Ukraine as a con job gone bad

Yesterday gjohnsit posted a preliminary discussion of the sanctions against Russia having failed. This is indeed true: they have. But it doesn't really stop there, as revealed in one of Simplicius the Thinker's most recent Substack posts. Here's a conclusion at the beginning of his essay:

I hate to say it, but it’s looking more and more likely that the West will have no choice but to spark off a WW3 type scenario. The West is losing far too much ground far too fast, economically and by every other measure. Western economies are dying while Asia and China are ascendant. There are movements being made now that are so dangerous to the West as to threaten its existence. Months ago, when Brazil’s Lula had made a passive mention of a Brics currency, we all commented on it, but didn’t think too much of it. Now he’s outright calling for all South America to have its own currency; he’s doing what got Gaddafi killed by NATO.

Of course, so far what we have are trends: World War III is not here yet. The West plans for more war; Lula plans currency independence from the West; and the proxy war in Ukraine appears increasingly desperate. But then toward the bottom of his post, Simplicius discusses the most alarming of these trends: Zelensky is blackmailing the West into upping its weapons gifts.

He knows that retaking ‘Ukrainian’ land is actually more important to the Eurocrats and their U.S. masters than it is even to Ukraine, so he’s able to stoke their fears and sort of wag the dog by playing the delaying game.

If you pay attention, the way Ukrainian officials seem to be framing the narrative is: “if you don’t give us those F-16s, you won’t get your precious, bloody offensive!”

The reason Zelensky and his brood are able to play this game much better now than ever before, is because at this point the treasonous leaders of each European country, which have utterly bankrupted their economies, ruined their people’s livelihoods, destroyed their countries’ futures all to do the bidding of their American masters in this fraudulent war, these false “leaders” are now between a rock and hard place. You see, they sold this war to their people as one of sacrifice for a major, monumental victory against Russia. The people ponied up and gave up their freedoms, livelihoods, and comforts in exchange for massive inflation and ruined economies all so that Ukraine can win.

But now, if Ukraine were to actually lose, these traitorous frauds would be exposed to the pitchfork-bearing crowds as having thrown away their futures for nothing. Shrewd Zelensky likely knows this and is now using it against them. These so-called ‘leaders’ are now more beholden to their people than ever because they sold them this monstrous lie, and said it would all be worth it in the end. When this lie is exposed, it will end their careers and so now they’re scrambling desperately to ensure in any way they can that Ukraine’s offensive succeeds so they can complete that ‘sale’ to their citizenry.

Perhaps Simplicius is exaggerating here a bit. But even if we were to take that into account, the point remains the same. From Simplicius' perspective the war appears as a con game gone bad. The criminal minds at the top told themselves: "we'll impose sanctions on Russia, and Russia will in turn collapse and overthrow Putin, we'll scare Europe into thinking Putin will invade, we'll feed all sorts of weapons to Ukraine, which will take back that portion of its country which Russia claims as its own, we'll have the pipeline blown up somehow, and then we'll have everyone leverage their futures to the IMF, which will clean up financially for all of us once Russia has collapsed and sued for peace. Meanwhile we'll have the US government print huge sums of money to pay off the weapons corporations."

But it didn't work out that way.

So at some point we come to a crossroads, in which we will have either World War III, further bankruptcy to feed Zelensky's monumental hunger for weapons systems which will still be of no consequence, or a peace which will end the careers of a great swath of social climbers.

At any rate, the daring posture offered by Simplicius the Thinker, quoted at length above, is also somewhat echoed by Paul Street, whose opinion on Ukraine was offered in this last weekend's edition of Counterpunch. Here's Street, critiquing the "idealist" shade of status quo foreign policy thinking:

It is in “the national interest” to avoid a nuclear World War III? Try this: it’s in the interest of all humanity for two capitalist-imperialist nuclear superpowers not to escalate a proxy war into global Nuclear Winter. It’s in the interest of humanity to overthrow ruling class governments and capitalist-imperialist states that could put the species and planet at such insane and grave risk in the first place!

