA news agency, says inter-Korean relations will be dealt with in a wartime manner. “From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” the statement said, according to Reuters. In addition, North Korea previously scrapped the armistice and in effect re-entered into an official “WAR” with the United States. The fact that the U.S. is now in “war” and little to nothing has been said by the U.S. to the public is not only unsettling, but appears to be dereliction on the part of the White House to take this threat seriously. This prompts the question, how serious is North Korea about re-igniting a shooting war? Further, what are the larger strategic ramifications of North Korea’s escalation? Our analysts believe the White House’s position is that this is just more rhetoric and is failing to appreciate the strategic situation as a real and developing threat.
The intelligence community and military is no doubt paying attention, even if quietly. Currently, it appears that no major military preparations in North Korea are underway. However, some activity around missile sites suggests that North Korea may conduct additional missile tests as soon as this weekend to further heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula and to try and force negotiations for de-escalation. Although, propaganda photos distributed appear to show missile trajectories that target the U.S. and its interests, North Korea doesn’t possess a proven capability to effectively carry-out such an attack. Further, some speculate that North Korea’s boy dictator, Kim Jong Un, has not solidified his control over the military and this game of brinkmanship is designed to show his internal circle he is a capable military commander more than it has anything to do with the outside world. This has led analysts to again conclude North Korea’s threats are just more rhetoric designed to elicit aid to the starving and backward dictatorship.
The analysis above summarizes the general mood of the intelligence community and analysts toward North Korea. The problem is this analysis has remained static while the world has changed. It is true that North Korea has perpetually “cried wolf,” but one must consider the game board as larger than a single peninsula. The fact is that the position the U.S. has previously enjoyed for decades has been eroded to the point of signaling a major geopolitical power shift. As such, one must re-evaluate motives, assessments, and ground truths. The military and intelligence community have at least not projected outwardly they have grasped this global sea change setting the U.S. and North Korea up for potential miscalculations and disaster.
For starters, analysts haven’t grasped that how the world view of America has shifted for the worse. In short, the U.S. now appears weak and unable to react to foreign threats. The U.S. military has been exhausted over the last decade of constant war. Although the military now has a hardened cadre of combat seasoned soldiers and a conventional military unmatched globally, stock piles of supplies have been diminished, budgets have been cut, troop strengths have been slashed, and the appetite for further war is zero amongst both soldiers and citizens. Further, the U.S. is broke and the economies of Europe and the U.S. have remained weak and teetering on collapse. Even worse, the U.S. and NATO are seen as weak and as having been defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan. Irrespective of whether or not the U.S. did or didn’t not “take the gloves off” and use its full might in those wars, the world perception is one of a country weakened and in retreat much like the Soviet Union circa 1989. Finally, the U.S. is seen as having tied itself down in a strategic struggle in the Middle East targeting Iran, while countries like China have rapidly built up their presence and military capabilities abroad. This sets the stage for drastic strategic miscalculation.
Our analysts are arguing that Kim Jong Un is not blind or ignorant to the capabilities of the U.S. as he was raised in the west. Instead, North Korea’s leader is dangerously over confident he can win a war of brinkmanship against a now weakened U.S. that is retreating globally. In particular, the U.S. has appeared weak in the Pacific against a growing Chinese dominance and has failed to check China’s moves against Japan and inroads in Taiwan. These areas are key to the collective perception of the U.S. by North Korea. Further, North Korea has witnessed what they consider a far inferior enemy in Iraq fight the U.S. to a hasty withdrawal and in Afghanistan to strategic defeat. Further, North Korea sees the U.S. military primarily focused on Iran and unable to deal with issues outside of the Middle East. Based on this, North Korea likely assesses the U.S. unwilling and unable to prosecute a full scale war on the Korean Peninsula. Add to the fact the U.S. economy is in shambles and the national debt is approaching default levels, one can see why Kim Jong Un suddenly has found his footing. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. can marshal an overwhelming strategic and or conventional military force against North Korea should rounds begin to be exchanged. Herein lies the serious danger for strategic miscalculation. For the first time, North Korea and the U.S. “both” believe they legitimately can back the other down and win in the event of war based on miscalculations by analysts on both sides. In fact, this situation is so dire, that Russia, seeing the developing crisis from its vantage point, has strongly urged both parties to de-escalate. Considering the above from a detached perspective, we assess that a very real threat has emerged not from intent, but due to miscalculation that could quickly lead to events spiraling out of control should any side misstep.
Strategically speaking, the U.S. has far more to lose than North Korea. Should North Korea follow through with its rhetoric, even in a limited fashion, the hand of South Korean politicians to finally retaliate may actually engulf the peninsula in war. The fact thousands of Americans are stationed there assures large U.S. casualties in the opening hours of a major war, which would force the U.S. into a hot war. The entire geopolitical order will be undone, should this occur, as the U.S. will not have the ability to project force elsewhere and its debt will expand beyond sustainable levels making it quite possible the U.S. would collapse from within before any long term war is concluded on a battlefield. This frees China to force its hand in the Pacific realm and Iran to continue its programs without fear of retribution. Even if the U.S. was to prevail, it would be at best a Pyrrhic victory as the U.S. would likely lose its empire much as England did after incurring the crippling costs of World Wars I and II. It is now time for the White House to wake-up and recognize how the world order has changed and update its playbook before it is too late.
