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Poland Is Quietly Mobilizing Its Army Reservists | Zero Hedge

Poland Is Quietly Mobilizing Its Army Reservists | Zero Hedge.

It seems the words of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warning that “the world stands on the brink of conflict, the consequences of which are not foreseen… Not everyone in Europe is aware of this situation,” are a little more real than some (US equity buyers) might suspect. As The Week’s Crispin Black reportsat least 7,000 Polish workers in Europe have received call-up papers as army reservists in the last few weeks. Polish authorities dismiss it as “routine” but the men note this has never happened before.

As The Week’s Crispin Black goes on to note,

At least 7,000 reservists have been recalled to the colours for immediate exercises lasting between 10 and 30 days.

They’re told by the Polish authorities that the call-ups are “routine”: but the men say they haven’t been asked before and they’re well aware of the growing alarm in Warsaw at President Putin’s aggression.

Three weeks ago, their Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, called a press conference to warn that “the world stands on the brink of conflict, the consequences of which are not foreseen… Not everyone in Europe is aware of this situation.”

My own view is that Putin was initially more concerned with righting a specific historical wrong in Crimea than starting a new Cold War.  This is still probably the case despite thedawning truth that the EU/Nato Emperor really has no clothes at all. 

But in the worst case scenario of a truly revanchist Russia, Poland certainly has the borders from hell.  Starting from the top, it abuts Kaliningrad (the Russian exclave on the Baltic carved at the end of the war from East Prussia), Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

None of these borders relies on any natural barriers like rivers or mountain ranges – they are just lines on a map drawn by Stalin in the full flush of victory.  No wonder the Poles are feeling vulnerable.

Read more here

Poland Is Quietly Mobilizing Its Army Reservists | Zero Hedge

Poland Is Quietly Mobilizing Its Army Reservists | Zero Hedge.

It seems the words of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warning that “the world stands on the brink of conflict, the consequences of which are not foreseen… Not everyone in Europe is aware of this situation,” are a little more real than some (US equity buyers) might suspect. As The Week’s Crispin Black reportsat least 7,000 Polish workers in Europe have received call-up papers as army reservists in the last few weeks. Polish authorities dismiss it as “routine” but the men note this has never happened before.

As The Week’s Crispin Black goes on to note,

At least 7,000 reservists have been recalled to the colours for immediate exercises lasting between 10 and 30 days.

They’re told by the Polish authorities that the call-ups are “routine”: but the men say they haven’t been asked before and they’re well aware of the growing alarm in Warsaw at President Putin’s aggression.

Three weeks ago, their Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, called a press conference to warn that “the world stands on the brink of conflict, the consequences of which are not foreseen… Not everyone in Europe is aware of this situation.”

My own view is that Putin was initially more concerned with righting a specific historical wrong in Crimea than starting a new Cold War.  This is still probably the case despite thedawning truth that the EU/Nato Emperor really has no clothes at all. 

But in the worst case scenario of a truly revanchist Russia, Poland certainly has the borders from hell.  Starting from the top, it abuts Kaliningrad (the Russian exclave on the Baltic carved at the end of the war from East Prussia), Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

None of these borders relies on any natural barriers like rivers or mountain ranges – they are just lines on a map drawn by Stalin in the full flush of victory.  No wonder the Poles are feeling vulnerable.

Read more here

Interpreting Putin’s Decision | The Diplomat

Interpreting Putin’s Decision | The Diplomat.

Interpreting Putin’s Decision
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Interpreting Putin’s Decision

From Western weakness to its Eurasian Union project, a look at the factors that drove the annexation of Crimea.

By Wei Zongyou
March 23, 2014

People around the world were astounded by Vladimir Putin’s rapid decision to annex Crimea in response to the latter’s referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, which Kiev and the West view as illegal. The decision also drew worldwide criticism and vehement condemnation by the West and Ukraine, and triggered a second wave of economic sanctions from the United States, and soon afterwards Europe. Relations between Russia and the West are at their chilliest since the end of the Cold War.

So why has Putin risked Russia’s economic welfare and political space to swallow Crimea, push Ukraine out, and alienate the entire Western world? Is Putin “in another world” as German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed he is? In my opinion, there are at least two considerations behind Putin’s decision.

The first is the realist, geo-political consideration. In Putin’s world, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly one fourth of its geography, one half of its population, and more than half of its GDP. Among the “lost” territories are those that are strategically important or militarily advanced, such as Ukraine and the Baltic states. With the eastward expansion of NATO, and the integration of former Soviet satellite states and republics in Eastern Europe and the Baltics into Europe, the traditional buffer zone between Russia and the West is increasingly squeezed and Russia’s space for strategic maneuvering becomes smaller with each year. When Russia craved for entry into the West, this might not have been particularly worrisome or embarrassing for Moscow. But since Russian leaders decided long ago that joining the West was neither particularly helpful to Russia’s political standing nor particularly attractive in terms of economic gains, it has begun to view the expansion of the West at its own strategic expense as both ill-intentioned and threatening.

Ukraine holds a unique position in Russia’s geo-strategic consideration. First, it is crucial territory in the passage of Russia’s oil exports to Europe. Each year more than one third of the oil Russia ships to Europe travels via the Ukraine pipeline. Second, Crimea gives Russia’s Black Sea Fleet access to the Black Sea. If the pro-West Kiev government were to have decided to end its lease to the Russian naval base in Crimea, Russia would have lost its strategic gateway to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Third, Ukraine is deemed the most crucial member of Russia’s Eurasia Union project, an economic and strategic plan to closely connect Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Central Asia. If all goes according to plan, this union will integrate these former Soviet republics and now independent countries economically, politically, and diplomatically with Russia, and go some way to restoring the glory of the Soviet empire at its peak. The “coup d’état” in Kiev and the political orientation of the new government put all these things in jeopardy, if Russia remains disinterested and passive.

The second consideration is more psychological in nature. Following the end of Cold War, embracing the West was the first priority of Russian foreign policy. But to Moscow’s dismay, it found that the West still harbored strong reservations and considerable distrust. Years spent courting and wooing provided little of what Russia craved most: equal membership in the West and economic prosperity. Though Russia became part of the exclusive G8, it never enjoyed the full status and say of the other seven members, always remaining an “other.” Economically, the shock remedy proposed by the West and faithfully implemented by Boris Yeltsin didn’t bring the expected economic benefit. Instead, it took Russia’s economy into freefall, leaving the average Russian worse off than before. Russia’s look West ended in humiliation and disaster.

It was Putin who saved Russia from its miserable condition. He readjusted both Russia’s domestic and foreign policies, and distanced the country from the West, instead seeking opportunities to resurrect past Soviet glories. As the Russian economy improved, the West found that its time was passing. The 2008 economic crisis hit the U.S. and Europe hard and they found themselves more reliant on the emerging powers, Russia included. It is Britain, France, and even Germany who are now busy appealing to Russian oil barons to buy more and invest more. The balance of power between Russia and the West has shifted. The small war in Georgia in the summer of 2008 only strengthened this trend and the response from the West impressed Russia greatly: Europe is rotten and the U.S. has become too weak to lead. Then came the Arab Spring and the Syria crisis. In the former case, the U.S. “led from behind,” and in the latter it was Russia that decided the course of the Syria civil war.

Russians, and especially Putin learned a hard lesson from the post-Cold War romance with the West: For all the talk of democracy and freedom, the fact remains that the strong dictate to the weak.

With Europe rotten and United States weakened, a resurgent and confident Russia will definitely not let a geo-strategically important former Soviet republic fall entirely into the West’s camp. By annexing Crimea, Putin not only secured Russia’s naval base and its strategic gateway to the Black Sea, he also sent a powerful message to Ukraine and the West: Ignore Russia’s legitimate strategic concerns at your own peril.

Wei Zongyou, is Professor and Vice Dean of the Institute of International and Diplomatic Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China. His main research interests cover Sino-U.S. Relations, american foreign policy, humanitarian intervention and R2P

Interpreting Putin’s Decision | The Diplomat

Interpreting Putin’s Decision | The Diplomat.

Interpreting Putin’s Decision
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Interpreting Putin’s Decision

From Western weakness to its Eurasian Union project, a look at the factors that drove the annexation of Crimea.

By Wei Zongyou
March 23, 2014

People around the world were astounded by Vladimir Putin’s rapid decision to annex Crimea in response to the latter’s referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, which Kiev and the West view as illegal. The decision also drew worldwide criticism and vehement condemnation by the West and Ukraine, and triggered a second wave of economic sanctions from the United States, and soon afterwards Europe. Relations between Russia and the West are at their chilliest since the end of the Cold War.

So why has Putin risked Russia’s economic welfare and political space to swallow Crimea, push Ukraine out, and alienate the entire Western world? Is Putin “in another world” as German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed he is? In my opinion, there are at least two considerations behind Putin’s decision.

The first is the realist, geo-political consideration. In Putin’s world, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly one fourth of its geography, one half of its population, and more than half of its GDP. Among the “lost” territories are those that are strategically important or militarily advanced, such as Ukraine and the Baltic states. With the eastward expansion of NATO, and the integration of former Soviet satellite states and republics in Eastern Europe and the Baltics into Europe, the traditional buffer zone between Russia and the West is increasingly squeezed and Russia’s space for strategic maneuvering becomes smaller with each year. When Russia craved for entry into the West, this might not have been particularly worrisome or embarrassing for Moscow. But since Russian leaders decided long ago that joining the West was neither particularly helpful to Russia’s political standing nor particularly attractive in terms of economic gains, it has begun to view the expansion of the West at its own strategic expense as both ill-intentioned and threatening.

Ukraine holds a unique position in Russia’s geo-strategic consideration. First, it is crucial territory in the passage of Russia’s oil exports to Europe. Each year more than one third of the oil Russia ships to Europe travels via the Ukraine pipeline. Second, Crimea gives Russia’s Black Sea Fleet access to the Black Sea. If the pro-West Kiev government were to have decided to end its lease to the Russian naval base in Crimea, Russia would have lost its strategic gateway to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Third, Ukraine is deemed the most crucial member of Russia’s Eurasia Union project, an economic and strategic plan to closely connect Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Central Asia. If all goes according to plan, this union will integrate these former Soviet republics and now independent countries economically, politically, and diplomatically with Russia, and go some way to restoring the glory of the Soviet empire at its peak. The “coup d’état” in Kiev and the political orientation of the new government put all these things in jeopardy, if Russia remains disinterested and passive.

The second consideration is more psychological in nature. Following the end of Cold War, embracing the West was the first priority of Russian foreign policy. But to Moscow’s dismay, it found that the West still harbored strong reservations and considerable distrust. Years spent courting and wooing provided little of what Russia craved most: equal membership in the West and economic prosperity. Though Russia became part of the exclusive G8, it never enjoyed the full status and say of the other seven members, always remaining an “other.” Economically, the shock remedy proposed by the West and faithfully implemented by Boris Yeltsin didn’t bring the expected economic benefit. Instead, it took Russia’s economy into freefall, leaving the average Russian worse off than before. Russia’s look West ended in humiliation and disaster.

It was Putin who saved Russia from its miserable condition. He readjusted both Russia’s domestic and foreign policies, and distanced the country from the West, instead seeking opportunities to resurrect past Soviet glories. As the Russian economy improved, the West found that its time was passing. The 2008 economic crisis hit the U.S. and Europe hard and they found themselves more reliant on the emerging powers, Russia included. It is Britain, France, and even Germany who are now busy appealing to Russian oil barons to buy more and invest more. The balance of power between Russia and the West has shifted. The small war in Georgia in the summer of 2008 only strengthened this trend and the response from the West impressed Russia greatly: Europe is rotten and the U.S. has become too weak to lead. Then came the Arab Spring and the Syria crisis. In the former case, the U.S. “led from behind,” and in the latter it was Russia that decided the course of the Syria civil war.

Russians, and especially Putin learned a hard lesson from the post-Cold War romance with the West: For all the talk of democracy and freedom, the fact remains that the strong dictate to the weak.

With Europe rotten and United States weakened, a resurgent and confident Russia will definitely not let a geo-strategically important former Soviet republic fall entirely into the West’s camp. By annexing Crimea, Putin not only secured Russia’s naval base and its strategic gateway to the Black Sea, he also sent a powerful message to Ukraine and the West: Ignore Russia’s legitimate strategic concerns at your own peril.

Wei Zongyou, is Professor and Vice Dean of the Institute of International and Diplomatic Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China. His main research interests cover Sino-U.S. Relations, american foreign policy, humanitarian intervention and R2P

Is an Economic War Replacing the Cold War?: Video – Bloomberg

Is an Economic War Replacing the Cold War?: Video – Bloomberg.

Chairman Of Joint Chiefs: US Ready For "Military Response" In Ukraine | Zero Hedge

Chairman Of Joint Chiefs: US Ready For “Military Response” In Ukraine | Zero Hedge.

With diplomacy having failed miserably to resolve the Russian annexation of Crimea, and soon East Ukraine (and with John Kerry in charge of it, was there ever any doubt), the US is moving to the heavy artillery. First, moments ago, the US DOE announced in a shocking announcement that it would proceed with the first draw down and sale of crude from the US strategic petroleum reserve, the first since June 2011, in what it said was a “test sale to check the operational capabilities of system infrastructure”, but is really just a shot across the bow at Putin for whom high commodity prices are orders of magnitude more important than how the Russian stock market performs. And now, as Bloomberg just reported, the US has escalated even further, citing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who “has claimed that in the case of an escalation of unrest in Crimea, the U.S. Army is ready to back up Ukraine and its allies in Europe with military actions.

So much for those peaceful hour long phone calls between Obama and Putin.

From Bloomberg:

According to the Web site of the Atlantic Council, Dempsey said that “he’s been talking to his military counterparts in Russia, but he’s also sending a clear message to Ukraine and members of NATO that the U.S. military will respond militarily if necessary.”

“We’re trying to tell [Russia] not to escalate this thing further into Eastern Ukraine, and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in Crimea. We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered [in Europe], we would respond,” Dempsey said.

According to the General, the incursion of Russian troops into the Crimea creates risks for all the countries of Europe and NATO allies. “If Russia is allowed to do this, which is to say move into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine, it exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk, because there are ethnic enclaves all over Eastern Europe and the Balkans,” Dempsey said.

And with that, the USDJPY ramp takes the pair to overnight highs, and futures are set to go green. BTFWWIIID!

More seriously, the real question is how Putin will react to this quantum escalation in verbal hostilities: wild guess here, but somehow we doubt he will pick up and leave.

Chairman Of Joint Chiefs: US Ready For “Military Response” In Ukraine | Zero Hedge

Chairman Of Joint Chiefs: US Ready For “Military Response” In Ukraine | Zero Hedge.

With diplomacy having failed miserably to resolve the Russian annexation of Crimea, and soon East Ukraine (and with John Kerry in charge of it, was there ever any doubt), the US is moving to the heavy artillery. First, moments ago, the US DOE announced in a shocking announcement that it would proceed with the first draw down and sale of crude from the US strategic petroleum reserve, the first since June 2011, in what it said was a “test sale to check the operational capabilities of system infrastructure”, but is really just a shot across the bow at Putin for whom high commodity prices are orders of magnitude more important than how the Russian stock market performs. And now, as Bloomberg just reported, the US has escalated even further, citing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who “has claimed that in the case of an escalation of unrest in Crimea, the U.S. Army is ready to back up Ukraine and its allies in Europe with military actions.

So much for those peaceful hour long phone calls between Obama and Putin.

From Bloomberg:

According to the Web site of the Atlantic Council, Dempsey said that “he’s been talking to his military counterparts in Russia, but he’s also sending a clear message to Ukraine and members of NATO that the U.S. military will respond militarily if necessary.”

“We’re trying to tell [Russia] not to escalate this thing further into Eastern Ukraine, and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in Crimea. We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered [in Europe], we would respond,” Dempsey said.

According to the General, the incursion of Russian troops into the Crimea creates risks for all the countries of Europe and NATO allies. “If Russia is allowed to do this, which is to say move into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine, it exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk, because there are ethnic enclaves all over Eastern Europe and the Balkans,” Dempsey said.

And with that, the USDJPY ramp takes the pair to overnight highs, and futures are set to go green. BTFWWIIID!

More seriously, the real question is how Putin will react to this quantum escalation in verbal hostilities: wild guess here, but somehow we doubt he will pick up and leave.

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge.

With NATO actively building up its airforce support in Poland and the Baltic states in recent days in a flashback to cold war military escalation and deterrence, and evenlaunching AWACS planes over Poland and Romania to monitor the Ukraine crisis and “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness,” the inevitable has finally happened, and other Russian neighbor states, ones not alligned with the military treaty, have escalated in turn only this time the are showing their allegiance not to the west but to Russia.

Moments ago RIA reported that Minsk will “adequately react to the strengthening of NATO forces near the borders of Belarus, and will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian aircraft, according to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus.

“Belarus is adequately reacting to the strengthen the forces of NATO near the borders of Belarus” – the president said. He added that “Belarus will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian Federation aircraft in connection with the activity of NATO.”

Which, it goes without saying, plays precisely into Putin’s intentions all along: force all of Russia’s neighbors to reveal their allegiance, and since virtually all would have to pick Moscow (see what happened in Ukraine), set the stage for the grand reincarnation of the Soviet Union.

In the meantime, while the G-7 and everyone with a microphone, continues to warn Russia not to annex Crimea, which now seems a done deal, Ukraine’s PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose cash-strapped nation needs as much as $15 billion in loans, will meet President Barack Obama later today. And as if to aid Putin’s plans even further, First Deputy Premier Vitaliy Yarema told the government in Kiev that Russian forces continue to be deployed along Ukraine’s eastern border and are “constantly increasing their presence,”

Logically, the western response will be to beef up NATO forces even more, which in turn will force nations like Belarus to self-annex themselves to Russia by demanding even more Russian troops in their nations, allowing Putin to serially, and peacefully, to takeover the former USSR nations one by one until the empire rebuilding effort is complete.

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge.

With NATO actively building up its airforce support in Poland and the Baltic states in recent days in a flashback to cold war military escalation and deterrence, and evenlaunching AWACS planes over Poland and Romania to monitor the Ukraine crisis and “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness,” the inevitable has finally happened, and other Russian neighbor states, ones not alligned with the military treaty, have escalated in turn only this time the are showing their allegiance not to the west but to Russia.

Moments ago RIA reported that Minsk will “adequately react to the strengthening of NATO forces near the borders of Belarus, and will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian aircraft, according to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus.

“Belarus is adequately reacting to the strengthen the forces of NATO near the borders of Belarus” – the president said. He added that “Belarus will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian Federation aircraft in connection with the activity of NATO.”

Which, it goes without saying, plays precisely into Putin’s intentions all along: force all of Russia’s neighbors to reveal their allegiance, and since virtually all would have to pick Moscow (see what happened in Ukraine), set the stage for the grand reincarnation of the Soviet Union.

In the meantime, while the G-7 and everyone with a microphone, continues to warn Russia not to annex Crimea, which now seems a done deal, Ukraine’s PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose cash-strapped nation needs as much as $15 billion in loans, will meet President Barack Obama later today. And as if to aid Putin’s plans even further, First Deputy Premier Vitaliy Yarema told the government in Kiev that Russian forces continue to be deployed along Ukraine’s eastern border and are “constantly increasing their presence,”

Logically, the western response will be to beef up NATO forces even more, which in turn will force nations like Belarus to self-annex themselves to Russia by demanding even more Russian troops in their nations, allowing Putin to serially, and peacefully, to takeover the former USSR nations one by one until the empire rebuilding effort is complete.

Another East-Ukraine City Falls To Pro-Russian Protesters As Ukraine Denies Sending Troops To Crimea | Zero Hedge

Another East-Ukraine City Falls To Pro-Russian Protesters As Ukraine Denies Sending Troops To Crimea | Zero Hedge.

Despite clear evidence otherwise, presented here extensively yesterday, this morning Ukraine has denied that is has “plans to send armed forces to Crimea” and instead Ukrainian troops are performing “training exercises” in base, Interfax news agency quoted Acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh as saying on Sunday. Responding to media speculation about Ukrainian military movements after Russian forces took control of Crimea, Tenyukh said the only troop movements that might be seen would be from one base to another to take part in the training exercises. “No movements, no departures for Crimea by the armed forces are foreseen. They are doing their routine work which the armed have always had,” he said. Right, and Russia just happened to launch an ICBM as a “drill” in the middle of the greatest Cold War re-escalation in 30 years.

Adding somewhat to the confusion was the statement by Pavlo Shysholin, head of country’s border guard service tells reporters in Kiev, who said that so far Ukrainian border guards denied entry to 3,500 people and that Ukraine border troops remain in Crimea, would leave only if “forced” but more importanly:

  • UKRAINE BORDER TROOPS BOOST FORCES ON EAST BORDER: SHYSHOLIN

So there is an escalation in the mobilization, only not toward Crimea, which the Russians already control entirely, but the critical East, which as everyone knows, is the next target for Putin annexation once the Crimean referendum passes in one week.

Confirming just this were just released photos from another major city in east Ukraine, this time Lugansk, where pro-Russian protesters just stormed and took over the city administration building. Their demand: to be part of the March 16 referendum to become part of Russia.

 

A clip of the latest peaceful pro-Russian takeover via LifeNews:

 

Lugansk’s location in context:

 

And so one by one, the cities in east Ukraine are slipping away to Russia, even as Obama continues his Key Largo vacation and makes the occasional phone call.

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