But, of course, this is not how liberals think. Liberals think that we should re-elect the current ruling class government deciding foreign policy for the US and for that dwindling stock of nations in the US orbit, because a Joe-Biden-incited World War III would be better than anything the Republicans have on offer. Wake up, liberals. Your fiction appears only in the fantasy aisle these days. You are making "let's go Brandon" look REALLY good by comparison. Peace now!

EXTRA CREDIT: Perhaps the "collapse of empire" thesis needs another year of pointless Biden foreign policy to make it so. But "re-elect Joe Biden" is a name the liberals use to deny the collapse of empire going on in large part because of what Biden appointees are doing. Katie Halper and Richard Wolff know this:

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being posited as part of our foreign policy, as declared in our Nuclear Posture Review, not only as retaliation but as a First Strike by the United States, tells us there is an element of madness in our decision-making leadership. Clearly, they are psychopathic murderers if they can sit around and discuss such a policy.

And I agree that natural and industrial resources are what these fiends are struggling over. But I think one factor that isn't mentioned enough -- but is key to Ukraine's struggle -- are the rights of Labor, the fact that Russia has raised the standard of living of its workforce, that Putin is pro-Labor compared to Yeltsin, and that Ukrainian industrial workers, who have been going to Russia for work and better conditions, began to ask why, when Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe and has abundant resources, why is Ukraine the poorest country in Europe? Why is Ukraine's workforce the poorest in Europe? And how can Burisma, an energy holding company, afford to pay Hunter Biden $50,000 a month for 5 years while Ukraine's workforce were forced to give up their school lunches, their hospital meals, and half their pensions in order to accept an IMF loan?

Biden would say this is about freedom and democracy, but what he means is the freedom to plunder, rape, pillage, bribe, corrupt, kidnap, drug, and bankrupt a country, like we did to Russia when Yeltsin was our puppet. That was "unfettered Capitalism." And clearly, the monsters who produced and maintained that policy are desperate to destroy any progress by Putin and other leaders like him to strengthen the power of Labor.

If they lose the virtually unlimited Defense Budget, they will lose control of the narrative, and if they lose control of the narrative, they will be brought to justice. They are as desperate as the slaveholding class in the Confederacy, who were most terrified of justice.

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fair.htm

… labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; ... in fact, capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed -- ... labor can exist without capital, but ... capital could never have existed without labor. Hence ... labor is the superior -- greatly the superior -- of capital.

-- Abraham Lincoln, September 30, 1859

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Pricknick's picture

@Linda Wood
Bravo!

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

orlbucfan's picture

and Xi are. They're power hungry garbage just like what's run this country into the ground. It's a power and greed-outta-control mindset. I know which American neocon yahoos started this one, Nuland, Kagan and fellow RW excrement. This Ukrainian-Russkie fight has been going on for centuries. Furthermore, I've had to live my whole life under the threat of thermonuclear war. I am beyond sick of it!!

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

Pricknick's picture

@orlbucfan
Interesting statement.
Funny you didn't mention such notable freaks as bidden, harris and blinken.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Shahryar's picture

@Pricknick

They're power hungry garbage just like what's run this country into the ground.

This country = USA
Power hungry garbage = Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc.

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@orlbucfan throughout history, but not a single international/imperialist hero.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@on the cusp Naturally, it partly depends on your parameters of those words.

Napoleon, maybe?

Marcus Aurelius?

Julian the Apostate/Philosopher?

Suleiman the Magnificent?

Or how about: Rutherford B. Hayes!!!
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/president-rutherford-hayes-paraguay

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In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

Titled:
Is the West finally realizing that Russia will win the war in Ukraine? (The whole piece is a helpful refresher time capsule, and is worth a few minutes to read in its entirety.)

In April 2021, Zelensky said he was not going to honor the Minsk 2 Agreement and was planning to retake the breakaway regions and Crimea by force.  The US created this war by preparing Ukrainian forces for the invasion.

On May 19, 2022, the New York TImes editorial board wrote an opinion piece titled The War In Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn't Ready that comes to the conclusion that negotiating a peace deal with Russia is in the best interest for Ukraine, even if it must give up some of its territory, and also for America, as a greater conflict has very dangerous potential.  The editorial mentions that Avril Haines, director of national intelligence warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that the next few months of the war could be very volatile.  According to Haines, the War may take “a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory,” with a greater possibility of Russia threatening to use nuclear weapons.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State under President Nixon, advised Ukraine to cede territory to make peace with Russia.  The 98 year old Kissinger, who was responsible for crafting detente with the Soviet Union, said “negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome.  Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante. Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”

If the neocons in DC (Nuland, Blinken, Powers, Hines, Biden & co.) don’t back off, we can only expect an endless series of further provocations and escalations. The US / NATO has already demonstrated it can not win on a battlefield with “conventional” weapons. No one wins in a nuclear exchange with Russia: The Russian Federation’s Military Doctrine, Plans, and Capabilities for Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

But, yeah, sure, keep poking the Bear. Assholes.

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“What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently; it is not so much the opinion itself, but the audacity of wanting to think for themselves, something that they do not know how to do.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Link posted without comment.

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“What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently; it is not so much the opinion itself, but the audacity of wanting to think for themselves, something that they do not know how to do.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

usefewersyllables's picture

@ovals49

post that. Nobody knows yet who blew it up, but this is clearly a major escalation.

This dam provides the reservoir used for cooling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, so that is going to get very complicated very quickly, even if the plant is in "warm shutdown". And it was actively producing power recently enough that it won't be able to achieve "cold shutdown" for quite a while, so its cooling needs are still a sizeable fraction of what they would be if it were online. Those things don't turn off all at once- the decay heat even from a scrammed reactor is enormous for a number of months even after the scram.

So they are flooding the Dneiper. Great. A lot of people are going to die from that, and it is not clear who gets any military advantage from it. This is *madness*.

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@usefewersyllables
and that the local cooling pool is sufficient to maintain that status.

Shelling, bombs, missiles and sabotage continue to threaten the NPP, but the dam break itself does not seem to be an immediate threat to the safe operation of the plant.

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“What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently; it is not so much the opinion itself, but the audacity of wanting to think for themselves, something that they do not know how to do.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

usefewersyllables's picture

@ovals49

Trying to rig emergency cooling for a plant of that size would be a herculean task even for cold shutdown, but they at least have a chance at it. I'll be extremely happy (and more than a bit surprised) if they have local cooling means that don't require the reservoir as a heat sink at all. It'd be better yet if they were in cold-enough shutdown that natural convection could cool the plant if external power and (local diesel backups) were cut.

NPPs weren't designed to be operated in war zones. I'm looking for articles from academia or the industry that describe their preparations...

On edit: I've done some digging, and apparently the NPP was in a hybrid state of "warmish" shutdown, not completely cold:

As it stands, Zaporizhzhia was placed in a cold shutdown in
September 2022. Operators have since restarted two reactors in
hot shutdown mode, producing low levels of power to keep the plant operational. Perhaps this is why the IAEA has proposed a “protection zone” for Zaporizhzhia, in which both Ukraine and Russia would agree to refrain from firing at the plant, and heavy weapons would be removed from the area. Grossi correctly recognizes that an agreement of this nature must come from both countries and that their cooperation is essential to move toward any measure of stability.

Source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2023/03/23/what-to-do-ab...

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

usefewersyllables's picture

@usefewersyllables

post with some newer info: as of March, they were moving back towards cold shutdown of all units. That's good news.

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Emergency-generators-in-use-...

And some better news, confirmation of cooling capability for some months: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/IAEA-No-immediate-risk-to-Za...

Of course, if you're enough of a psychopath to simply want to watch things burn, then you'd just blow the dike between the primary cooling pond and and the now-draining reservoir...

The water level in the reservoir was about 16.4 metres at 08:00 local time - with the IAEA saying that if the level drops below 12.7 metres it can no longer be pumped. The damaged dam itself is about 140km downstream of the nuclear power plant.

There are also alternative sources of water, Grossi said: "A main one is the large cooling pond next to the site that by design is kept above the height of the reservoir. As the reactors have been shut down for many months it is estimated that this pond will be sufficient to provide water for cooling for some months. The agency will confirm this very shortly. It is therefore vital that this cooling pond remains intact. Nothing must be done to potentially undermine its integrity.

"I call on all sides to ensure nothing is done to undermine that."

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

mimi's picture

@ovals49

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@mimi
Wikiquotes classifies as disputed. I know someone personally who walked with Einstein as a young girl when Einstein was living in Princeton NJ. I’ll ask her next time I see her and ask her what she thinks.

The quote suits my feelings, living out my dotage in a country who’s foreign policy I find abhorrent. If I were in my forties or fifties I’d be looking for another place to call home.

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“What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently; it is not so much the opinion itself, but the audacity of wanting to think for themselves, something that they do not know how to do.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

mimi's picture

@ovals49

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Cassiodorus's picture

@mimi -- when America was an apartheid state, there was a House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the cops were in the employ of the super-rich.

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" In a war with China there would be a trade embargo. Military manufacturing in the US would grind to a halt almost immediately. But due to a massive competency crisis in DC, they might push for it regardless." -Philip Pilkington

Cassiodorus's picture

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" In a war with China there would be a trade embargo. Military manufacturing in the US would grind to a halt almost immediately. But due to a massive competency crisis in DC, they might push for it regardless." -Philip Pilkington

@Cassiodorus

Winner, winner chicken (Kiev) dinner!
Another PR stunt.

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The best we (humanity) can hope for is a conventional land war in Europe. And not a war that goes nuclear. I remember I wrote back before the 2020 election that if Biden was elected, we could see war directly with Russia. Western propaganda had prep'ed the population to accept the possibility of war with Russia. In particular democrats would want pay back for the Russians installing Trump (which they still believe to this day). The Russophobia has gone through the proverbial roof in the combined West that it rivals the real German Nazi hatred of European Jews. Western leadership looks to be immature, and divorced from reality.

As for the land war. Having followed events and learning more than I ever wanted to know of the science of war, NATO totally lacks the capabilities to take on the Russians head on without suffering massive civilian and military casualties. But they beat their chests as if they are badasses on the block, which they ain't unless it is against third world insurgents.

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The US has enjoyed global dominance for more than 100 years. For any country in the world, being on the US shitlist was life threatening. This is unravelling at lightspeed. It's breathtaking. The response from people like Blinken, Sullivan, Biden and others in the administration is awesome, blatant, extreme lying. "Russia has lost, Poootn just won't face reality". The intellectual distance from where they are today to where they will have to be to eventually synch with reality is a chasm with a length of one lightyear. I'd like to make one more point, and that is that distance to reach agreement is also one lightyear. The US and EU are both severely agreement incapable and in a mindset that is unreachable to form an agreement. The possible solutions all revolve around Russia's perspective. And that is security from NATO. My opinion is that NATO will have to pull back to Germany or disband. Russia is playing the long game. The leadership of Russia wants NATO to understand that they would lose in all out ground war. They will get there, but only after they fail miserably in Ukraine. Seriously, Russia has prepared for an all out war with NATO, either conventional or nuclear. They have the only believable offense and defense. The US is risking its pristine position of defense between two oceans. This time the US gets physically smashed. The US leadership is trying by all means to not even deal with this reality. Notice how politicians in the US get really bent out of shape when Russia brings up the possibility of nuclear exchange? That totally pierces their self-conceptualization of US ultra superiority. And, oh by the way, if President Putin would retire today it would change absolutely nothing. Oh no! Not another Western bubble popping!

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

@The Wizard

your synopsis is spot on
western hegemony is expressly
propped-up by old colonial ambitions
that worked 100 years ago but the times
are changing quickly and the idiots won't
back down, in spite of hypersonic realities

imo, UK and Germany will be the first casualties
followed in quick order by US, CAN and Brussels

how do we stop this?
stop poking the bear
they are backed into a corner
and will come out angry

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Cassiodorus's picture

@The Wizard Having risked European decline upon a war that appears to have been fought for nothing, and having lied multiple times about it, the Biden appointees continue to cling to a fantasy that a big win for them will make everything right, thus validating their con job.

The longer they continue the war policies, however, the more they lose. And the more we will be reading about a "transition to a multipolar world."

Thanks Joe. Thanks Bernie.

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" In a war with China there would be a trade embargo. Military manufacturing in the US would grind to a halt almost immediately. But due to a massive competency crisis in DC, they might push for it regardless." -Philip Pilkington