By Guiles Hendrik
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At first it might be hard to decide what candidate for president to believe, but the answer in truth is easy. NEITHER. Both have been part of the lies and corruption too long to provide any real positive substance to the debate. Beyond more of the same political spin on old failed policies, you will hear no new ideas, many excuses, lots of finger pointing, and most importantly, no real strategy that departs from the failings of at least the last 11+ years.
For almost four years President Obama has continued many of the Bush-era policies while adding his own flavor of failure. Libya is just one of the most recent examples of an Obama owned foreign policy disaster as the return of four dead Americans can attest. By arming and supporting known jihadists, he set the stage for greater bloodshed throughout Africa and the Middle East. Even worse, Obama also quietly sold American sovereignty down the river to push an internationalist agenda. By allowing the United Nations Security Council and not Congress to be the single authoritative body to send Americans to war and placing Americans under foreign command without objection, Obama intentionally set a new precedent in international law that further erodes American sovereignty. Obama just recently was stating how Al Qaeda was decimated, but unfortunately for him and his propaganda machine, reality reared its ugly head all across North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. To illustrate his colossal failure in the Middle East and beyond it is worthwhile to highlight some key events from just a couple short weeks in September. During this very short timeframe a US diplomatic motorcade was blown to pieces in Peshawar, Pakistan wounding an American diplomat, four Americans to include an Ambassador were assassinated in Libya, numerous NATO forces were killed and wounded in Afghanistan by “friendly” troops and the Taliban, our embassies and consulates were attacked and torched in countries like Egypt and Sudan, Syria continued to deteriorate, and bomb blasts ripped through Iraq to name just SOME of the major events that affected Americans. Moving beyond our unending wars with Islam, Japan and China moved closer to war, Russia reinforced units with elite combat troops on the border with Georgia, North Korea threatened America and South Korea with a nuclear attack, and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant continued to release massive amounts of radiation…again, to just identify a few highlights. On the economic front a near imminent disaster is facing Europe that will certainly collapse the global economy and take the US down with it. Further, the US debt has spiraled past 16 Trillion and is picking up speed with no end or even cuts in sight for spending. The true magnitude of the impending economic disaster will only be seen after the election and the temporary Band-Aids placed on the world economy to support President Obama’s re-election fall away. No Mr. President, Al Qaeda is not on the run, we are. No Mr. President, the world is not safer. No Mr. President, our debt and spending have not decreased. No Mr. President, our economy has not recovered. No Mr. President, you do not deserve another term!
As for Romney, this is a man with no foreign policy credentials. He is the man who somehow managed to already offend even the British before he was in the U.K. for a day. This is a man who has already kissed the ring of Netanyahu and sworn allegiance to a foreign power in exchange for political support. This is a man who thinks the policy era of George Bush was a success and should be brought back. So much so, his advisors and potential appointees are all Bush-era retreads reshuffled. To think America would allow Bush-era policy “experts” back into the White House after what we already lived through and expect anything to improve is simply beyond comprehension and must be put squarely in the court of idiocy. In respect to Romney’s stated Middle East policy, war mongering would be an understatement. Even though Romney is nothing more than a well-endowed draft dodger, he apparently thinks nothing of putting your sons and daughters lives in danger as he plots an even more disastrous round of wars with Syria and Iran for Israel’s security. I guess he didn’t get the memo regarding how “well” the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq went. Nonetheless, he seems to think he can start a war with Iran and that somehow will benefit America although I would challenge him to justify this argument in the upcoming debates. Further, he somehow believes that by giving more tax dollars to the incredibly over funded Department of Defense and starting a war with Iran he can simultaneously balance the budget. In one of the rare cases of Bill Clinton being right, Romney’s numbers just don’t add up. As a purported businessman, Romney must know this flaw in his arithmetic so it is fair to conclude he is stupid or lying to the public. Beyond the Middle East, Romney has also managed to pick a premature fight with Russia and risks restarting the Cold War. If Romney can’t even understand the consequences of wars in the Middle East, he is woefully unprepared to take on the likes of Russia and China in strategic policy.
America, your candidates chosen for you by the elites will not return peace and prosperity as they claim. Instead, you will get greater debt, a worse economy, unending bloody and costly wars, and further destruction of your freedom and liberties at home. We have seen both parties’ policies and they are abject failures, ignore the rule of law, and trash the Constitution. Neither is acceptable. Only by ditching the two very unqualified candidates and their establishment parties en masse can America hope to avert total disaster during the next four years. The Democrats and Republicans do not represent your best interests unless of course you are an extremely wealthy donor, financial institution, or mega corporation. Whether you disagree or agree, you, the citizens of the United States of America, will get the government you collectively deserve come November so choose wisely.
Below are links to a few recent articles illustrating the US strategic failure in Afghanistan: