Olduvaiblog: Musings on the coming collapse

Home » Posts tagged 'europe' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: europe

Obama's Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington's Blog

Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington’s Blog.

The Battle for Ukraine Was Planned in 1997 … Or Earlier

Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa 20 years ago. Robert Parry correctly points out that the Neocons have successfully “weathered the storm” of disdain after their Iraq war fiasco.

But the truth is that Obama has long done his best to try to implement those Neocon plans.

Similarly, ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the U.S. has pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran.

In 1997, Obama’s former foreign affairs adviser, and president Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser – Zbigniew Brzezinski – wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard arguing arguing that the U.S. had to take control of Ukraine (as well as Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey and Iran) because they were “critically important geopolitical pivots”.

Regarding Ukraine, Brzezinski said (hat tip Chris Ernesto):

Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.

***

However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.

And now Obama is pushing us into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea.

As Ernesto notes:

Late last year when Ukraine’s now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych surprisingly canceled plans for Ukrainian integration into the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, the US may have viewed Ukraine as slipping even further out of its reach.

At that point, with the pieces already in place, the US moved to support the ousting of Yanukovych, as evidenced by the leaked phone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland [arch-Neocon Robert Kagan‘s wife]  and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.  When peaceful protests were not effective in unseating Yanukovych, the violence of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party and Right Sector was embraced, if not supported by the west.

In today’s Ukraine, the US runs the risk of being affiliated with anti-Semitic neo-Nazis, a prospect it probably feels can be controlled via a friendly western media. But even if the risk is high, the US likely views it as necessary given the geopolitical importance of Ukraine, as Brzezinski mapped out in 1997.

In other words, Obama is following the same old playbook that the Neocons have been pushing for more than a decade.

Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington’s Blog

Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine Washington’s Blog.

The Battle for Ukraine Was Planned in 1997 … Or Earlier

Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa 20 years ago. Robert Parry correctly points out that the Neocons have successfully “weathered the storm” of disdain after their Iraq war fiasco.

But the truth is that Obama has long done his best to try to implement those Neocon plans.

Similarly, ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the U.S. has pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran.

In 1997, Obama’s former foreign affairs adviser, and president Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser – Zbigniew Brzezinski – wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard arguing arguing that the U.S. had to take control of Ukraine (as well as Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey and Iran) because they were “critically important geopolitical pivots”.

Regarding Ukraine, Brzezinski said (hat tip Chris Ernesto):

Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.

***

However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.

And now Obama is pushing us into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea.

As Ernesto notes:

Late last year when Ukraine’s now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych surprisingly canceled plans for Ukrainian integration into the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, the US may have viewed Ukraine as slipping even further out of its reach.

At that point, with the pieces already in place, the US moved to support the ousting of Yanukovych, as evidenced by the leaked phone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland [arch-Neocon Robert Kagan‘s wife]  and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.  When peaceful protests were not effective in unseating Yanukovych, the violence of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party and Right Sector was embraced, if not supported by the west.

In today’s Ukraine, the US runs the risk of being affiliated with anti-Semitic neo-Nazis, a prospect it probably feels can be controlled via a friendly western media. But even if the risk is high, the US likely views it as necessary given the geopolitical importance of Ukraine, as Brzezinski mapped out in 1997.

In other words, Obama is following the same old playbook that the Neocons have been pushing for more than a decade.

World War 1 All Over Again — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org

World War 1 All Over Again — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org.

World War 1 All Over Again
The same fools play the same game

Paul Craig Roberts

“If you reduce the lie to a scientific system put it on thick and heavy, and with great effort and sufficient finances scatter it all over the world as the pure truth, you can deceive whole nations for a long time and drive them to slaughter for causes in which they have not the slightest interest.” — Chief French Editor, Behind the Scenes in French Journalism, describing the organization of World War 1 propaganda in France.

Did US Secretary of State John Kerry ask you before he delivered an all or nothing ultimatum to Russia? Did he ask Congress? Did he ask the countries of western and eastern Europe–NATO members who Kerry has committed to whatever the consequences will be of Washington’s inflexible, arrogant, aggressive provocation of Russia, a well-armed nuclear power? Did Kerry ask Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, South America, Africa, China, Central Asia, all of whom would be adversely affected by a world war provoked by the crazed criminals in Washington?

No.

He did not.

The exceptional, indispensable, arrogant, self-righteous United States government does not need to ask anyone. Washington speaks not merely for itself. Washington represents the country chosen by history (and the neoconservatives) to speak not merely for itself, but for the entire world.

Whatever Washington says is truth. Whatever Washington does is legal, in accordance with both domestic and international law. When Washington invades countries and destroys them, sends in drones and missiles, blows up people attending weddings, funerals and children’s soccer games, Washington is practicing human rights and bringing democracy to the people. Whenever a country tries to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the country is engaging in terrorism, al-Qaeda connections, human rights violations, and suppressing democracy.

We are watching this audacity play out now in the confrontation with Russia that Washington’s coup in Ukraine has provoked. Obama and Kerry have been advised by the idiots that comprise the US government that Russia will surrender and accept Washington’s will if Washington is sufficiently insistent.

Apparently, no one has asked the advisors what happens if ultimatums are given, and the Russians do not submit.

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

map of major Russia-Europe natural gas transit lines, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, IHS EDIN, and International Energy Agency
Note: Representations of international boundaries and names are not authoritative.

Europe, including all EU members plus Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, and the non-EU Balkan states, consumed 18.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2013. Russia supplied 30% (5.7 Tcf) of this volume, with a significant amount flowing through Ukraine. EIA estimates that 16% (3.0 Tcf) of the total natural gas consumed in Europe passed through Ukraine’s pipeline network, based on data reported by Gazprom and Eastern Bloc Energy.

Two major pipeline systems carry Russian gas through Ukraine to Western Europe—the Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and Soyuz (Union) pipelines. The Bratstvo pipeline is Russia’s largest pipeline to Europe. It crosses from Ukraine to Slovakia and splits in two to supply northern and southern European countries. The Soyuz pipeline links Russian pipelines to natural gas networks in Central Asia and supplies additional volumes to central and northern Europe. A third major pipeline through Ukraine (Trans-Balkan) delivers Russian natural gas to the Balkan countries and Turkey.

In the past, as much as 80% of Russian natural gas exports to Europe transited Ukraine. This number has fallen to 50%-60% since the Nord Stream pipeline, a direct link between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, came online in 2011.

Natural gas flows through Ukraine vary by season, ranging from almost 12 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas per day in the winter to only 6 Bcf per day in the summer. An unusually mild winter in 2013 meant reduced natural gas flows through Ukraine and contributed to higher levels of natural gas storage in Europe (natural gas storage levels were 46% full as of March 13, compared to 23% full in the United States).

graph of Russian natural gas exports to Europe through Ukraine, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency, and Eastern Bloc Energy

For more information, see EIA’s country analysis note on Ukraine.

Principal contributor: Alexander Metelitsa

IEA.gov

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

map of major Russia-Europe natural gas transit lines, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, IHS EDIN, and International Energy Agency
Note: Representations of international boundaries and names are not authoritative.

Europe, including all EU members plus Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, and the non-EU Balkan states, consumed 18.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2013. Russia supplied 30% (5.7 Tcf) of this volume, with a significant amount flowing through Ukraine. EIA estimates that 16% (3.0 Tcf) of the total natural gas consumed in Europe passed through Ukraine’s pipeline network, based on data reported by Gazprom and Eastern Bloc Energy.

Two major pipeline systems carry Russian gas through Ukraine to Western Europe—the Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and Soyuz (Union) pipelines. The Bratstvo pipeline is Russia’s largest pipeline to Europe. It crosses from Ukraine to Slovakia and splits in two to supply northern and southern European countries. The Soyuz pipeline links Russian pipelines to natural gas networks in Central Asia and supplies additional volumes to central and northern Europe. A third major pipeline through Ukraine (Trans-Balkan) delivers Russian natural gas to the Balkan countries and Turkey.

In the past, as much as 80% of Russian natural gas exports to Europe transited Ukraine. This number has fallen to 50%-60% since the Nord Stream pipeline, a direct link between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, came online in 2011.

Natural gas flows through Ukraine vary by season, ranging from almost 12 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas per day in the winter to only 6 Bcf per day in the summer. An unusually mild winter in 2013 meant reduced natural gas flows through Ukraine and contributed to higher levels of natural gas storage in Europe (natural gas storage levels were 46% full as of March 13, compared to 23% full in the United States).

graph of Russian natural gas exports to Europe through Ukraine, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency, and Eastern Bloc Energy

For more information, see EIA’s country analysis note on Ukraine.

Principal contributor: Alexander Metelitsa

IEA.gov

After Ukraine, Turkey might be the Next Target of “Regime Change” | Global Research

After Ukraine, Turkey might be the Next Target of “Regime Change” | Global Research.

Global Research, March 14, 2014
white moon and star turkey map

The plot and the leading actors are almost the same. Just change the backdrop. Throw in the diplomatic and intelligence machinations into the mix and you have a recipe for regime change.  A corrupt leader backed by a powerful next-door neighbour or an overseas sponsor. Internal dissent in the form of mass, on going, and very violent protests, which lead to several deaths in the streets due to confrontation between riot police and demonstrators. Calls for resignation of the (elected) leader and foreign forces manipulating events by meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

After US-EU backed palace coup in Kiev is Ankara the next target?

Yes, this sounds very much like pre-putsch Ukraine, doesn’t it? But what if we look across the Black sea to a powerful regional US alley, and key NATO member state (NATO’s second largest standing army in terms of troop numbers): Turkey. The same template or scenario for a popular uprising or potential for  “regime change” can just as well be applied to that country. Sound exaggerated? Let’s see then.

The whole world knows that, Turkey is currently racked by inner or domestic instability. But unlike Ukraine or Arab states which saw their leaders overthrown in successive revolutions as part of the euphemistically termed “Arab Spring”, the Turkish leader has applied methods not unlike his archenemy President Assad of Syria, to remain in power.

Tactics used such as the systematic persecution of opposition and trade union leaders, journalists, censorship of social media etc. have not gone unnoticed in the EU and the US.  The imprisonment without trial of political dissenters or dissidents (to use the old cold war word) has become a common, or everyday occurrence in Turkey. Hence, the brutality of the ruling AKP (Development and Justice Party) regime makes the reign of ousted (yet democratically elected) President Yanucovitch, seem almost like life in Arcadia or Shangri la by contrast.

 Erdogan’s iron fisted rule over his country has become wearisome for many of the country’s denizens, over the past year or so. How has the west and especially Turkey’s biggest sponsor (the US) reacted to his anti-democratic and at times paranoid (He has accused foreign powers or outside forces, including Israel, and individuals like Fethullah Gulen, of subverting his rule or plotting his demise.) behaviour?  With a slight tap on the wrist or maybe a gentle rebuke or two.

Until Yanukovitch’s overthrow Washington denounced this “Russian puppet” as a corrupt and despotic ruler over Ukraine. However during this same period, and up until now, the US has conspicuously remained strangely mute, about the turbulent events in Turkey. Is there a double standard here, or am I misreading the situation?

But beneath the surface tensions between Turkey and the US are rising. Washington seems displeased with Erdogan’s rule. Might regime change in Turkey be on the menu at the White House? Hard to tell at this point, but Washington’s patience with Erdogan is certainly not unlimited; in other words, it’s running out. As the March 30th municipal elections approach things will get very dicey in the country indeed and Washington’s support for the AKP may begin to wane.

A Ukrainian style “crescent moon” revolution on the way in Turkey?

Reccip Tayyip Erogan has since June 2013 been faced with waves of protest in his country. These protest continue  . He has been exposed recently as a corrupt, venal, authoritarian and some say even a megalomaniac. He’s has done everything to maintain his grip on power, including purging the police, and security and judicial apparatus. His ruthlessness seemingly knows no bounds. The constant repression has reached a tipping point: either more dictatorial style domestic policies will continue or a popular “democratic” and “home-grown” uprising backed by shadowy groups, like the ones currently operating in Ukraine will likely materialise.   The Ukraine scenario of course, is based on outside interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.

Fomenting a coup in Turkey is far more complicated, due to the country’s immense strategic importance to the west. As well, the only leading actors capable of overthrowing the current, graft- ridden, regime (as in the case of Egypt most recently) is the military. There have been several military coups in Turkey’ history. So this cannot be excluded (some with US assistance).

Ukraine’ Crimean secessionist movement mirrors that of Kurds in Turkey

With the potential of Crimea seceding from the rest of Ukraine or possible reuniting with Russia, Kurds in Turkey who have fought for decades for an independent homeland might be looking closely at the outcome of the referendum there. Moreover, after decades of armed conflict there is a very tenuous peace in that part of eastern Turkey. But growing secessionist movements, clamouring for more regional autonomy (triggered by the Ukraine crisis in the region), might rekindle nationalists’ fervour in Turkish Kurdistan. This could destabilise Turkey further and add to the long sanding domestic internal turmoil.

After Ukraine, Turkey might be the Next Target of “Regime Change” | Global Research

After Ukraine, Turkey might be the Next Target of “Regime Change” | Global Research.

Global Research, March 14, 2014
white moon and star turkey map

The plot and the leading actors are almost the same. Just change the backdrop. Throw in the diplomatic and intelligence machinations into the mix and you have a recipe for regime change.  A corrupt leader backed by a powerful next-door neighbour or an overseas sponsor. Internal dissent in the form of mass, on going, and very violent protests, which lead to several deaths in the streets due to confrontation between riot police and demonstrators. Calls for resignation of the (elected) leader and foreign forces manipulating events by meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

After US-EU backed palace coup in Kiev is Ankara the next target?

Yes, this sounds very much like pre-putsch Ukraine, doesn’t it? But what if we look across the Black sea to a powerful regional US alley, and key NATO member state (NATO’s second largest standing army in terms of troop numbers): Turkey. The same template or scenario for a popular uprising or potential for  “regime change” can just as well be applied to that country. Sound exaggerated? Let’s see then.

The whole world knows that, Turkey is currently racked by inner or domestic instability. But unlike Ukraine or Arab states which saw their leaders overthrown in successive revolutions as part of the euphemistically termed “Arab Spring”, the Turkish leader has applied methods not unlike his archenemy President Assad of Syria, to remain in power.

Tactics used such as the systematic persecution of opposition and trade union leaders, journalists, censorship of social media etc. have not gone unnoticed in the EU and the US.  The imprisonment without trial of political dissenters or dissidents (to use the old cold war word) has become a common, or everyday occurrence in Turkey. Hence, the brutality of the ruling AKP (Development and Justice Party) regime makes the reign of ousted (yet democratically elected) President Yanucovitch, seem almost like life in Arcadia or Shangri la by contrast.

 Erdogan’s iron fisted rule over his country has become wearisome for many of the country’s denizens, over the past year or so. How has the west and especially Turkey’s biggest sponsor (the US) reacted to his anti-democratic and at times paranoid (He has accused foreign powers or outside forces, including Israel, and individuals like Fethullah Gulen, of subverting his rule or plotting his demise.) behaviour?  With a slight tap on the wrist or maybe a gentle rebuke or two.

Until Yanukovitch’s overthrow Washington denounced this “Russian puppet” as a corrupt and despotic ruler over Ukraine. However during this same period, and up until now, the US has conspicuously remained strangely mute, about the turbulent events in Turkey. Is there a double standard here, or am I misreading the situation?

But beneath the surface tensions between Turkey and the US are rising. Washington seems displeased with Erdogan’s rule. Might regime change in Turkey be on the menu at the White House? Hard to tell at this point, but Washington’s patience with Erdogan is certainly not unlimited; in other words, it’s running out. As the March 30th municipal elections approach things will get very dicey in the country indeed and Washington’s support for the AKP may begin to wane.

A Ukrainian style “crescent moon” revolution on the way in Turkey?

Reccip Tayyip Erogan has since June 2013 been faced with waves of protest in his country. These protest continue  . He has been exposed recently as a corrupt, venal, authoritarian and some say even a megalomaniac. He’s has done everything to maintain his grip on power, including purging the police, and security and judicial apparatus. His ruthlessness seemingly knows no bounds. The constant repression has reached a tipping point: either more dictatorial style domestic policies will continue or a popular “democratic” and “home-grown” uprising backed by shadowy groups, like the ones currently operating in Ukraine will likely materialise.   The Ukraine scenario of course, is based on outside interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.

Fomenting a coup in Turkey is far more complicated, due to the country’s immense strategic importance to the west. As well, the only leading actors capable of overthrowing the current, graft- ridden, regime (as in the case of Egypt most recently) is the military. There have been several military coups in Turkey’ history. So this cannot be excluded (some with US assistance).

Ukraine’ Crimean secessionist movement mirrors that of Kurds in Turkey

With the potential of Crimea seceding from the rest of Ukraine or possible reuniting with Russia, Kurds in Turkey who have fought for decades for an independent homeland might be looking closely at the outcome of the referendum there. Moreover, after decades of armed conflict there is a very tenuous peace in that part of eastern Turkey. But growing secessionist movements, clamouring for more regional autonomy (triggered by the Ukraine crisis in the region), might rekindle nationalists’ fervour in Turkish Kurdistan. This could destabilise Turkey further and add to the long sanding domestic internal turmoil.

5 Ways Russia’s Ukraine ‘Boomerang’ Could Strike Asia | The Diplomat

5 Ways Russia’s Ukraine ‘Boomerang’ Could Strike Asia | The Diplomat.

Putin has warned that U.S. action over Ukraine would have a boomerang effect. Will the target be Asia?

harry-kazianis
March 12, 2014

Last week I noted four lessons Asia watchers should ponder in light of the events unfolding in UkraineAs there has been no letup and various pundits warn of a new Cold War it seems timely to consider what actions Russia could take against the United States if tensions were to spiral out of control. Clearly Vladimir Putin has a number of options to create significant havoc in multiple areas of American national interest—especially in Asia.

Last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that any sanctions introduced by Washington against Moscow will have a “boomerang” effect. And such a boomerang could have some oomph. What would such a boomerang look like? Here are five ways (beyond the one Ankit Panda pointed out last week) Putin could make life very difficult for America and its allies in Asia if tensions in Eastern Europe were to intensify and Russia sought to retaliate:

1. Russian Arms Sales to China go hog wild – Remember that deal that keeps floating around concerningRussian SU-35s and advanced conventional submarines to China? Even if things don’t get worse in Ukraine, I think we can consider that a done deal now. But, heck, why stop there! If Washington wants to keep upping the ante in Ukraine it might be a great time for Moscow to expand its dealings with China to levels never seen. Remember all that talk about hypersonic weapons in January? Since both nations are pursing such weapons, why not share the costs and the spoils? It seems 5th generation fighters aren’t easy for anyone to craft these days—so why not a joint Russo-Sino development project? If things were to get really nasty, and Russia decided to pull out of the INF treaty, maybe it’s time Moscow and Beijing exchange notes on all those lovelyA2/AD weapons systems we like to talk about here on Flashpoints? I could go on and on. The bottom line: If Russia wanted to make things hard for America in Asia at a time when its defense budget is shrinking, here is an easy way to do it.

2. Moscow goes all in on natural resource sales to Beijing – While large deals were announced late last year, China would love to purchase as much Russian oil, natural gas and any other natural resources it could get its hands on. While issues of price have slowed or halted other deals in the past, Russia this time might be a little more flexible, especially if it were to halt or slow sales to Ukraine or Western Europe. China clearly wins in such a deal as it would become less reliant on sea-borne natural resources imports that could be disrupted if things with America were to go really south.

3. Russian Arms Sales to Iran, Rebooted – While any analysis here must factor in P5+1 negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear deal, Moscow could seek to make trouble for Washington and its allies by rebooting arms sales to Iran. With Russia and Iran already trying to work out the aftermath of an aborted sale of the S-300 air defense system, Putin may decide to put the system back on the table for Iran. In fact, he may even suggest selling Tehran the more advanced S-400 system. Consider this: if nuclear negotiations fail and Iran fears an attack by the West over its nuclear facilities, Russia could be in position to supply all the weapons it needs to make such an attack even more complicated than it would already be.

4. Syria: Give Assad all the arms he wants: While Russia may have offered an unlikely solution to the chemical weapons crisis of last summer, the U.S. and its allies should expect nothing from Moscow if Putin’s boomerang comes lunging back at them. Putin could easily begin sending even more arms to his allies in Syria, raising the stakes and a death toll that is already reaching epic if not historic proportions. While it may be hard to envision Russia being able to completely turn the tide with Assad winning a clear victory, Moscow could certainly change the calculus if it decided to go all in and arm Syria to the teeth.

5. The Death of the Pivot/Rebalance: So say tensions in Eastern Europe were to escalate even further with Russia formally annexing Crimea or worse—Russia taking large sections of Eastern Ukraine. It does not seem out of the question that Washington would be forced to consider beefing up its security commitments in Europe. While additional forces could certainly move into the region as a deterrent to further Russia troublemaking, missile defense plans scuttled in the past could be re-crafted, and U.S. naval power could make a strong comeback. All this comes at a price however. Unless the U.S. were to increase its defense spending which, short of a shooting war I consider unlikely, American forces, already stretched thin to begin with, would be even more strained. Washington may simply have no choice but to reconsider its mighty pivot/rebalance to Asia. Add in the fact that a senior defense department official may have put the final coffin in it anyway– stating that “right now, the pivot is being looked at again, because candidly it can’t happen”– one more nail for good measure thanks to Russia would certainly seal its fate.

5 Ways Russia’s Ukraine ‘Boomerang’ Could Strike Asia | The Diplomat

5 Ways Russia’s Ukraine ‘Boomerang’ Could Strike Asia | The Diplomat.

Putin has warned that U.S. action over Ukraine would have a boomerang effect. Will the target be Asia?

harry-kazianis
March 12, 2014

Last week I noted four lessons Asia watchers should ponder in light of the events unfolding in UkraineAs there has been no letup and various pundits warn of a new Cold War it seems timely to consider what actions Russia could take against the United States if tensions were to spiral out of control. Clearly Vladimir Putin has a number of options to create significant havoc in multiple areas of American national interest—especially in Asia.

Last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that any sanctions introduced by Washington against Moscow will have a “boomerang” effect. And such a boomerang could have some oomph. What would such a boomerang look like? Here are five ways (beyond the one Ankit Panda pointed out last week) Putin could make life very difficult for America and its allies in Asia if tensions in Eastern Europe were to intensify and Russia sought to retaliate:

1. Russian Arms Sales to China go hog wild – Remember that deal that keeps floating around concerningRussian SU-35s and advanced conventional submarines to China? Even if things don’t get worse in Ukraine, I think we can consider that a done deal now. But, heck, why stop there! If Washington wants to keep upping the ante in Ukraine it might be a great time for Moscow to expand its dealings with China to levels never seen. Remember all that talk about hypersonic weapons in January? Since both nations are pursing such weapons, why not share the costs and the spoils? It seems 5th generation fighters aren’t easy for anyone to craft these days—so why not a joint Russo-Sino development project? If things were to get really nasty, and Russia decided to pull out of the INF treaty, maybe it’s time Moscow and Beijing exchange notes on all those lovelyA2/AD weapons systems we like to talk about here on Flashpoints? I could go on and on. The bottom line: If Russia wanted to make things hard for America in Asia at a time when its defense budget is shrinking, here is an easy way to do it.

