Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 1-28-2023
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Why the continued focus on Ukraine conflict? Because it has accelerated the reshaping of our world and not in the direction desired by the World Economic Forum (WEF or Davos crowd). Economic instability and rising energy costs are two of the direct effects on our personal futures.
The Most Egregious Mistake Zerohedge by Alastair Crooke, former British Diplomat Jan 27, 2023
It is the miscalculation of this era – one that may begin the collapse of dollar primacy, and therefore, global compliance with U.S. political demands, too. But its most grievous content is that it corners the U.S. into promoting dangerous Ukrainian escalation against Russia directly (i.e. Crimea).
Washington dares not – indeed cannot – yield on dollar primacy, the ultimate signifier for ‘American decline’. And so the U.S. government is hostage to its financial hegemony in a way that is rarely fully understood.
The Biden Team cannot withdraw its fantastical narrative of Russia’s imminent humiliation; they have bet the House on it.
And now with the ‘Great Reveal’, the focus on the real economy is seen as a key insight underpinning the New Global Order, differentiating it sharply in terms both of economic systems and philosophy from the western sphere.
The new order is separating from the old, not just in terms of economic system and philosophy, but through a reconfiguring of the neurons through which trade and culture travels. Old trade routes are being bypassed and left to wither – to be replaced by waterways, pipelines and corridors that avoid all the choke points by which the West can physically control commerce.
The north-east Arctic passage, for example, has opened an inter-Asian trade. The untapped oil and gas fields of the Arctic eventually will fill the gaps in supplies resulting from an ideology that seeks to end investment by western oil and gas majors in fossil fuels. The North-South corridor (now open) links St Petersburg to Bombay. Another component links waterways from northern Russia to the Black Sea, the Caspian and from thence to the south. Yet another component is expected to pipe Caspian gas from the Caspian pipeline network south to a Persian Gulf gas ‘hub’.
Look at it in this way, it is as if the neural connectors in the real economic matrix are, as it were, being lifted up from the west, and are being set down in a new location to the East. If Suez was the waterway of the European era, and the Panama Canal represented that of the American Century, then the north-east Arctic waterway, the North-South corridors and the African railway nexus will be that of the Eurasian era.
In essence, the New Order is preparing to sustain a long economic conflict with the West.
This scheme might be felled by Russian Resilience – and by much of the planet peeling away into a separate economic model, no longer dependent on the dollar for its trading needs. (i.e., new ‘money in’ to the dollar ‘Ponzi’ turns negative, just as ‘money out’ explodes, with the U.S. having to finance ever bigger deficits (now domestically)).
Washington clearly made a stratospherically bad error in thinking that sanctions – and the assumed collapse of Russia – would be a ‘slam dunk’ outcome; one so self-evident that it required no rigorous ‘thinking through’.
Vladimir Soloviev interviews Colonel Richard Black on 1/18/2022 (20:32 min).
Retired Senator Black would have access to back channels of information and possibly an active security clearance for access for confidential info. Not repeating mainstream media propaganda, he has been impressed with Russian military actions on the field of battlefield. Both men believe a week before Biden's announcement the tanks were a done deal, only optics need to run the course for propaganda reasons.
Of note, interviewer Vladimir Soloveiv does not consider providing tanks crossing a Red Line, but the beginning of the Sacred War for Russians.
Insider jokes are normally kept within "cool gang" for secret snickers acknowledging superior intelligence, but Biden's mental status strikes again. The announcement of the 31 Abrams battle tanks could be considered a Birthday Gift for Zelensky. --To bad there is not as much concerns about keeping people alive and living happy, productive lives.
January 25, 2023 - in his own words (only need to watch a few seconds)
A concise history of evolving events since WWII between Germany and Soviet Union to the current situation between two ex-Soviet Union states and NATO, the European military alliance created in the aftermath of WWII.
SCOTT RITTER: The Nightmare of NATO Arms to Ukraine Consortium News January 24, 2023 (highlighted in Wednesday's The Evening Blues)
Ukraine and its NATO allies have been training and planning a February Offensive to retake Crimea. Unfortunately for the Ukrainians they have been losing territory, men and equipment at an accelerated rate.
The Ukrainian commander noted that the February “war” would have Ukraine resuming the attack:
“We have made all the calculations — how many tanks, artillery we need and so on and so on. This is what everyone needs to concentrate on right now. May the soldiers in the trenches forgive me, it’s more important to focus on the accumulation of resources right now for the more protracted and heavier battles that may begin next year.”
The goal of this offensive, Zaluzhnyi said, was to push Russia back to the borders that existed on Feb. 23, 2022, the start of the Russian invasion. He also indicated that the liberation of Crimea was an objective.
“In order to reach the borders of Crimea, as of today we need to cover a distance of 84 km to Melitopol [a strategic city in the south of the Donetsk Republic]. By the way, this is enough for us, because Melitopol would give us a full fire control of the land corridor, because from Melitopol we can already fire at the Crimean Isthmus.”
Zaluzhnyi exuded confidence. “I know that I can beat this enemy,” he said. “But I need resources. I need 300 tanks, 600-700 IFV’s [infantry fighting vehicles], 500 Howitzers. Then, I think it is completely realistic to get to the lines of February 23rd.”
For U.S. General Milley, the equipment shortfall wasn’t the issue — training was. Prior to arriving at Ramstein, Milley toured the sprawling Grafenwoehr training grounds in Germany. There the U.S. Army is in the process of training some 600 Ukrainian soldiers to effectively move and coordinate their company-and battalion-size units in battle, using combined artillery, armor and ground forces.
Operational training, no matter how competently delivered and absorbed, does not paint an accurate picture of the true combat capability being turned over to Ukraine by the West. The reality is most of this equipment won’t last a month under combat conditions; even if the Russians don’t destroy them, maintenance issues will.
The reality is, however, that the consequences of the Ramstein Contact Group’s work will be far more detrimental to Ukraine than Russia.
Under pressure from the West to carry out a major offensive designed to expel Russian forces from the territories captured last year, General Zaluzhnyi will be compelled to sacrifice whatever reserves he would be able to assemble in the aftermath of Ramstein for the purpose of engaging in fruitless attacks against a Russian opponent that is far different from the one Ukraine faced in September and October of last year.
The two interviews were done by Ritter after authoring the above article covers some of the same subject matter.
Scott Ritter: On "Le Grand Final" in Ukraine (1.01 hr) - interviewer from Poland
Ukraine, Tanks & Putin - w/ Scott Ritter (23.5 min)
Latter part of the interview a small dog is making a fuss after visitors arrive at his home.
Col. Douglas Macgregor: Ukraine/Russia War Update - interview with Mike Krupa from Poland on Jan 27, 2023.
Not to forget the Pacific Theater. A recap of Biden Team's interaction with China.
US-China relations as a disaster in the making Asia Times January 27, 2023
In his online meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in November 2021, US President Joe Biden proposed guardrails for the US-China relationship. His proposal reflected deep concerns about the potential for a military confrontation due to a miscalculation or an accident.
More than a year has passed since then, so have such guardrails been established? Is the relationship between the two countries less likely to fall off a cliff than before? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Guardrail-building has largely remained rhetorical and the US-China relationship is now closer to a historic breakdown than it has been before.
Russia’s war against Ukraine further complicated efforts to stabilize the relationship. Despite external and domestic pressure, China opted for neutrality. China did not endorse Russia’s military operations in Ukraine because they violated the UN Charter.
US congressional activism on Taiwan has made things even worse. The more than 30 draft bills and resolutions related to Taiwan before the US mid-term election have had one thing in common: to shore up support for the Taiwan authorities amid rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Washington has largely reneged on its commitments related to Taiwan it made in 1979, including not having formal diplomatic relations, abrogating the mutual defense treaty with Taiwan, and not stationing military personnel in Taiwan.
To Beijing, these commitments were the political foundation for its diplomatic relationship with Washington. After all, the two countries could not establish diplomatic relations largely because of their disagreements over Taiwan for 20 years after the People’s Republic of China was founded.
Pepe Escobar's latest article keeps Iran perspective in the mix.
‘Doomsday clock’: 90 seconds to midnight The Saker January 27, 2023
The Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy could even absorb a strategic alliance between Russia and China – as painful as it may be. But never Russia, China and Germany.
With the collapse of the JCPOA, Iran is now being re-targeted with maximum hostility. Yet were Tehran to play hardball, the US Navy or military could never keep the Strait of Hormuz open – by the admission of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Oil price in this case would rise to possibly thousands of dollars a barrel according to Goldman Sachs oil derivative experts – and that would crash the entire world economy.
This is arguably the foremost NATO Achilles Heel. Almost without firing a shot a Russia-Iran alliance could smash NATO to bits and bring down assorted EU governments as socio-economic chaos runs rampant across the collective West.
What is on your mind today?