2. Moscow goes all in on natural resource sales to Beijing – While large deals were announced late last year, China would love to purchase as much Russian oil, natural gas and any other natural resources it could get its hands on. While issues of price have slowed or halted other deals in the past, Russia this time might be a little more flexible, especially if it were to halt or slow sales to Ukraine or Western Europe. China clearly wins in such a deal as it would become less reliant on sea-borne natural resources imports that could be disrupted if things with America were to go really south.

3. Russian Arms Sales to Iran, Rebooted – While any analysis here must factor in P5+1 negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear deal, Moscow could seek to make trouble for Washington and its allies by rebooting arms sales to Iran. With Russia and Iran already trying to work out the aftermath of an aborted sale of the S-300 air defense system, Putin may decide to put the system back on the table for Iran. In fact, he may even suggest selling Tehran the more advanced S-400 system. Consider this: if nuclear negotiations fail and Iran fears an attack by the West over its nuclear facilities, Russia could be in position to supply all the weapons it needs to make such an attack even more complicated than it would already be.

4. Syria: Give Assad all the arms he wants: While Russia may have offered an unlikely solution to the chemical weapons crisis of last summer, the U.S. and its allies should expect nothing from Moscow if Putin’s boomerang comes lunging back at them. Putin could easily begin sending even more arms to his allies in Syria, raising the stakes and a death toll that is already reaching epic if not historic proportions. While it may be hard to envision Russia being able to completely turn the tide with Assad winning a clear victory, Moscow could certainly change the calculus if it decided to go all in and arm Syria to the teeth.

5. The Death of the Pivot/Rebalance: So say tensions in Eastern Europe were to escalate even further with Russia formally annexing Crimea or worse—Russia taking large sections of Eastern Ukraine. It does not seem out of the question that Washington would be forced to consider beefing up its security commitments in Europe. While additional forces could certainly move into the region as a deterrent to further Russia troublemaking, missile defense plans scuttled in the past could be re-crafted, and U.S. naval power could make a strong comeback. All this comes at a price however. Unless the U.S. were to increase its defense spending which, short of a shooting war I consider unlikely, American forces, already stretched thin to begin with, would be even more strained. Washington may simply have no choice but to reconsider its mighty pivot/rebalance to Asia. Add in the fact that a senior defense department official may have put the final coffin in it anyway– stating that “right now, the pivot is being looked at again, because candidly it can’t happen”– one more nail for good measure thanks to Russia would certainly seal its fate.

After Annexing Crimea, Russian Troops Are Piling Up By The East Ukraine Border | Zero Hedge

After Annexing Crimea, Russian Troops Are Piling Up By The East Ukraine Border | Zero Hedge.

Despite the relentless protests of Kiev, and of course the G7 group of world’s most indebted nations, in the past two weeks Vladimir Putin once again succeeded in outplaying the west and annexed the Crimea peninsula without firing a single shot (granted there is still potential for material situational deterioration, one which would involve military participation by NATO whose outcome is not exactly clear). The market has “priced in” as much, with prevailing consensus now dictating that Russia will preserve its foothold in the Crimea however without additional attempts for annexation: certainly Poland is hoping and praying as much.

However, as the following photos taken on the Russian side of East Ukraine, next to Belgorod, the Russian airborne troops (“VDV“) are now piling up, only not in Crimea, which needs no further Russian military presence, but ostensibly to prepare for the next part of the annexation: that of Russian-speaking east Ukraine.

On the clip and pictures below, one can see Russian troops on the move near the border with Ukraine in the Belgorod Oblast, about 20 kilometers from the border with Ukraine near Kharkiv:

?????? ???????

?????? ???????

?????? ???????

The indicative location:

 

Meanwhile, on the birder with Crimea, Ukrainian troops are digging in and mining fields in anticipation of Russians rolling out of the Penninsula:

H/T @raymond_saint, Censor.netmkoinov

%d bloggers like this: